Police states operate that
way. Israel is one of the worst. It spurns rule of law principles. It
turns democratic values on their head. It targets Palestinians for praying
to the wrong God.
On January 20, Haaretz headlined "Nine Palestinians arrested for pummeling
ultra-Orthodox with snowballs," saying:
Two ultra-Orthodox men were struck. Ten days ago, six Palestinians were
apprehended. "Three others were arrested over the incident last week."
According to the old saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but
names will never harm me." Nor will snowballs.
Kids throw them at each other often. It's ritualistic. It's part of fun
and games. Anyone growing up in northern climes remembers them fondly.
Arrests never followed.
Alleged attacks and cursing occurred "near the Nablus Gate leading to
the Old City of Jerusalem."
An investigation was ordered. Hasidic extremists "refused to lodge a complaint."
The alleged incident appeared blown out of proportion.
Palestinians in Israel are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Racist
persecution targets them. Daily attacks occur. Deaths, injuries and arrests
Haaretz stresses what it calls "Israel's slide into….fascism and apartheid."
It calls Judaization "racism." It discussed "Judaizing the Galilee."
It's the same throughout Israel and Occupied Palestine. Upper Nazareth
Mayor Shimon Gapso calls his job a mandate "to make the Galilee Jewish."
"The city's residents and I, as their leader, overwhelmingly support the
principle that Upper Nazareth must fulfill this mission," he said.
He blocked opening an Arab school for 1,900 students. Not on his watch,
Nazareth is predominantly Arab. It's called the Arab capital of Israel.
Upper Nazareth (Nazareth Illit) is mainly Jewish. It lies within Nazareth.
Arabs comprise 20% of the population.
Children have to travel outside the community for school or choose expensive
private ones. Few families can afford them.
Gapso asked Israel's Interior Ministry to declare Arab Nazareth "hostile
to the state of Israel." He wants non-Jews denied legitimate rights.
He wants Upper Nazareth ethnically cleansed. He wants the entire Galilee
Judaized. He's not alone.
Haaretz said he wants "legitimate cover for every benighted racist position
that sees the presence of Arabs in the Galilee or anywhere else a national
Prominent Israeli leaders support him. They include Education Minister
Gideon Sa'ar and ultra-Orthodox extremist Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
Yishai represents the worst of Israeli governance. He menaces Jews and
Arabs alike. He wants Gaza "sen(t) back to the Middle Ages." He wants
its infrastructure destroyed. He's mindless of how many die or suffer.
Haaretz said "Israelis who oppose racism and discrimination - Arabs and
Jews alike - have no choice but to vote for parties that will fight both
phenomena." Don't expect them to make the right choice. So few exist.
Polls suggest ideological extremists retaining power. Coalition partners
represent the worst of right-wing government.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) responded to Gaspo's
racism. ACRI attorney Auni Banna said:
His "angry response reflects a dangerous approach, which not only objects
to the existence of Arab schools in Nazareth Illit but also denies the
legitimate existence of Arabs in the city."
"The parents’ demand to enable their children to go to school in the city
they live in is a basic right, and no city or mayor may deny it."
"Upper Nazareth’s mayor and every Israeli mayor would do well to advance
justice and equality among his city’s residents."
ACRI's helping Upper Nazareth Arabs. It supports their "protracted struggle
to establish an official educational institution in the city."
ACRI Attorney Ashraf Elias told Gapso and Sa'ar that failure to allow
it "constitutes a serious breach" of their "duty to act equally for all
of the city's residents and that this infringes on the Arab residents'
right to education."
Israeli law and courts affirm it. It doesn't matter when prominent officials
spurn what they're obligated to uphold.
On January 22, Israelis vote. A "silenc(ed) Palestinian voice" won't join
them, said Gideon Levy.
His age (16) notwithstanding, "he won't be voting in Tuesday's election."
Israeli soldiers killed him. They shot him four or more times in his head,
back and thigh.
"The soldiers who (killed) him will vote on Tuesday, because (Israeli-style)
democracy is like that."
The "elephant in the room" goes unnoticed. "The monster at the door, who
we try to ignore by saying, 'If we won't look at it, it won't exist.'
"This is the worst deception of this election, the sickest lie of Israeli
democracy…." Israelis and candidates alike promote it.
In real democratic societies, demands for justice would have followed
Samir's death. It would have become a major campaign issue.
In the past week alone, four other Palestinian youths were killed. In
November, Israel soldiers murdered Rushdie Tamimi.
Without cause, they shot him multiple times at close range. Their commander
ordered live fire. Soldiers prevented administering aid. Help finally
arrived. Tamimi was evacuated and hospitalized. Two days later he died.
What if Israelis were shot and killed, asked Levy? Imagine the public
outrage. Palestinian deaths go unnoticed.
"How on earth can Israel be considered a democracy," he asked? "How can
it not be called an apartheid state? Why is nobody even discussing the
"Samir was murdered in cold blood." So are many other Palestinians. "There's
no other way to describe" what occurs regularly.
Justice is always denied. Investigations are whitewashed. Killing Palestinians
is officially sanctioned. So is enforcing brutalizing occupation harshness
and calling Israeli Arabs fifth column threats.
Samir and others like him symbolize what's wrong with Israel. Palestinians
and Israeli Arabs are fair game. Lies and coverup suppress official policy.
Enough is enough, said Haaretz columnist Amir Oren. "Seven years with
Netanyahu is enough bad luck."
Israelis once trusted him. No longer. Polls suggest Likud has less than
25% support. Extremist coalition partners will keep Netanyahu prime minister.
He "promises four more years of the very same futile path." What's good
for him harms most others. Israelis aren't wise enough to know. They're
mindless, out of touch, or don't care.
They'll have themselves to blame for doing the wrong thing. They support
what demands condemnation.
"Seven bad years with (Netanyahu) were definitely enough." Polls suggest
Rehabilitating trust Israel lost awaits "a new direction." The current
one is self-destructive. Who knows if it'll ever come. Nothing in prospect
A Final Comment
Micah Peltz is an American rabbi. He serves Temple Beth Sholom Cherry
Hill, NJ’s congregation. He's also a regular Haaretz contributor. On January
20, he headlined "Are the leaders of today the leaders we deserve?"
On January 22, Israelis vote. On January 20, Obama's sworn in. "In both
countries, there seems to be a feeling of dissatisfaction with the choice
of leaders," said Peltz.
"Rarely have I encountered someone - American or Israeli - who spoke enthusiastically
about who they planned on supporting…"
They're more concerned about who they dislike than prefer. Leadership
worth supporting is sorely lacking. It's true in Israel and America.
"How do our leaders influence our generation," asked Peltz? "Do we have
the leaders that we deserve?" Not in Israel or America, he laments.
Too few others understand today's grim reality. Fewer still responsibly
confront it. It's true in Israel, America and elsewhere.
When ordinary people deserve better, the worst of times loom.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.