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In Israel, BDS is winning

The first ever anti-BDS conference in Israel brought together politicians of all stripes to show their commitment to the fight against boycotts. In doing so, however, they showed just how effective the boycott movement really is.

Israel’s best selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and its online platform Ynet, hosted a conference Monday in Jerusalem’s Convention Center dedicated entirely to combatting the BDS movement. The very existence of the spectacle — the first national conference of its kind co-sponsored by StandWithUs and attended by over a thousand people — gave BDS (short for boycott, divestment, and sanctions) more attention in Israel than it could have ever hoped for.

It was a tell-tale sign that the global movement to boycott Israel has become significant enough to warrant such an event, whose speakers included President Reuven Rivlin, senior Knesset ministers, members of the opposition, World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder and comedian Roseanne Barr. (There were, of course, no speakers at the conference who represent or support BDS).

The cognitive dissonance became clear the moment the conference began. Yedioth Ahronoth Editor-in-Chief Ron Yaron told the crowd that the power of BDS cannot be underestimated, and that Israel does not want to find itself in the position Apartheid South Africa was in 5 t0 10 years’ time. Yaron immediately caveated that there is no connection between Israel and South Africa. Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who oversees government efforts at combating BDS, opened by saying that people should not “overemphasize” BDS.

Speaker after speaker stepped up to the podium and said, in the same breath, that although BDS is succeeding, it is not a success; that it is not a threat but must be taken as a serious threat; that it has not negatively impacted Israel’s economy but that Israel must allocate more of its budget to fighting it. Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said (Heb) that Israel should engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence, intentionally using language that plays on the Hebrew term for “targeted assassinations.” Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, said that it is really trendy these days to “be vegan and hate on Israel.” At one point, World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder compared efforts at implementing economic boycotts of Israel to the Nuremberg Laws, while Roseanne Barr, the keynote speaker of the conference, called the BDS movement “fake-left” and “fascist.”

While the BDS movement and its most dominant spokesperson,...

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VIDEO: Israeli soldier executes unarmed, wounded Palestinian attacker

Maybe even worse than the murder itself is the fact that no one in the vicinity seems at all moved by it.

WARNING: This post contains a highly graphic video and images.

An IDF soldier was filmed shooting a Palestinian in the head at close range in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of occupied Hebron Thursday, after he and another Palestinian reportedly stabbed a different soldier, lightly wounding him.

Most Israeli media outlets initially went with the usual headline, “Soldier stabbed, assailants killed.” A few hours later, however, video of the incident was released showing that the Palestinian man was already shot and lying on the ground wounded, presenting absolutely no threat to anyone at the time he was shot in the head, murdered.

The video was captured by local Palestinian resident Emad abu-Shamsiyah and distributed by B’Tselem.

Minutes earlier, before the start of the video, the two young Palestinian men, Abed al Fatah a-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi, reportedly stabbed a soldier in the Hebron neighborhood. They were shot in the aftermath of the stabbing.

In the video, which begins only after the stabbing already took place, an Israeli soldier can be seen shooting the injured Sharif in the head as he lies on the ground. The soldier is facing the camera with Sharif in between.

In a separate video we have deemed too graphic to upload, a prominent settler from Hebron can be heard telling soldiers, “this dog is still alive.”

No one in the vicinity seems bothered or surprised at all by the shooting — neither the soldiers nor a couple of police officers present nor the medical teams seen treating the wounded soldier. They completely ignore the two wounded Palestinians (al-Qasrawi is lying several feet behind a-Sharif, and can be seen at the end of the video). This total apathy reflects not only the regularity of such incidents of stabbings and responsive shootings, but also the culture of impunity in which IDF soldiers feel free to shoot and kill Palestinians against the IDF’s own rules of engagement.

The Israeli military immediately sought to distance itself from the murder. Israeli security forces have been accused by Palestinians and others of unnecessarily killing Palestinian stabbing suspects since the latest wave of violence began. Israel has consistently denied the practice, although senior ministers have in recent years given what many interpreted as...

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American Jews should protest AIPAC, not Trump

AIPAC has never cared about Israel’s disregard for civil and human rights. So why should it care about Trump’s?

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been making headlines for weeks as he wins primary after primary across the U.S.

But over the past few days he has also been making headlines in the Jewish-American press for a different reason: the mounting opposition to his scheduled address to AIPAC’s annual conference this Monday. (Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden will also be speaking there, Cruz and Kasich have also reportedly confirmed their presence and Bernie Sanders was invited, but it is unclear whether he will attend.)

Two East Coast rabbis created an ad hoc group, Come Together Against Hate, that is organizing a silent walkout of Trump’s speech. Another group calling itself Jews Against Trump has launched an online petition calling on AIPAC to rescind its invitation, according to a report in Think Progress.

The Reform Movement, meanwhile, has criticized Trump for his “hate speech” and implied in a press release that it would oppose his presence at AIPAC, but did not make clear how.

On its Facebook page, “Come Together Against Hate,” which at the time of writing had nearly 1,000 members, states: “We support AIPAC and the importance of continuing to build a strong U.S.-Israel partnership and we denounce hatred.” The group goes on to state: “We are committed to saying that Donald Trump does not speak for us or represent us, and his values are not AIPAC’s values.”

On the site JewSchool, Sarah Brummer-Shlay writes: “By allowing Donald Trump to speak at a major Jewish event, we have turned our backs on marginalized communities. It is that simple. We are not neutral, we are complicit.”

What all these groups and individuals rallying together against Trump have in common is the visceral confidence that Republican frontrunner defies their Jewish values and does not represent the larger American Jewish community. That his incendiary speech and anti-immigrant rhetoric is a red line. That even if he is currently the Republican presidential favorite, he doesn’t deserve a podium at an American Jewish event, much less the largest and most high profile one in the community.

But what exactly are AIPAC’s values? Its mission statement is devoid of values. It does not talk about equal rights or freedoms. Rather, it is “to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in...

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Israelis can only ignore Gaza for so long

Try as it may, the Israeli government will never be able to detach Palestinian human rights from its own security situation.

This week marks exactly one and a half years since the last Gaza war, although most of the time the tiny strip of land barely exists in the Israeli public consciousness. Now that the possibility of another round of fighting has emerged, Gaza is back in the headlines.

Recent weeks have seen multiple reports by the Israeli military on Hamas’s attempts to re-build its tunnel infrastructure, with some tunnels already projected to have been dug into Israeli territory. Israeli satirical comedy show Eretz Nehederet recently poked fun at the situation with a sketch featuring an Israeli resident of a Gaza border town who complains about the insufferable noise caused by the drilling below her kitchen. A Hamas militant then pokes his head up from under the dirt, asking the Israeli why she hasn’t yet offered him a cup of coffee. Business as usual.

As if the tunnels weren’t enough to remind us that the 2014 Gaza offensive failed to provide Israelis with security — and that’s without even getting into its lasting effect on the Palestinians — the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Herzl Halevi, told a closed-door meeting by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that Gaza is on the brink of economic collapse. Despite Hamas’s genuine efforts to restrain violence, Halevi said, the situation in Gaza is so bad that it could lead to more violence. In other words: Israel’s blockade policy is not working.

Various Israeli proposals to build a seaport in Gaza, a Hamas demand during ceasefire negotiations, are now resurfacing as a way to try and avoid another conflict. The idea is to provide some form of life raft to stave off the Strip’s total collapse. The IDF and several Knesset members openly support such measures, claiming it will provide jobs and incentives for Hamas to maintain “quiet.” Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon are firmly against the construction of a port due to “security concerns.” Any outsourcing of security, they claim, still runs the risk of weapons smuggling.

However, it is clear that  Gaza appears in Israeli public discourse solely when there is a fear of violence. For mainstream Israel, Palestinian suffering exists only when it is attached to some kind of threat. Israelis generally don’t care about the humanitarian...

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Knesset hearing on unflattering press coverage looks like 'witch-hunt'

Chairwoman Tzipi Livni asks government agencies to present examples of ‘biased reporting,’ suggestions for legal and diplomatic tools for countering unflattering news coverage. Foreign Press Association slams the very premise of the hearing.

The influential Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee held an urgent hearing on Tuesday on “legal warfare with respect to foreign media coverage – coverage which in the long term erodes the legitimacy of [Israel’s] fight against terrorism” (Emphasis mine).

Subcommittee chairwoman Tzipi Livni asked representatives of various government agencies, among them the Government Press Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Defense Ministry, Border Police and IDF to bring specific examples of “biased, one sided reporting against soldiers and police following terror incidents” and to suggest diplomatic and legal steps to counter the phenomenon.

The Knesset committee requested that the Foreign Press Association — which represents some 400 journalists from a wide range of outlets including The New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, and CBC and Financial Times — also attend the hearing. Ironically, the “invitation” also asked them to present examples of their own biased, errant reporting, in what can only be understood as an indictment of their work.

In response, the FPA drafted a letter that challenged the very idea of holding such a hearing and emphasizing the level of influence the government already has on reporters.

“May we state first that we disagree with the premise of the hearing – it presupposes two things: that the foreign media are biased and that that supposed bias undermines Israel’s ability to quell terrorist attacks. We do not agree that the foreign media are biased, and the legitimacy of Israel’s campaign against terrorism is entirely determined by how Israel conducts that campaign. It has nothing to do with the foreign media.”

The letter goes on to list the variety of recourses the Israeli government already has for filing legal and other complaints regarding foreign reporting and admits that there are isolated incidents in which inaccurate or poorly worded headlines are drafted — but by editors sitting in their offices abroad, and these are quickly corrected when necessary.

The letter closes by stating: “A free and open media is the bedrock of a democratic society. Parliamentary subcommittee hearings that start from the premise that the foreign media is biased tend to look like poorly conceived witch-hunts.”

The hearing was called following a CBS news headline from last week about the murder...

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How Im Tirtzu dominates Israel's public debate

While its campaign of intimidation against supposed left-wing Israeli artists seems to have backfired, Im Tirtzu’s role in Israel’s current political climate cannot be overstated.

The political climate in Israel has become so draconian and repressive lately that it was slightly surprising how quickly everyone rushed to denounce Im Tirtzu’s latest campaign against mainstream artists and celebrities who sit or have sat on the boards of human rights organizations. Leaders across the political spectrum condemned the campaign, including Netanyahu, who has previously sung Im Tirtzu’s praises on camera.  Following the backlash, the group told the Israeli press they had made a mistake and gone too far, with director Matan Peleg going as far as suspending himself.

Some Israeli commentators have written about how the campaign was actually a gift to those on the Left, since it forced many centrist, mainstream artists to draw a clear political line in the sand between Im Tirtzu’s hyper-nationalism and their own values. It ostensibly forces them to step out of their comfort zones and choose sides.

But a look at the reactions by several of the artists who were targeted by Im Tirtzu reveals just how paralyzed and monopolized the Israeli mainstream discourse is; how it uses the very same language as the Right to try and defend itself.

For example, veteran actress Gila Almagor was invited to speak on Channel 2’s Friday night prime time news broadcast about the recent incitement against her. A horrible incendiary article was printed in an Israeli media outlet that literally called for her to prepare a will, since she should expect to be shot in the back three times in the near future (the article was later taken down). Almagor said that she believes the incitement comes from the leaders, before adding “I always represent this country honorably, I never take my criticism outside the country.”

The idea that it is somehow disloyal to criticize Israel outside the country is an old and very popular trope. It was not created by the Right, but by Israel’s founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion, to cover up for massacres against Palestinians that took place upon the state’s establishment. It has been made even more rigid and popular in recent years by the Right, in the form of the bill targeting NGOs that receive funding from foreign governments, as well as the witch hunt against anti-occupation groups such as Breaking the...

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Building an alternative reality means building community

In an era when settlements are a given, when criticizing the occupation is tantamount to treason, and when there is no viable alternative to the Right, building a community is one way to create a new reality.

On Thursday night, bloggers, editors, photographers, designers, readers, journalists and supporters of +972 Magazine and its Hebrew sister site, Local Call, gathered together to officially welcome our new executive editor, Sawsan Khalife.

Arabic, Hebrew and English filled the Anna Loulou, a small bar in Jaffa’s Old City. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in a long time, while others had never met face to face. Some came from afar and others just a five-minute walk away. Some spend their days out in the field, others in front of the keyboard; some of us vote for the same political parties while others can’t agree on almost anything. It was clear that we had all succeeded in building a singular media platform that challenges mainstream discourse. Beyond that, however, we have managed to build a robust collective whose very existence challenges the reality of hyper-nationalism, intolerance and segregation that we live in.

We are not creating Israeli-Palestinian “coexistence,” but rather a network based on a shared determination to confront experiences around us every single day with critical, conscious and sensitive eyes, based on our own personal vantage point and identity. In a post-Oslo era when settlements are a given, when criticizing the occupation is tantamount to treason, and when there is no viable alternative to the Right, how do we challenge the existing reality? +972 Magazine and Local Call have provided me a community — both virtual and actual — in which I can grapple with these issues. In doing so, we are creating new facts on the ground that present an alternative for when, eventually, the occupation does end and something new must be formed in its stead.

The individuals and groups throughout Israeli and Palestinian society doing this are few, but significant. They are not hoping for or demanding peace — they are laying the foundation for a new reality by embodying the change they envision. Ta’ayush, a group of Israeli Jews who try to protect Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills from settler and military violence — and have recently been one of the victims of the Right’s campaign of incitement and slander — is just one such...

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The Israeli Left's challenge: Defeating ideology with facts

Left-wing and anti-occupation groups in Israel are finally hitting back, but the task seems Sisyphean: how do you win over people who don’t even acknowledge the same sets of facts.

Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem published a cynical ad in Haaretz Tuesday, in which the veteran watchdog group invited right-wingers on a tour of the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills.

Right-wing groups have published a number of hidden-camera reports in recent weeks in which their “moles” infiltrate left-wing groups in hopes of catching left-wingers saying and doing embarrassing ,and possibly illegal, things. Thus far, the undercover “sting operations” appear to have netted very little, save for one individual activist.

(English translation after the Hebrew below)

B’Tselem invites you – right-wing moles, impostors, frauds, to a tour of the South Hebron Hills on Friday January 29. There is no requirement to dress in disguises or bring hidden cameras.

On the agenda: snacks, mingling with Palestinians, discussion circles with B’Tselem researchers about the injustices of occupation, and to conclude: free time for questions, eavesdropping and taking statements out of context.

I appreciate the humor, and it is satisfying to see Israel’s leading human rights organization use some biting wit to take a stab at the people so vehemently trying to delegitimize their critical work. It captures the truly absurd feeling that all the time and money the Right is investing in infiltrating left-wing organizations — and stealing their trash — to expose that they are in fact exactly what they purport to be: organizations that champion human rights and equality.

But after an initial chuckle, I was left with a feeling of despair. The ad is representative of a desperate attempt, in this case by B’Tselem, to prove its legitimacy within Israeli Jewish society by engaging people with whom it shares no values or even working assumptions. The people B’Tselem is targeting with this ad do not even acknowledge that Israel has for 47 years been engaged in the military control of a foreign population, or that doing so is wrong.

The fact that B’Tselem is engaging with such ideas at all is sad. But the even sadder reality is that it has to.

This is not just a a few trolls, a small group of extremists with no legitimacy: it is the prevailing zeitgeist in Israel, as expressed by the vast majority of government representatives, large...Read More

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The new normal in Israel

Violence, racism, fear and no political horizon: that is what Israel’s leadership has to offer.

Two Arab residents of Israel were taken off an Aegean Airlines flight to Tel Aviv Monday night after several Jewish Israeli passengers demanded they be removed, simply for being Arab. The Jewish Israeli passengers refused to take their seats — thereby preventing the flight from departing — until the two Arab men deplaned, Israel Radio reported.

After a couple of hours, in an effort to de-escalate, the airline ended up offering the two Arab men a different flight and a free night at a hotel if they agreed to stay behind, according to the report. The pair arrived back in Israel today.

There was no mention in the report of any other Israeli passengers trying to step in and oppose the move, or get off the plane in protest or solidarity.

The Israel Radio report did note that the Israeli Embassy in Athens was notified of what happened, but that it chose not to make any statement or take any action because the matter had been “resolved.”

That silence in the face of such a clear wrong, both by the other passengers and the embassy, speaks volumes.

Welcome to the “new normal” in Israel 2016. Similar such incidents happen all the time. There were the Israeli hotels that warned Jewish guests about Arab citizens who would also be staying there.

There was that time in 2013 when the “Superland” amusement park was caught segregating Jewish and Arab student groups in order to “avoid confrontations.”

So should it really come as a surprise that the Education Ministry has banned a book that discusses a romance between an Arab and a Jew from its curriculum ? (Or is it actually because it portrays IDF soldiers in a bad light, as Education Minister Naftali Bennett has now said?)

These acts are not an aberration from the norm. They are the new normal.

The fact that police automatically raided and ransacked the dorms and apartments of Arab citizens in search of the suspect in Friday’s Tel Aviv shooting attack appears to be a matter of policy. The only probable cause was having the wrong ethnicity — which is precisely what happened on the Greek airplane.

These are not a few random incidents by a few crazy citizens or a few radical Knesset members. This is the new...

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WATCH: Incitement against the Israeli Left just got a lot scarier

Four Israelis who work for leading human rights organizations woke up to a new, frightening reality after a video accused each one of them of being a foreign agent working to defend Palestinian terrorists.

A new video entitled “Foreign Agents – Revealed!” was released on Tuesday by Im Tirtzu, a neo-Mccarthyite, extreme right-wing group notorious for its public attacks against left-wing academics and organizations. In 2013 an Israeli court ruled that the group bears similarities to a fascist movement. Its leadership enjoys ties with Likud and Yisrael Beitenu politicians.

The video plasters the faces of the heads of four Israeli human rights organizations — The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem and Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual — directly accusing them of being “planted” by different European entities (Holland, Germany, Norway and the European Union, respectively) to aid and abet terrorists. I wonder whether any of these European entities has a problem with being accused of planting operatives in an “enemy” country.

In response to the video, B’Tselem head Hagai El-Ad, who was targeted in the video, told +972:

“The government has no idea what it is doing, so its emissaries are busy dealing in incitement. We will continue to document and expose the occupation and its injustices, and resist Israel’s half century-long military control over millions of Palestinians.”

Meretz MK Michal Rozin has already demanded the attorney general investigate it. According to attorney Michael Sfard, the legal definition of incitement is very narrow, and therefore it probably won’t apply here. It requires a call to commit an offense against someone, the reasonable likelihood that someone can and will commit that act, and that the distributor of the material is interested in that happening or at least doesn’t mind.

However, Sfard says it definitely is incitement in the social, political and ethical sense of the term. “Soviet-style incitement, talking about people as if they are foreign agents working for the enemy.” According to Sfard, there is a legal definition of incitement to racism that does not include the call to harm someone – like what Netanyahu did on Election Day (even though the Attorney General acquitted him). Such incitement creates an atmosphere of hatred for a person based on their being attributed to a specific group.

“If there was a parallel to the law on...

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Trump is no more racist than mainstream Israeli policy

Israeli politicians are joining the global pushback against Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim racism. But guess what other country bans Muslim immigration?

Just days after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump announced that he will be visiting Israel by the end of December, the billionaire populist called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Everyone is aghast, including several Israeli politicians, figures and organizations, who began expressing their disgust and indignation Wednesday morning. Some went as far as demanding that Trump be blocked from entering Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, or to bar him from entering the country entirely.

The organization Republicans Abroad Israel was quick to condemn Trump’s statement, calling it “diametrically opposed to everything American stands for.”

Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev tweeted Wednesday morning that Trump is racist and should not be welcomed into the Knesset. Anti-settlement activist and scholar Gershom Goremberg tweeted that the appropriate Israeli response would be to ban Trump from the country.

Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi called Trump a neo-Nazi on Twitter who should not be allowed into Israel’s parliament, but noted that “the things he said are not unfamiliar to some of those here who serve in the Knesset.”

That might be the understatement of the year.

Racism — and various forms of discrimination against Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians — is just as rampant here in Israel as it is inside the Trump camp, if not more so. Except in Israel, racism and ethno-religious discrimination is not only accepted rhetoric in the halls of power and the sidewalk cafes of Tel Aviv, it is also long-standing formal state policy.

Trump called to ban Muslims from entering the United States. In Israel, there is already a law banning Muslims from immigrating — the “Law of Return” which gives that right to Jews alone. Even those who were born here but fled, or whose families lived here for generations upon generations, are forbidden from returning.

The Anti-Defamation League on Monday called Trump’s plan to “bar people from entry to the United States based on their religion” is “deeply offensive and runs contrary to our nation’s deepest values.” Has the ADL ever spoken out against Israel’s Jewish-only immigration law and discriminatory border control policies?

Inherent institutional racism can also be seen in the two separate-and-unequal legal systems for Palestinians and Israelis living meters from one another in...

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WATCH: How the far-right glorifies killing of Palestinians

The leader of a popular Jewish supremacist group circulates a new video that puts CCTV footage of stabbing attack to bouncy electronic music and violent, disturbing lyrics.

Benzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, posted a video on his Facebook page Monday glorifying the killing of Palestinians. Lehava is a popular Jewish supremacist group dedicated to preventing Arab-Jewish relations, which is also accused of regular incitement and racism against Palestinians — both online and on the streets of Jerusalem.

(Click here for the original posting on Facebook)

The video itself is CCTV footage of an incident in Jerusalem on Monday in which two Palestinian girls, 14 and 16, stabbed an elderly Palestinian man with scissors (presumably mistaking him for a Jewish Israeli) before they were shot several times, and even after they lay still on the ground. One was killed, the other is in critical condition.

Crappy electronic music was added to the CCTV footage with synthesized lyrics: “She just wants to stab, put a bullet in her head.” Gopstein shared it on Facebook and wrote: “The new video, if you enjoy it share it!”

Using the video to glorify, celebrate and make light of the shooting of two Palestinian teenage girls, even though they attacked an innocent man with scissors, is almost as disturbing as the attack itself.

It is not just that the video glorifies and fetishizes the killing of Palestinians. It’s not just that it could be construed as incitement against all Palestinians, encouraging people to shoot to kill. In a certain tragic sense, it is an accurate snapshot of what life feels like in Israel these days.

In the current reality it feels like everyone is a potential target, and everything a potential weapon. Murder is not a means to an end, it has become the end. And all of the above is mediated through images and videos that people can watch, manipulate and share as they wish. This of course is done by both Israelis and Palestinians. But let’s not forget who has the army, the right to carry weapons, and the monopoly on the use of force.

Violence itself has gained currency here, in the literal sense of the word: “the quality or state of being used or accepted by many people.” Violence against Palestinians long ago became an...

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What happens to a cop who beats up a handcuffed 15 year old

Just as nobody seriously believes that Israel upholds Palestinians’ basic human rights, it should come as no surprise when it fails to bring to justice those who violate those rights — even if the victim is an American citizen.

I had to rub my eyes and reread the headline in Haaretz this morning: “Cop Who Beat Up Palestinian Teen Gets Six Weeks Community Service.” I must have misread. Not six weeks jail time? Or at least six months community service? No. Just six weeks (45 days) of community service for a policeman who repeatedly and brutally punched and kicked 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir in the stomach and head after he was already in custody — and unconscious.

Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American from Florida who was on a family trip to Jerusalem during the summer of 2014, was arrested near a protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. The arrest came just days after his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and burned alive by three Israeli Jews. Tariq maintains he was not involved in any protest.

In handing down the lenient sentence, the judge took into account the fact that the police officer had no criminal record and had positive character references. Police officers — the people tasked with upholding the law — should not have criminal records in the first place. And if for some reason they do, they should not be rewarded for that when committing a crime. And positive character references? The guy beat up a kid in handcuffs. This very act overrides any positive character references, presumably from fellow Israeli security personnel.

This is just perverse. A police officer who is supposed to serve as a role model of respect and civility, beats up a minor while after he is already restrained and in custody.

What kind of message does such a lenient sentence send to other officers? That they can beat up arrested Palestinians, even minors, and get away with it. Apparently that’s no big deal. Apparently that’s not considered a flagrant violation of their most basic duties.

And what does that say about Israeli society? That Palestinian lives are not as valued as Jewish ones. That it is not an aberration from the norm, but rather part and parcel of Israel’s policy of crushing the enemy — another example of the double standard inherent in Israel’s legal system...

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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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