Israel, Racism and the Durban Conference

May 22, 2009

An article recently published in Le Monde presents evidence of a very disturbing increase in the racist demagoguery in Israeli politics and a trend of state-sanctioned racist violence against Israeli Arabs. It seems from the evidence provided in the article that Israel is  rapidly transforming from a racist state into a racist society. When the two converge, that is institutional racism and popular racism, there is far greater potential for mass race-based violence to break out, as studies of genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid show.

It is little wonder Israel boycotted Durban II. But, the reason the Australian government gave was very unconvincing, citing concerns that Israel was singled out for special mention, giving no explanation for why this was a problem. While, I certainly agree that contemporary racism is not restricted to Israel (I wrote an earlier post about the increase of anti-African racism in Egypt) the institutionalized racism in Israel is qualitatively different than anywhere else in the world. It was for this reason and no other that Israel was “singled out” by those that framed the Durban conference. The claims that raising the issue of racism in Israel is anti-Semitic is a smokescreen as the organizers had widely stated that all forms of racism are equally deplorable, including Antisemitism.  I do not believe that anyone involved in the struggle against racism condones Antisemitism in any form, but this does not mean remaining vigilant against Antisemitism. But criticizing Israel for the state-policies that make the lives of non-Jewish Arab citizens of Israel different from Israeli-Jews is not anti-Semitic, just anti-racist. The fight against racism is universal but his does not mean that we cannot shine a brighter light of scrutiny on specific cases of racism, such as that occurring in Israel.

The article can be found at:

Noah Bassil

Event: After Israel’s attack on Gaza, how do we work for peace and justice?

May 4, 2009

When: Thursday May 7, 6pm to 8:30pm
Where: Holme and Sutherland Room, University of Sydney

Speakers include:

●Kerry Nettle – Former Senator, NSW Greens, on effectiveness in lobbying government;
● Angela Budai – Jewish Activist, on reaching out to the Jewish community;
● Professor John Docker – on Academic Boycott of Israel;
● Associate Professor Jake Lynch – Director, CPACS, chairperson and facilitator;
● Rihab Charida – Gaza Defence Committee, on BDS campaign;
● Paul McAleer, MUA – on working with the Trade Unions and the Labor Party (invited);
● Weller Zheng – CPACS, on lessons from social movement theory.

See the attached for more information.

Please RSVP by May 6 to Keryn Scott or Lyn Dickens, CPACS, 9351 7686 or

Posted by Gennaro Gervasio