Start A Petition

US Lawmaker Rashida Tlaib Denounces Racist Israel's Anti-Palestinian Policies

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: racial segregation, racism, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, israel occupation, occupied Palestine, Palestinian human rights, international, justice, apartheid, American South, usa, news, media )

- 3 days ago -
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has denounced Israel's treatment of Palestinians, describing that country's policies as an affront to human rights and comparable to racial segregation in the American South


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


fly bird (26)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 6:19 am
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has denounced Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, describing that country’s policies as an affront to human rights and comparable to racial segregation in the American South.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American to serve in Congress, told Jacobin magazine that she’d witnessed Israel’s “racism” first-hand while visiting Palestine.

“I can tell you when I was in Palestine with my mother and she had to get in a separate line. There are different-colored license plates if you are Palestinian or Israeli.”

She denounced these policies as “racist” and argued that Israel’s “continued dehumanization” of the Palestinian people “violate[s] international human rights,” as well as her values as an American.

The freshman lawmaker went on to compare the situation in Israel to segregation in the United States, which was enforced by the infamous Jim Crow laws, and the concept of “separate but equal.”

While insisting that she wanted a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Tlaib stated that her ancestors were “killed” and “uprooted from their land” during the creation of the state of Israel – something “no one even wants to acknowledge.”

The congresswoman has come under fire for her support for the Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Last week she tweeted about anti-BDS legislation currently being considered by the House, arguing that the bill was unconstitutional because “our First Amendment right to free speech allows [the] boycott of inhumane policies.”

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 6:21 am
Discrimination, division and demolitions: Life as a Palestinian citizen of Israel.
May 18, 2019

Palestinian citizens of Israel – who number around 1.8 million people and amount to just over 20 per cent of Israel’s population – are often ignored by the broader Palestinian narrative. Although unlike their compatriots in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian citizens of Israel do not live under a formal military occupation, their lives are not without struggle. The community is discriminated against on a daily basis, denied equal access to resources, opportunities, political rights and housing.

So what does daily life look like for Palestinian citizens of Israel? Here are nine things you should know.

This article is part of our series on Eurovision 2019. See more here.

Palestinian history is repressed, their ancestral homes given to Jewish-Israelis

Most Palestinian citizens of Israel descend from those Palestinians who were not expelled outside the nascent state of Israel during the Nakba of 1948. This is not to say they were not displaced; many were forcibly driven from their ancestral villages into neighbouring population centres. Yet unlike their compatriots who found themselves in what was then the Jordanian West Bank, the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip or neighbouring Lebanon and Syria, these Palestinians were granted citizenship in the new Israeli state.

Today, the Palestinian narrative is repressed within Israel, which refers to 1948 as its War of Independence. Despite the fact that some NGOs such as Zochrot have worked to redress this erasure of Palestinian history running visits to depopulated villages which have since been covered over by national parks, forestation projects or purpose-built towns, discussions of the Nakba in schools, the public sphere or media are limited.

Israel has also sought to quash events commemorating the Nakba. In 2017, it banned the annual march held by Palestinian citizens of Israel on 15 May to remember the plight of their ancestors, and in August last year debated a bill which would see anyone carrying the Palestinian flag imprisoned.

This repression is compounded by the fact that, unlike other Palestinians who are prevented from travelling to Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel often live mere miles from the ancestral homes to which they are barred from returning. Some Palestinian citizens of Israel have decided to reclaim their homes, for example the descendants of those expelled from the northern villages of Iqrit and Bir’im, who return annually to the village ruins.

READ: Netanyahu’s son mocked after claiming Palestine never existed

Housing is restricted and resources for Arab-Israeli towns limited

Palestinian citizens cannot live wherever they like. In 2016, only four per cent of real estate was marketed to Palestinian citizens of Israel, with Jewish-Israelis often reluctant for their town to become “mixed”. As a result, many Palestinian citizens live in Arab-dominated towns like Nazareth, Umm Al-Fahm and Tayibe.

These towns are granted fewer resources than Jewish-Israeli towns; a 2015 report by TASC Strategic Consulting and Israel’s Ministries of Finance and Social Equality found that the per capita budget for the residents of Palestinian towns is ten per cent less than Jewish towns “with the weakest socioeconomic profiles”, and 45 per cent lower than affluent Jewish-Israeli towns.

Palestinian citizens are also denied the necessary permits to build their houses. According to NGO Sikkuy, “only 474 buildings in the Arab[-Israeli] community received the necessary legal arrangements in 2018,” a figure it called “a drop in the ocean compared with the 50,000 structures that were built over the years without permits in Arab communities as a result of discriminatory policies”.

House demolitions are commonplace

For Bedouin citizens of Israel – the majority of whom live in the south of the country in the Negev (Naqab) desert – restrictions on housing are even more stringent. Most Bedouin villages are deemed “unrecognised” by the state, meaning they are targeted for demolition.

In 2017, Israel passed the “Kaminitz Law” which made it easier for the state to demolish Palestinian citizens’ homes and force the beleaguered family to pay the demolition costs. The law has been called “sadistic” by Ofer Cassif, Knesset member (MK) for Israel’s Arab-dominated political party Hadash, who told MEMO in April:

It is terrible for someone to build their house, often with their own bare hands, and then be forced to demolish it.

Some Bedouin villages such as Umm Al-Hiran and Al-Araqeeb have been demolished hundreds of times and their residents arrested for protesting Israel’s policy. The Palestinians living there are determined to remain steadfast, vowing to continue rebuilding their homes.

INTERVIEW: Israel’s treatment of Bedouins is a ‘heinous crime’ says Knesset member

Palestinian citizens’ poverty rate is almost double Jewish-Israelis’

A December 2018 report found that the percentage of Palestinian citizens of Israel living below the poverty line is almost double the Israeli national average. Conducted by Israel’s National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi), the report found that found that 47.1 per cent of Arab-Israeli families live below the poverty line, versus a national average of 28.4 per cent.

The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – better known as Adalah – has found that several discriminatory laws contribute to this poverty. One example is the 2015 “Amendment No. 163 to the National Insurance Act”, which revokes child allowances from parents of children convicted of security offenses. Adalah explains that the law specifically “targets Palestinian minors who are either citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem, and who are all brought before Israeli civil courts”.

WATCH: Adalah’s Suhad Bishara at MEMO’s ‘Present Absentees’ conference

Eurovision Israel 2019 - Learn about the Song ContestPalestinian citizens are segregated from Jewish-Israelis in school, hospitals

In addition to higher poverty rates, Palestinian citizens are often physically segregated from Jewish-Israelis. Although mixed schools in which Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children can study together exist, in reality most children attend schools catering for their own community. In 2015, of the 1.6 million school students in Israel, fewer than 2,000 attended the handful of joint Jewish-Arab-Israeli schools.

Further, a report released last month found that this segregation begins at birth, with Palestinian and Jewish mothers separated in hospital maternity wards. Though the hospitals claim this policy is at the request of mothers, several women last year filed a lawsuit which included recordings of hospital staff saying “if there is pressure, we do mix the women, but try to separate them the next day”.

READ: Israel ad for maternity ward shows foetus as future soldier

Their career opportunities are limited

Palestinian citizens are well-educated and have high levels of university attendance, with the number of Arab-Israeli students in Israeli universities growing by 78.5 per cent between 2011 and 2018. Similarly, the number of Arab-Israeli PhD candidates has more than doubled over the past decade.

However, they struggle to reach high-level career positions. A 2011 report by the Israel Democracy Institute found that “18.2% of Jews employed in Israel worked in banking, insurance and finance, and business services, as opposed to 7.8% of Arabs; approximately 10% of Jewish workers were employed in the high-tech industry, as opposed to 2.8% of Arabs”. Instead, Palestinian citizens of Israel often have low-skilled, low-paid occupations, with 43.3 per cent of male Arab-Israeli workers employed in construction, agriculture and industry.

The career trajectories of Palestinian citizens of Israel are also negatively impacted by the fact that they are exempt from Israel’s military service. When they come to apply for jobs after university, Palestinians citizens are discriminated against for not having served in the army and lack the personal connections often built among Jewish-Israelis during their national service.

WATCH: Arab-Israeli Professor As’ad Ghanem from the University of Haifa

They are prevented from marrying other Palestinians or Arabs

Palestinians citizens of Israel are not free to marry as they choose. In 2003, Israel passed the “Citizenship and Entry Law” which “restricts Palestinian citizens of Israel from living together in Israel with their Palestinian spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or from ‘enemy states,’ defined by the law as ‘Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq’”.

In 2012 Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional. Adalah slammed the decision, saying: “The Supreme Court approved a law the likes of which do not exist in any democratic state in the world, depriving citizens from maintaining a family life in Israel only on the basis of the ethnicity or national belonging of their spouse.”

READ: Anger as Israel witnesses Jewish-Arab celebrity wedding

Electoral participation is conditional on accepting Israel’s Jewish character

Unlike Jerusalemite Palestinians who are only granted residency status, Palestinian citizens of Israel are able to vote in Israel’s election. However, according to Israel’s “Basic Law: The Knesset”, any electoral candidate or party must accept Israel’s character as a “Jewish and democratic state” in order to contest.

Many Palestinian MKs have been targeted by Jewish-Israeli politicians as a result of this law, as they have tried to have them banned from electoral participation. The Balad party – which sees itself as a member of the Palestinian national movement – has been targeted continually, with prominent former Arab-Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi repeatedly attacked.

During Israel’s general election last month, the Ra’am-Balad alliance – comprised of two of Israel’s four Arab-Israeli parties that formerly made up the Joint List – was targeted under this law, with the Central Elections Committee voting to ban the alliance. Though the Supreme Court later overturned the ban, the decision was seen as evidence of the barriers to Palestinian citizens of Israel participating fully in the electoral process.

READ: Meet the Arab-Israeli alliances’ new Knesset members

They are the target of incitement, racism and discrimination

Since the creation of Israel, its Palestinian citizens have been depicted as an internal threat, a “fifth column” in need of constant surveillance. Historically this was born out in martial law, which applied only to Palestinian citizens between 1948 and 1966.

Although martial law is no longer imposed, the rhetoric which motivated its existence remains. This was seen once again during last month’s election, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party used anti-Arab slogans and PR stunts to depict Palestinian citizens as a threat and dissuade them from going to the polls.

Netanyahu has also parroted the old trope that Palestinians do not belong in Israel because they have “22 other states to go to”. This rhetoric not only ignores the historical presence of Palestinians throughout Israel’s history and prior to the state’s creation, but their status as Israeli citizens who should be afforded the same rights as their fellow Jewish compatriots.

Elizabeth S (1)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 9:05 am
I applaud Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for calling out Israel's racist, anti-human rights, anti-Palestinian policies.

Thanks Fly

Chrissie R (12)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 10:58 am
She also criticizes most of the U.S. internal policies. Why is she even in office?

Colleen L (3)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 11:28 am
Agree with Elizabeth.
Thanks Fly

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 11:59 am
Death by sea or death by siege?
8 July 2019

Kafa al-Wadia and her family only had $100 between them when they arrived in Gaza eight years ago.

In August 2011, the family fled Daraa in southwestern Syria shortly after civil war erupted in that country. Their travels brought them to Gaza, where they had a number of relatives. Little did they expect that their suffering was about to get worse.

Today, Kafa lives with her son Omar al-Hourani, his wife and their four children in Maghazi, a refugee camp in central Gaza.

Kafa has arthritis but cannot afford treatment. “Poverty is killing us,” she said.

Before leaving Syria, her son Omar had a job in a recycling plant. He has been unable to find work in Gaza.

“Life under the Israeli siege is impossible,” Kafa added.

Palestine is the native land of Kafa and her family. The al-Hourani clan had to leave their native al-Masmiyya al-Saghira – a village in historic Palestine – when it was attacked by Zionist forces in 1948. The clan took refuge in Gaza.

Ali al-Hourani, Kafa’s former husband, fled Gaza during the 1960s.

He had resisted the Israeli invasion of Gaza in June 1967, which led to an enduring military occupation. Ali spent 10 months in an Israeli jail before being exiled to Jordan, from where he moved to Syria.

Kafa wants to leave Gaza, though she has ruled out going back to Syria. Doing so would be too traumatic. Her only other son was killed there in 2013.

Omar al-Hourani has been unable to find work in Gaza.
(Mohammed Al-Hajjar / The Electronic Intifada)

“My son [Omar] and I are looking for a way to travel [away from Gaza],” she said.

An estimated 360 families – totaling 1,200 people – have left Syria for Gaza since 2011. Most came between 2011 and 2013 and traveled through the Rafah crossing, which separates Gaza and Egypt.

In those years, Egypt was headed by Mohammed Morsi, who died recently after years of being denied proper medical treatment while in detention following his overthrow in a military coup.

Although the Morsi-led authorities kept on enforcing the Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza, some easing of travel restrictions did occur. As a result, a number of refugees from Syria were able to enter Gaza through Rafah.

“Death at any moment”

Omar Odeh, who heads a support group for refugees in Gaza, is frustrated by how victims of the war in Syria have been treated.

Both Hamas, which heads the internal administration in Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority, headquarted in the West Bank city of Ramallah, had pledged support for the refugees. The support did not materialize.

“There are officials in Gaza and Ramallah – I would prefer not to mention their names – who promised help to the Syrians during their first few months here, help with securing jobs,” said Odeh.

“But, in reality, they [the refugees] have lived in poverty and hunger. Some have even been imprisoned because they could not pay debts. Others have been ill, without receiving medicine.”

After fleeing Syria, many refugees are struggling to survive in Gaza.
(Mohammed Al-Hajjar / The Electronic Intifada)

According to Odeh, almost 160 of the families who entered Gaza from Syria are in very difficult economic circumstances.

Hamouda Ayoub, 31, is among the refugees from Syria who have left Gaza for Europe.

Ayoub grew up in Yarmouk, a refugee camp in the Damascus area which has been the scene of bitter fighting during Syria’s civil war. After fleeing the besieged camp, he spent six years in Gaza.

That period included Israel’s major attack on Gaza in July and August 2014.

“The Israeli occupation terrified us more than the sounds of shooting in Syria,” he said. “Israel doesn’t know how weak we are. We went through very difficult times during the 2014 war on Gaza. I expected death at any moment.”

Ayoub left Gaza last year. He moved first to Turkey, then to Sweden, where he has found work as a cleaner in a restaurant.

He refers to leaving Gaza as the “third displacement.” It follows two other occasions when his family was uprooted.

The first displacement was during the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. At that time, the family had to flee the city of Haifa. The second was the family’s departure from Syria during its civil war.

“Sometimes I went begging”

Sami Yassin, 39, has a similar story of upheaval.

His family is originally from Bisan, a town in historic Palestine occupied by Zionist forces in May 1948. The family moved to Syria.

Although his grandfather lived in Yarmouk camp, Sami himself grew up in the Homs region.

Sami arrived in Gaza in December 2012. “I worked in a number of jobs that were badly paid – $3 a day,” he said. “Sometimes I went begging.”

He had hoped that his brothers Mumin and Rida would join him in Gaza. Yet in May 2014, he received the dreadful news that they were among the civilians killed in Yarmouk camp.

In August 2014, Sami was injured in his leg when Israel attacked a high-rise Gaza building known as the Italian Compound.

“I was near the Italian Compound at the time,” he said. “At that moment, I decided to leave Gaza and face the risk of dying in the Mediterranean, rather than at the hands of the Israelis.”

Last year, Sami spent two months being smuggled – along with his wife and daughter – through Turkey and then on to Greece. He eventually made it to Belgium in October.

In April this year, he obtained the status of permanent resident from the Belgian authorities.

Ahmad Khalil, 42, is a Palestinian refugee from Syria who fled to Gaza in 2013. Now, he wants to leave.

“There is no safe place in Gaza,” he said. “Israel keeps bombing us. This reminds us of how we were being bombed in Yarmouk camp. My children are afraid of being killed by hunger or by Israeli warplanes. So I am looking for a way to go to Europe.”

Ola Mousa is an artist and writer from Gaza.

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 14, 2019, 12:01 pm
Jerusalem family evicted from home seized by settlers.
10 July 2019

Israeli occupation forces evicted a Palestinian family from their Jerusalem home and handed it over to settlers on Wednesday.

Police forcefully removed the Siyam family from their home after a court dismissed their appeal and ruled in favor of the settler group Elad, ending a decades-long legal battle over the property near Jerusalem’s Old City.

Settlers began removing the Siyam family’s belongings after the home was seized.

Videos show the forced eviction:

The Siyam family home is located in Silwan, where US ambassador David Friedman and Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt recently participated in a theatrical inauguration of a new exhibit at the so-called City of David, a biblical theme park operated by Elad.

Elad’s declared aim is to “Judaize East Jerusalem” by driving Palestinians out of their homes for the benefit of Jewish Israelis.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International called on the booking site TripAdvisor, which promotes the City of David as a top attraction in Jerusalem, to cease marketing tourism in Israeli settlements.

“By promoting Israeli settlements as tourist destinations, TripAdvisor is also glossing over their horrifying human rights record and normalizing to the public what is recognized under international law as an illegal situation,” Amnesty stated.

Those human rights violations include razing Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, where demolitions are on the rise, including in the Silwan neighborhood.

Last year, Israel’s high court gave the green light to evict 700 Palestinian residents of Silwan from their homes.

Meanwhile, funds raised to support the Siyam family as they faced eviction may end up going to Elad instead.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported this week that the settler group “obtained a lien on tens of thousands of shekels that the 241 activists donated for the Siyam family, on the grounds that the family owes it money.”

Israel’s transfer of its civilian population to occupied Palestinian land is a war crime.

Chrissie R (12)
Monday July 15, 2019, 9:06 am
What is the relevance of these last "comments"??? Vitriolic nonsense that's copied and pasted hoping for some response from the uninformed and biased?
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in US Politics & Gov't

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.