Though some of you wanted us to believe that the Palestinians were overjoyed at the chance to ride to work on Arab-only buses, some Palestinians apparently saw the matter differently. Yesterday, two of the buses were set on fire during the morning commute.
Now, I am going to say again that I reject this act of violence and property destruction. The arsonists were wrong. They should be arrested and prosecuted. Please read and re-read and read again.
But here comes the "however." Are you ready?
HOWEVER, the new bus lines are racist. Here's why: (1) Palestinians are discouraged from riding on the mixed lines with Israelis (see here PP#2); and (2) because they were originally set up after Jewish settlers made a racist complaint, on the order of "riding with Arabs creates a security risk" (see it here PP#5); and (3) because the existence of separate lines encourages intolerance by reinforcing the idea that Arabs are dangerous and/or that Arabs and Israelis can't get along and shouldn't do things together.
The non racist way to address a real or perceived security risk is to put more security personal on buses or to employ metal detectors, dogs, and so on. Solving the problem by imposing rules and restrictions on every single Arab is the very definition of racism, because you're judging an entire community on the basis of its worst members. No two ways about it.
Now, the right way to fight racism is through education and non-violent protest. The bus burners were wrong. They must be arrested and tried. Instead of arson, they should have organized boycotts of the Arab buses or sit-ins on the Israeli buses. But from day one the Palestinians have always, always, always gotten this wrong. With them, its always been too much Malcolm and not nearly enough Martin.
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