Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red Alert

What a week. First the municipality of Tel-Aviv launches a campaign to stop Jewish girls from dating Arab boys. Two days later the government decides that all college and university students will be forced to take a course in Zionist ideology and history. I recommend Dimi Reider's extremely intelligent blog for background on both developments.

Dimi, by the way is more of an optimist than myself. He forsees these classes turning into protest events. I believe that our students, fresh from the army and perhaps not too knowlegable about history, will prefer to pass the course and not flunk in the name of rationalism. As for girls seeing Arab boys, here rebellion is more likely. These girls will have to somehow be scared away from their desire. I wonder what city hall has in mind.

When the city begins to interfere with our lovelife on a racial basis, it ceases to be a municipality and becomes a tool of enforcing racist policies. When the university begins to preach an ideology rather than research it and teach about it, it ceases to be an educational institution and becomes a tool in spreading nationalist dogma.

Where in the past have racist policies and nationalist dogma risen so dramatically and so quickly? Hold on! this is the forbidden comparison! make it today and you'll be thrown from an airplane tomorrow. Instead I will quote prominent historian and Israel-prize laureate Prof. Zeel Sternhall. He said that the only government since WWII that was as reactionary as the current Israeli one was Franco's Spain.

Prof. Sternhell wouldn't be as jittery as most of us about being thrown from airplanes. Two years ago he saw death before his eyes. A right-wing extremist tried to take him out with a bomb and wounded him. That attempted-assasin, U.S. born Jacob Teitel, was caught and put on trial, but the way it looks today, it's only a matter of time before Sternhell and his likes will be the ones taken to court and the various Teitels held as heros.

Sternhell's ideas, after all, negate those that will be taught in the obligatory course. They negate the truth of the state, which is now absolute. How long is it going to take before people who speak out are legaly seen as traitors? How dangerous is it for me to be writing these words right now, considering that they are to be read by others in a very unpromising future?

How near is that future?


Anonymous said...

Many a moon ago nay way on twenty years now, I arrived from the Britain. To what was Israel, I was a young woman. I visited, worked and studied. I wanted to see the world and its people and learn from it. Israeli taught me so much and that experience has always coloured what I do in terms of my work and the community I live in East London. When I arrived in Israel, I did not speak a word of Hebrew, I was a not Jewish, and I had fair skin and, had blond hair. My parents brought me and my siblings up to despise racism and how to recognise it in all its forms, one parent English the other Polish, one providing the theory the other, living the life which practised it. Israel taught me what it was like to be ‘other’, I don’t know if visiting another country could have provided that? I loved Israel, its geography, its history and its entire people. Israel oh what have you done?

Anonymous said...

It is there a lot of Jewish girls who date with Arab boys? What think the population, the other youngs?

יובל בן-עמי Yuval Ben-Ami said...

It's relatively rare to find Jewish girls seriously dating Arab guys, due to prejudice and traditionalism in both societies. Such couples are motly found in communities that are socioeconomically weaker. My girlfriend grew up in a rough neighborhood south of the city and the girls there would hang out with Bedouin guys. both out of authentic connection and as a form of rebellion.

יובל בן-עמי Yuval Ben-Ami said...

It should be noted that extremist, racist political leader Rabi Meir Kahane made alot of political capital in calling to break up such couples.

Of course Jewish culture always opposed intermarriage and interdating, but this isn't so much related to the declaration made by Tevye from "Fiddler on the roof" to his daughter that "there is no other hand". This is about maintaining a clear devide between people in this country and reminding us that Arabs are dangerous.