This is really old news, but we constantly need to be reminded. Lest we forget…
And I really want to stress this:
As with everything you read, this is one side of the story. You’ll find thousands of articles contradicting whatever I say here. The reason I write that is because I get anonymous emails from jerks who don’t seem to get that…
Azmi Bishara, a Palestinian Christian with an Israeli citizenship, former member of the Knesset, is being accused of treason and espionage during wartime (the Lebanon war). I found this article in Los Angeles Times, written by Bishara himself, entitled Why Israel is after me. The full article is right here.
I don’t know anything about him being guilty or not. That’s not the point here. What Bishara writes in this article is just what we need to be reminded of, the sickening Israeli Apartheid.
These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews.
When Israel was established in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in fear. My family was among the minority that escaped that fate, remaining instead on the land where we had long lived. The Israeli state, established exclusively for Jews, embarked immediately on transforming us into foreigners in our own country.
For the first 18 years of Israeli statehood, we, as Israeli citizens, lived under military rule with pass laws that controlled our every movement. We watched Jewish Israeli towns spring up over destroyed Palestinian villages.
More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. The Law of Return, for example, grants automatic citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world. Yet Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to the country they were forced to leave in 1948. The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty — Israel’s “Bill of Rights” — defines the state as “Jewish” rather than a state for all its citizens. Thus Israel is more for Jews living in Los Angeles or Paris than it is for native Palestinians.
The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world. Our community leaders joined together recently to issue a blueprint for a state free of ethnic and religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from our path to freedom now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination we have faced for six decades.
Americans know from their own history of institutional discrimination the tactics that have been used against civil rights leaders. These include telephone bugging, police surveillance, political delegitimization and criminalization of dissent through false accusations. Israel is continuing to use these tactics at a time when the world no longer tolerates such practices as compatible with democracy.
Why then does the U.S. government continue to fully support a country whose very identity and institutions are based on ethnic and religious discrimination that victimize its own citizens?
By Azmi Bishara
This is Azmi Bishara speaking about Israeli Apartheid in March 2008.