Both here in Israel and in the US, there is so much dissension, so much hostility. My thought again and again is that this is not how it is supposed to be.
With a couple of exceptions, I will try to move past this, or around it, as I have no stomach for it.
In just a few weeks, all parties that will be running in the September elections here will have to declare their party lists. It will be time enough then to discuss various ins and outs, and who will be running with whom.
It would be so lovely if Ehud Barak, forever spouting malice, would disappear from the political scene by then.
Once again, I return to the subject of the Ethiopian Jews. Information of considerable importance has been released:
“Nineteen year-old Solomon Tekah, the Ethiopian-Israeli teen killed by an Israeli policeman on June 30, had a very high blood alcohol content and residual drugs in his body, according to the autopsy carried out by investigators from the Police Investigation Department…
“The autopsy was done in the institute for forensic medicine in Abu Kabir, according to sources familiar with the details. The autopsy also found that the bullet that hit Tekah’s heart ricocheted from the ground and was not shot directly at him, which confirmed the police officer’s version of the incident.
“In light of these findings which indicate that Tekah was under the influence, the sources said that they believe that the officer’s claim that he felt like he was in danger can be given greater weight.”
I would certainly hope so. As the lawyer for the police officer charges, there was a rush to judge his client without benefit of full evidence. Assumptions, now proving erroneous, were made regarding a “racist” officer who shot unnecessarily at a teenager because he was black.
The officer, who has been released from house arrest, is on forced leave for 30 days, but is eager to resume work. The Haifa court forbade him from entering the police station where he had been stationed, but not all police stations.
The Teka family is angry about the autopsy report. Calling a press conference, Solomon’s father Worka said:
“We had hope that law enforcement would investigate and arrive at the truth but instead we have come to slander and harm to his reputation. How can one desecrate the name of a man buried in the earth…[who] is incapable of defending himself and clearing his name?
“They are killing my son for a second time.”
OI! Worka Teka has to be in great pain over this, embarrassed at the revelations, feeling that his perspective of his son as an innocent victim has been drastically undermined. But his words are intemperate and harsh. They can only serve to stir up the community. Perhaps he speaks only from his pain and confusion.
Yet I cannot help but ponder whether those supporting him – standing with him, helping to call a press conference, etc. – are individuals who would prefer to see the community stirred up.
There is no question but that there will be charges of cover-up by those who would be content with nothing short of a straight homicide indictment against the officer.
That is not going to happen. There had been talk of charging him with something called “reckless homicide,” which is a lower charge than manslaughter, indicating that the killing was not intentional. But in light of these new findings even this remains to be seen. And, of course, an indictment is not a determination of guilt in a court of law.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Interim Police Chief Motti Cohen (pictured) announced that they would be forming a special team – headed by Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizrito and Deputy Police Chief Alon Assur – to address complaints about the police by Ethiopian-Israelis.
The team will be providing prosecutors and police with practical recommendations for responding to complaints, within a short timeframe. It was also stressed that the rights of officers would be maintained and the need to allow law enforcement to do its work would be taken into account.
I would like to recommend a piece by Shmuel Rosner, “Don’t Americanize Israel’s Ethiopian Riots” (emphasis added):
“…The immediate cause of the protest was the killing of a young Ethiopian, Solomon Tekah, by an off-duty police officer. The broader cause is what Ethiopians describe as systemic discrimination against their community, which includes police brutality. The facts are not always on the side of the protesters, but beating feelings and emotions with facts is not easy.
“The tendency of an observer in the United States to Americanize this Israeli issue is natural. To identify them, look for headlines with the automatic catchphrase “Black Lives Matter.” Indeed, comparing black protests is tempting: Black Israelis are raising a flag of racism and discrimination. Black Israelis argue that white Israelis are not sensitive to their daily struggle. Black Israelis take to the streets to protest against police brutality. Is this not exactly like America?
“It is not. And the reason why begins with two very different histories of two black communities. Africans were shipped to America as slaves. Ethiopian Israelis were brought by their own country to play their part in the great Zionist saga of gathering Israel’s tribes. Moreover, African Americans had to fight for equality. Ethiopian equality, at least the principle of it, was a given. And yes, mistakes were made. And yes, there are clearly some issues that are not yet resolved. And yet, Israel invested resources in helping the newcomers more than in any other community. There are social workers and educators, there are government branches and non-governmental organizations, there are programs and subsidies. There are also successes. Many successes. Ethiopian Jews came to Israel with very little property. They came to Israel unprepared for modern life. As a group, they made a giant leap in a relatively short period of time.
“Alas, what they see is not yesterday’s achievements. What they see is today’s failures. The community, on average, is still poor. It still has a high rate of crime, suicide and domestic violence. It still has an image problem…”
Please share this.
A few of my American readers have written to me to say that they suspected instigation of the rioting by left wing Black Lives Matter type persons. I told them that the instigation, as it took place (and indeed some did), was by Israeli leftists. I had written about this in my first post about the riots, and the fact that they were funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF).
In their Media Comment column on Thursday, Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollack allude to this in some greater detail. NIF – which did its funding of the riots via other organizations and not directly – maintains deniability, although, say Medad and Pollack, it is possible to find “the fingerprints of the NIF everywhere in the organizations and people behind the violence.” (Emphasis added) A key organization that was involved is the Israeli group “Standing Alone.” “Their members, wearing purple shirts, were quite visible at a good few of the demonstrations…They proudly call upon the American public to donate to them via…the New Israel Fund.”
Medad and Pollack also mention Avi Yalou, of Ethiopian descent, “a central instigator behind the demos, [who] has close ties to the NIF.”
Medad and Pollak, who write their column with a focus on media, specifically mention the lack of media attention to the NIF.
That issue of the role of the media in generating a specific public impression is very critical in these volatile times, across the board. What is mentioned, and what is left out, has enormous impact on public attitudes, as we know. In this regard, there is one particular omission by the US MSM that I want to point out here.
Earlier this week, there was an enormous furor because of tweets by President Trump that allegedly called upon “The Squad,” the very progressive Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to go back where they came from.
The charge leveled against Trump for this was that it showed he was a racist. He answered this readily enough: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” he declared, explaining that his concern was with “the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat … Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country.”
And here we come to a critical issue: lack of balance on the part of those professing shock at what Trump allegedly said, rage that he would dismiss four American citizens. (Omar is a refugee from Somalia, the others are all American-born.) Why is it that these Americans who are enraged at Trump failed to notice or to become enraged about some of the vile things that members of The Squad have said that, indeed, might very readily lead one to conclude that they do hate America?
But even this important question is a digression from my key point. The bottom line is that the media did not fairly report what Trump said in the first place. As Jeff Dunetz put it, the Democrats and the MSM “cherry-picked” parts of Trump’s tweets. This is what the president actually tweeted:
“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came? Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
Sounds a whole lot different, does it not?
In the wake of the very recent uproar with regard to Trump’s statement, Ilhan Omar is sponsoring a pro-BDS resolution in the House. A non-binding anti-BDS resolution has already been passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is due to be brought to the floor for a vote. Omar declares that it “unconstitutional” to prohibit boycotting, as it is a first amendment right.
Omar and Rashida Tlaib (pictured) have just announced that they want to visit Israel next month; she has openly declared support for the BDS movment. Stay tuned on this one. Because of a law on the books here, it is not a given that they will be granted entry, but Prime Minister Netanyahu can waive the restriction.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.