Tag Archives: west bank

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

Open Letter to the Palestinians

27 Mar

Dear Palestinians,

please cut it out? And I don’t mean the beating heart of another zionist. I understand your anger, I agree you are right to be angry, and the extent that I am capable of, even share it. What the Israeli government – my government – has been doing to you since the foundation of the state, is a disgrace and an atrocity, from the razing of houses to the shooting of children.

But for fuck’s sake. You will never free Palestine or end the occupation by stabbing, car-ramming, shooting, bombing, or otherwise attacking Israelis. Israel will always be stronger; you will never have our military power. And I understand that beyond logical motivations, there is the urge to continue a historical resistance, though futile, just to demonstrate your defiance and hatred of the situation. That, too, I understand. Only dead fish swim with the current.

But for fuck’s sake. You are helping the zionist agenda. Yes, you are helping the Israeli government oppress, rob, and kill you. Every time you attack an Israeli, my government says, “Look world, this is why we have to oppress them! This is why we have to take and control their land! This is why we bulldoze their homes! This is why we have to shoot them at the slightest suspicion of a butter knife in their pocket! Because they keep attacking us!”
You are doing my government a great favour by perpetually attacking us. You are justifying being treated like animals by behaving like animals. You think a prison is going to release a convict if and because he beats up the guards every time he’s let out into the cafeteria? No. This prolongs his sentence.

And Allah’s will? Seriously? Allah, the Gracious, wants you to walk into your death, break your family’s hearts, just so the zionists have an excuse to make your family homeless and abuse your people some more? Your struggle isn’t the only thing historical here. Your people, the Palestinians, being abused more every time one of you attacks an Israeli, is also a historical event that repeats itself without failure.

Every attack from you against us, makes your situation worse. I’m not telling you to love us. You’re right to hate us (well, not me, I’m nice, I give great head). I hate the government and its executioners, too. Hate us till the cows come home. We have not given you a reason not to. But for fuck’s sake, please internalize that your “armed resistance” is only making your situation worse. Yeah, we mourn our losses… But every single time, you get a disproportionately worse response, don’t you?

For fuck’s sake, cut it out. It’s stupid, pointless, and only moves you farther away from your goals. We will never lose to you, and my government will never leave you alone if you keep giving it excuses to abuse you. Stop this shit. I want both our people to live in peace, even if we can’t stand each other’s smell. But my government wants you to continue attacking us, because you are helping it abuse you.

Don’t do the zionists that favor.

Sincerely,
an Israeli

The Middle East Inversion

10 Nov

Last Saturday’s new episode of Doctor Who, now featuring the 12th incarnation of the lone and loved Timelord, drove a bulldozer from the last demolished Palestinian home right through my chest. If you live in a peaceful, stable nation that merely exports weapons to less stable nations and cashes in on the death and destruction they sow, you may have seen just another profound speech by a fictional TV icon, on a fictional war.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

When you live in Israel, or across the fence, the wall, the checkpost, you have seen your people and those on the other side. You’ve seen youngsters throwing rocks and firebombs at soldiers and settlers, and you’ve seen soldiers shoot those kids, you’ve seen settlers attacking soldiers for failing to shoot and kill those kids, you’ve seen those kids’ parents drive into a crowd or stab a passer-by. You’ve seen bulldozers razing the homes of a terrorist’s family – not the terrorist’s home – and you’ve seen crowds shouting for bloody revenge.
And if you’re not completely jaded to what’s happening all around you, a bus ride from your doorstep at most, it hurt. It hurt having the Doctor pointing at you, your people, your government, your friend with that army-issued rifle or that home-made firebomb. Your cousin who takes the order to bulldoze the home of a terrorist’s mother, when nowhere else in the civilized world, family would be punished for their kin’s deeds. Your brother driving that borrowed car into a flock of children.

But while you may know those who do the deed – the Israeli soldiers, settlers, bulldozer drivers, the Palestinian stabbers, bombers, road ragers – you never know who they’ll hit. Does it feel right to know it’s none on your side? Or do you just feel numb, knowing at least you won’t be mourning anyone, for now? Is it not being someone from your side, good enough to sleep at night, knowing a person you know, is destroying a family who is also a person someone knows, someone loves?

Truth: You don’t know who the next Naftali Frenkel or Muhammad Abu Khdeir is going to be. You don’t know. But someone is going to die at someone else’s hand.

Consequence: This will never bring us peace. This will never free Palestine, this will never give the Jewish people a rest. You can’t expect people not to retaliate against perceived wrongs, much less when those wrongs precede a funeral. The consequence will be more death, and if one of yours has killed one of theirs, then one of yours will die. It will always be this way unless someone starts forgiving.

Two days ago, I was shopping cat food at my pet shop. The staff and I were having pizza and a laugh when the new girl got a call. There was some agitated talk in Russian, and I was just going to do an impression of angry Russian speech, when she hung up, and, staring blankly ahead, said: “My friend died.” The 20-year-old border guard, Binyamin Yakobowitz, who looks like 14 in Haaretz’s article, had been the “someone I know” of “someone I know”. You may just cringe, make a sad face, even feel a stab in your chest when you read names of casualties on your side, but you don’t know them, so you mourn them as you would Heath Ledger. Somehow you keep telling yourself: it’s never gonna be anyone I know. Yes, my friend at the pet shop told herself the same, I’m sure. Most Palestinians, those who hate Israelis, but abhorr violence, don’t want youths going out to attack soldiers or civilians, they hate hearing someone from their neighborhood has committed an attack. Not just because they know someone who isn’t the perpetrator, will suffer for the actions of the latter, but also because they might one day find themselves too close to the Israeli retaliation squad. However, they reall start internalizing how bad these attacks are, when it’s their own flesh and blood who eats retaliation. They, like us, tell themselves it’s never them, always the others. It’s always the others’ fault, and it’s always the others’ losses.

No.

We are all the others. And we never know who’ll be mourning whom next. But what we all must internalise, is that the mourning will continue, and one day hit too close for comfort, unless either of us, any of us, stop making others mourn.

Open Letter to Chuck Norris

16 Mar

Dear Chuck Norris,

With all respect, as an Israeli who has to live in Netanyahu’s idea of Isreal, I can tell you that you have seen a speech and bought into him like some people see a yoghurt TV commercial and buy the goop the next day.

Yes, Netanyahu is an amazing public speaker. I used to believe in him. Then I stepped outside my happy, Hasbara-brainwashed Zionist cocoon. And no, he is not concerned with all of the people. Only those with money, and preferably only white Jews with money.

You do not live here. You do not see the struggle of the working class on a minimum wage as low as $4 while the cost of living corresponds to that in the usa. We dumpster-dive for return bottles because all the money goes into settlement constructions which violate international treaties Israel has SIGNED.
You do not see the daily institutional racism against Arabs, blacks, but also Middle Eastern Jews.
You do not see how Netanyahu exploits us to spoil his family (this is nepotism!), and how he is a war and fear mongerer to make sure we’re preoccupied with Iran and Syria rather than address the blatant social injustice he so happily ignores. Poverty will kill us before Iran does!
He has also done little for the security of Israel, and nothing another PM wouldn’t do – though perhaps not in the same way. He has wasted the lives of soldiers and of Arabs through ground operations that were poorly planned, for a mere show of force. The previous war could have been avoided had he not done all he could to escalate the situation in the West Bank in response to which Hamas, whom I am by no means defending, started firing missiles. When you respond to 3 indeed horrific murders by bulldozing everybody ELSE’S houses, arresting and beating hundreds, and collectively punishing everyone within a 5 kilometer radius of the murder suspects, you are not solving problems – you are creating them. Israel has military control over the West Bank, yet no political or social involvement, and you think that can work? HA!

As a descendant of someone who was involved in the foundation of the state, and who has a lot more insight than you, I can only say that while I love my country, its alleged innocence in the conflict is a blatant lie. We would be a lot safer had our government not had/still having this perpetual tradition of treating the Palestinians like animals. This country was not founded on deserted land. We have driven people out, empoverished them, bullied them, killed them. And now we’re bitching that they’re pissed. Good one! We have a chance, every single day, to break this cycle and try what has not been tried before: humanity. I am not naieve, I am no bleeding heart hippie, but look at our history and tell me how the current and past way of handling things has helped anyone? Yeah. Oh, so we’re still standing. But at what cost.

So no, this man is not worthy to lead us anywhere other than our self-destruction. He keeps pouring oil on the blaze with the Arab world, while we wither in poverty because he doesn’t give two shits about us.
That, Mr. Norris, is the reality as viewed by someone done with Hasbarah and sugarcoating, born and living in Israel. Screw Netanyahu’s speeches. Try living here. With your eyes and your mind wide open. And without your fancy money, but on the kind of job you get here when you don’t put your real name on the CV. First you do that for a couple of years, then you get to tell us whom to vote for, because it will be YOUR ass joining me in diving for refundable bottles. From your fancy estate somewhere out there, those big words are way too easy, and based on way too little, Mr. Norris.

Recommended read: Naeim Giladi, Ben Gurion’s Scandals. Read’em and weep.

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!