Tag Archives: racism

Schrödinger’s Arab

13 Mar

I never really cared whom I date or sleep with, as long as he’s hot, clean, and hung. Well, so I do care. I will also admit I have a type. Somewhat darker skin, dark hair, big eyes, lush lashes… You get the picture.

So I met a lot of Middle Eastern guys not all of whom are Jewish Israelis. I mean to say, I dated a lot of Arabs, and this is where Jewish rightwingers usually start clamouring that I should be raped and murdered for being the “whore of terrorists” – or assimilating at all. I find this especially ironic coming from Jews, but let’s not. I’m not even Jewish, I just pass as such because I’m a white-passing Israeli. I only pass as white because of my Protestant-but-Atheist German mother. My father, a brown man from two Iraqi parents, only shines through in my sarcasm and penchant for writing. My Mum’s no longer official religion also saw me registered as Christian in Israel, because yeah, they kinda register your religious affiliation on your ID card, or they did, so now they only register it in your file. “Ethiopian” also tends to get registered, while “Russian” or “american” sure doesn’t. But this type of racism is not what I want to talk about right now. Let’s just say, it’s rampant.

Schroedinger’s Arab – be a terrorist, don’t be a terrorist, but please confirm our bias and prove us wrong at the same time.

So I’m basically as Christian as the Arab guy I had an unlucky crush on. I’m as Christian as the other Arab guy this guy unwittingly introduced me to, or at least he implied he was Christian once. Since that Arab guy is also a celebrity, I befriended some fans of his, also Christian Arabs. We ended up going to a festival in Jordan together, thrown and main-gigged by said celebrity, and we all had a good time. Upon re-entry to Israel, however, nerves grew raw. The girls passed through security without a problem, and when I think back, it’s probably because none of them seem “typically Arab”. Y’know, hijab and explosive vest, all that. Pierced, tattooed, dreadlocks, torn jeans, short hair, rockabilly, not how you imagine radicals. But we waited what felt like a half hour for the boys. I say boys, because the oldest was 19, I think. When it dawned on me what was happening, I wanted to go in and exploit my “white Jew” privilege to vouch for them, when they came out, tired and scowling. One said, “I don’t wanna talk about it”, because he was pissed past talking. You could see it took him quite a bit of restraint to not burst into a raging fit. He was a 17-year-old geek whose penchant for violence was limited to the same super hero and anime franchises I liked. But after he had his backpack searched more thoroughly than mine when we met up a year later, I was sure: if this guy was to ever pick up a gun and shoot into a crowd, blame Israel’s anti-Arab mentality according to which he can either be a terrorist or garbage, or both. Not someone to be trusted, not someone to dedicate the front page to were he to join and die in the army. Not someone who has any reason to value us, because we don’t value him. Individually, some of us might, I do, but the white Jewish collective? They’ll leave him for dead. He will always be expected to prove that he’s better than other Arabs, while he will also always be expected to confirm that Arabs are “human animals” as they’re often called. Schroedinger’s Arab – be a terrorist, don’t be a terrorist, but please confirm our bias and prove us wrong at the same time.

Palestinian terrorists follow Hamas because while Israel is robbing them of reasons to live, Hamas, at least, is giving them a reason to die.

Having to work twice as hard to get half as much is what brings me to my ex, who’s Muslim, not that he cares, but “Israel’s dominant demographic” very much does. While he gobbles down pork chops and drives drunk like the raging student and rebellious brother of too many sisters that he is, the army makes damned sure not to encourage him to enlist and abuse the weapon he’s handed. He could, but he absolutely doesn’t have to. Ethical issues of Arabs recruited to shoot Arabs on behalf of Jews aside, (dis)trust is obviously a factor.
And society makes damned sure not to encourage him to take up too much space in general, because no matter what kind of helpful, contributing, life-saving career he envisions, what a loving soul we all know he is, he’ll always be less-than. A few years ago, this racism at least energized him, even if through anger. He said, “The next person who gives me shit for being Arab, I’m gonna punch him.” I wanted to say, “Don’t, because you’ll be trayvoned*,” but didn’t want to make him feel even more hopeless. And as we were talking about an ongoing war between Israel and Gaza, he said something about going there to get himself killed – as food for thought for the fighting parties. Like, right, nobody is going to care. That’s the sad thing. A Jewish guy getting killed in the cross fire, sure, that’ll make headlines and sit Israelis down for a bit, but only to get up and hate Arabs some more, because obviously, Arabs are the only ones to blame for the conflict. If you ask a zionist. But an Arab? Israel is gonna laugh, because that’s one Arab who kindly got himself killed to make room for another Jewish immigrant. I didn’t share that bit of insight with him either, because why rub it in that he’s garbage in the eyes of Israel’s rule-making majority, the rightwing Jews? He nailed it when he said that Palestinian terrorists follow Hamas because while Israel is robbing them of reasons to live, Hamas, at least, is giving them a reason to die. I mean, they got universities in Gaza, but where are you going to take your degree? Nowhere, because you’re not getting out. And then, you get bombed.
And when I recently reminisced out loud about my short time with him, remembering how he complained I was going to die before him, and I replied “Keep talking that way and you’ll die before me”, he soberly answered that life and death have become all the same to him. Because while he still wants to find his raison d’être in charity and philantropy, he, too, feels robbed of reasons to live by this society. All the success and wealth he could achieve, and he would still feel like his life has no point, because we as a nation begrudge him that point.

A Jew murders his girlfriend, nobody bats an eye. An Arab guy dances during Memorial Day’s siren? “Fire him, kill him, rape his mother, bomb all those fucking terrorists!”

As a person who passes for both white and Jewish, I only know part of his struggle. I know the hate, discrimination, and dismissal I feel for being a fat female. However, while fatphobia is cruel and has a strong impact on its victims, fat people are not cooped up in shitholes that get bombed, bulldozed, or have their water cut off on a regular basis. My Arab friends may not live in the territories, but their people do. And all Arabs are the same to those oppressing these Palestinians, anyway. An Israeli Arab peds surgeon’s welcome in this country is as fickle as that of a Ramallah stabber. If said stabber snaps and stabs, the surgeon won’t be safe from the hatred and incitement that ensues. Guilt by association. A Jew murders his girlfriend, nobody bats an eye. An Arab guy dances during Memorial Day’s siren? “Fire him, kill him, rape his mother, bomb all those fucking terrorists!”

This isn’t about me. But it is. I’m part of Israel’s society, and I’m with the lucky part. The only problem I share with Arabs, is being cussed out for dating them. Since “dating” usually means “casual sex behind closed doors with no public hand-holding”, I can easily stay safe by not talking about it. But I have friends who live here knowing they are fair game. No, you can’t walk up and shoot Arabs as you please, but wait a second, yeah, you kinda can. I am afraid that these Arab people, especially young men, are Israel’s Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Hell, american cops don’t even have the homes of their black victims’ families bulldozed. On paper, Arabs have all the same rights as Jews. In practice, the collective bias wants to dismiss a victimized Arab’s complaint, and lock up any Arab upon accusation, no trial, no investigation. Schroedinger’s Arab – victim or perp, and somehow, both at the same time: they will call you a terrorist while burning you alive – you’re in a dark little box and nobody cares that you’re asphixiating in there while expected to do the expected and yet defy it.

And I’m not saying Arabs can’t make a nice life for themselves. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that they live in a society that sneers at them and only expects the worst from, and wishes the worst upon them. How do you raise a happy, peaceful child in such miasma? How is this helping peace? How is it not obvious that most Arab violence against Israeli Jews can be traced back to said Arabs being treated like vermin? Is it reasonable to expect people to respond with acquiescence and submission when they get bulldozed, bombed, and kept from thriving? Walled in, starved, cut off from water, power, and economy? I will never defend acts of terror, but I am smart enough to see what prompts them, and it’s us. Hamas’ rhetoric of hate wouldn’t work if they didn’t have us proving them right over and over and over.

“All Arab Areas Access Citizenship” is a myth.

And to make this about me, because I like making things about me: I don’t know how to help. I have friends hurt to a point of numbness by this racism, and I can’t do much to help. We barely ever even meet. I want to tell them to leave the country for better places, but that’s easy for me to say – I have dual citizenship and am indeed leaving Israel, in part because I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. Arabs? Told by nutwing zionists to “go back to Jordan”, except, “All Arab Areas Access Citizenship” is a myth. So I’ll be leaving soon, a country that was never out to hurt me, leaving my friends behind to get angrier – or number – with every bulldozing and every bombing and every Palestinian kid with scissors getting shot dead because a trained soldier with an M16 “feared for his life”.

See, this is how you radicalize people. Nobody wants to be hated for no reason, so if all attempts at being accepted, fail… you give those haters a reason.

*killed with no repercussions for the killer, because his ethnicity makes it easy for the law to assume he asked for it

Merkel is the real Martyr

15 Jan

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,”

-Binyamin Lipkin, editor of HaMevaser

So editing out all women from the Paris March because they “desecrate the memory of the martyrs” is freedom of speech now… We desecrate the memory of people for being women, like having a massive poop-eating and pig-fucking orgy in a church, desecrates the House of God? Okay. Gotcha.

If it’s freedom of speech to wage a blatant war on women, deleting our image as if we’re a disease that needs to be wiped, and slandering us as a stain on peoples’ memory for our sex, then the next acceptable thing, I guess, is to caption pictures of the victims of police brutality with “This nigger got what he had coming, shoulda picked the cotton and be quiet” or make the Westboro Baptist’s slogans the next source for headlines. Or how about “This kyke right here, should have been gassed before he got on TV”.
Yeah, not so cool suddenly.

And Angela Merkel, deleted by Israelis, of all things? Who has been supplying Israel with weapons, warships, endless money, and two blind eyes upon the mess we are making, the crimes we are committing, such as the construction of settlements which is illegal as per the Geneva Convention, signed by Israel, just saying… Who has been a relentlessly reliable ally to the country that houses, feeds, and clothes the people who have now deleted their benefactor? Binyamin Lipkin, the editor of HaMevaser, the hate paper (if you delete women, you are no less of a hate group than are the Westboro Baptists) that published the anti-women image, should be licking Merkel’s rear end because her contribution is part of the reason why his estimated 45 welfare-mooching, unworldly children have clothes on their backs and an army to shield them from the reality that the likes of their father is perpetuating.

The comment about the eight-year-old makes me cringe. The eight-year-old should be encouraged to look at women in an appreciative way and worship us – after all, that kid came out of a brave woman’s bleeding, agonized vagina, and every time a woman gives birth, she risks her life. Only to dedicate all of it to that kid once it’s out. The eight-year-old should not be shielded from the (undistorted) sight of us. On the contrary. See women everywhere to be reminded why you’re in this world, and who changed your diapers, who feeds you, who loves you unconditionally, who cries for you, who would happily die for you. Look at us, you little shit. Same goes for your dad, the big shit.
Deleting women from the public image is no better than saying we should actually, literally, disappear. You don’t systematically delete something from view if you respect, much less value it. Deleting someone to protect “the children!” or the memory of martyrs, is a gesture of shame and disgust.
This IS a war on women, it is NOT just religion, it has nothing to do with a religion that dictates such oppression in no way. People screeching that this is free speech, miss the fact that this deletion of women represents an attitude that women have to suffer in real life. It is really no different than forcing a burqa on a Muslim woman. They want us invisible. They make us invisible. And we just have to suck it up? This oppressive behavior is not the only one in a series of legal – some now illegal – crimes perpetrated in various forms and by all kinds of entities against the female collective and to reduce it to free speech, “no harm done”, is insane and dangerous.

Somehow, tolerance for sexism and gender-based oppression is a lot higher than it would be for racism or anti-semitism, and this I do not understand. Had a black man been edited out because “his presence tarnishes the memory of the martyrs and an eight-year-old shouldn’t see such a thing in public”, no one would play the free-speech-card. Except the unfortunate few who would see their addresses published for lynchings. Why do we need to tolerate our deletion from the public eye, but telling a black person to sit in the back of the bus is a hate crime? Why is it okay to treat us women like either property to subject to man’s standards and demands (even if ever so subtly by distorting our bodies or telling us to hate and change them painfully in order to be more pleasing to penises), or like something that should not even exist, or at least not have its existence acknowledged and treated as equally valuable as that of men?

Why does this seem okay?

Israel’s 2014 in Review

30 Dec

The year 2014 in Israel: same old, same old.

We’ve had one “major” (as in, involving more than one small town beyond the Green Line) “war” (as in, avenging a bitch slap with a chainsaw massacre), some 70 Israelis and 3000 Palestinians dead, many more homeless. A rather impressive 4000 rockets were fired into Israel. Ashkelon Beach kinda lost its attraction to me by an explosive 90%. Bada-BOOM-ah!

Three Jewish boys were killed by about as many Palestinian terrorists. As a results, hundreds of Palestinians, related or not, got harassed and abused by police, military, and other entities, and quite a few ended up homeless. None of them the culprit, but who cares.
In revenge, 6 Jews murdered a Palestinian child by burning him alive. They were arrested and investigated by the book, respectfully, with all the necessary insanity and other pleas to help them stay out of jail. No neighbors had their houses bulldozed or their asses beaten by police.
So the exchange rate in Israel has remained rather stable: 1 Jewish life is worth at least 50 Arab lives. I’m not just counting the lives literally lost in revenge for one another, but also those stripped of humanity, dignity, and not least of all, basic civil and human rights.
So yeah, one Jew buys you 50 Palestinians or more. I should get me a couple Jews. Need some house staff. 1 for the litter boxes, 1 for walking the dogs, 1 for general cleaning, 1 for the kitchen. Wait, I think one Jewish kidney will buy me that much.

What else… Ah yes, some 70 Israelis lost their lives. Most of them soldiers. Because as tragic as that is – and it sincerely strikes me with grief – Israelis don’t die in rocket barrages. They start dropping like flies once they enter Gaza to deliver payback for rockets most of which only cause property damage. For every Israeli killed by a rocket, 20 died in Gaza. Soldiers are not scarecrows. They are just as human and just as alive, and craving to stay so, as civilians. So why sacrifice even one soldier to protect one civilian, let alone 20 per capita? I’m not saying the barrages should be tolerated… But sending those kids in there on foot or in ground vehicles, uh…
Also, there are ways to stop the barrages that Israel hasn’t tried yet. After all, our “war” with the Palestinians is not a religious one. On neither side. The fact that they invoke Allah in their warfare, doesn’t change that fact. All fighters, terrorists, and soldiers, who believe in any God, turn to him in times of warfare and confrontations with death. Some may try to make this war religious, but in essence it is not. So what Israel might try, and hasn’t yet, is to allow the Gaza Strip to thrive to a degree the people can live with dignity and humanity. Hamas may abuse some funds, but that is only part of why Gazans are poor and angry. Now don’t give me “but we ship them food and materials”. Yeah, prisoners also get two or three meals a day, and electricity, yay them!
So, what is my suggestion? Let them construct, let them build an industry and an economy, and after thorough background checks, grant free passage to individuals and groups. Anyone who abuses this, can still be taken out. Also, enough with the collective punishments and excessive force. Treat Palestinians as equal human beings, is my suggestion. Their quarrel with us is about how we treat them. You can’t keep kicking a dog and then complain that it’s dangling off your throat. We have been kicking this dog for way too long. To all Palestinians reading this: I am not saying you are dogs. I am just using the first allegory that comes to my dog-loving mind.

The Jewish Nation State bill. Ah, yes. After firing the two remaining sane major MKs, Lapid and Livni, Bibi goes and says: “Yall, let’s declare those Gentiles second class citizens and make this a Fourth Reich!”
Yeah, no, that isn’t gonna pour oil on the Palestinians’ blaze, nah, and it’s also totally not gonna alienate the Israeli Arabs, including Christians, Druze, and seculars. Nah, I see no problem with that.

I predict that in 5 years’ time, the Gaza Strip and the Best Wank won’t be the only Arab ghettos. I don’t believe there will be gas chambers, but I do totally count on Israel to cut down resources.

Yeah, 2014 has been a great year for Israel, full of no changes for the better, the usual death toll for both sides, and more chikanery to keep the Arabs pissed. If you are a conservative Zionist and would like things to stay this way, vote Bibi or Lieberman or Bennet NOW!

Dear Ilana Hammerman

6 Sep

In response to this article by Ilana Hammerman in Haaretz.

I thought I was bad for begrudging my exes their newfound happiness. Hammerman, you sound like Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat, except, Tard is truly an adorable little kitten who merely has a perpetual bitch face and has words put into her mouth by the Internet. You, on the other hand, are for real and that is why I am writing this.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire what you’re doing. I, too, wanted to stay and fight for change. But you know what they say – YOLO. I don’t want to fight. I want to walk my dog in the afternoon sun without burning, and eat whatever the hell I want without kashrut or over-inflated prices for the most basic foods. I want to sit down by the river and read comics. I want to talk to anyone I want without worrying about social media outrage for having picked the wrong friends. I want to spend my hard-earned money reasonably, not carefully. I want to have money left after filling my belly and paying my bills. Surely so do you, but I simply have, at this point, less motivation to help others before myself – much less do I have the means. I don’t even have a driver’s license, or money to get one. Other than write and educate, there is little I can do for a better Israel. And I can perfectly write from the comfort of a pretty home in a mild climate where I am not distracted by the thought of what the airconditioning is going to cost me.
But, I do wish I had your juice and your means to stay and help. I really do. But I am tired.

I can’t say I can’t believe I’m saying this because I have actually made peace with the thought and it seems obvious and sensible to me now.

I am hoping to leave Israel. Oh no, I immorally announced doing what many people haven’t got the means to. Mean ole me. Well, as I have said in my comment on the article, boohoo. And also, you are the one who is immoral for begrudging people their good news because, imaginary god forbid, others may feel bummed at being reminded that they can’t have what he – Rogel Alpher – is having. Well, boohoo. Am I writing angry letters to happy couples about how immoral they are to rub their happiness in my single and sex-starved face? Am I whining at Haaretz because I cannot afford a subscription to their articles if I want to feed my cats and dogs? 
You write that many who would love to leave, cannot do so for lack of money, language, foreign passport, or whatever. I wanted to write “boohoo” again here, but for the sake of the fancy look and feel of this article, I will be more mature than that and merely pick up some of your points.

Money – you know… I have seen very few Israelis not walking around with the newest smartphone and making their children fat, lazy and stupid by parking them behind a tablet. Should have made a choice then – buy gadgets or save up for your grand exit. And Israeli banks just love to bait the struggling with ridiculously big loans. Just take the offer and run. Banks exploit us, the 99%, all the time, talking us into ruining ourselves by offering credits, loans, and limit inflations we cannot pay back, ever. Exploit them back! Nothing immoral about kicking someone whose foot is always ready to kick you right in the teeth, and that is what the banks are. Yes, I did just say that.

Fluent English – I’m sorry, but for lack of awards and careers and wealth, I can only assume that I am not that gifted or super-smart, so how come I manage 6 languages and the oh-so-advanced Israelis who throw education and technological progress hasbarah all around, don’t even manage the most common language we are exposed to in everyday life, through music, television, social and other media, etc.? English is basic these days. How can you not pick up sufficient English to manage, and then follow some formal courses to perfect it? I thought Israelis were so very educated? Get to it! I knew a man once, a Yemeni from the Krayot, who went to live and work in Panama for 7 months. He had planned for it to be forever. The point is: he was not really an educated, intelligent, or  intellectual individual. He was rather simple, the type of simple that believes that lesbians can be cured through decent sex. He learned managable Spanish within less than half a year, by conversing with his fluent cousin on Skype. He got on his plane – leaving me heartbroken – and immediately found a job as a store manager in Panama. Spanish, not the English modern people OD on every time they open Facebook. He came back for missing his family, but he would have managed in Panama in terms of language and culture.
On the other hand, way too many Hebrew-raised Israelis cannot even manage their own mother tongue. Which is tragic and an affront to what Israel pretends to be: a petridish of genius.

Foreign passport – most immigrants don’t have one. They manage. So can the ever so advanced Israelis, unless of course we’ll just admit that we’re not that brilliant a people and we wouldn’t want that now, would we? Hasbarians love to parade around the image of the resilient Jew who can manage anywhere, against all odds. Well – be resilient and manage!

Education – if you don’t need a formal degree, education floats around free of charge on the Internet. How do you think I became fluent in conversational Japanese? Watching downloaded anime. How, do you think, did I perform a decent castration on a live rat? Google Images. HTML? Whatever Google spat out! Knowledge and skills don’t need to cost money and don’t require entrance exams. Hey Israeli, be ever so advanced and educated and figure something out! What sets humans apart from animals, is our superior intelligence. The major definition of intelligence is to be able to figure out solutions to problems and challenges. So don’t be an animal – isn’t that simple?

Now, the point of this post was that I meant to rub some immorality in your face by announcing that I, too, am itching and able to leave Israel. Let’s see, how did I get to Israel in the first place?
In 1983, little Anna Giladi, granddaughter of the notorious Naeim Giladi, was born in Tel Aviv, back when it was still affordable to the average Israeli, not just glorified immigrants with a lucky break or exceptionally good paycheck, or the desperate who will live like sardines, sandwiched between fifteen more roommates compromising the meaning of “home” (me-space). But since the economy was going to the dogs and my parents didn’t really fit anyway, my German mother took me back to Germany via a few years in both Poland and Ireland. After Germany, I lived in Belgium for 12 years until the age of 27 when I realized that many of my problems stemmed from not belonging. So at my breaking point, I took my mother’s advice and returned to Israel where I could at least be one of the native people and not an immigrant, a diplomat, or downright illegal. I could finally belong, or so I thought. Wanting to belong to a defined group also changed me into a rightwing Zionist faster than you could say “Occupation”, and Zionism makes life in Israel very gratifying indeed. You feel like you got a claim on the land, you belong to each other, and you’re there to protect it with words and weapons against any attacks. But Zionism soon showed me its ugly “other side”, one I could not get myself to embrace. When a good, hard-working, loving, funny young man feels like he has to hide the fact that he is Arab in order to be loved, Zionism has clearly done something abominably wrong. I woke up and realized that while I do believe that Jews should be able to live freely in the land of Israel, this must not be at the expense of other people. But it is. And I could not continue to pretend to be fine with that. I was not raised to be a bigot or a parasite. 

So the years went by and the hate mail from total strangers in my Facebook inbox accumulated. I could not even acknowledge the humanity of a Muslim or any Arab without being called a treasonous whore. New immigrants with little factual knowledge on Israel other than hasbarah, turned out to be blind government loyalists who valued their delusions above my friendship. I quickly became as hated as my grandfather for being a lot less aggressive in my criticism on Israel. Free speech is great, unless of course tyrannizing you with threats and insults day in, day out, is also covered by this right. Am I leaving because of idiots on Facebook? Hell no! But these idiots represent something bigger and way more invasive, way more present and influential than one message on Facebook. They represent an attitude impossible to escape in Israel, be it at the workplace, at university, at the coffee shop, or even the bedroom. And to perpetuate this and keep The Conflict going, mothers get to bury their sons after every war. A waste of young lives for a safety our own government helps jeopardize.

Israel has negatively shocked me before when it dropped cluster bombs (“precision attacks after sufficient warning to civilians” my gigantic ass) on Gaza in 2008. It continued to occasionally rattle me, but I always managed to justify it some way or another. But then, 2 suspects in the murders of the 3 settler boys had not their own, but their families’ houses bulldozed by Israel which also very brutally arrested hundreds for questioning, and basically unleashed a rain of terror on mere suspects thereof. But then, when 6 murderers of a Palestinian boy were wanted, Israel proceeded very gently and civilized. Due process every step of the way, lawyers, insanity pleas, underage leniency… No houses of suspects or their families were bulldozed, no bones of neighbors were broken during arrests. No social media shit storms howling “Death to (the murderers’ ethnic group)”. And while I believe that any murderer of an innocent child deserves maximum brutality, why do only Arab killers of Jews feel it? Because they killed three and those Jews only killed 1? But the killers of the 3 boys didn’t get three times the harshness, they and their towns got an utter hellraising. Because it was an act of terror? Well, then what was the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and what does it matter why children were deliberately and brutally murdered? Parents got to bury what was left of their hearts, that is all.
And then, when there were just talks of a reasonable approach of Gaza – offering Gazans a reason to live rather than to die and take Jews down with them – Netanyahu announces a gigantic land grab.

I see so very much racism and hatred from the very people I love – the Israeli Jews. I specify Jews because while I love the Arab population just as much, “Israeli” should include anyone with an Israeli ID, Jew or gentile, yet is often used to refer to only Jews and I refuse to encourage such falsehoods. Israel is NOT exclusively Jewish, deal with it. I cannot seem to find Israeli patriots who are not hate-filled and racist towards Arabs, and as Haaretz has so tragically reported, Israel’s Zionist youth is actually proud of being racist. Even people who are not blatantly hate-filled will find excuses for citizens and law enforcement to brutalize and oppress Arabs. Never have I understood how a country that shows itself to the outside world as so very inclusive, tolerant, modern, advanced, and educated, can harbor and encourage so much stupidity and racism. I am surrounded by it, and ever since I have renounced my own part in it, I see how ugly it is. 
If I cannot live happily and freely in my own country which doesn’t even allow me to marry for lack of a Jewish mother (but is happy to take my taxes), if I cannot express my opinion without being slandered, insulted, and threatened just because I do not hate Arabs, then my people, despite being my people in my homeland, disgust me. If only the far-right can count on being able to freely express themselves without being labeled traitors or whores, then Israel has a problem and it is similar in essence to the problem Germany had not too many decades ago. Irgun Lahava is one example of the sheer and perfect ugliness of this problem. Not just for its bigoted and aggressive nature, but for its members: even the sweetest, otherwise most open-minded and anti-racist people I know, are members. In a group that terrorizes and bullies interfaith couples to break them up. In many other countries, members of bad organizations, are also otherwise bad or at least stupid, small-minded people, yet in Israel, even the best and the smartest tend to flock to hate groups. I was surrounded by academics when one of them gasped “You slept with an Arab? Oh my god, I hope you got an Aids test!” and the other degree holders joined in. After that, Gasper 1 kept forwarding my number to male friends who needed a quick lay, because she assumed I was the volunteer whore in town because of one Arab lover. What the..?

And from my observation, in order to be happy or at least content in Israel, most people need at least one of the following three things: passionate Judaism, Zionism, and/or money. Because when you neither care for religion and tradition, when you lost Zionism to uncensored history documents and a good look around, and when you make 25 Shekels an hour working 6 hours a day, well, life stops being all milk and honey. You have nothing to sugarcoat your relative poverty with, you have nothing to gain from the ugly sight of the predominant political attitude, and you have not even got your imaginary friend, God, to turn to. Open-mindedly living reality in Israel is very damned hard. And even my life before Israel, has been hard and I’m tired.
But I never felt compelled to take a stance against the people I love before. And I had never been punished for it before. I never before felt lumped in with a group who manages to wish death upon a minority, and squeal “Never again” in the same sentence. I never before felt so betrayed by the government I’m stuck with, a government aggravating the relations with the Palestinians while letting its 99% go to the dogs when the state’s massive budget is funneled into settlements, bullying or tyrannizing Arabs, and paying the ultra-Orthodox for doing exactly nothing to help. Have you seen Haifa? Have you seen the south of Tel Aviv? The streets are dirty and behind closed doors people flip coins for either a third meal or a new pair of socks. Every country has its problems, but I have not lived in one where the government so blatantly and scornfully disregarded the true wellbeing of its majority for the sake of staying on the good side of a wealthy and influential minority and PR. And well, the “First Lady”. In none of the other four countries I’ve lived, have I felt compelled to leave for being unable to reconcile my own ideals with the reality around me, and believe me, I’ve been wanting unicorns and Hobbit houses. In Israel, all I asked for was less bigotry and hatred, and more social justice – and especially, Israel living up to its own hasbarian standards… Never have I been a government loyalist, anywhere, but my current government is taking what little money we, the Israeli 99%, have, in order to piss off the Palestinians every step of the way, actively and directly putting our lives in danger as a reward for our sweat. I cannot stand for this any longer.

Wasn’t it also Haaretz – and my mother, and I – who observed that all the liberal intellectuals are itching to leave? I know the rightwingers will happily see us out, but “never forget” that “liberties” and “liberalism” have the same root .Your liberties are not achieved by people with your attitude. Israel has shot way past the Jewish dream and became a victim-gone-bully. With all the “sechel” (brains) leaving, Israel will degenerate more and more into a rightwing, bigoted, unequal society where the Arab is to the Jew what the black man is to the white american – guilty until proven innocent and to be treated accordingly. Where values are for PR only, while people struggle to survive and can’t really fill their bellies  with the lyrics of the Tikvah, which were so obviously written by a drunk. We cannot be a free people if we need to oppress a minority we angered and turned against us in the first place. My only morally right choice at this stage is hence to follow my grandfather’s example: get over my broken dreams and expectations of the loving, welcoming Israel where all people have an equal chance, and leave this cesspool of hatred behind. 

Obviously, I will cry on that flight, as I will miss things, and people. I will miss walking the ground I was born on. I will miss referring to the people around me, as my people. I will miss my Iraqi-Israeli family, especially my baby nephew who has grown on me like a heart tumor. I will miss the many lovely cats I meet everywhere. I will miss the gruffy, straightforward nature of Israeli encounters as I don’t really love the European politeness most of which is fake. I love how nobody cares what you look like. I will also miss Israel’s fuckedupness, as I call it – the sight of sloppily clad young soldiers with their guns and their oversized pants, the many buttcracks and the overall attitude of not giving a fuck. No decorum, whatsoever. I like that. I will miss that. I will also miss my workplace, that petshop with the fun and funny coworkers (two of whom are perfectly sweet, harmless, respectable Muslims) and its stupid customers who cannot tell a ferret from a hamster when their toddler’s life literally depends on it.

I will not miss, however, aforementioned bigotry and hatred, the everyday struggle, the cost of living as opposed to my paycheck, and I also will not miss the blatant and seemingly willful ignorance of the oh so educated average Israeli who still thinks it’s smart to buy dogs and cats in stores, Arabs are STD dispensers, or sushi makes sense in a Chinese restaurant. When I moved to Israel, I had been looking forward to meeting the hasbarah-propagated Israeli: intelligent, intellectual, and worldly. Yet, I keep genuinely impressing people with what I thought was trivia. As I said, humans versus animals and all that…

And also, I really, really hate the climate. 

So do I hate Israel?

3 Jul

I keep getting told things such as:
“You clearly hate Israel!”
“Get the fuck out of Israel if you don’t like it!”
“You’d rather see every last Jew murdered by those Palestinians”
And so on. Nazi, antisemite, self-hating Jew, angry loser, etc.

Well, wrong. Also, those Israeli residents who call me a Nazi will from now on be sued for what little they’re worth.

I love Israel. I’m born here. I love the vitamin D, I love the gazillion cats, I love the beautiful men, the blunt and loud and lively people, I love how far Israel has come in so little time and how resilient and bold it is.
I admire the obscene number of Nobel Prize laureates Israel and Jews worldwide – who are in no way obligated to identify with Israel – have produced. I admire the technological, medical, and other developments made in Israel. Israel is a great contribution to the world from an industrial and science point of view. Israel has a lot to offer. Israelis, as a people, are often friendly, emotionally open, and happy to connect. There is, despite the ugly mud fights between right and left, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, a great sense of unity in the face of many challenges, and more empathy for the hardship of fellow citizens (if publicized sufficiently – still it exceeds what I’ve seen in other countries).

However, this is only one side of the medal. Each medal has two sides and mass in between the two. The side described above is shiny and real, but the ugly, rusty, shit-covered other side is just as real.

When you love your child, you don’t mindlessly praise them. You most cerainly don’t only praise them. You will want the child to improve and work on/correct mistakes for the child’s sake and for the sake of the world that the child will live in and help create and impact. You will want bad behavior or questionable attitudes gone. This can only be done by means of pointing them out, discussing them, and finding a solution.
You don’t go around (if you love your child) denying that (if) he is a bully, steals, or scores fail grades. You don’t ignore your child’s problems for the sake of upholding your illusion of your perfect little angel.
That is, if you’re a good parent. Then you will praise the good, correct the bad, and hope your child will develop into a well-rounded, wholesome, grounded character who lives up to their own standards.

And at the latter, Israel is failing miserably, and hence I will continue to scold her. She is like the spoilt child that throws temper tantrums, shoves the other kids and steals their lunch money, and then gets excused because of how very truly gifted and also sweet and productive she can be. However, the latter must never justify or downplay the previous, so no matter how big a child prodigy Israel may be, she must learn to behave respectfully, compassionately, and fairly. And she currently does not and never has, or at least not to an acceptable degree.

And I will not have any “But compared to Syria”. If we have to compare ourselves to the smelliest of shitholes in order to look good, we have already lost the debate. We must compare ourselves to the countries Israel (pretends to?) strives to be like – the West. We must compare ourselves to Germany, to the Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, perhaps america though at least we don’t have this much gun violence… And most of all, we must compare and live up to our own alleged standards of moral superiority. Overall and in our government, we do not.

This criticism doesn’t make me antisemitic, it doesn’t make me anti-Zionist.
I am Zionist in that I believe that Jews get to have this homeland called Israel where they can live passionately and freely as Jews, celebrating and practicing their Jewishness to any degree that each individual one of us pleases – from secular/reform to ultra-Orthodox. I do see this merit in the state of Israel.
However, I do not believe that we require the Zionist supremacy that is currently ruling this Jewish country. We do not need to oppress or put down Gentiles in order to elevate ourselves and enjoy our Jewish homeland as Jews. If the ideal of political Zionism, ie. Israel belonging to Jews, justifies the deportation of its non-Jewish natives, then Germany’s desire to be Aryan would have justified the deportation of all things non-Aryan. The idea of one ethnicity, religious group, race or other ruling supreme by forcefully minimizing incompatible populations, is of the same vileness everywhere, be it Jews or white supremacists. Israel, for being superior to its neighbors in aspects such as technological advance, education, firepower, money etc. has a responsibility to use this power gracefully but she does not. We are, for example, right to be pissed at having rockets fired at us, but if they kill nobody, then what the hell are we bombing and hitting countless civilians for in retaliation? The emotion may be understandable – in anger, don’t we all want to react excessively? – but we have a moral obligation, due to our own standards and pretenses and due to our superior power, to be better than that. We should, and more importantly – we fucking CAN!
Contrary to popular belief, Jews used to be welcome and able to practice in Muslim majority countries until the founding of our state came about and the founders used methods that would poison this peaceful coexistence. If Muslims could be Muslims in Muslim countries despite there being lots of Jews, why can’t Jews be Jews in a Jewish country and embrace its non-Jewish populations?

I am pro-Israel. I am anti-white supremacy (she is), ultra-rightwing Zionist (she is), religion-forced-down-everyones-throat (she is), fuck-everyone-else (she is) Israel. I adore this country, so I want her to be better than this. But regurgitating glorified hasbarah/propaganda, is not the way. It is the way of the coward who would rather live in blissfull denial than to weep at the face of the ugly truth, and then get hurt trying to improve shit.

Romeo & Juliet in Israel

6 Nov

Romeo & Juliet, or Anna & the Arab

I came to Israel to join the army and partake in the epic saga of Zion. Or so I thought. Instead, I learned an important lesson about ethnic divides, skin-deep hostility, racism, and where love comes in.

I made Aliyah at the end of December, 2010 as a returning minor. Being born in Israel, I never felt quite at home anywhere else. Not in Poland, not in Ireland, not in Germany, and not in Belgium. I thought that Israel would be where I’d find myself, my home, my belonging, and my soul. And I did. But I didn’t find it in the form, or the place, I had thought. And I certainly didn’t find a defined group to belong to. Not even Jews. Here’s what I thought would happen: the army would die to recruit me, put me in an epic combat position, and there I would meet my soulmate. A raggedy, typical Sephardic or Mizrachi Israeli, with black curls flowing in the desert breeze, his Reserves uniform revealing the manliest of chest hair.

Wrong. And that’s okay.

The army may take amputees, blind people, deaf people, people with severe cerebral palsy, people too fat to run, people with multiple organ transplants and a poor outlook – but not an eager, healthy, though overweight, female at the age of 27. Needless to say, I was offended. I had actually paid a personal trainer good money back in Belgium to prepare me for the army. Instead, I spent my days after ulpan at home, looking for a job, and taking care of orphaned kittens. And a puppy who would change my view on Israeli society.

The guard at my local post office had always been a latent crush of mine. He was sassy, confident, and always sported a cheeky smirk. His light tan skin was perfectly smooth, his black hair dense and thick. He was a bit on the short side, but his charisma grew him by a foot. He embodied what I thought, back then, was the typical Israeli man. And one day, he left his post to say: “I like your puppy. Can I have him?”

Since then, I had to find new ways of blowing him off whenever I walked my puppy past the post office. Until one day, my landlord decided he would tolerate my dog no more and we clashed, Israeli style. Yelling, threats, strong language. Desperate to keep the apartment – I had just moved there and was all out of money – I could only do one thing to save my puppy: rehome him. I grabbed a bag for his stuff, wedged the dog under my other arm, and ran down to the post office.

“Hey, you!” I panted at the guard. “You still want my dog?”

His enthusiasm was dulled by perplexity. “Uh… yeah?”

“Here you go.”

We added each-other on Facebook so I could stay updated on my ex-dog’s antics, and I learned the young man’s name was about as Israeli as Alon or Liran. I’m not revealing his “real” name as I have given this man enough grief. I also learned that he was in a relationship with a woman one quarter of my size.

Yet, a month later “Liran” broke up with his girlfriend and invited me over for a one-night-stand, no strings attached: the man was sick of love and feelings. Foolish as I was, I agreed hoping to sway him and persuade him to develop feelings for me after all. After the first night, I was smitten. I’d learned that he had served in combat, was rather Zionist, and agreed with me that Arabs made crappy dates. He fully supported my decision to only date Jews now that I had returned to Israel.

After the second night, I was in love and when he returned to his ex a month later and hardly talked to me anymore, I was heartbroken. I spent six months thinking about him until I came up with the perfect scheme: if I wanted to get to know him and how to get back on his radar – he’d been single again in the meantime – I would have to befriend his ex and extract as much intel from her as possible. Two nights after first contacting her, I was back at his place. And curious as I am, I asked him about his ethnicity. He stiffened for a heartbeat, as if caught off guard, then mumbled, “Yemeni”. I thought his reaction was strange, but thought no more of it either since love makes you a fool, blind to any vices or secrets that may disturb your revery.

One fine evening, I was out with his ex – we’d become actual friends – and suddenly, while gossiping about “Liran”, she said, “But you do know he’s not Jewish, right?”. I stopped dead in my tracks a few steps behind her. “What?” I gasped. “Then what is he?”

Bedouin.

Also, Muslim.

Well, still Zionist.

And a sweetheart.

And a true lover of everything cute and fluffy.

And addicted to sushi.

With a great taste in music.

But Arab.

And a liar.

Also, his real name was a far cry from what everybody called him. He was more of a Mustafa than a Liran.

Basically, he had committed the crime of “rape by deception”, which consists of a person lying in order to obtain the other person’s consent. Had I been raped? Three times? And enjoyed it? And cried for the man? No, this did not feel like rape. But legally, it seemed to be.

At first, I decided not to reveal this knowledge to him. After all, he was still the same charming man – except, as far as he was concerned, he was still deliberately deceiving me. Did I still want to try and build a relationship based on my knowing that he knows he’s deceiving me into violating my own principles? At some point, we fought and I told him I knew – I did so in the ugliest ways, wishing the worst upon him and insulting him for all he was, treading well into racist territory.

And then I calmed down. Had a good think. And then I realized something that made my chest tighten and my eyes sting. A realization that filled me with deep shame and remorse.

It was absolutely not okay that this man lied to his dates about his identity. He had no way of knowing that their parents wouldn’t disown them, or worse, if they ever found out that their good Jewish daughters were dating an Arab. Lying to someone who cares about you, is rarely ever okay.

On the other hand, should I, as an Israeli Zionist, not be ashamed, and deeply so, that my people, including myself, led this charming, hardworking, Zionist, gentle man to believe that he had to lie about his very self? Is being Arab a crime? Is it something one should be ashamed of in a “democracy”, in the “Holy Land”? What kind of society do we live in, am I a part of, where a good person has to lie about their identity in order to be loved? He has no love for Islam, and even if he had – I have, in the meantime, met Jews who are a far bigger scourge on Israeli society than this Arab who raises puppies and takes care of his parents. Who forgives whatever hateful insults you throw his way, and who smiles through all hardship. This Arab, who works two jobs to support his girlfriend, her daughter, his parents, and his sheep, and who serves proudly in the reserve, makes a far better citizen than specific groups of Jews I shall not name.

And are he and I different? My mother is not Jewish, I never cared to convert. I’m a 30-year-old single who gets defensive and uncomfortable during dates when the question comes up: So your mom worked in Ramallah, as a Jew? No, she didn’t work there as a Jew. I’m a patrilineal mamzer, born out of wedlock to a Protestant Atheist mother. I am nothing, or at least nothing to this state where being a full Muslim or Bahai is still preferable to being half a Jew. I have found myself lying about this fact, so scared of losing a man I had begun to developed feelings for. Am I a rapist now? For being scared of admitting something I had never thought relevant, because I am looking for the same love, relationship, and happiness as all the “real” Jewish girls? And while all of the men I’ve met are too kind to say it, I’m sure that is why, in many cases, one date was all I got.

I’m a half-Jew, and I enjoyed my fling with that Arab. I’m not the only one in such a situation, neither is he.

Romeo & Juliet is happening all over this country minus the reconciliation part, because a Rabbinate thinks it gets to dictate to people not adhering to it, who they are and who they may love. And way too many people agree that what happens between two individuals of “hostile” sides, should concern the entire country. Meital, how can you date an Arab, Mahmoud, how can you date a Jew, Moshe, how can you date a half-Jew, Ruthie, how can you date a Gentile – you can’t, not without facing consequences love should never have to face. Does this truly feel right to anybody?

At least in Shakespeare’s tragedy, the pain endured by the love-driven Montague and the defiant Capulet led to reconciling the two feuding clans. Sadly in Israel such relationships only seem to inspire more hostility from their spectators, rather than point out the obvious: we are capable of unity. But we are even more capable of taking baseless offense in seeing it blossom. God forbid we’d all just allow ourselves to love and be loved.

Just an Arab.

23 Oct

My fellow Jewish Zionists will hate me for this, but I don’t believe in exclusionism or whatever you call it, when this country insists to be morally superior to the whole damn world.

I want to give an eyewitness example of how the ever-so-praised Israeli Jews do their part in keeping the Jewish-Arab chasm as deep as possible. It’s not just “settlers” who bully Arabs in news-worthy ways, it’s the whole system that does not honor its promise of racial and ethnic equality where it comes to things that have nothing to do with Jewish identity.

A few weeks ago, I had a guy over for the night. Woke up around 4, went to the living room. Even before falling asleep I had heard a girl screaming angrily at someone but couldn’t make out what, or in what language. Now it was still going on and I looked out the window to see what was happening. I found an Arab girl, not very religious from the looks of her outfit and hair, no older than perhaps 22, but more around 18, 19. 3 Arab guys the same age were with her. From what little Arabic I understood, she was angry at at least one of them, lots of “Achosharmuta” and something about mothers. At some point she shoved one of the guys who then grabbed her arm and pulled her into all 3 guys’ reach. She tore free and ran onto the road where a bus was pulling in. She begged the driver to let her in, but when he spotted the three other men, he decided he wanted nothing to do with this and drove off, almost hitting her.

The guy she had shoved, who seemed to be her main “opponent”, ran up to her, pulled her to her feet, punched her to the ground, and kicked her in the back.
At that point I shouted down at them that they need to weigh their actions with witnesses around. I was utterly ignored and the girl, being upset beyond coherent thought, lunged at the guy again, but only weakly lashing at him, not really dangerous in any way.
From just before I shouted at them, my date had joined me and while I was shouting and thinking about what chair to beat those guys up with, he grabbed me and said, “They’re just Arabs, don’t get yourself into trouble for those apes”. Ignored his remark and called the cops.

Now while the bus driver and my date were merely very damn disappointing (does it matter if they’re Arabs when 1 girl is attacked by 3 men?), the police really drained what little was left of my “Holy Land Yay”. Dispatcher asked, all guilty-like, “Are they Arabs?” and at first I thought she just wanted to know for identification purposes. Only later did I stop to think that “3 young men pouncing on 1 screaming girl” should be enough.
I understood why she’d asked that when the police came. They had sent 1 single young man to deal with this. Now the girl was screaming in Hebrew, and it turned out that one of those men had gotten her pregnant against her will (don’t know if it was rape or just irresponsible consensual sex), and in doing so, hurt her mother and her family honor. Judging by how upset she was about this, she must have been in real trouble or at least convinced that she was. The thing is, you don’t send a man to deal with these issues, you send along a woman, ideally an Arab woman who knows about Arab family values and understands why this girl was so distraught. In the end nobody was arrested and my neighbor, as much as I hate that ars for many valid reasons, walked her to safety.

So basically, Arabs here tend to be what African Americans are in the States. Only worth police attention when they (seem to) endanger white people, or here, Jews. Otherwise, send way to few cops way too late and have them do way too little because hey, it’s just Arabs. I don’t care how crazy that girl went on those guys and that she made too little attempts to walk away (when she did, they didn’t let her), they were three men ganging up on a pregnant girl. And the cops took their jolly time to send ONE utterly useless guy.

It’s no wonder Arabs are less than appreciative of their Jewish co-citizens. We desperately squeal Hasbarah all over the Internet and beyond and act all inclusive and accepting and make it all seem like the Arabs’ fault, but when you call the cops on 3 guys beating up 1 girl, ethnicity should not matter and all of Israel’s Hasbararians should be ashamed of this. Jews are doing their share to keep the hate flowing just as much as Arabs are. And it’s bad enough individuals are doing it, but police???