CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East – issues important analysis of Israel’s ethnically-oriented society
[On 24 September 2012,] CJPME released an important new report entitled, Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy? A Perspective from the Israeli ‘Tent Revolt’ of 2011. The report details how, within Israel proper, innumerable formal and informal practices ensure that certain ethnic groups remain disenfranchised. CJPME’s Report dispels many myths surrounding Israel’s democracy, demonstrating that many groups – both Jewish and non-Jewish – experience debilitating discrimination in Israeli society.
The CJPME Report [was published] on the one-year anniversary of the release of Israel’s Trajtenberg Report. The Trajtenberg Report was commissioned by the Israeli government following massive protests in Israel in 2011. The Trajtenberg Report made several recommendations on government social policy, many of them applying to Israel’s most impoverished. CJPME’s Report picks up on themes from the Trajtenberg Report, demonstrating that the most disenfranchised of Israeli society – both Jewish and non-Jewish – continue on a downward trajectory as a result of systemic ethnic discrimination.
The CJPME report analyzed groups in Israel which fall outside the socio-economically dominant ethnic groups in Israel. For example, the report cites data from Israel’s Adva Centre and others which demonstrate how, in 2010, the salaries of Israeli Ashkenazi Jews (European origin) were 26% higher than the salaries of Mizrahi Jews (North-African and Middle Eastern origin.) In turn, Mizrahi Jews earned 39% more than Palestinian workers and other groups
Three groups in particular were the focus of the Report, each of them experiencing devastating obstacles to socio-economic well-being: the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox), the Ethiopian Jews, the Bedouins. [your blogger’s emphases]
In many of these groups, poverty has gone up in the past ten years, and Israeli government programs increasingly fail to help the most needy because of arbitrary ethnic distinctions.
Of the 2011 Israeli ‘Tent Revolt,’ the CJPME report concludes, “[The] clamouring for economic reforms for the [Israeli] middle class on the one hand, and the refusal to push for social justice for Israel’s disenfranchised on the other hand, was the ultimate paradox of the Israeli protest movement of the summer of 2011.”
CJPME invites Canadians to peruse the report to gain a broader perspective on Israeli society and the challenges that many ethnic groups face within that society. CJPME hopes that Canadian policy toward Israel will encourage that state to be more inclusive vis-à-vis its diverse ethnic makeup, and address ethnically-based inequities.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. CJPME’s work depends on donations to continue.
Please donate today via the CJPME on-line donation page