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Racism Roundup


Things are a bit busy here, so I’ve been bad about getting the rest of the One State / Two State posts out on time. But I couldn’t resist doing a quick commentary on what has to be the most absurd op-ed I read this week (and, given the articles published every day in this country, that is saying a lot).

Today, Ynet published an op-ed in defense of Nazareth Illit mayor Shimon Gapso. Gapso is a rabid racist who has refused to allow a single Arab school, mosque, or cemetery to open in his city (20% of whose residents are Arab); expressed support for plans that seek to get rid of the city’s non-Jewish residents; and has publicly lamented missing opportunities to kill more Palestinian Citizens of Israel.  He is currently running a reelection campaign on the promise to make Upper Nazareth “Jewish forever.” Gapso also published this amazing and amazingly accurate op-ed last week in Haaretz entitled “If you think I’m racist, then Israel is a racist state,” in which he correctly situates his own policies in the longer history of racist Zionist policies. But that is for another day.

Today, Smadar Shir published an op-ed in support of Gapso which simply needs to be read to be believed. It begins by situating (explaining? excusing? parodying?) the mayor’s “Jewish forever” call:

Shimon Gapso wants to preserve the Jewish character of his city, Nazareth Illit, which was built next to the Arab Nazareth. He toured southern Tel Aviv, which is adjacent to Arab Jaffa, and saw with his own eyes that there is not a trace left in it of Jewish character. Or perhaps Israeli character? White character? How do we say it in an enlightened country without being suspected of damned racism?

Here’s a hint: if you can’t find a way of saying it without sounding like a damned racist, it probably means that you are a damned racist. You can’t yearn for your pure Jewish-Israeli-White neighborhood and be ‘enlightened’ any more than Paula Dean can wax nostalgic for the plantation life and be considered ‘enlightened.’ You, ma’am, are a racist.

Shir does, however, admit that Gapso may have made a few misteps along the way. Unfortunately, those missteps have nothing to do with the content of his ideas:

In Israel you may do – you mustn’t talk. Because when you talk about the right vision it sounds bad, and the bleeding hearts immediately attack you and declare you a hooligan, a Nazi and even Hitler. Prepare the guillotine. He will be beheaded in the square of the town whose future he fears for.

Yes. Ethnic cleansing does “sound bad.” When you say it aloud, you get called a racist. The argument here appears to be that you shouldn’t talk about racist things in public, you should just go ahead an do racist things. Because democracy can go fuck itself.

Incredibly, Shir goes on to say:

Every person is entitled to choose not only his place of residence, but also his neighbors, and that’s not arrogance.

Unless, of course, they are Palestinian living beyond the Green Line. Then they get where they can live dictated to them by the Israeli army. Or if you are a non-Jewish citizen of Israel. Then you get told where you can and cannot live as well. But why should they enter in Shir’s thoughts?

Anyway, the rest of the op-ed ends with a confusing and ill-formed screed against alleged discrimination by Arabs. Honestly, it is so vague and badly written it is hard to know precisely what she is talking about. Regardless, it is at best off-topic.

If you can’t write an op-ed that doesn’t sound racist even to your own ears, maybe you should stop and reconsider.


At some point next week, I’m going to publish the first of what will probably be two or three posts about the limits of political discourse about “solutions” to “the conflict” and suggesting some ways to move beyond these limits in an effort to advance more detailed and realistic plans of action.

But I recently received a stark reminder of just how limited any talk about macro-politics necessarily is. I was on a walk with my wife in the beautiful Wadi Qelt in the Occupied West Bank. We were trying to have a normal, romantic day in which we disconnect from the daily racism and creeping fascism that mark life in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, we were not so successful.

While walking back up the very steep mountain to where we parked the car, a Jewish couple driving down into the valley pulled up along side of us:

Them: How is it?

Us: Very nice.

Them: Are there a lot of people down there today?

Us: Nope. There aren’t many people at all today.

Them: I mean, are there a lot of Arabs?

Us: Goodbye, racists.

We left without explaining that there were any number of Palestinian Arabs in the valley, including those who live at or work at St. George’s monastery, shepherds, and several houses inhabited by families.

What is one to do with a place where that sort of conversation is normal? How is one to deal with people who are not only racists themselves, but assume that any stranger they encounter on the street must likewise be a racist?

Come what may after apartheid ends, these people will remain. And, if other post-conflict scenarios are any guide, they will likely maintain at the very least economic, if not political, power. Do we just wait for them to die out and hope that the next generation is better? Do we make all of them go through massive anti-racism training as part of a transitional justice program? Or do we just have faith that, unlike many other places, this time the racists will disappear once the institutions that spawn them are overcome?

In some way these questions need to be tabled, as the political ones are clearly the most pressing at the moment. But, even as the grueling work must be done towards changing an unbearable and unjust political situation in Palestine-Israel, we shouldn’t forget that these sorts of social issues will in some ways be even harder to overcome.


Over the weekend, I saw a number of Israel-apologist on Facebook circulating the following story, whose logic is so powerful it could’ve come directly from the Colbert Report. According to UnitedWithIsrael.org:

South African MP Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe wrote in the San Francisco Examiner, “As a black South African who lived under apartheid, this system was implemented in South Africa to subjugate people of color and deny them a variety of their rights. In my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa. Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is.” Meshoe made this statement upon visiting San Francisco, where he was shocked to learn of posters posted within the city comparing Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The article makes it sound as though your average Joe Southafrican wandered out of his hotel on a vacation to San Francisco and stumbled upon a group of rowdy Palestine solidarity activists and just couldn’t contain his outrage.

Who Is Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe?

In fact, the good Rev. Dr. Meshoe is the founder of the Africa Christian Democratic Party, a conservative Christian Zionist party which currently holds three seats out of 400 in the South African National Assembly. His party is strongly pro-life to the point where they oppose the distribution of condoms and voted against the South African Constitution because it enshrined both abortion rights and contained anti-sexual orientation discrimination provisions. In short, Rev. Dr. Meshoe does not represent the mainstream South Africa political opinion.

Nor was this Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s first foray into Zionist speechmaking. In fact, Rev. Dr. Meshoe is one of South Africa’s leading Zionist activists and a frequent speaker in support of Israel in both his native country and in the United States. He is also one of the founders of “Africans for Israel,” an organization whose stated goal is to “stop attempts to crush Israel.”

Like Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s views on social issues, his views on Palestine and Israel are outside of the South African mainstream. Which is why South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party has been at the forefront of efforts to label goods made in Israeli settlement-colonies beyond the Green Line.

Of course, the mere fact that Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s views are not popular within his country should not invalidate his opinions. But is does raise some serious questions about UnitedWithIsrael’s representation of his op-ed.

Hasbara Through Tokinism

Why is there an attempt to portray Rev. Dr. Menshow as though he were speaking from the mainstream? Why are Israel apologists circulating this article with such glee? And why has this particular article gone viral? (At the time of this writing 3,695 Facebook users have shared the story, according to the counter UnitedWithIsrael’s the website).

The answer, of course, is obvious. They choose to highlight Rev. Dr. Meshoe only because he is a black South African. This is tokenism of the worst sort.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s actual arguments are not important to UnitedWithIsrael. Which is why they only highlight his personal background. When they do approach his own arguments about Israel, the blog rephrases Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s arguments in its own voice, rather than follow through the logic he lays out in his op-ed. Whereas the original op-ed proceeds to focus on areas of life within Israel’s 1948 borders where Jews and non-Jews share physical proximity, UnitedWithIsrael felt that the focus should have been on (misrepresented) legal protections. And so, they ignore the original explanation offered by the author in favor of their own interpretations of what he should have said. Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s opinions – his actual analysis – is not important to them.

In effect, UnitedWithIsrael is placing a black South African front and center not because they think he actually has something relevant to say, but only because his racial and national background make him a convenient face for advancing their own narrow opinions. Hence the reason Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s written argument is minimized in favor of their own. This also explains why none of the people I saw share this article on Facebook  discuss, quote, or even reference Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s substantive arguments. I would guess that the vast majority of the other 3,500 some-odd Facebook shares similarly don’t care about the content of Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s op-ed.

Frankly, the Rev. Dr. deserves better. He deserved to be read and thought about critically, not just paraded around due to the color of his skin and his passport. And so, I now will do something that UnitedWithIsrael apparently has no interest in doing: engage with Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s argument.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe: In His Own Words

The core of Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s argument against comparing Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa boil down to a series of claims about what life in Palestine and Israel is like for non-Jews who live under Israeli sovereignty:

As a black South African under apartheid, I, among other things, could not vote, nor could I freely travel the landscape of South Africa. No person of color could hold high government office. The races were strictly segregated at sports arenas, public restrooms, schools and on public transportation. People of color had inferior hospitals, medical care and education. If a white doctor was willing to take a black patient, he had to examine him or her in a back room or some other hidden place. In my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above. My understanding of the Israeli legal system is that equal rights are enshrined in law.

These claims (like many other smaller claims made in the article) range from contestable to flat out wrong. The 4.5 million Palestinians living under Israeli Occupation in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip cannot vote for their rulers (at least not beyond their municipal government). Nor can they freely travel the landscape of Palestine-Israel. Even Leftist parties refuse to sit in government with the so-called “Arab Parties” in the Kenesset, effectively barring Palestinian Citizens of Israel from holding high government office. Sports arenas feature some of the most vile and violent racism anywhere in Israel, and that is some high competition. Israel features segregated busses on both sides of the Green Line, not to mention on roads within the West Bank. And health services in the West Bank are disastrous, in large part thanks to the Israeli Occupation, while in Gaza repeated Israeli attacks on basic infrastructure have meant that doctors must regularly work without electricity and clean water, let alone basic medical supplies. Finally, as Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel repeatedly points out, even among the subset of Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, the law does not enshrine equal rights for all of its citizens, but rather encodes legal discrimination in all areas of life. And , of course, Palestinians living under Occupation live under a separate system of martial law.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe may not have seen any of this discrimination on his trip through the Holy Land, but it exists. If these are the criteria that he lays out by which to judge Israel, then I think it is pretty clear that Israel meets Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s definition of an apartheid state.

But, of course, the Israel-apologists who have promoted this article could care less about Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s criteria nor the content of his arguments. All they care about is his race and nationality. As such, their own advocacy betrays a deep and worrisome racism that should worry even supporters of the State of Israel. But somehow, I doubt it will.


Let’s face it. This was not the best week for race relations in the United States. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, we saw wide-spread racism and Islamophobia: A Palestinian woman was assaulted in Boston, social media featured more racism than any of us should be comfortable with, and mainstream newspaper outlets like CNN, FoxNews, and the New York Post ran horrifyingly inaccurate stories about Muslims in America. And while the anti-racist reaction to such posts has been thankfully vocal, these sorts of stories reveal an inexcusable, worrisome, and widespread current of racism that the United States has yet to be purged. 

So why am I still talking about Israel? Well, for one, there is something exceptional and shocking about the racist flare-up in the United States. This is as it should be: we must continue to fight against racism whenever it pops up, but it seems to me like the overwhelming reaction against the racist uptick in the United States testifies to its shocking and exceptional character. It could and should have been louder: I would have like to see the President join in the condemnations, for example. And yet, it existed. By contrast, most of the stories I list each and every week in the roundup barely crack the headlines of Israeli news, so mundane have they become. And you do not see the sort of widespread backlash against them that my compatriots in the United States demonstrated this past week.

In the end, I do not think one could do a comparable Weekly Wednesday Roundup of American Racism. I don’t think you could find mayors of Cincinnati or Portland implying they employed illegal means to keep their city ethnically pure. I don’t think you could find consistent gangs attacking people with complete impunity. And I don’t think you could find people in power consistently arguing in favor of racism. This is not to excuse American racism. Only to say that the fight there, while important and ongoing, has achieved something significant which is lacking in Israel.

One particular reason for this – the reason that I want to highlight this week – is the way that racism is infused in the people, institutions, and practices of the Israeli state. We are not just talking about a few backwater uneducated racists here nor even a determined but small fascist movement of the sort that has emerged in Europe recently. Rather, the types of racism that I describe here week after week comes directly from a state which at best ignores such acts and at worst encourages and participates in the racism.

This state-based racism extends from the very top levels of government, where apartheid-esque laws were this week once again extended; to the well-documented role of the army in perpetuating racist policies in the West Bank and Gaza; to the state-rabbinate who make their feelings very clear on the matter this week; to the municipal government of major cities; and even to high schools who can’t stand the mention of Palestinians at assemblies. We even get one of the strangest stories of police racism I have ever heard. This week, I present 18 of the most shocking examples of racism in Israel from this past week’s news, starting with this rather large difference between the sort of racism that we saw in the U.S. and the sort we see consistently in Israel:

Except under circumstances specified in this section, no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

“A Haaretz article, published this week, claims I am a racist, and the reader comments are well-filtered, to generate a presumed public opinion which chastises me.
And what’s all the fuss about? It’s about me declaring once more what is known to everyone: I as a mayor have acted decidedly and unequivocally, to preserve upper Nazareth as a Jewish city for ever and ever. For this they are calling me a racist, a fascist, a thug. [They] are planning a demonstration by a left wing group in front of my house [in order] to arrest me… “
  • Not content to let the North steal their racism-spotlight, Israel’s Attorney General has apparently unilaterally redrawn the border of the city of Jerusalem, in the process excluding thousands of Palestinian legal residents of Jerusalem who live beyond the Apartheid Wall, their eligibility for health insurance and other social benefits.
  • Israeli forces destroyed Palestinian houses in At-Tur, East Jerusalem, citing their lack of permits. Of course, it is the policy of the Jerusalem municipality not to grant such building permits to Palestinians, in an effort to maintain an official demographic target in the make-up of Israel’s capital city. Separately, the Israeli army destroyed three Palestinian houses near Hebron as well.
  • Summarizing the situation in Jerusalem, a new report by the International Crisis Group underscores the pressures faced by non-Jewish residents of the Holy City:

The report, entitled “The Withering of Arab Jerusalem,” describes a very bleak situation in East Jerusalem. “For many Arab East Jerusalemites, the battle for their city is all but lost,” reads the report’s opening paragraph. “Settlements have hemmed in their neighborhoods, which have become slums in the midst of an expanding Jewish presence; trade with the West Bank has been choked off by the Separation Barrier and checkpoints; organized political life has been virtually eradicated by the clampdown on Palestinian institutions; their social and economic deprivation is rendered the more obvious by proximity to better-off Jewish neighbors.”

  • In an Israeli Army endorsed book on the seemingly mundane topic of whether or not the presence of non-Jews should affect the placement of mezzuzot on army bases, the Israeli state tells its positions regarding equal rights of citizenship. As I have stated before, me and they read very different Torahs:

“The idea that views non-Jews as having equal rights in the state goes against the opinion of the Torah, and no representative of the state is authorized to act against the will of the Torah.

  • The former chief rabbi of the Israeli Army, Avichai Ronsky, quickly apologized for mezzuzah-gate. That is, he apologized for it becoming public, not for its ideas. However, he insisted that the original reporting on the story was a real hit job:

Ronsky added that “the intention of this newspaper [Haaretz] is to turn Israel into a state of all its citizens.” Haaretz aims “to prevent Israel from being a Jewish state,” according to Ronsky.

  • In a story that is equal parts bizarre and racist, an Arab volunteer police officer who is in the process of converting to Judaism went undercover to expose Palestinians illegally residing within the Green Line. In a story that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of Fanon’s Black Skins, White Masks, the profesional Border Police did not exactly appreciate the assist:

According to the volunteer, Nissim Elimelech looked at him and asked the Border Police commander: “Who called this Arab to come?” The commanders thought Nissim Elimelech might be referring to the illegal residents but Elimelech clarified: “I mean him – Yusuf Abu-Balal.” Balal has started the process of conversion to Judaism, during which he changed his name from Yusuf to Yosef.

The commanders explained that Balal was a veteran volunteer and part of the team. “Why do you call him Yosef; he’s an Arab and his name is Yusuf Abu-Balal,” Nissim Elimelech said to one of the commanders, according to Balal. Balal said Yosef Elimelech then said: “Maybe he changed his name or made it a Hebrew name and calls himself Yosef Balal, but that doesn’t change him.

  • Yesh Din has a new report out highlighting the ways selective application of the law by state officials allow Israeli outposts (settlement-colonies illegal not only under international law, but also  Israeli law) to thrive and to commit violence against Palestinians.
  • And finally, to close out our session on state-based racism, Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy called on classic anti-Semitic tropes this week when he referred to Haredim as “parasites.” Among their sins, according to Levy, is their lack of a desire to participate in the army.
  • During a commemoration for the Deir Yassin massacre, a group of Israeli Jews confronted the Jews and Palestinians conducting the commemoration, chanting “We will bring a Nakba, a Nakba, a Nakba, upon you!” For those who speak Hebrew, you can see parts of the incident at the 2:40 mark in Israel Social TV’s report:
  • David Sheen posts a video from last month’s right-wing Ramle conference, where Makor Rishon journalist  Yehuda Yifrach complains about how the Israeli judiciary doesn’t allow the government to be open about its racism. If you think I am exaggerating, at one point Yifrach actually says that if Israel presented its true intentions regarding the Family Reunification Law, the Israeli Supreme Court would reject the law as racist (see last week’s edition for more on the law). One might think that the problem here is the racism itself, perhaps even the way that the Israeli Supreme Court, according to Yifrach, wraps up the racist policies in the trappings of sanitized policy language, but no. Apparently the issue is that Israel cannot be openly racist.
  • Echoing Emitt Till, Jewish youths entered the village of Safed, torching cars and writing grafitti on a wall that read “don’t touch our girls.” Love, once again, is a great threat to the apartheid system.
  • Settler-colonists from Bat Ayin attacked and threw stones at a farmer near Hebron. Still waiting for the arguments about stone throwing being a terrorist activity to be applied to these cases.
  • Settler-colonists also entered into Ramallah to torch 10 cars.

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.


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.

I admit it. This feature targets the low-hanging fruit. Most of the time, the Wednesday Weekly Roundup of Israeli Racism focuses on the most spectacular and the easiest examples of racism: the settler-colonists violence in the West Bank or the violence of mostly working-class non-Ashkenazi (roughly, non-White) residents of South Tel Aviv against migrants. We try to “balance” that perspective by demonstrating how the institutions of the state permit, promote, and complement this street level violence through racist laws and policies.

Unfortunately, this may give the false impression that the ills of racism experienced by the state is the result of the uneducated brutes. Moreover, it may give the sensation that some large cosmopolitan elite – in the Israeli imaginary always located in either north Tel Aviv or the Ivory Tower – exists out there. If only these enlightened few – those associated with the Labour party or perhaps even the Meretz party – could take over from the religious-nationalists in charge right now, everything would be great, or so this narrative goes.

This week, however, offers a glimpse into some of the larger problems with that narrative. This week, the racism of Israel’s “mainstream left” came out in force. To reiterate once again what was said in the introductory post to this feature, the point of this article is not to claim that everyone on the Israeli Left is racist nor that each and every Israeli on the Left harbors racist attitudes. But, like the broader claim that this post is trying to make, I present these stories as an indication that there exists systematic and widespread racist attitudes in Israel are not a simple function of one’s political beliefs. This is not a story of a racist right vs. and enlightened left, but rather one of deeply entrenched and widespread forms of racism, albeit ones that have different manifestations in varying contexts.

So, in presenting 18 of the most horrific reports of blatant racism to come out of Israel this past week, we start off with a special highlighting of the way racism exists on the Left.

  • Samer Issawi, the Palestinian political prisoner arrested without charge and on hunger strike for some 260 days, called upon the Israeli left to recognize their complicity in the crimes of their state and advocate for his release: “Israelis, I’m looking for an educated one among you who has passed the stage of the shadows and mirrors game. I want him to look at me as I lose my consciousness. Let him wipe the gunpowder from his pen, the shooting sounds from his mind, and see my face’s features etched in his eyes.” In response, a number of Israeli writers, including heroes of the Israeli “Left”, A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz, called upon Issawi to unconditionally end his hunger strike and head back to prison. Guess they didn’t feel like wiping the gunpowder from their pens. This is the very definition of chutzpah. As the AIC put it:

They did not rush to defend Samer Issawi, to demand his freedom, to save his life. They cried out to expel his living ghost, which knocks on their doors, breaking the peace of the occupation and satiety. They did not, God forbid, turn to the authorities to request for Samer’s release. They did not even care to ask what crimes he did that caused the State of Israel to chase him on their behalf, in the name of the public whose conscience and morality they purport to represent, to his expected and approaching death. They requested Samer to stop the hunger strike unconditionally, to agree to be confined for many years in prison for no reason, in violation of the prisoners’ swap, when the only accusation against him is that he went out of the “restricted zone” drawn for him in his city Jerusalem.

  • At the same time, Dimi Reider highlights an important shift in Israeli political discourse, wherein right-wing politicians increasingly argue against the Apartheid Wall, while politicians on the Left argue for its maintenance.  While the motivation of the right is the incorporation of settler-colonists beyond the wall into the nation, some of them have also advocated recognizing partial or full Palestinian rights of citizenship as well:

The division of opinion here indicates once again the slow redrawing of the political map in Israel: The Right is emerging as the more politically daring and flexible, ready to radically challenge the status quo and offer significant changes, up to and including enfranchisement of Palestinians and/or bi-national power-sharing, even if it is unlikely to offer or accept full individual and collective rights from the get-go. The old Left is becoming more entrenched and conservative-nationalist, determined to preserve the status quo without any profound or systemic changes.

  • This shift is reflected in the results of a new poll (Heb) by the “blue and white future” group. +972mag’s Mairav Zonszein has an excellent writeup of the poll in English, focusing on the 36% of respondents who seem to favor an apartheid system. We’ll have a longer look at this poll over the weekend, but for those who don’t read Hebrew and can’t wait until my forthcoming post, let’s just say that when you dig deeper into the numbers, the left does not come out looking very good.
  • The Anti-Zionist Jewish Network highlights the ongoing racist practices of the “environmentalist group,” the Jewish National Fund.

 

The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) is now pushing legislation that would allow Israel to enter this program, so that Israelis can enter the US without a visa. But as JTA’s Ron Kampeas reports, there is one serious impediment: Israel has a practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls; it also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights. Israel refuses to relinquish this discriminatory practice of exclusion toward Americans, even as it seeks to enter the US’s visa-free program for the benefit of Israeli citizens.

  • The exporting of Israeli racism is also happening in France, where new reports have emerged of SCNF banning Black and Arab workers from the Gare du Nord, during Israeli President Shimon Peres’s visit last month. At this point, it appears unclear whether the ban came down from the Israeli Embassy, the French Interior Ministry, or the SCNF, though an investigation is being carried out.
  • Once and future Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened (once again) to strip the citizenship of the up to 25% of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish, for the sole crime of not feeling included in a state that explicitly excludes them from full belonging as citizens.
  • The mayor of Nazareth Illit posted a message on Facebook promising to maintain his city as ethnically Jewish by any means necessary:

I have not hesitated, and I shall not hesitate, to declare loudly and clearly: I will not allow for a change in the city’s Jewish character. I will prevent at all costs the establishment of an Arab school in upper Nazareth. And I will take action for the establishment of neighborhoods for Jewish residents.

  • As though this wasn’t enough, the mayor then went on to tell the media (Heb) that “We maintain the Jewish majority in ways that are better left unsaid.” We can only imagine the sorts of tactics this implies.
  • Fortunately, at the national level we don’t have to use our imaginations. This week, the Netanyahu government unanimously voted to renew the so-called “Citizenship Law.” As covered by Love in a Time of Apartheid, the primary effect of the Law is to keep prevent Palestinian from forming families, should they happen to be from opposite sides of the Green Line.
  • Three settler-colonists from the “outpost” (a settlement-colony which, despite receiving utilities and security services from the State, is illegal not only under international law, but also under Israeli law)

    entered the village of Silwad beating Palestinians with steel pipes, including a 60-year old judge. No word on any police investigation into this premeditated lynch mob.

  • Yesh Din highlights some of the regular settler-colonist violence against the residents of Hebron. Read this and guess who was detained:

As “I.” would later tell the police, he thought that “B.” would pass his house with a few curses – that he would “curse and go on his way, as usual,” as he put it. That’s life in occupied Hebron (Al Khalil) for you. Not this time. “B.” went into “I.”‘s yard, while the accompanying settlers stayed outside. “I.” Demanded “B.” leave, and in response the latter immediately punched him in the face, and kept on attacking him.

  • And the Christian Peacemakers’ Team released a new report documenting the mistreatment of children in Hebron’s H2 zone.
  • An East Jerusalem man is being repeatedly harrassed by the police for appealing an eviction order. Interestingly, the original eviction order is based on Jewish claims to ownership over his property prior to the war of 1948. This means that the State of Israel does, in fact, recognize the principle of the Right of Return, but makes that right dependent upon one’s ethnicity.
  • Electronic Intifada highlights a video, since removed, of an American settler-colonist abusing the Palestinians he hired to build his settlement-colony

The video unintentionally provides a glimpse of the racist and colonial conditions Palestinians live under, where settlers – many from the United States – are happy to exploit Palestinian labor, but only under armed guard lest the oppressed natives revolt against the masters.

According to the eyewitness, Amer Nassar was “left on the ground for half an hour bleeding to death. A Palestinian ambulance was prevented from approaching him. Around 11pm, the army handed Amer’s body to the Palestinian ambulance.” As Naji Biblisi was still missing, locals began searching for him.


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.

Another week of extreme and shocking racism on both sides of the Green Line. This week’s stories tend towards the bizarre. So read below for 12 stories wherein racists get confused, beat up the wrong people, are excused by newspapers, deny the Holocaust, and prosecute people who stopped a terrorist in the act.

  • Five young men from South Tel Aviv went out at night looking for some African migrants to beat up. They started beating up the first black people they saw, who happened to be Ethiopian Jews. The fact that these racists were particularly stupid might actually result in police action this time around. 
  • Apparently taking his lead from these youth, the new interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar took a tour of South Tel Aviv in which he refused to speak to a single African migrant. He did, however, take time to note that his job was to get rid of all asylum seekers.
  • Some of the Jewish residents of the area greeted him by placing their racism on full display:

Tempers flared periodically during the tour, with a handful of Jewish residents embroiled in verbal altercations with African migrants as Sa’ar continued his tour farther down Salomon Street. At one point, former Strong Israel party list member May Golan spit at an African man and began arguing with several more, and was joined by a fellow protester.

Shockingly, the Jerusalem post followed this paragraph by noting that “Despite the heated exchange of words, however, the situation did not deteriorate into serious violence.” Apparently spitting on a person no longer qualifies as an act of violence, so long as that man is an African migrant in Israel.

  • In an amazingly bizarre Holocaust Memorial Day lesson, a Hebrew teacher in Haifa called the blond-haired children of Soviet migrants up to the front of the class to demonstrate what an aryan looks like. Not content with the latent racism, she also applied displayed historical revisionism as to the logic and methods by which the Holocaust was carried out:

“The teacher herself, who has dark skin and hair, asked the rest of the children in the class to explain the differences between her and the children standing in the row. They started answering ‘they have blond hair and you have black’ and ‘they have light skin and you have dark.’ She answered. ‘Very true, that is the reason, these children would not have been taken to the ghetto or killed, because they don’t look like Jews rather more like Germans,'” said the shocked mother.

  • The wave of attacks against Palestinians in and around the Old City of Jerusalem continues. This week, someone in the Old City sprayed a 14-year old child with tear gas.
  • A Palestinian cameraman was shot in the face by an Israeli soldier while covering ongoing clashes in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem. The journalist posed no threat, was not caused in the crossfire, and seems to have been deliberately targeted. +972mag has some rather graphic photos of the incident and its aftermath as well.
  • An 80-year old Palestinian shepherd was beaten unconscious near the settlement-colony of Avnei Hafetz.

After regaining consciousness, he recounted that he had been tending the sheep when he was approached by two young people coming from the direction of the settlement, and that they then began beating him with sticks. He said he remembered little of the incident.

  • In yet another “price-tag” attack, settler-colonists near Bethlehem defaced two mosques in the village of Tuku. 
  • Moving away from the spectacular violence of particular settlers towards the bureaucratic and systematic racism of the state: Amira Haas reports on how the Oslo-era Joint Water Committee – often held up as a model of cooperation and peace-building – effectively held basic Palestinian infrastructure investment hostage to the demands for increased settlement-colonialism. Al-Haq has some important general background info on the subject of water discrimination in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in a report that came out this week as well.
  • Lest anyone imagine that President Obama’s renewed push for peace talks might yield fruit, Naftali Bennett this week reportedly told the Norwegian Finance Minister that neither he nor “centrist” Yair Lapid had much interest in the two-state solution. Instead, he advocates either apartheid or ethnic cleansing.
  • Yet another report of online incitement against Palestinians. I’ve largely stopped including these sorts of reports in the Roundup. But this time, I thought it appropriate to include, as Ynet (Heb) captures a Tel Aviv City official joining in the mix, wishing to kill Palestinian children.
  • Electronic Intifada profiles the prosecution of seven Palestinian Citizens of Israel who are being prosecuted for a clear act of self defense against a “Jewish terrorist” (Ariel Sharon’s words). Have no doubt that if the roles had been reversed, the people currently under investigation by the state would be national heroes.

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:

SheenTweet

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