The Guardian Parades Rachel Shabi’s Ignorance – Again

This is a guest post by AKUS

After a long hiatus on CiF – perhaps due to the revelations that Shabi’s knowledge of Mizrachi Jews and Israeli geography fall even below the Guardian’s low standards for contributors trying to blacken Israel’s name – Rachel Shabi is back, this time mourning the plight of ‘Israel’s ‘targeted citizens‘ – a deliberately inflammatory heading taken from a film prepared by Adalah referring to Israel’s Arab minority and a tribute to the Guardian’s campaign to create a completely mythical version of what Israel really is. We can now add ‘incitement’ as well as ‘ignorance’ to Shabi’s unimpressive resume, which includes, incredibly, 89 articles authored or co-authored for the Guardian since 2000, starting with ‘If you don’t eat your ice cream, you can’t have your broccoli’.

As usual with articles on CiF, it is always important to dig behind the spin and see what really underpins the prejudice that is being fed to the readers.

Adalah is an organization ostensibly dedicated to defending Arab minority rights in Israel, but, in reality, its primary purpose is to propose the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state and blacken Israel’s name internationally. For example, Adalah is firmly on the “apartheid” bandwagon:

Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the OPT under international law: “Professor Dugard posed the question: “Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law.” Etc. etc.

Moreover, Adalah has developed its own version of a Democratic Constitution for Israel that in its Introduction immediately references apartheid-era South Africa as an example – or the example – of what Israel is like. Par. 4 of Chapter One essentially lays down the PLO’s approach to Israel. It proposes to use of the Right of Return to turn Israel into an Arab-majority state, links the “Nakba” to the “Occupation” since Adalah does not, in fact distinguish between Israel and the Occupied Territories despite defining Israel’s borders as the pre-1967 Green Line in opposition to UNSCR 242 and the various boundary adjustments that have been discussed between Israel and its neighbors including Syria:

“the State of Israel must recognize its responsibility for past injustices suffered by the Palestinian people, both before and after its establishment. The State of Israel must recognize, therefore, its responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation; recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194; recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; and withdraw from all of the territories occupied in 1967.”

(Note, by the way, the statement that Israel must recognize even injustices incurred by even BEFORE its founding – i.e., under Ottoman and British rule).

Par. 5 attempts to enshrine the idea that Arab citizens of Israel are not, in fact Israelis – they are Palestinian Arabs:

“The Palestinian Arab citizens of the State of Israel have lived in their homeland for innumerable generations”

This ignores Jewish life in Israel for thousands of years since biblical times and later in Jerusalem and various villages and is, of course, the ideological underpinning of a future “one state” – if Israeli Arabs are, in fact, Palestinian Arabs, then, obviously, they are one and the same as Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank. Once one reads past the political grandstanding this “Democratic Constitution” offers little that is not already enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and its existing legal and administrative organs and procedures. From the Declaration of Independence:

“WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”

And, in fact, Arabs do have “full and equal citizenship” They may not be fully represented in all its institutions (the army is an obvious example), but they are well-represented in most civilian institutions despite the fact that Israel is still in the midst of on-going wars, especially against Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank with whom Adalah tries to identify its “base”, to borrow a political term from the United States. There are Arab political parties, have been and are ministers from all three main Arab groups (including Druze and Bedouin) (Nawaf Massalha, Salah Tarif, Raleb Majadele), an ambassador and consul general Reda Mansour, a deputy consul in San Francisco, Ishmael Khalidi, Supreme Court judges Abdel Rahman Zuabi and Salim Jubran.

Shabi’s sketchy view of the situation is eerily reminiscent of her attempts to describe the situation of Mizrachi Jews in Israel in the most negative light possible, despite their actual success in every walk of life in Israel. In that case, she attributes it to “Ashkenazi racism”. In this case, she assigns blame to the entire Israeli Jewish population. It is accepted widely in Israel that Arabs are not as fully represented in many areas, especially anything to do with security, as other citizens, but to claim they are ‘targeted citizens’ is merely an exaggerated and inflammatory message.

Moreover, there is a major item that Shabi did not see fit to include – in March, 2010 the cabinet authorized spending of NIS 800 million specifically “targeted”, if I may borrow the term, for development in the Arab and Druze sectors. While many would agree that Israel should be doing more, in its own interests, and should have been doing so for many years, this omission immediately biases her entire article which rests on accusations made in a promotional film prepared by Adalah.

Finally, I, and perhaps many others, learned from Shabi’s article that there is something called the “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination”. A reference to this event is buried in Shabi’s article as the proximate cause for the Adalah film. It sounds like a worthy cause, one might imagine, until a little digging reveals the organization that sponsors this annual event, now in its fourth year. Perhaps, having brought it to your attention you will not be surprised to learn that it is organized by a sub-committee of the same group of reprobates, dictators, theocrats and generally worst offenders against human rights known as the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) – the same group that coincidentally ran the infamous Durban Conferences and sponsored the Goldstone report.

I’ll round off with a few clips from the thread. First, two well-received comments that indicate that the days of a free pass for Shabi’s ignorance and bias may be passing:

Then, the ever popular claim about US payments to Israel, this time with a new twist. America “extracts” this money from unnamed regions of the Middle East and passes it to Israel which has the effect of raising Israel’s standard of living! The claim about Israeli dependency on US money demonstrates the ignorance about the size of Israel’s economy and the role that the US money plays despite the fact that American money represents perhaps 1% of Israel’s GDP, and of that, at least two-thirds of the money is essentially a subsidy to the US arms industry.

There was a “disappeared” comment from JRuskin who claims that Israel, which is a multi-cultural society to a degree that puts Britain to shame, is racist and discriminates against even “darker skinned” Jewish Israelis. Apparently claiming some experience at the Kalandia checkpoint, he ignores the numerous attacks that have occurred there – for example, see this video: Palestinian Woman Stabs Israeli Soldier:

Then there’s the new concern that seems to be becoming more common – Britain should be more involved because it “created” Israel. This commenter curiously considers the resultant flourishing Arab community in Israel to have been worse treated than the decimated original populations of North America and Australia:


I’ll end with a deleted comment that manages to paint Israel in the darkest colors, accusing Israelis of regarding anyone not Jewish as sub-human, despite the fact that in fact Israel provides humanitarian aid even to its enemies, the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, Arabs from surrounding countries that don’t even recognize Israel’s existence, and countries around the world such as Haiti when disaster strikes:


And so Shabi has opened the floodgates of blind, ignorant hatred at Comment is Free once again. One day, the Guardian may have to answer for its role stoking this hatred – even when comments such as the one above are deleted.

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