Police brutality against Palestinians has been routine for decades – but suddenly when a much, much milder form targets Jews in Tel Aviv, it’s a threat to Israel’s democracy.
Of the five op-eds on Yedioth Ahronoth’s op-ed pages today, two are about Israeli police brutality – an all-time record, without question, for highest proportion of police brutality op-eds in an Israeli newspaper edition. The thing is, both are about police brutality against Jews – at the protest last week in Rabin Square against the Bibi-Mofaz deal. The one by liberal Yael Gvirtz is titled “The smell of intimidation,” while center-rightist Bambi Sheleg’s is called “Democracy is drowning.” Both op-eds argue that police violence against nonviolent protesters reflects a government mentality that is potentially lethal to this country’s democracy.
I’m sorry, but when virtually nobody but the country’s “anarchists” have anything to say about the incomparably worse IDF and police violence used against Palestinian protesters – the peaceful as well as the rock-throwers – then I think people should shut up about police brutality against Jews. Their outcry is kind of hollow. Even the widespread denunciation of rifle-swinging Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner was aimed strictly at him; nobody but the anarchists and a few fellow travelers made the point that the problem wasn’t one officer but something a little larger.
Israeli cops – like American cops, as Gvirtz noted – are in general a violent bunch, especially when ordered to break up demonstrations. In this country they prefer, of course, to beat up Arabs, but if there aren’t any in the crowd, they’ll beat up Jews – haredim, peaceniks, settlers, anti-disengagement protesters, university students, anybody. I used to think that once Israeli Jews found themselves the targets of police brutality, they’d stop doubting the accounts by Palestinians and “internationals” of their experiences at the hands of soldiers, police, Border Police, Shin Bet agents, etc. But no – when Palestinians or foreigners get bashed up or shot by Israeli security, the centrists here automatically accept the official version that the Arabs or goyim started it and have only themselves to blame, while the rightists couldn’t care less who started it – the Arabs and anti-Semites, including the Jewish ones, got what they deserved.
When you’re callous about what your “protectors” do to other people, then I’m afraid it’s poetic justice when they do it to you.