Gary Younge’s mythical “white” Israel

There is so much political pathos to dissect in Gary Younge’s diatribe against Israel yesterday (see our replies here and here) but one of the most telling themes in his myopic broadside worth exploring was his implicit accusation that Israel was a “white country” which discriminates against it’s darker skinned residents – particularly evident in this passage:

“At the [border] crossing into Nazareth, only brown-skinned people had their passports held.”

As I noted in the previous post, the journalistic malfeasance of implying that Israeli border security discriminates based on the skin color of those wishing to enter the country – and not rigorous screening procedure based on the state’s long history of terrorists attempting to infiltrate its borders – based solely on a couple of hours of observation is not worthy of a college rag yet alone the website of a major UK newspaper.

But, beyond the particulars of Younge’s assertion, the implicit argument is even more morally reckless.

Younge seems to see the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict through the remarkably skewed view of a “white” Jewish state oppressing “people of color” – Palestinians/Arabs.

I’m not sure if Younge spent any time in our country but it’s highly unlikely that, if he did, he considered the ample visual evidence while walking down the streets in cities such as Jerusalem or Tel Aviv which would have contradicted his hypothesis, and demonstrated that the average Israeli is darker than most citizens in dozens of liberal European capitals.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, the ethnic, national, and racial diversity in Israel  is a legacy of the cultural diversity and far-flung nature of the Jewish Diaspora: it is said that Jews have come to modern Israel from 103 countries, speaking more than 70 different languages upon arriving on her shores.

Indeed, as I noted yesterday, in addition to the 25% of Israeli citizens who aren’t Jewish, about half of Israel’s Jewish population are Jews of color – that is, Jews whose ancestry originates from the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia, South America, India, the Caucasus and elsewhere.

The following photos – attesting to Israel’s remarkable racial and ethnic diversity – won’t be at all surprising to anyone who calls Israel home, or has spent any time here.   

Jews from Yemen arriving in Israel

Mizrachi Jews in Israel


Ethiopian Israelis
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