Thank God these uncultured Palestinians are coming around, The Times of Israel reports

Thank God for summer internships. And thank God these uncultured Palestinians are finally coming around. We can finally put an end to six and a half decades of conflict.

The Times of Israel recently published an unabashedly condescending piece about two Washington, D.C.-based interns—one Jewish, one Palestinian American—who swapped places for the summer and who seem to have figured out how to fix the Middle East. Featuring Waleed Issa from the Dheisheh refugee camp and former Israeli military officer Or Amir, the article is a textbook example of colonial rhetoric in which the privileged elite are noble and socially advanced while the colonized and oppressed are uncultured and naïve.

The first eight paragraphs deal with Waleed’s dramatically life-altering experience. “By sharing an office with them [Israelis and Jews], I’ve been struck by how they’re trying to do good things for the new generation,” Waleed is reported to have said. At first, he was “startled.” He even said “Holy moly!” But then he became an addict of Israeli news and a firm believer in sharing his feelings. Moral of the story so far: If only Palestinians weren’t so close-minded, they might actually recognize that Jewish Israelis are only trying to help them.

Or receives much less attention in the story because, for her, working with Palestinians is “less jarring.” Her Sephardic Jewish heritage makes her an expert in dealing with Arabs. “[T]he art, food, and culture feels very familiar,” she says, smartly. She also served as an officer with the Israeli military’s Medical Corps. Waleed is impressed. The article’s author absolutely insists Or spent her time saving Palestinians. Waleed, even more impressed now, begins to see a “different angle about the Israeli army.” What’s the moral of the story now? Because Jewish Israelis are so much more cultured, they know how to relate to others. Plus, they’re really into saving the Palestinians who clearly can’t save themselves.

The rest of the article pushes a two-state agenda and stresses, almost desperately, the need for “person-to-person programs”, a euphemism for “dialogue”. Luckily, I don’t need to explain the problem with dialogue-ing because the silly author absentmindedly does so.  The exchange program “wants participants to focus on creating new stories . . . rather than ‘stories that endlessly recycle old grievances.'” It won’t even “pretend to solve the historical controversies,” like, say, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, or the systematic rejection of human rights and civil liberties to Palestinians living on both sides of the 1967 borders.

It’s a disgusting article and its author, Ari Ben Goldberg, should be disgusted with himself. But of course, he won’t be because he can’t recognize the condescending racist within him. (If he did, this article wouldn’t exist.) So, to give him and his fans an idea of just how bad his work is, I’ve written a satire about Tyrone and James, a black man and a white man who kind of but not really want to sort of beat back urban gentrification. Here are some notable excerpts from the satire that accurately resemble what Goldbert wrote:

“I never saw so many Whole Foods bags in my life,” [Tyrone] says. “Everywhere you look, there’s a grocery store selling fresh fruits. As a black man, I thought to myself, ‘This is not good news. How am I going to work here for the next six weeks?’”

“But when I started talking to James and getting to know him, he started telling me about his life and what socially-elevated life is like. At that point, I started seeing a different angle about white people and the cops. I saw that he was a hero and helped save a lot of people. He probably saved some black people.” [Editor’s note: He most certainly definitely did, no doubt about it.]

“I’m a black man,” says Tyrone. “I want to live among my people in an environment that honors my history and culture. And James’s grandfather who once lived just north of the South Side had a dream that his children would live in an all-white neighborhood. There is no reason these two dreams should be incompatible.”

Racist, derogatory, and offensive, right?

This supposedly novel idea of sitting a Palestinian with a Jewish Israeli face-to-face around a friendship table is overplayed. There’s nothing novel, unique, or even successful about this program except that it caught The Times of Israel‘s attention (which, I’d argue, isn’t much of an accomplishment in the first place).

But not only does Goldberg try so hard to make something out of nothing, he sugars it with a large dose of racist condescension in which the Palestinian—the Other, the close-minded brute, the simpleton—discovers the purely humanistic drive of his mental and physical colonizer, the privileged and upstanding Israeli who only wants to save Palestinian lives.

Patronizing one particular group of individuals in such a way is just as vulgar as traditional forms of racism.

Sami Kishawi

There are 5 comments

  1. ontogram

    Very good, Sami. If these Israeli Jews are so damned cultured and knowing, why does the entire civilized world (I exclude the US from “civilized”) loath and despise them and their Israel? The truth is that the “Jewish State” is such a klutz that it needs more firepower than China (!) just to keep treading water in the region. And this for six million Jews! Some brains that! They had one regional friend, Turkey, and they murdered that one outright. What can these people teach Palestinians? Nothing that matters.

    Personally, I shudder at the imperialist language of “dialogue,” and its close kin “dispute.” Israel will never be “safe” like any other country until they recognize and make amends for the dispossession of a people from Palestine. Israel knows this well and has elected to continue the aggrandizement and war against Palestinians rather than choosing peace and accommodation. I have no sympathy for schmucks like this.

  2. AchmedAbdullahMohammedJihad

    ” ethnic cleansing, or the systematic rejection of human rights and civil liberties to Palestinians living on both sides of the 1967 borders.”

    I dont suppose you great “palesitnian” humanitarians and “palestinian” peace activists ever considered the systematic rejection of human rights and civil liberties of jews on both sides of the green line?

    oh thats right, you dont have to, because you ethnically cleanse / genocide the people you dont want to get along with.

    Yeah, yeah, i know, time to excuse your genocides and ethnic cleansing by “but but but, its all israels fault!”

    you folks are pathetic, ignorant, and delusional

    ” ethnic cleansing, or the systematic rejection of human rights and civil liberties to Palestinians living on both sides of the 1967 borders.”

  3. ontogram

    No, AchmedAbdullahMohammedJihad, Jews are not threatened anywhere in the world. That paranoia is the sickness of Israel and its supporters. Strutting its immense firepower, Israel has managed to alienate the entire rest of the world with its banditry, lawlessness and other forms of “exceptional ism” traditionally claimed by Israel. And you too claim the exception.

    No Israeli home has been bulldozed: Palestinian prisons are not full of Israelis. Not a single phosphorus bomb has been dropped by the Palestinian Air Force on Israeli children. No Israeli land has been “confiscated” by Palestine (that is, stolen!) Palestinians do not lock up 1.3 million by blockade and kill anyone who attempts to help these people, even friends, like the Turks. Palestinians do not assasinate people worldwide. Israel is the mother of all this.

    Israel is the regression of Judaism to its tribal past, its most tribal religion and ethnocentrism. With the founding of the state, Jews worldwide were called upon to regress to Israel, to create a local deity, local enemies and therefore the glue of hatred. But Jews and Judaism had long since learned to survive and thrive without tribalism, in modern societies. Having schlepped G*d back to Israel, Zionism has made him just one of many competing idols. Israel is the celebration and embodiment into a state of the very worst elements of Jewishness and Judaism, its aggrandizing and its idolatry and racism. Frankly, modern Israelis are not even Jews. I don’t know what they are but they are not the conscience-laden Jews I know, they are not people who give a g*ddamn about others. They are a narrow and imported people with a deity racing end to end protecting their self-proclaimed “borders.” Real Judaism does not have borders and that is just one of the many many oversights of Zionism.

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