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In Sisi's Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood are the new Jews

Weighted down by historical, religious and linguistic inaccuracies, Egyptian television series ‘The Jewish Quarter’ nevertheless tells an intriguing story of the political, social and religious changes that have transformed Egypt — in 1948 and in 2015.

An Egyptian Ramadan television series called “The Jewish Quarter”* has attracted quite a bit of international media attention for its sympathetic portrayal of Jewish Egyptians during the years immediately following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, up until 1954.

Set in Cairo, the ongoing multi-episode drama takes its name from one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, where Jews, Muslims and Christians once lived peaceably as neighbors. It is full of clichés and rife with inaccuracies in terms of costume and historical details. Also, the acting is frequently way over the top — which is actually quite helpful if one happens to be hobbled by limited knowledge of Arabic (here I must thank my wonderfully patient Egyptian friends, who watched and explained each episode to me). But despite these flaws the story is engaging and even gripping at times. It is also fascinating for its implicit political messages and what they say about the narrative of the Sisi regime toward the Muslim Brotherhood and Israel-Palestine.

In “The Jewish Quarter,” the Muslim Brotherhood has replaced the Jews as the villains. It is they who commit acts of terror aimed at upsetting Egypt’s political stability and at tearing apart its social fabric. And the Jews are not all perfidious Zionists: some — the heroic ones — are patriotic Egyptians.

The story opens one night in 1948, with a boy wearing a galabiyeh and flip flops running through the narrow streets shouting “turn off the lights! Turn off the lights!” as panicked residents tumble down the stairs from their apartments and spill out onto the streets, calling out to one another. Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents all run to the synagogue to shelter from an imminent aerial bombardment. The Egyptian army is fighting the newly-established Israeli army.


Episode One of The Jewish Quarter

As the neighbors of all three monotheistic faiths gather in the Jewish house of worship we are introduced to Leila, sitting with her parents. She is the beautiful Jewish heroine, who is equally passionate about her patriotism for Egypt and her love for Ali, a heroic Muslim army officer who is off fighting Palestine-now-Israel. Leila works at an exclusive...

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[VID] 'I have a dream': Ayman Odeh's maiden Knesset speech

Head of the Joint List shares his vision of a shared, equal future for Jews and Arabs in Israel. But is it a vision left-wing Israelis and liberal American Jews can sign onto?

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, gave his maiden speech in Knesset this week. Odeh, a 40 year-old lawyer from Haifa, heads a list of parties representing Palestinian nationalists, Baathists, Islamists, and Jewish and Arab socialists.

He led this unlikely group to win 13 seats in the March election, making it the third-largest party in the Knesset — after the Likud and the Zionist Union. Odeh attracted attention both in Israel and around the Arab Middle East by sticking to his platform of universal human and civil rights, and for equality for all citizens of Israel.

His maiden speech, which is subtitled in the video embedded below, is a Middle Eastern version of “I Have a Dream.” Here is the first section, taken from the text, translated by Sol Salbe

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Knesset, the year is 2025, the 10-year plan to combat racism and inequality has borne fruit. Hundreds of thousands Arab employees have been integrated into the private sector, the high-tech economy and the public service.

The social gaps between Arab and Jewish citizens have been reduced remarkably and the economy has been prosperous for the benefit of all residents.

Jews are learning Arabic, Arabs are diligently honing their Hebrew skills. Jewish and Arab students are being introduced to the great thinkers and philosophers of both peoples.

Stumbling occasionally, perhaps from nerves, as he read his speech in Hebrew, Odeh describes his vision of a place that allows both Arabs and Jews to realize their national identities, but neither at the expense of the other. It is a mature vision — one that asserts inalienable rights without apology, while calling for acceptance and compassion from and for everyone.

He describes his own political  journey, from a Palestinian nationalist and activist who was once interrogated by the Shin Bet to a man who seeks to realize his identity as a Palestinian, without apology, in the state of Israel.

Implicitly, he is describing the emergence of the assertive and self confident third generation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The first generation lived under military...

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Zarif in New York: Why does he seem so inviting?

In between truth-dodging and trolling Senator Tom Cotton, Iran’s foreign minister, speaking Wednesday in New York, displayed an impressive command of colloquial English and contemporary American culture. And no, Netanyahu was most certainly not spared his wry sarcasm.

NEW YORK — Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, believes that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is one of the biggest threats to international security.

“It is laughable,” he said, “that Netanyahu has become everyone’s non-proliferation guru. He is sitting on over 400 nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT [the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory, and Israel isn't].” And, he added, we know “who violated protocol” by giving those weapons to Israel. “So,” he concluded, “You’ve gotta be real.”

Zarif’s deft use of a colloquial expression drew appreciative laughter from the audience. In one short sentence he demonstrated that his English was completely fluent, that he was familiar with contemporary American culture, and that he had a sense of humor. Throughout the 90-minute event, which was framed as an interview conducted by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, the foreign minister radiated calm and confidence. And he was charming, except when he chose to turn on a steely, blunt-spoken persona.

The conversation ranged over several issues, starting with the ongoing multilateral — or P5+1 — negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Zarif said that he and Kerry had agreed on the parameters, and that they were on track for the completion of a road map by June 30. He described it as “good” but “not perfect,” adding that there was “no way to get an agreement that reflects the desires of everyone.” Iran, he emphasized several times, was committed to the negotiations, and everyone involved had invested significant political capital in their success.

The principle of the negotiations is sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for a reduction in its centrifuges and stockpile of nuclear fuel, which would be confirmed by international inspectors.

For Zarif, the opposition he had dealt with among Iran’s leadership was “heat,” and Congressional opposition not his problem. “We don’t want to get bogged down in domestic American procedures,” he said. In a jab that many in the audience seemed to appreciate, Zarif said pointedly that the U.S. would have to sign the agreement “no matter what Senator Cotton says.” Tom Cotton, a freshman Republican senator from Arkansas, recently wrote a...

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Likud minister: Drowning of migrants justifies Israeli policy

Just one day after 950 asylum seekers drown on their way to Italy, Israel’s transportation minister praises the government for preventing migrants from entering the country.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) sees lessons for Israeli policy in the tragic massacre of 700 asylum seekers who drowned when their vessel capsized on Sunday in the Mediterranean Sea. Posting a photo showing rows of corpses brought to shore by rescue workers, Katz wrote the following caption, which is translated here from Hebrew:

Only four days earlier, Katz published a sombre Facebook status about Holocaust Remembrance Day (with a gratuitous claim that Israel now faces another Holocaust — i.e., from Iran’s nuclear program).

Katz seems not to remember some basic historical information about events leading up to and immediately after the Holocaust. When Israeli and Jewish schoolchildren around the world are taught about the Shoah, one of the most-emphasized points is that the Jews trying to escape the Nazis were denied refuge by nearly every country in the world. And that the Nazi regime felt it had carte blanche to carry out its genocide because the world had demonstrated its indifference to the fate of the Jews. They are taught about the 1938 Evian Conference, initiated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, which brought together representatives of 32 states for over a week in that Swiss resort town to discuss the possibility of taking in more refugees from Germany and Austria, which were then the only two countries under Nazi rule. But none would agree to expand their quotas. After the war, Jewish survivors of the death camps who tried to make their way to Palestine by boat were turned away and forcibly interned by the British army on the nearby island of Cyprus. This episode of recent Jewish history was immortalized by the 1947 story of the refugee-filled ship Exodus, which Leon Uris tells in novel form and Paul Newman acts in heroic form.

The comparisons I am making are so obvious that they should not need mentioning. They should be obvious to the government of Israel, and to Yisrael Katz specifically. We are a country that uses the Holocaust to justify its policies — even its very existence — but somehow politicians like Netanyahu, Katz, Miri Regev and others seem to believe that compassion begins and ends at home.

Katz demonstrates vulgarity and an almost pathological lack...

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The paranoid ramblings of a leader who's lost his grip

Days before national elections, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays out an elaborate plot to unseat him, which he claims is being run by foreign liberals who want peace. ‘They’ll withdraw to the 1967 boundaries and they will divide Jerusalem — just as Tzipi and Buji promised they would do. They know that unlike Tzipi and Buji, the Likud and I will never surrender to pressure,’ Netanyahu writes in a long Facebook status.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent Facebook status, posted on Friday in Hebrew, is distinctly odd. It makes him sound like a rambling paranoid who’s off his meds, and local reporters have definitely noticed, with various Israeli journalists exchanging comments in Hebrew and English on social media platforms. In response to popular demand, I’ve translated the status into English (below).

A couple of explanatory notes: Noni Mozes is the publisher of Yedioth Ahoronoth, a veteran publication that for many years had the biggest share of newspaper readers until Sheldon Adelson launched Israel Hayom about five years ago, which is distributed for free. Israel Hayom is a serious newspaper, but its news and analysis follows an unswervingly pro-Netanyahu editorial line. For this reason it is often referred to as the “Bibiton,” which is a portmanteau of Netanyahu’s popular nickname and “iton,” the Hebrew word for newspaper.

According to the final pre-election polls, with results posted on Friday, Likud is down to 20, an all-time low in the polls this election season, while the Zionist Union (led by Tzipi Livni and Isaac “Buji” Herzog) is at 24. Netanyahu is now under tremendous pressure. He runs the risk of losing the election for Likud. And his party seems to be blaming him for running a disastrous campaign, including the heavily criticized speech to Congress that ended up generating a backlash in Israel.

The translated status:

The government of the Right is in danger. Leftist activists and the foreign and international media are conspiring to get Tzipi and Buji elected via illegitimate means, using innuendo and foreign money.

Their goal is to widen the gap so that the Zionist Union polls higher than the Likud. The only way to ensure they fail is for us to close that gap in the remaining days before the elections. Those who vote for the nationalist camp don’t have the privilege of voting for other parties. You must vote for the Likud.

...
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Jewish teens attack Palestinians in two separate Purim incidents

Such attacks have become more common in recent years but media coverage has thinned.

Two individual Arab-Palestinian men were assaulted by mobs of Jewish teens in Jerusalem last Thursday night. Both incidents involved victims who were set upon and beaten so severely that they had to be hospitalized. And in both cases the Israeli Hebrew media outlets that reported the story specified that at least some of the assailants were drunk and in costume. Thursday was Purim in Jerusalem. According to tradition, the festival is celebrated by dressing in costume and drinking to excess.

One of the incidents, reported in a short item by Walla! News, is described as a “suspected nationalist incident.” The Walla! report notes that some of the teens were drunk, that there were about 15 or 16 of them out celebrating the holiday raucously, in the middle of downtown, very late at night. Several people asked the loud celebrants to be quiet, including one young man in his 20s who happened to be an Arab. The teens assaulted him because he spoke Hebrew with an identifiable accent. “I don’t remember much,” he told the reporter. “It hurt a lot.”

I went outside to ask them to be quiet, and suddenly a whole bunch of people jumped on me. I woke up in the hospital and after that I made a report to the police. They [the assailants] saw that I was an Arab and they jumped on me.

In a separate but remarkably similar incident that occurred around the same time, another group of around 15 raucous, drunk, teen revelers were carousing around downtown, roughhousing with one another and, according to Channel 10, generally smashing things up. Then they spotted a restaurant worker clearing away an outdoor table, recognized that he was an Arab and jumped him. This time, someone recorded the incident with a mobile device, which Channel 10 broadcast (view a longer version here).

The faces of the assailants are blurred to protect their identities since some are minors, but the details of the assault are clear. The Arab man is going about his job when he’s suddenly jumped by the mob, who beat him, kick him and smash chairs over his head. The reporter says that eyewitnesses told police the assailants beat the Arab man on every part of his body, then dragged him along...

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Netanyahu speech: A dilemma for U.S. Jews — not for Israelis

For the first time, American Jews are getting the feeling that they might have to choose between Israel, and their loyalty to the country in which they were born and have become successful to a degree almost unprecedented in the history of the Jewish people.

In remarks that shook American Jewish leaders with their bluntness, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress on March 3 was “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between the United States and Israel. Rice was speaking to Charlie Rose on his PBS news magazine show Tuesday evening; her interlocutor was so taken aback by her comment that he repeated it back to her in a tone of astonishment, pausing between each word.

Rice responded by pointing out that until Netanyahu accepted Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress, the relationship between Israel and the United States had “…always been bipartisan and we have been fortunate that the politics have not been injected into this relationship.” Speaking emphatically, she said:

“What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks before his elections is that on both sides there have been injected some degree of partisanship.

“It is not only unfortunate but it is also destructive of the fabric of the relationship. It has always been bipartisan and we want to keep it that way. When it becomes injected with politics that’s a problem. We want the relationship to be strong regardless of which party may be in charge in each country.”

Rice made her remarks on the same day that Netanyahu rejected an invitation from Democratic senators for a closed-door session, presumably so that he could express his concerns about the Obama administration’s Iran policy, rather than deliver a divisive address to Congress.

John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker, invited Netanyahu to address Congress regarding U.S. policy toward Iran. Boehner supports a bill that calls for new sanctions against Iran, while the Obama administration is deeply involved in the delicate multilateral talks with Iran that are known as P5+1, which face a crucial deadline at the end of March. Last year the U.S. and its European negotiating partners lifted some sanctions on Iran as...

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Netanyahu campaign video: A victory for the Left means an ISIS invasion

In the latest Likud campaign video, released online Saturday, the message is that voters who cast their ballots for parties to the left of Netanyahu are throwing open Israel’s borders to an invasion by the so-called Islamic State, which in Israel and much of the Arabic-speaking world is called Da’esh.

 

 

The video opens with bearded men traveling in a pickup truck, flying the black IS flag with its distinctive white calligraphy. The driver of the truck pulls up beside another car and honks for the other driver’s attention. The IS guy in the passenger seat leans out the window and asks him, in Hebrew with a comically exaggerated Arabic accent, “Hey bro, how do you get to Jerusalem?” The driver of the car shouts back (in Israeli Hebrew), “Take a left!”

Then there’s the slogan, in red Hebrew letters emblazoned on a gray, bullet-marked background: “THE LEFT WILL SURRENDER TO TERROR.”

One of the IS guys fires celebratory bullets skyward and the driver peels off, ostensibly in the direction of Jerusalem, as they all shout exultantly in Arabic, “Shukran, ya ward!” (“Thanks, bro!”). The camera pans briefly to the rear of the truck to focus on a popular Israeli bumper sticker that reads, “Anyone but Bibi.”

The tagline: “It’s us, or them. Only the Likud. Only Netanyahu.”

The snatch of Arabic rap lyrics is excerpted from a song by an Amman-based Palestinian group called Torabyeh: “I want to be buried in the same cemetery that my grandfather was buried in. Since my childhood I’ve been dreaming of becoming a soldier and as time passed I discovered who I wanted to belong to: Mahmoud Abbas, Fateh, Hamas or…Jabha [the DFLP] …”

Netanyahu has for years been promoting his message about the threat to Israeli security posed by Islamist extremism, never missing an opportunity to list Hamas along with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and even Fateh, mixing them all up so that the average Israeli Jew reflexively associates Arabs and Islam with terror. Like all accomplished populists, he understands the power of repeating a mendacious slogan, and he is an expert at exploiting popular fears and racism.

There is plenty of evidence in popular culture to show that Netanyahu’s tactics work; that his rhetoric has penetrated the mainstream. Never mind that the Islamic State has not expressed any...

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Arab, leftist high schoolers walk out on Naftali Bennett's speech

Bennett suggests Arabs steal Jewish property during conference for Israeli high schoolers who will be voting in their first elections. Activist says he was threatened by Shin Bet outside the event.

Dozens of Arab and Jewish-leftist high school students walked out on a speech by Naftali Bennett after he suggested Arabs are car and property thieves during a conference held on Sunday at Tel Aviv University.

The leaders of several Israeli political parties spoke at the conference, put on by the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel, which was convened for Israeli high school students who will be old enough to vote for the first time when Israeli elections are held on March 17.

One of the students who walked out says he was then questioned by Shin Bet officers who demanded to see his identity card. The student, who is also an activist in Meretz, told Haaretz’s Yarden Skoop: ”They told me that I was suspected of attacking a government minister, and that I should expect a phone call from the Shin Bet.”

The students walked out in the middle of Bennett’s speech after he made the following remarks, which Hebrew speakers can view and hear on this video clip (translation/summary immediately below the video):

 

At this point the protesting students get up to leave. Based on what we can see in the video, they filed out quietly, with the Meretz supporters identifiable by their bright green T-shirts. Bennett shouted at them, “That’s always the way with the leftists. They run away. Go ahead! Run! We are staying here in this land! We are not running away!” Bennett supporters in the audience responded with cheers and applause.

Ayelet Shaked is notorious for having posted on Facebook that all Palestinians were enemy combatants, irrespective of their gender or age, and for referring to them as “snakes.” She has on many occasions expressed radically right-wing ideas which have been widely covered by the Israeli media.

Dror Feuer, an Israeli journalist for Globes newspaper, who is a supporter of Hadash, the Arab-Jewish socialist party, attended the conference and tweeted (in Hebrew), “Just coming out of the elections conference with several party leaders and a thousand high...

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United Arab slate thumbs nose at Liberman's disqualification attempt

After years of engaging in relentless, blatantly racist incitement against the Arab parties, the foreign minister may soon get his comeuppance.

Avigdor Liberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and current foreign minister, is trying to get the new unified list of Arab parties disqualified from running in the upcoming elections. According to settler website Arutz Sheva, Liberman’s petition is based on the claim that Balad, one of the parties on the list, supports terrorism.

Liberman’s previous campaigns included a proposal to strip citizenship from Israeli citizens who refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state. His 2009 campaign slogans were “Only Liberman understands Arabic,” and “No citizenship without loyalty.”

But while Liberman’s views on Arabs in general and Palestinians specifically are still popular with a significant segment of Jewish Israeli voters, his party has not been polling well at all. According to the most recent polls, he is down from 15 seats to 11 — and he knows that number could decline over the coming weeks. Yisrael Beiteinu’s traditional voter base of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) has either died off, emigrated or become apathetic non-voters. Liberman’s strident message tends to be oriented toward security issues, while polls show that Israelis are far more concerned about economic and social justice issues.

There is actually a chance that Yisrael Beiteinu might not win sufficient votes to sit in the next Knesset. Meanwhile, the united Arab slate is polling at between 11 and 15 votes — and their voters are loyal.

The fact is that Liberman has brought this entire situation on himself. It was Yisrael Beiteinu that pushed last year for the passage of a bill that would require political parties to win 3.25 percent of the vote, or a minimum of four seats, in order to take their places in the Knesset (the previous threshold was 2 percent). It escaped no one’s notice that this would have pushed all the Arab parties out of the Knesset, since none of them had more than five seats. The 3.25 percent threshold also means that Hadash, the Arab-Jewish socialist party, would be eliminated, as would small niche parties such as Kadima. At the time, few thought the fractious Arab parties and Hadash would unite to form a single list. But that is precisely what they did, and now they are enjoying a good laugh.

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Paris victim Yoav Hattab died a Tunisian patriot

Young Tunisians on social media extol a video of Rabbi Hattab comparing the tolerant atmosphere between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia to the hostile one in France, where his son was murdered by terrorists last week. There is, of course, some romanticizing going on.

“Tunisia is bereaved!” read the main headline on the front page of Sunday’s Le Temps, a French-language newspaper based in Tunis. Three of the people shot to death in Friday’s hostage-taking at a Parisian branch of the French kosher supermarket chain Hyper Cacher, were Tunisian citizens. One of them was Yoav Hattab, the 21 year-old son of the main rabbi of Tunis. Hattab, who was in Paris to complete his graduate studies, was a patriot: in a photo on the front page of Le Temps, he grins proudly while holding up a blue-inked index finger, proof that he had voted in his country’s first democratic election following the 2011 revolution.

(Rabbi Hattab has been widely described in French-language media as the chief rabbi of Tunisia’s small Jewish community.)

Tunisian newspaper_resized

In its report, Le Temps quotes witnesses who describe Hattab as a hero. Not only did he direct some women to safety in the cold storage room, where a Muslim employee from Mali protected them, but he also grabbed one of the weapons belonging to Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who stormed the supermarket, and tried to shoot him down. But Hattab didn’t have time to release the safety catch on the weapon before Coulibaly spotted him and shot him dead.

For young Tunisians on social media, Hattab has come to represent their hopes for their country. They are sharing and quoting a France 2 television interview with Rabbi Benjamin Hattab, the dead man’s father, in which he speaks passionately of the easy, mutually respectful relationship between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia. In contrast, he says sorrowfully, the atmosphere in Paris felt so hostile toward Jews that his son called him to apologize for being unwilling to run the risk of wearing his yarmulke in public. It was too dangerous, the young man told his father the rabbi (Haaretz reports that Yoav visited Israel this year, on a Birthright tour).

Shared many times is this excerpt from the interview, when Rabbi Hattab says emphatically, “”Les juifs sont respectés en Tunisie, on n’a...

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Whither liberal Zionism & other phenomena: My list of notable 2014 articles

So you read every single article in +972 this year? That’s great. Honestly, we thank you. But that’s not enough for Lisa Goldman. A comprehensive list of must-read articles you probably missed this year, covering everything from slavery reparations to Gaza to the crisis of liberal Zionism on the Upper West Side.

The other night my sister and I were talking about end-of-year lists and how much we enjoy reading them — the book and cinema critics’ picks, the news and photo editors’ choices and certainly the food and restaurant reviewers’ favorite articles. The New York Times Sunday Magazine‘s The Lives They Lived is always moving and interesting, too. Then we started naming articles we’d read over the previous year that had left a lasting impression. My sister pointed out that I’d posted an awful lot of articles about Gaza on Facebook. Could I choose one or two that I thought were the best? Hm.

The following is a list of articles that stayed in my mind after I’d read them. Most of them are about Israel-Palestine, but not all. They are listed randomly, with no ranking. I’ve also put together a sub-section of articles about the crisis among liberal Zionists, for reasons explained below.

Articles that are not about Gaza (some about Israel)

The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic

“Between 1882 and 1968, more black people were lynched in Mississippi than in any other state,” writes Coates near the beginning of this seminal, epic article for The Atlantic. But blacks were not just murdered and denied their civil rights. They were also robbed, systematically, of their property. A black person could spend his life working hard and acquiring property, only to have a white person arbitrarily take it from him — and there was no legal recourse. And even after Jim Crow, government housing and education policies have denied blacks their rights, exploited them and marginalized them. I read this article slowly, twice. And I’ll probably read it again. It started a discussion that has only come to seem more urgent over the past few months, with a series of high profile incidents involving unarmed black men dying at the hands of white police officers.

The Outcast, by Rachel Aviv for the New Yorker (alternate title: “The Shame of Borough Park”)

It’s well known that ultra-Orthodox Jews are an insular lot who...

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Investigation of Abu Khdeir murder tainted by racism, police incompetence

Between shoddy work and a culture of racism toward Palestinians, it is no wonder that the police failed to prevent the brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

On Wednesday night, Israel’s Channel 10 broadcast a one-hour investigative report that delves deeply into the circumstances surrounding the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Last July three Jewish Israelis, a 29-year-old man and two teenage boys, abducted Abu Khdeir into their car from a main street near his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Shuafat, beat him and drove him to a nearby wooded area where they burned him alive. Arrested and interrogated by police, the three suspects confessed to and re-enacted the murder, which they said was in revenge for the murders of three Jewish boys abducted by Hebron-area men who were linked to Hamas.

The abduction and immolation of Mohammed Abu Khdeir shocked Israelis and was the catalyst for violent demonstrations in East Jerusalem. Riot police responded by invading East Jerusalem and using crowd control methods ranging from tear gas and rubber bullets to severe beatings and mass arrests. The Gaza War distracted attention from the situation in Jerusalem for a while, but the violence never really abated. In recent weeks the situation has deteriorated even further, with the city now caught in a worrying cycle of violence that feels very combustible. Lone Palestinians have carried out stabbings and deliberate hit-and-runs against Jewish civilians, while paramilitary police have responded with increasing violence. Gunfire, tear gas beatings and mass arrests continue every night, into the pre-dawn hours.

Journalist Yisrael Rosner investigative report into the Abu Khdeir murder is presented — in Jerusalem, rather than from Channel 10′s Tel Aviv-area studios — by Raviv Drucker and Razi Barkai, both prominent veteran journalists. Summing up at the end, Drucker boils the story down to two elements: police incompetence and an ingrained culture of racism toward Palestinians.

Neither shoddy police work nor anti-Arab prejudice is new to Israeli society, and there is a tendency to shrug these things off with a disapproving click of the tongue and a sigh. But Abu Khdeir’s murder was so shocking that it did succeed in penetrating the mainstream Israeli consciousness, making the investigation relevant and timely. In his report, Rosner examines the question of whether or not the police could have prevented the murder. He also looks into one of the initial police claims, made...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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