Adrian, has commented on the post below (Is Israel Racist?). My response is long, so I am putting it here as today's blog.
The original post analysis shows that there is a case to be made that Israel is a state founded on racist ideology, and that the behaviour of the Israeli Government towards the Palestinians is consistent with the inequitable behaviour that is consistent with racism.
I realise this is a controversial area, but please react to what I have written, not to the existing controversy out there.
I am not attacking Israel. I have simply tried to analyse objectively, keeping close to the exact meaning of the words racism, race, and Zionism. If anyone can show that the logic of the situation is not as I have shown it to be, I will be more than happy.
To summmarise again, Jews are (probably) a race, Zionism is a movement to establish and support a state for the Jewish race, and Israelis have been behaving in an unfair way to those not of their race.
The Probably is of interest, because "race" has several different meanings, and it is doubtful that there is a clear scientific basis for the word.
Adrian asks, "If you think Israel is racist because it is a Jewish state, then what of the Islamic states; Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia".
I agree, Islamic states create enormous human rights problems for their citizens. In many ways, Israel is a freer society than, say, Saudi Arabia. There is a difference, in that in Israel, there is conflation with descent ("race") and religion. The Islamic states are characterised by religion only. Although having said that, I would expect that a Caucasian convert to Islam might experience some common or garden discrimination when he goes out and about.
I agree that Iran is a repressive regime. Ahmadinajad's idiotic Holocaust denial and desire for nuclear weapons (not to mention power) was mentioned in the original piece. Adrian gives links to a Human Rights Watch report on Iran.
Adrian: "'Has Israel treated Palestinians unfairly?' I think you need to look at more than this years war to answer that".
We cannnot overlook this year's war.
The link you give to refutations of myths is informative, but on the other hand a pro-Palestinian could give an equally lengthy list of instances of unfair treatment within the State of Israel, and a longer list of complaints relating to the effects of the blockade of Gaza &c &c.
'Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote'
This is welcome, and promises well for the future, a good basis to build on.
The problem lies in absolutism. The pro-Palestinian line is that Israel is Zionist, Zionism is racism, therefore Israel must be done away with. The orthodox line is that God has promised the Land to the Jewish people form Dan even unto Beer-sheba. These absolutisms mean only one thing: continuation of the present misery ad infinitum, or all out war.
A more nuanced (new word, thanks Gordon) or relativistic line would be that there are indeed ideological and practical examples of racism in Israel's constitution and behaviour, and these must be amended. The Law of Return would be a good place to start.
This approach is well established in child psychology. You do not tell a child that it is a bad child for doing something; you tell it that the behavior is not helpful, and show the child a better way to respond to events.
We Greens can and must transcend the absolutist, pro-/anti-Israel divide.
First, we need always to distinguish between people and regime. We wish to see both communities flourish with enough water, food, homes, health and security. At the same time we can be as critical as need be for the failures of the Governments, of the Israeli Government, which has made a huge mistake in Operation Cast Lead, and of Hamas, with its absolutist ideology and provocative rocket attacks (though they reduced substantially in the ceasefire), and of the corrupt Fatah regime (have they cleaned up their act yet?).
Greens should seek to be even handed in its criticism of the regimes, and should be constructive in our analysis of the diplomatic efforts that are under way. As things stand, our policy statements lean towards condemnations of Israel.
Most importantly, though, we should open a new front at the level of the community. This is why we should adopt the Water Project, and put it forward as something that the EU should support with significant resources. This will empower the communities, benefiting them directly in economic and physical terms, because a new water regime means more food and more prosperity.
I hope that Adrian will get Reading Green Party to look at and adopt the Water Project. We need to get beyond the pro/anti debate and get behind the pro-peace and prosperity agenda.