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August 6, 2001
Israel's racist doves

By Ali Abunimah


NileMedia commentary: Like Ali Abunimah, we also took notice of Burg's racist commentary on ABC. What really puzzled us was why Chris Bury, the Nightline anchor. didn't react to the obviously racist remarks and let them go unchallenged. This 'Scandinavian vs Barbarians' theme was also used by Barak recently. we won't pretend that we are shocked that major Israeli political figures are blatantly racist; it is part of being an Israeli. The 'Segregation now, Segregation forever' crowd is alive and nasty as ever in Tel Aviv. This overt bigotry, which is standard fare in the Israeli press, translates into day-to-day brutal repression against the Palestinians. It is something the government of Israel encourages to create the requisite cultural environment for their occupation troops and to assure that segregationist and elitist sentiments prevail. So, what exactly is the problem with people who don't want to debate the racist values inherent in being a Zionist? If such overt racism goes unchallenged, it is safe to assume that those who fail to challenge it are bigots themselves.

From Ali AbuNimah

Avraham Burg, the speaker of Israel's parliament, tipped to be the next leader of the Israeli Labor Party, and a man who has long posed as a "dove" has called Palestinians "unhuman" and "people you would not want your daughter to get married to."

Mr. Burg made the comments on ABC television's news program "Nightline," on August 2, in a discussion in which he was vigorously defending Israel's policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians.

Burg made a number of blatantly racist and inciteful statements which dehumanize Palestinians and legitimize Israel's brutality against them because, according to Burg, Israelis and Americans live in the 'civilized' 'Western' world, while Palestinians are barbarous savages who should not be related to as human beings.

Nightline host Chris Bury asked Burg: "...Israel prides itself on being a democratic nation based on the rule of law, and so how--how does one justify assassination when the security forces in--in these cases are jury, judge and executioner?"

Burg's response: "No doubt that in the Western world and the Western value system that we both live in, the lamb is usually having a fair chance before the wolf is biting it. In the Middle East, you have some different rules. Unfortunately, the relationship between us and the Palestinians are not exactly like the relationship between the US and Canada. You know why? Not because we're not Americans, because I'm not at all sure they're Canadians. We're living in a different hemisphere, of Islamic fundamentalists, of human bombs, of suiciders--suic--suicide people, of killers, of kidnappers, of people you do not want your daughter to get married to. Don't try to ask me to relate to my unhuman neighbor the way the Scandinavians are treating the Swedes."

Avraham Burg's comments provide further evidence, if it were needed, that Israel's Labor Party is little different from Ariel Sharon's Likud as regards its prevailing racist and supremacist attitude towards Palestinians.

Ali Abunimah
The writer is an analyst based in the United States.