For equal treatment under Israeli law

For equal treatment under Israeli law

This NY Times op-ed last week by an Arab citizen of Israel, married to a non-Israeli Palestinian, depicts in painful detail the inequities and indignities forced upon them–especially the unreasonable (even illogical) difficulties imposed upon them when entering the country from abroad.  The one thing he does not do is to provide context when he looks at the historical circumstances under which his grandparents were routed from Lydda, now Lod, by soldiers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, during the 1948 war.  I say this not to justify the permanent exile of so many people at that time, but to indicate that there was a rational explanation: the need for Israel to avoid a potential threat in its rear while facing an onslaught from outside Arab armies. 

That the writer’s grandparents were among only 1,000 who were able to return, while 19,000 others became homeless and stateless refugees, remains a blot on Israel’s past.  That he and his wife cannot travel together today, is a blot on Israel’s present.  The past is past, and no full “right of return” can be enacted (especially to homes that mostly no longer exist) without impinging upon the rights of Israelis today, but unreasonable inequities in today’s law can and must be remedied to help Israel become a more just and harmonious society.  And the stateless refugees must be offered compensation and a variety of options for resettlement, including in the future state of Palestine alongside Israel.

In the meantime, the horrors of the occupation continue in the West Bank, as evidenced in videos of the violence of militant settlers.

By | 2012-05-31T13:32:00-04:00 May 31st, 2012|Blog|6 Comments


  1. DenverChuck June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Israel will forever have besmirched the memory of those murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust by their ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and by their refusal to pass a law of return for those Palestinians and by their continued infliction of indignities on Palestinians as described here. I say this as an American Jew who will never claim my “right of Return” to Israel nor even visit Israel so long as Israeli Jews continue to oppress Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. I voluntarily choose to do what Moses was obligated to do as result of the evil behavior of the Jewish People.

  2. Ralph Seliger June 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Although I understand and respect the reason why “DenverChuck”has made this comment, the vehemence of his point of view saddens me. The history of this conflict is more complex than he allows.

    While one may feel outrage at wrongs committed by Israel in this conflict, one should not underestimate the life-or-death challenges posed by the Arab effort to destroy Israel at its birth in 1948, nor the many attacks which has taken so many Israeli lives since, even as they have also led to instances of injustice and inhumanity in return.

  3. Anonymous June 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Yes Chuck, you may be aware that those native Americans were very belligerent and violent as well. Tried to strangle our young country at birth. White Americans were under great threat, attacks, scalpings, etc.. Algerians brutally attacked French also…

    There’s no accounting for the violence of those people. They just weren’t willing to live and let live. We can’t let them evade their very real responsibility in a complex situation.

    Ralph, Yousef Munayyer seems quite communicative, and interested in the historical issues. Why don’t you raise your misigivings with him?


  4. Ralph Seliger June 2, 2012 at 3:08 am - Reply

    I don’t know of any Yousef Munayyer. I do know of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who allied himself with Hitler and advocated genocide.

    Ted insists on trivializing the fact that Israel was founded by a people fighting centuries of oppression, who had to defend themselves but again against attacks that very nearly overwhelmed them in 1948. It was the Jewish defense against this assault that caused the Arabs of Palestine to suffer their great tragedy. I mourn their suffering and hope for something much better and more secure for both peoples in the future. Obviously, Ted can only see the right in one side.

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  6. Anonymous June 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Dear Ralph,

    Yousef Munayyer is the author of the New York Times op-ed that your blog post refers to. So I would have thought you knew of him. Odd.

    Yousef is the director of the Palestine Center in DC. Easy enough to reach for his perspectives on the Nakba:

    He is also blogging as part of Peter Beinart’s Open Zion.

    I know Meretz is most familair with Hussein Ibish, who is not a Palestinian, and with the American Task Force on Palestine, which is the object of disgust in much of the Palestinian and Palestine solidarity community in the US.

    It might be sensible for you and your US colleagues to familiarize yourself with actual Palestinians in the US, as opposed to Ibish, and with organizations that actually have some Palestinian support.


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