Israeli Hatred of Arabs Isn’t New
A Jewish settler places the Israeli flag on a road sign while Israeli troops encircle Palestinian villagers protesting after the Israeli army cut off branches of olive trees on a road leading to the Jewish settlement of Tekoa, in the West Bank, southeast of the town of Bethlehem, on November 25, 2013. (Musa al-Shaer/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli Hatred of Arabs Isn’t New

Al-Nahar, Lebanon, December 10

Yesterday, the slogan “Death to the Arabs” was chanted and echoed by Jews in Jerusalem. Not a week goes by without Israelis shouting “Death to the Arabs,” in what seems to be a recurring trend. Let’s not forget that the most popular Jewish youth anthem of the 1930s and 1940s was “two banks has the Jordan – this is ours and that is as well.” Indeed, settlers chant these kinds of remarks at racist rallies in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Israeli border police that accompany the settlers’ marches protect them while they chant these slogans at local Palestinians. These chants have become so popular that you even hear them in stadiums. Fans of the Israeli football club Beitar regularly chant “death to Arabs” when Arab players take to the field. And, throughout the West Bank, Israeli settlers burn down olive trees, cars and homes belonging to Palestinians while chanting “death to Arabs.” Notably, the chants don’t end with Palestinians; they apply to all Arabs: a large race of people who live between the Gulf and the Mediterranean. Israeli school curricula enable this kind of racism. Religious schools continuously spread the words of extremist rabbis who describe the fight against Arabs as a “religious duty.” And this reality is further exacerbated by a system of laws and rules that favor those who are Jewish over those who are not Jewish. Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, the author of the book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” revealed documents proving that the policy of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people during the Nakba was a planned and deliberate campaign. In reviewing the second wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine, Pappe recounts that these people “were very poor and knew nothing about agriculture.” Fortunately for them, the Palestinians hosted them and gave them shelter and food, and, when it seemed that they would stay for a long time, they taught them how to farm and care for sheep, so that they would integrate into their new land. At night, these immigrants would write in their diaries by candlelight, sharing their experiences in their new land, which is useful for historians. Pappe continues: “They wrote about mosquitos, relationships, women, men, lack of sleep and everything in between … but their biggest point of contention was the presence of a large number of Arabs around them.” According to Pappe, one must understand this mentality, which has been preserved throughout the decades, to this very day. The chant “death to the Arabs” isn’t new. It has been chanted for more than a hundred years by Jews who simply won’t accept anyone else living by their side. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that the Israeli fascist right wing has grown its popularity and dominance over society in recent years, and will continue to dominate Israeli political life for decades more to come. – Ghassan Zaqtan (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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