Israeli government spreads racist caricature of Arabs on Facebook, Twitter

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supposed apology for his incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel during Israel’s recent election campaign, his government continues to spread anti-Arab hatred.

Israel’s verified Arabic-language Twitter and Facebook accounts, titled “Israel speaks Arabic,” published the above caricature on Sunday, which asks “Which is better, relying on yourself, or relying on someone else?”

It includes two stereotyped and demeaning figures, one representing a Japanese person, and the other an Arab.

The headline says “Attitudes to work.” The text next to each figure, respectively, states:

The Japanese attitude to work: “If there is someone else who can do a job, then I can do it too. And if there is no one else to do the job, then without doubt I will do it.”

The Middle Eastern attitude to work: If there is someone else to do a job, then let them do it. And if no one else can do it, then dude, how do you think I can do it?!”

In Israel, stereotypes of Arabs – often the lowest paid, least protected and most exploited workers – as lazy, reflect the kind of racist attitudes toward natives prevalent in other settler societies.

This is also reflective of the anti-Arab attitudes taught to Israeli Jewish schoolchildren from the youngest age.

One Facebook user, Magdy C Nashed, responded sarcastically to the Israeli government’s question about self-reliance with the comment: “Then why do you rely on America?”

Twitter user @ANimer – who drew my attention to the caricature – commented that the Israeli government’s posting of a picture calling Arabs “lazy” showed that “racism is pretty casual for the Zionist state.”

Systematic racism

A government that purported to care about all its citizens would fight such stereotypes instead of spreading them.

But as the Israeli organization Sikkuy meticulously has documented in its “Equality Index” reports over several years, Palestinian citizens of Israel face systematic legal, social and economic discrimination.

The direct result is much higher unemployment and poverty, poorer health outcomes and shorter lives.

In its 2013 report on human rights in Israel, the US State Department lists among the most serious problems: “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens, including the Bedouin, in particular in access to equal education and employment opportunities; societal discrimination against women; and the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers, and irregular migrants.”

As I demonstrate in my book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, this discrimination is not incidental to Israel’s policies but a central part of maintaining a so-called “Jewish state.” (You can read a relevant excerpt here.

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Comments

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AsSalaamAlaikum- so what is Israel's response to my question, as a taxpaying American - have you not satisfied your bloodsucking of American taxpayers, totaling way over $5 billion , per year ?

Palestine existed as a productive, independent nation of peace ; until the advent of murderous , racist Zionism .

Dear Israel, if you are so "decent and hard working" , why do you continue to steal/ take/ beg our tax dollars

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Let's see; I think we need to worry more about this rabidly xenophobic, apartheid, serially ethnic cleansing, self-proclaimed democracy with nuclear weapons, what's not to love about Israel?

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Please sign the petition......
http://wh.gov/iZ1XM

Cease all United States foreign aid to nuclear armed Israel as sanctioned by United States law

With the declassification by the United States government of the report entitled
“Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations” which gives a
detailed description of how Israel developed its nuclear infrastructure, the
U.S. now openly admits that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Israel is not a
signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to comply with the
International Atomic Energy Agency regulations and inspections of Israeli
nuclear facilities, we the people of the United States demand that the U.S.
abide by the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment (Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act) which prohibits the U.S. government from providing taxpayer treasuries to nuclear armed non signatories. Cease all US foreign aid until Israel abides by the NPT.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.