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When people can't believe their eyes, it's usually ideology

+972 published video of undercover Israeli soldiers restraining a Palestinian stone thrower and shooting him point blank in the leg. An astonishing number of people looked at the evidence and refused to believe what they saw.

Yesterday I published a post about a video that showed Israeli plainclothes undercover soldiers restraining a Palestinian youth at a West Bank demonstration and shooting him in the leg at point blank range. The youth was clutching a small stone, but was otherwise unarmed.

These undercover agents are called ”mistarevim” in Hebrew (meaning disguised as an Arab) and “mustarabeen” in Arabic. According to reports from several sources, including the AFP,  journalists witnessed a group of mistarevim infiltrating a demonstration in the West Bank and then suddenly producing handguns, which they shot directly at the Palestinian protestors.

At one point two of the undercover troops grab one of the Palestinian young men and restrain him, while a third presses the barrel of his handgun to his thigh and pulls the trigger. The ‘pop’ of the weapon is audible. Uniformed soldiers punch and kick the wounded youth and then drag him away.

A still image taken at the scene by Activestills photojournalist Muhannad Saleem shows the youth being carried away on a stretcher by soldiers wearing the latex gloves used by medics. There is a tourniquet tied around his thigh above a bleeding wound, and he is wearing an oxygen mask.

An astonishing number of people looked at all this evidence and refused to believe what they saw. And they were upset with the messenger, too. Yesterday +972 editor Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and I were inundated with testy emails and social media messages from people who demanded additional evidence proving the undercover agent had really pulled the trigger and shot the boy.

The multiple witnesses, the videos and the photographs were not enough. Some claimed they did not hear the gun being discharged. Others claimed they saw the Palestinian youth walking after he’d supposedly been shot, which proved that the undercover officer had not really pulled the trigger. On Facebook, there were long threads of comments claiming the video was fabricated, a “Pallywood” production.

But then the army spokesperson responded to our query and confirmed nonchalantly that yes, the shooting had occurred as witnessed and documented. “It was an accurate shot that disabled the central suspect who fought back even...

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WATCH: Israeli undercover agents shoot unarmed youth at point blank range

(Updated below with a response from the Israeli military spokesperson’s office.)

A video released Wednesday onto several social media accounts and published by several news outlets shows Israeli plainclothes undercover officers apparently shooting an unarmed Palestinian youth in the leg at point blank range, while other undercover officers hold him down.

The shooting and beating took place during clashes in between Ramallah and the Beit El settlement, which abuts the de facto Palestinian capital and hosts the army’s regional headquarters base.

Several videos of the same event emerged on Wednesday, showing the Israeli plainclothes troops wearing keffiyehs wrapped around their faces, infiltrating the West Bank demonstration and then either shooting toward demonstrators at close range with handguns, or assaulting them and dragging them away to military vehicles.

Reuters bureau chief Luke Baker confirmed via a tweet that he had viewed footage of Israeli undercover officers throwing stones at soldiers and encouraging the Palestinian youth around them to do the same.


AFP filmed a clip of the incident shown above from a different angle. (AFP footage cannot be embedded but you can watch the clip on YouTube, the shooting takes place at at around the 0:36 second mark.) This clip looks entirely unedited (the first version zooms in to show the gun and shot) and appears to corroborate the first video.

In 2012 Haaretz newspaper reported (Hebrew link) that the commanding officer of an undercover unit confirmed it was their practice to have plainclothes agents infiltrate Palestinian demonstrations and throw stones in the direction of soldiers while encouraging the Palestinian youth to follow suit, and then arrest them for throwing stones.

Roughly 100 Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank on Wednesday, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, including 10 wounded by live ammunition and 89 by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Clashes have taken place on a daily basis in East Jerusalem and across the West Bank for nearly a week following tensions surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and an increasingly frequent and ongoing series of attacks by Palestinian individuals against Israeli civilians, leaving four Israelis...

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Yom Kippur in popular culture: nostalgia and other musings

“It was different with Papa. He celebrated all the major holidays — Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Pesach — and he loved telling me Bible stories, but religion didn’t have a very important place in his life. Once, during Mama’s illness, I asked him if he believed in God. He gazed at me with that tender look, a look that spoke only of the powerlessness of love, and said, “You know, Sara, God doesn’t need us to believe in him. All he wants is for us to act as if he were there.”

— from Paths of Desire, a novel by Emmanuel Kattan

Yom Kippur is one of the two Jewish holidays that have become well-known tropes for the universal human experience in secular European and American art. Passover is the other one — specifically the seder meal, which includes so many symbols that can be interpreted ecumenically to talk about hunger, freedom, welcoming the stranger, telling the story of the Exodus to the children, justice and so on. But while the seder is about reaching out to include others (“all who are hungry, come and eat”), Yom Kippur is about introspection, repentance, forgiveness and redemption.

Parts of the liturgy are beautiful and have inspired some moving art, especially poetry and music. There’s Max Bruch’s gorgeous cello and orchestra composition of Kol Nidre, the Aramaic recitation that opens the evening service of Yom Kippur.  (My mother was a huge fan of Jacqueline Du Pre’s interpretation.) Bruch was a Protestant who died in the 1920s, but the Nazis banned all his music anyway, for his sin of having composed a work based on a Jewish theme.

In more recent popular music, songs based on the liturgy include greats like Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire,” referring to the part of the service where congregants sing the prayer derived from the tradition that on Yom Kippur it’s written in the Book of Life: Who will die this year and how — by fire, by sword, by water..?  Barbra Streisand’s Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) is a straight rendition of one of the high points in the liturgy, rather than an interpretation like Cohen’s. In the clip below, Cohen explains in a 1979 interview how the Hebrew prayer inspired “Who By Fire.”

In the movies, Kol Nidre is a trope for redemption via the return...

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Prime minister's wife accused in court of abusing staff

Former employees of the prime minister’s residence are suing the Netanyahus for wife Sara’s allegedly abusive and inhumane treatment. On Sunday a former cook recounted some shocking incidents when she testified under subpoena.

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the prime minister, is an alcoholic who drinks champagne from morning to night, terrorizes her employees with verbal and physical abuse and has her husband, the prime minister, so terrified of her rages that he does not dare utter a word that might appear to contradict her. This is according to testimony heard on Sunday in a Jerusalem court  from former employees at the prime minister’s residence. Guy Eliahu, a former maintenance man at the official residence, is suing the Netanyahus for what he says is Sara’s abusive, inappropriate and inhumane treatment.

According to a report published by Ynet, the Israeli digital media site, on Sunday a former cook, Etti Haim, who took the witness stand reluctantly after she was subpoenaed, described several shocking incidents.

In one case, testified Haim, Sara Netanyahu went ballistic upon discovering that the patio awning had been rolled up after the al fresco dinner table had been fully set for dinner, including an array of prepared salads. Just before Sara Netanyahu appeared for the meal, the prime minister had asked Guy Eliahu, the maintenance man, to roll up the awning over the table. Upon seeing this Mrs. Netanyahu berated Eliahu, insisting the dinner table was now contaminated by dust. Haim said the prime minister did not intervene but sat silently on a bench near the table, avoiding eye contact with Eliahu. Mrs. Netanyahu ordered that the table be entirely cleared of dishes and food and re-set. When her son Avner said that his food was fine and should not be cleared away, Sara Netanyahu angrily accused him of taking the side of the servants. The prime minister’s wife then trashed the dinner table. Haim testified:

Haim recounted another incident when Sara Netanyahu refused to have an ambulance called to the official residence after the cook collapsed in the kitchen. Haim fainted while rushing to prepare a late-night meal the prime minister’s wife had just requested. According to Haim’s testimony, a paramedic said the problem was with Haim’s heart and that she must be evacuated to the hospital immediately. But rather than call the emergency medical services Netanyahu forced the cook to phone home and ask one of her...

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How to neutralize stone throwers — without killing them

End the occupation, and extend full civil rights to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. It’s that simple.

Reports of violent clashes in Jerusalem are leading the Israeli news cycle these days, and receiving quite a bit of international coverage as well. Mako, a popular Israeli news site, refers to the actions of Palestinian teens confronting armed security forces wearing protective riot gear  as “rock and molotov cocktail terrorism.” The narrative set by Netanyahu’s government, whereby any type of Palestinian protest or violence is labeled terrorism, has seeped into the mainstream media.

Last week a 64-year-old Israeli man named Alexander Levlovich died in Jerusalem after his car was hit by an object that was probably a rock or a cinder block. Palestinian teens were throwing rocks at cars driving on the road at the time. It’s not terribly uncommon to see clusters of Palestinian kids throwing stones at cars driven by Israelis on East Jerusalem roads. Incidents of shocking violence are tragically common in Jerusalem, and strike Jews and Palestinians alike.

The discourse around these incidents is terribly depressing and demoralizing. In this it is a reflection of the entire discourse about the occupation and the future of Israel and Palestine. Netanyahu’s response to the tragic death of Alexander Levlovich was to exploit it to justify his call for loosening the rules of engagement so that security forces would be permitted to shoot Palestinian protestors, even when they present no physical threat. But this has been a de facto practice on the ground for years now, as illustrated by the dozens of video clips easily found online — of soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians in the back, or from a roof,  in the face, or in the toe (while in custody, blindfolded and with wrists bound). In 99 percent of the cases, the soldiers receive either no punishment at all or a meaningless censure. There are no real consequences for soldiers who beat, shoot or kill unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank.

+972 investigates: License to Kill, the Case Files

The incidents mentioned here are just a few examples of a systemic problem for which there is only one resolution: end the military occupation. After nearly 50 years, we should be well past the point of claiming the Israeli army can be an enlightened, all-powerful military ruler...

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Israeli ex-pat asks whether it is possible to come home

In her new film, Danae Elon documents her attempts to carve a place out for children where they can be proud of who they are, but realizes that just by choosing to be in Israel, she couldn’t avoid the most difficult questions of war and occupation.

In one of the most affecting scenes of her documentary “P.S. Jerusalem,” filmmaker Danae Elon follows her two little boys and their Palestinian schoolmate, all three dressed nearly identically in hooded sweatshirts and jeans, as they navigate the streets of the city at night, traversing Jewish majority and Arab majority neighborhoods while clutching their skateboards. The boys, who attend the bilingual Hand in Hand School, switch from one language to the next depending on the area they’re in. “Don’t speak Arabic here,” whispers her son in Hebrew to his Palestinian friend. Two minutes later, the Palestinian boy whispers to them in Arabic, “Sh! Not a word in Hebrew!”

It would be easy and natural for adults to dismiss the excited warnings of six and seven-year-old boys as exaggeration for the sake of drama. But in contemporary Jerusalem, being beaten up just for speaking the wrong language in the wrong neighborhood is tragically not unheard of. This is the reality that these boys, children of liberal, secular parents attending the city’s most pluralistic, liberal school, are already aware of in elementary school. (In 2014, the Jerusalem Hand in Hand school was torched by Jewish terrorists in a “price tag” incident.)

When Danae Elon moved back in 2010 to Jerusalem, where she was born and raised, she wanted to give her two young sons and her unborn child — as well as her French-Algerian Jewish partner Philippe — a sense of belonging in the place that she identified as home. New York, she explains in the opening scenes of P.S. Jerusalem, had never felt like home. She describes the city she remembers as a place populated by bohemians and by intellectuals like her father, the renowned Haaretz journalist and writer Amos Elon.

But her father, who died in 2009, had left Israel in 2004. Citing despair and disillusionment with the direction the country had taken since 1967, he spent his final years living with his wife on a farm in Tuscany. It was during that period that he and Danae grew closest, as witnessed by excerpts of their conversations inserted into the...

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Netanyahu tells a little lie that says a lot about him

On August 2 Raviv Drucker, a prominent and widely respected Israeli journalist, published the following status on his Facebook wall:

Yesterday the prime minister made the following pre-recorded statement:

“At this very moment a 16-year-old girl is fighting for her life at a Jerusalem hospital. She is a student at the high school near the university. That is the high school I attended. It is the school my children and my friends’ children attended.”

This is not the most important point in the world during these awful days — it’s not even close — but still, Netanyahu attended the high school near the university? Really? Didn’t he attend high school in the United States? Could it be that he’s manufacturing an affiliation with an elite school he never attended?

I inquired at the prime minister’s office. They told me that Netanyahu attended grade 7 and half of grade 9 at a school in the neighborhood of Omariya, which later on moved to its present location near the university. Well, I checked with those who are familiar with the school (and I invite Jerusalemites to add the facts they know in the comments) and this is what they told me: the school in Omariya is an elementary school. It never became the high school near the university. The Beit Kerem high school is the one that changed its location and became the one near the university later on. Pupils who finished elementary school in Omariya went on to attend various high schools but not the elite one near the university.

A bit of context: The 16-year-old girl who was fighting for her life was named Shira Banki, and she has since died. She was mortally stabbed by the ultra-Orthodox man who went on a rampage with a knife at the Jerusalem Pride parade on July 30, stabbing six people altogether. One day after the attack in Jerusalem, masked men believed to be extremist West Bank settlers entered the Palestinian village of Duma late at night and threw firebombs into homes while its inhabitants were sleeping. An 18-month-old baby named Ali Saad Dawabsha died in the fire, while his parents and four-year-old brother were severely burned and remain in hospital, in critical condition. That is what Drucker means with his reference to “these awful days.”

The school near the university is commonly...

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The final moments of Israel's settlements in Gaza

Ten years after covering Israel’s Gaza Disengagement from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, Lisa Goldman recalls four scenes that tell four very different stories and perspectives of those final weeks in Gaza.

Exactly 10 years ago, Israel withdrew its troops and settlements from Gaza in an event that was officially called the disengagement. It was a hugely controversial decision on the part of then prime minister Ariel Sharon, who rammed the proposal through the Knesset. The godfather of the settlement movement had betrayed the settlers, and they were outraged.

The local media led with the disengagement story for months, heading into saturation coverage as the August deadline approached. Television news magazine programs hosted pro and anti disengagement people in panel discussions, journalists interviewed angry settler youth who spoke about their disillusionment with the state, and overwrought analysts predicted that we were heading toward civil war.

The government had given the 7,500 settlers who lived in the cluster of Gaza communities, known collectively as Gush Katif, two options: leave voluntarily and receive a compensation package; or be forcibly evicted by the army. A few chose to leave, but the majority refused. Opposition to the disengagement became a political movement. Its adherents chose orange as their signature color, wearing orange T-shirts and orange head coverings (yarmulkes for the men and crocheted caps for the women). Orange ribbons were everywhere — outside of Tel Aviv, that is — and especially in Jerusalem and the settlements. Drivers tied them to their side view mirrors. At traffic intersections, national religious teens with orange ribbons wrapped around their wrists distributed bumper stickers with slogans like “Jews don’t evict Jews!” Supporters of the disengagement tied blue ribbons to their side view mirrors, but were otherwise quiet.

As the anti-disengagement movement became ever more vocal and organized, some of those overwrought analysts predicted that soldiers from settlements would desert rather than carry out orders to evict their fellow settlers; or that the Gush Katif settlers would attack the soldiers when they came to escort them from their homes; and that this would lead to a civil war. Hundreds of reporters flew in from all over the world to cover the overhyped event, which turned out to be pretty anti climactic. In the end the settlers were removed without violence, and in only five days.

Talking to Palestinians and Jews in Gaza

I spent quite a...

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Video shows Israeli officer not in danger when he shot Palestinian teen

Instead of driving away in his military jeep after a stone was hurled at his windshield, the Israeli regional brigade commander chose to stop, chase Mohamed Kasbeh and shoot him three times.

Just over a week after the widely publicized shooting death of a 17-year-old Palestinian boy by a senior Israeli army officer, Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem released CCTV footage of the incident. It appears to support eyewitness claims that the life of the officer, Col. Yisrael Shomer, was not in danger, which runs contrary to his claim.

According to the video, Mohamed Kasbeh did indeed throw a stone at the windshield of the armored military vehicle. But then he ran away. The officer, rather than driving away from the scene, stopped the vehicle, got out and chased the fleeing boy. The actual shooting took place outside the frame of the video.

Click here for a longer, unedited version of the video.

As Peter Beaumont explains in his thorough report of the incident for the Guardian, no one disputes that Kasbeh threw a stone at the windshield of an Israeli military vehicle near Qalandiya crossing, adjacent to Ramallah, early in the morning on July 3. The controversy is over whether or not Kasbeh presented an imminent danger to the soldiers when he was shot.

Colonel Shomer claimed he shot Kasbeh in order to save his own life. His account is supported by Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home Party, who is the current education minister. But Beaumont and B’Tselem interviewed several eyewitnesses, who said that Shomer shot Kasbeh in the back as he was running away.  The physician who treated Kasbeh confirmed that the fatal bullet entered the boy’s back. Beaumont writes that the medical report, which he obtained, supports the physician’s conclusion.

And now we have the video which, while it does not show the actual shooting, does prove that the boy ran away as soon as he threw the rock. Shomer, instead of driving away in his vehicle, chose to stop, chase the boy and shoot him in the back. Then, according to eyewitnesses, the officer prodded the dead boy with his boot and left the scene without calling for medical help. So it appears to be murder, and callous indifference. And, of course, lying.

This incident has been widely publicized because Shomer has such a high military...

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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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+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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