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.
MrDaveyD
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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.
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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

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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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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.

WELCOMING THE STRANGER IN ISRAEL, UNLESS THEY ARE BLACK

The Torah, (not the King’s Edition) clearly states in Deuteronomy 10: 19 You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Those that read only hatred in the Torah are not only destroying it, but are destroying the Jewish people as well.
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The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people.

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Israel’s Heartbreaking Policy to African Asylum-Seekers

Nation Founded by Refugees Now Turns Its Back on Them

Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

GETTY IMAGES
Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

By Leonard Fein

Meet Omer Olivier. Mr. Olivier is an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been living in Israel for the last seventeen years without official status. Although he has filed a request to be recognized as a refugee, his lack of recognized status means he cannot work legally nor get medical services.

And so, typically, it goes for those who claim refugee status in Israel. In recent years, there have been 4,322 applications for refugee status; according to Physicians for Human Rights, three have been processed and approved. (The figures are murky. A different report estimates between 35,000 and 38,000 asylum seekers, the vast majority of whom, knowing how slim are the odds that they will actually be processed, let alone approved as “legitimate” refugees, have not applied for asylum. Of those who have applied, less than one percent have been processed and accepted as refugees.)

The stumbling block is Israel’s refusal to examine people who claim refugee status on a case-by-case basis. By Israel’s preferred definition, asylum seekers are in fact infiltrators. So much for being gracious to the stranger.

I met some of these “infiltrators” in a day-care center in Tel Aviv in mid-April. They are stateless people, unable to return to Eritrea for fear of arrest and worse, unable to establish legal residence in Israel. The ones I met were four years old. Thousands more, children and adults, are housed at a massive detention facility in the Negev, which I plan to visit on my next trip to Israel.

Often, the argument put forward in defense of Israel’s restrictive policy is demographic: Israel would be overrun were its doors to be opened. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu has inexplicably asserted that these people are “a threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.”

One obvious problem with this argument is that Israel is today a country with a population of more than eight million, and nowhere near the verge of being overrun, still less so were there a more thoughtful path to legal status.

Instead, Israel has determined that Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, the main asylum seekers, are simply not eligible for Refuge Status Determination, as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of Refugees, which Israel ratified on October 1, 1954. And when the terms of reference of that Convention were broadened in 1967, Israel ratified that, too, on June 14, 1968.

The Knesset Information Center acknowledges that Israel is the only developed country that uses temporary collective protection as an alternative to granting asylum on an individual basis, even though the guidelines of the UN High Commission on Refugees clearly state that granting collective protection does not relieve a country of its responsibility to guarantee basic social and economic rights to asylum seekers.

The collective “protection” currently imposed on Eritreans and Sudanese is, in effect, a deferred deportation order; those who are “protected” by it lack work permits, health insurance and welfare benefits. That means that Israel must somehow deal with the 60,000 asylum seekers in Israel who have survived the trek through Sinai, where many have been repeatedly raped or otherwise abused. Once in Israel, they congregate in poor neighborhoods where two-way resentment festers.

The problem: Israel makes the conferral of basic social rights contingent on at least legal residence. The unprocessed asylum seekers lack legal residence, hence lack access to health and social services, are cut off from all local social service frameworks, are barred from legal employment. This drives very many of them into an existence of indigency and want, renders them dependent on charity and non-profit social assistance organizations. Some women find their way to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which reports that many require gynecological attention in the wake of their experience of rape and abuse.

This is not the case in many other countries, where legal status and social benefits are de-linked. While awaiting a ruling on their legal status, asylum seekers in most developed countries enjoy many or all the social rights due a citizen. That is definitively not the case in Israel. After being detained for months or even years, they are given a document that explicitly states that they lack the legal right to work. Lacking the legal right to work, they enter the unregulated job market, where they are often underpaid and overworked and not protected by labor laws and where they are dependent on a network of volunteers for health care.

Plus: The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.

The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people. Israel is easy to love — but too often it breaks your heart.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website

LEGAL VOICE OF BLACK ACTIVISM SILENCED BY DEATH

“He could perform in a courtroom in a trial, and then he could write an excellent brief. Then he could do transactional work. Many lawyers can do one but not the others.”
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Leo Branton Jr., Activists’ Lawyer, Dies at 91

Associated Press

Leo Branton Jr. with Angela Davis during her 1972 trial on murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges. She was acquitted.

By WILLIAM YARDLEY

Leo Branton Jr., a California lawyer whose moving closing argument in a racially and politically charged murder trial in 1972 helped persuade an all-white jury to acquit a black communist, the activist and academic Angela Davis, died on April 19 in Los Angeles. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by Howard Moore Jr., another lawyer who represented Ms. Davis.

Mr. Branton, a black veteran of World War II who served in a segregated Army unit, represented prominent black performers, including Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge, argued cases on behalf of the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, and filed numerous cases alleging police abuse. But the case with which he was most closely associated was that of Ms. Davis.

“Friends of mine said we couldn’t get a fair trial here in Santa Clara County,” Mr. Branton told jurors in his final remarks, on June 1, 1972, in a courtroom in San Jose, Calif. “They said that we could not get 12 white people who would be fair to a black woman charged with the crimes that are charged in this case.”

Ms. Davis, a 28-year-old former instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles, was accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1970 death of a state judge who was shot with one of several weapons she had bought. The year before, Ms. Davis had lost her teaching job after she expressed support for the Communist Party. After the charges were filed, she became a fugitive, one of the F.B.I.’s 10 most wanted. She said the weapons had been stolen from her.

Her flight had been an important part of the prosecution’s case. But Mr. Branton, who had argued numerous cases of police abuse in the 1950s, urged jurors to view her behavior in the context of centuries of slavery, racism and abuse against blacks.

At one point he showed jurors a drawing of Ms. Davis bound in chains. Then he removed the drawing to reveal another showing her freed.

“Pull away these chains,” he said, “as I have pulled away that piece of paper.“

Some jurors cried, and after she was acquitted, so did Ms. Davis. She also hugged the jurors.

“Angela Davis Found Not Guilty by White Jury on All Charges,” said a headline in The New York Times on June 5, 1972.

Decades later, Mr. Branton said the case stood out to him not just because of the verdict or the distinctiveness of his final appeal, but also because of the defense’s preparations. During jury selection, defense lawyers hired psychologists to help them determine who in the jury pool might favor their arguments, an uncommon practice at the time, he said. They also hired experts who undermined the reliability of eyewitness accounts, which were important to the prosecution.

Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and defense lawyer who met Ms. Davis in 1970 when she was being detained before trial and he was an undergraduate at Stanford, said in an interview on Friday that Mr. Branton had emphasized to the jury “who she was as a person.”

“He didn’t want her convicted because of her race or her politics,” he said.

Mr. Branton was born on Feb. 17, 1922, in Pine Bluff, Ark., the oldest of five children. He received a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University in 1942 before serving in the Army. He earned his law degree at Northwestern University in 1948 and soon moved to California.

In 1952, Mr. Branton represented 14 members of the California Communist Party who were accused of advocating the overthrow of the government through force. They were convicted in lower courts, but the convictions were vacated by the United States Supreme Court in 1957.

His survivors include three sons, Leo L. Branton III, Tony Nicholas and Paul Nicholas; a brother; a sister; and five grandchildren. Geraldine Pate Nicholas, his wife of more than 50 years, died in 2006.

Mr. Branton began representing Nat King Cole in 1958 and eventually helped him secure ownership of his master recordings from Capitol Records, said Mr. Moore, his fellow lawyer in the Davis case. Many years later, Mr. Branton represented the estate of Jimi Hendrix until he and others were sued by members of the Hendrix family. The suit was dropped in 1995.

Mr. Moore said he first met Mr. Branton when they represented different clients in civil rights cases in Mississippi in the 1960s. Mr. Branton was already well known for his work in Hollywood and before the Supreme Court.

“Leo was good in his seat and on his feet,” Mr. Moore said. “He could perform in a courtroom in a trial, and then he could write an excellent brief. Then he could do transactional work. Many lawyers can do one but not the others.”

From

MEDICAL RACISM IN ISRAEL

It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.
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Medical racism: Israel hospital director complains that too many African babies are being born

 by Ali Abunimah
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Israelis chant “Sudanese Back To Sudan” during a right-wing demonstration against African refugees in south Tel Aviv, 30 May 2012.

 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.

Israel’s Maariv reported yesterday the official’s comments in Hebrew:

“In Tel Aviv, today, there live approximately 80 thousand infiltrators from Africa, who constitute about 15 percent of the city’s population. In the last year about 700 babies were born to Eritrean and Sudanese mothers, and we currently have an average of about two births a day,” thus reported today Professor Gaby Barabash, director of the Ichilov Medical Center, in a hearing the Knesset held by the lobby for returning the infiltrators.

The problem is that they closed down the fence, but they did not close down the natural growth, and the number of Eritreans born here rises from year to year,” said Barabash.

Barabash’s use of the term “infiltrators” as a general term for Africans marks his comments as part of the long-standing campaign of racist incitement by Israeli leaders and officials that has resulted in horrifying demonstrations and pogroms targeting Africans in Israel, many of whom arrive as refugees.

In December, David Sheen profiled Israel’s “racist ringleaders,” the political leaders and public figures most responsible for racist incitement.

Barabash’s comments are also in keeping with the general outlook in Israel where it is socially acceptable to define the births of non-Jewish babies as undesirable or as a “demographic threat” to the so-called “Jewish and democratic state.”

Even more disturbing, Barabash played on common racist tropes of Africans and people of color as bearers of diseases, recognizable from racist discourses in other places and times, including traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric:

Professor Barabash reported high percentages of intrauterine deaths, and also contagious viral diseases among the delivering mothers: tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. The African population constitutes one third of the new cases of AIDS carriers [sic] diagnosed in Israel, and half of the cases of malaria carriers.

All of this testimony was taken at a parliamentary hearing organized by members who voice vocal support for mass expulsions of Africans and for the construction of a desert prison camp to hold them.

Recently, women of Ethiopian origin have accused Israeli officials of forcing them to take long-term contraceptives, allegations that came to light following an investigation into the precipitous drop in births to Ethiopian women in Israel in recent years.

A long tradition of Israeli baby-hatred

Barabash’s shocking comments also recall those made by Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, a senior researcher at the Israeli government’s Armaments Development Authority at the Herzliya Conference in 2003, who called for Israel to “implement a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population.”

Ravid added: “the delivery rooms in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba,” an area with a large Bedouin population, “have turned into a factory for the production of a backward population” (“Herzliya conference sees verbal attacks on Israeli Arabs,” Haaretz, 18 December 2003).

Palestine’s indigenous Bedouin population has long been the target of Israeli forced removal from their lands and other racist practices.

And as David Hirst wrote of Prime Minister Golda Meir in his classic book The Gun and the Olive Branch, “The Palestinians’ birth-rate was so much higher than the Jews’ that her sleep was often disturbed, she would say, at the thought of how many Arab babies had been born in the night.”

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation and analysis.

 

 

Written FOR

50 YEARS LATER ~~ FROM THE GHETTOS OF BIRMINGHAM TO THE GHETTOS OF PALESTINE

Numerous studies document an increasingly frightened, racist society: large numbers of Israeli Jews would not allow an Arab in their home, neighborhood, or children’s school, favor preference for Jews over Arabs in governmental hiring, and both societies live increasingly ghettoized lives.
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Lessons from the civil rights movement on an important anniversary

By Alice Rothchild

 

Martin Luther King Jr.
A few months after writing the “Letter from Birmingham jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. (File photo) 

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the protests against Southern segregation in Birmingham and celebrate today’s anniversary of Martin Luther King’s penning of his fiery “Letter from Birmingham jail,” we are challenged by King’s deeds and  voice.

King wrote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He talked about the importance of grappling with the underlying causes of popular resistance; the powerful role of nonviolent direct action “to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

King was not only deeply committed to nonviolence, to fighting “the triple evils” of racism, materialism and militarism, but toward the end of his life, he also turned his passion to opposing the Vietnam war, thus entering the international realm and the struggle for human rights for all oppressed peoples.

 

Now, 44 years after his assassination and decades of unity between African-American and Jewish communities fighting racism and anti-Semitism, a new challenge is arising. African-Americans are feeling growing pressure to stand with their Jewish brothers and sisters, despite mounting distress over the policies of the Israeli government towards Palestinians. At the same time, the U.S. Jewish community is increasingly agonized and fractured over criticism of Israeli policies and the growing Jewish voice, from activist organizations to campuses, for an end to the occupation and for boycott, divestment, and sanctions towards Israel until there is a just resolution to the conflict.

What can we learn from King’s legacy about this contentious issue?

 

In October 2012, under the leadership of the Dorothy Cotton Institute, a delegation of African-American civil rights leaders, theologians, scholars and activists, (many of whom are Jewish), traveled to Israel and the West Bank to see for themselves. Informed by our experiences and knowledge of the segregated South, sit-ins, bus boycotts and nonviolent marches, many were unprepared for the striking parallels we faced.

“Why didn’t I know?” was a common, disturbing question.

 

While Israel is usually presented as a vibrant, productive, democratic society, the delegates learned about a reality that is usually hidden from public discourse. We learned that from 1948 to 1966, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship lived under military rule with checkpoints and permits to travel within their own country. There are now more than 35 laws that explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. Approximately 93 percent of Israeli land is in actuality for use by Jews only through the work of the Jewish National Fund and various state agencies. There are Jewish towns and Arab towns with major discrepancies in funding, infrastructure and schools, not to mention unrecognized Palestinian villages within Israel that receive no services whatsoever.

Numerous studies document an increasingly frightened, racist society: large numbers of Israeli Jews would not allow an Arab in their home, neighborhood, or children’s school, favor preference for Jews over Arabs in governmental hiring, and both societies live increasingly ghettoized lives.

 

Our experiences within East Jerusalem and the West Bank were even more troublesome; whether it was the aggressive Judaization of old Arab neighborhoods in the Holy City or the efforts by Israeli authorities to make it increasingly difficult for East Jerusalemites to retain their IDs. We witnessed the extensive systems of bypass roads (intended for Jewish settlers only), separate bus systems, the rapid growth of Jewish settlements, much on private Palestinian land, the crushing checkpoint system for Palestinians and the separation wall snaking through the West Bank.

Jewish settlers in the West Bank live under Israeli civil law, Palestinians under military law. Settlements receive ample water, electricity and infrastructure; Palestinian villages are marked by their scarcity.

In Hebron where militant Jewish settlers, guarded by heavily armed soldiers, have established an enclave in the middle of the Old City, there are streets that are “Arab-rein” (“clean of Arabs”) and a high level of daily harassment by well-armed settlers toward the local Palestinian population.

 

Given Israel’s reputation as the victim of Palestinian intransigence and terrorism, the other surprise for some members of the DCI delegation was meeting Palestinians deeply committed to nonviolent activism, well-versed in the teachings of King and Gandhi, placing their bodies on the line Friday after Friday in the villages of Bi’ilin, Budrus, Nabi Saleh and others. We learned of years of boycotts and nonviolent marches, campus actions, Freedom Rides and a growing commitment to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

Just as King wrote, “Where do we go from here?” today’s African-Americans and American Jews are struggling with the terrible consequences for a society that was once a source of pride and comfort, but is now more publicly reaping the cost of privileging one group of people over another. Discrimination, racism and segregation are the prevailing reality and what leaders from Jimmy Carter to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu have compared to apartheid.

 

Clearly, powerful forces within our own society, from Christians Zionists to AIPAC to our government-backed global military industrial complex make this all possible. This is further reinforced by a corporate news media frequently parroting the voices of the Israeli government rather than investigating the human rights concerns of Palestinians. But grassroots activists, joining together as part of an international movement, are developing a new discourse which is human rights-based, rather than focused on Jewish victimhood and exceptionalism at the expense of the Palestinian population.

Perhaps this can unite African-Americans steeped in the civil rights struggle and US Jews who feel Judaism has been hijacked by the increasingly isolated and dangerous policies of the Israeli state.

 

Alice Rothchild is a Boston-based physician, author, and filmmaker who is active in the US Jewish peace movement. 

Source

BELLA CIAO TO ISLAMOPHOBIA

New Version from Iran (Thanks to Redpossum)
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It’s been a bad month for zionism and Islamophobia …. a great month for humanity!
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First this ….. Canadian Students Back Boycott Israel Movement 
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Then this ….. The Jimmy Carter Protests that Weren’t  
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And now this ….. Pamela Geller Speech Cancelled At New York Synagogue 
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Here’s the full report FROM …. it claims that the synagogue failed to take a stand, but I’m satisfied with the cancellation!
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Bella Ciao To Islamophobia!!
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Shul Cancels Pamela Geller — But Fails To Take Stand

By Nechama Liss-Levinson

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It was after 11 p.m. yesterday that I first heard the news that my synagogue, the Great Neck Synagogue, had announced the cancellation of a speaking engagement by Pamela Geller, founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), described as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I breathed a great sigh of relief. I quickly stopped writing the piece I was working on about how my heart was broken by the intransigence of the synagogue and its leadership in confronting a moral challenge.

Despite the cancellation, I am still filled with pain. When the synagogue announced its decision to cancel Geller’s talk, originally set for April 14, it cited “security concerns,” particularly for member families and their children. This indeed may be the reason that the executive board of the synagogue cancelled the event.


In my heart, I hope it was not the only reason. I hope the leadership was (at least unconsciously) influenced by the virtual flood of phone calls, emails, and private conversations in which Great Neck Synagogue members, as well as others, made the point that even though Geller has the right to speak, the synagogue does not have an obligation to offer her its pulpit.

I wish my synagogue had spoken of the moral question. I wish the leaders had stood up and said, “We didn’t initially realize what Geller represents. Now that we do know, we will stand proudly against hate speech.” I wish that they had noticed that Geller’s concerns about radical Islam often morph into a vilification of all Muslims and the Islamic faith. Her language encourages denigration and dehumanization, rather than constructive discussion and cooperation.

What is even more distressing to me is the reaction that the cancellation has engendered. The commentary on the blogosphere, including a statement posted on Geller’s website, now denigrates the synagogue and its leaders. The vitriol and hatred in these postings are frightening. Both sides in this conflict feel that they are right, that they own the moral high ground, and that an evil is being perpetrated. But a quick survey of these postings will find that the supporters of Geller have totally lost the capacity for civil discourse.

I had planned to use two quotes from Elie Wiesel in my original post about the Geller invitation. His most famous one is: “Indifference to evil is evil.” And then, just days ago, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a young friend posted this, also from Wiesel: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”

I feel that these quotes give me added strength to do what I think is right. And then I read scores of quotes online from supporters of Geller,also using the example of the Holocaust as a reason that she should be permitted to speak. Most used the phrase, “Never again.” Who knew that even the Holocaust can be used to justify such disparate viewpoints?

When I got into my car this morning at 8:00 a.m., a radio newscast informed me that Geller had declared that her talk was cancelled due to “relentless intimidation, bullying and threats.” In fact, she said, “leftist thugs, pushed and prodded by Islamist supremacist…… threatened a march on the shul.”

I sat in the car stunned. What was true was that my husband and I had petitioned the Village of Great Neck for permission for a peaceful demonstration, which would have taken place across the street from the synagogue on the Sunday morning of Geller’s talk. It was clearly written in the petition that the demonstrators would be “polite and law abiding.” There were no microphones or speeches planned for our event, just placards with messages like “Say NO to Religious Bigotry” or “Great Neck Synagogue Members Support Religious Tolerance.”

The organizers were all members of Great Neck Synagogue, parents and grandparents, community leaders and community activists. We wanted to show that not all members of the synagogue agreed with the decision to invite Geller. We wanted to be able to stand proudly. We wanted, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, wrote, “to pray with our feet.” As of yesterday, we were the only group to file a petition to assemble on the day of Geller’s speech. I have been called many things, but this was the first time I have been branded a “leftist thug.”

Why did we plan to protest? We want our synagogue to be known for the many extraordinary programs in which we’ve participated: sending busloads of demonstrators to Washington D.C. to protest the genocide in Darfur; organizing a 25-person relief mission to rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; sending food for the holidays to impoverished Jewish families as well as to the food pantry sponsored by a local church; and being home base for a Women’s Tefila group, which offers meaningful rituals for many of the developmental milestones that Jewish girls and women face. And so it seemed untenable that this synagogue would be stuck in such a terrible morass, getting attention for offering a platform to hatred and bigotry.

I am thrilled that the Great Neck Synagogue has cancelled the event for Geller. I remain brokenhearted for the underlying anxieties, fears and hatreds that it exposed.

 

 

ISRAELI HATE REACHES NEW HEIGHTS ON FACEBOOK

“May you die garbage Arabs, amen!”

This is only a small selection of therepresentative and typical comments posted under the picture of the three boys in the tent.

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“Castrate them!” “Burn them!” “Bullet in the head!”: Facebook Israelis react to photo of Palestinian kids

 Ali Abunimah 
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An image of three Palestinian boys sparked an outpouring of violent and sadistic fantasies after it was reposted to an Israeli Facebook page (Original source and screenshot of context).

 (Shadi Hatem)

Having regularly documented the horrifying racism and violent fantasies frequently expressed by Israelis on Facebook or Instagram, I thought I had seen everything.

But this may be the worst yet. On Wednesday, the picture above of three Palestinian boys in a tent was posted on a popular Facebook page titled in Hebrew “We are all in favor of death to terrorists.” Under the picture is the following caption:

Arab boys in the illegal Arab outpost established near Maale Adumim. What should the Israeli army do to them?

This is an apparent reference to the peaceful “Bab al-Shams” encampment established by Palestinians near Jerusalem to protest Israel’s plans to seize more land for settlements. The protest was timed to coincide with the visit of US President Barack Obama.

“Run the tent over with a truck/Merkava tank/a bus/ whatever it takes to crush and kill these children,” suggested Facebook user Lidor Swisa.

As of Friday there were almost 200 comments under the post offering suggestions of what the Israeli army should do – the vast majority fantasizing extreme sadistic violence and murder.

What makes this even more than usually disturbing is many of the Israeli commentators appear to be high school students themselves – perhaps only a year or two from mandatory army service when they will be empowered to carry out their fantasies.

Soldiers and adults join in the virtual pogrom

Kfir Brigade sergeant Ohad Halevy believes Palestinian children peacefully protesting should be “slaughtered” (Source).

But others, such as Shlomo Levi, are clearly already army-age adults. His suggestion?

“I’d have thrown nerve gas into the tent and closed it and made them breath it until the end”

Kfir Infantry Brigade member David Kozolovski justifies violence against Palestinian children (Source).

David Kozolovski wrote, “To all those comparing Jews to Nazis, Jews did not try to kill German civilians,” thereby justifying the orgy of violent fantasies against the children.

Kozolovski’s profile pictures on Facebook include images of him in his Israeli army uniform bearing the insignia of the Kfir Infantry Brigade.

Ohad Halevy, another soldier in the Kfir Brigade simply wrote “Slaughter them!” of the three children in the photo.

“May you die garbage Arabs, amen!”

This is only a small selection of therepresentative and typical comments posted under the picture of the three boys in the tent.

A minority of users objected to these pervasive comments. Lilach Lilush, said, “Excuse me … I disagree… what do you mean ‘eliminate?’ What are we, an arm of Hamas or Hizballah? We are more enlightened. We should just return them safely where they came from.”

Even in her objection Lilush could not but stereotype Arabs as monsters compared to “enlightened” Israelis. But still, hers was a very rare sentiment amid the frenzy of bloodlust that sees the three Palestinian boys in the picture as legitimate targets for extreme violence.

Widespread incitement and racism

Again, I stress as in my previous posts, that this horrifying racism and sadism towards Arabs seems to be pervasive among Israelis who use social media and reflects the much broader phenomenon of escalating racism in Israel against Palestinians and Africans.

Haaretz noted, for instance, in a recent article that racist incitement by Israeli public figures doubled in 2012. It also reported on how the kind of crude and shocking racism seen in these comments is common among Israeli schoolchildren in Jerusalem.

Nurit Peled-Elhanan has also documented in her recent book the pervasive anti-Arab racism and stereotypes that Israeli children are exposed to at school which may contribute to this horrifying phenomenon.

It is also notable that the “We are all in favor of death to terrorists” Facebook group has more than 41,000 “Likes” and images of Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis deemed traitorous “leftists” are frequently posted attracting similarly vile comments.

In his speech in Jerusalem this week, President Obama also observed that “Israelis are so active on social media that every day seemed to bring a different Facebook campaign about where I should give this speech.”

The violence is not just virtual

In at least one case we know of, an Israeli soldier, Maxim Vinogradov, announced on Facebook his intention to assist in the “annihilation” of Arabs just days before he went out and shot father of two Ziad Jilani at a checkpoint in Jerusalem for no known reason in 2010.

An example of the Israeli army’s routine brutality against children was on display on the very day Obama landed when dozens of children as young as eight were abused and kidnapped by Israeli soldiers as they were on their way to school in Hebron  a harrowing scene caught on video.

 

Written FOR

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