Tel Aviv (MR) – On the streets of Jerusalem, Abby Martin interviews Jewish Israeli citizens from all walks of life. In several candid interviews, disturbing comments reveal commonly-held views about Palestinians and their future in the region.
Israeli-born human rights activist Ronnie Barkan explains why these attitudes dominate Israeli society.
On September, 12th an Israeli party approved a plan to annex all of the occupied territories – effectively erasing Palestine completely. The government’s take on the existence of Palestine is quite clear, with the conflict between the two groups spanning decades. But what do Jewish Israeli citizens actually feel? Often absent from the media are the voices of everyday Israeli citizens, not those involved in government or those living in illegal settlements.
Abby Martin visited the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem where she spoke with Jewish Israeli citizens from all walks of life who have lived in Israel for differing lengths of time. Children growing up in Israel, according to those who experienced it themselves, are subjected to routine brainwashing efforts painting Israel as the rightful owner of the land and Palestinians as the “other” that must be expelled. Jewish immigrants in Israel were typically not subjected to the same indoctrination from a young age but the opinions of those who Abby spoke with appear to be strikingly similar — and extremely shocking.
Abby spoke with Jewish Israelis in Zion Square. Ironically, the government is set on renaming the area to Tolerance Square, but those in the square were anything but tolerant. Comments such as “Islam is a very bad disease” and “kick out the Arabs” were common. Shockingly, many Israelis confidently stood by the suggestion that “Arab terrorists” should be killed with the occasional suggestion that Israelis “need to kill Arabs,” including a call to carpet bomb them.
A handful of people that Abby spoke with in the square were American, having moved to Israel years ago. Others were in the country for a few short months, observing and learning from the military in order to bring what they learned back home. Their opinions of Palestinians, unfortunately, echoed those of their Israeli brothers and sisters, with some flying the unpopular banner of “the left.”
In actuality “the left” doesn’t really exist at all and it never did. According to Israeli-born human rights activist, Ronnie Barkan, the lifelong brainwashing is so deeply ingrained in the fabric of who Israelis are that those with a hint of care and concern for the other side are fed a false language of peace. The Israeli left speaks of a sugar-coated racism, but it is racism nonetheless.
Abby sat down with Barkan to learn of his firsthand experience with the common Israeli mindset. Barkan detailed his experience of indoctrination and how he eventually overcame it. According to Barkan, Israeli identity depends on denying the Palestinian identity. Because of this, Palestinians simply existing is an act of resistance. Israel seeks to deny the existence and the culture of those they occupy and oppress, making every Palestinian act of cultural significance another form of resistance. One can throw a stone, but one can also resist by wearing a keffiyeh or coongig maqloubeh.
Generations ago, indigenous Palestinians were driven from their land. That ethnic cleansing was never completed and it continues to this day. It is a racist process that breaks international law. In short, it is the crime of apartheid and most of the international community continues to look the other way.
This post originally ran on Media Roots.