Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What do Israeli Arabs need to do in order for them not to be perceived as a threat?

UPDATE 28/4/07 - Everything I suggested here: I take it back. It can't happen - at least not in the foreseeable future. But I'm glad I wrote this post. I learned much from the Arab response to it. [end of update]




The Azmi Bishara videos inspired Nizo to raise several very interesting questions regarding the pervasiveness of the perception that Arabs are a demographic time bomb.

His 8th question was "What do Israeli Arabs need to do in order for them not to be perceived as a threat?"

I'd like to suggest an unusual answer to Nizo's question. I don't know if what I'm suggesting can ever happen, but hey - if the idea is never raised, it certainly won't happen.

I think that Israeli Arabs can undo this "threat perception" by adopting the role of the ambassadors of Zionism to the Arab world. [correction: I was extremely naive in suggesting this. I agree with NC's comment on this post: Arabs can do a great service to humanity if they simply explain to the Arab world that Zionism doesn't aim to destroy the Arabs[.


In that role, they can explain to the Arab world that Jews have no other country. They can explain that Jews all over the world fear persecution, and feel that without a Jewish homeland, they will never be truly safe anywhere in the world. They can also explain to the Arab world that Israel wants to live with them in peace.

If they do that openly and sincerely - and accept this role as a primary part of their identity as Israeli Arabs - then Israeli Jews will stop fearing them.

Amongst Arabs in general, Israeli Arabs are in the best position to understand Israeli Jews. They are Israeli citizens. They can travel freely to any part of Israel. They speak Hebrew. Many of them study in Israeli colleges. Some of them work in Jewish Israeli companies. If they choose, they can become interested in how Israeli Jews feel.

They can understand our fears.


If Israeli Arabs understand the Zionist cause, they can support it. And if they support it, Israeli Jews will no longer fear that Israeli Arabs will undermine that cause.

Of course, this is not simple. Many Israeli Arabs feel they are neglected by the country. Some feel that their nationality is betrayed. They see the Israeli Army mistreating their Arab kin. It is much more natural for them to adopt the nationalistic views represented by Bishara. But these nationalistic views only increase the tension and fear.

It will take true greatness of Israeli Arabs to actively supportexplain Zionism in this atmosphere - but if they can amass such courage, they will gain a great deal (as will the entire region).

22 comments:

Nizo said...

It will take true greatness of Israeli Arabs to actively support Zionism in this atmosphere

Zionism is a form of nationalism that serves the Jewish people first and foremost. While I think Arabs need to behave in ways more loyal to the state with the intention of building trust and goodwill, there has never been an instance in history when one nation embraced the nationalism of another rival nation.

Indeed, certain interpretations of Zionism don't seek to transfer Arabs out but rather to seek a modus viventi. However Zionism remains a Judeo-centric concept and while it can hopefully one day be reconciled with Palestinian nationalism, it cannot be adopted by non-Jews unless it morphs into a new form of nationalism that's less Judeo-centric.

Nizo said...

It was a little presumptious of me to write what I did without asking you what specific form of Zionism you mention (or advocate). Zionism is not a monolith as many people unfortunately think.

Are we talking about leftist Mapai-derived Zionism or post Jabotinskyist Zionism etc.. etc...

אז תגיד לי על מה אתה מדבר אחי

Israeli Blogger said...

You're amazing as always, Nizo :-)

I found the following definition of Zionism here:

"Zionism is the national revival movement of the Jews. It holds that the Jews are a people and therefore have the right to self-determination in their own national home. It aims to secure and support a legally recognized national home for the Jews in their historical homeland, and to initiate and stimulate a revival of Jewish national life, culture and language."

I can understand why Arabs have a problem with the words "historic homeland" in this definition. But is there any reason Arabs can't accept the rest of it?

By simply accepting that Zionism has a just cause, and repeatedly saying this to Israeli Jews (instead of threatening to obliterate us), Arabs will change the atmosphere. A positive attitude will be treated with a positive attitude in return. It can have a dramatic effect on the level of hostility and violence.

If Israeli Arabs take it upon themselves to advocate the cause of Zionism to the Arab world, they will be perceived by Israeli Jews as partners - rather than as a threat. Israeli Jews will then be much more willing to accept solutions that also respect the needs of the Arabs.

nominally challenged said...

I think that one of the things that Israeli Arabs might be able to do in this context, is explain to the Arab world what Zionism is not, rather than necessarily outwardly supporting what it is (it may be premature to expect that). The predominant conception of Zionism in the Arab world is that it is a movement that is of its very essence colonial and expansionist. It is, arguably, neither of these - at least not as defined in the definition you cited. I am continually surprised by the Arab fear of Zionist expansionism, and I ran across one of the more ridiculous expressions of this in a comment on one of Drima's recent posts, here http://www.sudanesethinker.com/2007/04/24/defence-minister-says-sudan-will-fight-foreign-intervention/#comments - see the comment by the person called 'question'.

One of the problems, though, is that not even Israeli Arabs are necessarily aware of the true meaning of Zionism, and they are also prone to believing the conspiracy theories, even without realizing it. I heard the theory about the Israeli flag representing a Jewish state between the Nile and the Euphrates from Christian Israeli friends of mine whose entire education took place in this country, and who are not Anti-Semitic or even Anti-Israeli at all.

This is yet another reason why I think that we must do more on a linguistic level. Much more. How much longer can we live in the middle east, and ignore the language spoken by 99% of its inhabitants? - But that is a different issue, of course.

Israeli Blogger said...

@nominally -

one of the things that Israeli Arabs might be able to do in this context, is explain to the Arab world what Zionism is not, rather than necessarily outwardly supporting what it is

I think you're absolutely right. That would be a very good start.

How can this idea be translated into actual action? Is there any way such a project can be initiated?


(BTW - regarding language, I think I'm beginning to understand your point. Luckily, until we all learn Arabic, we have people like Nizo :)

nominally challenged said...

Perhaps we could start with someone like this http://www.alkaritha.org/holocaust/modules/news/

He seems to have a clear understanding of the Holocaust at least, and he's doing his bit to teach the local Arab population about it.

(He runs the first Arabic museum of the Holocaust - in Nazareth)

Israeli Blogger said...

Thanks NC - I emailed him an invitation to our discussion. Hope he'll join!

khaled kasab mahameed said...

Arabs live in Israel can do alot to tell the Arab world the Zionist Narrative and they do it honestly.
they tell that:
1- thier income is 40% of that of
the Jews.
2 - thier properties are confiscated because they are not Jews.
3 - Bugeds in teaching are 40% of what Jews get.
4 - No work possibilities are oppened for them but the construction field
5 - they are not asked by the state to serve in the army.
6- the state dont call the Arabs to serve in the army and uses this as a excuse to run unequall policies in all the fields!!!!
The Arabs in Israel can tell the Arab world that the Jewish state palnes to give them equall rights and then they will get the equall rights and when they get this equall rights they will tell the truth to alll the world that the Jewish state is "light for forigners"
so it is the Jewish state which do all to bring the Arabs in Israel to telll the Arabs out of Israel the truth.
so why they have to falsify??

Israeli Blogger said...

@Khaled - first of all - thank you so much for responding to my invitation.

I must say I am extremely surprised by your response. I didn't expect such bitterness from the person who advocates that Arabs should understand the Holocaust. But that only shows how much I don't know. I can only say that there are many things wrong with Israel. I hope that our discussion will continue, and that a true change will eventually arise from it.

I would really appreciate if you could tell us more:

* Do you feel the job market for the Israeli Arab population is really this bad? I admit - I haven't encountered many Arabs in the Israeli Hi-Tech industry (only one engineer, I'm afraid), but I have been recently greeted by several Arab customer representatives when calling various call centers (like Orange and Bezeq).

* I have never heard of Alkaritha up to now. I have looked at your web site, but unfortunately, can't understand most of what is written there (I don't speak Arabic). Nevertheless, I found the idea of an Arab museum about the Holocaust astounding and inspiring. Can you tell us a little more about your work?

Israeli Blogger said...

@Khaled - one more thing. Just to make sure that you are indeed the person that I invited to the conversation, can you please confirm this by emailing a reply to the email I sent you?

Thanks.

khaled said...

"I must say I am extremely surprised by your response."
I know you will be surprised because you dont know. the same reaction I get when I interduce in the refugee cams in Nablus F.Ex. about the Holocaust.
My surprise is the we you reacted!
My question is : what are you going to telll the Arab world about the conditions Arabs have in Israel with discrimination run by the freely choice of the Israelis.
40% income then the Jews.
Hertzel said in "Altnojland" that if not equality the system will collapse - he ment the Jewish state - it was said by theodor Hertzel not Abo Jawdat!!!
He said too "mutual morality".
he ment the same way Israel treats non-Jews in the Jewish state the non-Jewish states will be asked to treat the Jewish citizens living within.
can you ask the Americans to treat Jews in the US at the same way non-Jews are treated in Israel.
the Jewish state suppose to be "Light for the Goyyem"
with 40% income!!!
no right to own land if it s controled by the state!!!
the most dangereous thing which are directed toward the existance of the state of Israel is : the freely taken desicions of the Israeli ministers to run unequal policies toward the non-Jews according to Theodor Hirtzel and the lesson of the Holocaust.



I didn't expect such bitterness from the person who advocates that Arabs should understand the Holocaust. But that only shows how much I don't know. I can only say that there are many things wrong with Israel. I hope that our discussion will continue, and that a true change will eventually arise from it.

I would really appreciate if you could tell us more:

* Do you feel the job market for the Israeli Arab population is really this bad? I admit - I haven't encountered many Arabs in the Israeli Hi-Tech industry (only one engineer, I'm afraid), but I have been recently greeted by several Arab customer representatives when calling various call centers (like Orange and Bezeq).

* I have never heard of Alkaritha up to now. I have looked at your web site, but unfortunately, can't understand most of what is written there (I don't speak Arabic). Nevertheless, I found the idea of an Arab museum about the Holocaust astounding and inspiring. Can you tell us a little more about your work?

1:16 AM, April 28, 2007
Israeli Blogger said...
@Khaled - one more thing. Just to make sure that you are indeed the person that I invited to the conversation, can you please confirm this by emailing a reply to the email I sent you?

Israeli Blogger said...

Khaled - thank you for confirming that you are indeed you.

Your comment has shown me how much I don't understand about Israeli Arabs. I suspect that the majority of the Israeli Jewish population isn't aware of (or chooses to ignore) the state of Israeli Arabs.

Lirun said...

i think the state of israelis arabs is an interesting description..

and i think its too easy to blame one side..

i learned last year that we are the only people that use that term.. i was watching an arab program on israeli tv during which a guest speaker militantly explained that no arabs use that term.. they see themselves as arabs of 1948.. and they mock the notion of israeli arab..

khaled i would love to hear your views on this..

furthemore.. there is no shortage of very wealthy arabs in israel who have done very well for themselves financially..

i do agree however that we have some serious issues to sort out amongst us..

Tsedek said...

Khaled, is this the result of the jewish-Israeli's not relying on the arab-israeli's, or is it the other way around? I mean like: if the arab-israeli's would show some more connection and willingness to live together with jews as israeli's in israel - this discrimination would cease?

Like: if this country disciminates me it's not my country.
Country: if they don't think this is their country I can't grant them full rights.

What do you think?
(I don't know, that's why I ask)

nominally challenged said...

Ok, this is one of the reasons why I didn't think it would work for Arab Israelis to explain the positive aspects of Zionism. I don't expect Zionism to be perceived as positive by Israeli Arabs. Khaled is confirmed that.

Khaled, if we are asking too many questions, then I apologize, but I also have a question, if you will permit me.

I acknowledge the problem of discrimination. It definitely exists. And something should be done about it. Soon. However, that was not the question that was asked here.

The presumption, in this post and elsewhere, is that Israeli Jews view Israeli Arabs as an increasing threat.

The question was asked, on Nizo's blog and now on this blog, what Israeli Arabs can do, in order that we, Israeli Jews, stop perceiving you as a threat any more. The question was originally asked by Nizo, as a Palestinian.

On Nizo's blog, I suggested a protest by Israeli arabs denouncing Palestinian terrorism. I suggested this not because I expect Arabs living in Israel to support Israel, but rather, because I expect that Arabs living in Israel, who have more political freedoms than Arabs living in many other parts of the world, should be against Palestinian terrorism, for the simple reason that it has not been a very effective way of solving anything - it has not actually achieved anything.

I also think that a strong statement by the Israeli Arab population denouncing Palestinian terrorism would do a lot to reduce the feeling that Israeli Jews have, that the Arabs are a threat.

The reason I suggested that the author of this blog contact you, was because it appeared to me that as someone who appreciates the futility of arguing that there was no holocaust, you might also appreciate the strength that forming a position against terror could give your people, at least in this country.

So my question to you is as follows - do you think it is possible for Arab Israelis to protest against Palestinian terrorism?

If not, and given that there is a trust problem between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, what do you think that Arabs can do, so that we, the Jews of Israel, no longer perceive you, the Arabs of Israel, as a threat?

Thanks :)

khaled said...

Khaled Kasab Mahameed
054-7482832
04-6081031

This is the core of the falsified reality we live in both Jews and Arabs.
The war over terminology is silly in my eyes.
the term "Israeli Arabs" is making angry the national Palestinians
The term "Israeli Palestinians" or "Arabs 48" is making angry the Israelis as thought our real life is based upon terminology.
Israelis are afraid that Arabs dont aaccept the Israeli terms because it means for them that the Arabs dont regconise Israel and wants them to leave to land.
What does Israel make to convince those Arabs to recognise Israel?
lets take the Islamic movement. It's suporters live in standard of living whic is less in 60% then the Jews.
If the decision makers in Israel-which are not the Shieck Raed Salah- run an equal policy for Arabs and Jews then the Islamic movement losses its supporters and the shieck Raed will find himself discussing religion with the RABI LAU.
The Arabs in Israel if put in conditions like the Jews they will develope consciosness, spirit, stile, way of thinking, motivation which shall merror that conditions.
so concept of tolerance, peace, buseness guided and based politiacal speach...etc.etc will defeat the spaech based upon boverty, lack of respect and will overcome the trauma of loss in the 1948.
to treat Arabs in Israel in equal way shal motivate the Arabs in Israel to defend the equal policy and by this to defend the policy of coexistance nonviolence by this we will have the snowball. it is in the hands of the decision makers in Israel.
The problem is that the Israelis are afraid of a situation that the "goyem" will have equal rights in the Jewish state> why? because of the persecution and trauma feeling out of the Holocaust.
It is very easy to overcome this persecution and trauma feeling. how?
this is my vision which I developed in the last two years.
the tango needs two.
to overcome the Holocaust trauma. we need to talk about it and discuss it. I mean we - Palestinians Jews and Germans. then alll the problems in the world can be seen in the perspective of the Unique Huge monstereous Holocaoust as small problem.
I think both sides Arabs and Jews are litle silly when they have such traumas and choose to create more pain to talk to each other.
My vision is that in the background of the HOlocaust and the Palestinian expelling in 1948
the arguments and statements we are we are confronting each other is very small and bearable. small cakes.
Just I ask the JEWS ( I mean it THE JEWS) to acknowledge that it is the Holocaust which is the Unique horrors and stop deny the fact that if the Arabs knows more about the Holocaust our mutual hatred will vanish over in a night.
" furthemore.. there is no shortage of very wealthy arabs in israel who have done very well for themselves financially.."
they are too 0.00001% of the Arab population and have and will never have political power. you forget that the relativism is the core of our grounds of Human way of thinking and shaping consciosness and spirit and motivations.
so 99.9% of the Arabs in Israel feel and know that they have 40% income compared with the Jew> this buildt political consciosness and not few wealthy Arabs.


Tsadek asked": if the arab-israeli's would show some more connection and willingness to live together with jews as israeli's in israel - this discrimination would cease?"
you see more the 50% of the Arabs vote for zionist parties.
the one who have the power in his will is the one who decides things and can change reality.
It is the Israeli government who have power in its political decisions. that means allocations of resources. very easy task.
Arabs can stand and do what? to change reality?

"Like: if this country disciminates me it's not my country.
Country: if they don't think this is their country I can't grant them full rights."
lets analys your sintence : Arabs says "its not my country" and then the Jewish state says we dond give them budgets and money. so Arabs says words and Jews (govenrment) saves money.
To pay state money for thinking.
listen if I want to make love with my wife I brings her flowers and say nice words.
but we talk out of our stomach and misrable catastrophes of Holocaust in Europe and Expelling in 1948
so the instrument is budgets to change attitudes and statement.
we can transform the unequallity condition to potential which sureley will bring peace to both people.

Israeli Blogger said...

@Khaled - why do you think that Israeli Jews don't agree that Arabs should learn about the Holocaust?

khaled said...

nominally challenged " I also think that a strong statement by the Israeli Arab population denouncing Palestinian terrorism would do a lot to reduce the feeling that Israeli Jews have, that the Arabs are a threat."
I just discussed the Subject of "terrorism" (I suggest that we call it "vionlence") with a Hamas Leader in Gaza in december and a Fatah leader in Askar refugee camp two weeks ago (I delever lictures about the Holocaust there) there I Bsed my thoughts on a Palestinian research from Bier Ziet university which concluded that the response of Palestinians on the israeli Vionlence is based on the fact that " The Identity of the Palestinians analyses the violence out of its own structure, culture and values when this "identity" internalize the act of violevne as one event of the accumulated experiance of events of violence commited against them.
I just asked the Author of the research and book that his theory is excellent and have universal implication and asked him to impliment it on the Jewish "Identity" espicially the Israelis when they are faced whith the Palestinian "violence".
so we came to the conclusion that the responcse of Palestinians on the Israeli Violence is based on the accumulated from 1897 up to now.
meanwhile the Israelis, the same, bases thier reactin when the acumulated violence ar least since 1897 and 2000 years of anti semitism including the horrors of the Holocaust.
So the reactions of Israelis upon the Palestinans violence is based upon how Israelis experiance the heritige of the horros of the Holocaust. so Palestinan violence trigger the experiance of the Holocaust and invites an Israeli reaction based upon the killing of the innocent 6 million Jews in Europe.
both Hamas Leader and Fatah Leader agreed with me that violence against Israelis even verbal have to be stopped.
so I really say even from a military point of view Palestinians have to denounce "terrorism" not to say from Human point of view or political and national or religious aspects.
I mean that all the Arabs in Isral are running non-violent way of political activity. the problem is that they dont ask thier brothers out of Israle to run the same policies.

khaled said...

Israeli Blogger said...
@Khaled - why do you think that Israeli Jews don't agree that Arabs should learn about the Holocaust?
Khaled's response : The Holocaust is very UNIQUE. that means it has a unique power to influence people when they are confronted with the unique atrocities against Jews in the Holocaust.
those powers are gathered from the accumulation of the lost lives of the six million innocent Jews brutally murdered in the Holocaust
the pure souls of this missed lives are surrounding us trying to keep us human. the souls are flying above our heads Jews and Palestinians making efforts to say: do create new pain there are enough pain in the murder of 6 millions. you the two sides may rely on this unique pain when negotiate about the future of both people. The problem is that we Arabs and Jews refuse to do so. We both deny the request of the souls of those pure victims. Israelis never asked the Arabs to acknowledge the Holocaust. Arabs don't want to recognize and acknowledge it because it is really unique and huge and have no psycological and mental strength and readiness to face such huge unique phenomina.
those powers can change the mind of the Palestinians to the result that they don't use violence against Israelis.
Israelis are afraid of the not-known. what if suddenly Muslims begin to go and pray for the souls of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Yad Vashem.?????
how the consciosness of the Jewish people will react on such phenomena????
lets let the reader imagine.

nominally challenged said...

khaled - thank you for your very thought-provoking reply. I'm sorry, I only just saw it now. I was surprised to hear your report about both a Hamas leader and a Fatah leader saying that violence is not the answer. When we look at the facts on the ground, it is difficult to find evidence of this belief.

If this is a common feeling in the West Bank and Gaza (and within Israel), how come we don't hear about it more? I think it is important that we do hear it, because I think that there is an increasing trend, in Israel, to see "48" Arabs as agreeing with the violence being used by the "67" Arabs. The positions taken by Arabic members of Knesset do not help to change this view, unfortunately.

If we, the Jews in this country, were to hear a strong Arab statement against Arab violence (even if it's just out of the realization that it is not helping the Arab cause), this could change a lot of people's views.

What do you think is stopping people from saying out in the open "we don't think that this violent reaction is working"? Why do we not see a movement like this coming out of the Arab sector?

I hope you can enlighten me :)

Also you ask about how Jews would react if Muslims were to suddenly start praying for the souls of the people killed in the Holocaust. If it happened suddenly, we would be very suspicious. But if it happened as a result of learning about this episode, then I think that it would be very welcome. I think that if this were to happen in yad vashem one day, that would be very beautiful. But as a sudden action? I think that as a sudden action it would be wrong. For this to happen needs a lot of groundwork. And it cannot happen as long as Islam, through the states that claim to represent it (even if they don't actually represent it) continues to deny the very existence of the Holocaust. In other words, it will be difficult to accept as an official act. But as a personal act, I think it would always be welcome.

nominally challenged said...

IB - Perhaps you can send a copy of my reply above to khaled, just in case he does not see it on your blog. Thank you :)

Israeli Blogger said...

@NC - will do.