Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday 9 July 2014

"In Reality, Israel Is The Only Middle Eastern Entity That Is Not An Apartheid Regime"

In New York on 7 July, a participant in an anti-Israel rally proclaims her reason for supporting BDS.

It is as we know a commonly-expressed justification by BDSers for their hatred of and targeting of the tiny Jewish State, and it's based on a false premise, of course, depending for its origin and its circulation on the construction and consumption of a Big Lie.

The latest well-informed person in a position to be able to show it up for what it is does so in a substantial, scholarly, closely argued, fully footnoted article.

He's Steven Plaut, an academic in the Graduate School of Management at the University of Haifa, and his article is entitled "The Myth of Ethnic Inequality in Israel".

Here's a taste:

'It is commonplace to attribute much of Israel's domestic tensions to supposed Jewish discrimination against the country's Arab citizens. Nearly every Israeli Arab nongovernmental organization insists that such discrimination characterizes the Jewish state in general and its labor markets in particular. The Israeli media routinely interview Israeli Arabs (and non-Ashkenazi Jews) who claim to have been victims of discrimination. These allegations are echoed by Jewish Israeli academics, think tanks, and journalists, especially on the political Left, not to mention the international anti-Israel movement and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. Indeed, the U.S. Department of State has even joined the growing outcry concerning Israel's alleged racist discrimination against its Arab citizens. 
 Of course, in reality, Israel is the only Middle Eastern entity that is not an apartheid regime, and the apartheid slander holds no water whatsoever save in the minds of the Jewish state's enemies and defamers. Yet discrimination is a scientifically empirical question subject to testing and not a matter of subjective personal opinion. Stripping away the venomous anti-Israel rhetoric, the legitimate question remains whether and how much discrimination really exists in Israel....
 The most surprising conclusion from the econometric analysis of ethnic earnings disparities in Israel is how many of the stereotypical characterizations of Israel turn out to be false. Ethnicity in Israel simply does not play a large role in the labor market, in contrast with gender or schooling.
 While it is widely presumed that the Arab minority underperforms in the labor market of the Jewish state, either because of discrimination or other structural or cultural disadvantages, this turns out not to be so. That accusation is central to the claim that Israel is some sort of apartheid regime....
 The problem is not just in the media. The academic careers of many in Israel, particularly in sociology, have been constructed entirely upon unsubstantiated allegations of Israeli racism. Israeli sociologists in general tend to accept at face value the notion that any documented disparity in earnings or numerical representation between Israeli Jews and Arabs must be due to discrimination. Perhaps the most notorious example is that of Yehouda Shenhav, a sociologist at Tel Aviv University. Shenhav is father of the notion that "Oriental Jews" are in fact "Arabs of the Mosaic faith," and together with Arabs, share a victimhood imposed upon them by racist Ashkenazi Zionists.  Shenhav and those of similar ideological orientation operate the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, dedicated to liberating "Oriental Jews" from Ashkenazi bigotry and capitalism.
In Israel's media, it is considered common knowledge that Arabs, Mizrahim, and Ethiopians are victims of harsh discrimination.The accusations of apartheid may be malicious, disingenuous, and over-the-top—or so most Israeli commentators and sociologists would agree—but the presumption of an underlying widespread pattern of discrimination is, to their minds, undeniable. The extent to which some in Israel go to manufacture evidence of discrimination can be awe-inspiring. For example, the ordinarily prestigious Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), a left-wing think tank, published a study in May 2013 that claimed to have discovered unambiguous proof of widespread discrimination in Israel against Arabs. Composed by IDI legal staffer Tanya Steiner under the supervision of Hebrew University professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, the study's evidence was the number of complaints about discrimination submitted to the Israeli Commission on Equal Opportunities in Employment. Yet while numerous complaints from women reached the commission, only 3 percent of the complaints it received were from Israeli Arabs, who represent about 18 percent of the labor force. Of these, only three of the complaints received in the entire 2011 year by the commission about alleged anti-Arab discrimination were deemed worthy of investigation. So instead of concluding that the evidence points to an absence of discrimination, the IDI's conclusion was that it all proves how badly discriminated Israeli Arabs are in Israel; after all, they are so victimized that they do not even file complaints about discrimination.
There is no evidence that points to ethnic discrimination against Israeli Arabs or Mizrahi Jews in Israeli labor markets. Recent immigrants appear to be the one group in the country at an earnings disadvantage. But it would be difficult to make a case that even their disadvantage is due to discrimination since immigrants in all societies are at a competitive disadvantage compared with natives...
The nearly complete absence of evidence of ethnic discrimination in Israeli labor markets does not, of course, preclude its existence in other markets or aspects of society. As was shown here, Arabs earn a higher return on education than Jews. But this does not rule out possible discrimination against Arabs in admissions to universities and colleges. It should be noted, however, that Israeli universities routinely implement affirmative action preferences in favor of Arabs and sometimes in favor of Mizrahim (and women). The only other documented university discrimination is that which grants some preferences to army veterans, a practice found in most countries.
There have also been allegations that Israel discriminates in its fiscal allocations and revenue sharing where Arab towns and villages are underfunded. But an empirical analysis of the question found just the opposite; if anything, the Arab local authorities were being over-funded.  Evidence regarding other alleged forms of discrimination by Israel tends to be just as skimpy. Some accusations are based upon Israel's granting automatic citizenship to Jews under its "Law of Return." But such citizenship entitlements are not unusual in the world and can be found in many other countries, such as Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, and are guaranteed under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Another indictment of Israel concerns the discriminatory nature of its military conscription. Jews and Druse are conscripted into the Israeli military while Arabs may volunteer for service but are not conscripted. Again, this practice may indeed constitute discrimination but that discrimination is against Jews, not against Arabs.
None of this proves that discrimination never exists in Israel against Arabs, against Mizrahi Jews, or anyone else. But the very fact that empirical evidence of discrimination is so hard to discern or observe must itself serve as an important warning indicator about its magnitude or lack thereof.'
Read the entire article, with its supporting footnotes plus captioned illustrations, here

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