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Another Israeli swimming pool caught refusing entry to Arab citizens

by Ali Abunimah, EI

An Israeli swimming pool in the southern city of Bir al-Saba (Beer Sheva) refused entry to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, in the latest documented example of blatant racism in public accommodations.

Tahir Marisat, a teacher in one of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev)region, went to the Beer Sheva Country Club with a friend and asked to buy a ticket.

Marisat was told by the clerk that the pool was only for residents of the city. Marisat, who studied in Bir al-Saba and has lived there for 11 years, is originally from the town of Tamra in the north of the country, but has not changed the address on his identity card.

After being refused entry the first time, Marisat went back a second time and recorded on video the exchange of him being again denied entry. Marisat is told firmly “go home” and that the local residents only policy was “new.”

That exchange, in Hebrew, can be seen in the Channel 10 report at the top of this post.

“A specific population”

The “Orly and Guy” program on Israel’s Channel 10 sent an undercover investigative reporter to the club to test whether it does indeed discriminate between Jews and Arabs.

The Jewish reporter was able to buy a ticket even though his place of residence was Netanya, a northern city far from Bir al-Saba. When the reporter asked about the policy of only selling tickets to local residents he was told by the desk clerk that the policy only applied to a “specific population.”

The video of the Channel 10 report included audio of this exchange recorded by the undercover reporter as he purchased a ticket. It is translated from the original Hebrew:

Undercover reporter: “How much is it?”
Pool clerk: “Seventy-five. Are you a soldier?”
Undercover reporter: “Uh – no. Is there any problem with me not being from Beer Sheva ?”
Pool clerk: “No.”
Undercover reporter: “No?”
Pool clerk: “It’s not aimed at you.”
Undercover reporter: “It’s not aimed at me? What does that mean?”
Pool clerk: “It’s for a specific population.”
Undercover reporter: “Do lots of Bedouins come here?”
Pool clerk: “Yes.”
Undercover reporter: “OK, thank you very much.”

Family turned away for being Arab

Marisat told Channel 10, “When I was there a woman came, with her children, with her husband, to come into the pool. An Arab woman, with her husband, and they didn’t let her in. She went back and her children started asking ‘why aren’t we going in?’”

After being caught red-handed implementing a blatantly racist policy, the club told Channel 10 that it “permits entry to any person who purchased an annual subscription, with no difference of color, sex, and religion.”

When it comes to day passes, of the type Marisat and the undercover reporter sought to purchase, the club claimed “entry is permitted only to Beer Sheva residents, regardless of their ethnic origins.”

To this, program host Orly Vilnai commented, “we saw that this was untrue.” And her co-host Guy Maroz observed, “They’re blaming the lowest ranking person!”

The program also noted that the mayor of Bir al-Saba did not respond to a request for comment even though the club is a municipal pool.

The exposure of segregation at the Beer Sheva Country Club follows other similar incidents in recent months including:

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation and analysis.

Big Racists vs Little Racists: How Israeli apartheid is coming unstuck

by Jonathan Cook, source

NAZARETH — One incident of racism, though small in relation to the decades of massive, institutionalised discrimination exercised by Israel against its Palestinian Arab citizens, has triggered an uncharacteristic bout of Israeli soul-searching.

Superland, a large amusement park near Tel Aviv, refused to accept a booking from an Arab school on its preferred date in late May. When a staff member called back impersonating a Jew, Superland approved the booking immediately.

As the story went viral on social media, the park’s managers hurriedly offered an excuse: they provided separate days for Jewish and Arab children to keep them apart and prevent friction.

Government ministers led an outpouring of revulsion. Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, called the incident a “symptom of a sick democracy”. Defence minister Moshe Yaalon was “ashamed”. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the “racist” policy be halted immediately.

Such sensitivity appears to be a reaction to an explosion of popular racism over the past few months against the one in five Israelis who belong to the country’s Palestinian Arab minority. Some Israeli Jews have started to find the endless parade of bigotry disturbing.

Israeli TV recently revealed, for example, that a group of children with cancer who had been offered a free day at a swimming pool were refused entry once managers discovered that they were Bedouin.

According to another TV investigation, Israel’s banks have a secret policy of rejecting Arab customers who try to transfer their accounts to a branch in a Jewish community, even though this violates banking regulations.

The settlers, whose violence was once restricted to setting fire to the crops of Palestinians or rampaging through their villages in the West Bank, are now as likely to attack Arab communities inside Israel. Torched mosques, offensive graffiti on churches and cars set ablaze in so-called “price-tag” attacks have become commonplace.

Similarly, reports of vicious attacks on Arab citizens are rapidly becoming a news staple. Recent incidents have included the near-fatal beating of a street cleaner, and a bus driver who held his gun to an Arab passenger’s head, threatening to pull the trigger unless the man showed his ID.

Also going viral were troubling mobile-phone photos of a young Arab woman surrounded by a mob of respectable-looking commuters amd shoppers while she waited for a train. As they hit her and pulled off her hijab, station guards looked on impassively.

However welcome official denunciations of these events are, the government’s professed outrage does not wash.

While Netanyahu and his allies on the far right were castigating Superland for its racism, they were busy backing a grossly discriminatory piece of legislation the Haaretz newspaper called “one of the most dangerous” measures ever to come before the parliament.

The bill will give Israelis who have served in the army a whole raft of extra rights in land and housing, employment, salaries, and the provision of public and private services. The catch is that almost all of the country’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens are excluded from military service. In practice, the benefits will be reserved for Jews only.

Superland’s offence pales to insignificance when compared to that, or to the decades of state-planned and officially sanctioned discrimination against the country’s Palestinian minority.

An editorial in Haaretz this month observed that Israel was really “two separate states, one Arab and one Jewish. … This is the gap between the Jewish state of Israel, which is a developed Western nation, and the Arab state of Israel, which is no more than a Third World country.”

Segregation is enforced in all the main spheres of life: land allocation and housing, citizenship rights, education, and employment.

None of this is accidental. It was intended this way to guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Legal groups have identified 57 laws that overtly discriminate between Jewish and Palestinian citizens, with a dozen more heading towards the statute books.

Less visible but just as damaging is the covert discrimination Palestinian citizens face every day when dealing with state institutions, whose administrative practices find their rationale in the entrenchment of Jewish privilege.

This week a report identified precisely this kind of institutional racism when it found that students from the country’s Palestinian minority were confronted by a series of 14 obstacles not faced by their Jewish compatriots that contributed to denying them places in higher education.

The wave of popular prejudice and racist violence is no accident either. Paradoxically, it has been unleashed by the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric of right-wing politicians like Netanyahu, whose constant fearmongering casts Palestinian citizens as disloyal, a fifth column and a demographic threat to the state’s Jewishness.

So why if the state is so committed to subjugating and excluding Palestinian citizens, and Netanyahu and his ministers so determined to increase the weight of discriminatory legislation, are they decrying the racism of Superland?

To make sense of this, one has to understand how desperately Israel has sought to distinguish itself from apartheid South Africa.

Israel cultivates, as South Africa once did, what scholars term “grand apartheid”. This is segregation, largely covert and often often justified by security or cultural differences, to ensure that control of resources remains exclusively in the hands of the privileged community.

At the same time, Israel long shied away from what some call South Africa’s model of “petty apartheid” – the overt, symbolic, but far less significant segregation of park benches, buses and toilets.

The avoidance of petty apartheid has been the key to Israel’s success in obscuring from the world’s view its grand apartheid, most obviously in the occupied territories but also inside Israel itself.

This month South Africa’s departing ambassador to Israel, Ismail Coovadia, warned that Israel was a “replication of apartheid”. The idea that the world may soon wake up to this comparison deeply unnerves Netanyahu and the right, all the more so as they risk being identified as the party refusing to make concessions towards peace.

The threat posed by what happened at Superland is that such incidents of unofficial and improvised racism may one day unmask the much more sinister and organised campaign of “grand apartheid” that Israel’s leaders have overseen for decades.

- See more at: http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/06/big-racists-vs-little-racists/#sthash.FAlPyuSq.dpuf

Children with cancer barred from Israeli swimming pool for being Arab & mass demolition as “Israel” ethnically cleanses Naqab desert

by Ali Abunimah, EI

An Israeli public swimming pool has refused entry to a group of children with cancer because the children are Arab.

The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar, wanted to surprise a group of 20 Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabu’im village in the south of the country.

Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.”

Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies.

The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.” The report added that Ben-Gurion University agreed to allow the children to use its facilities.

Racism at public facilities in “Israel”

This shocking incident came to light just days after it emerged that another Israeli facility, the theme park Superland, segregates Jewish and Arab students on separate days.

While Arab and Jewish children in Israel attend separate and unequal schools, racial segregation in public facilities like parks or pools is not mandated by law as it was in apartheid South Africa or the United States. But Palestinian citizens of Israel have habitually faced discrimination.

As for millions more Palestinians living under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel’s strict closures, sieges and permit system effectively bar them from most recreational facilities, parks and beaches in historic Palestine.

In recent years, Palestinian and Israeli women have challenged these draconian movement restrictions by going on “illegal” trips to the beach together.

The latest cases of swimming pool racism are reminiscent of an incident caught on video last year when Palestinian families were turned away from a resort near the Dead Sea as Europeans, Israelis and dogs were allowed to enter freely.

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Further crimes against Bedouins (click to read): Mass demolition as Israel ethnically cleanses Naqab desert

Soldiers’ confessions prove shocking Israeli Instagram photo soldiers not just a few bad apples

by Adri Nieuwhof, EI

The Israeli veterans’ organization Breaking The Silence has documented numerous confessions over the last nine years.

These shocking admissions from Israeli soldiers document the maltreatment of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. The confessions prove that the immoral behavior seen in the disturbing images posted on Israeli soldiers’ Instagram accounts, as revealed by The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah are not the case of a few bad apples.

Here follows a selection of a few of the group’s confessions.

“Beating some Arab to a pulp”

The practice of taking abusive pictures of Palestinians captives was confessed by several soldiers. For example, a staff sergeant from the Golani Brigade witnessed “people took photos of dead men.” He mentioned:

a photo of my crew taken with a shirtless prisoner, wearing a Golani cap and everyone standing around him.

A staff sergeant from the paratroopers in Hebron confessed that photos are taken while someone [a Palestinian] is picked up for interrogation, blindfolded, hands tied, and he’s placed in a post like that and…”

When asked if everyone would come along and get their pictures taken with someone who is shackled, he replies, “Yes, that was normal.” He said the soldiers would hang the photos up at home.

The rules of engagement are not clear confessed a staff sergeant from the paratroopers. “We did not get any clarification orders.”

[I]f something really happened, they would deny it somehow and not take it up to higher echelons, so they would not be screwed themselves. That is why there were many instances where instead of being taken up, they remained on the company level. Eventually, the company commander knows about it but doesn’t report it.

The same sergeant confessed that he had witnessed soldiers who took a Palestinian into the back alley in Hebron:

When I got there the officer and another soldier were beating some Arab to a pulp, and another guy stood by and took pictures. This reached the company commander first. When the company commander heard this… he was busy and didn’t have time to run the company, things got really chaotic and he did nothing about it.

Finally, the sergeant who witnessed the incident informed the battalion commander who “got rid of the company commander.”

In response to the question why a soldier comes and takes pictures of “his commander beating up an Arab,” the sergeant replies:

It’s a game, like getting pictures taken with a woman’s underwear and bra (the witness told about such an incident at a Palestinian home in the Ramallah area, earlier in the interview). So that’s how it is…

“Morals and war don’t go together”

The confession of a lieutenant from the educational corps gives a clear insight into the morals of the Israeli occupation forces.

The education officer had “to analyze and evaluate some value or educational content of the events.” The soldier said to have worked mostly with commanders and staff officers at the division headquarters. The confession exposes there was no framework for how to execute and report such “value analyses:”

[I]ncidents that involved human dignity and such, we’d simply write it up ourselves, the whole thing. It also seemed pretty pretentious to me to scold them, tell them it was out of line.

The educational officer said the following about the task of issuing propaganda bulletins:

I don’t know, I felt like the propaganda minister of the Nazis or something. It was this really fascist stuff, I had to tell them what value they had violated in what they did, why this was important and why we should never [do] this again. Practically speaking, who am I and do I think I am, I who have no idea of values, or of warfare, and what good would it do, anyway. I mean, they are obliged to do these things, and if something doesn’t break inside you, like I said earlier, then you simply can’t function. So you’ll get discharged on psychological grounds, or you’ll be a conscientious objector, or you’ll shoot yourself in the head, or something will break and you’ll turn into some, I don’t know… Frankly, I’d sit there facing thisSpirit of the IDF document and try to analyze the values and simply couldn’t believe a word I read there and I couldn’t care less because it seemed to me so totally unconnected, so detached, and not about what the hell we’re doing in this place. If we’re in this place then what is the point of talking values? Morals and war don’t go together.

Looting personal property

The Israeli soldiers’ confessions reveal that looting Palestinian property is a common practice. A staff sergeant testified that during house searches:

there was not one person on the team who didn’t take some prayer beads or a picture or some other souvenir, and with time these became more than just prayer beads and souvenirs, people started to really look for stuff. You’re searching anyway, so let’s really search and look for lighters and cigarette boxes, and take such things. Finally, it got to discussions about taking money.

Another staff sergeant confessed there were

two guys in his company who went around sporting [Palestinian] prayer beads and other guys with these beautiful Arab daggers. I don’t believe they bought them, so I assume they took them off someone but I wasn’t present at such moments.

An education officer from the Nahal brigade testified that on her first day on duty almost all soldiers returned to the army base with prayer beads and small Qur’ans. When she asked “Where did you get these?” They said, “What do you mean? We’ve just been to Qalqiliya now, we took souvenirs from homes.”

After having informed her commander,

he got very annoyed right then and there, nearly threw the table and called up the advance-guard company commander. The company commander said, “I’ve never seen this girl, she’s lying, making it all up. No way! My soldiers wouldn’t do something like that.” The battalion commander hands me the phone and I tell the company commander, “Listen, it happened.” He answers, “Who are you, anyway? You little punk, you don’t understand.”

Another staff sergeant confessed:

Everyone knew that guys were picking up stuff. Everyone was walking around handling some prayer beads. You didn’t see anyone without them and the company commander certainly knew… I remember once, the company commander saw something like that and yelled for everyone to return it all, but no one really looked into this. No one got into those things.

Question: It was common knowledge that people had picked up money here and there. What size sums?

Answer: Several hundred shekels, but there were stories of thousands too. The Arabs keep their money at home, cash, as we know. Under the floor tiles… I can’t say these things with certainty, but no big deal was made of this. Much larger sums were taken. People’s whole savings.

Vandalism

A staff sergeant told Breaking the Silence about a horrible case of vandalism:

[I]n our first entry to Abu Sneina. We were in a house for some days and had to get out, and the things was that under that officer there were two soldiers, too, in my own platoon, who were very extreme with these things. Before they left that house, they simply vandalized anything they could there. They smashed floor tiles, all the lamps…

Question: How long did you stay there?

Answer: A week. Some days. One of the soldiers defecated on their bed. Like, really, all lines had been crossed. At the last moment, right before leaving, there was this crazy event, leaving Abu Sneina. The company commander had seen the house, by chance, he went in and saw it all, and he made them go back inside and fix everything, but they simply left. Simply left it all the way it was. There was nothing one could do about it. That’s another instance, and these were good soldiers, and the platoon commander knew about it. I mean, there’s a soldier who defecated on an Arab’s bed, in his own home. I mean…

Question: These soldiers were punished, eventually?

Answer: Nothing at all. It stayed like, nothing was passed on.

Question: Did the company commander know about it?

Answer: Not about this. The company commander knew that the house had been knocked up as it should be, he didn’t know about the shitting part specifically. The platoon commander did.

The soldiers were not punished.

Did “Israel” violate the Genocide Convention by forcing contraceptives on Ethiopian women?

by Ali Abunimah, EI

*view all links in original source

After initial denials, Israel has admitted that medical authorities have been giving Ethiopian women long-term contraceptive drugs and it has been alleged that this was done without the women’s consent.

If the allegations are proven, this practice may fit the legal definition of genocide.

The government has now ordered clinics not to renew prescriptions for the long-acting injectable contraceptive drug Depo-Provera “for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

Allegations of coercion and threats

In some cases, the drugs were reportedly administered to women waiting in transit camps for permission to emigrate to Israel. The women’s allegations, reported by Haaretz are shocking:

“We said we won’t have the shot. They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid… We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave,” recounted Emawayish, who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago. She was one of 35 women, whose stories were recorded by Sebba Reuven, that relate how they were coaxed and threatened into agreeing to receive the injectable birth control drug.

Dramatic decline in Ethiopian birthrate

The journalistic investigation was prompted by a precipitious decline in the birth rate among Ethiopian women in Israel:

About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.

The Genocide convention

From The Independent:

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

But if indeed the goal of those who administered the program was to target Ethiopian women, and to reduce the number of births they have, then the policy may be a crime under Article II(d) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Reasonable suspicion

If the coercive contraception program were administered against women in general, it would be unethical and abhorrent, but it can only be genocidal if it is done “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

In this case, there is no allegation that the policy was employed against anyone except Ethiopian women. That would be one indication of targeting.

These Ethiopian women emigrated to Israel under the “Law of Return,” Israel’s racist policy to only allow those it considers Jews into the country, while keeping out indigenous Palestinians.

But remember, Israeli officials and state rabbis long delayed or denied entry to tens of thousands of Ethiopians whose Jewishness did not meet official standards.

In the early 1990s, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir accused thousands of Ethiopians of secretly being Christians.

Ethiopians, even those who came under the Law of Return and are recognized as Jews, have faced a long, documented history of state and societal discrimination including being forced to attend segregated schools.

Anti-African incitement from the top

The forced contraception has also come to light at a time when anti-African incitement and violence, stoked by Israeli leaders, has reached unprecedented proportions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has also served as health minister throughout his term of office, and is therefore personally accountable for the policy, stated last year that African migrants “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

So the atmosphere in Israel is one in which hatred and incitement targeting Africans in general is rife and encouraged by authorities.

“Israel” unlikely to discourage Jewish births in general

It would also be illogical that Israel would institute a general birth control policy for women it recognizes as Jewish. Israel has no interest in decreasing childbirths by Jewish women in general, and due its obsession with demography, anxiously hopes that the Jewish birthrate will accelerate and non-Jewish birthrates will slow down.

Israel’s two chief government rabbis also recently endorsed an organization that specifically opposes abortions by Jewish women and whose stated goal is “to increase the Jewish birthrate in Israel.”

But given the racism against Africans as Africans, whether Jewish or not, it is plausible that the policy was meant to target Ethiopian women.

Even if it is proven that the policy targeted Ethiopian women and was intended to prevent births among Ethiopians, Israel could argue that the policy had other goals than “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” That would require knowing the motivations of those who planned and implemented the policy.

To put it mildly, Israel does not have a strong history of investigating itself, and while genocide is a crime that any state can pursue, it is doubtful that signatories to the Convention will challenge Israel’s impunity and investigate this case.

Israeli elections: The center cannot hold

Racism pervades Israeli electoral campaign

(Fence with Egypt to prevent immigration- file photo)

by Yusuf Fernandez, source

The last electoral campaign in Israel has been dominated by racism. It is not just racism against Arabs, which is as old as the existence of the Zionist entity, but also racism against Black people, whose life is becoming more and more miserable in Israel.

According to the statistics, there are currently about 60,000 African immigrants in the Zionist entity. Most of them come from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Congo and other countries.

The situation of Africans in Israel, both Jews and non-Jews, is actually desperate. Some thousands have low-quality jobs where they are unscrupulously exploited by Israeli employers. Others are homeless and are begging on the streets of Israeli cities to survive. In spite of claims of rampant crime in the suburbs of South Tel Aviv where most Africans live, a senior police commander, David Gez, was quoted as saying the level of crime among this population was actually relatively low.

The last episode of anti-Black racism was a recent video made by the religious Shas party – which represents Sephardi Jews, who ironically have also been historically subjected to discrimination by Jews of European-origin (Ashkenazis). The five-minute video sought to fuel fear of Africans and increase support for the Shas’s anti-immigration platform ahead of the January 22 parliamentary elections.

The message of the video was that only the leader of the Shas party, Eli Yishai, who is also currently interior minister, can successfully fight against the “threat” allegedly posed by African immigrants, whom Yishai and other Israeli politicians repeatedly refer to as “infiltrators.” In an interview with Ynet, Yishai said “the threat from infiltrators is no less severe than the Iranian nuclear threat.”

In May, Yishai told Maariv that in the previous months dozens of Israeli women had been raped by “infiltrators” in South Tel Aviv but they had decided not to report the attacks so that people would not think they had “contracted AIDS.”

The content of the video was not different to other similar ones made by far-right European parties. There were in it remarks by local residents who express their fear for their safety and anger over a housing shortage – all allegedly due to the African immigrants. According to Times of Israel, one woman says that “it is their fault that there are no apartments. It is their fault that housing is very expensive.” A man complains that “tomorrow the Sudanese will keep on walking around here, continue to beat (people) up, continue to stab and continue to rape our women.”

The narrator says that the Black “infiltrators” “control neighborhoods in South Tel Aviv, Eilat, Ashdod, and other cities,” and pose a “social, religious and security threat.” He goes on to assert that the “greatest threat of all is the demographic threat.” The video also claims that the majority of African migrants are Muslim, and that they therefore “do not believe in the State of Israel’s right to exist.”

Ironically, the Shas has also denounced the racial bias of the other Israeli parties. Recently, Aryeh Deri, the number three of the party, accused the Likud-Yisraeli Beitenu party of “being a party of Russians and whites” and having ostensible bias against Sephardi Jews, who have been considered second-class citizens in the Zionist entity, where the power has been traditionally in the hands of Ashkenazi Jews, who mostly came from Eastern Europe.

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he wants to expel tens of thousands of African undocumented immigrants and that the inflow into Israel from Egypt has been brought to a halt due to the new barrier. “Our aim is to repatriate tens of thousands of infiltrators now in Israel to their countries of origin,” he said, adding Israel was in contact with some governments from Africa “to solve this problem.”

On May 23, 2012, Likud leading members took part in a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s impoverished suburb of Hatikva to protest against the presence of Africans in Israel. Miri Regev of Likud addressed the rally to which more than 1,000 people attended. There, she described the Africans as a “cancer in our body” and pledged to do everything she could “in order to bring them back to where they belong.” She attacked human rights and “left-wing” groups aiding the immigrants.

Danny Danon, another leader of Likud, said that the only solution to the issue of the “infiltrators” would be to “start to talk about their expulsion.” “We must expel the infiltrators from Israel. We should not be afraid to say the words ‘expulsion now,’” he said.

Violent attacks

Shortly after the speeches, violent incidents broke out. Demonstrators smashed shops, properties and cars belonging to the African immigrants and beat up men and women while chanting “Blacks out.”

In April 2012, apartments where Africans lived as well as a kindergarten were attacked with Molotov cocktails in Shapira in south Tel Aviv.

On July 12, 2012, an Eritrean man was badly burned and his pregnant wife suffered smoke inhalation after attackers tried to burn down their apartment in central al-Quds (Jerusalem). The incident, the second arson attack on African immigrants in the city within six weeks, took place near the city’s Mahane Yehuda market, AFP quoted a police source as saying.

The Israeli government has refused to condemn these attacks on African immigrants and instead used them as an excuse to promote its anti-migrant agenda, which included a new law allowing the authorities to keep undocumented Africans imprisoned for three years and jail those who help them for up to 15 years. According to recent polls, one in three Israelis supports those attacks.

Even “left-leaning” parties, such as the Labor, support racist policies. The Labor leader, Shelly Yachimovich, accused recently the government of “having failed… and let the slums be flooded by migrant workers and refugees, thereby helping to kindle wild passions” and claimed the need to “protect the country from facing a huge mass of migrant workers.”

In March 2012, Israel started to build a huge prison camp, the world’s largest, in the Negev desert. Such a facility is situated near the Ketziot prison, where thousands of Palestinian prisoners have been jailed. The camp will be run by the prison service and thousands of Africans will be locked there. A spokesperson for the Israeli ministry of interior confirmed that Yishai wanted to eventually jail all of the thousands of undocumented African immigrants currently in the Zionist entity.

Other immigrants have already started to be expelled. On June 10, the immigration police began a mass roundup operation, which was initially focused on South Sudanese nationals but was then expanded to include those from the Ivory Coast. Hundreds of these Africans were detained and around 240 were sent to Juba, capital of South Sudan.

There is no doubt that racism and xenophobia are being fueled by the current Israeli government and nearly all the Zionist parties. Their main goal is to divert growing outrage over the decline of living standards and rising social problems by promoting racist claims and demands to preserve the “Jewish identity” of the Zionist entity at a time when the latter is getting weaker and more internationally isolated due to its settlement policies.

In shock reversal, Abe Foxman’s ADL speaks out against rights for Arab Jews & “Israel’s” anti-Black pogrom

“Israel’s” Anti-Black Pogrom (click to read)

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In shock reversal, Abe Foxman’s ADL speaks out against rights for Arab Jews

by Ali Abunimah, EI

Reversing a long-standing position, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the most influential Zionist organizations in the United States, has come out against recognition of the rights of Arab Jews.

In a 7 January press release, the ADL

welcomed the resignation of a close adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi who last week called for Jews of Egyptian descent to return to Egypt and “leave Israel.”

The statement also condemned the advisor, Essam el-Erian’s, criticisms of Israel.

“This broad-brush negative stereotype of Jews by a senior Egyptian official was inappropriate, unacceptable and raises serious questions about the attitudes of some of Egypt’s leaders towards Jews,” the press release quoted ADL National Director Abraham Foxman as saying.

El-Erian called for Jews to come home

But the comments of el-Erian, a leading figure in the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, asreported by the Associated Press, only heaped praise on Jews qua Jews while attacking Israel and Zionism:

“I wish our Jews return to our country, so they can make room for the Palestinians to return, and Jews return to their homeland in light of the democracy” evolving in Egypt, he said. “I call on them now. Egypt is more deserving of you.”

“Why stay in a racist entity, an occupation, and be tainted with war crimes that will be punished, all occupation leaders will be punished,” he said. He added in separate comments that the Zionist “project” will end.

As usual, Foxman – in a blatantly anti-Semitic move – has deliberately conflated criticism of Israel with criticism of all Jews.

ADL reverses itself

Foxman’s condemnation of a call for Egypt’s Jews to be invited home represents a sharp reversal for the ADL which in 2008 hailed a US House of Representatives resolution on Jews from Arab lands:

“In passing this resolution, the House has recognized that any just discussion and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must also address the narrative and outstanding claims of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to flee Arab lands in the years surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

“The story of these refugees who were forced to leave behind centuries-old communities had been ignored for too long.”

Given this position, the ADL ought, if anything, to have warmly welcomed El Erian’s willingness to see the terrible plight of Egyptian Jews exiled in Palestine reversed.

Cynical manipulation

While hundreds of thousands of Jews did leave Arab countries after the establishment of Israel, and in many cases were deprived of property and citizenship when they left, the notion that they were “forced” out is false, as Joseph Massad shows in a recent article for Al Jazeera debunking Zionist propaganda.

Israel itself was involved in terrorizing Jews in Iraq and Egypt in order to encourage them to leave for Palestine.

The real reason that Zionist organizations and the Israeli government have recently revived propaganda about Arab Jews is not out of concern for them, but rather a cynical campaign campaign to pit Arab Jews against Palestinian refugees and to advance the claim that the expulsion of the Palestinians was part of a “population exchange.”

There’s no clearer proof of this cynicism than the ADL’s panicked reaction when a senior Egyptian official apparently took the concern for the fate of the Jews from Arab lands seriously.

After the Israeli government’s renewed campaign last year, some Arab and Kurdish Jews formed the Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan to reject Israel’s misuse of their history.

Affirming that the Israeli government “does not represent us,” the group said they would wage an international campaign for compensation from Israel if an investigation found that Israel’s founding prime minister David “Ben-Gurion did, in fact, carry out negotiations over the fate of Iraqi Jewish property and assets in 1950, and directed the Mossad to bomb the community’s synagogue in order to hasten our flight from Iraq.”

Forbidden to celebrate: “Israel’s” war on Christmas continues despite Netanyahu’s claim of tolerance

(Attack on church- File photo)

by Ali Abunimah, EI

In his Christmas greeting video, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted of Israel’s supposed religious tolerance.

“Today Christian communities around the Middle East are shrinking and in danger. This is of course not true in Israel. Here there’s a strong, growing Christian community that participates fully in the life of our country,” Netanyahu said.

Vowing to “continue to protect freedom of religion and thought,” Netanyahu also promised “to safeguard Christian places of worship throughout our country” and not to “tolerate any acts of violence or discrimination against any place of worship.”

Making a pitch for Christian Zionist tourism he urged listeners to “Come see our ancient land with your own eyes. Visit Nazareth and Bethlehem, wade in the Jordan River, stand on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and next year come visit our eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

His inclusion of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, as well as the banks of the Jordan River, can be taken as another affirmation that Israel, despite its rhetoric, has no interest in a “two-state solution” and intends to absorb all of historic Palestine as an exclusively “Jewish state.”

Disappearing Christmas trees

Netanyahu’s professions of tolerance would have come as news to Palestinian Christian students at Safad Academic College in the Galilee. There, students who could not get home for the holidays bought a Christmas tree and set it up outside their dorm.

But in the evening when they got back from class, they found the tree was gone, Israel’s Walla! News reported.

“This is the saddest Christmas,” said Gabriel Mansour, 24, a third-year political science student, identified by Walla! as a representative of Arab students. “All we wanted to do was provide some good cheer for all the students who remained alone in the dorms, and who were unable to go home to their families.”

When Mansour investigated, he was told by college officials that the tree had been hidden lest it spark riots among the Jewish students.

“I was angry to hear this,” said Mansour of the claim that the tree might spark riots among Jewish students and residents of Safad. “Unfortunately they don’t respect our holidays. We fully respect all Israeli holidays. Why can no one respect our traditions? Why can’t we put up a Christmas tree?”

“I do not think Christmas should be marked with such ostentation,” Walla! quoted an unnamed Jewish student saying. “The college has a distinctly Jewish character. It’s not healthy for anyone to be able to do whatever he wants.”

Caught with a Christmas tree

And there was a mini-scandal when the girlfriend of Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Israeli prime minister, posted a photo of the youth wearing a Santa hat and posing next to a Christmas tree, on Facebook. Under the photo was the caption “My Christian boy.”

The prime minister’s office was forced to issue a statement that the image was a joke and that Yair had been attending a party hosted by “Christian Zionists who love Israel, and whose children served in the IDF,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Nevertheless the photo was removed from Facebook.

State rabbis order bans on Christmas

The ban on Christmas at Safad college is no isolated incident. For several years, Shimon Gapso, the notoriously racist mayor of the Israeli settlement of “Upper Nazareth” in the Galilee, has banned Christmas trees, calling them a provocation. “Nazareth Illit [Upper Nazareth] is a Jewish city and it will not happen – not this year and not next year, so long as I am a mayor,” Gapso said.

According to journalist Jonathan Cook in Nazareth, such bans continue and are widespread this year with Israel’s state-financed rabbis warning hotels and restaurants that they will lose their kosher certifications if they put up trees or other Christmas decorations or hold Christmas events.

“In other words,” Cook says, “the rabbinate has been quietly terrorising Israeli hotel owners into ignoring Christmas by threatening to use its powers to put them out of business. Denying a hotel its kashrut (kosher) certificate would lose it most of its Israeli and foreign Jewish clientele.”

Publicly visible Christmas tree could “injure the souls of Jews”

When the Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem this year put up a small Christmas tree near the Jaffa Gate, there were strong protests from rabbis. Occupation municipality city council member Rabbi Shmuel Yitzhaki told settler news website Arutz 7 that the display was a “desecration” and a “grave offense against the Jewish people” and that it was “inconceivable” that a Christmas tree should be allowed in a “public place” where it might be seen by Jews on their way to pray at the Western Wall in eastern occupied Jerusalem.

Mina Fenton, a former city council member, said, “There’s a Christian Quarter. They can put it [the tree] up there,” where it couldn’t “injure the souls of Jews.”

Christmas trees as propaganda for ethnic cleansing group JNF

While Israel’s official rabbis, colleges and municipalities discourage or ban displays of Christmas trees, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the racist state-backed agency actively engaged in ethnically cleansing Palestinians and stealing their land for exclusive use by Jews, has found a way to use Christmas trees to paint a false image of itself as a promoter of multicultural harmony.

The JNF, which misrepresents itself as an environmental charity, now gives away some trees and felled branches particularly to foreign embassies, for use as Christmas trees in private homes, and markets the initiative as outreach to maintain “good relations between religions.” Against the background of the JNF’s true activities, such cynical propaganda should convince no one. But it might be useful in raising donations from Christian Zionists.

Discrimination against Christianity inherent in Israel’s “Law of Return”

The efforts by Netanyahu and the JNF to present Israel as tolerant and friendly to Christians are important to maintain external, especially Christian Zionist support, and to hide a much uglier reality.

Israel claims to be a “Jewish state.” Its blatantly discriminatory “Law of Return” grants the automatic right to those it recognizes as Jews from anywhere in the world to immigrate and receive citizenship even if they have no connection to the country. At the same time, Israel prevents indigenous Palestinian refugees, including those born there, from returning home just because they are not Jews.

But according to the US State Department in its 2011 report on religious freedom around the world, Israel specifically applies a blatantly anti-Christian test in applying this bigoted law:

The question of whether one believes Jesus is the Jewish Messiah has been used to determine whether a Jew was qualified to immigrate. The [Israeli] Supreme Court repeatedly has upheld the right, however, of Israeli Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah to retain their citizenship. The immigration exclusion was routinely applied only against Messianic Jews, whereas Jews who were atheists were accepted, and Jews who chose to believe in other religions, including Hindus and Buddhists, were not screened out.

In other words a “Jew” can be an atheist, Hindu, or Buddhist – anything at all – and be granted citizenship by Israeli authorities. It is only a belief in Jesus that disqualifies them.

Attacks on Christian holy sites

As for Netanyahu’s promise that Christian holy sites would be protected, he failed to mention that in recent months, Israeli settlers, acting with the collusion of Israeli authorities, have stepped up so-called “price tag” attacks on Christian holy sites.

Meanwhile, Christmas celebrations proceeded this year in Gaza and in Iran, where municipal authorities in Tehran have in recent years put up banners celebrating the birth of Jesus on many main streets. Both Iran and Gaza are Muslim-majority places that Israeli propaganda loves to paint as particularly intolerant of religious minorities.

Few countries live up to their own claims about religious freedom and tolerance and many must do better. But selling Israel in particular, whose whole raison d’être is to privilege Jews qua Jews over the indigenous Palestinian population of any religion, as a paragon of tolerance and pluralism is patently absurd.

Merry Christmas!

The terror lurking in a Christmas tree: “Israel” tries to ban non-Jewish celebrations

(File photo)

by Jonathan Cook, source

Israel’s large Palestinian minority is often spoken of in terms of the threat it poses to the Jewish majority. Palestinian citizens’ reproductive rate constitutes a “demographic timebomb”, while their main political programme – Israel’s reform into “a state of all its citizens” – is proof for most Israeli Jews that their compatriots are really a “fifth column”.

But who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree?

This issue first came to public attention two years ago when it was revealed that Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, had banned Christmas trees from all public buildings in his northern Israeli city.

“Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish,” Gapso said. “As long as I hold office, no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.”

The decision reflected in part his concern that Upper Nazareth, built in the 1950s as the centrepiece of the Israeli government’s “Judaisation of the Galilee” programme, was failing dismally in its mission.

Far from “swallowing up” the historic Palestinian city of Nazareth next door, as officials had intended, Upper Nazareth became over time a magnet for wealthier Nazarenes who could no longer find a place to build a home in their own city. That was because almost all Nazareth’s available green space had been confiscated for the benefit of Upper Nazareth.

Instead Nazarenes, many of them Palestinian Christians, have been buying homes in Upper Nazareth from Jews – often immigrants from the former Soviet Union – desperate to leave the Arab-dominated Galilee and head to the country’s centre, to be nearer Tel Aviv.

The exodus of Jews and influx of Palestinians have led the government to secretly designate Upper Nazareth as a “mixed city”, much to the embarrassment of Gapso. The mayor is a stalwart ally of far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman and regularly expresses virulently anti-Arab views, including recently calling Nazarenes “Israel-hating residents whose place is in Gaza” and their city “a nest of terror in the heart of the Galilee”.

Although neither Gapso nor the government has published census figures to clarify the city’s current demographic balance, most estimates suggest that at least a fifth of Upper Nazareth’s residents are Palestinian. The city’s council chamber also now includes Palestinian representatives.

But Gapso is not alone in his trenchant opposition to making even the most cursory nod towards multiculturalism. The city’s chief rabbi, Isaiah Herzl, has refused to countenance a single Christmas tree in Upper Nazareth, arguing that it would be “offensive to Jewish eyes”.

That view, it seems, reflects the official position of the country’s rabbinate. In so far as they are able, the rabbis have sought to ban Christmas celebrations in public buildings, including in the hundreds of hotels across the country.

A recent report in the Haaretz newspaper, on an Israeli Jew who grows Christmas trees commercially, noted in passing: “hotels – under threat of losing kashrut certificates – are prohibited by the rabbinate from decking their halls in boughs of holly or, heaven forbid, putting up even the smallest of small sparkly Christmas tree in the corner of the lobby.”

In other words, the rabbinate has been quietly terrorising Israeli hotel owners into ignoring Christmas by threatening to use its powers to put them out of business. Denying a hotel its kashrut (kosher) certificate would lose it most of its Israeli and foreign Jewish clientele.

Few mayors or rabbis find themselves in the uncomfortable position of needing to go public with their views on the dangers of Christmas decorations. In Israel, segregation between Jews and Palestinians is almost complete. Even most of the handful of mixed cities are really Jewish cities with slum-like ghettos of Palestinians living on the periphery.

Apart from Upper Nazareth, the only other “mixed” place where Palestinian Christians are to be found in significant numbers is Haifa, Israel’s third largest city. Haifa is often referred to as Israel’s most multicultural and tolerant city, a title for which it faces very little competition.

But the image hides a dirtier reality. A recent letter from Haifa’s rabbinate came to light in which the city’s hotels and events halls were reminded that they must not host New Year’s parties at the end of this month (the Jewish New Year happens at a different time of year). The hotels and halls were warned that they would be denied their kashrut licences if they did so.

“It is a seriously forbidden to hold any event at the end of the calendar year that is connected with or displays anything from the non-Jewish festivals,” the letter states.

After the letter was publicised on Facebook, Haifa’s mayor, Yona Yahav, moved into damage limitation mode, overruling the city’s rabbinical council on Sunday and insisting that parties would be allowed to go ahead. Whether Yahav has the power to enforce his decision on the notoriously independent-minded rabbinical authorities is still uncertain.

But what is clear is that there is plenty of religious intolerance verging on hatred being quietly exercised against non-Jews, mostly behind the scenes so as not to disturb Israel’s “Jewish and democratic” image or outrage the millions of Christian tourists and pilgrims who visit Israel each year.

Israeli officials “honor” settler who tortured Palestinian child, leaving him naked and bound

by Ali Abunimah, EI

Frequent and rising Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians almost always go unpunished.

Indeed, often, Israeli soldiers stand by and watch as Israeli settlers go on the rampage. The situation is so bad that a boy like Yousef Ikhlayl, 17, can be killed and there is no investigation or accountability.

So when an Israeli settler got sentenced to prison for torturing and abusing a Palestinian child, it was quite an event, as Haaretz reported:

Prominent rabbis, public officials and a Knesset member, on Saturday, held a send off for a criminal about to enter prison after being convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth.

The event was held in the West Bank Shilo settlement in honor of Zvi Struck, who was convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth in July 2007, together with another man whose identity remains unknown. The two beat the youth up, bound him, fired their guns close to him, undressed him and threw him naked at the roadside. Three months earlier the two men had beaten up the same youth and killed a day-old kid.

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Struck to 18th months in prison, which the Supreme Court extended after an appeal to 30 months.

According to Haaretz, “The send off was led by Bnei Akiva yeshivas head Rabbi Haim Drukman and Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, Binyamin Council head Avi Ro’eh, his deputy Motti Yogev and MK [Knesset member] Arye Eldad.”

The settler website, Israel National News posted video and a report of the party which featured live music, many children and families, and Struck himself (wearing a red shirt and a white scarf) warmly greeting people. In the video, supporters of Struck claim that “the judicial system believes the Arabs first.” Itzak Shadmi, a settler leader, said that he was fundraising to support Struck’s family.

Judge: “disgust and deep shock” over Struck’s abuse of child

A Ynet story from March 2011, at the time of Struck’s conviction, goes into even greater detail about what the settler did:

“There is no doubt that the actions harmed the complainant, who was 15 at the time, in a grievous manner,” Judge Amnon Cohen noted.

“I reviewed the medical records and the difficult photographs that were taken of the complainant immediately after the event, and I cannot avoid expressing disgust and deep shock over the signs of terrible trauma that the minor suffered.”

The incident took place in July 2007; Struck and another suspect kidnapped and beat the Palestinian teen, a resident of the West Bank village of Kusra. The teen was later found unconscious in an open field, naked, tied and injured, after making it to a main road on his own. Passersby rushed him to a hospital in nearby Nablus.

In addition to the assault, Struck was also convicted for a previous incident, during which he met with the teen on the outskirts of Kusra and demanded him to leave the area claiming he was trespassing on his land. At that time he slapped the teen, and killed a newborn goat by kicking it.

This is not justice

I have no doubt that some propagandists will try to claim that the conviction and imprisonment of Struck – despite the events in “honor” of him – are some sort of vindication for the Israeli “justice” system.

Bear in mind that this incident occurred in 2007, and it has taken until 2012 for Struck to go to jail – amid lamentations – for a light sentence of 30 months for a horrible crime. And even this must be seen in a context where, according to the UN OCHA, “Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.”

In the meantime, Zvi Struck is, at least for some prominent Israelis, a hero.

Israeli filmmaker: “But we gave back Lebanon”

by Brenda Heard, Friends of Lebanon

“What do you imagine when you’re in a tank?” Israeli filmmaker Itamar Rose asks young Israeli kids. “I picture a dead Arab and that makes me happy,” responds one boy. (1:37; 1:54-1:57)

These words are quickly circulating amongst internet activists. Of course there is also a flurry of counter-finger-pointing, beginning with Rose’s own reference to a Palestinian society of “agitation and hate.” In this and other films, Rose seems to be saying that cyclical violence is a no-win situation.

As worrisome as the happy-to-kill mantra of the kids might be, equally disturbing are these political practicalities:

Q—Where do you want to do your army service? In the north? The occupied territories? Gaza? Judea and Samaria?
A—Lebanon. My first choice would be Lebanon. [. . . ]
Q—But we gave back Lebanon. We aren’t fighting in Lebanon.
A—That’s okay, we’ll be back.
Q—Do you hope that by the time you’re a soldier we’ll be at war with Lebanon again?
A—Yes.
(2:14—2:35. The original is in Hebrew. The English translation is provided in the original film posted by Itamar Rose, as is the French translation, which confirms the same precise meaning: “Mais on a déjà rendu le Liban, on n’est plus en guerre là-bas.” “ C’est pas grave, on les remettra de nouveau.”)

The boy, who I would guess to be about 11 years old, states that his father had served in the Israeli Givati Brigade. These are specialist forces for the Lebanon Border, Hebron and Gaza. The boy states he wants to do the same as his father. A normal sentiment—to follow in a father’s footsteps. But he doesn’t just want to be a soldier. He doesn’t say he wants to defend his country or his people. He says he wants to be part of the Israeli military that returns to Lebanon. He wants to wage war against Lebanon.

He might have said that he would stand ready in Israel in its defence. He might have said that he hoped there would be peaceful relations. But he echoed the aggression he had absorbed from his society: “We’ll be back.”

Was he just playing up to the camera? Caught up in the atmosphere of the Armored Corps Memorial they were visiting? Of course it is possible, but even in such a case he felt that this belligerent stance, even if not heartfelt, was appropriate to enact.

And then there is the filmmaker’s statement: “But we gave back Lebanon.” Itamar Rose uses satire in his films, so there is a remote possibility that this phrase was a tongue in cheek baiting of the interviewee. But given the fact that Rose was recently hosted for a London event by the Israel Connect program of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, that possibility looks remote indeed. The Zionist Federation just doesn’t promote voices opposed to Zionism. And the 22-year occupation of Lebanon was Zionist at the core.

To say “we gave back Lebanon” necessitates the presumption of custodial possession. You can’t “give back” something you don’t hold claim to. Therein lies the rub. Zionism, a political ideology, presumes this entitlement. Israeli officials have, of course, frequently denied designs of territorial conquest. But the historical facts argue otherwise and the pervasive sense of entitlement is revealed time and again.

“But we gave back Lebanon,” says the older generation.

“That’s okay, we’ll be back,” says the new generation.

No, say those of the world with an eye on justice and international law. No, Lebanon wasn’t yours to take. It wasn’t yours to give back. And should you try to return, you will learn this very simple fact.

“I picture a dead Arab”: In disturbing video, Israeli children’s words echo indoctrination

Israeli girls write messages on shells ready to be fire by a mobile artillery unit toward Lebanon on 17 July 2006 (Pedro Ugarte / AFP/Newscom)

by Ali Abunimah, EI

How did it feel to imagine killing Arabs? “I felt happy” one girl answers.

She was one of several children who spoke about committing acts of violence in this video shot at the Israeli army museum by Israeli satirical filmmaker Itamar Rose.

But the children’s answers – in Hebrew and subtitled in English – are serious. As they climb all over tanks, sit at machine-guns positions, or explain how to use a hand-grenade, Rose asks them their views.

Without hesitation, the children express their readiness to kill. Asked what he imagined when he was sitting in a tank, one boy answers, “I picture a dead Arab.”

Of course, these children are no more ready to kill than any other children, nor can they be any more capable of understanding the import of their words, at least not yet.

The children in Rose’s film bring to mind the notorious image of Israeli schoogirls writing messages on artillery shells about to be fired into Lebanon during Israel’s 2006 assault that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese civilians and devastated much of the country.

Indoctrination

All these children are victims of Israel’s militaristic, settler-colonial culture. As Nurit Peled-Elhanan documents in her important new book Palestine in Israeli School Books, recently reviewed by The Electronic Intifada, Israeli schoolchildren are indoctrinated with negative stereotypes and outright hatred of Palestinians and Arabs from an early age.

Moreover, according to Peled-Elhanan, Israeli textbooks, “present Israeli-Jewish culture as superior to the Arab-Palestinian one, Israeli-Jewish concepts of progress as superior to Palestinian-Arab way of life and Israeli-Jewish behavior as aligning with universal values.”

Education is only one aspect; Israeli children grow up in a highly militarized settler-colonial culture where most know they are destined for the army where they will be ordered to occupy and kill. Indoctrination at an early age must be an important part of ensuring that only very few will refuse to undertake such tasks.

Palestinian children in Israeli propaganda

Ironically, a staple of Israeli hasbara has long been that Palestinian children are ‘taught to hate’ in their schools – a claim long-ago completely debunked.

Pro-Israel propaganda sites often revel in images of Palestinian children posing with weapons, as if such images prove that Palestinian children are indeed uniquely vicious, or deserve no sympathy or justice when killed.

This type of propaganda reflects what Joseph Massad has called Arabopaedophobia – the Israeli and Western fear, hatred and dehumanization of Arab children.

Children live with the consequences of Israel’s violent occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, whether it is Israeli children indoctrinated to continue this oppression as adults, or Palestinian children brutalized and traumatized by the organized violence of occupation, colonialism and apartheid that pervades their lives.

This is never a reflection on the children, but on the adults who subject them to such ugliness.

Lynching in Jerusalem: Where impunity and “Israel’s” unchecked racial hatred lead

by Ali Abunimah, EI

A horrifying report in Haaretz today:

Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Acting Jerusalem police chief General Menachem Yitzhaki has set up a special team to investigate the incident and detain the suspects.

The three were allegedly attacked by youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” at them, as well as other racial slurs. One of them fell on the floor, and his attackers continued to beat him until he lost consciousness. They subsequently fled from the scene.

Within a short period of time rescue volunteers and Magen David Adom rescue services arrived on the scene and found the victim with no pulse and not breathing. After a lengthy resuscitation attempt, he was transferred to the hospital.

A witness described what she saw on Facebook:

“But today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of the city of Jerusalem ….. and shouts of ‘A Jew is a soul and Arab is a son of a –,’ were shouted loudly and dozens (!!) of youths ran and gathered and started to really beat to death three Arab youths who were walking quietly in the Ben Yehuda street.”

Not isolated incidents

Much remains unknown at present, including the identities and condition of the victims. What we do know however is that such racist attacks by Israelis are not exceptional. They are frighteningly common and the incitement and permissive atmosphere that fosters them comes from the very top of Israeli society.

Yesterday, 6 Palestinians were injured in a firebombing by suspected “Jewish extremists” in the occupied West Bank.

In recent months there have been frequent reports of violent attacks and hate rallies against African migrants and refugees often led or incited by Israeli politicians.

In March there was the mob attack by Jewish youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” on Arab workers at Malha Mall in southern Jerusalem. That mob attack was caught on video (below).

Israeli police did nothing in the wake of that incident. Instead, Israel’s hasbara machinery jumped into action, denying there was a pervasive problem with racism. The Jewish Agency’s online hasbara chief Avi Mayer even mounted a publicity stunt where he went to Malha Mall to distribute candy. That didn’t solve the problem, did it?

We do not know it, but it is now a fair question to ask if any of the youths who were allowed to get away with the violence at Malha Mall in March were in “Zion Square” last night.

Getting away with murder

While Palestinians are often held in Israeli jails for years without charge or trial, the Israeli “justice” system is notoriously easy on Israeli Jews who murder Palestinians whether in hate crimes or war crimes.

Just last week two Israeli soldiers were given sentences of 45 days in jail for killing Rayah and Majda Abu Hajaj, a mother and her daughter, who were waving white flags during Israel’s 2008-2009 attack on Gaza.

In July, an Israeli youth was given a short sentence of 8 years for the brutal, unprovoked racially motivated killing of Hussam Rawidi.

Then there is Ziad Jilani, was shot and killed by Israeli border police officers on an East Jerusalem street in broad daylight two years ago without any reason. His American wife Moira, the mother of their two young children, spoke to The Electronic Intifada in May about her so far fruitless effort to bring Ziad’s killers to justice.

Such tolerance has a long history in Israel, symbolized by the notorious case of Colonel Issachar Shadmi who commanded the troops who murdered 48 Palestinian civilians in the unprovoked massacre at Kafr Qasim in 1956. Shadmi was fined just one penny.

These are just a few cases. There are thousands more cases of Palestinians killed or injured, where no investigation is ever opened, and no justice is available for the victims.

Is it any wonder that there is so much racist violence when Israeli leaders constantly spew hatred, racist crimes and war crimes go unpunished, and Israeli children are taught to view Palestinians and Arabs as less than human from the very earliest age?

‘Good Old “Israel”?’

by Georgina Reeves, source

In his latest piece written for the New York Times, Avraham Burg asks: ‘Where is the good old Israel?’ Assuming he is not being tongue-in-cheek, and there is no suggestion in the rest of the article that he is, he continues to peddle the same old clichés that liberal Zionists are so fond of. Propaganda is a powerful tool, but so is the truth.

He talks of the early days of Israel’s foundation: “It was an age of dreamers and builders who sought to create a new world, one without prejudice, racism or discrimination.” He neglects to mention, though, the Palestinians who remained in what became Israel, and how the new state treated them.

From 1948 until 1966, Palestinians lived under martial law. They required permits issued by the military governor to leave their villages or towns. Palestinians were subject to curfews, administrative detention – detention without charge or trial – and expulsions were common. As Palestinians were concentrated mainly in the Galilee, the Negev and the Triangle, subjecting them to such strict measures of control was simple for the authorities.

Alongside the physical restrictions on Palestinians, the newly-created state of Israel also enacted laws designed to dispossess Palestinians of their land and their rights to their land. The Absentees Property Law aimed to take ownership of property and land belonging to Palestinians. The term “absentee” was carefully applied and targeted Palestinians who had been expelled from their homes during the war of 1948,.

This law applied to Palestinians who had been made refugees and were now outside Israel, and also to those who were now in Israel but living as internally displaced persons. Israel calls these Palestinians “present absentees”, an Orwellian state of being which denies them access to their homes, even though many live in the same area and their homes are still standing (unlike the 500-plus towns and villages razed to remove the evidence of Palestinians’ existence on the land for many hundreds of years before).

Burg goes on to say “But something went wrong in the operating system of Jewish democracy. We never gave much thought to the Palestinian Israeli citizens within the Jewish-democratic equation.” But that is just not true. A lot of thought went in to how to treat the non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Even before 1948 the Zionists were planning how to gain as much land with as few Palestinians as possible: for the Zionist plan of the Jewish state to become reality, Arabs had to be removed.

Yossef Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund played a major role in acquiring land for the Yishuv (pre-1948 Jewish community). He stated: “Transfer does not serve only one aim–to reduce the Arab population–it also serves a second purpose by no means less important, which is to evict land now cultivated by Arabs and to free it for Jewish settlement. The only solution is to transfer the Arabs to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off.”

The Dalet plan was devised during February 1948 by the Haganah – the Jewish paramilitary organisation succeeded by the Israeli Defence Forces upon Israel’s establishment. The plan was simple: the systematic expulsion of the Arab communities. The expulsions were conducted by the Palmach (elite Haganah fighters), the Irgun and the Stern (Lehi) gang. Villages and towns were attacked, depopulated and destroyed.

The men who designed and fought the war of 1948 were the same men who designed and created Israel after that war. Prejudice, racism and discrimination characterise the Israel they built and the Israel that exists today. The truth is there never was a “good old Israel”.

- Georgina Reeves splits her time between London and Bethlehem, and is a co-founding trustee of Ahdaf, a British charity supporting Palestinian students.

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