“Hating Arabs isn’t racism, it’s principles.” This is a “status” that a young woman posted before two days on her Facebook page and it got 15,000 likes. Even more astonishing is the fact that the
first person to respond to the status was her mother and she noted in her
response that she was proud of her daughter for this post. The response of the “educating” mother, too,
won support on the internet with more than 150 likes.
I have no doubt that similar statuses are being posted by
Palestinian young people, whether they are from Gaza, the West Bank or
Palestinian young people who are citizens of Israel. A short time ago we witnessed a trend in
which hundreds, if not thousands, of Jewish youth added to their names on
Facebook “Death to Arabs” and then, too, came the response from Palestinian
youth which was no less horrifying.
The question to ask is: who is leading these young people to
this abyss? Who is stirring up the fire
each time, shaking the coals, and adding fuel to it?! I won’t give an answer to this question,
though I would suggest to you to search the internet and check what the
political and religious leaders in Israel are posting. Check out what is posted on their official
pages, not to speak of the unofficial pages that they and their activists
manage whether under their name ly or under a fabricated name.
It is important to note here that, on the other hand, there
are quite a few politicians who come out with balanced and calming statements,
but their voices are heard much less, and there are also those who say nothing,
which, in my opinion, does not relieve them of responsibility for the matter.
The Israeli-Palestianian conflict influences the existence
of racist phenomena in Israel and even constitutes the most inflammatory
material to incite the region. The
religious dimension, too, enters the game here and the unceasing attempts to strike
religious feelings on both sides don’t help.
This incitement is not cut off, of course, from the dirty
political-national reality of unwillingness among authorities on both sides to
come to a political process that “God forbid” could lead to a peace agreement
and to security for both peoples, Israeli and Palestinian.
And in spite of all this, no one has the right to justify
acts of violence against citizens nor to ignore their existence. I think that the silence of those same
leaders with respect to the continuing violence anding on both sides is a
dangerous silence, and I refer not just to silence among political leaders, but
rather silence among community leaders, leaders in the arts, culture, sport,
and so on. So that the silence of those
voices is understood as agreement with what is going on here.
This is a call to those same leaders to not be drawn in, and
to not drag with their silence, more and more to the circle of hatred and
violence. Make your influential,
balanced, calming voice heard because
what is mainly preventing the other leaders are votes in the next elections,
but you, you have the ability to sing the song of peace that will bring other
young people, Arabs and Jews, to adopt your song and your voice and will not
see in hatred “principle,” but rather “racism.”
* The author is the director of the Coalition against