[Marxism] Israeli lynch mob arrested

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 21 08:00:09 MDT 2012


NY Times August 20, 2012
Young Israelis Held in Attack on Arabs
By ISABEL KERSHNER

JERUSALEM — Seven Israeli teenagers were in custody on Monday, accused 
of what a police official and several witnesses described as an 
attempted lynching of several Palestinian youths, laying bare the 
undercurrent of tension in this ethnically mixed but politically divided 
city. A 15-year-old suspect standing outside court said, “For my part he 
can die, he’s an Arab.”

The police said that scores of Jewish youths were involved in the attack 
late Thursday in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, leaving one 17-year-old 
unconscious and hospitalized. Hundreds of bystanders watched the mob 
beating, the police said — and no one intervened.

Two of the suspects were girls, the youngest 13, adding to the 
soul-searching and acknowledgment that the poisoned political 
environment around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has affected the 
moral compass of youths growing up within it.

“If it was up to me, I’d have murdered him,” the 15-year-old suspect 
told reporters outside court on Monday. “He cursed my mother.” The young 
man who was beaten unconscious, Jamal Julani, remained in the hospital.

The mob beating came on the same day that a Palestinian taxi on the West 
Bank was firebombed, apparently by Jewish extremists, though there have 
been no arrests. The two episodes, along with a new report by the United 
States State Department labeling attacks by Jews on Palestinians as 
terrorism, have opened a stark national conversation about racism, 
violence, and how Israeli society could have come to this point.

“There appears to be a worryingly high level of tolerance — whether 
explicit or implicit — for such despicable acts of violence,” The 
Jerusalem Post editorialized on Monday. “A clear distinction must be 
made between legitimate acts of self-defense aimed at protecting Israel 
as a Jewish and democratic state, and pointless, immoral acts of violence.”

In the popular Yediot Aharonot newspaper, a commentator asked of the 
13-year-old suspect, “Where on earth does a bar-mitzvah-age child find 
so much evil in himself?” The article said parents should be held 
responsible.

But on Channel 1 news Monday night, Nimrod Aloni, the head of the 
Institute for Educational Thought at a Tel Aviv teachers college, said, 
“this cannot just be an expression of something he has heard at home.”

“This is directly tied to national fundamentalism that is the same as 
the rhetoric of neo-Nazis, Taliban and K.K.K.,” Mr. Aloni said. “This 
comes from an entire culture that has been escalating toward an open and 
blunt language based on us being the chosen people who are allowed to do 
whatever we like.”

The police said Thursday’s beating of Mr. Julani, who regained 
consciousness in the hospital on Sunday, resulted from a brawl after a 
girl in a crowd of Israeli youths complained that she had been harassed 
by an Arab. Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said the girl had 
spurred the crowd to seek vengeance, though her lawyer denied that on 
Israel Radio on Monday. The crowd then arbitrarily focused on Mr. Julani 
and his friends, Mr. Rosenfeld said, beating Mr. Julani until he lost 
consciousness.

“According to those questioned, there was a fight, there was cursing,” 
Mr. Rosenfeld said. “One thing led to another.”

Mr. Julani, a youth of slender build with fashionably short hair from 
the predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras 
al-Amud, said in an interview from his hospital bed on Monday that he 
had no memory of what had happened — or even of being downtown on 
Thursday. But relatives at his bedside, including a cousin who was with 
him at the time of the assault, said the attack had been unprovoked.

The cousin, Muhammad Mujahid, 17, said he and four friends were walking 
in the square and suddenly found themselves being chased by a group of 
youths. “They were shouting ‘Arabs, death to Arabs,’ ” he said. “I saw 
about 50 people chasing us. We ran, but about 10 of them caught Jamal.”

Asked whether he would return to West Jerusalem at night, Mr. Mujahid 
said: “I don’t want to go back there. I’ve learned.”

Mr. Julani’s mother, Nariman, described the attackers as “terrorists, 
fanatics.”

“We have no ideas about politics,” said Mrs. Julani, 44. “We brought our 
children up to study, to be good and to love their homeland.”

One floor above Mr. Julani, in the new wing of the Hadassah University 
Hospital-Ein Kerem in southwest Jerusalem, lay the driver whose taxi was 
hit by a firebomb on Thursday outside the West Bank settlement of Bat 
Ayin. He and his five passengers, all members of the Abu Jayada family 
from the West Bank village of Nahalin, suffered burns; one remained in 
intensive care on Monday.

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, strongly condemned the 
firebombing of the taxi and promised the Palestinian leadership that all 
efforts would be made to arrest the perpetrators.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Netanyahu, said of the beating, “We 
unequivocally condemn racist violence and urge the police and law 
enforcement community to act expeditiously to bring the perpetrators to 
justice.”

Some commentators connected the violence against Palestinians with other 
racial issues pervading Israeli society. The latest attacks came after a 
summer of simmering resentment and some violent protests against the 
swelling number of African migrants and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv. The 
outburst of popular rage, fanned by provocative statements by some 
rightist politicians, led to a government crackdown to stem the influx.

Gavriel Salomon, a professor of educational psychology at Haifa 
University, told Israel Radio on Monday that the attacks could be 
attributed to increasing racism in Israeli society, increased levels of 
violence in general and an atmosphere of “legitimacy.”

“Suddenly it’s not so terrible to burn Arabs inside a taxi,” he said.

One of those who came to the hospital where Mr. Julani was recovering on 
Monday was Zohar Eitan, 57, a Tel Aviv University lecturer in 
musicology. He said he had come as “an ordinary citizen” to show 
solidarity and called the attack “very sad but unfortunately not 
shocking. It is the result of the indoctrination that these kids get.”

Jerusalem is home to about 500,000 Jews and some 300,000 Palestinians, 
who mostly coexist peacefully though with a constant undertone of 
political and religious tension.

Most of the Palestinians, who chose not to be Israeli citizens but carry 
Jerusalem residency cards, live in the eastern sector of the city that 
was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed in 
a move that has not been internationally recognized. The Palestinians 
demand that East Jerusalem, which contains Jewish holy sites as well as 
Muslim and Christian shrines, be the capital of a future state.

While the Jewish and Arab residents of the city mingle freely in the 
parks and shopping malls of West Jerusalem, there is less and less 
meaningful interaction between the two populations, other than some at 
workplaces.

The western side bears small monuments to the suicide bombings that 
killed scores here on buses and in cafes after the outbreak of the 
second Palestinian uprising in 2000. In some of the tenser predominantly 
Arab neighborhoods, Israeli cars and buses are frequently stoned.

Mr. Julani’s relatives said they were not involved in politics and, when 
asked about the future of their city, seemed at a loss for answers. His 
father, Subhi Julani, who works in construction, said he had many Jewish 
friends, including employers.

“Jamal is lucky; we are lucky that he is still among us,” Mr. Julani, 
50, said of his son, who is studying for his matriculation exams and 
also does home renovations for a Jewish boss. “I do not know why they 
did this.”




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