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Thanks for this. A recent article in Haaretz underlined the extent to which racism is an integral and growing part of Israeli society, especially and most obviously among the young. Most polls indicate that around 70% or more of Israeli youth are in favor of apartheid in Israel and the recent Gaza War has made dissent in Israel even more difficult than ever before. Indeed, the crackdown on any form of dissent has become intense, with efforts to criminalize left-wing NGOs like B'tselem. The reality that Israeli youth cut their teeth by serving as occupiers in the occupied territory has further contributed to the dehumanization of Palestinians. In the end, your central thesis is easily supported by the facts. Racism has become absolutely essential to Israeli identity and it helps to make possible the kind of attacks that are going on now in Gaza.

I do not believe you have shared much of value here.No mention of the Palestinians persecuting christians and driving them out.The rise of antisemitism is alive and well in the us.My hope is that your student take what you preach and read beyond your revisionist history.

Anger and violence don't always result from racism. When you are angry at people for what they do, that is not racism. The Arab Israeli dispute is based on nationalism and religion far more than race. But calling somebody a "Racist" is a more powerful hate word these days, so Beinin uses it. This is superficial and silly.

There is no "One drop rule" in Israel. There are no "Octaroons". Skin color is not a determining factor. As it happens the Jews have more diversity in skin tone than the Muslims (Arabs), so I don't think it's a question of skin.

There are no doctrines about the genetic superiority of Jews in Israeli society. There is no official document of Zionism with even one percent of the vileness of the Hamas Covenent (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp).

The charge of racism is not substantiated. It is falsity, a knowing falsity, and a libel. Beinin should be ashamed of himself.

Re: "hollywood, the media, the 4th estate in the US is run by Jews" That's bull. I am a television director - not Jewish- Jews do not run anything in my business. Business itself runs media. . Jews do not form a group, as in getting together to plan on taking over. Such a concept smacks of Protocols of Zion written by the Czarist regime to vilify all Jews as a group and believed as gospel to justify racist attutudes. True a greater proportion of Jews than non Jews are highly successful, scientists, doctors, humanitarians, entrepreneurs. Thats good not bad. Everyone should be so successful.
A good question is, what is meant by the designations of Jew, Arab, American, and most certainly Christian. I grew up Episcopalian and never want to be called Christian.

Prof. Beinin is right that Israel must do a better job of tamping down on pockets of extremism within its society. Sociologists would make the link between this incitement and the Tag Machir (price tag) attacks, and possibly the heinous murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir (although the evidence that is emerging is that several of the perpetrators suffered from under-treated mental illness; and as far as the ‘price tag’ vigilante activities go, many Israeli politicians are demanding harsher sentences, even calling these hooligans ‘terrorists,’ and the vigilantes—numbering only a few hundred at most—have zero support within Israeli mainstream society).

But I have a hard time making the connection between a constant (the rampant and entrenched racism within the Israeli state and society, as Beinin claims) and a variable (Operation Protective Edge).

Why did a war between the governing authority of Gaza and Israel erupt in summer 2014? Hamas had been refraining from rocket attacks since the ceasefire of November 2012, and had even been patrolling the border on Israel’s behalf to curb rocket fire by other Gaza militants. Only a rational choice explanation that considers Hamas’s and Israel’s motivations in June to escalate can account for the timing of Operation Protective Edge.

Teasing out the time line through a process tracing methodology could still bring in the element of racism. Prof. Beinin could make the argument that both Israeli and Palestinian racist online vitriol that went viral on social media (Beinin ignores the ugliness of the Palestinian “3 Shalits” hashtag), and the rising tensions within Arab and Jewish communities, were conveniently exploited by both Israel and Hamas. Israel used the kidnappings as an opportunity to root out and shut down Hamas in the West Bank—arresting nearly 400 West Bank residents, raiding over 1000 institutions, putting over 200,000 Hebron residents into lock-down. Hamas also exploited the June tensions. It began firing rockets and let other militants do the same—300 rockets had been lobbed onto Israeli civilians between June 11 and July 8 when Operation Protective Edge began.

If we are using a qualitative research design, though, we need to also raise the counterfactual: if there had been no kidnappings, would Israel have spent the month of June ‘cleaning house’ in the West Bank? We can only prove this counterfactual if there were government plans in the works to ‘mop up’ Hamas operations in the West Bank. But such plans have not come to light. Would Hamas have still sought ways to build its terror tunnels and renege on its ceasefire commitments this summer? The answer is yes, because as we now know there was a mega-attack being planned through the tunnels for the Jewish New Year in late September.

There are also better ways of taking the measure of a society’s racism than relying on cherry-picked examples of a few hot-heads. One could consider the educational system. Dr. Danny Bar-Tal at Tel-Aviv University and a team of Israeli and Palestinian researchers did just that in a multiyear study recently published. It found no egregious “dehumanizing of the other” in either the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli state curricula. It did find racist messaging in some of the ultra-Orthodox textbooks, however. One could also consider official media. Following the Abu Khdeir murder the entire official Israeli political spectrum roundly condemned it. This vicious murder was universally rejected by all political and religious leaders. Over 300 Israelis went to Shuafat to visit the Khdeir family’s mourners tent (an event that was widely reported in the Israeli media, but Prof. Beinin does not mention it).

Let’s look a bit further: Israeli politicians do not name public squares after Jewish terrorists (there is no Baruch Goldstein Square in downtown Tel Aviv) and don’t demand that Jewish terrorists be released as a prerequisite to peace negotiations. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority glorifies and venerates hundreds of terrorists by calling them heroes and martyrs and celebrating them with official state parties, and its official media often includes not only anti-Israel, but also anti-Semitic messaging. And this is the PA, to say nothing of Hamas’s poisonous anti-Israel and anti-Jewish media and educational programming.

All this is not to say that Israel doesn’t have to improve, but it’s light years ahead of where the Palestinian leadership is in terms of creating an atmosphere that fosters a non-racist culture.

In regards to majority/minority relations in Israel, until the larger conflict is resolved it’s difficult to see how Jewish-Arab relations within Israel can improve, an argument made persuasively in Yitzhak Reiter’s excellent book on the topic, National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs Versus Jews in Israel.

By the way, Beinin mentions Uri Elizur at the start of his article. This is the same “racist” who in 2009 advanced a ‘one state’ plan (only available in Hebrew) that would have seen all Palestinians of the West Bank receive Israeli citizenship. People are complicated, even Israelis.

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