What is Neo-Zionism?

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: racism, The Left, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about the relations between the Arab citizens of Israel and the Jewish majority. I think it is the most important issue on the agenda today, and the one that will determine the nature of this state in the years to come.

As the price of holding on to the West Bank is growing, more and more Israelis are coming to accept the idea of an Israeli withdrawal. However, on the same time they demand the state to go on favoring Jews, both on the symbolic level (meaning that state symbols, such as the flag and the anthem, will be Jewish ones) and on the practical level, meaning that Jews will enjoy a better position in the citizenship acquiring process, or with regards to ownership over land, etc.  And something else is happening: racism is on the rise, contrary to what happened during the first round of the peace process, in the 90′s.

I’ve been referring here to those people who want to strengthen the exclusive Jewish nature of the state as “neo-Zionists”, as oppose to the “post-Zionists”, who emphasized the liberal-democratic (and sometimes multi-cultural) nature of the state. Post-Zionism was on the rise during the 90′s; neo-Zionism is the dominant intellectual and political force of the past decade, and it hasn’t even reached its full potential. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Regarding the “New Israeli Left” manifest

Posted: September 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: media, The Left | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

I was in Berlin last week, so I missed most of the debate on the “New Israeli Left” manifest published by playwriter Shmuel Hasfari and political consultant and attorney Eldad Yaniv. When I got back, so many people around me were talking about the interview Hasfari and Yaniv gave in Haaretz, so I sat down to read it (the interview, not the 83 pages long manifest).

To be honest, I didn’t know Hasfari and Yaniv cared so much for the future of the left. In fact, I never thought they were part of the left. Hasfari flirted for a while with activism, but was and still is a mainstream writer, and his latest success, TV surprise hit “Polishook”, was a middle-of-the-road political satire, mush less radical than any Friday night show. As for Yaniv, he was known mostly as Ehud Barak’s close adviser, until the partnership broke a few years ago, and Yaniv started speaking everywhere against his old boss, which is a common tendency among people who worked with Barak. The last thing I remember from Yaniv is an interview with him in which he said that being called “a snake” is a compliment. Now he and Hasfari are tring to explain what’s wrong with the Israeli Left.  Read the rest of this entry »