Saturday, December 11, 2010

Racists Unto the Nations: Rabbis say 'no housing for Arabs'

Hundreds of Israeli rabbis have signed a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting or selling homes to Arabs.

Mya Guarnieri

"Hundreds of Israeli rabbis have signed a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting or selling homes or land to Arabs and other non-Jews. The public letter instructs Jews to "ostracise" those who disobey the order, which is widely viewed as an attack on the country's Palestinian citizens.

When the decree was announced on Tuesday, it had been signed by 50 rabbis, many of who are employed by the state of Israel as municipal religious leaders. Despite sharp public criticism, another 250 rabbis have added their names to the proclamation.

It is the latest battle in the ongoing religious campaign against non-Jews.....

Democracy under attack

Neve Gordon, the author of Israel's Occupation, remarked: "The rabbis are just an expression of the sentiment."

Some landlords have refused Arab tenants for years, Gordon added. "It's not new. What's new is the feeling that one can express this [without] shame ... and when you lose shame you've reached an extremely dangerous situation."

Gordon emphasised that this shift is not limited to the religious community.

"We shouldn't understand this outburst as an island. It has to do with the loyalty oath and other legislation that is now in the Knesset," Gordon said, referring to the controversial bill that would force non-Jews who seek citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state.

Human rights groups are concerned about scores of other bills, including one that would allow communities to turn potential residents away due to their ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic background, and another that would punish any citizen - Jewish or Arab - who participates in the global campaign to boycott Israeli products.

Gordon called such legislation "proto-fascist" and remarked that "the democratic elements of [Israel] are under intense attack"."

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