“Some of my Best Friends are Arabs”: Why Racism is Bad for the Nationalist Movement
The worst anti-Semites in history have been known to claim they had “Jewish friends.” Some really did. There are Jews today who claim that they’re not racist simply because they have “Arab friends.” But at least these are acknowledging that racism is a negative emotion. They’re ashamed of their “closet racism.” There are also those who hate Arabs so much that they don’t mind the “racist” label and have never made an effort to learn about Arabs.
Many of my fellow right wingers feel it’s more important to defend the “best interests” of the Jewish people than to be politically correct. I agree! Only not only are they not being politically correct; they’re also not defending our best interests. I believe it’s in the best interests of the Jewish people and the State of Israel to do not necessarily what’s politically correct but what’s right. Most will agree. The question now becomes: “What constitutes being right?”
And here’s where I disagree with many nationalist Zionists. I believe it’s “right” to acknowledge that many Israeli Arabs either openly or covertly support the State; that they’re the ones responsible for performing the menial labor jobs that Jews aren’t willing to do; that Israeli Arabs have by large and wide remained loyal to Israel; and that simply put, I will accept any human being who expresses interest in being my friend. Yes, Arabs have caused a disproportionate amount of heartache to us, here in Israel. Nevertheless, I still see it as my duty to return kindness when I see it.
I believe it’s high time for us to change our mindsets. We need to stop thinking in terms of “us” and “them.” We need to recognize individual accomplishments. We need to recognize the self-evident fact that there’s a vital difference between the “group” and the “individual.” There’s the Arab world that hates and wants to annihilate the Jewish people, and there are the individual Arabs, a large segment of whom just want to earn a decent living.
It hurts to hear people, especially those who are on the same side as me, making racist statements. The biggest reason it hurts is that every time I hear these, I realize just how much damage they’re unconsciously causing the State of Israel–a country they claim to love and support.
Folks, time to wake up and smell the coffee!!! All of those living here are (whether you want to or not) spokesmen for the State. What you say can and will be used against you by the international media. It’s time to take responsibility for your words. Time to own up that we, Jews, have been on the receiving end of racism for the duration of our national history, but most of all that racism hurts the nationalist agenda much more than it helps it. Why? Because only we have the ability to change how the world views Israel and every little comment; every little swear you direct at a passerby, every little stone you throw at an Arab car will be construed by our enemies as “Zionist evil.”
It’s taken me a very long time to come to terms with this. I grew up being a racist. I believed that the means justified the end; that I had to do whatever I could to make sure my people were safe. This is no longer the case. We certainly need to make sure our people can lead safe lives in our ancestral homeland, but the way to get this done is by allowing those who wish to be our friends into our lives–not leading a sheltered existence believing that “they’re out to get us.”