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Reality as against image

Israel is forever promoting its army as the "most moral in the world". It also pushes a line of being a democratic - indeed, the only one in the Middle East - nation for all its citizens. Why, look, we even have Arab members of the Knesset!

Not so quick! No lesser entity than the US State Department has found that Israel is not, in fact, a tolerant country. Haaretz reports:

"Israel dismally fails the requirements of a tolerant pluralistic society, according to a new report from the U.S. State Department.

Despite boasting religious freedom and protection of all holy sites, Israel falls short in tolerance toward minorities, equal treatment of ethnic groups, openness toward various streams within society, and respect for holy and other sites.

The comprehensive report, written by the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, says Israel discriminates against groups including Muslims, Jehova's Witnesses, Reform Jews, Christians, women and Bedouin."

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter, writing in The NY Times, calls on Israel to show humanity towards the ever-continuing suffering people of Gaza:

".....it is important to examine present circumstances and the need to prevent further suffering. The rocket fire from Gaza is now being severely restrained, perhaps because of the certainty of Israeli retaliation, but the punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza continues. Now and for the past 10 months, Israel has not permitted cement, lumber, panes of glass, or other building materials to pass their entry points into Gaza. Several hundred thousand homeless people suffered through last winter in a few tents, under plastic sheets, or huddled in caves dug into the debris of their former homes. The weather was warmer when I was there several months later, but the description of suffering through the winter cold was heartbreaking."




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