Racism is at the Core of Israel’s attitude

Monday, May 4, 2015

The following is a transcript.  To see the full video at PressTV click here.

Press TV: What do you think about the Israeli crackdown on the Ethiopian protesters?

Baraka: We are seeing again the disproportional use of force by the Israelis, this time against their own citizens who happen to be black. It is interesting that the race and violence that is at the center of these settler colonial projects have been exposed both in the US and now in Israel. It is no longer possible for either the US or for Israel to hide its internal contradictions when it comes to the issue of race.

In Israel, the Ethiopian community has been the subject of systematic discrimination for quite some time. It was only a manner of time which we would see this kind of eruption. 

Press TV: Speaking of racism when it comes to Israel, now let us not forget Israel’s very existence as it is called is considered racist, so to speak, the regime is described as inherently racist practicing apartheid against Palestinians and now its treatment towards Africans, are you at all surprised and do you think any calls for equal treatment are going to be answered?

Baraka: No. As you said this is the centerpiece of the colonial project - race and violence. It was violence that was responsible for the establishment of Israel. It is violence that maintains the occupation… That is the centerpiece of the colonial project. So any call for equality, for reform, is really not part of the formula. Now of course the Ethiopian Jews have a right to make their call, but they have to understand that they operate within a context in which Palestinians are systematically discriminated against in Israel and that Ethiopian Jews themselves have participated in the brutal occupation of Palestinians in the occupied territories. So they should not expect any kind of a positive reaction…

Press TV: And where do you see this situation headed specifically as we do know that Israel is also practicing this policy toward asylum seekers who are coming from Africa, basically deporting them to any other country against their will or incarcerating them?

Baraka: When you advance a notion of ethno-nationalism where you privilege one ethnic community over the other, then you are going to have the kinds of racist apartheid policies that we see in Israel. It is unfortunate that they have been as adamant as they have been regarding African migrants, but what we see now is the surfacing of those kinds of attitudes directly toward Africans now being directed toward their own citizens – the same attitudes that had been directed toward Palestinians. It is racism at the center, at the core, of Israel thinking and Israel culture now exposed for the entire world to see.

~ Ajamu Baraka serves as Public Intervenor for Human Rights at the Green Shadow Cabinet