Back in the 1970s, the deep socioeconomic divide between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews in Israel led to a massive protest movement and the rise of the Israeli Black Panthers. A newly approved official civics textbook in Israel portrays the movement as violent and criminal. We called up three Black Panthers to remind us all of the true nature of their struggle.
The following is a chapter in the Education Ministry’s newly-approved civics textbook, To be Citizens in Israel:
Criminality motivated by ideology — political violence
“Political violence is the use of force by an individual of a group in order to attain political goals such as influence, protection of the government, protest against the government, or struggle against another group which has social or political power.
Political violence can begin with verbal violence, through demonstrations and protests without a permit, physical confrontation with security forces, property damage, beatings, causing bodily injury and wounds, and can go as far as murder. In some cases, political violence has as its goal the intimidation of opponents or enemies, at which point it constitutes terrorist activity.”
Expressions of political violence in Israeli society
Violence in the context of the national divide, as manifested during “Land Day” and the events of October 2000 by Arabs against Jews (in contrast, the Or Commission found that the police, too, reacted with excessive force in some cases, and 13 Arab citizens were killed), “price tag” activities and the murder of the boy Mohammad Abu Khdeir in 2014 which were carried out by Jews agains Arabs.
Ideological-political violence, such as the murder of Emil Grunzweig in 1983 during a Peace Now demonstration, and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Violence based on a feeling of ethnic discrimination, for example the events of Wadi Salib in the 1950s, and the demonstrations of the Black Panthers in the 70s.
Violence in the context of the religious divide, such as throwing stones at cars driven on the Sabbath, and the murder of the young girl Shira Banki during the Pride Parade in 2015.”
Ethnic discrimination is based on “a feeling?” Perhaps it is just a figment of that famous Oriental imagination? And criminality? Is this how Israeli children will learn about one of the most important events in the history of the Mizrahi and social struggles in Israel? Not to mention the fact that the textbook frames Shira Banki’s murder at the Jerusalem Pride parade in the context of religion, or that so-called price tag violence is framed as “ideological-political” — but...Read More