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B'Tselem to Israeli soldiers: Refuse orders to shoot Gaza protesters

Israeli soldiers have a legal obligation to refuse manifestly illegal orders. In a new campaign, the Israeli human rights group says shooting unarmed civilian protesters is just that — unmistakably and patently illegal.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem will launch a campaign on Thursday urging Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to open fire on unarmed demonstrators. The campaign, titled “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot,” comes on the heels of last Friday’s events on the Gaza border, in which Israeli snipers shot dead at least 17 Palestinians and wounded hundreds during The Great Return March.

The campaign, which will appear in newspaper ads, comes at a critical moment for the Great March of Return. On the first day of the march, which marked the beginning of 45 days of protests and events to mark Land Day and 70 years since the Nakba, Israeli troops Palestinians killed 17 and wounded 1,400 Palestinian demonstrators.

The demonstrations are set to continue this coming Friday, and Israeli military officials have announced in advance that, like last Friday, soldiers will again use live fire against demonstrators — even if they are hundreds of feet away from the fence. Such orders should be considered illegal, and thus soldiers should absolutely refuse them, said B’Tselem.

In the Israeli legal system, there exists an obligation for soldiers to refuse to carry out manifestly illegal orders. Orders to open fire on unarmed civilians, B’Tselem added, are a case of “unmistakable illegality patently evident in the order itself, it is a command that bears a clearly criminal nature or that the actions it orders are of a clearly criminal nature.”

Like all other countries, B’Tselem said, Israel’s actions are subject to international law and restrictions on the use of weapons, specifically the use of live fire. International law limits the use of live fire to instances involving tangible and immediate mortal danger, and only in the absence of any other alternative. Israel, then, cannot simply decide that it is not bound by these rules, it asserted.

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Videos show Israeli soldiers sniping unarmed protesters in Gaza

Attempts to retroactively portray Friday’s demonstrators as Hamas militants, stone-throwers, or human shields serves only one purpose: to quiet the Israeli conscience.

The Israeli army and Israel’s hasbara apparatus wasted no time blaming the 16 Palestinians killed by Israeli army snipers last Friday for their own deaths. Infographics were released within hours. Talking points distributed. Israel was defending its sovereign border, they said.

Two videos published on the day of the carnage in Gaza, however, show a different story. They appear to show Israeli snipers positioned behind dirt mounds on the other side of the border fence shooting and killing unarmed protesters — carrying neither weapons nor rocks nor Molotov cocktails — who posed absolutely no threat to security forces — or anyone, for that matter.

The first video appears to show Israeli soldiers shooting 19-year-old Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi in the back as he is running while holding a tire (tires are often burned by protesters across the world, including by Jewish Israelis, to provide smoke screens as protection from security forces).

A second video published the same day appears to show soldiers shooting a Palestinian demonstrator as he gets up following prayers. Like Abdel Nabi, the protester poses no threat to the soldiers.

The Israeli army accused Hamas of published edited or fabricated videos, but at least the top video exists from multiple angles and was witnessed by a number of people. The army also claimed that most of those killed were Hamas militants, but The Washington Post reported that there were no signs of affiliation with the Islamist group at Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi’s funeral and that his family denied he was in any way connected to the group.

But if the above videos teach us anything, it is that Israel needed no pretext for shooting and killing those 16 protesters. In fact, Israeli generals told the cabinet ahead of time that there would be Palestinian casualties. Attempts to retroactively portray them as Hamas militants, stone-throwers, or human shields serves only one purpose: to quiet the Israeli conscience.

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An Israeli and a Palestinian slap a soldier. Guess who's still in prison?

A reminder that Israelis and Palestinians who commit the same crime face radically different consequences.

Minutes before an Israeli military judge signed off on Ahed Tamimi’s plea deal last week, something unexpected happened inside Israel’s Ofer Military Court. A Jewish Israeli activist rose from the back benches, approached the military prosecutor, slapped him across the face, and yelled, “who are you to judge her?”

If ever there were an apt example of the glaring disparities between the way Israel’s justice system treats its own citizens versus its Palestinian subjects, it was on full display for the world to see in Ofer Military Court that evening.

Ahed, the 17-year-old Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh whom Israel arrested for slapping one of its soldiers across the face late last year, had spent the previous three months in prison — repeatedly denied bail by military judges who deemed her a danger to public security. An Israeli Jew would have been released within days, and an Israeli minor within hours, activists argued.

Now we can say with no uncertainty that they are correct.

It was at the end of the sentencing hearing for Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother who was arrested alongside her, that Israeli activist Yifat Doron stood up and slapped the uniformed military prosecutor — a soldier. Just like Ahed did.

She was was quickly arrested.

The next day, police brought Doron before a civilian judge in a civilian court and asked that she be remanded to custody for another five days, arguing that they needed more time to finish the investigation.

Doron, who insisted on representing herself, told the judge that she was not opposed to remaining in jail and that she actually agrees with the police. “Anyone who does not toe the line with your apartheid regime or dares to think in an independent manner does indeed constitute a threat to the police,” she told the court.

The judge disagreed. He ordered Doron released.

The police asked for time to appeal the decision to release her, and Doron spent another night in jail. The following day, Doron was brought to the Jerusalem District Court, where she reiterated that she would not oppose the police’s request to keep her in jail.

“Beyond that,” she added, “I am not willing to play along with your game of democracy for Jews only. You may do as you please.”

Once again, despite the police...

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Even inside Israel, colonialism is far from over

The attempt to bar Arabs from buying land in one of the wealthiest, more liberal towns in Israel is a disturbing reminder of Israel’s colonial past — and present. 

It keeps happening over and over again. A Jewish town somewhere in Israel finds a way to prevent Arab citizens from buying homes, using its swimming pools, or playing on its professional soccer team. The media reports about the discrimination, there is some public outrage, a few left-wing politicians issue condemnations — and yet nothing seems to change.

The latest example came Sunday morning, when Haaretz reported that Sivan Yechieli, the head of the Kfar Vradim municipal council froze future land bids in an area slated for the town’s expansion. The reason? Too many Arabs had won bids in the previous round and were moving into Kfar Vradim, a small town in the Galilee.

In a letter sent to the 5,550 residents of the town, Yechieli explained that while all citizens of Israel are “welcome to live in our town…regardless of religion, race, or gender,” the interest of the majority is to maintain Kfar Vradim as a “Jewish, Zionist, and secular town.” According to Yechieli, the residents have a right to promote their “community interests,” just as Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, and Druze citizens do.

The attempts to bar Arabs from moving to Kfar Vradim seem contradictory when taking stock of the political affinities of the town’s residents. After all, 59 percent of residents voted for the center-left Zionist Union party in the previous elections, while another 17 percent voted for the left-wing Meretz party. These aren’t the Mizrahim in development towns such as Afula, who are often portrayed by the media as rabid Arab-haters. These are the white, brawny, socialist pioneers who worked and protected the land. They are the best and the brightest, we were taught, that Zionism has to offer. Weren’t they supposed to be the good guys?

Yes, but only if we understand “racism” as much of the Israeli population does: a lamentable outcome of a decades-long war fought over a piece of land by two competing national groups. National rivalry, so it goes, engenders poor behavior — racism, discrimination, xenophobia — on both sides of the battlefield. Under this premise, there is no real difference between the Jews of Kfar Vradim who want to keep their town pure, and their Arab neighbors who prefer...

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Knesset bars Arab MK from JVP-sponsored trip to U.S.

MK Yousef Jabareen was supposed to travel across the United States for a series of lectures on the political reality in Israel. The Knesset decided to put the kibosh on the trip — because it is sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace.

The Knesset has forbidden an Arab member of Knesset from traveling to the United States for a series of lectures. The reason? The trip was to be subsidized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a left-wing American organization that supports pressuring Israel to end the occupation with boycotts, and appears on a government blacklist of groups that support the BDS movement.

“[The decision] is a severe blow to my political freedom as an elected official. This is activity that is a fundamental and integral part of my role as a member of the Knesset opposition,” MK Yousef Jabareen told +972 Magazine on Wednesday. “American opinion is relevant to the political reality in Israel, and it is important for me to try and have an influence there through lectures and conferences.”

The decision is the first time that the Knesset Ethics Committee has enforced a new regulation, created in January of this year, which bars Knesset Members from traveling abroad using funds of groups that appear on the blacklist. As reported in Haaretz, Ethics Committee Chairman Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) confirmed that the committee asked the Strategic Affairs Ministry for more information on JVP.

Jabareen said he is considering filing a petition to the High Court of Justice against the decision to bar his travel, and to overturn the new Ethics Committee regulations.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who is responsible for compiling the blacklist, issued a response to the committee on March 8th, according to which JVP “is currently considered one of the leading boycott organizations in the United States, declaring its support for BDS as a nonviolent tool that will compel the State of Israel to change its policy and relinquish ‘the occupied territories.’”

Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson issued the following response:

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Military dictatorship requires dehumanization

A top military official dubiously declares that a Palestinian teen shot in the head by Israeli soldiers actually just had a bicycle accident. Welcome to a new era of Palestinian dehumanization.

The evidence was there for all to see. Anyone who wanted to know why 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed Tamimi’s cousin, has only two-thirds of his skull intact could find the answer. There was the bloodied rubber-coated bullet doctors removed from his cranium. There were the eyewitnesses who saw Tamimi as he was shot in the head during a demonstration in his village, Nabi Saleh. There were the medical reports and multiple surgeries in a Ramallah hospital. There was the medically induced coma that lasted for a week.

Evidence wasn’t enough. It hardly ever is.

Maj. Gen. Yoav “Poli” Mordechai, the Israeli army officer charged with running the military government that rules over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank, decided to own the narrative Monday night. Mohammed was not shot in the head, wrote Mordechai in an Arabic-language Facebook post. His injuries were the result of a bicycle accident. According to Mordechai, “the boy” confessed under interrogation by both the police and COGAT (the military government). (It’s not clear why COGAT was present for the interrogation of a minor.) The post included an image of a news story about the initial shooting with the words “Fake News” stamped on it in red Arabic text.

The vast majority of the Hebrew-language media, whose raison d’être should be to hold accountable those in power, did no such thing. As my colleague Haggai Matar noted, one by one, Hebrew-language news outlets published Mordechai’s claims almost verbatim, not even paying lip service to the easily attainable documentation and facts that undermine the official narrative.

The humiliation of Mohammed Tamimi is part of a larger war being waged by Israeli politicians and institutions against the Tamimi family ever since his cousin, Ahed, was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier outside her home — shortly after she heard about the bullet that penetrated Mohammed’s skull. The education minister has called for Ahed to be permanently jailed, while a former Israeli ambassador to the United States accused the Tamimi family of being “fake,” even admitting he initiated a secret parliamentary inquiry into whether they are just a troupe of actors.

To call into question the circumstances of Palestinian casualties is par...

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How international performers are unwittingly brought to Israeli settlements

A Honda-sponsored racing event is moved from a settlement into Israel proper. Organizers admit they didn’t inform the headliner that it was in occupied territory, and the racer says he wouldn’t have participated if he had known.

For the past several weeks, the Israeli Motorsports Federation and Honda Israel have been promoting an event featuring a rising international motorcycle racing star and a legendary motorcycle racing team. The catch? The racetrack is located deep inside the occupied West Bank — in an Israeli settlement called Petza’el. Joe Roberts, the main attraction, says he was never told about its exact location.

The event, sponsored by Honda Israel, the Israeli Motorsports Federation (IMSF), and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, was scheduled to take place on February 23-24 on a brand new, state-of-the-art racetrack in the Jordan Valley, an area of the occupied Palestinian territories.

Roberts, 20, one of the rising starts of the MOTOGP world, was named the 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion, and is expected race full-time in the 2018 FIM Moto2 World Championship. The event is also billed to include managers of the LCR Honda team, a legendary motorcycle team founded in 1996 by Italian rider Lucio Cecchinello.

In a series of written correspondence, Roberts told +972 Magazine that the itinerary the Israeli Motorsports Federation sent him made no mention of the West Bank. He said he was explicitly told the race was to be held in Israel.

“I wasn’t given a lot of details in the beginning, other than that the track was in Israel,” Roberts said. “I would not have attended the event had it been in the West Bank.”

Reached by phone last week, Omer Shoshany, CEO of the Israeli Motorsports Federation, insisted that his organization is only interested in promoting motor sports in Israel. Asked whether he considered Petza’el — the settlement with the race track — part of the State of Israel, he responded that any place “where Israel has sovereignty” is considered part of the Israel.

The State of Israel does not consider the West Bank to be sovereign territory, however, and rules it under military law consistent with the international conventions governing occupied territories. The overwhelming majority of the world considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal.

Shoshany said he did not feel the need to specify the exact location of the track when inviting Roberts. Asked whether...

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Persecuted Turkish academics get a rare solidarity visit from Israel

Turkey has put dozens of academics on trial for terrorism charges — for signing a petition supporting peace with Kurdish citizens. A group of dissident Israeli academics traveled to Istanbul to attend their trials.

It’s not uncommon to run into a political protest in Istanbul. What you probably won’t find every day is a group of Israelis invited to Turkey to join a demonstration outside one of Istanbul’s main criminal courts, particularly after nearly a decade of frayed relations between the two countries.

The Israelis, four members of a group called “Academia for Equality,” were there in a show of solidarity and to witness the public trials of nearly 150 academics in Turkey facing terrorism charges for signing a petition against their government’s assaults against its Kurdish citizens, including the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and reports of massacres.

Turkish academia has been decimated since a failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in mid-2016 — some 9,000 academics have been purged from universities in the country, including 500 who were fired for signing the petition about Kurds. It is virtually impossible for them find work, and many are forbidden from traveling abroad.

The 150 or so trials, which officially began on December 5, 2017, are scheduled to continue through May 2018. The indictments are almost identical: “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization,” which comes with a maximum prison sentence of 7.5 years.

For the Israeli academics who came to support their colleagues, the days leading up to the trip were rife with an anxious excitement. Not only have Turkish authorities taken an unexpectedly harsh line with even international activists and organizations in recent years — the Turkish chair of Amnesty International has been imprisoned for the past eight months — but the relationship between Turkey and Israel has seriously deteriorated over the past decade, largely over the latter’s treatment of the Palestinians. That tension, which at times has boiled over to the point of hatred, was precisely what made the Israeli delegation’s visit so pertinent, delegation organizers on both sides said.

“Your presence here and your critique from inside Israel is the real basis for solidarity,” Asli Odman, who teaches urban and regional planning at Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, told the delegation outside the court.

Hüda Kaya, an elected representative of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the largest opposition party in the Turkish...

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Israel deports 14-year-old girl to Gaza — without telling her parents

Ghada had spent her entire life in the West Bank, yet somehow found herself deported to the Gaza Strip after being arrested by Border Police officers.

Israeli authorities deported a 14-year-old epileptic Palestinian girl from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip earlier this month, without notifying her parents, and despite the fact that she has never lived there a day in her life.

Ghada, who was born in Ramallah where she has lived much of her life, was arrested by Israeli Border Police officers on January 13 for being in Jerusalem without a military permit. She was traveling back to her home in a-Ram, just northeast of Jerusalem where she lives with her mother and siblings, from her aunt’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. Her father, though originally from the Gaza Strip, currently lives in the West Bank as well, her mother told Israeli human rights group HaMoked, which is representing the family. When Ghada was born, Israeli authorities listed her address as Gaza for an unknown reason.

Following her arrest, Ghada was interrogated by Israeli police and taken to a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court two days later, during which her parents were not present. Police requested the court extend her detention, but citing her age Judge Eitan Cohen ordered her released. Her family paid NIS 1,500 bail.

This was not Ghada’s first arrest for not having the right Israeli army-issued permit. Unlike those previous instances, however, this time the authorities deported her to a place she had never been, where she had only distant relatives whom she had never met, and without notifying her parents of where she was.

According to HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, Ghada was woken up by prison guards at 5:00 a.m. on January 15 and told that she was going to be released at the Israeli army’s Qalandiya checkpoint, which is just a few minutes’ drive from her hometown. Instead, after hours of travel, Israel Prison Service officers dropped her off — after dark — at the Erez Crossing, the only passenger terminal connecting Israel to Gaza.

According to Ghada, a representative of the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza side of the crossing noticed she was visibly distressed and took her to his home, where she stayed with his family overnight. The next day, the PA official helped Ghada get in touch with her...

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Ireland to vote on settlement trade sanctions bill

The law would prohibit the import and sale of goods and services that originate in settlements in occupied territories, targeting Israeli settlements but also other occupations worldwide. Previous European laws made do with ‘differentiation’ measures.

Ireland’s parliament is set to vote on a bill Tuesday to prohibit trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories, including those in the West Bank. In contrast to policies and legislation that differentiate Israeli settlements and excludes them from trade agreements, the Irish bill could be construed as sanctions targeting settlement products.

[Update: After Israel summoned the Irish ambassador over the proposed law, the Irish Senate postponed the vote by several months, Haaretz’s Noa Landau reported.]

The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories Bill 2018), which would make dealing in settlement products a criminal offense, was put forth by Senator Frances Black, an independent politician, and co-signed by a slew of other Irish parliamentarians. The bill is expected to win the support of Labour, Sinn Fein, the Green Party and several independents. The government is expected to oppose.

The bill seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods and services originating in settlements deemed illegal under international and Irish law. Ireland imports a number of settlement goods, including agricultural and cosmetic products, including those produced by Ahava.

The bill does not implement a total ban on Israeli goods — only those produced in settlements beyond the borders recognized by the Irish government and international community — the Green Line. The bill also includes a provision that could include territories beyond Palestine, such as Western Sahara and Crimea.

In the run-up to the debate in the Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas, Ireland’s legislature, Senator Black said: “This is a chance for Ireland to stand up for the rights of vulnerable people – it is about respecting international law and refusing to support illegal activity and human suffering. We condemn the settlements as illegal but support them economically. As international law is absolutely clear that the settlements are illegal, then the goods they produce are the proceeds of crime. We must face up to this.”

Although the Irish government has previously criticized the “relentless progress” of Israeli settlements, even threatening to seek an outright EU ban on settlement goods, nothing has been done, Black says. “Ireland needs to show leadership and act, this bill gives us a chance to do that.”

In 2012, the Oireachtas...

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Is academia the last bastion of progressive thought in Israel?

Israeli universities have long been viewed as a bulwark against extremism. A new database, compiled by a group of Israeli dissident academics, reveals how the academy works in concert with the state.

It’s no secret that the Israeli government’s crackdown on freedom of expression in recent years has extended into the academy. Through far-right student groups such as Im Tirzu, proposed ethical codes that would bar professors from voicing political opinions in class, and attempts to shut down entire university departments deemed too left-wing, the government has in many ways framed the very idea of academic freedom as subversive.

Nevertheless, Israeli academia is still held up as an independent, progressive bulwark against extremist and reactionary thought, an argument that is often deployed to combat Palestinian-led academic boycotts. But beneath the rhetoric, the truth is that Israel’s universities work closely with various state bodies, from the military and arms industries to anti-BDS networks and programs.

Concerned over the clampdown, as well as by the suppression of Palestinian faculty and students in the occupied territories, a new group of Israeli academics called Academia for Equality is working to expose those ties, and challenge the idea that academia remains one of the Jewish state’s last bastions of progressive thought.

As one of its first major projects aimed at documenting and demonstrating those phenomena, the group is set to release a database called “Complicit Academy,” comprised of local and international news articles, documents, NGO reports, and official university publications. The idea, says Natalie Rothman, an associate professor of history at University of Toronto, who helped spearhead the project, is to shed light on Israeli academic institutions’ repression of dissent, institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian-Israeli students and faculty, collusion with the settlement enterprise, military R&D, and hasbara (Israeli state-sponsored PR operations abroad). The database aims to provide academics, in Israel and abroad, better tools for understanding how, contrary to its image, Israeli academia works in concert with the occupation.

“The rationale behind the database was providing empirical evidence to counter the the prevailing narrative of Israeli academia as a bastion of opposition and resistance to the regime,” says Rothman, “Israeli academia, from the Council for Higher Education to the various student unions, collaborates in one way or another with the occupation. It was important for us to document the collaboration as a way to see if, down the line, something could be done to combat it.”

Members of Academia for Equality...

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Revealed: Shin Bet controlled Arab schools for decades

Classified documents reveal how, for years, Israel’s internal security service meddled in Arab society’s education system, firing teachers deemed ‘threats’ and employing Shin Bet agents in the Education Ministry.

It has long been known that the Shin Bet, Israel’s shadowy internal security service, has been involved in surveillance over the country’s Arab population. Since the very first days of the state, the service monitored Arab political organizations; surveiled nationalist or communist activity viewed as subversive; and enlisted collaborators to ensure maximum control with minimum effort.

Following the 1948 War, the Israeli government granted citizenship to the Palestinians who remained in the boundaries of the nascent state; but the state also imposed martial law on the Arab population, subjecting them to the authority of a military governor. Under military rule, Palestinian citizens grew fearful of the Shin Bet, which often resorted to sabotage and torture to root out those viewed as threatening to the state. While military rule was officially abolished in 1966, the Shin Bet continued to monitor and interfere in the lives of Israel’s Arabs — most nefariously, in its state-run education system.

The Shin Bet’s meddling in the education system was an open secret for years, but it was at a top-secret April 1978 meeting between agents and senior members of the Education Ministry that institutionalized its furtive presence, more than a decade after the end of military rule. Highly classified documents from that meeting, uncovered by Yedioth Ahronoth, provide insight into how the Shin Bet maintained its grip on education of Arab children.

According to the documents, the Shin Bet sought to formalize its power to remove teachers and principles deemed “hostile”; to deny tenure to others; and to ensure the Education and Culture Ministry’s Arab Education Department (the education and culture ministries were later split into separate ministries) would employ a Shin Bet agent to coordinate the service’s activities.

Yedioth Ahronoth obtained documents revealing that the Shin Bet barred highly qualified pedagogues from obtaining employment, often ensuring they could no longer work as teachers or principals due to their political beliefs as expressed in the classroom, or because they had relatives associated with political activities. The educators were never formally told the reason for their dismissal. Awed Abdelfatah Hussein, who worked as an English teacher in an Arab village in northern Israel, was fired without notice and replaced with someone who lacked any credentials to teach English.

Hussein repeatedly attempted to return to teaching, but could not get a job...

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Between Ramle and Me: Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates in Hebrew

Three activists, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, an Ethiopian Israeli, and a veteran Mizrahi organizer discuss the applicability of Ta-Nehesi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’ to their struggles in Israel.

The killing of black men by police in the United States has, over much of the past half-decade, thrust the issue of American racism back into the media spotlight. High-profile shootings of young, unarmed African-American men, such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, were a sign that even the election of a black man to the highest office in the land could not eliminate what many view as an epidemic.

Those killings have a global context as well. In May 2015, thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis took to the streets across the country, protesting the brutal, unprovoked police beating of Demass Pikada, an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform. Five months earlier, a Palestinian citizen of Israel named Khair Hamdan was gunned down while fleeing officers in his home village. In both cases, Ethiopian and Palestinian activists adopted variations on a rallying cry whose power has become as indomitable as it is ubiquitous: “Black Lives Matter.”

The prominence of police killings in the Obama era also gave rise to a new cadre of black public intellectuals, often called upon to delineate the black condition to those who could not possibly comprehend it. Chief among them has been Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has become America’s foremost public intellectual on matters of racism and race, after publishing a number of landmark essays in The Atlantic on mass incarceration, white supremacy, the legacy of Barack Obama, and reparations for African-Americans.

Earlier this month, Coates’ widely praised book, Between the World and Me, was published in Hebrew, a mere two-and-a-half years after its initial release. The book, written as a letter to his son about the unremitting legacy of white supremacy, became a bestseller and went on to win the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Over the course of 175 pages, Between the World and Me weaves personal, biographical vignettes from Coates, who grew up in crack-ridden Baltimore of the 1980s, with the larger narratives of state violence against African-Americans — most painfully in the shooting death of a friend, Prince Jones, by a police officer in 2000. The outcome is a pessimistic rumination on the past, present, and future of both the black experience in America and its negative image: the power of whiteness. The book’s release coincided with the surge of police killings, the rise of Black Lives Matter,...

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