A recent poll conducted by public opinion firm, Dialog, and published by Haaretz, has suggested, in unequivocal terms, that the majority of Israelis* favour ‘apartheid’ policies against the Palestinians.
In a batch of such indicting statistics it is difficult to pick the most deeply concerning. In the area of democratic rights, more than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was to be annexed by the state of Israel, while a third want Arab citizens within Israel to be banned from voting in parliamentary elections.
On more social issues, three out of four respondents believed that segregated roads were desirable; nearly six out of ten said Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs; 49 percent said Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs; and 42 percent wanted neither to live in the same building as Arabs, nor to have their children attend the same schools as Arab children.
While these figures speak loudly of a tacit racism in themselves, a further statistic from the poll does away with the qualifier ‘tacit’ altogether – 58 percent believed Israel already practices apartheid against Palestinians.
The Guardian article publishing the same statistics included this quote from Gideon Levy, whose commentary accompanied the results of the poll:
“Israelis themselves … are openly, shamelessly and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists … It’s good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it. If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don’t apply.”
The finds of polls like the one above go a long way to vindicating the insistent, though controversial accusations of Israel being an apartheid state. Ben White, is someone who has written and published widely on the subject, including two books for Pluto – Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide (Pluto, 2009) and Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy (Pluto, 2011).
Along with Alice Rothchild’s beautifully written book and account of her involvement with the Dorothy Cotton Institute delegation to Palestine, White’s writing makes for essential reading on the subject of Israeli apartheid.
For an up-to-the-minute appraisal of the subject, set in a broader context looking at the Israeli state’s deliberate policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, we also recommend Virginia Tilley’s Beyond Occupation.
All of these books are available online. Simply click on the images below.
*The statistics in this article are drawn from the poll’s responses from 503 interviewees