Study: Israeli Jews becoming increasingly racist toward Arabs

Israel’s Jewish community increasingly supports the delegitimization, discrimination and even deportation of Arabs, found a report on racism in Israel, set to be released Wednesday.

The report, to be presented at a press conference in Nazareth by Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has clearly impacted public opinion, and warns that ideas such as population exchange and racial segregation are gaining ground. It also warns that several Jewish politicians are gaining influence based on a platform of racial hatred.

Mossawa is supported by the Human Rights Program of the European Commission and the United Nations Democracy Foundation.

The report, written by Mossawa director Jafar Farah and others, mainly examines racism against Arabs in Israel, using criteria taken from the anti-Semitism reports in Europe.

The report covers Arabs killed by the security forces and by Jewish citizens, anti-Arab incitement by leading Jewish public figures, workforce discrimination by private Jewish organizations, the barring of Arabs from public places, and the destruction of Arab property. The report particularly highlights what it calls the government’s helplessness in the face of the problem.

The report lists Arab citizens killed by police, soldiers, security guards and Jewish civilians over the past seven years. It notes that only one Jewish citizen, of Ethiopian origin, was killed under similar circumstances during this period. Indictments were issued in only seven cases, the report states. In two cases, the assailants were found not guilty, and the State Prosecutor appealed the verdict in one of these cases. In another case, the indictment was dropped because the shooter was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.

Most cases of Arab citizens injured by Jews were not fully investigated, and the attackers were not indicted in most cases, according to the report.

However, the report says Arab violence against Jews led to immediate police action, including collective punishment in villages like Jisr al-Zarqa this month.

The report also highlights employment discrimination against Arabs, and accuses the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry of foot-dragging in enforcing the workplace anti-discrimination law.

Citing lawsuits and verdicts of recent years, the report states Arabs are subject to racial profiling at Israel’s airports. “Problematic passenger” forms, filled out by security guards and bearing the names of Arab passengers, were found in Israel Airports Authority files. Similar cases occured at train stations and on trains, the report stated.

The report also addresses discriminatory legislation, mentioning no less than 10 bills contravening the Basic Law on the Knesset that were passed by the Knesset presidium over the period the report covers.

A new element of the 2008 report is that it also addresses refugees from Africa, foreign workers, Jews of Ethiopian, Russian and Mizrachi origin, and the ultra-Orthodox.