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Hey Bill O’Reilly, Where are the Moderate Jews?
Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr
Friday, October 26, 2012 - 10:12 am (19 Comments)

Where is Bill O’Reilly when you need him?

This week, Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a survey that contained some shocking findings.  According to journalist Gideon Levy, who penned the article for Haaretz, “The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.”

Bill, are you listening?  You’re famous for speaking of a “Muslim dilemma.”  You and many other commentators have pleaded for reasonable, moderate Muslims to make their voices heard in the face of Islamic extremism and movements that devalue the lives and status of non-Muslims.

Moderate, peace-loving Muslims have populated your show and many others, usually bombarded by your insistence that they denounce extremism.  They always do.  Arab and Muslim groups always send out condemning press releases distancing themselves whenever an extremist group or individual does something crazy.

Well, now we have a nation—one that claims to speak for the entire Jewish people—that has unmasked its beliefs in a pretty extreme fashion.

Israeli study: 59% of Israeli Jews favor preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to government jobs.

Bill, where are the moderate Jewish voices?

Israeli study: 49% of Israeli Jews want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones.

Bill, aren’t you outraged?

Israeli study: 42% of Israeli Jews don’t want to live in the same building as Arabs.

Well, this is ridiculous, right? I know the smell of garlic from the kitchen can be overwhelming, but on the bright side, you’ll get invited to dinner at least 3 times a week.

Israeli study: 42% of Israeli Jews don’t want their kids in the same classroom as Arabs.

Bill, we Americans outlawed segregation in schools a long time ago.  Remember?  These backwards Israelis are revolting.  Now, Israel already funds Jewish schools three times more than it funds Arab schools.  But that’s ok, we invented algebra and chemistry, so we can do without education.

Israeli study: 74% of Israeli Jews favor separate roads for Jews and Arabs in the West Bank.

OK, I have driven alongside Arabs in the Middle East, and I would rather skydive without a parachute.  So I totally understand this one.

Israeli study: 33% of Israeli Jews would support a law banning Israeli Arab citizens from voting.

Bill, this one even makes the KKK jealous.

Mr. O’Reilly, shouldn’t reasonable, moderate Jews speak up?!  Bring me on the show.  Let’s talk about it!

No Jewish-American group, to my knowledge, has made any public statement about this troubling study.  When Muslim and Arab American groups fail to denounce extremist views and acts, we are labeled as “complicit.”  Bill, it’s safe to assume that American Jews concur with these racist views prevalent in Israeli society, right?  If not, where are the moderate voices?

Of course, the sad irony is that American Jews, who have honorably been at the forefront civil rights struggles here, are usually all too silent when it comes to Israel.

To a Palestinian, the results of this survey are not too surprising.  As Arab Knesset member Jamal Zahalka noted, “We’re talking about racism, pure and simple.  The Israeli regime isn’t a carbon copy of South Africa’s apartheid, but it is certainly from the same family.”  We have long lived in a world where we know the Israeli state is built upon the notion that Jews are simply better than Arabs.  In that world, Jews are human beings worthy of rights; Arabs are not.  Separate roads, separate schools, and institutionalized racism are not memories of an ugly past. They are realities of an ugly present.

Mr. O’Reilly, you once asserted, “For every Muslim in the world who wants democracy and human rights, there’s one who doesn’t.”  That would be a scary ratio.  But there are no studies to prove that.  Who would have ever thought you could have said the same about Israelis and been exactly right?

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

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