Wednesday Weekly Roundup of Israeli Racism: vol. 4

Every week, this blog tries to chronicle the most egregious acts of racism committed by Israel. You can find a longer explanation of the purpose of this exercise here. As this list will, unfortunately  be far from exhaustive, feel free to add additional stories of relevance and importance in the comments below.

The Passover holiday is now past and with it comes a spate of intense settler-colonist violence. Not to be outdone, however, an Indian man within the 48 lines was beaten simply for being not Jewish. And in all of these stories, the action and inaction of a state which at best does nothing to discourage and at worst aids and abets these violent racist acts comes out time and again. This week I present the 14 most horrific examples of Israeli racism that I read about these past 7 days. On a personal note, this is also the most disturbing group of incidents that I have posted thus far.

Before we get started this week, Lia Tarachansky from The Real News has a new report on summarizing the increasing incidence of the most heinous forms of racism in Israel today. It is a great primer to catch up on an increasingly worrisome situation, just in case you missed one of our previous week’s post or if you just want to see children too young to shave talk about how they hate Arabs and love racism.

  • Leading state-sanctioned Rabbis around Israel this week signed religious order forbidding the faithful from renting apartments to non-Jews, in an effort explicitly aimed at denying residence to Palestinian citizens of Israel. We should note that this sort of racism in housing is both commonplace and legal in Israel. Asked how they justified the action, Rabbi Yosef Sheinan of the Ashdod Yeshiva responded: “Racism originated in the Torah.” Me and him must read very different Torahs.
  • Vinay Menon, an Indian national who is married to an Israeli woman, was brutally attacked by three Israeli youths in Pardes Hanna, apparently because he appeared too foreign. As if that isn’t bad enough in itself, Israeli police have repeatedly failed to seriously investigate the incident.

    “During the conversation I was surprised at the reaction of one of the policemen. He repeatedly said things like, ‘There’s no need to exaggerate everything,’ ‘Why are you making such a big deal out of it?’ and ‘Nothing happened; the main thing is that he’s alive.’”

    As detailed in the article, this is not the first time that Mr. Menon has experienced racism in Israel, as he is largely denied the opportunity to pursue his career due to his nationality and religion.

  • Haaretz reports on the arbitrary mass arrest Palestinian children by the Israeli army in Hebron:

Twenty-seven Palestinian children never made it to school on that particular day. IDF troops lay in ambush for them from the early morning hours on the streets of the Hebron neighborhoods that are under the army’s control, and arrested them indiscriminately. Only after they were in custody did the Israeli security forces examine the video footage they had in their possession, to see which of the youngsters had thrown stones at Checkpoint No. 160 earlier that morning, which separates their neighborhood from the settlers’ quarter of the city.

As detailed in the article and in a subsequent editorial, the action violates not only international law, but also Israel’s own laws:

“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” the UNICEF report stated, and added, “In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts.”

  • Settler-colonists, backed by past and future Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are asking the Israeli army to treat stone throwing Palestinians as if they were shooting live fire. As we have covered in previous installments, Jewish settler-colonists frequently use both stones and live fire against Palestinian civilians with no consequences whatsoever.
  • The Wadi Hilwe Information Center continues to document a series of six attacks by settler-colonists, all carried out with complete impunity, in and around the Old City of Jerusalem carried out within a 7 day period (we covered the first of these attacks in last week’s edition). In several cases, these settler-colonists used pepper spray against children.
  • Settler-colonists near Bethlehem uprooted hundreds of olive trees planted on private Palestinian land. This may be a good time to remind settler-colonists that their actions are in direct violation of Deuteronomy 20:19-20, not to mention of common sense and basic human decency.
  • Mondoweiss profiles the annual Passover harassment of Palestinians who live in Hebron, as well as some important historical context of such pogroms.
  • Also near Hebron, the Israeli army this week once again prevented Palestinian shepherds from grazing on Palestinian owned land.
  • Electronic Intifada reports that Israeli soldiers recently used a 9-year old child as a human shield during confrontations with Palestinian demonstrators. As the article details, such incidents are not isolated.
  • Ramallah Café reports on the arrest of Palestinian singer Oday al-Khatib for the highly improbable charge that he threw stones at a military checkpoint. The story is of course being profiled due to the celebrity status of the al-Khatib, though it serves as an effective exemplar of a more widespread practice (just look two bullet points above, for example).  Because he has been arrested by the military and is being held in administrative detention, don’t count on him getting anything close to a fair hearing ever.
  • Haaretz reports that out of the 1.3 million dunams of land controlled by the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, just 0.7% has been allocated to Palestinians. By contrast, the state has allocated 38% of that land to Jewish settler-colonists. And if those numbers are not enough to convince you of the state’s implication in the settlement-colonies, then check out 972mag’s profile of how the outpost (a settlement-colony that is illegal under Israeli law, not just international law) of Derekh Avot takes advantage of land originally stolen by the Israeli state.
  • Electronic Intifada profiles the problems of waste management in Gaza. This is precisely the sort of systematic collective punishment which affects millions of people but doesn’t rise to the level of a “news event” and so never gets covered in most mainstream media. Nonetheless, it is central to understanding the connections between Israel’s wars of aggression, it’s suffocating and ongoing siege, and racism.
  • In violation of its own laws, the Israeli education ministry continues to solicit the’ nationalities and parents’ countries of origin on applications to its Teachers Colleges.
  • Finally, David Sheen was kind enough to live-tweet all of the horrifying racist things said at the annual right-wing Ramle conference. Go to the site for all of his Tweets, but I thought I’d highlight this one in particular:



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