It comes as no surprise that The Guardian, which has been one of Salah’s staunchest defenders in his legal battle against deportation, has given the Sheikh the opportunity to attack Israel only a day after finally returning home to the very country that he now savages.
Of course it would be naive to suggest that the status of Israeli Arabs is perfect. But it is a far cry from Salah’s claims of deliberate persecution.
Indeed, in a recent blog post for The Times of Israel, Haviv Gur writes the following:
In a February 1 Haaretz column, Alexander Yakobson, a noted Hebrew University historian who also happened to write my favorite book, gives some enlightening statistics, gleaned from the Israel Democracy Institute’s Israeli Democracy Index for 2011 (PDF). I couldn’t find a translation from Haaretz itself, so I’m using one sent to me by Dr. Yakobson:
According to the Israel Democracy Institute’s “Israeli Democracy Index for 2011,” 52.8% of Arab citizens (as opposed to 88% of Jewish citizens) respond in the affirmative when asked whether they are proud to be Israelis.
The details are even more eye-opening:
Of course, being proud to be an Israeli does not mean refraining from harsh criticism of the establishment. According to the 2011 survey, only 24.5% of Arab Israelis trust the Prime Minister; 35.5% trust the government as an institution…; and 69.4% trust the Supreme Court (almost identical to the percentage among Jewish Israelis). The IDF enjoys the trust of 41% of Arab citizens and 45% agree that it is “very important” or “quite important” to strengthen Israel’s military capability.
Israeli Arabs like being Israeli, are proud to be Israeli and want Israel to remain secure.
Can this be true? Doesn’t it contradict the conventional wisdom of the media, the rhetoric of Israeli Arab leaders, the political discourse on both right and left? And if it is true, if hundreds of thousands of Arabs are proud Israelis, what should we make of the claim that a Jewish state can’t accommodate proud minorities?
Yakobson concludes that it is long past time for Israeli Arab politics to begin to reflect Israeli Arab feelings toward Israel:
It would seem that the basic attitude of the Arab minority towards the State is an ambivalent one. Given the current conditions, this ambivalence is good news. This public’s elected leadership reflects for the most part the negative side of this ambivalence, and nothing else; no force in the political arena reflects this ambivalence’s positive side, which, as we have seen, in not at all negligible. It is definitely in the interest of the Arab public, and of Israeli society as a whole, that such a force should emerge.
Sheikh Raed Salah is symptomatic of the radical and poor leadership in the Arab sector that contributes to the problems of that sector rather than alleviating them.
Salah’s charge of “drilling tunnels” under Jerusalem’s Old City is in keeping with his penchant for whipping up anti-Jewish feeling amongst Muslims by falsely accusing Israel of undermining the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. As for his aspirations for a “directly elected leadership for Palestinians in Israel”, considering that Arab citizens of Israel have the right to vote and have their own parties and elected politicians, this can only be a call for separatism and disengagement from the Israeli state as a whole.
That Raed Salah has the freedom to incite within Israel itself is something of a testament to the liberties provided by Israel to all of its citizens, even those who wish to see the state destroyed. For The Guardian to give Salah a final platform upon exiting the UK is just another example of this media outlet’s malicious intent towards Israel.
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