Defiance, not denial

In Ha’aretz, Amnon Be’eri Sulitzeanu’s analyses apparent Holocaust denial on the part of Israel’s Arab citizens:

“In a correct reading of the situation of Arab citizens, the “denial” of the Holocaust should not be understood as a lack of knowledge of the subject or as a failure to recognize its importance for the Jewish people, but as simple defiance: “If you don’t recognize us and our pain, we will retaliate by not recognizing your pain.” Paradoxically, the painful use of “denial” by the Arabs polled in the survey actually implies recognition of the Holocaust and of the depth of the pain it represents for the Jews.

This complexity assumes an additional current and tragic dimension, because the decision of the Education Ministry regarding the matriculation exam is being made parallel to a series of steps by the government, including legislation, whose objective is to forbid Arab citizens and groups from teaching or commemorating − even in a low-key manner − the historical story of the Palestinian tragedy that took place with the establishment of the State of Israel, the Nakba, and to persecute and punish those who do so. In that sense, we can assume that if the above-mentioned survey were to be conducted now, the percentage of Arab “Holocaust deniers” would skyrocket.”

Read the whole thing. Denial is a dangerous game to play. For the adults it may be a tactic, but what will the children understand?

Mohammed Barakeh’s courageous step

Hadash General Secretary and Member of the Knesset Mohammed Barakeh will join an Israeli parliamentary delegation to Auschwitz, a decision which has split Israel’s Arab citizens down the middle. The Abraham Fund‘s Mohammad Darawshe comments in a Ha’aretz piece which responds to the fear that paying heed to this Jewish narrative will validate a Jewish sense of entitlement while negating Palestinian claims.

“The country’s Arab citizens are probably split down the middle regarding Barakeh’s trip, but many of those who oppose it have suggested that it is too soon to show empathy for Israel’s Jews, as they are responsible for continued discrimination and marginalization of the country’s Arabs, not to mention the ongoing oppression of their Palestinian brethren in the occupied territories.

Others see Barakeh’s participation in a parliamentary delegation as problematic because they fear it may be seen as signaling acceptance of the Jewish narrative, and thus strengthening the argument that the Jews – not the Palestinians – are the victims of history. Some Arabs believe that empathetic gestures should be made by Israel’s majority, not by its minority, and that such a step by an Arab politician should be a “prize” given to the Jews only after they have demonstrated understanding of and offered equality to Arab citizens.”

This is why Mohammed Barakeh’s decision is courageous. Read on for Mohammad Darawshe’s response.

BRICUP dreams of apartheid while the Abraham Fund works for co-existence

BRICUP is touring some boycott celebrity speakers round the country to talk about ‘Israel, the Palestinians and apartheid: the case for sanctions and boycott’. Perhaps somebody could ask Omar Barghouti to kindly explain about Tel Aviv again, for those of us who still don’t understand how he could demand boycott of a really good university, and then go and privilege himself by enrolling there.

Or perhaps we could just give our attention to something better, because meanwhile in the real world Israel has once again brought new meaning to the word ‘apartheid’. A delegation of senior Israeli police officers is visiting Belfast to find out  how to provide a respectful service for minorities:

“The mission, which includes nine brigadier generals from various police departments, is part of an educational program that aims to introduce the officers to practical tools for providing egalitarian and respectful policing services to Israel’s Arab citizens.

The program was developed by the Training and Education Department of the Human Resources Division and the Abraham Fund Initiatives.

This program is part of a joint venture between the Israel Police and the Abraham Fund Initiatives aiming to improve relations between the police and the Arab community. The venture was initiated following the October 2000 events and the publication of the Or Commission recommendations.”

That this has gone ahead under the current Israeli government is a tribute to the Abraham Fund and their friends in the Knesset. As well as advocating for Arab citizens with the Israeli right, the Abraham Fund has to make arguments to Arab citizens who want to turn their backs on Jewish ones. One example is a recent move to boycott “Jewish organisations” by Arab citizens of Sakhnin, to which the Abrahan Fund responded:

“Many of Israel’s supporters understand that just as in the past they contributed toward immigration, absorption, infrastructure development, and project renewal, today the issue of integration of Israel’s Arab citizens is an important and urgent national necessity which needs to be advanced to the top of the agenda.”

To precisely this end, the Abraham Fund is having a global online benefit on December the 9th 2009 during which they will present their work and how it is helping Israeli society. Register to join them real time, free.

Bonus link: The Abraham Fund’s Mohammad Darawshe, speaking in London earlier this year.

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