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Don’t Be Drawn Further into the Circle of Hatred and Violence

Nidal Othman*

first Published  : 09/10/2015   Last Updated: 09/10/2015 

   

“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 Racism.