Professor of Hate: Israeli “scholar” urges ethnic cleansing of Bedouins
A prominent Israeli professor at the University of Haifa, Arnon Sofer, is urging the government to act fast to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Bedouins lest Israel be “destroyed” by them.
For years the Israeli state has mobilized all its resources to complete the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins – Palestinian indigenous people – and the “judaization” of their land. Already much of their land has been taken, and the few places they’ve found refuge are under threat.
The ethnic cleansing proceeds with the full support or active participation of Israel’s Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund which uses bogus tree-planting initiatives to greenwash the theft of Bedouin land.
The Jewish Agency, for example, recently conceded that the goal of government plans in southern Palestine’s Naqab region “is to grab the last remaining piece of land and thereby prevent further Bedouin incursion into any more state land and the development of an Arab belt from the south of Mount Hebron toward Arad and approaching Dimona and Yeruham, and the area extending toward Be’er Sheva.”
All of this is based on the racist notion that Bedouins – who are struggling to hold on to their land and way of life for example in the village of al-Araqib – are actually invaders and that the land naturally belongs exclusively to Jews.
Sofer provides intellectual cover for ethnic cleansing
Enter Sofer (sometimes spelled “Soffer”), the Reuven Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy at the University of Haifa, who has long been in the forefront of warning about the “demographic threat” to Israel from too many non-Jewish babies.
In a December speech, reported on 15 December 2011 by The Marker, the Israeli financial publication syndicated by Haaretz, Sofer raised the alarm about the supposed invasion by Bedouins and other undesirable non-Jews and urged the government to act, presumably to expel them and retain the land for the exclusive use of Jews.
The Hebrew article was translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra. In it Sofer warns that Israel is “filling up” with non-Jews and warns that in certain areas of the country, non-Jews (mostly indigenous Palestinians who are nominally citizens of the state), are already the majority. Sofer speaks of these areas as being “lost” – indicating a view that despite their nominal citizenship, non-Jews can never really be part of Israel.
Even worse, Sofer presents the Bedouins as such a threat that Israel is on the verge of being “destroyed.” Naturally so grave a threat obviously warrants Israel acting to destroy it first.
From the article:
Sofer added that the Bedouin population is managing to take over every clear plot of land, and so it turns out, according to Sofer, that as of today, the percentage of Jews in Israel and in the Judea and Samaria regions comes only to 52%. “In the northern district alone there are 44% Jews, and in the central Galilee there are 23% Jews. What is Nazareth Illit [Upper Nazareth] today? It’s Lower Nazareth. Has anyone heard of the Bedouins in the South? Most of you drive along the road and see only both sides of the road, but in practice, the dimensions are entirely different, and you don’t know where we are living. Have we lost the Northern Negev? We certainly have.”
But it is not just the Negev that the Bedouins have taken over. “As far as Rehovot, around the Weizmann Institute, there are about 19 new Bedouin settlements. In Rishon Lezion there are about 12 Bedouin colonies, and near the Asaf Harofe hospital they’ve already set up a city without us paying heed. It is starting to come to Tel Aviv. The government must start taking action, and not flounder in the defense. We do not have another country. If I am not wrong about this terrible map, and I hope that I am wrong, Israel will simply be destroyed.”
What’s also notable is that the article on Sofer appears in the Real Estate section of The Marker, an indication of the banality and normalization of such racism in Israeli discourse.
Sofer has been active for many years, but what gives him credibility and even an international audience for such raw and primitive racial hatred and incitement is his perch at Haifa University. It’s an example of the complicity Israel’s universities have in disseminating ideologies that confer legitimacy on Israel’s violence, ethnic expulsions and racist policies.
Translation of article originally found in The Marker