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Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy Paperback – December 20, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book debunks convincingly and forcefully the myth of Israel being 'the only democracy' in the Middle East. As this book shows, the treatment of the Palestinians in Israel is the ultimate proof that the Jewish State is anything but democratic." - Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Out of the Frame



"Essential reading to understand why there can never be peace unless Palestinian citizens of Israel are granted full equality, something they are systematically denied by Israel's aggressive, and increasingly unrestrained Zionist ethnocracy." - Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of Electronic Intifada, author of One Country



"Ben White offers a holistic view of the Palestine/Israel problem – then goes beyond it to point towards its only just and hopeful solution. A significant and timely contribution to the political discourse so necessary today." - Ahdaf Soueif, author of Booker Prize-shortlisted The Map of Love



"With surgical precision, a wealth of research and sharp analytical intellect, White astutely exposes the oxymoron inherent in the definition of Israel as a 'Jewish and democratic' state and presents a compelling case for holding Israel accountable for committing the crime of apartheid, as defined by the UN." - Omar Barghouti, human rights activist and author

About the Author

Ben White is a researcher and analyst at the Middle East Monitor and Journal of Palestine Studies. He is the author of Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy (Pluto, 2011) and has written for the Guardian, New Statesman and Al Jazeera.

Haneen Zoabi is a member of the Knesset representing the Balad party. She is the first woman to be elected to the Knesset on an Arab party's list.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 2011 edition (February 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745332285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745332284
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,382,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The description of Israel as 'the only democracy in the Middle East' has been received wisdom in the Wes for decades. The idea of Israel as 'one of us', a home for Western values in a region of religious extremism and political instability, is voiced and understood by politicians, journalists, analysts,and the general public... [T]he conception of Israel's status as regionally anomalous -- a liberal, parliamentary democracy -- remains unshaken. When President Barack Obama can call Israel a 'small nation' in a 'tough neighbourhood', remarkably little has chained since Theodor Herzl, the father of political Zionism, wrote in 1896 that a jewish state in Palestine would be 'an outpost of civilization against barbarism' (from the Introduction).
Yet, as Ben White so ably demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth. From the beginning, when European Zionists first began to enter it, Palestine was considered an "empty" land. In 1902, Max Nordau, co-founder of the World Zionist Organization, wrote that Zionists desired "to irrigate with their sweat and to till with their hands a country that is today a desert, until it again becomes the blooming garden it once was." Nothing could have been further from on the ground reality. Palestine was full of productive farms, busy cities and thriving trade. Seeing the land as "empty" "was not a matter of ignorance of the Arab population but a question of European chauvinism." "Palestine at the time of first Zionist settlement was not empty of people, but of people deemed worthy by Europeans of controlling their own country." This was not traditional European (and by extension, American) chauvinistic conquest: when you desire something, go in and take it, the natives be damned. With that in mind, literally anything is permissible.
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In "Palestinians in Israel", Ben White describes the situation confronting Palestinian citizens of Israel, and discusses whether a country that favors one ethnic group is a democracy. Since the United States' support for Israel is predicated on its status as a democracy, a book that disproves that generally unquestioned assumption would shatter the foundations of U.S. policy towards the Middle East, which is exactly what Ben White has achieved with this book.

Some sixty years into its existence, Israel has not been able to approve a constitution, even though the UN Partition Plan of 1947 required each state to "draft a democratic constitution...guaranteeing all persons equal and non-discriminatory rights." Instead, it has passed eleven Basic Laws, one of which establishes the values of the State of Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state," a perfect example of Orwellian doublethink, "the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

Before reading the book, I assumed its subject was secondarily important, given Israel's horrific oppression of Christians and Muslims in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), as exposed in White's first book, "Israeli Apartheid." While Palestinians in Israel are second class citizens, those in the OPT are living with a "boot stamping on a human face" (as I noted in my review of Anna Baltzer's excellent Witness in Palestine). By the time I finished White's latest book, its immense importance had slowly dawned on me. American politicians rarely mention Israel without describing it as "the only democracy in the Middle East," as if unconditional support for Israel is the way to support democracy itself. In 2011, the U.S.
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Don't spend any money. As usual White has an agenda, an angle, he hates jews, wants to put Palaestinians on the map.
Would not surprise me if White has connections to Terrorist Organizations. He likes to fabricate things, expand on them get get out some hate
Have seen some of his articles on in Politico and you can only ask...what is wrong with this guy.
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While reading many anecdotal accounts of discrimination against Arab-Israelis, I have had a very difficult time finding information examining this issue from a legal perspective. Mr. White lays out the Israeli laws and policies that discriminate even as they are couched in seemingly neutral terms. This book is to the point (93 pages) and yet has a wealth of valuable information. A very valuable resource, indeed.
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