Hundreds of Israelis Demonstrated in Afula Against the Sale of a House to an Arab

Hundreds of Israelis Demonstrated in Afula Against the Sale of a House to an Arab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

This is why Israeli Apartheid is
Unique and why John McDonnell’s defence of Zionism and the Israeli state was so
wrong

In the wake of Labour’s NEC decision on September 4th to endorse
the IHRA definition of anti-semitism, Palestine solidarity activists fly posted
bus stops in London declaring that Israel is a racist endeavour.
This was immediately denounced by John McDonnell who told BBC’s Politics Live that “It
is not the right thing to say.
It is
against the examples that we set out and linked to the IHRA definitions.”
In a further interview with Jewish News McDonnell
elaborated on these comments, stating that ‘It
is anti-Semitic to oppose a Jewish state, of course it is.’
Israel calls itself
a Jewish state but what does that mean?  The demonstrations in Afula last June against
the sale of a house to an Arab give us a clue.
As people may be aware, I am currently
bringing an action for defamation against the misnamed Campaign Against
Anti-Semitism for calling me a ‘notorious
anti-Semite’.
They are defending this on 4 grounds, one of which, is that “The Claimant lied when he claimed in The Guardian newspaper that the International
Definition of Anti-Semitism prevents criticism of Israel.”
Letter from 62 Jewish people criticising the IHRA – handed over to Peter Kyle MP for Hove

In fact what I and the other 61
signatories wrote was somewhat more nuanced, viz. that ‘The new definition has nothing to do with opposing antisemitism, it is
merely designed to silence public debate on Israel’s crimes against the
Palestinians.”
At first sight the CAA is right. The IHRA
states that ‘criticism of Israel similar
to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’
The Home Affairs Select Committee,
whose Report
in October 2016 triggered Theresa May’s acceptance of the IHRA definition also
stated that: ‘It is not
antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal
democracies
…’ (paragraph 24)
The key question running through the debate over the IHRA definition of
anti-semitism is whether or not the Israeli state is just another liberal
democratic state, or whether it is suis
generis
.
It is my contention that Israel is unlike any other country because it
is, uniquely, an ethno-nationalist state. Hitler’s Germany after the 1935 Nuremburg
Laws was a state not of its own citizens but the German Volk. Germany claimed that Germans, wherever they lived formed part
of the German Volk/nation and this led in 1938 to the crisis over
Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland, where ethnic Germans lived, and in turn to
the Munich Agreement.
Likewise Israel claims that it is the nation state, not of its own
citizens but all Jews, wherever they live in the world. It has just passed a Jewish Nation State Law to make this explicit. Israel’s definition
of itself as a Jewish State is not at all similar to Britain’s definition of
itself as a Christian state.  My rights
as a Jewish inhabitant of England have no relationship to my religion, if any.  Political and civil rights in the UK are not dependent
on one’s religious affiliation. That is because religion in Britain has no
relationship to nationality or citizenship. 
However in Israel being Jewish is primarily a national/racial question,
not simply a matter of religion. 



At first sight the CAA is right. The IHRA
states that ‘criticism of Israel similar
to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’
.
 
The Home Affairs Select Committee,
whose Report
in October 2016 triggered Theresa May’s acceptance of the IHRA definition also
stated that: ‘It is not
antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal
democracies
…’ (paragraph 24)
The key question running through the debate over the IHRA definition of
anti-semitism is whether or not the Israeli state is just another liberal
democratic state, or whether it is suis
generis
.
It is my contention that Israel is unlike any other country because it
is, uniquely, an ethno-nationalist state. Hitler’s Germany after the 1935 Nuremburg
Laws was likewise a state not of its own citizens but the German Volk. Germany claimed that Germans, wherever they lived formed part
of the German Volk/nation and this led in 1938 to the crisis over
Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland, where ethnic Germans lived, and in turn to
the Munich Agreement.
 Israel claims that it is the nation state, not of its own
citizens but all Jews, wherever they live in the world. It has just passed a Jewish Nation
State Law
to make this explicit. Israel’s definition of itself as a Jewish State
is not at all similar to Britain’s definition of itself as a Christian state.  My rights as a Jewish inhabitant of England
have no relationship to my religion, if any. 
Political and civil rights in the UK are not dependent on one’s
religious affiliation. That is because religion in Britain is distinct from nationality or citizenship.  However
in Israel being Jewish is primarily a national/racial question, not simply a
matter of religion.
This was demonstrated most clearly in Afula, a Jewish-only city of around 50,000 in northern Israel, in June of this
year. Afula’s Jewish residents were outraged that a property in the town had
been sold to an Arab. This was a carbon copy of a similar demonstration in 2015 when many of the successful bidders
for building plots were found to be Arabs. The protestors demanded the
cancellation of the whole bidding process and the Nazareth District Court was
happy to oblige. Similar protests and actions have been held in other
towns. 
In 2011 in Safed the Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a paid state official, issued an edict forbidding Jews to rent property to Arabs. Eliyahu’s edict
was supported by dozens of rabbis. To this day he remains a salaried
official of the Israeli state.
All Western states are racist but Israel is uniquely so. Racism and
segregation form the core of its identity as a Jewish state. Racism is not
simply a policy that can be changed but inherent to Israeli society. Another
word for it is Zionism.  
If I want to rent a property in the UK my religion is irrelevant. I would not expect a landlord or letting agent to even ask me what my
religious identity is but in Israel religion is crucial in determining whether
someone is part of the volk, the
national community. It is written on everyone’s ID car.
demonstration by far Right Israelis
Israel is a ‘Jewish state’ or more accurately a state of the Jewish
nation. What Israel is not is a state of its own citizens. Recent attempts to even debate such a proposal in the Knesset were blocked.  Knesset Council Bans Bill to Define
Israel as State for All Its Citizens
Uniquely in the modern world, the Israeli state owns and controls 93% of Israeli
land which is reserved for the use of the ‘Jewish people.’ The Jewish National
Fund, a para-state organisation set up by the JNF Law 1953 ensures that access
to that land is barred to the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinians. 
The JNF is quite open about the fact that it should not be obliged to allocate lands in its possession to
non-Jews…. Whoever seeks to prevent the allocation of JNF lands solely to
Jews must confront the assertions of these laws’
referring to
three land laws passed in 1960-61 which gave the JNF and the Israeli Land
Administration joint responsibility for administering Israeli state land.
Israeli Arabs are confined to 3% of the land.  Not one new Arab town or village has been created
in Israel since its formation 70 year ago despite a more than 10 fold increase
in their population. This contrasts with hundreds of new Jewish towns and communities.
In Israel land is segregated in the same way as it was in Apartheid South
Africa.  The only difference is that
Israel sees no need to pass a Group Areas Act relying on a series of opaque
laws, regulations and administrative practices instead.
Being Jewish in Israel means having very real and significant privileges.
A Jewish state means that you constantly worry about the ‘demographic threat’ that the Arabs pose. In Expert confirms Jews and Arabs
nearing population parity
Aron Heller wrote that ‘Israel
will be faced with a daunting choice between becoming a binational state or one
in which Arabs and other minorities do not have equal rights.’
That is why Israel constantly encourages Jewish immigration at the same
time as it takes steps to minimise the Arab population.  Politics in Israel are ethnicised at every
level and in every sphere of civil and social life.  The 20% of the population that are
Palestinians are not represented at any level in the government, the senior
civil service or the judiciary. It means segregation in most areas of life
including education and housing. It also results in government supported campaigns against miscegenation,
sexual relations between Jews and Arabs that are reminiscent of the Nuremberg
Laws (Israel’s vile anti-miscegenation
squads
).
What is particularly shocking is not only that McDonnell has so little
historical or political awareness but that he is prepared to jettison the
Palestinians for the sake of a pact with the devil, in the form of the Zionist Jewish
Labour Movement.
The idea of religious states died out with the French Revolution.
Nationality became a function of residence in a certain territory not religion.  In the words of Count Clermont-Tonnerre, a Deputy
in the French Constituent Assembly, “Jews
should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as
individuals….”
Tonnerre’s words represented the views of 18th-century
rationalists and French revolutionaries toward Judaism and the Jewish question.
That was why Zionism, like the Jewish Orthodoxy, hated Emancipation and the
French Revolution (alongside Hitler and European fascism).
Signs in Nazi Germany saying ‘Jews not welcome here’
In Israel being Jewish signifies one’s race and nation not simply religion.
The idea that Jews form a separate nation and thus
Jewish self-determination, which the IHRA refers to, is an anti-semitic
argument that implies that Jews aren’t members of the nations amongst whom
they  live.
There is also no right to a Protestant or Catholic or Islamic state.  A simple understanding of the fight for
democratic rights and the works of people like Thomas Paine and JS Mill eludes
McDonnell. It is a sign of the intellectual poverty of debate in the Labour
Party that people actually buy into the argument that Jews only have one state
in the world.  No religion should have any
state.
There are those that argue that there are Islamic states such as Saudi
Arabia and Iran. This is true but they are not ethno nationalist states.  In both countries being a Muslim is not a
privilege.  On the contrary Islam is used
to justify the regime’s tyranny and oppression of Muslims.
It needs emphasising that Israel is not just another Western state. Israel
is unique in
not having its own
nationality
. Jews are a separate nationality to that of Arabs and there are
about 130 nationalities in Israel of which only one, Jewish, confers rights.
Israel is a state that was founded on the basis of Jewish racial
supremacy. When the Supreme Court ruled in Ka’adan that the State could not
discriminate against Arabs by refusing to sell them State land, the response of
the Knesset was to pass in 2011 an Acceptance to
Communities Law
which
allowed communities of less than 500 people to set up Admission Committees
which screened potential residents on ethnic or other grounds such as colour. 
Imagine if, in Britain, someone who was Jewish was told that they could
not purchase land because it was owned by the Christian National Fund.  There would be an uproar but that is the
situation in Israel in respect of Arabs.
McDonnell’s desire to appease the Labour Right is worrying. First he suggested
that Margaret Hodge’s abuse of Jeremy Corbyn should not be made the subject of
a disciplinary investigation despite having said nothing about the disciplinary
proceedings against Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Ken Livingstone and myself. Then
McDonnell called for full support for the IHRA and now he is denouncing
activists for saying that Israel is a racist rotweiller that guards over
Western interests in the Middle East.
Those who think that this will not have any effect on McDonnell as Labour
Chancellor should think again. McDonnell has begun travelling the same road that
his famous predecessor, Sir Stafford Cripps, took.  Cripps started off on Labour’s far-left, got
expelled and ended up as Attlee’s Chancellor and the enforcer of austerity.
Foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy. If McDonnell bends the
knee to the Zionists now then he is he going to doff his cap to American
foreign policy and the ‘special relationship’ later. We can only imagine what
McDonnell’s response will be when faced with a hostile banking sector and a run
on the pound. If he can’t criticise Margaret Hodge’s vile attack on Jeremy
Corbyn and support the mandatory reselection of Labour MPs then it is to be
feared that McDonnell will end up as another Dennis Healey
If Jeremy Corbyn fell under the proverbial bus McDonnell would
immediately be a target. When it seemed that Corbyn might be overthrown stories began to appear in the press
concentrating on McDonnell’s past such as sponsoring an Early Day Motion
supporting the International Jewish Anti-zionist Network.
If McDonnell really thinks that Israel is no different from any other
western state then he should look at the following articles on Afula. 
Tony Greenstein

Hundreds
of Israelis Demonstrate Against Home Sale to Arab Family

Former mayor joined protest: ‘the residents of Afula
don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right. This
is not racism’
Ha’aretz Jun 14,
2018

About 150 residents of the northern city of Afula
demonstrated on Wednesday afternoon against the sale of a house to an Arab
family. Protesters waved Israeli flags and carried signs condemning the sale
and the homeowners who sold their house to Arabs, one of which read: “Traitors
against the Jews will get no rest.”
Former Afula Mayor Avi
It’s
what used to be called Apartheid
Protesters raised Israeli flags and shouted slogans against the sale of
the house in the city’s Yizrael neighborhood. Chairman of Joint Arab List Ayman
Odeh wrote in response to the protest:
“It is not a
surprise that in a country that has founded 700 towns for Jews and not even one
for Arabs, the idea that Arabs should be pushed aside does not shock citizens.
And still, it is more than a little worrying to see how our hope for living
together is crumbling due to hatred and racism fueled by the government.”
Member of Knesset Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) added that
racism
ethnic superiority have become a legitimate reality under this right-wing
government. This protest should rock the political system and keep up at night
all those who care about equality and human dignity.”
Ayelet Shaked of Jewish Home and ardent advocate of  annexing the West Bank
A notice calling on residents to turn out for the demonstration made
reference to “the sale of homes to those who are undesirable in the
neighbourhood”
and went on to say: “One transaction has already been
carried out and everything needs to be done to cancel it and to put a stop to
this phenomenon from the beginning. Friends, now is the time to come together.
All Jews are responsible for one another! Today it’s us, tomorrow, it’s you.”
In response to the Afula protest, the Coalition Against Racism
organization called for a halt to efforts by “those inciting the public
against the possibility of living together.”
The phenomenon will not stop
without “clear responses by courageous public figures and political
leaders,”
the organization said, adding: “Now is the time for the voice
of the sane majority in Afula, both politicians and the wider public, to be
heard.”
About two years ago, Afula residents held a number of demonstrations
objecting to a bidding process for lots in a
residential neighborhood of the city
in which all 43 successful bidders
were Arab. Approval of the bids was rescinded by the Nazareth District Court
after the court found that some of the successful bidders had engaged in
improper coordination of their bids and that the minimum bid provisions were
vague and misleading.
Jews not
welcome – another Nazi practice imported into Israel
Half of Jewish Israelis say they wouldn’t want an
Arab as a neighbor. In March, Kfar Vradim’s local council head Sivan Yehieli ordered to halt bids for selling building
plots of land in his community, after 50 percent of the winners so far turned
out to be Arabs. In a letter he disseminated among the community’s residents he
promised that “no more land would be sold until an appropriate solution was
found to ensure our ability to maintain our communal life and the special
character of Kfar Vradim
.”
The so-called nation-state bill passed the first of three Knesset calls
in May in a version that has a clause allowing the establishment of communities
for Jews only. Clause 7b of this bill specifically states that “the state
can allow a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to
maintain an exclusive community.”
Umm al Hiran – a village demolished in January 2017 to make way for Jewsh settlers
Protests against Arab
families moving into Jewish cities are a reminder that until everyone is free
to choose where they want to live, the Israeli regime will remain
segregationist and racist at its core.
+972 Magazine, Suhad Bishara 21 June 2018
Illustrative photo of demonstration by far-right Israelis. (Activestills.org)
The protest comes just a few months after Sivan Yehieli, the head of the
Kfar Vradim Municipal Council, announced that his pastoral town must maintain its Zionist-Jewish
character
after 58 Arab citizens won bids to build their homes in the town.
Let’s make one thing clear: 150 protesters are not an aberration in
Israel. They were simply expressing overtly the racist segregation upon which
Israel’s land regime was founded. This is precisely how military rule over
Israel’s Arab citizens – in effect from 1949 until 1966 – functioned: “cleansing”
vast swaths of land in order to settle Jews and to ensure reserves of land that
would continue to exclusively serve Israeli Jews.
This “cleansing” process was implemented, among other ways, via the
construction of hundreds of new Jewish towns and communities, as well as through
the establishment of admissions committees in kibbutzim, moshavim,
and other communities.
Yehieli faithfully represents the Israeli planning authorities’ policy
aimed at demographically re-engineering the country. He represents an Israeli
legal system that refused to allow the implementation of its own decision to
allow the internally-displaced Palestinian residents of Iqrit and Bir’im to return to their
villages, that gave the green light to the Admissions Committees Law, and that
allows the state to uproot the residents of Umm al-Hiran in order to replace them
with Jewish citizens – just like during and immediately following the Nakba.
And we can expect much more of the same.
Bedouin women
collect their belongings from the ruins of their demolished homes in the
village of Umm al-Hiran, Negev desert, January 18, 2017. (Hadas
Parush/Flash90)
Much of the criticism leveled at the racism of Afula’s residents focuses
on the lack of development in Arab communities, which results in the necessity
of young Arab citizens to seek housing solutions in nearby Jewish towns.
The Supreme Court ruled that Arabs cannot be barred from ‘Jewish’ towns and communities
The decision of Israel’s Supreme
Court in Ka’adan has effectively been overturned by the Knesset and by the
Supreme Court itself
This thinking prevents envisioning a situation in which an Arab citizen
of Israel has the right to choose where she/he wants to live simply because it
suits her/him to live there. It buys into the paradigm of a discriminatory,
racist, and apartheid-like land regime that forces them to find a
circumstantial explanation for the phenomenon, rather than simply calling it by
its name: racism and segregation.
Imagine a scenario in which the Israeli government takes unprecedented
steps to allocate land for the development of Arab communities. Imagine that it
begins developing Arab communities of all kinds — cities, villages, and
agricultural communities — while also ensuring the development of industrial
and commercial zones in accordance with the principles of distributive and
restorative justice.
But yet, even in this scenario, it remains the right of every Arab
citizen to decide where he or she wants to live — be it Kfar Vradim, Tel Aviv,
or Afula.
As long as Israeli state authorities cannot or will not imagine the
country’s land as open to all, we cannot talk about justice or constitutional
rights. The Israeli regime will remain segregationist and racist at its core.
Segregated living will remain racist, even under the guise of “separate but
equal.”
Imagine protesters demonstrating against Jews buying homes in a Christian
town in Europe. Israelis would declare them racists and anti-Semites, and
Israel’s prime minister would surely remark that it reminds him of the dark
days leading up to the Holocaust. Inside Israel, however, an almost identical
scene is framed by Afula’s former mayor Avi Elkabetz as such: “The residents
of Afula do not want a mixed city. They want a Jewish city — and this is their
right. This isn’t racism.”
Thus racism in Israel magically becomes the “legitimate right” of
the Jewish citizen.
Attorney Suhad Bishara is the Director of the Land
and Planning Rights Unit, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in
Israel. This article was first published in Hebrew on Haokets. Read it
here.

 

 

 

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