Thursday, June 08, 2006

cafe hafuch

Haaretz writes,

The Musawa Center for Arab Rights in Israel on Wednesday submitted a complaint to the Trade and Labor Ministry charging that the Arcaffe chain discriminates against Arabs in its hiring policies.

Some 50 protesters also demonstrated Wednesday evening outside a Tel Aviv branch of the cafe.

A recent Army Radio investigation found that Nazareth student Wasim Kanaza was refused employment at three separate Arcaffe branches while reporter David Glick was hired using a resume similar to Kanaza's.

Musawa receives numerous complaints of employers discriminating against Arabs, but in most cases it is difficult for the group to prove that systemic discrimination or racism is involved.

The line between systemic discrimination and security is choking. There is no lack of justification for clear violations of civil rights. Historical precedent and fears have superceded human right and decency.

The reactions that come to mind, and their equally weighted justifications, are confounding. From indignation at this blatant national discrimination, an institution basing its hiring policies on ethnic favoritism and elitism, comes a clear understanding of proponent justification.

Fear is the justification. Inexcusable discrimination for a cause. It's a security measure, drawing flashbacks of numerous inside employees or acquaintances helping or architecting an attack.

Arcaffe denies that its hiring policies are based on race, creed, sexality, religion or anything other than ability.

Israelis don't like to call themselves discriminatory, though Israel's critics would say otherwise. Does that make me a critic of Israel? Israelis live in a world measured by our nation's relationship to others. There's the original divine appointment of Jews as chosen people, and there is the modern permeation of Israeli Jews feeling different from, if not superior to, the Arabs living here both as citizens and as outlaws.

This cultural relativism is duly based on Israelis' recognition of Israel's unofficial and unconstitutional designation of its Arab sector as second-class, and on the inherent fear of a people under threat of attack whose neighbors are related to their oppressors. Both Palestinians and Israelis claim to be on the defensive, and it is the middle-man who bears the brunt.

Israeli Arabs are citizens with equal rights who have been served a rotten meal on a silver platter. They took on citizenship instead of refugee camps and were told that, according to democracy, they could freely practice their own religions and speak their own language.

They were given the right to run their own municipal authorities and run for a seat in federal parliament. They were given the right to control their own schools and facilities, and pay taxes and receive social benefits.

They were not given the right, at least in recent years, to see their families who chose differently. They were not given a high spot on the Knesset's lists of priorities. They were not given the right to feel like a desired part of Israeli nationalism.

Arab politicians cannot oppose Israel's national self-designation as Zionist and with a Jewish majority. They cannot identify with the Palestinian cause. There are legal repercussions for breaking this rule, like eviction from politics, detainment, and interrogation, and illegal repercussion such as threats from people like MK Avigdor Lieberman who calls for the execution of any Arabs MK who support Palestinians.

Arabs who live in the state of Israel agree to observe a status quo whereby they respect Israel's national character and abide by the laws as any other citizen, and in return they are granted full rights as citizens of a developed, western nation. Israeli Arabs who collaborate with Palestinians or amongst themselves to attack Israel break their end of the deal. Israeli Jews and governments who unofficially and unconstitutionally demote Arabs to second-class citizens break theirs.

The average Israeli Arab, like the average Israeli Jew and the average Palestinian, is a person trying to live his or her life with joy, comfort and a sense of achievement. Israeli Arabs took a much better deal than Palestinians, in that they are able to live as free citizens. In return, they are forced to live as second-class citizens under a state which wasn't their first choice and is now their rightful home.

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