Monday, 16 September 2019
Saturday, 14 September 2019
This is what the editor of Haaretz’s Culture and Literature supplement, Benny Ziffer, wrote on his Facebook page upon returning from paying a condolence call in the settlement of Ofra:
“En route I looked at the Palestinian villages alongside the Jewish communities, and I thought of how for the Palestinians murder is a type of sport or enjoyment, perhaps a substitute for erotica. From that perspective we will never have anything culturally in common with them.”
And if that weren’t enough, Ziffer also wrote, “Regarding this evil and undignified people living among us, we can only yearn for the land to vomit it out, because it isn’t worthy of this land, which is full of Jewish blood that it has spilled.”
Now, let’s leave alone for a moment the fact that much more Palestinian blood was spilled in this land than Jewish blood in any given year since Zionism came to power in Palestine about 100 years ago. Gideon Levy’s article in Haaretz elaborated on that fallacy in Ziffer’s post, stating that If There’s Such a Thing as a Murderous Culture, Then It Exists in Israel.
I would like to focus on the de-humanisation of an ethnic group sharing the land with the occupying settler group that Ziffer belongs to. As he described in his post, he looked at Palestinian villages and Jewish settlements as he drove through an apartheid road in the West Bank. The difference between the big villas with the red roofs of the settlements on one hand, and the simplicity of the Palestinian village homes on the other hand (I believe he didn’t manage to see the refugee camps, only West Bank villages) is indeed striking. Obviously, it’s a consequence of the Israeli apartheid regime that heavily supports the colonial settlements and heavily oppresses the indigenous people. And that made him think about “how the Palestinians murder is a type of sport or enjoyment, perhaps a substitute for erotica”. He’s got an erotic mind, that’s for sure, but that sickening thought reveals vicious propaganda. This statement of his is the kind of message you would encounter in earlier times colonialist campaigns in Africa and America that led to genocide of the indigenous people.
The next statement is not less striking, as it actually calls for genocide or ethnic cleansing: “Regarding this evil and undignified people living among us, we can only yearn for the land to vomit it out, because it isn’t worthy of this land”. As we know from the past 100 years of history in Palestine, Zionists are big believers in the execution and fulfillment of their aspirations, making things happen rather than yearning. Yearning is what the Jews did during 2,000 years of exile, in the Zionist era dreams are meant to come true, through proactive actions. Zionists know very well that the land won’t vomit the Palestinian people out alone, someone has to give a hand.
In fact, ethnic cleansing of Palestine is taking place on a daily basis, slowly but surely. Israel expropriates Palestinian lands, destroys their “illegal” homes, confiscates their water springs, set their fields on fire, cuts their olive trees and grape vines, humiliates them and makes their lives unbearable. These operations are executed in cooperation of the armed forces and the paramilitary settler gangs that attack Palestinian people and properties under the IDF’s protection. The Gaza strip is under fierce and cruel blockade since 2007, the living conditions there make staying alive a challenge by itself. The situation in the Gaza Strip is clearly a humanitarian disaster.
It should be noted that Ziffer is a journalist, he is intelligent and he is a talented writer, and he is being followed by many Israelis. His post received hundreds of supporting reactions and was shared by dozens of Facebook users. Haaretz newspaper and magazine – where Ziffer is the editor of the Culture and Literature supplement – is considered very liberal and is mostly identified with the Israeli political left.
Another known and popular Israeli media personality, Yaron London, has said on his mainstream TV show: “Arabs are savages … they don’t only hate Jews, they kill their own first and foremost.” London is identified with the political left as well.
The view of Palestinians as primitives that possess “murderous culture”, that it is practically impossible for them to live “among us” without killing us, and the wishful thinking toward transferring them out of the land – is as old as the state of Israel, if not older. Israel started off with a brutal ethnic cleansing project it called “independence war”, and attempts to transfer Palestinians out of the land controlled by Israel were made numerous times, always with only limited success. As Hagai El-Ad, the director general of B’Tselem described in an article last week, Transfer of Palestinians has always been the Israeli consensus. The de-humanization of the Palestinian people plays an important role in preparing the public opinion for extreme operations of ethnic cleansing. In particular among the political leftwing.
Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister in the early 1970’s, had made a statement that perfectly depicts the Israeli view of Arabs: “We are able to forgive the Arabs for the killing of our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will have peace with the Arabs only when they love their children more than they hate us.”
Friday, 13 September 2019
Thursday, 12 September 2019
A 21-year-old Palestinian woman died on Thursday in suspicious circumstances fueling speculation and causing massive outrage among activists and social media users across the Middle East and North Africa. Israa Gharib, a makeup artist from Bethlehem, died in a coma due to head trauma, in what activists and sources close to the victim are saying was a brutal honor killing. The culprits are believed to be her father and brothers.
It all began when Gharib went to meet a potential suitor in a public place and posted a video of the outing on her Instagram page. According to a friend of the victim’s, Gharib’s mother was fully aware of the meeting and the suitor’s sister was also in attendance.
According to sources online, Gharib’s cousin then showed the video to the victim’s father and brothers, allegedly urging them to act to prevent scandal and accusing Israa of dishonoring herself and bringing shame to the family by being seen in the company of a man outside the bonds of marriage.
Gharib’s friend claims that upon seeing the video, her brothers, Bahaa an Ihab, and brother-in-law, Sheikh Mohamed El Safy, began beating and torturing her, and proceeded to terminate the engagement. Other sources claim she fell from the 2nd floor while attempting to flee the brutal assault. She was later hospitalized due to a fractured spine.
Gharib’s father, brothers, and brother-in-law followed her to the hospital, her friend alleges, and resumed the beating, telling hospital staff they were performing an exorcism on the victim whom they believed was possessed by a demon. A harrowing audio recording of the assault was leaked by one of the nurses at the hospital that purportedly features Gharib’s repeated horrified screams.
She was then released from the hospital, after which she returned home, where she allegedly suffered a head injury at the hands of her brother, Ihab, a resident of Canada. Eye witnesses say he had threatened to kill her earlier that day, prompting some on social media to call on the Canadian government to take legal action against him. Gharib went into a coma, before her heart stopped.
In a Facebook statement, the victim’s family denied any wrongdoing, claiming she suffered mental and psychological disorders that led to her fall from the 2nd floor of their Bethlehem house.
Gharib’s story is now one of the top trending topics on social media, with thousands of users and activists calling for social, political, and legal reforms to protect women from violence in Palestine, including Palestinian human rights organization Adalah, which issued a statement calling the alleged murder “a heinous killing.”
Feminist blogger Fadumo Adan also weighed in, telling The New Arab, “as a survivor of an honor killing, Israa’s story triggered a deeply embedded fear of mine. …Honor killings will never be justifiable. We shouldn’t have to mitigate the risk of honor killings by limiting our own personal freedom, autonomy and self-determination.”
The Bethlehem prosecution office is currently investigating the murder and has ordered an autopsy, reports Youm7.
Despite a 2018 amendment to article 99 of the Palestinian penal code, which used to allow judges to reduce sentences for perpetrators of honor killings, reports show that the practice is on the rise in the West Bank, Gaza, and among Israel’s Palestinian community.
Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Nearly two decades after the war ended, Bosnia is still struggling to emerge from the vortex of hatred that destroyed the country during the 1990s. Yet what may be even more alarming is that outside of Bosnia, the memory of the genocide committed against its Muslims has become a source of inspiration for the global far right. The shooter who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand this March wrote the names of Serbian nationalist leaders on the rifle he used to carry out the massacres. During his livestream of the attacks, he played a jaunty song performed by Bosnian Serb soldiers during the war, nicknamed “Remove Kebab,” that has become popular among the online “alt-right.” The Norwegian extremist Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people during a 2011 shooting rampage, reportedly also showed a “strange obsession” with the genocide in Bosnia, heaping praise on wartime Serb leaders in a manifesto he wrote before his attacks. A domestic terrorist in Pennsylvania who killed a state trooper in 2014 was similarly infatuated with the wartime Bosnian Serb military, posing images of himself on social media in a uniform from the notorious Drina Wolves unit. On websites like 4chan that are helping to breed a new culture of racial hatred and glorification of violence, it’s not hard to find the Bosnian genocide favorably discussed. These new online connections are also helping to foster real-world links between the Western far right and its Balkan counterparts.
In this photograph taken on December 9, 2017, a Serbian nationalist holds a flag with an image of Bosnian Serb convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic, as he prepares to enter St. Sava Church in Belgrade, to attend prayers for the former Bosnian Serbian commander.Ratko Mladic, the wartime Bosnian Serb military chief, was given a life sentence on November 22, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, for genocide during the country's inter-ethnic war in the 1990s.
Rise of Europe’s Far Right Emboldens Serb Extremists and Threatens a Fragile Peace in Bosnia
In the ethnically cleansed areas of Bosnia, where the genocide occurred, today the perpetrators seem to have narrowed their responses to either ignoring what happened or celebrating it. In addition to the memorial on the hill above Višegrad, in the town center a bronze statue stands in honor of local military veterans, several of whom have been convicted of war crimes at The Hague. Aside from a few small plaques put up by victims’ groups in neighborhoods where mass killings happened, there is no recognition of the massacres — and those plaques have been placed on the upper floors of buildings to keep them out of reach after repeated vandalism. A few years ago, the local municipality even sandblasted the word “genocide” off a memorial stone erected by victims’ families in the town’s Muslim graveyard. When I visited that cemetery this summer, the word had still been obliterated from the monument — though someone had defiantly written it back in with black marker.
In order to understand the ideology of the emerging far right — obsessed with demographics and starry-eyed over the Bosnian genocide — it’s important to look at what actually happened in Bosnia. The grim success of the genocide in cleansing much of Bosnia should give a hint as to why it has become an inspiration. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the Bosnian war. The majority of them were Muslims. The cleansing of places like Višegrad, Fo?a, Srebrenica, Prijedor, and Zvornik was not a war between two equal and opposing forces. It was a campaign of murder and cruelty against a defenseless people, waged in the name of demographics and ethnic purity. It mixed equal parts racism and misogyny. The level of sexual violence against Bosnian Muslim women was so targeted and systematic — educated women were singled out for the worst treatment — that it led to rape being recognized for the first time as a weapon of war under international law.
Monday, 9 September 2019
Friday, 6 September 2019
Thursday, 5 September 2019
A new study says police in India display "significant bias against Muslims", with half of the police personnel interviewed saying they feel Muslims are "naturally prone towards committing crimes".
The report, which surveyed 12,000 police personnel in 21 Indian states, also found one in three police staff felt mob violence in cases of cow slaughter was "natural".
The findings, published on Tuesday, come amid concern from the United Nations and rights groups over an increase in harassment of and violence against India's Muslim minority after the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assumed power in 2014.
Since then, dozens of people, mostly Muslims, have been killed by vigilante mobs on allegations of eating beef or slaughtering cows - an animal considered sacred in Hinduism. Modi has repeatedly said authorities should punish vigilantes who commit violence in the name of cow protection, but his critics allege the government has not done enough to prosecute those accused of killings.
Tuesday's study, titled The Status of Policing in India Report: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions, found 14 percent of police surveyed believed Muslims were "very much likely" to be prone to committing crimes, while 36 percent felt members of the faith were "some-what likely" to do so.
"Thirty-five percent personnel feel (to a large extent and somewhat combined) that it is natural for a mob to punish the culprit in case of cow slaughter," it added.
"Some of the findings were very surprising," said Manjesh Rana, one of the researchers on the year-long survey, because "we believe that this could be the perception of the people but not the perception of the police."
But he added: "We can't really establish that the prejudices they have, whether it's affecting their work or not but there are always these chances."
The study also found 60 percent of those surveyed believed migrants from other states were more likely to commit crimes. Separately, more than half felt complaints of gender-based violence were false.
The researchers described the survey as the first of its kind in India, covering police perceptions on a range of issues, including working conditions, resources and obstacles to investigating crimes.
Nearly a third of respondents said pressure from politicians was the main obstacle to investigating crimes, while an overwhelming majority of 72 percent said they encountered "political pressure" in probes involving influential people.
The study also found more than a third of police personnel surveyed favoured handing out "a small punishment" for minor offences than a legal trial, while one out of five felt "killing dangerous criminals is better than a legal trial".
It added: "Four out of five personnel believe that there is nothing wrong in the police beating up criminals to extract confessions."