Joharah Baker on a national climate that fosters racist expression

June 18, 2009

Below is an excerpt from commentary by Joharah Baker on the recent scandal over Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch’s calling a Palestinian-Israeli policeman a “real dirty Arab.”  The full article can be read at Miftah.

We ‘dirty Arabs’ have had enough

by Joharah Baker
17 June 2009

What unwritten law is out there that allows Israelis to sling racist insults at Palestinians with impunity? After all my years in this country and the absurdities that come along with it, this is one absurdity I still find hard to digest.

Obviously, my outrage has been most recently rekindled by Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who during a tour of the old central bus station in Tel Aviv called a Palestinian-Israeli policeman a “real dirty Arab.” Once the words were out, the minister was forced to apologize, saying his remarks did not reflect his worldview. A spokesman for the ministry also issued a statement saying that, “in a moment of jest, and using common slang, the minister said what he said, not intending to hurt anyone.”

If this were an isolated incident or if it were not an Israeli right-wing minister who said it, we might, just might, be inclined to believe this sorry excuse for an explanation. But in Israel’s history with the Palestinians, this can hardly be considered slip-of-the-tongue. Instead, such slurs are embedded in a historically-rooted relationship between Israeli Jews and their perceived Palestinian-Arab subordinates, a relationship that is so lopsided it allows room for those who wish to be verbally abusive against Palestinians to thrive….

Raffe Gold on Yisrael Beitanu laws

June 11, 2009

Raffe Gold has just alerted me to a blog posting he wrote about new legislation under consideration in Israel.  He says, “These bills are racist, violate basic freedoms and attempt to subjugate the democratic nature of the State of Israel. I am talking about two bills in particular: the loyalty oath and the Al-Nakba criminalization bill.”  Read his post at

–L.L. Wynn