On July 11, a video footage which showed a popular Israeli TV celebrity demeaning Palestinian children from the Bedouin community in the Naqab area, went viral on social media.
“Let’s feed a Bedouin. Don’t you want to feed a Bedouin?” Israeli Children TV host, Roy Oz, repeatedly asks his children, who were seated in the back seat of his car. Outside the vehicle, two Palestinian children were filmed as they stood waiting eagerly for the cookies promised to them by the Israeli driver.
Palestinian Bedouins are treated like “monkeys”, said Atia al-Asem, head of the Regional Council of Palestinian Villages in the Naqab, after viewing the disturbing footage.
Arab Member of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), Ahmad Tibi, described Oz’s behavior as the “lowest of human behavior, racist and despicable brutishness.”
In truth, Oz’s actions were merely consistent with the very racist reality that governs Israeli society — its laws, political institutions, media apparatus, its economic sector and popular perceptions.
In particular, the thousands of Palestinians who are still living in the Naqab desert have been subjected to a relentless Israeli campaign of dehumanization, racism, and ethnic cleansing.
Racism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Bedouin communities go hand in hand. Oz’s video cannot be viewed separately from the Israeli government’s plans to corral Palestinians in the Naqab into isolated and impoverished communities in order to make space for Jewish-only housing developments.
For this sinister scenario to succeed, the Palestinian Bedouins need to be dehumanized by the Israeli political and media establishments. Oz’s racist video is a mere expression of this outrageous reality.
Armed with constitutional racism, Israeli leaders can now justify, at least to themselves and their constituencies, any action that may be deemed abhorrent, illegal or racist by the rest of the world.
This is the very reality that allows racist ‘celebrities’, such as Roy Oz, to go on safari-like adventures with his well-fed children in their air-conditioned top model vehicles to hand cookies to malnourished and poor Palestinian Bedouin children in the Naqab.
For Israel, Oz is the epitome of the ultimate victory of the “Jewish people” — as defined by Israel’s racist Nation-State Law — over the alienated, corralled and victimized Palestinians.
But racism in Israel is not only the work of political institutions as a direct outcome of the disparities created by Israel’s military superiority and expansive colonial enterprises. It has long passed all of that into many other aspects of Israeli society, and can be felt in other sectors of law, economy, the health care system and education; especially education.
Aside from the “racist ideology” taught in Israeli public schools, which denies the historical roots of Palestinians in their own land, and often demeans the Palestinian natives in ways that violate the minimal standards of modern education — let alone human rights — the very set-up of the educational system is a testimony to Israel’s deeply entrenched racism.
Racism accompanies the average Jewish citizen of Israel from the hospital where he is born, to the iniquitous school system, to the discriminatory business sector, to the utterly racist fans at the soccer field, to the unruly, murderous army and beyond. And every step of the way, Palestinians are belittled, dehumanized, exploited, subjugated, confined, imprisoned and, in many instances, killed.
With that being the everyday reality in Israel and Palestine, should we really be surprised that a morally bankrupt fool like Roy Oz mistreated Bedouin children, offering them candy as if zoo animals?
The truth is, Oz is the actual face of Israel — privileged, entitled, racist and delusional. And the same way Israeli media — which gives the likes of Oz his celebrity status — should be shunned and boycotted, Israel should also be sanctioned and boycotted. Because, without international pressure, Israel will never, on its own, confront its demons of military occupation, apartheid and deep-rooted racism.“Feeding a Bedouin”: Roy Oz and Israel’s Outrageous Racism