by Barry Rubin
Among the scores of ridiculous things said, thought, and written about the Arab-Israeli conflict, the pretense that it has something to do with "race" may be the most foolish.
As the waitress whose family had come from
Among the scores of ridiculous things said, thought, and written about the Arab-Israeli conflict, the pretense that it has something to do with "race" ranks high among them. This has been interjected for two reasons.
First, this is a blatant attempt to demonize and delegitimize
Second, as part of that point but also due to trends in Western intellectual discussions, there is a conflation of nationality and race. Often, there is an attempt nowadays to portray any form of nationalism in the West as racist, though this is never applied to
One of the most basic lessons in looking at foreign or international affairs is to understand that countries just don't think alike about issues.
With intermarriage rates between Jews whose ancestors came from Europe and those who came from the Middle East approaching half in Israel today, there is no way to classify people. In fact, Israelis are far less interested than other countries about people's ancestral travels.
Moreover, what does one say about such "darker-skinned" Israelis as my Hungarian-Yemenite colleague or my Syrian-origin pianist neighbor (whose wife is from
Yet such racism from the Arab/Palestinian side is ignored in the Western media.
While there have been some incidents in reaction to the arrival of Jews from
It is officially estimated that at least 19 asylum seekers have been shot dead by Egyptian forces in Sinai. To my knowledge no one in this category has ever been injured in
I have had friends, mostly Filipinos, who were illegal workers (they overstayed work permits) deported from
The Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts are in no way "racial." National identity is something quite different from "race" generally. Israelis and Arabs are not easily distinguished by skin color, though of course there are exceptions. I was in an Israeli government agency meeting with a high-ranking official whose skin shade was darker than that of Barack Obama. This was only something I noted because I was planning to write the article you are reading now.
I arrived at the meeting mentioned above by taking a cab from my neighborhood taxi stand. I gave the address, and the driver went back to speaking on his mobile phone in Arabic, which is the only reason I realized he was an Israeli Arab. I couldn't tell just by looking at him.
The attempt by anti-Israel slanderers to inject a racial aspect is ludicrously nonsensical. If you have ever traveled in
But if you can label someone as a "racist" because they are engaged in a conflict with another nation or group it automatically "proves" they are in the wrong. If the conflict is a national one, however, you actually have to think about it. Who's right in the following conflicts: Irish Catholics or Protestants; Basques or
This is a trick for deceiving, not a tool for understanding.
The ridiculousness of attempts to transfer American or European situations to
I don't think there's any question that there is far far more racism in Europe or in the Arabic-speaking world than in
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.