Friday, October 14, 2011


Hatred is a funny thing.  Sometimes the hated strike back in hateful ways.  What has been going on in and around Jaffa these past few weeks borders on the racist absurd.  Things are bad enough in the semi apartheid State of Israel where Palestinians are treated too often as less then equal at best, and less than people at worst.  Too expect them to sit idly by while under attack for the past few weeks, decades, whatever is a bit much.  The response to burning a mosque is not burn a synagogue though, is it?  I don't think so.  If you want to burn something, there are better things to burn.  And I am not calling on anyone to burn anything, mind you.  

At the moment Jaffa looks more like Belfast than the regular old struggle between Palestinians and Israelis.  More like Jews versus Muslims.  It is hard to write about something like this because in most ways it pales in comparison to the bigger picture of occupation, repression, exploitation, and, again, dare we say it, apartheid.  I have supported the Palestinian struggle for a Free and Independent Palestine since, forever. I have no need of the reactionary Jewish nationalism known as Zionism. Still, I confess I haven't used that term - apartheid-  to describe Israel much in the past.  I try to stay away from overkill like calling everyone and everything fascist.   But eventually, one reaches a "if the shoe fits, wear it...if it quacks like a duck, maybe it is a duck" moment.  There are certainly differences between the old South Africa and the present day Israel, but they are beginning to be very small and insignificant ones.  

Meanwhile, in Jaffa, the hatred grows.  Israeli Jews must join those fighting racism...and I am not just talking about the "usual suspects, "  I mean, what is there about racism that Jews don't understand?  How is it possible for Jews not to understand.  I've asked that question for decades.  I guess it is a stupid question.  It is a sad reality that you can be persecuted for a few thousand years, and as soon as you are given the opportunity, you can turn around and persecute someone else.  Ugh!

The following is from YNet News.

Jaffa synagogue firebombed

Tensions high after Arab cemeteries vandalized: Molotov cocktail hurled at synagogue, no casualties reported; anti-racism rally held in Jaffa, MK Zahalka calls for imprisonment of Foreign Minister Lieberman on incitement charges
Hassan Shaalan

A Molotov cocktail was hurled at a Jaffa synagogue Saturday evening, as tensions were rising in the central Israel town after two Arab cemeteries were vandalized over the weekend.

The firebomb hit the roof of the synagogue and did not cause significant damage. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Related stories on Ynetnews:

Police officials arrived at the site and launched an investigation into the attack.

Jaffa synagogue attacked (Photo: Ben Kelmer)
Jaffa synagogue attacked (Photo: Ben Kelmer)

Meanwhile, some 150 Jewish and Arab Jaffa residents held an anti-racism rally Saturday night, where speakers issued harsh charges against Israel's government and top leaders.

Speaking at the event, Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said: "We accuse the government of Israel."

The Arab MK called for imprisoning Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of incitement. "These little racists who come and spray paint a few slogans are much less dangerous than this dangerous government," he said.

צילום: אמיר לוי
Arab protests in Jaffa (Video: Amir Levy)

"The distance between racist words and acts is horrifically short," Zahalka said, while slamming Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the settlers, and Lieberman."The little racists who burned the mosque in Tuba Zangaria and attacked the cemeteries in Jaffa have spiritual fathers in the government."

Referring to the string of recent attacks on Arab targets, the Balad MK charged that "a Jewish underground" is behind the vandalism spree. Chants at the rally included "Settler, stop now, you already crossed the line" and "Arabs against racism."

Soccer fans to blame?

The Tel Aviv District Police Department has decided to deploy a large number of forces in the Jaffa area following the weekend's violence. The forces will attempt to prevent revenge attacks.

Police officials have held talks with community leaders in order to prevent an additional escalation in the area. "Our greatest fear is that there will be casualties and then everything will go up in smoke," the police officials said.

The police are not ruling out the possibility that the grave desecration was an act carried out by soccer fans as evidence in the area indicated.

MK Zahalka blames government (Photo: Ofer Amram)
MK Zahalka blames government (Photo: Ofer Amram)

Security footage will most likely assist police in determining the exact time that the acts took place.

Meanwhile, a different police investigation team is looking into the case of the Molotov cocktail thrown at a Jaffa synagogue. In addition to the investigations, the police are putting a great deal of effort into calming the area by promoting deliberations between the various Jaffa factions.

The police are aware of the possibility that the next targets of extremists could be the many Sukkot set to be constructed in the city streets over the next few days, these acts could bring about another wave of violence.

A number of Arab-sector towns will convene an urgent meeting Sunday in order to organize a detailed plan to defend the places of worship.

Earlier, some 25 tombstones were vandalized at two Jaffa cemeteries belonging to Muslims and Christians. The messages “Death to Arabs” and “Price tag” were spray painted on the graves. Police later said that "Death to Russians" was another message painted at the site.

President Shimon Peres condemned the vandalism acts at Jaffa’s Christian and Muslim cemeteries, referring to them as “despicable acts that disgrace us and contradict the moral values of Israeli society.”

The president urged law enforcement officials to undertake the utmost efforts in order to nab the vandals.

Yoav Malka Eli Senyor and Kobi Nahshoni contributed to the story

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