The op-ed “An oasis of diversity in the Middle East” by Ariella Charny, published in the Daily on March 12, contains offensive denials of oppression and exploitation of peoples within Israel and the occupied territories both through omission and blatant dismissal.
While I am pleased to see a 2012 alumna still reads the Daily, I find it unacceptable that someone could so easily deny oppression based on religious and ethnic biases by saying that she “lives with” people of different backgrounds. That’s just like if I were to say, as a European American, that by having friends who are people of color I, and my country, are incapable of discrimination.
I won’t deny Israel’s tendency to import minorities and give them piecemeal rights (disregarding the 30-plus laws passed by the Knesset that give rights only to Jewish citizens), but her “oasis” analogy highlights the nature of the conflict as intrinsically linked to white, western supremacy.
In terms of water, as a true oasis entails, Israeli settlers are able to fill swimming pools with 73 percent of the West Bank’s water while Palestinians are not even allowed to drill new wells. This “oasis of diversity” is stifling people and robbing them of their natural resources in an illegal, racist and religiously intolerant occupation. She can’t see white supremacy and racism in Israel (as well, since having Titi Aynaw does not make you an enlightened nation, just as having President Barack Obama doesn’t mean we are done with racism in the US) because it’s largely behind an apartheid wall.
It is not Israel’s democracy, modernity or its unofficial status as the “51st State” in terms of US funding that makes it an apparatus of white supremacy. It is its aggressive pink, green and brown-washing campaigns, its foundation on the Nakba and its continued settler colonialism in the West Bank.
First Year Tufts/SMFA Dual Degree student