Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Many Israelis don't know a single Palestinian (NPR)

This report by NPR is well worth reading or listening to. I did not realize before it just how segregated Israeli Jews are from their Palestinian neighbors.  And considering the disinformation that Israeli Jews receive about Arabs in schools and the Israeli media, it's entirely possible that many Israelis know LESS about Palestinians than informed Americans do.  

I emphasize this because often I have heard in the U.S., usually from a conservative pundit, something like the following: "Just ask and Israeli what Arabs are like," or "We should take Israel's word for it how to deal with the Palestinians."  This report shows why this cannot be true.  Most Israelis are more isolated from Palestinians than any resident of a major U.S. city is from Arabs and Muslims.  Israelis live in a bubble of hatred and fear that they themselves created.

This story reminds us that the main purpose of ghettoization -- be it by Nazis Germans or Israeli Jews -- is to separate the citizenry of the oppressor from the oppressed, to minimize all human contact from which common ground and natural empathy might spring. Segregation makes the job of propaganda much easier: citizens can be convinced those in the ghetto are the "other" with all sorts of evil intent, and essentially sub-human, without the same human qualities as you and I. Ergo they deserve whatever bad treatment they get from the oppressor state.

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
August 4, 2014 | NPR

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