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Collaborative Refugee and Rights Information Center (CRRIC)

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Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies, 1999, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 1-55

Imseis, A.

Abstracted by Paula Broadwell

The multitude of Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian people has been well documented by independent scholars, and intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations for decades. Juxtaposingly, there has been little written concerning the role the official Israeli state ideology–including exclusivism-has played in implementing the Jewish state's policies vis-à-vis Palestinian rights. This article surveys Israel 's prolonged violation of Palestinian human rights and argues that the Jewish state is a racist state guided by its overzealous commitment to Zionism. Analyzing the tenets of modern political Zionism, the author highlights the evolution of the movement from the days of political in-fighting and resistance from pro-assimilation Jews, for example, to the current trends and global movements that support such beliefs and actions. He claims that in order to understand Zionism, one must be cognizant of the following three prerequisites regarding Zionism's stated goal of establishing an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine: first, conquest of the land; second, the ingathering of Jewish immigrants; and third, the transfer or expulsion of the indigenous Arabs from Palestine. As history has shown, these tenets seem to have become the basis of numerous Israeli laws and policies that have engendered five decades of flagrant human rights violations against the Palestinian people. The author attempts to present a detailed examination of Israeli law and polices that contradict international standards for protecting civil and human rights. Israel's history of military engagements illustrates exceptionalism towards international law. Among other examples, the 1967 incursion where Israelis took the West Bank and Gaza Strip and subsequently imposed complete martial law on the 1.4 million Palestinian inhabitants without affording them citizenship status. Over the next thirty years, Israel then legislated hundreds of ‘occupier's laws' in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. These laws made it legal to confiscate Arab lands, construct Jewish settlements on those lands, demolish homes, arrest, search and detain without explanation, exploit natural resources, deport local leaders, and impose curfews and collective punishment. The author describes in detail the obligation Israel has to Palestinian refugees under the multitude of international declarations and human rights documents–most of which are regarded with impunity. Although Israel claims to be a democratic state, the author purports that it is in fact a racist state whose existence is predicated on notions of exclusion and discrimination against those classified as ‘non-Jews' under Israeli law. This chronic persecution has led to violations in several key areas: the right of refugee return; the right to nationality; the right to ownership and protection of property; the right to work; the right to protection against arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; the right to protection against torture, cruel and inhuman punishment; the right to freedom of expression and opinion; and the right to education. The author summarizes with his concern for the moral and political implications of Israel's continued persecution of the Palestinian people. The roots of this protracted conflict are to be found in Zionism, an ideology that has conferred rights and privileges on Jews while simultaneously denying them to non-Jews. The author concludes that it is highly unlikely that as long as Israeli state policy remains wedded to Zionism's program of exclusivism and racism, it is unlikely that a just peace will ever be achieved.



Journal of Health and Science Behavior, September 1999, Volume 40, Number 3, pp. 193-207

Noh, Samuel; Beiser, Morton; Kaspar, Violet; Hou, Feng and Rummers, Joanna

Abstracted by Leah Persky

This article explains results from research and interviews with 647 Southeast Asian refugees in Canada . The authors explore the effects of perceived racial discrimination, access to resources, and social status on personal identity, health and well-being. This area of study was taken up because many past studies on the effects of discrimination on diverse populations have demonstrated that the experience of discrimination was associated with high levels of stress and psychological distress. The authors focus on individual experiences of refugees and how they cope with racial discrimination. They believe the coping mechanisms that individuals exhibit allow them a degree of power over stressful situations. The interviews found confrontation and forbearance to be the most common responses to discrimination. Direct confrontational responses reduce the sense of helplessness and victimization, but this type of response may also cause distress through the escalation of the conflict and hostility. The authors explain how direct confrontation may be difficult for Southeast Asian refugees and other powerless groups because of lack of social networks, cultural and social barriers, and direct confrontation may cause fear. The authors have found that forbearance is one of the most viable coping mechanisms for S.E. Asian refugees because it allows individual to passively accept and disassociate from the discrimination and to avoid distress and hostilities, and possible salvage a degree of their self-esteem. Forbearance is the preferred coping mechanism of Southeast Asian refugees in this study because it reflects the cultural norms and values of this population and the collective nature of their community which gives high value to the preservation relationships. This research has also given legitimacy to the idea that cultural differences in values and norms lead individuals to prefer a certain type of coping mechanism. The evidence of this research study supports the authors original hypothesis that “perceived discrimination constitutes a significant stressor which can jeopardize the physical and mental health of ethno-racial minority group members.” (p. 195) The authors also researched the relationship between ethnic identity and the level of depression associated with perceived racial discrimination. Their original hypothesis was that the strength of ethnic identity would directly affect the amount of depression associated with discrimination. But, they found no direct relationship exists between levels of ethnic identity and the level of depression. The explanation to this lack of correlation was explained by the authors as stemming from the stress-moderating effect of forbearance on refugees who held a stronger attachment to traditional cultural and ethnic values. Overall, this paper provides the empirical evidence for the relationship between perceived discrimination and the occurrence of symptoms of depression.