Israel’s Racist and Ethnocentric View

Israeli occupation soldiers assault a Palestinian. (Photo:, file)

By Jamal Kanj

Palestinians are this week commemorating the 65th anniversary of Al Nakba (the disaster or catastrophe).

On May 15, 1948, Israel was declared a nation on the ruins of more than 500 townships and 800,000 expelled Palestinians. In December 1948 the international community adopted UN resolution 194, calling on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees “at the earliest practicable date”.

This became one of more than three dozen resolutions ignored by Israel.

To pre-empt this and similar UN resolutions, Israel is demanding recognition as a nation for the Jewish people. Hence, it is reducing the status of non-Jewish natives to interlopers and elevating the status of Ashkenazi European converts to original inhabitants.

It is worth noting that the vision of Jewish exclusivity started to take shape at the end of the 19th Century.

Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, articulated these objectives in his 1895 diary. “When we occupy the land… we shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border… while denying it any employment in our country,” he wrote.

Following a UN vote to divide Palestine in November 1947, Israel’s founder David Ben-Gurion reiterated the same goals when he voiced concerns that the partition plan would result in a Jewish state of only a 60 per cent majority, declaring that: “Such a composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state.”

After a six-month campaign of terror, the Zionists succeeded in reducing the “vexing” population by more than 90pc.

Institutional racism targeting the remaining natives – today representing 20pc of the total population – was complemented by a rabbinic edict signed by several Israeli Jewish religious scholars, among them the late Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, forbidding Jews to employ Arabs or rent them apartments.

Yosef also endorsed Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s book The King’s Torah, a rabbinical manual permitting the killing of non-Jews.

It even rationalizes the slaughter of “babies… because of the future danger they may present, since it is assumed that they will grow up to be evil like their parents”.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu anointed Yosef as a “Torah giant, teacher and arbiter of Jewish law”.

Following in the footsteps of his father, the once chief Israeli Rabbi Ovadia Yosef pontificated in a 2010 sermon that God created Gentiles (non-Jews) “to serve us – without that they have no place in the world, only to serve the people of Israel”.

Even apartheid South Africa would have been ashamed to exalt advocates of “baby killers”, but in Netanyahu’s “Jewish State” rabbinical deviants are lauded as “Torah giants”.

Israel’s ethnocentric, racist view of non-Jews is not limited to Palestinians.

A survey conducted last summer by Tel Aviv University statistician Camil Fuchs found that nearly 60pc of 12th grade Jewish students believed that black African refugees should be expelled. Following a visit to Israel, Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu – who experienced firsthand South African apartheid – lamented that he was reminded “so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.

Ethnocentric programs have always ended up in disaster. After 65 years of the Palestinian Nakba, Zionism is constructing the basis of another tragic human experiment. Israel is the only nation where religious ethnicity is an automatic qualifier for citizenship and where the rights of indigenous people are denied for “deficient” maternal genetics.

In fact, it is the only country in modern history demanding recognition not as a country, but as a nation of a single creed, for a people of one kind.

– Jamal Kanj ( writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. He contributed this article to

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  1. I do not believe in God, but I believe in what is right and just, and I hope that one day within my lifetume the Palestinians will stand in a State of their own as a proud and respected People. Until that day, I intend to speak out, and inform as many People as I can about the injustice to the Plaestinian People, perpetrated by Israel by use of methods that the Hitler Nazi Regime would be proud of. Brothers in Arms

  2. That is why I describe Zionism and Apartheid as the “Spiritual Twins of Nazism”. It is not employed as emotive rhetoric because it captures the very essence of a belief system that is universally reviled, repudiated, repulsed and rejected.

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