RACISM TEST // CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

The following appeared today as an OpEd on Ynet News …. it’s definitely worth the read …

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The racism test

 Non-Jews often suffer discrimination, humiliation under guise of security reasons

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Here’s a small “spot the differences” style test referring to two stories reported in recent days. The first, which appeared on the IsraeliLifeUSA.com website, was about a blind passenger who was taken off a flight from Philadelphia to Long Island because his service dog, Doxy, refused to remain under the seat in front of him, violating safety instructions. The rest of the passengers rebelled and got off the plane as one. One of them reportedly said that he would rather ride a bus for 3.5 hours than travel with such insensitive people.

The second story has to do with us. A bus filled with soldiers arrived at the Dimona nuclear reactor for a security drill. The soldiers handed over their certificates, and it was then revealed that the three Druze troops among them were barred from entering the facility. They were only allowed to go in half an hour later.

The clear differences to an Israeli eye are as follows: There it was a flight, here – a bus. There it took place in Philadelphia, here – at the nuclear reactor in Dimona. There it “only” had to do with safety instructions, and here it had to do with the holy of holiest – security orders. And of course, there a dog was removed, and here – minorities.

These answers are correct, but they conceal the truth. The real answer is that there the passengers left the plane and the flight was canceled, and here several soldiers suggested “staying in the bus,” but the drill was held as planned, without the Druze soldiers.

Troubled by anyone who isn’t Jewish

This is a grim story because it’s not exceptional. The discrimination and humiliation suffered by non-Jews takes place frequently under the guise of security reasons. As the Nuclear Research Center said, “Everyone entering the Nuclear Research Center undergoes a security check at the gate, and this is what happened in this case too.” That is what they say at Ben-Gurion Airport as well in response to the repeated cases of humiliation.

That is also the excuse which the law preventing Palestinian family reunions in Israel was based on. The court accepted the claim that the partners arriving from the territories would be more inclined to support terror, although that security argument was not too strong. According to data which appeared in one of the verdicts, 130,000 Palestinians received a permit to stay in Israel from 1994 to 2006, and only few of them were suspected of security offenses.

Judge Procaccia, in a minority opinion, did not hesitate comparing the result to the infamous verdict in the Korematsu v. United States case, which approved putting Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II based on a general suspicion of treason due to their descent. Meanwhile, time has passed and the Americans regret this verdict. Here people say that it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s a good piece of advice, but when it’s translated into a “rule of thumb” identifying dangerousness with Arabs, it turns into a racist instruction.

This security-related axiom is an admission ticket to the land of apartheid, where suspecting, checking and separating minorities seem like a normal and normative thing to us if they are covered with the “security” reasons.

We are troubled by anyone who is not Jewish: Arabs, migrants and even Druze who serve in the army. That is why we agree to join the shortened line reserved exclusively for Jews and turn a blind eye to the obstacle course reserved for others. We don’t leave the plane together with the dog. We take care of ourselves so much that we lose our humanity.

DID BOB DYLAN LEARN HOW TO BE A RACIST WHEN HE VISITED ISRAEL?

The American singer Bob Dylan is being investigated in France after a Croatian community organization alleged that comments he made to Rolling Stone magazine last year amounted to incitement to racial hatred, Paris prosecutors said on Monday.
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Singer Bob Dylan performs during his show in Vietnam’s southern Ho Chi Minh city, April 10, 2011.Photo by Reuters
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Once the voice of the American Protest Movement …. once the voice of the Anti-Segregation and Peace Movments …. Now the voice of racism???
Despite appeals not to perform in Israel two years ago, he did just that.
‘The times they really are a’changing’
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Bob Dylan investigated in France for ‘racist’ comments

Croatian organization alleges singer incited to racial hatred when he said in an interview that “just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

By Reuters
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The American singer Bob Dylan is being investigated in France after a Croatian community organization alleged that comments he made to Rolling Stone magazine last year amounted to incitement to racial hatred, Paris prosecutors said on Monday.

In the interview, published in the magazine’s September 27, 2012 edition, the singer said racism was holding America back.

“If you got a slave master or (Ku Klux) Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that,” he was quoted as saying. “That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

The formal investigation followed a legal complaint from the organization, CRICCF, which is based in France, alleging that the comments as carried in the French version of the magazine violated French racial hatred laws.

In France, racism complaints automatically trigger formal investigations, irrespective of the merits of the case.

Dylan was awarded France’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur award last month in Paris. Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said that, for French people, he embodied a “subversive cultural force that can change people and the world.”

CRICCF did not return an email seeking comment. Dylan’s manager did not immediately respond to a phone call. Rolling Stone said it had no comment.

HOW DID THE ADL MISS THIS ONE?

If it isn’t about Jews, it just isn’t!

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ADC Asks Coachella Valley High School “Arabs” To Reconsider Mascot, Name

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Washington, DC | www.adc.org | November 6, 2013 – Recently, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed direct concern to the Coachella Valley Unified School District, over the use of  “Arab” as the team name and mascot for the Coachella Valley High School (CVHS), located in Thermal, California.

The CVHS mascot, the “Arab” depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard, and wearing a Kaffiay. This imagery is plastered and advertised all over CVHS’s athletic facilities and at sporting events. At CVHS sporting events, a student dressed as the “Arab” is present. During half-time shows at sporting events, the “Arab” performs, while a female dressed as a belly dancer entertains the mascot by dancing for him. The attendees and participants at these sporting events clearly show orientalist stereotyping of Arabs. 

Video from the halftime shows can be viewed here and here.

ADC communicated with Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Darryl S. Adams and CVHS Principal Victor Uribe, and expressed concern with CVHS and the school district permitting and endorsing this imagery about Arabs and Arab Americans. ADC also contacted Coachella Valley Unified School District Board Members, and expressed our community’s concerns. 

The ADC letter sent to CVHS Principal and the school district can be read here.

ADC understands that CVHS is located in a city once home to a large Arab population working in the establishment of the date palm industry in the 1920s. However, the imagery associated with the CVHS mascot, the “Arab” is far removed from recognition with any historical reference. Furthermore, there are alternative ways to recognize Coachella Valley’s history than the ethnic stereotypical depiction of the “Arab” by CVHS. The continued use of the “Arab” mascot perpetuates demeaning stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans. CVHS gross ethnic stereotyping cannot be tolerated.

ADC President Warren David stated, “ADC is and has been at the forefront of fighting stereotypes and defamation since inception. The negative image portrayed by the dipiction of the Coachella Valley mascot is a disgrace and unacceptable to all who respect an accurate image of Arabs.” 

ADC has been contacted by Dr. Darryl S. Adams, Superintendent of the Coachella Valley Unified School District, and further communication to resolve the issue have been scheduled. ADC has launched a petition asking the school district to consider changing the team name and mascot. 

Act Now! Sign the ADC Peition Asking CVHS to Reconsider its Name and Mascot

LAX SHOOTING // IT WASN’T A MUSLIM SO IT ISN’T TERRORISM

Despite the government having fairly clear definitions of what constitutes an act of “terrorism,” the terms “terrorist” or “terrorism” are used not to describe actions but to label people.

It is clear these are racialized terms, applied in a discriminatory way to people perceived as Muslim, Arab or nonwhite. And as such they are terms that stigmatize entire groups of people and to justify the government’s increasingly unaccountable power.

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Why isn’t the government calling the LAX shooting “terrorism?”

Ali Abunimah 

LAX shooting suspect Paul Ciancia

 (AP/FBI)

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“Paul Ciancia, the alleged gunman who paralyzed much of Los Angeles International Airport [LAX] in a Friday shooting spree, could have turned the nation’s third-busiest airport into a massive killing zone had it not been for the quick response by airport police,” officials told USA Today on Saturday.

Using an assault rifle, Ciancia allegedly shot and killed Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer, and injured two more TSA officers and two civilians before he was stopped.

Ciancia was shot and injured by police and taken into custody. He has been charged, among other offenses, with killing a federal officer.

Based on available information, Ciancia’s alleged actions amount to a textbook case of “terrorism” according to the US government’s own definitions. But for some reason neither media nor officials are describing it that way.

It is instructive to look at how the US defines “terrorism” and compare the reaction to the LAX shooting to the aftermath of last April’s Boston Marathon bombing.

US definition of “terrorism”

As I’ve noted previously, the US government has no single definition of “terrorism” but the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice points to two influential standards that are in use, one enshrined in law and the other provided by the FBI:

Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Both definitions of terrorism share a common theme: the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal. In most cases, NIJ researchers adopt the FBI definition, which stresses methods over motivations and is generally accepted by law enforcement communities.

These definitions, it should also be noted, are carefully crafted to avoid including state violence as “terrorism” even when in every other respect, except the identity of its perpetrator, it fits the descriptions.

Ciancia’s alleged motive

Based on information released by officials, Ciancia’s intent was not in doubt. USA Todayreports:

Investigators recovered a rambling note from the bag the shooter allegedly was carrying, which detailed an intent to “kill” TSA officers, said two federal law enforcement officials familiar with the message’s contents.

[FBI Special Agent David] Bowdich said the handwritten note made it clear that the suspect intended to kill “multiple” TSA employees and to “instill fear into their traitorous minds.

The officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly, told USA TODAY that the note was written in a way that suggested the author expected to lose his life.

One of the officials described the incident as a suicide mission.

The Associated Press described the materials that were allegedly in Ciancia’s possession as “Patriot movement propaganda.”

There is no doubt Ciancia’s alleged actions clearly meet the government definition of “terrorism”: there is evidence of premeditation, a clear anti-government motivation and an intent to “instill fear.”

If any example of violence deserves to be treated as “terrorism” then it is hard to think of a more clear-cut example.

Is it “terrorism” yet?

And yet, neither major media nor public officials have, as far as I can determine, applied the terms “terrorism” or “terrorist” to what happened at LAX.

While the incident received major news coverage, there has been no national panic on the scale that followed the 15 April Boston Marathon bombing.

Recall that after that attack, media and officials all rushed to declare the incident a “terrorist” attack.

President Barack Obama, after initially hesitating, described the Boston bombing as an “act of terrorism” the very next day even before the identities of the suspects were known.

With the “terrorism” panic in full force, the city of Boston was placed under an unprecedented curfew – effectively martial law – with thousands of police scouring the streets and invading people’s homes as the search for the suspects went on.

After 19-year-old suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured by police, Obama made astatement declaring: “We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.”

He followed up with a video address to the nation, declaring that “an act of terror wounded dozens and killed three people at the Boston Marathon.”

Members of Congress demanded publicly that the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, be treated as an “enemy combatant.”

In fact officials of Obama’s Justice Department deprived Tsarnaev of his basic civil rights by questioning him for an extended period after he was taken into custody without reading him his Miranda rights. This violation met with broad public and elite approval.

After all, weren’t we dealing with “terrorism?”

Contrast

Contrast this with Obama’s silence after the LAX shooting. There’s no statement about it on the White House website as of today.

Obama has kept a low profile, speaking to officials by telephone, but saying nothing publicly to reassure an alarmed nation of his resolve against “terrorism.”

What’s important to remember is that in the Boston case, unlike the LAX shooting, there was and is no clear evidence of a political motivation that would meet the government’s definitions of terrorism.

The only “evidence” was that Dzhokar and his older brother Tamerlan, killed during the manhunt, were of Chechen ancestry and Muslim background.

Despite massive efforts, the government has found no credible evidence that the Tsarnaevs were acting on behalf of any group.

(More than a month after the bombing an anonymous official source claimed – rather incredibly – that the heavily bleeding Dzhokar had scrawled a note on the side of the boat he was hiding in when he was captured, stating the attack had something to do with US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Meanwhile, police have uncovered evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a triple homicide in 2011, suggesting a hardened criminal who did not kill from a political motivation.

Not if it’s a white guy…

By now it should be clear that there is a pattern: acts of spectacular violence, predominantly by white men, are rarely termed “terrorist” even when all the evidence points in that direction according to the government’s own standards.

The LAX shooting is not an isolated case. Recall that on 18 February 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack flew an aircraft into an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas, in an apparent suicide mission.

Stack killed himself and an IRS worker, Vernon Hunter. And just like Ciancia allegedly did, Stack also left a note explaining his anti-government motivations.

Yet even as information about Stack emerged, the Obama White House and various public officials refused to label his suicide mission a “terrorist” attack.

Similarly, Obama refused to term the August 2012 massacre of six persons at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin a “terrorist” attack.

The shooter, Wade Michael Page, was a US army veteran and white supremacist.

Blaming “mental illness”

Instead of the “terrorism” label, the media immediately begin to pursue a line of thought suggesting that the suspect (if white) is “mentally ill” or a “disturbed” loner.

This is already happening with Ciancia, whom The New York Times described today as “a troubled 23-year-old, with an assault rifle and an apparent grudge against the government.”

Ciancia, we are informed, attended a Catholic school, but there’s no speculation about what role religious education might have played in his alleged actions.

“Several family friends, neighbors and classmates described him as having been a reserved, quiet boy who, along with his younger brother, Taylor, seemed to be scarred by his mother’s long battle with multiple sclerosis and her death in 2009,” the Times reports.

It quotes a 21-year-old server in a local diner in the family’s New Jersey hometown claiming that the Ciancia brothers “had some depression issues, and they both got obsessive.” The Times does not explain what qualifications the server had to make such a clinical diagnosis.

Aside from stigmatizing mental illness, the absence of this knee-jerk reaction when Muslims are accused reflects a bizarre belief that only white people can be “disturbed” or “mentally ill.”

“Terrorist” as a racial term

Despite the government having fairly clear definitions of what constitutes an act of “terrorism,” the terms “terrorist” or “terrorism” are used not to describe actions but to label people.

It is clear these are racialized terms, applied in a discriminatory way to people perceived as Muslim, Arab or nonwhite. And as such they are terms that stigmatize entire groups of people and to justify the government’s increasingly unaccountable power.

 

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WHAT THE NEW YORK TIMES DIDN’T SEE ‘FIT TO PRINT’

Not fit to print

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Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land, produced by David Sheen and Max Blementhal, helps us to understand why.

Blumenthal explained to Consortium News how The New York Times commissioned the 11-minute video, but after the paper’s editors saw it, refused to publish it.

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Watch the video on Israeli racism The New York Times didn’t want you to see

 Ali Abunimah
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Regular readers of The Electronic Intifada are familiar with the shocking and escalating racism in Israel against people from countries in Africa.

Our extensive coverage of the incitement and attacks on Africans, thanks in large part to the work of David Sheen, demonstrates that this phenomenon is not marginal, but is incited by Israel’s top political leadership.

When Israeli government ministers incite angry mobs, calling Africans “cancer,” they are simply expressing another face of the racism that Palestinians have always experienced.

Solicited, then rejected by The New York Times

Yet rarely does this knowledge make it into mainstream media.

The example of the video above, Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land, produced by David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, helps us to understand why.

Blumenthal explained to Consortium News how The New York Times commissioned the 11-minute video, but after the paper’s editors saw it, refused to publish it:

I was asked to submit something by The New York Times op docs, a new section on the website that published short video documentaries. I am known for short video documentaries about the right wing in the US, and extremism in Israel. They solicited a video from me, and when I didn’t produce it in time, they called me for it, saying they wanted it. So I sent them a video I produced with my colleague, David Sheen, an Israeli journalist who is covering the situation of non-Jewish Africans in Israel more extensively than any journalist in the world.

We put together some shocking footage of pogroms against African communities in Tel Aviv, and interviews with human rights activists. I thought it was a well-done documentary about a situation very few Americans were familiar with. We included analysis. We tailored it to their style, and of course it was rejected without an explanation after being solicited. I sent it to some other major websites and they have not even responded to me, when they had often solicited articles from me in the past.

Eventually, The Nation – which has also typically been quite timid in airing criticism of Israel – agreed to publish it.

While some of the footage in the video has already appeared on The Electronic Intifada, Sheen’s commentary is a good primer for those unfamiliar with the topic.

There is also a previously unseen interview with Michael Ben-Ari, one of Israel’s most notorious anti-African racists and a former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Ben-Ari also has a long history of inciting racism and hatred against Palestinians andChristians.

In the same Consortium News interview Blumenthal, author of the bestselling and widely promoted 2009 book Republican Gomorrah, also spoke about the difficulty he has had getting any mainstream media attention for his new book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Just like this video, Blumenthal’s new book offers an unflinching look at the racist reality of Israel that America’s establishment media simply does not have the guts to confront.

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FANNING THE FLAMES OF ISRAELI RACISM … VIDEO

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In the last three years, angry residents of south Tel Aviv have repeatedly taken to the streets, marching through neighborhoods now populated by significant numbers of non-Jewish Africans, demanding that they all be expelled from the country. Right-wing lawmakers have sought to score political points by attending the protests and fanning the flames of racial hatred.
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Video: Israeli crowd cheers as Africans called “slaves”

David Sheen*

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An Israeli high court decision on 16 September striking down legislation authorizing the indefinite incarceration of asylum-seekers from Africa brought hundreds of residents of Tel Aviv into the streets in protest the following day.

Blocking the intersection at the entrance to the Hatikvah market in south Tel Aviv to traffic for an hour and a half, Jewish Israelis decried the court ruling, which mandates that the 2,000 Africans jailed in Israel on the basis of the invalidated law must be released within ninety days.

In the last several years, south Tel Aviv has become home to approximately 30,000 non-Jewish African nationals, most of whom entered the country by walking across Israel’s desert border with Egypt.

Israelis opposed to their presence accuse them of migrating to Israel solely to earn more money than they could hope to in their home countries, while advocates for the Africans claim that most of them have fled dictatorial regimes and ethnic cleansing campaigns.

Fanning the flames

The overturned amendment represents part of the Israeli government’s unconcealed efforts to dissuade other Africans from arriving and to convince those already in the country to leave quickly. Other anti-African measures implemented by the government include the construction of border fences and the refusal to grant refugee status or even temporary work permits to the vast majority of the asylum-seekers. Without any legal means of sustenance, most of the Africans remain impoverished, living in the only areas they can afford to — neighborhoods which were poor to begin with.

Some Israelis from the political left and center have urged the government to grant residency to the asylum-seekers, which would allow them to contribute to the economy, earn a living and relieve some of the economic burden on poorer neighborhoods like south Tel Aviv. But the political and religious ultra-right, which has ruled uninterrupted since 2009, refuses to consider that option, since it vehemently opposes any proposals which would permit a significant number of non-Jewish persons to remain in the country on a long-term basis.

In the last three years, angry residents of south Tel Aviv have repeatedly taken to the streets, marching through neighborhoods now populated by significant numbers of non-Jewish Africans, demanding that they all be expelled from the country. Right-wing lawmakers have sought to score political points by attending the protests and fanning the flames of racial hatred. With municipal elections scheduled for 22 October, several candidates for Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council capitalized on the 17 September rally and filled the crowd with their activists and banners.

Frightening

The above video, which I shot at the rally, gives the viewer a court-side seat to the one of the most frightening displays of ultra-nationalism to come out of Israel in recent years. The rally’s master of ceremonies characterizes all Africans as slaves, and the crowd cheers him on.

Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, calls for martial law to prevent “ten million Chinese, five million Indians and twenty million Africans” from entering the country and turning Israel from a “Jewish state” to a “multi-national state.” Little children chant: “The people demand the expulsion of the Sudanese!” to the delight of their adult guardians.

But what stands out for me as the most revealing episode of the evening is my interview with a twenty-year-old Israeli soldier in civilian attire who says that he is afraid of being attacked when he walks around the neighborhood, even when he is armed with an assault rifle. When I asked what had happened to him to have aroused such intense fears, he told me that the anxiety took hold when he observed non-Jewish African people smoking and cooking outdoors on Yom Kippur, a day when these behaviors are forbidden to Jewish people.

It is difficult to imagine that there might be a single Jewish person anywhere in the world outside of Israel who stepped out of a synagogue on Yom Kippur, saw a non-Jewish person taking a drag on a cigarette or flipping a burger on a barbecue grill, and suddenly became afraid for his or her life.

The fact that this is the reported experience of a battle-ready Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv, the largest Jewish-majority city in the history of the world — leads one to surmise that this fear of African asylum-seekers probably has more to do with state-sponsored propaganda demonizing non-white non-Jewish people, than with any supposed demonic qualities that propaganda ascribes to its victims.

*David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Dimona.

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LATUFF LOOKS AT ITALY’S NEW IMMIGRATION POLICIES ….

 Is Italy following Israel’s racist example on immigration? (See following post)
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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Divers searched rough waters off the coast of Sicily on Sunday for the bodies of hundreds of migrants whose dream of escaping violence, poverty and oppression for a new life in Europe ended when their boat caught fire and sank.
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Full report HERE

‘BOMBINGHAM’ ALABAMA FIFTY YEARS LATER

Yesterday was 50th anniversary of the bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed the 4 little girls. Angela Davis made a good speech on the occasion saying that , in part, we are still using bombs so resolve situations that we don’t like and that racists, homophobics, zenophobics, etc are as violent today as 50 years ago.

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Angela Davis Looks Back at the 16th Street Church Bombings 50 Years Ago

Davey D speaks with activist, scholar and freedom fighter Angela Davis about the 50th anniversary of the 16th street Birmingham bombings of 1963.
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Davey D speaks with activist, scholar and freedom fighter Angela Davis about the 50th anniversary  of the 16th street Birmingham bombings of 1963.

Angela grew up in Birmingham when it was called Bombingham. This was due to the fact the Ku Klux Klan conducted a campaign of terror on Black people and frequently firebombed people’s homes. The gravity of that of that terrorism has not been fully appreciated or understood. Leading up to the 16th street church bombings, there are estimates that close to 80 bombs were set off in Birmingham.

Davis said Black people were under seige but were determined to fight back. The 16th Street Baptist Church had become a symbol of Black Resistance and was a key organizing center for the Civil Rights Movement. After the huge and very successful March on Washington a few weeks earlier, the historic church became even more of thorn in the side for white supremacists and was eventually targeted with fatal results.

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16th street Baptist church..4 girls

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On the morning of September 15th 1963, a bomb was placed in the basement of the church. 4 young girls, Denise McNair, who was 11 along with Addie Mae CollinsCarole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley who were all 14, were killed when that bomb went off. Davis who was friends with two of the girls Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson who she noted lived two houses down from hers.

In fact the day of the bombing Angela’s mother drove Carole’s mother to the church to pick up her daughter. They had heard about the church being bombed, but sadly didn’t know Carole was one of those killed.

Davis talked at length during our Hard Knock Radio show about how and why this incident was a key turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. It was a wake up call that moved everyone to get more involved.

Davis also noted that on that day two other Black teens, both boys Virgil Ware and Johnny Robertson were also killed. One by the Klan sympathizers and the other by police who sadly had a working relationship with the KKK.

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16th street Baptist church

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She also noted that there was a rebellion , the largest of its kind in Birmingham, which has been erased from the history books. She also noted that because of all the bombings, her father and numerous other men in the community began patrolling their neighborhoods armed with guns.. That helped turn the tide on bombings in her neighborhood which was known as Dynamite Hill, but sadly it didn’t prevent the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church…

During our conversation, Davis made it clear that it was important to connect the struggles of 1963 and the tragedies of that day with the struggles and resistance to racial violence going on today. She drew parallels to the case of Oscar Grant and how that a key turning point for many in the Bay Area and how other cases including the one involving Trayvon martin were also key turning point incidents.

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16th street baptist church fight latinos

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We also talked about how the 16th Street Baptist Church has in recent years been used as a staging area for protest in the fight to end discrimintaion agaisnt undocumented Latinos who now live in Birmingham. Last year thousands gathered at the church to protest an anti-immigrant SB 1070 type law known in Alabama as HB56. A strong coalition of Black and Brown leaders came together to show unity. Davis talked about the importance of connecting those dots between the Civil Rights struggle of the past with the current fight around immigration.

We concluded our interview with Angela Davis by talking about the plight of political prisoner Herman Wallace who was given 2 months to live and is one of the Angola 3. We also talked about the legacy of Attica and the huge uprisings that took place 41 years ago this week.

Below is our interview with Angela Davis. Also if you are in the Bay Area Angela Davis along with fellow Birmingham resident and Civil Rights attorney Margret Burnham will be speaking at First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St in Oakland from 5-7:30pm

Later in the HKR show we hear a commentary from political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal speaks about death row inmate James “Shorty” Dennis

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Click the link below to download or listen to the HKR Intv

Hard Knock Radio Angela Davis 16th Bombings 9-13-13_

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THE KOSHER KLANSMEN OF ISRAEL

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They seem to have forgotten what they were ‘never to forget’
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“If we blur this message and say this is a country for all its citizens,” he warned, “and the other automatically becomes a citizen with equal rights, and you don’t have any special privileges just because you are a Jew, unfortunately, in moral terms, that’s like scoring a goal against your own team.”
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Rabbi patrols Israeli town to drive away Africans: video

 Ali Abunimah
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When Senator Barack Obama visited the Israeli town of Sderot, as part of his presidential election campaign in June 2008, he received an enthusiastic welcome despite the fact that his father was from Kenya.

But migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers from African countries arriving in the town today receive a very different welcome, as local rabbi Ariel Bareli works to drive them away.

Journalist and videographer David Sheen caught Bareli on video explaining his tactics “to convince people to not rent them apartments.”

Proud to have shut down church, community center

“We pressured people in various ways, talking to people in the community,” Bareli said, “and we patrolled to try to make things hard for them.”

“We had a battle here when they began to create communal institutions, and especially a church and a community center,” Bareli added. “We fought against it, and eventually the Sderot city council shut the place down.”

“It’s very important to me that in Sderot the people in my community won’t have to deal with Sudanese people who pray in churches, because that’s how Sderot begins to change.”

Bareli, who said he has lived in Sderot for 15 years, identified himself as the rabbi of a synagogue called “Demanding Good.”

Bareli’s anti-African campaign is reminiscent of a call by hundreds of Israel’s state-financed rabbis urging landlords in cities across the country to refuse to rent homes to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It also comes amid an intensified atmosphere of racism and incitement against Africansencouraged by top Israeli government officials and politicians.

Defending Jewish supremacy

Bareli defended the idea of Israel being a “Jewish state” in which one group has superior rights.

“If we blur this message and say this is a country for all its citizens,” he warned, “and the other automatically becomes a citizen with equal rights, and you don’t have any special privileges just because you are a Jew, unfortunately, in moral terms, that’s like scoring a goal against your own team.”

“Why bother fighting … killing people?” asks the Israeli rabbi, in defense of inferior rights for non-Jews.

Bareli accused Sudanese people in particular of causing a “demographic problem” and urged the government to pay them to leave the country.

Following the success of his anti-African campaign in Sderot, Bareli is now moving to Tel Aviv to set up a similar effort there, which was inaugurated by Israel’s deputy minister for religious affairs.

Background: Sderot in Israeli propaganda

Sderot is a small town in present-day Israel located a few miles from Gaza. It has featured prominently in Israeli propaganda in recent years, due to the frequency with which it was hit by rockets, fired at Israel by resistance groups in Gaza, resulting in several deaths and injuries of Israeli noncombatants as well as property damage over the years.

Palestinian resistance groups have said that the rocket fire was aimed at deterring frequent Israeli attacks on the civilian population in Gaza.

However, the 2009 UN-commissioned Goldstone report found that because the rockets are “uncontrolled and uncontrollable,” their firing amounts to “the commission of an indiscriminate attack on the civilian population … a war crime, and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Obama’s 2008 visit came as Sderot became an obligatory stop for politicians to declare limitless sympathy and support for Israel, while ignoring the utter devastation and mass killing regularly wrought by Israel in Gaza just a few short miles away, usually when Israel breached an effective ceasefire.

 

Written FOR

 

AMERICAN JEWS TURN A BLIND EYE TO ISRAELI RACISM

As a matter of fact, the ADL and the entire American Jewish establishment should suspend their campaigns against anti-Semitism indefinitely and take a look at what’s going on in Israel.

When the Jewish state is this riddled with racism, its advocates abroad should be a little less outraged over the offenses of gentiles. They should be a little more humble — and a lot less hypocritical.

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Israel’s Everyday Racism — and How American Jews Turn a Blind Eye to It

Refocus Anti-Semitism Outrage on Our Own Dirty Laundry

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Jews were outraged when Jesse Jackson referred to New York as ‘Hymietown.’ Where’s the anger over Israeli public figures’ rampant racism?

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Jews were outraged when Jesse Jackson referred to New York as ‘Hymietown.’ Where’s the anger over Israeli public figures’ rampant racism?

By Larry Derfner

The Anti-Defamation League and the rest of the American Jewish establishment owe Jesse Jackson a big apology. They put the man through the wringer, they made him apologize in every possible forum for his “Hymie” and “Hymietown” remarks back in 1984. Yet look at the kinds of things Israeli leaders — senior government ministers, chief rabbis — get away with without ever having to apologize, without ever being punished in the slightest.

Just last week, Naftali Bennett, the fresh new face of right-wing Orthodox Judaism, said in a cabinet meeting how he didn’t like these releases of Palestinian prisoners. “If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them,” he was quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth as saying. The head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, told Bennett, “Listen, that’s not legal.” Bennett replied: “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

The media, the left and the Arabs made a big deal out of it, nobody else. Bennett defended what he said, and so did countless talkbackers and Facebookers.

Two days later the newly-elected Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, David Lau, was seen on a video telling an audience of yeshiva boys that they shouldn’t watch European basketball games in public.

“What difference does it make,” Lau said, “if the kushim who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who get paid in Greece?” Kushim, especially when used in a dismissive context like Lau did, is a well-understood derogatory term for blacks.

Again, the media, the left, some Ethiopian Jews and presumably some African refugees were outraged. But Lau defended his words, blaming the media, saying “they made a big deal out of a joke.”

Who else defended his remarks about “kushim”? Bennett: “The media are pouncing on him for a joking, insignificant remark.”

So really — what was so bad about “Hymies” and “Hymietown”? Or the thousand other anti-Semitic or even just possibly anti-Semitic remarks that the ADL and other American Jewish organizations have “pounced on” since then? Israeli public figures say the same kind of garbage, the difference is that they never, ever pay a price for it, in fact they usually manage to play the victim and get away with it, and at worst will be obliged to offer some backhanded apology.

Likud lawmaker Miri Regev is doing fine after having called Sudanese refugees “a cancer on our body” to a crowd of hopped-up south Tel Avivians in May of last year, shortly before the crowd went on a window-smashing mini-pogrom against the Africans in the neighborhood.

Legendary basketball coach Pini Gershon’s career and public stature didn’t suffer at all after he explained his racial theory about blacks to a class of amused army officers in 2000.

“The mocha-colored guys are smarter, but the dark colored ones are just guys off the street,” Gershon said. “They’re dumb like slaves, they do whatever you tell them.”

Nor was there any blowback whatsoever after Bibi Netanyahu bragged in 2007 that the cuts he’d made to child subsidies had brought a “positive” result, which he identified as “the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”

Imagine the scandal if an American political leader boasted publicly that his cuts to child subsidies had reduced the “non-Christian” birth rate. Imagine the ADL’s reaction. But in Israel, in 2007, from the mouth of a once-and-future prime minister — nothing.

These are just a few of the more appalling examples of the kind of racist remarks that Israeli politicians, rabbis and celebrities feel free to make. I haven’t even mentioned Avigdor Lieberman and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. As a rule the words are directed at Arabs, now and then against blacks: either Ethiopian Jews, African refugees or athletes.

I’ve lived roughly half my 61 years in the United States, the other half in Israel. There is absolutely no comparison between American tolerance for public displays of racism and Israeli tolerance for it.

I’ve stood in the middle of Israeli crowds chanting “Death to the Arabs.” I’ve sat in a Tel Aviv soccer stadium watching and listening to an entire section of fans erupt in monkey sounds – “Hoo, hoo, hoo!! Hoo, hoo, hoo!! – after a black player on the visiting team scored a goal.

A few liberals and a few do-gooders and a few journalists wring their hands. But the racists in the street, the synagogues, the Knesset and the government go on doing their thing.

Does this mean all Israelis, or even most of them, are racists? No. Does it mean Israeli society, by commission and omission, encourages racism? Oh, yes. To a degree that would be unthinkable in the United States.

And the leaders of the U.S. Jewish establishment, Israel’s most valued, devoted, determined friends, keep pouncing on every untoward or conceivably untoward remark about Jews or the Jewish state. Yes, the ADL will send out a press release about its “concern” over the “inappropriate” remarks made by some relatively minor Israeli figure.

But it never hits hard at the major figures. It said nothing last week about Bennett or Lau. The ADL goes after anti-Semitism with a fist, it goes after Israeli racism with a sigh.

As a matter of fact, the ADL and the entire American Jewish establishment should suspend their campaigns against anti-Semitism indefinitely and take a look at what’s going on in Israel.

When the Jewish state is this riddled with racism, its advocates abroad should be a little less outraged over the offenses of gentiles. They should be a little more humble — and a lot less hypocritical.

Source

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE RACIST RABBI?

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He’s not even been in office a month yet, but the racism didn’t take long to surfice ….
He claims it was a ‘joke’, but I fail to see the humour in it.
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Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau: Slur on blacks was a ‘joke’

JTA

Newly elected Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, right, with his father, former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, July 25, 2013. (Flash90/JTA)

 

Newly elected Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, right, with his father, former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, July 25, 2013. (Flash90/JTA)
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Rabbi David Lau, the newly elected chief rabbi of Israel, said a remark he made about blacks that was widely condemned as racist was a “joke.”

Lau told haredi Orthodox students at a yeshiva in the Israeli town of Modiin Illit last week to stop hanging out at convenience stores to watch basketball on television.

“Why do you care about whether the ‘kushim’ who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the ‘kushim’ who get paid in Greece?” he said, using a derogatory Israeli term for blacks.

The remarks were first reported by a phone news service for haredim, Hakol Haharedi, and subsequently picked up by major Israeli newspapers.

In an interview Thursday on Israel Radio, Lau responded to the criticism by saying that Israelis “excel at taking a humorous remark and turning it into a headline.” He added, “The one and only headline is: You are yeshiva students so sit and study Torah.”

Lau was elected last month to a 10-year term as Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi. After the reports this week about his comment, he canceled a planned vacation abroad.

 

 

Source

TOO MANY ‘GOYIM’ MOVING TO ISRAEL

A number of people from the former Soviet Union wishing to immigrate to Israel could be subjected to DNA testing to prove their Jewishness, the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday.
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Russian-speakers who want to make aliya could need DNA test

 

Prime Minister’s Office says would-be immigrants from former Soviet Union may be asked to prove Jewish bloodline
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Young immigrants from Russia at the Putin Bar in Jerusalem on November 18, 2008. (photo credit: Anna Kaplan/ Flash90)
Young immigrants from Russia at the Putin Bar in Jerusalem on November 18, 2008. (photo credit: Anna Kaplan/ Flash90) 

A number of people from the former Soviet Union wishing to immigrate to Israel could be subjected to DNA testing to prove their Jewishness, the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday.

The policy was reported in Maariv on Monday, one day after the Israeli paper revealed that a19-year-old woman from the former Soviet Union was required to take the test to qualify for a Birthright Israel trip.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that many Jews from the FSU who were born out-of-wedlock can be required to bring DNA confirmation of Jewish heritage in order to be allowed to immigrate as a Jew.

A source in the PMO told Maariv that the consul’s procedure, approved by the legal department of the Interior Ministry, states that a Russian-speaking child born out-of-wedlock is eligible to receive an Israeli immigration visa if the birth was registered before the child turned 3. Otherwise a DNA test to prove Jewish parentage is necessary.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the decision to require DNA testing for Russian Jews is based on the recommendations of Nativ, an educational program under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office to help Jews from the FSU immigrate to Israel.

The issue cuts to the heart of Israel’s Law of Return, which allows anybody with a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse to move to Israel and be eligible for citizenship. Determining who is a Jew — a definition which has evolved along with the religion’s many streams — has led the interior Ministry to create a somewhat byzantine system of checks and rules and has sometimes led applicants, especially converts to Judaism, to fight for the right to immigrate in Israeli courts.

In the original report, Maariv revealed that the issue with Birthright participant Mashah Yakerson lay with the fact that her birth was only registered when she was 3 years old, therefore casting doubts on her parentage. But according to Monday’s report, the issue was compounded by the fact that she was born out-of-wedlock.

Birthright provides free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults ages 18-26 who have never been to the country in an educational framework.

Dr. Shimon Yakerson said that after appealing the decision he was told that without a DNA test, his daughter would not be permitted to participate in the program or to immigrate to Israel.

“This is blatant racism toward Russian Jews,” Shimon Yakerson told Maariv.

Yakerson said that his daughter’s birth was registered late because he was working at a rabbinical college in the United States when she was born.

Foreign Ministry officials on Sunday told Maariv that they were puzzled by the DNA test requirements, because under the Law of Return, even adopted children of Jews are eligible for Israeli citizenship.

Yakerson has an older daughter, Dina, who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return in 1990.

Source

AMERICAN JEWS DIVIDED OVER PAMELA GELLER’S HATRED

Never invite those who promote hatred of other religious and ethnic groups in the guise of advancing Jewish interests and values.
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Pamela Geller’s Intolerance Crosses Red Line on Bimah

Synagogues Shouldn’t Apologize for Silencing Hatred

Hatemongers Not Welcome: Pamela Geller has spawned headlines by winning invitations — then cancellations — from synagogues. No one should apologize for refusing a platform to her brand of anti-Islam hatred, writes Eric Yoffie.
GETTY IMAGES
Hatemongers Not Welcome: Pamela Geller has spawned headlines by winning invitations — then cancellations — from synagogues. No one should apologize for refusing a platform to her brand of anti-Islam hatred, writes Eric Yoffie.

The recent decisions by a synagogue in Great Neck and another outside of Toronto to cancel appearances by anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller — both were rescheduled at other venues — have made headlines in the Jewish press and raised interesting questions for the Jewish community.

There are important issues at stake here. They are not new, but they are not going away. So let’s think through, yet again, who it is that we want speaking at our synagogues — and Federations and JCCs.

My first observation: Diversity of views should be welcome. Debate should be promoted and controversy encouraged. A synagogue that shuts down discussion whenever a wealthy donor is offended may appease the donor but will ultimately drive away its own members and lose its standing in the community. Synagogues are expected to challenge accepted thinking and to shake things up, at least a bit.

My second observation: Synagogues must have red lines. A synagogue bima is not an open forum; it is a platform used by a Jewish religious institution to promote Jewish values and strengthen the Jewish people and the Jewish state. There are people who should never be invited to speak there and things that should not be said there.

With that in mind, it is important to note that refusing to host a speaker at a synagogue does not raise freedom of speech issues of any kind. Americans have an absolute right, guaranteed by the constitution, to express themselves openly and freely, from any street corner or soapbox. But they are not entitled to demand that a voluntary religious organization provide them with an audience; synagogues—and churches and mosques—have no obligation to host a speaker who expresses ideas that they find abhorrent and that contradict their most fundamental religious principles.

(A synagogue, in this respect, is very different from a university. Universities have red lines too, but they are far more expansive. Americans expect universities to be a place where the broadest possible spectrum of views is expressed, and—as we saw recently at Brooklyn College—it is almost always counterproductive for Jewish communal groups to oppose university speakers or one-time programs, no matter how offensive.)

Each synagogue, of course, must define its own red lines and decide how they will apply in any given case. This is never easy, and different synagogues will come to different conclusions.

When asked for my counsel, I suggest the following broad guidelines:

Remember that the task of the synagogue is to promote Jewish religious tradition and Jewish well-being. At the same time, as noted above, don’t be afraid of strong views and of those who dissent from what may appear to be the communal consensus.

Never invite those who promote hatred of other religious and ethnic groups in the guise of advancing Jewish interests and values.

Don’t be afraid of a diversity of views on Israel, but make your expectations clear: Invite those with a firm commitment to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; who, when criticisms are offered, will offer them with love and respect; and who are sensitive to Israel’s security needs and oppose terrorism against Israelis and Jews—indeed, who oppose terrorism in all forms and at all times.

And how do I apply these standards to current realities? To offer a few prominent examples:

Pamela Geller has no place in an American synagogue. She is a bigot and purveyor of hate.

BDS speakers have no place in American synagogues. They do not simply oppose Israeli policies; they oppose Israel’s very existence.

Peter Beinart and speakers from J Street should be welcomed. I have had my differences with Mr. Beinart and with J Street. At the same time, I agree with much of what they have to say, and I have always seen them as part of the Jewish family and the pro-Israel community. What is relevant here is that they meet the above criteria, and their voices are entitled to be heard.

I no longer oppose appearances in synagogues and Jewish settings by speakers for Christians United for Israel, a pro-Israel Christian group founded by Reverend John Hagee. Years ago, CUFI was a source of anti-Muslim sentiment; while their approach to Israel is very different from my own, the anti-Islam message has disappeared, and they too meet the criteria that I have set out.

Others in the Jewish community might offer different criteria or might apply them in a different way, but this much is clear: When deciding to whom we open our doors, we need a consistent, principled approach. Any synagogue or Jewish institution that does not have such a policy should develop one.

This opinion piece first appeared in the Jerusalem Post

Rabbi Eric Yoffie is the former leader of the Union for Reform Jewry. He writes on his ericyoffie.com website

Source

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Related (the other side of the fence)
Don’t Ban Pamela Geller — It’s Not Jewish Way (Click HERE to read)

50 YEARS AFTER ‘THE DREAM’, THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUES

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WHITE SKIN AMERICA
By Tom Karlson
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That White Skin

Another man gone done

He could not stand his ground                

Another man gone

Ah those riflin’

Standin’ your ground

Hoodie baitin’

Black skin huntin’

Legal lynchin’

Terrorizin’

White skinned privileged motherfucker

Judged prosecuted defended juried

Tag teamin’

three card Monty playin’

Strange fruit swingin’

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A shot to the heart

The dead man’s on trial

The shooter whines

Feared for his life

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The heads talk

And talk of

Post racial America

A black presidented America

A beyond reasonable doubt America

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Not a murmur

Of a million stop and frisks

A thousand legal lynchings

The 21st century Jim Crowed prison complex

And never not ever

0f white skin privileged America

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Another man done gone

He could not stand his ground

Another man done gone

Another man done gone

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ NEW YORKERS MARCH FOR TRAYVON

 This week thousands of angry New Yorkers marched through the streets ….
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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ISRAEL’S NEW CHIEF RABBI: WILL IT BE THIS RACIST OR THAT ONE?

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Rabbi Avraham Yosef (left), Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

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Following is a series of quotes from their writings. Quotes of Rabbi Eliyahu were collected with the help of Rabbi Gilad Kariv and Gadi Gvaryahu from “Tag Meir.” The response of Rabbi Yosef were collected from his anthology of response.

On renting apartments to non-Jews

Eliyahu (at a conference in Safed with [former Kach activist] Baruch Marzel, 2010): “If someone rents an apartment to Arabs, this is against halacha. It is permitted by law, I have been to the state attorney’s office. They charged me with racism. Nobody will shut my mouth.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to rent apartments to gentiles, it is forbidden to sell land to them. Question: Immigrants from Russia came to me, totally secular. They seemed like honest people. I don’t know about their Jewishness. Should I rent to them? Answer: In principle the law permits it, but if it is clear that they are not Jewish it is forbidden.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to buy olive oil from a gentile.”

On Arabs:

Eliyahu (Arutz Sheva, 2002): “It is forbidden to sit quietly. We must throw all the Arab students out of Safed College. I say this explicitly—I don’t fear anyone.”

Eliyahu (Questions and Responsa): “It would be worthwhile for someone to come and organize the consumers not to use the services of a hotel that employs Arabs workers. If they attend to the cleanliness of the food the way they attend to the cleanliness of their villages—the condition of the food is difficult … The time has come to speak the truth: Giving employment to enemies brings harsh results.”

On security:

Eliyahu (Questions and Responsa): “You must shout ‘Danger, terrorist’ and aim your weapon at him. By his reaction you can know whether he is a terrorist. One who comes to kill you, even if it is uncertain—hasten to kill him.”

On revenge:

Eliyahu (The Land of Israel Is Ours, 1998): God told us to exact revenge on the gentiles. It was He who brought Pharaoh and his troops to the Red Sea in order to drown them. Not to bring Israel out of Egypt, but to exact revenge.”

On the Supreme Court and the judicial system:

Yosef (Radio Kol Chai, 2010): “Judges cannot be counted in a minyan. It is forbidden to give to them, engage them or include them in any synagogue statement. Ignore their existence, and they will be as empty air. Even if the judge knows how to pray very well, from the moment that he was appointed a judge he disqualified himself from participating in a minyan, not to mention a prayer leader. He has raised a hand against the Torah of Moses.”

Eliyahu (Radio Galei Yisrael, 2010): “This is the most racist court in the state. There is no presence of Sephardim.” (To Galei Tzahal): “Who is the Supreme Court? They will not run the state for us. We will create disturbances so the court will fear us.” (To nrg.com/Maariv online): “For some reason this court is called by the names supreme, high and justice. The lives of soldiers are important in my eyes, but the justices are less important than the lives of gentiles.”

On women:

Yosef (Questions and Responses, 2008): “Is it permissible to elect a woman mayor? The question is one of halacha. A. Whether it is permissible for a woman to be elected to public office. B. Whether it would help in the observance of religion locally. To the best of my knowledge, the woman in Herzliya [Mayor Yael German] does not meet either of the two criteria.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to involve a woman in the zimun [the opening of Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after meals], even if it is for her husband or son. It is forbidden for a woman to cover herself with a shawl. A woman is meant to wear clothes like everyone else wears.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to shake the hand of an aunt. A girl’s hand may be shaken only if she is younger than nine. It is forbidden to shake the hand of a sister—if it is in a public place. It is permitted to hear a girl singing if she is younger than six—on condition that it is not in public. Is it permitted for a kindergarten teacher to speak at a parents’ meeting where men are present? There is no permission for a woman to speak in front of men.”

On democracy and the media:

Eliyahu (With a Jewish Head, 1998): “A revolution is needed. The entire nation is ruled by a very narrow stratum.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to say Hallel [the traditional prayers of thanks] on Independence Day. It is forbidden to shave on Independence Day.”

Eliyahu (With a Jewish Head, 1998): “People who don’t believe in God sit over the communications media and don’t permit anyone who thinks differently to broadcast.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to read newspapers on Shabbat. In practice one may be lenient in the bathroom. The [Haredi] newspaper Yated Ne’eman may not be read at all, even in the bathroom.”

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Accused Racists Leading Field in Chief Rabbi Race

By J.J. Goldberg

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The race for chief rabbi of Israel has been getting ugly since the collapse of a proposed deal between Shas and Jewish Home to elect their respective favorites. The deal would have amended the Chief Rabbinate laws to permit a second term for the incumbent Sephardic chief rabbi, a Shas favorite, and eliminated the age limit to permit the election of a favorite of the hardline, pro-settler of Jewish Home. The deal collapsed over liberal support for a more moderate Ashkenazi contender, as well as opposition to anything that benefits Shas.

The leading candidate for Sephardic chief rabbi is now Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed and son of the late Mordechai Eliyahu, former chief rabbi and longtime spiritual mentor of the National Religious Party. The younger Eliyahu is currently the subject of furious behind-the-scenes politicking by liberals who want to stop his candidacy, led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Labor Party lawmaker Eitan Cabel. The reason: a long record of extreme racism, including his notorious 2010 dictum forbidding the sale or rental of homes to Arabs.

Livni, whose Justice Ministry would be in charge of Chief Rabbi Eliyahu (since the Sephardic chief rabbi is the head of the rabbinical court system, which is under the Justice Ministry), met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein last month to look for legal ways to block Eliyahu. Weinstein was dubious about the legal grounds, according to Nahum Barnea in today’s Yediot Ahronot. Barnea quoted Livni as insisting: “This is intolerable. After all, we’re talking about the position of chief rabbi. What will his election do to Israel’s image abroad? He mustn’t be elected.”

Livni wanted to base legal action on an indictment issued against Eliyahu in 2002 on charges of racism after he called for the expulsion of the Arab population of Safed. Weinstein pointed out that the state attorney’s office dropped the charges in 2006 after Eliyahu agreed to apologize, which would undermine the legal grounds for blocking him now.

On Wednesday, however (presumably after Barnea had filed his Friday Supplement column), Haaretz reported that Weinstein had agreed to conduct a legal inquiry if Eliyahu’s name is formally put in nomination.

The Haaretz story linked above includes some of Eliyahu’s most controversial quotes. The Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has put together a longer list of Eliyahu’s most objectionable public statements.

Barnea points out, however, that stopping Eliyahu could be a mixed blessing. His main competition, Barnea reports, is Rabbi Avraham Yosef, a son of the former Sephardic chief rabbi and current Shas party mentor Ovadia Yosef. Though less prominent in the press, Barnea says, Yosef could be considered even more racist—and misogynistic and anti-democratic, to boot—than Eliyahu. In part this is a reflection of their ideological backgrounds: Eliyahu comes from the religious Zionist movement and recognizes the legitimacy of the state and its institutions, while Yosef emerges from a Haredi worldview that’s much more ambivalent on the question. It’s said, though, that Avraham Yosef is considered something of an extremist even within his own family.

To make his case, Barnea put together a list of parallel statements by the two for comparison. Here’s my translation:

Following is a series of quotes from their writings. Quotes of Rabbi Eliyahu were collected with the help of Rabbi Gilad Kariv and Gadi Gvaryahu from “Tag Meir.” The response of Rabbi Yosef were collected from his anthology of response.

On renting apartments to non-Jews

Eliyahu (at a conference in Safed with [former Kach activist] Baruch Marzel, 2010): “If someone rents an apartment to Arabs, this is against halacha. It is permitted by law, I have been to the state attorney’s office. They charged me with racism. Nobody will shut my mouth.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to rent apartments to gentiles, it is forbidden to sell land to them. Question: Immigrants from Russia came to me, totally secular. They seemed like honest people. I don’t know about their Jewishness. Should I rent to them? Answer: In principle the law permits it, but if it is clear that they are not Jewish it is forbidden.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to buy olive oil from a gentile.”

On Arabs:

Eliyahu (Arutz Sheva, 2002): “It is forbidden to sit quietly. We must throw all the Arab students out of Safed College. I say this explicitly—I don’t fear anyone.”

Eliyahu (Questions and Responsa): “It would be worthwhile for someone to come and organize the consumers not to use the services of a hotel that employs Arabs workers. If they attend to the cleanliness of the food the way they attend to the cleanliness of their villages—the condition of the food is difficult … The time has come to speak the truth: Giving employment to enemies brings harsh results.”

On security:

Eliyahu (Questions and Responsa): “You must shout ‘Danger, terrorist’ and aim your weapon at him. By his reaction you can know whether he is a terrorist. One who comes to kill you, even if it is uncertain—hasten to kill him.”

On revenge:

Eliyahu (The Land of Israel Is Ours, 1998): God told us to exact revenge on the gentiles. It was He who brought Pharaoh and his troops to the Red Sea in order to drown them. Not to bring Israel out of Egypt, but to exact revenge.”

On the Supreme Court and the judicial system:

Yosef (Radio Kol Chai, 2010): “Judges cannot be counted in a minyan. It is forbidden to give to them, engage them or include them in any synagogue statement. Ignore their existence, and they will be as empty air. Even if the judge knows how to pray very well, from the moment that he was appointed a judge he disqualified himself from participating in a minyan, not to mention a prayer leader. He has raised a hand against the Torah of Moses.”

Eliyahu (Radio Galei Yisrael, 2010): “This is the most racist court in the state. There is no presence of Sephardim.” (To Galei Tzahal): “Who is the Supreme Court? They will not run the state for us. We will create disturbances so the court will fear us.” (To nrg.com/Maariv online): “For some reason this court is called by the names supreme, high and justice. The lives of soldiers are important in my eyes, but the justices are less important than the lives of gentiles.”

On women:

Yosef (Questions and Responses, 2008): “Is it permissible to elect a woman mayor? The question is one of halacha. A. Whether it is permissible for a woman to be elected to public office. B. Whether it would help in the observance of religion locally. To the best of my knowledge, the woman in Herzliya [Mayor Yael German] does not meet either of the two criteria.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to involve a woman in the zimun [the opening of Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after meals], even if it is for her husband or son. It is forbidden for a woman to cover herself with a shawl. A woman is meant to wear clothes like everyone else wears.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to shake the hand of an aunt. A girl’s hand may be shaken only if she is younger than nine. It is forbidden to shake the hand of a sister—if it is in a public place. It is permitted to hear a girl singing if she is younger than six—on condition that it is not in public. Is it permitted for a kindergarten teacher to speak at a parents’ meeting where men are present? There is no permission for a woman to speak in front of men.”

On democracy and the media:

Eliyahu (With a Jewish Head, 1998): “A revolution is needed. The entire nation is ruled by a very narrow stratum.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to say Hallel [the traditional prayers of thanks] on Independence Day. It is forbidden to shave on Independence Day.”

Eliyahu (With a Jewish Head, 1998): “People who don’t believe in God sit over the communications media and don’t permit anyone who thinks differently to broadcast.”

Yosef: “It is forbidden to read newspapers on Shabbat. In practice one may be lenient in the bathroom. The [Haredi] newspaper Yated Ne’eman may not be read at all, even in the bathroom.”

Friday’s Haaretz has a story by Yair Ettinger reporting that a religious-Zionist website has taken down some comments made by Eliyahu in 2005, railing against the Gaza disengagement, that could further damage his candidacy.

The text attributed to Eliyahu urged revenge against secular Jews, calling on people to bring secular children back into the religious fold. The Kipa website (in Hebrew) first published the comments during the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005. A spokesman says the rabbi’s quotes have been taken out of context.

The text appeared in a column called Ask the Rabbi, where rabbis answer questions concerning religious law and offer personal advice. Rabbi Eliyahu frequents such sites.

Ahead of the nomination of a new chief rabbi, his alleged 2005 response was extracted by the information dissemination website 61 – run by Molad, the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, an organization associated with the left.

Eliyahu’s answer was in response to a question by a woman whose friend “had a lot of pent-up anger” after the withdrawal from Gaza. She wanted to know “how to channel his anger in a positive direction.”

The Rabbi of Safed reportedly replied: “Take revenge! Avenge the secularists who have brought this disaster upon us. Avenge the evil associated with this folly. Return them to the bosom of religion, talk incessantly. Restore them and their children to the faith. Do this wisely, with sensitivity and determination.” Shortly after these words appeared on Facebook and Twitter this week, they were removed from Kipa, with no explanation given.

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START OF ISRAELI FOOTBALL SEASON HERALDS IN NEW ROUND OF RACISM

As Israeli football season opens, violent racist attacks on Palestinians return too

 by Ali Abunimah
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With the opening of the Israeli football season this week, violent and racist attacks by fans have returned.

In this video, released by Israeli police, supporters of the Beitar Jerusalem football club violently attacked Palestinian workers at a McDonald’s restaurant. According to Ynet:

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At the remand hearing, police representative Officer Shlomi Ben Dor said that “on their way to the (Beitar Jerusalem) practice field, a group of fans stopped at the McDonald’s. One of the employees, of Arab origin, stepped outside to clean the tables, as several of the fans started talking to him. Once they realized he was an Arab they started yelling ‘death to Arabs,’ ‘Muhammad the homo,’ and other slurs the mind cannot tolerate.”

Ben Dor added “they started attacking the Arab and later on, when he managed to escape into the restaurant, the suspects, accompanied by others who have not yet been arrested, started… throwing chairs into the restaurant. Undercover officers at the scene arrested the suspects.”

Ongoing rage over Muslim players

The day before, after a rally to mark the football season’s opening, some fans expressed their lingering rage over the hiring of two Muslim players by the club:

Around 3,000 fans attended what is usually a celebratory occasion and the vast majority cheered the depleted squad.

However, after the players returned to the dressing room, a group of fans swore, spat and threw rocks at goalkeeper Ariel Harush and midfielder Dario Fernandez, attacking them for their support of Chechen Muslims Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev last season.

Harush and Fernandez required a police escort to leave the complex, with the Argentinian seriously considering leaving the club due to the incident.

Long-standing problem of violence and racist incitement

Sadly such incidents are not exceptional. Last year, for example, a mob of Beitar fans was caught on video rampaging through a Jerusalem area shopping mall attacking Arab workers and shouting racist slurs.

Notwithstanding the arrests of suspects in the latest McDonald’s incident, Israeli police and football authorities have done little to clamp down on violence and racist incitement by fans, from whom the chant “Death to the Arabs” is frequently heard.

Even ESPN aired a 15-minute documentary – which can be watched online – about Beitar fans’ notorious racism.

The racism should also be seen in the broader context of widespread racism in Israeli society against Africans and Palestinians.

Moving forwards or backwards?

In recent months – with the hiring of the Chechen players, Beitar’s outgoing owner and chairman made some effort to control the racist outbursts of fans who insist Beitar must remain a purely Jewish club.

But now the problem, at least at Beitar, may get even worse, with a recent change of ownership which saw Russian tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak hand the club over to Eli Tabib.

Tabib, the former owner of the Hapoel Tel Aviv football club, currently faces charges of violently assaulting and kicking a minor outside his home and then destroying security camera footage of the alleged incident.

Writing in Haaretz, Moshe Boker observes:

The worst thing to happen to Beitar with the departure of Gaydamak and [chair Yitzhak] Kornfein is the absence of anyone who will fight the extremist and racist fans. After a long period during which Kornfein ostracized and pursued them, and many of them were arrested, the fans feel responsible for Tabib’s arrival. Everything Beitar tried to rebuild over the last six months has been destroyed.

The problem is more widespread than just Beitar, as Haaretz observed last year, “The anarchy and lack of police enforcement have turned Israeli soccer into a source of violence, racism and hatred, and has even started to attract dubious characters, who at times manage the teams.”

The New Israel Fund (NIF), a liberal Zionist charity, which monitors and campaigns against racism in football stadiums, said in a recent report that there had been “progress,” in some areas of fighting football racism but said that Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv fans are still responsible for most incidents.

There were 38 episodes of incitement against minorities this year, including 18 at Maccabi Tel Aviv and 15 at Beitar Jerusalem, according to the report. Last year’s figure was 35 and two years ago NIF reported forty nine. It also noted an increase in fans condemning violence and racist incitement.

“Israeli Rosa Parks”

Amid increased international attention, Maccabi Tel Aviv has launched an anti-racism campaign. In this video, club players appeal to fans to refrain from making ape noises when African players are on the field, and from calling Arab players “terrorists,” among other habitual slurs. 

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In May, Haaretz writer Tamir Cohen appealed to the club’s star player, Maharan Radi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, to become the “Israeli Rosa Parks” by quitting the club:

Maharan Radi should be a symbol. He needs to be the one who says, “Enough.” He needs to leave the pitch and refuse to sweat for fans who make up racist chants about his people.

Despite the persistent problems, Israeli soccer has faced no international sanctions, and Israel was notoriously awarded the hosting of this year’s UEFA Under 21’s tournament in face of considerable international protests and objections.

It promises to be a long, hot season, especially for any Palestinian workers who happen to be in the path of rampaging mobs of racist fans.

 

 

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RACISM THEN AND NOW ~~ THERE AND HERE

Afterwards, we all gathered at a nargila bar to sit and relax after this terrible event.  One of my friends sat at the table next to me.  She looked very troubled and she started to speak. “This is the same reaction my grandmother faced in Germany when the Nazis would stop Germans from walking with her, because she was Jewish.” 

*Attack in Tel Aviv: ‘Jewish girls do not go out with Blacks!’

David Sheen

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An African refugee watches an anti-refugee demonstration held by right-wing activists in south Tel Aviv on December 31, 2012. (Photo: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)
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A year has elapsed since the May 23, 2012 anti-African pogrom in Tel Aviv, and though there have been no other full-scale race riots since, the city continues to witness low-level anti-African attacks on a regular basis. Their occurrence is so commonplace that they rarely merit any mention in the media, but by North American standards, any one of these incidents would be considered scandalous. 

On Friday, I received an email from a fellow native of Toronto, Canada, who is currently living in Israel, detailing such an attack. In her letter, 27-year-old international development researcher Leah McDonnell describes how she was accosted the night previous [June 27], while out walking with a group of friends, as the city celebrated an outdoor art festival into the early hours of the morning. Without any provocation, two men who presented themselves as religious Jews and members of some kind of security force berated the group for befriending an African man and physically assaulted their dark-skinned friend.

It is important to understand the context in which these regular racist attacks occur. For the past several years, high-level Israeli politicians have competed with one another to vilify Africans in the most dehumanizing language possible, casting them as diseased, criminals and terrorists. In the last two years, the government has built both a desert fence to prevent any more Africans from crossing Israel’s border to seek asylum, and a series of desert jails to indefinitely hold without trial any others who arrive and increasing numbers who are pulled off the streets. In recent months, it has secretly deported thousands of Africans back to the countries they fled from, and is trying to bribe other African nations with arms shipments to convince them to take in all the other non-Jewish Africans living in Israel, 55,000 in number.

Although the government is considering proposals to sweep all the Africans off the city streets and into jails and out of the country, it has refrained from doing so on a large scale as yet, knowing that this will not photograph well. But its official policy, as publicly expressed by former Interior Minister Eli Yishai and never disavowed since, is to “make their lives miserable“, so that the Africans will pick up and leave of their own volition. With the blessing of the government, gangs of Jews continue to prey upon any African they can get their hands on, to add to the misery-making.

I include below McDonnell’s letter in full.

Myself and several of my friends (6 of us in total, one being African) were out to celebrate Laila Lavan, or the “White Night”. As we were on out way back home, our night took a very dark turn.  We were walking to the South and were at the corner of Ha Aliya and Levinski when we were approached by two young men wearing matching black security uniforms and kippas [skullcaps].  They first asked, “Is the kushi [nigger] with you?” 

A conversation between my friend and the aggressors went as follows: 

My friend:  “He is my boyfriend, leave us alone.”

Aggressor: “In that case we have a few questions for you.”

My friend: “I am not interested in your questions.”

Aggressor: “Why? Are you an idiot? We are from the security!” 

At this point they started to scream at us, demanding to know if we were Jewish, then if we spoke Hebrew.  My African friend tried to say, “What happened?”, in honest and utter confusion of the events taking place.  One of the young men answered by putting his finger to my friend’s face and angrily told him, “You don’t talk”.  The other started to scream, “What happened? What happened?”, as if he had been personally offended – he then started to brandish pepper spray in a threatening way and yelled, “Jewish girls do not go with Blacks!”. We tried to separate these aggressors from our friend, putting our bodies in between theirs, yelling, “No, stop, go away!”.  

The men kept tugging at our friend, trying to push him and us out of their way.  We started to walk, trying to evade them.  They followed us down the street.  One of the men tried to punch our friend, but was held back by his accomplice; we can only assume that, as we were in front of a store, they did not want to attract any further attention.  

They both continued to follow us while trying to grab our friend, attempting to push us out of the way.  Three of my friends managed to distract the men, blocking them from our African friend.  The other three of us ran down the street, then turned onto a side-street, leading us away. 

 I then ran back to meet my friends who stayed to distract these attackers.  When I reached them the men had vanished.  They told me they yelled very loudly, “I don’t know you” and a couple passing by on a scooter stopped and yelled, “Do you want us to call the police?”.  The men then dispersed.  I am so thankful the couple stopped and offered their assistance. 

Afterwards, we all gathered at a nargila bar to sit and relax after this terrible event.  One of my friends sat at the table next to me.  She looked very troubled and she started to speak. “This is the same reaction my grandmother faced in Germany when the Nazis would stop Germans from walking with her, because she was Jewish.” 

 

 

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ZIONIST HARASSMENT ON THE WALLS …

Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?
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Israel’s racists step up attacks on Palestinian citizens

David Sheen *

Men stand near wall sprayed-painted with graffiti

Graffiti reading “Arabs out” and “Racism – Assimilation” in Abu Ghosh, 18 June.

 (Jim Hollander /EPA)

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Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?

Are attacks on these communities reprisals for anti-Semitic attacks that emanate from them? Is it because the sons of Wahat al-Salam crash cars into Jews? Is it because the youth of Jaffa perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israelis? Is it because the residents of Abu Ghosh provide protection to anti-Zionist suicide bombers?

The attacks listed in the first paragraph of this article actually occurred, but the ones listed in the second paragraph are totally false — I just fabricated them. No residents of these communities have been accused of committing crimes motivated by nationalism — or anti-nationalism, for that matter.

Even if any of them had been, it would not justify the collective punishment of these communities. But it would at least provide motives for attacks on these communities, motives that some Israelis might sympathize with: “revenge” for prior attacks on Jews, “intimidation” to prevent future attacks on Jews.

But again, residents of these communities are not suspected of having committed any hate crimes against Jewish Israelis. So what could be the motive for attacking them? In addition to the prescriptive messages spray-painted in previous attacks — “Arabs Out” and “Death to Arabs” — the perpetrators of the most recent acts of vandalism also included another slogan, one that does point to motive: “Racism or Assimilation.”

“Racism or assimilation”

For outsiders unfamiliar with the internal Israeli discourse, this phrase needs to be parsed. The vandals have posited these two nouns — “racism” and “assimilation” — as either-or options for Jewish people living in Israel. Aligning themselves with the first option, the perpetrators are acknowledging that their attacks on Palestinian communities are motivated by racism, and they are calling for more of the same. The other option, the alternative to racism, is the choice that they loathe: assimilation.

What is this creature called assimilation, and why do these self-professed racists hate it so much? Assimilation is simply the process by which individuals, or groups of individuals, adopt ideas from other individuals and groups of individuals. These racists want to prevent Jewish people from adopting ideas of other people because they want all Jewish people to adopt their own ideology: Jewish Dominionism.

Dominionists seek to transform the State of Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy. The current government, a relatively secular regime that grants extra privileges to Jewish people on the basis of their ethnicity, is insufficiently Jewish in their opinion. The Dominionists want all affairs of state and all public spaces in Israel to conform to the rules of Orthodox Judaism.

If the Dominionists’ dreams were realized and they were able to forge the face of the state, what would it look like? At the first public conference of the Dominionist “Derech Chaim” movement in March, I listened to the movement’s leaders flesh out their shared vision for the future. They bemoaned the legal obstacles that hinder the accomplishment one of their main objectives: physically separating Jewish citizens from non-Jewish citizens in Israel.

Segregation

Dominionists do not make up a majority of the Jewish population in Israel; if they did, they would already have turned Israel into a full-fledged theocracy. But their desire to physically separate Jewish people and non-Jewish people into separate areas is shared by the secular segregationists, who do make up a majority of the Jewish population.

Secular segregationists do not want the country to be governed under the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism, but for their own racist reasons they would prefer to not have to see any non-Jewish Arab people as they go about their daily lives. When they seek medical attention at hospitals or recreation at amusement parks, there seems to be an increasing consensus among the majority of Jewish Israelis that religious segregation is a positive phenomenon.

To be sure, there are parts of Israel in which Jewish people and non-Jewish people choose to live close to each other and get along fairly well. They are few and far between, but they exist, and among them are Abu Ghosh, Jaffa and Wahat al-Salam. It is precisely because Jews and Arabs live there in relative peace that these communities are attacked. It is the option of Israelis and Palestinians living in a multicultural environment that the Dominionists want to eliminate.

If the government of Israel not only enabled segregation but also simultaneously enabled groups of Jews, Arabs and others to establish multicultural institutions and heterogenous communities, it could at least claim to be adhering to a libertarian interpretation of the right to equal treatment under the law. But there is only one such Palestinian-Israeli intentional community in the entire country — Wahat al-Salam — and as its first Palestinian resident told me just days before he died last year, it exists not because of the Israeli government’s efforts, but in spite of them.

While (what are likely) disorganized groups of Dominionist hooligans carry out physical attacks on mixed Arab-Jewish communities like Wahat al-Salam, highly organized groups of Dominionist activists move into mixed Arab-Jewish towns across the country with the avowed objective of preventing “assimilation” and eventually driving out the non-Jewish residents (Amy Teibel, “Devout Israeli Jews moving to Arab-Jewish cities,” Associated Press, 4 October 2012). And in the last three years, top Israeli political and religious leaders have stepped up their efforts to segregate areas of the country into Jewish and non-Jewish.

Racist rulings

In 2010, first dozens, and then hundreds, of chief rabbis on the government payroll issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to non-Jewish people. The rabbis justified their racist ruling by citing passages of the Bible which call for ethnic cleansing the land of Israel and implementing complete racial segregation (Deuteronomy 7). Their ruling still stands, and no disciplinary action was ever taken against the rabbis.

In 2011, Israel’s parliament, the Knessetpassed the Communities Acceptance Law, colloquially called the “Kaadan Loophole Law,” because it circumvented the Kaadan case at the high court, which made it illegal to bar a person from purchasing property just because he or she comes from a different culture. The new law granted hundreds of villages in Israel the right to veto home sales on the basis of the buyer’s background.

new government bill currently being debated in the Knesset would permit Israeli businesses to give preferential treatment to people who have served in the army. Although the law would also have a negative impact on some other groups, it is a thinly veiled attempt to sanction discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who, as a rule, do not serve in the military. If the law is enacted, it would essentially extend the legal right to segregate by religion to land developers in any area of the country, including downtown Tel Aviv.

After last week’s embarrassing attack in Abu Ghosh, just as a long list of Hollywood stars were visiting Jerusalem only a couple of kilometers away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the attack, saying that it contradicted the values of the Israeli people, and of the Jewish religion (“PM: ‘Price tag’ attacks contradict values of Jewish people and state,” The Jerusalem Post). While that may be true for some Israelis, and for some adherents of Judaism, these racist attacks are clearly in sync with the values of large number of Jewish Israelis, including secular segregationists such as Netanyahu himself, and the Jewish Dominionists that are his power-brokering political partners.

*David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Dimona.

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RACISM ON THE RISE IN ISRAEL

Instead of fighting suspicion and hate, politicians have in fact fueled these sentiments in recent years, by enacting laws that foster unequal treatment. Because of these laws, Arab schools can be deprived of funding if they remind their students of the 1948 expulsion, a day of mourning for Arabs and a day of joy for Jewish Israelis, which they have celebrated since independence. Communities are even allowed to turn away Arabs wanted to move there — so as to preserve their “Jewish identity.”

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Suspicion and Hate: Racist Attacks On Arabs Increase in Israel

By Julia Amalia Heyer

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Photo Gallery: Racist Attacks on the Rise in Israel
DPA

Arabs are being beaten and insulted in Israel, where the number of racially motivated attacks has risen dramatically. The unresolved conflict, fueled by nationalist politicians, is shifting from Palestinian areas into the Israeli heartland.

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The horror is etched on her face and caught on camera. Revital Wolkov is sitting in the driver’s seat of her white Toyota, staring over her right shoulder, through the broken rear window, directly into the lens. The hole in the window is shaped like a large butterfly.

Wolkov, 53, teaches history in Ramat HaSharon, near Tel Aviv. She was attacked and her car was damaged, merely because an Arab colleague was sitting in the passenger seat. It happened in March, but it wasn’t the only attack of its kind.In the spring, several Jewish teenage girls asked a women standing at a bus stop in Jerusalem whether she was an Arab. The woman, wearing a headscarf, replied that she was. One of the girls pulled the hijab from the woman’s head and spat in her face. The others kicked and beat the woman. A police officer stood nearby and watched. Hana Amtir, 38, three months’ pregnant, locked herself into her house for three days before filing a complaint with the police.

In a beach bar in Tel Aviv, an Arab waiter was clearing away bottles of mayonnaise and ketchup, but the men sitting at one of the tables weren’t finished yet. “Damn Arab,” they cursed, and then proceeded to beat the man, who was later hospitalized. None of the other guests came to his aid.

Youths attacked an Arab cleaning man working for the city of Tel Aviv as he was emptying garbage cans. They broke a bottle over his head. The man, covered with blood, asked them why they were doing this to him. “Because you’re an Arab,” they shouted.

Such attacks have become commonplace in Israel, but it isn’t Jewish soldiers beating Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The attacks have nothing to do with militant settlers or an autonomous Palestine, although these conflicts are always at the back of people’s minds.

For decades, Jews and Palestinians have been fighting over the same piece of land. Some of them even share the same citizenship. Three quarters of Israel’s 8 million people are Jews, and 1.8 million are Israeli Arabs. However, their paths rarely cross in everyday life. Israel’s Arabs are not required to serve in the military, and many of them live in primarily Arab towns and neighborhoods, with their children attending Arab schools. They earn less on average and are not as well educated as Israeli Jews. Officially, they have the same rights as Jewish citizens, but in reality they are often the targets of discrimination.

‘We Have a Racism Problem’

The Jewish majority, influenced by terror and the constant threat of attack, sees the Arab minority as a “fifth column” of its hostile neighbors in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the entire region.

Instead of fighting suspicion and hate, politicians have in fact fueled these sentiments in recent years, by enacting laws that foster unequal treatment. Because of these laws, Arab schools can be deprived of funding if they remind their students of the 1948 expulsion, a day of mourning for Arabs and a day of joy for Jewish Israelis, which they have celebrated since independence. Communities are even allowed to turn away Arabs wanted to move there — so as to preserve their “Jewish identity.”

The suspicions are nothing new, as they reflect the underlying conflict in this country and beyond its borders. Nevertheless, attacks by perfectly normal Jewish Israelis on their Arab countrymen have been so brutal in recent weeks that the commentary has been surprisingly unanimous. The media on both the left and the right, otherwise rarely of the same mind, have condemned the attacks.

The Israeli press can be hard on its country and unsparing in its criticism. “We have a racism problem,” wrote the newspaper Ha’aretz. And Yediot Akharonot detects the process of dissolution of a “society that has never managed to establish a binding system of values for all of its components.”

Of course, it’s unfair to measure the severity of the problem against the highly charged atmosphere of the Israeli debate, because while anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are part of mainstream political thinking in the Arab world and often even encouraged by governments, Israel openly discusses racism at home. And, of course, the Israelis treat their minorities better than many Arab countries treat their Jews or Christians. But Israel has also set itself a high moral standard, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consistently describing his country as a beacon in the darkness.

Sharp Rise in Attacks

According to the Coalition Against Racism in Israel, a group consisting of several organizations, racially motivated incidents have almost quadrupled since 2008. There were 16 reported cases in that year, compared to 63 between March 2012 and February 2013.

One of those incidents was directed against Revital Wolkov and her colleague, Suhad Abu Samira, 25, a Muslim woman who was wearing a black hijab when the attack occurred. The two teachers were on their way to a funeral service when Wolkov parked her car in a Jewish section of Jerusalem, where many religious Jews live and the Arab translations on street signs are often painted over. When the women got out of the car, they heard people shouting.

“There was an entire group of children and young people standing there,” Wolkov later said in her apartment. At first, the women didn’t understand what they wanted. The youths spat, threw oranges and water bottles at them and shouted: “Arab whore.” Samira began to cry and the women fled into a doorway.

Wolkov experienced the Six-Day War as a child and the Yom Kippur War as a teenager. She was also a soldier and fought in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the wars did not turn her into a cynic. Her face turns rigid when she talks about that afternoon. After working as a teacher for 26 years, her first instinct was to seek dialogue, so she left the doorway and returned to the youths in the parking lot.

Why are you doing this, she asked?

“You Jewish slut, you’re friends with the Arab whore,” they said. The words still echo in her mind today. Then they began throwing rocks and Wolkov fled. When she returned, her car windows had been smashed and the tires slit.

Israelis Feel Superior But Threatened

Wolkov’s parents emigrated from Yemen. She has brown skin, and she knows what it feels like not to look like everyone else. Wolkov was a good student, and yet a teacher once said to her, in front of the entire class, that he wouldn’t have thought that a Yemini could be so good at mathematics. Even though Israel is supposed to be a homeland for all Jews, its society, like societies elsewhere, is divided by skin color and ancestry. Ethiopians and Yemenis are at the bottom of the hierarchy, while Jews of European descent are at the top.

“This is the Middle East. Nothing is normal here. Everyone is traumatized,” says Wolkov. Many Israelis feel superior, she explains — militarily, morally and culturally — and simultaneously threatened. “Those who are afraid begin to hate,” she says.

People who live in Israel can easily feel like castaways on the high seas. There are the radicals of Hezbollah and Hamas, whose rockets are pointed at Tel Aviv, and there are the mad television preachers and politicians from Iran to Saudi Arabia, who want nothing more than to see Israel destroyed. Those who live there constantly see images on television of hate-filled people around the world burning Israeli flags and, even in the two Arab countries with which Israel considers itself to be at peace, angry mobs storming the Israeli embassy. And although Israel is the strongest military power far and wide, its citizens are filled with a deep-seated fear.

This leads to overwhelmingly anti-Arab sentiments. For instance, a survey by the University of Haifa found that more than half of Jewish Israelis don’t want to live next to Arabs. In another study, 63 percent of respondents said they agreed with the statement “Arabs are a security risk and a demographic threat to the country,” while 40 percent felt that the government should encourage Israeli Arabs to emigrate.

Arabs Seen as Enemies

Residents of Tel Aviv’s affluent northern neighborhoods collect signatures to prevent Arabs from moving into the area. In other cities, homeowners are berated for selling or renting to Israeli Arabs. The mayor of Nazaret Illit in northern Israel wrote a newsletter to congratulate residents on keeping the city’s Jewish population constant “at 82 percent.” He also called upon citizens to “fight against the right of everyone in Israel to live where he or she pleases,” and even to employ “methods we would rather not discuss.”

“Arabs are being attacked just for being Arabs,” says Mordechai Kremnitzer, a law professor at Hebrew University. He speaks slowly and sounds worried. “Given our experiences, it ought to be clear that this sort of thing cannot happen,” he says.

Do Jews have to be better people, just because they are victims of anti-Semitism and racism, of persecution and genocide? Is this even possible, given the trauma and ongoing conflict they face?

The state of war is now part of everyday life, says Kremnitzer. The decades of being an occupying power showed the Israelis that they are stronger than the Arabs, he explains. And an Arab, whether he lives in Israel or in the Palestinian territories, is only one thing for many people, says Kremnitzer: the enemy. It’s also oddly schizophrenic that someone can be a soldier serving with the occupying army in the West Bank by day, with almost unlimited power, and then, in the evening, return to being a fellow citizen with his Israeli Arab neighbors.

“Our soldiers are taught early on that the others are inferior to them,” says Kremnitzer. Almost every Jewish Israeli, male or female, serves in the army today. In his capacity as vice-president of the Israel Democracy Institute, Kremnitzer wants to meet with the country’s justice and education ministers. It is imperative that those in the government take action, he says. One in three children is now born into an ultra-Orthodox family, and most attend religious schools, which, rather than teaching students about universal values, drum into them the notion that the Jews have a biblical right to their land.

Instead of advocating peaceful coexistence, some politicians, especially nationalists and the ultra-religious, prefer to draw attention to themselves with anti-Arab statements. Former Interior Minister Eli Yishai referred to illegal African immigrants as “intruders who are contaminating the country with diseases.”

Extreme Rhetoric

A lawmaker with the governing Likud Party referred to them as a “cancer in the nation’s body.” Africans are also increasingly the targets of attacks, in areas like south Tel Aviv, where adolescent gangs have it in for the immigrants. Their leader is a former member of parliament with an ultra-right party.

Knesset Speaker Juli Edelstein wrote on Facebook that the Arabs are “a deplorable nation.” And Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister until recently, wants to transfer Israeli Arabs to Palestine in the context of an exchange of territory and to revoke the citizenship of those who are “disloyal.” He even once called for the execution of Arab lawmakers who had met with Hamas politicians. But half of the Israelis feel that Lieberman has fascist tendencies.

Although there are also politicians who protest against such sentiments, the extreme rhetoric still percolates into the collective consciousness. And with the police often sympathizing with the attackers, it’s no surprise that those responsible for racist attackers are not always punished. “There isn’t enough punishment for these actions,” says legal expert Kremnitzer, adding that many of the culprits have no sense that what they are doing is wrong. “They believe that politicians support what they do.”

Football fan Asi, 23, says that he isn’t a racist, just a nationalist. “I have no problem with Arabs, as long as they raise the Israeli flag and sing along when our national anthem is played.” Lieberman used the same logic to justify a bill he introduced calling for new citizens to deliver an oath of allegiance.

Asi, who lives in a small village near Caesarea, supports the Beitar Jerusalem football club. On a Thursday evening, he and other Beitar fans are standing at an intersection in Herzliya. Asi has a friendly face and a neatly trimmed beard. Like his fellow fans, he is here to demonstrate against the club’s owner.

When it was revealed in January that the Club planned to sign two Muslim Chechen players, the stands in the stadium became filled with hateful signs, with words like “Beitar — Pure Forever.” The fans chanted: “We are chosen, we are holy, but the Arabs are not.”Beitar Jerusalem, says Asi, that’s the holy menorah on a yellow background. The team, he says, can only win as a Jewish team, which is why Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to play in the club.

Beitar’s management has since cancelled the contracts with the Chechens and sent the two men back home. There were simply too many problems, the club wrote in a statement.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Written FOR

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Ironically, in an OpEd in today’s Ynet, the zionists claim that the Arab population in Israel loves racism …. how sick is that?
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I think the Arab citizens of Israel who complain don’t know or appreciate how good they have it. They should be thankful for the right to speak out without the police banging down their door and dragging them off to a dark jail cell to be held without trial.
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‘Racism’ or extinction

Op-ed: Most Arab citizens have it pretty good; prefer living in Israel than in any Arab country

Dan Calic

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Once again we hear voices crying out that Israel is a “racist” state. Should we be surprised? Not really. Why is it that every other group of people can have at least one national homeland where they are the clear majority? Yet, if the same privilege is accorded to Jews it’s called “racist,” or the other famous term – “apartheid state.”

Israel is located in the center of the Middle East. This region is comprised of 22 Arab countries, which cover over five million square miles, with a combined population of more than 350 million people, over 90% of whom are Muslim. The 6+ million Jews who live in Israel make up roughly 1.7% of the region’s population, so the Arabs enjoy an overwhelming majority of the regional ethnicity.

The Jews and Israel have been under constant threat of annihilation since the day independence was declared in May 1948. Have the 350 million Arabs lived under such a threat from Israel for the past 65 years?

Within Israel itself, slightly over 20% of the population is Arab. They enjoy all the benefits of citizenship. They vote, own homes, businesses, property, serve in the Knesset and Supreme Court. Plus, they are excused from serving in the army. Is there a single Arab country where Jews enjoy these same rights? Not one.

The majority of Arab-Israeli citizens will tell you they have it pretty good, and would prefer living in Israel than in an Arab country. Moreover, a couple of years ago, when the PA threatened to annex eastern Jerusalem, the Israeli Office of Immigration was flooded with Arabs wanting to apply for Israeli citizenship. What does that tell you?

So why all the talk of racism? Some may say Israel needs to be more “democratic.” Well, in fact, everyone in Israel gets to vote. So why the complaints?

It seems the problem is pretty easy to identify. The basis for the complaints can be based on only one thing: Jews are the majority and want to remain the majority.

Danes are the majority in Denmark, Swiss are the majority in Switzerland, Muslims are the majority in 22 countries, but no one is accusing any of these countries of racism. Yet if six million Jews are the majority in a country which is the size of New Jersey this is deemed “racist,” one cannot help but wonder what truly motivates those who make such accusations.

Israel is a democracy which among other things allows freedom of speech. Thus, those who voice such complaints are allowed to and are protected under the law. Would Jews be allowed similar privilege as citizens of Arab countries? Hardly.

I think the Arab citizens of Israel who complain don’t know or appreciate how good they have it. They should be thankful for the right to speak out without the police banging down their door and dragging them off to a dark jail cell to be held without trial.

If Israel is seen as “racist” because it’s the only country in the world where Jews are the majority, let the accusations come, and consider the source of the accusers.

If Israel acquiesces, the Jewish nation becomes extinct, which is precisely what the accusers prefer.

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