In a shocking, racist outburst, an Israeli cabinet minister has described Arabs as a “damaged nation”, in remarks reportedly made at a conference in the Tel Aviv-area city Or Yehuda on Sunday.
Israel’s Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who posted the comments on his Facebook profile, said:
As long as the Arab nation continues to be a damaged nation that continues to invest in terror infrastructures, in education to hatred, and in the welfare of families of martyrs, there will be no peace.
Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Neve Daniel. Not only is Edelstein a settler, but he also supports initiativeslike the ‘Lobby for Greater Israel’, whose members want “to hold onto all of Judea and Samaria”.
Ironically, given how it would be received if a member of Congress or European minister said similar remarks about “the Jewish nation”, Minister Edelstein plays a crucial role in the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) as a member of the body’s steering committee.
In October, he was in London for an ICCA meeting hosted by Labour MP John Mann, co-founder of the ICCA and chair of the UK-focused All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism (APPGAA).
Edelstein is committed to the conflation of political actions like Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and antisemitism. At an international “combating antisemitism”conference he co-organised with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in December 2009, Edelstein told delegates:
We must repeat again and again these basic facts – TO BE ‘anti-Israel’ IS TO BEANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELIbusinesses, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same. [Ed: Upper case letters in the transcript]
He has also drawn parallels between the Goldstone Report and the rise of Hitler, saying that the UN investigation into war crimes is “simply a type of anti-Semitism”.
While none of this has dissuaded members of the ICCA from working with the Minister, how will they react now, given the unapologetically anti-Arab views of someone apparently coordinating a fight against racism?
(electronicintifada.net / 26.12.2011 / Blog Ben White)