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Intra-Semitic divide-and-conquer

Seraj Assi writes for the pan-Arab al-Bawaba under the ugly if witty headline "Israel 'walks like an Egyptian' but protests like a bourgeois Zionist":

[I]it must be recalled that by far the Tel Aviv protests are taking place within the Zionist consensus. For many Arab citizens, the protests are widely seen as a bourgeois distributional conflict over Zionist colonial spoils. No wonder the protests are directed against high housing prices per se rather than against the founding policies and fundamental causes behind the crisis.

We wish Assi could take heart at the hopeful signs of cracks "within the Zionist consensus" that have emerged in recent days. He goes on to note:

When a year ago Arab residents of Jaffa took to the Ajami neighborhood to protest the new housing plan designed exclusively for Zionist-Jews, known as Be’emuna Jews-Only housing project, they were dismissed as subversives to the state’s Jewish character. When they later marched to Jerusalem to demonstrate ahead of the High Court hearing over the project, they were widely presented as a punch of unruly Arabs. Requests and petitions by Ajami residents to stop work in the project have been unanimously dismissed by the Tel Aviv District Court and the High Court of Justice.

All undoubtedly true. But he fails to note that now the Tel Aviv protesters have just issued a statement of support for the Bedouin who are being evicted from their villages to make way for all-Jewish housing in the Negev. We hope Assi is paying attention to these developments. Change has to begin somewhere.

Alas, there are still formidable cultural barriers to Arab-Jewish unity against the Middle East's oppressive regimes. 972Mag notes "(Some) Arab Twitterers use anti-Semitic tag in discussing J14" (J14 being a reference to the July 14 protest that launched the movement). Writer Noam Sheizaf was, like us, elated at the Tel Aviv banners that read "Walk Like An Egyptian," and other signs of emergent pan-Semitic solidarity. He took pictures of the banners and tweeted them around. But then:

Thawret Welada-l-Kalb is Arabic “revolution of the sons of dogs.” This is nothing to do with politics – it’s pure anti-Semitism. One of the people using this hashtag tried to explain that he meant Zionist, not Jews in general. Naturally, I don’t buy this, just as you won’t accept an explanation from an Israeli who said “death to all Arabs”, but then clarified he only meant Hamas supporters. Micro-managing your racism only makes things worse.

Yet, at the same time, there were Arabs Twitter users who denounced this hashtag, calling it racist and shameful. And as always in such cases, some of the clearest voices came from Palestinians.

Nice that Sheizaf could end on a note of hope. The Palestinians who defend the dignity of the Jewish protesters are to be supported. As are those Jewish protesters who vocally repudiate the expropriation of the Bedouin and Palestinians.

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