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January 17, 1990 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-17

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OPINION

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Wednesday, January 17, 1990

The Michigan Daily

No

Israeli

democracy

for

Palestinians

i
M

By Tom Abowd
Many of the enduring myths that sur-
round the creation of the State of Israel as
well as Israel's treatment of the indigenous
Palestinian population were presented by
;Litt, Miller, and G i n itheir Opinon
;:Page letter (Daily, "Productive dialogue
:.needed,12/4/89.) Their piece was a re-
" sponse to one I wrote in November com-
, memorating the first year anniversary of
the Palestinian State.
Instead of directly addressing the points I
made about the history of Israeli oppres-
sion and inhumanity toward the indige-
' nous people of the region, the authors
{chose to make claims which are un-
founded, and often irrelevant to the particu-
lar issues I raised. Rather than fill pages
i discussing all of their inaccuracies, I will
discuss one myth that is used often by
supporters of Israel and which the authors
. attempt to masquerade as fact.
Litt, Miller, and Green assert that
Arabs live as equals inside the Jewish
State, and that "the only restriction to
Arab citizenship is that Arabs are not re-
quired to serve in the Israeli army," but the
;facts present a different picture. Israel is a
,state built upon a foundation of racist and
idiscriminatory policies. This may seem a
strong statement for those who support Is-
rael but is easily substantiated by examin-

ing official, written Israeli laws, and poli-
cies which have been around since the
birth of the state in 1948.
One law which is fundamental to Zion-
ism is the Law of Return. Soon after the
State of Israel was established, the Israeli
government began to expropriate more
land by terrorizing Palestinian families and
driving them from their homes. The land
that was stolen was reserved for exclusive
use of Jews - not for all Israeli citizens.
Under the Law of Return, a Jew from
anywhere in the world may immigrate to
Israel, become a citizen and automatically
have more rights to own land than a Pales-
tinian citizen of Israel, whose family has
lived there for hundreds of years.
Today, 92 percent of Israeli land is re-
served for the use and benefit of Jews
only. Non-Jews may not own land in
these areas and are very often even pre-
vented from renting in these areas. What
would be the reaction if the government of
the United States reserved 92 percent of
Michigan (or any part of Michigan) for the
use of Christians only. What if non-Chris-
tians were restricted from owning land
there and Christians could take legal mea-
sures to prevent Jews, Muslims, or athe-
ists from residing in Christian areas. Sim-
ilar Israeli land policies in the West Bank
and Gaza are currently in practice. This is
clearly a racist policy with striking simi-
larities to the apartheid land policies of

South Africa where 87 percent of the land
is reserved for whites only.
But not only are Palestinians living in-
side Israel forbidden to live on 92 percent
of the land but their land in the remaining
8 percent can also be expropriated by the
Israeli government and their homes de-
stroyed without recourse. In the northern
region of Israel called the Galilee (where
Palestinians now outnumber Jews) this
has happened on numerous occasions. The
Israeli government has allowed kibbuttz to
expropriate Palestinian villages for the
purpose of expansion. Whole Arab vil-
lages - many of which the Israeli gov-
ernment refuses to recognize - have been
razed to the ground leaving thousands of
Palestinians, who are citizens of the state,
homeless.
Arab workers who are Israeli citizens
make about half the wages a Jewish
worker makes doing the same kind of
work. An Arab laborer working in the

gated to be members and pay dues in the
Israeli Labor Union, the Histadrut, means
nothing since the union does not provide
any services to or provide protection to
Arab workers. In fact, near the Ariel set-
tlement the union boasts of its medical
clinic for workers but neglects to report
that Arab workers will not be treated there
under any circumstances.
In addition, Palestinians living within
Israel are not allowed to express their na-
tional identity and are forbidden to even
display the Palestinian flag. Others forms
of expression of Palestinian history and
culture have been erased from virtually ev-
ery aspect of life - former Palestinian
villages have been renamed, Palestinian
history is not taught etc.
Living inside "democratic" Israel does
have its benefits though Palestinians can
vote just as African-Americans were able
to vote in Mississippi in the 1930's.

Universities, though they may not study
certain subjects such as archeology at Hq-
brew University in Jerusalem. Agai,
policies like these parallel the history of
anti-Semitism in the U.S. and around the
world:
Another of the more humiliating an i
dehumanizing laws which the "democratic'
state of Israel has instituted concerns thb
Palestinians from the West Bank ano1
Gaza. These Palestinians are forbidden by
the Israelis to spend the night inside Isradl
(similar to policies in South Africa which
forbid Blacks from staying in "white ar-
eas" overnight). Violation of this law i$
punishable by up to five years in prison or
$5000. However, it is lawful for Israeli
employers to keep Palestinian workers in
a room locked from the outside between
the hours of 1 and 5 am. In other words,
only if these wild, primitive Palestinians
are locked up like horses and kept out cif
sight can there presence can be tolerated.
Either Litt, Miller, and Green don't
know much about the state they defend
they believe these written laws to be
democratic and just. I challenge Litt,
Miller, and Green to put themselves in th
place of Palestinians for just one minut$
and ask themselves what it might be like.
Tom Abowd is a member of the Palestine
Solidarity Committee.
ii-

'Today, 92 percent of Israeli land is reserved for the use and
benefit of Jews only. Non-Jews may not own land in these ar-
eas and are very often even prevented from renting in these
areas. What would be the reaction if the government of the
United States reserved 92 percent of Michigan (or any part of
Michigan) for the use of Christians only.'

same factory on the same line working
next to his or her Jewish counterpart
makes half as much as the Jewish worker.
The fact that many Arab workers are obli-

Palestinians can not be expelled from their
homeland like their brothers and sisters in
the West Bank and Gaza. Also, Palestini-
ans may enroll in any of the fine Israeli

'h
Edited andr
Vol. C, No. 73
Unsigned editorialsr
s cartoons, signed ar
of the Daily.
i'
'Oliver South's?

managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
ticles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion

i'

~El
:IN WHAT
!bold politic
;'dent Alfre
1announced
,the murde
,Novembe
announcer
Brest of sev
idiers, incl
They ar
diers to be
4murders in
civil war
army-spon
sponsible
that time.
Christia
sion by th
the enrom
his county
any measu
ceed.
rThrough
has threat
various re
supported
indirectly
:,progress o
cys. To re
tional polit
erected a f
man right
out by the
In lateI
murder o
Oscar Ro
4 cans (inct
i took its im
pressure th
clean up i
was suspe
Since th
significant
1 the army
murders. E
receive m
U.S. aid fa
will increa
gets his w
tinued. On
t;cently defe
testified th
tary opera
least 72 ac
last year.
r Christia
'; sonnel, wh

Salvador's fall guys
HAS been falsely hailed as a rather than arouse the kind of attention
cal move, Salvadoran Presi- such an admission rightly deserves.
ado Christiani has formally Just as the spectacle of the indictment
Ihis army's responsibility for and prosecution of Oliver North in this
er of six Jesuit priests on country diverted attention from the true
r 16 of last year. Christiani's origins of the crimes in the Iran/contra
nent was followed by the ar- case, Christiani and his U.S.-American
veral army officers and sol- supporters are banking on a classic fall-
uding a colonel. guy theory of crisis resolution. While
e the first government sol- Christiani is widely praised (in this
e charged with death squad country) for his political courage, his
a the 10-year-old Salvadoran own complicity and the complicity of
though government and his death-squad Arena party will drop
nsored forces have been re- from public view.
for 60,000 murders during The success of this ploy is especially
important to Christiani for several rea-
ni hopes to forestall a deci- sons:
he U.S. Congress to reduce From the start of his term last spring
ous supply of military aid to Christiani has been struggling to create
ry. And if recent history is the sort of moderate image which his
ire, he will undoubtedly suc- predecessor Jose Napole6n Duarte en-
joyed in the U.S. media and Congress.
hout the decade, Congress This is no small task for a man who
ened to suspend aid to the has been chosen to front what is essen-
pressive governments it has tially the most extreme right-wing party
which use that aid directly or in Salvadoran politics - the party most
in their efforts to stop the directly linked to death-squad murders
f popular guerilla insurgen- throughout the current civil war. Even
lieve domestic and interna- today, the leadership of the fascist
tical pressures, Congress has Roberto d'Aubuisson within the Arena
facade of concern for the hu- party is rarely questioned.
s abuses relentlessly carried
Salvadoran military. Secondly, with his army's brutal re-
1980, following the army's pression of the November offensive by
f Salvadoran Archbishop the rebels of the Farabundo Marti Na-
mero and five U.S.-Ameri- tional Liberation Front (FMLN) -
uding three nuns), Congress which included bombing poor areas of
iost drastic measure ever to San Salvador at a cost of hundreds of
he Salvadoran government to civilian lives - domestic opposition to
its image: U.S. military aid U.S. support for the Arena government
nded for nearly one month. has intensified. Members of Congress
hat time there has been no have relied on the image of Christiani
Congressional opposition to as a moderate reformer to justify the
and right-wing death-squad enormous levels of funding required to
El Salvador has continued to keep the FMLN at bay. With hundreds
ore than $1 million per day in killed and the murder of six Jesuit
or nine years (a figure which priests and educators unsolved, the
ase further if President Bush "war at home" was threatening to get
ay), and the killing has con- out of hand.
ie Salvadoran soldier who re- Whether or not the arrested officers
ected to the United States has are ever punished (it may not be neces-
iat he was involved in a mili- sary to continue the charade to comple-
ation which assissinated at tion) the prosecution of a few soldiers
tivists from April to July of and officers does nothing to alter the
true nature of El Salvador's repressive
ni's indictment of army per- government. And the longer the U.S.
ich underscores the govern- government can come up with excuses

S O*
RO
A Savadran an supectd o wokingwit theFML - s arestd b themiltarydurng he ltes of
fensive in San Salvador. Now some army ssld e s d aoln ae ee hagdhthe ssasinaton o
- Jesit piest on NvembrM16

0
0i

For candor
and truth
To the Daily:
UCAR articles in the Daily
seem like the messages people
wear on T-shirts: all manifesto,
no communication. Response
doesn't seem to be the object,
but perhaps it may be permit-
ted?
"Twenty years past due"
(Daily, 1/12/90) charges that
the University has failed to
meet its commitment of 20
years ago - yielding to the
demand of the Black Action
Movement - to achieve 10
percent Black enrollment. That
charge is, of course, perfectly
true.
But in taking the view that
the University administration
has somehow brought about
this result by not trying hard
enough, or by not doing some-
thing it is perfectly capable of
doing, is to misread the facts
wildly and to perpetuate a his-
tory of something less than
candor and truth.
I agree with UCAR that the
University administration is in
bad faith: it was so 20 years
ago, it was so when President
Shapiro accepted another two
percent just before cutting out
for a "smaller, better place,"
and it is so today. But not be-

lack of candor and good faith
have been the sad result. This,
it seems, is the inevitable con-
sequence of the inability to
admit a blunder was made in
the first place.
The demand (not for knowl-
edge and wisdom, which may
always be demanded and
sought) for a quota was ex-
torted by bullying. The capitu-
lation of 20 years ago was a
vain attempt to preserve busi-
ness as usual.
I sincerely invite UCAR to
start being against racism (as
when in its article it refers to
"the few token people of color
brought here by the administra-
tion," an insulting reference to
people of color in this com-
munity, and one it must know
to be dishonest) and to begin a
genuine attempt to foster jus-
tice for all students, all faculty,
all administrators - of all
races.
-Leo McNamara
January 14
Reformative.
action?
To the Daily:
There will inevitably be
those who dismiss this article
as racist and insensitive be-
cause it was written by a mid-
dle-class white boy from the

stitutionalized racism mani-
fested as underrepresentation of
minority students at the Uni-
versity. It further attacks the
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
as a racist tool used primarily
for keeping minorities and the
underprivileged off campus.
While I agree that the prob-
lem is institutionalized racism,
I disagree as to where this
racism is to be found. I'm not
sure the blame belongs with
the University, and I have
grave doubts about blaming the
SAT. I will concede that the
verbal portion of the exam may
give white students an unfair
advantage; I refuse to concede
the same thing about the math-
ematics portion of the test. A
polygon can not be racist, and
quadratic equations are color-
blind: you either know how to
solve them or you don't, and
the color of your skin isn't go-
ing to affect a thing.
And yet, study after study
has shown that minority stu-
dents perform worse on this
test than their white, affluent
counterparts. Why?
The problem is not that the
test is unfair; nor is it that
Blacks and other minorities are
less intelligent than whites
(although some racists make
this claim). The problem is
that minority students have al-
ready been failed by 12 years of

in and of itself, is colorblind.
Affirmative action tries to
correct with a single push the
injustices done by holding mi-
nority students back for twelve
years. The goal is a noble one,
but I am skeptical about the'I
success of the methods. I have
never seen a study that fol-
lowed up on the University ca-
reers of those students who
were admitted through affirma-
tive action programs, but {I
suspect it would show that
they do worse than the major-
ity of the student body. Having
been robbed of the necessary
foundation in their early educa- *
tion, they are unable to live up
to their higher aspirations.
The problem is not the SAT
or the admissions process. The
problem is the system that
produces unqualified applicants
in the first place. What is
needed is not affirmative a -
tion, but reformative action.
We need to fix the system, b-
ginning with first grade, so
that it produces qualified mi-
nority students who will then
perform better on the standard-
ized tests, and thus be accepted
on their own merits. Higher
minority enrollment will
inevitably follow, along with
an improved minority success
rate at the University.

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