Kahana lives in Petah Tikva (part II)

Posted: September 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, racism, The Left | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

Last week I dealt here with a disturbing initiative that takes place in the city of Petah Tikva. As it was reported on mynet.co.il, a local news site, the municipality of this Tel Aviv suburb is forming a team that would locate and “help” girls that date “members of ethnic minorities”, i.e. Arabs.

This weekend, the guy behind this idea, Moshe Spector, the head of the Youth department in the municipality and a senior advisor to the mayor of Petah Tikva, insisted that “there wasn’t any personal racist motive” behind the initiative:

“If we see a 13 years old girl going with these guys to their village, what do you want me to say, that it doesn’t bother us? This can happen not only with minorities. Some families are not aware that their girls are doing that.”

Sometimes explaining stuff only makes it worse.

Yes, a 13 years old girl going with a group of older men is not something you would like to see, and if Spector’s team was only supposed to help these kids, I think everybody would have praised him. But with all the criticism his idea drew, Spector still insists to link the problem with the Arabs. By doing so, he not only reveals his true motives, but also links the entire Arab minority to a social problem, even a crime (statutory rape). If that’s not racism, I don’t know what is.

At the end of the article on Mynet.co.il, there is a poll, asking the readers to comment whether the authorities should interfere in cases of interracial relations. Such “polls” on the net don’t mean much statistically, but I should note that about 70 percent of those answering chose the definite “Yes” response. Additional 18 percent said it’s the family’s business, and only 12 percent said No. the article also got a relatively high number of comments, most of them expressing support of the initiative and some of them are openly racist.

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On Friday I commented here on the “new left manifest”, published by political advisor Eldad Yaniv and playwriter Shmuel Hasfari. I wondered why Hasfari and Yaniv insisted on calling themselves Leftists when some of their ideas could have earned them a place in Liberman’s Israel Beitenu party. Hasfari, Yaniv, and other self proclaimed Leftists usually answer this question by saying that they oppose the occupation, and that makes them part of the Left.

The case in Patah Tikva demonstrates how wrong this answer is. For start, even Netanyahu expressed some support in a Palestinian state, and still, he can hardly be regarded as a Lefty. An extremely important issue for the Left is the nature of the state of Israel within the Green Line, and the relation between the large Arab minority (more than 20 percent) and the Jewish citizens of this state. Hasfari and Yaniv continue the tradition of a “Jews Only” left wing, and fail to engage themselves with problems such as racism and the erosion of Arab citizen’s rights. And this is no Left.

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Take part in an internet campaign against the new initiative. Write an e-mail to Petah tikva’s mayor, Yitzhak Ohaion, (pt@ptikva.org.il) or call his office (03- 9052248). Be polite: It’s more useful. More details here (in Hebrew).


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