Reflecting on 2010, it’s clear that racism in Israel has reared its ugly head. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights between Jews and Arabs, while 53 percent think the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country. Thepoll also established that Jewish Israelis find the idea of living next to an Arab more troubling than any other minority, and that in the event of war, 33 percent of Israelis support the idea of putting Arabs into internment camps.
In the last few months, these findings were given concrete expression in a number of incidents. These include:
A religious ruling signed and endorsed by 50 state-appointed rabbis forbidding Jews from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. “Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, head of the Yeshiva in Ashdod and one of the endorsers …
Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.
The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.
Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza
Hamas advocating dialogue through children’s cartoon? Not exactly.
By Roi Ben-Yehuda
From France 24’s The Observers:
Last month, on the controversial Palestinian children’s program, “The Pioneers of Tomorrow”, a cartoon was aired (on the Hamas owned Al-Aqsa TV) ostensibly aimed at teaching kids Islamic values. The cartoon features a conversation between a Palestinian boy and a young Israeli Jewish settler. Through their dialogue and interaction, the Jewish settler learns to question everything negative he had been taught about Palestinians.
The problem is that while the cartoon is designed to empower Palestinian children, it does so through the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes. This is not all together uncharacteristic for the Hamas run TV program: Past episodes of the show, for example, have shown a cute and cuddly rabbit who desires to kill and eat Jews. Yet, unlike previous shows, the message of this cartoon is less than …
A young Pakistani man who I met recently said to me, “If Pakistan is safe the world is safe, if Pakistan is in danger then the world is in danger, because we have “atom.” And Pakistan is in deep danger.” He was sincere, persuasive, brilliant, but also blunt in that special way that survivors whose lives are in danger tend to be. He was also on a mission to rediscover the religion of his youth, an Islam he could be proud of. He watched helplessly in his lifetime as the contest for Pakistan and Afghanistan that ensued between the Soviet Union, Iran, the United States, and Saudi Arabia morphed into a bloody battle in the name of religion.
The young man, who we will call Malik, has been searching to restore the earlier Islamic culture to his native Pakistan, but the forces arrayed against him are enormous. This is what …