16 Things That Give Israel a Bad Name But Aren’t Really True

From Israel Video Network:

2. “Zionism is Racism. Israel by Definition is Undemocratic.”

idf101Jews, both secular and religious, are a people who have the right to self-determination. What is racist is denying Jews a right granted to all other peoples bound together by shared identity and heritage. The Jewish people established a democratic government for their state in 1948. When the UN recommended establishing a Jewish state in 1947 and admitted Israel as a member in 1949, it saw no contradiction between Israel’s Jewish and Democratic identity. Israel grants people of jewish heritage a fast track to citizenship, just like Poland, Finland, Greece, and other nations grant citizenship based on ethnic ancestry. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is one of the world’s most diverse and progressive countries. Non-jewish Israelis, who make up 24 percent of the population, have equal rights under the law. Over 15 religions are officially recognized, women and the LGBT community are legally protected from discrimination, and affirmative action programs exist to help minorities overcome the disadvantages they face.

3.  “Israel is an Apartheid State.”

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Israel is the opposite of an apartheid state. It is a multicultural democracy and the only free country in the Middle East. Labeling Israel as practicing “apartheid” justifiably offends Israelis and many victims of real apartheid regimes. Israeli law enshrines equal rights for all citizens, and minorities participate fully in public life. While Israel, like other multi-ethnic democracies, struggles with minority disadvantages, its laws try to eradicate inequality. Nor does Israel practice apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza. ‘Palestinians’ are not citizens of the jewish state, and the vast majority do not want to be. They are governed by their own leaders — Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

13.  “Israel is Responsible for The Plight of the Arab Refugees”

The Arabs left their homes in 1947–49 for a variety of reasons. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, thousands more responded to Arab leaders’ calls to get out of the way of the advancing armies, a handful were expelled, but most simply fled to avoid being caught in the cross fire of a battle. Many Arabs claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians arabs became refugees in 1947–49. The last census taken by the British in 1945 found approximately 1.2 million permanent Arab residents in all of British Palestine. A 1949 census conducted by the government of Israel counted 160,000 Arabs living in the new state after the war. In 1947, a total of 809,100 Arabs lived in the same area. This meant no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower refugee figure—472,000.

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Although much is heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees, little is said about the Jews who fled from Arab states. Their situation had long been precarious. During the 1947 UN debates, Arab leaders threatened them. For example, Egypt’s delegate told the General Assembly: “The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries would be jeopardized by partition.” The number of Jews fleeing Arab countries for Israel in the years following Israel’s independence was nearly double the number of Arabs leaving it. Many Jews were allowed to take little more than the shirts on their backs. These refugees had no desire to be repatriated. Little is heard about them because they did not remain refugees for long. Of the 820,000 Jewish refugees between 1948 and 1972, 586,000 were resettled in Israel at great expense, and without any offer of compensation from the Arab governments who confiscated their possessions.  Israel has consequently maintained that any agreement to compensate the Palestinian refugees must also include Arab reparations for Jewish refugees. To this day, the Arab states have refused to pay anything to the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to abandon their property before fleeing those countries. Through 2014, at least 173 of the almost 1,000 UN General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East conflict referred directly to Palestinian refugees. Even in 2014, the Jewish refugees from Arab countries have not been mentioned in any significant UN resolution.

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