By Ali Abunimah – Apr 23, 2021
Over the last few days, disturbing videos have shown mobs of Israeli Jewish youths rampaging through occupied East Jerusalem and attacking Palestinians.
“Every evening this week, dozens of young Jews walked around Jerusalem’s city center, chanting ‘Death to Arabs’ and attacking passersby with stones and tear gas,” Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday.
— Oren Ziv (@OrenZiv1985) April 23, 2021
On Thursday night, a death-chanting Israeli mob headed for Damascus Gate, a landmark entrance to the walled Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.
One chant reported by Israeli journalist Nir Hasson was Ha’am doresh Aravim ba esh – “The people demand Arabs in the fire.”
A few hundred Jewish Israelis chanting death to Arabs in front of Damascus Gate in the middle of Ramadan. https://t.co/r5EKePyaez
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) April 22, 2021
As Palestinians gathered to defend the area, some with stones and bottles, Israeli occupation forces fired at them with stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons.
More than 20 Palestinians required treatment in hospital, according to the Red Crescent.
Israeli Jewish mobs reportedly attacked Palestinians across the city and vandalized cars and property.
In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, settlers attacked a Palestinian woman driving her vehicle with stones, injuring her in the head, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.
— نير حسون Nir Hasson ניר חסון (@nirhasson) April 22, 2021
— Antifa Jerusalem (@antifa_jlm) April 23, 2021
Zionist settlers carrying out a pogrom against a Palestinian family in occupied Jerusalem. As the reporter says, you can hear the children screaming. This is everyday Zionism. https://t.co/PYgM9IFCgD
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) April 23, 2021
Israeli media reported that one Jewish man was attacked and injured by Palestinians in East Jerusalem who had been banging on his car.
When he got out and tried to flee, according to Haaretz, “Palestinian youths kicked him while he was on the ground.”
Re-upping with proper translation:
Outside Damascus Gate, a group of Palestinians beat and kick an Israeli as he lays on the ground. The speaker in the background: "They broke the settler." https://t.co/NaEtwn2txG
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) April 22, 2021
I just arrived in #jerusalem from abroad to be ‘welcomed’ by these “death to Arabs” chants. I was meters away when these #extremists were gathering and #chanting hate messages. I was tempted to walk to them and ask; why do you want me dead? but this was the wrong place #kahana https://t.co/wsN3PJWVfN
— Aziz Abu Sarah (@AzizAbuSarah) April 22, 2021
The pretext for the Lehava rampage on Thursday night and in previous days was a video allegedly posted by a Palestinian youth on TikTok more than a week ago, showing a youth slapping a Jewish passenger on a Jerusalem train in an apparently unprovoked assault.
Israeli occupation authorities reportedly arrested two Palestinian 17-year-olds in connection with that incident.
One person who evidently recognized how embarrassing the scenes of widespread attacks on Palestinians are to Israel’s international propaganda efforts is Avi Mayer, the global communications chief for the American Jewish Committee, a major Israel lobby group.
I am ashamed and repulsed by the hate-fueled violence taking place a mile and a half from my home in Jerusalem.
The individuals perpetrating it are as foreign to me and my Judaism as are skinheads, white supremacists, and other racists around the world.
They have no place here.
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) April 22, 2021
“I am ashamed and repulsed by the hate-fueled violence taking place a mile and a half from my home in Jerusalem,” Mayer tweeted.
“The individuals perpetrating it are as foreign to me and my Judaism as are skinheads, white supremacists and other racists around the world. They have no place here,” Mayer added.
This surely ranks as one of the most disingenuous and hypocritical tweets in history.
In 2014, I caught Avi Mayer attending a Death to the Arabs rally in Jerusalem himself, and then attempting to whitewash it.
Mayer claimed that those participating were merely “protesters demanding stronger action against terrorism.”
In fact, they were a mob led by Israeli politician Michael Ben-Ari, and video showed them chanting “mavet la’aravim” – “Death to the Arabs” in Hebrew – just like the most recent videos from Jerusalem.
But there’s stiff competition from Democratic Majority for Israel, a US lobby group aligned with the ruling Democratic Party that put out a tweet to “condemn Lehava’s despicable agenda and violent acts.”
Yet DMFI has yet to condemn or repudiate its own board member Archie Gottesman, an advocate of genocide who in 2018 tweeted: “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”
We strongly condemn Lehava’s despicable agenda and violent acts, as should every person of good will. The group’s leader has been banned from running for Parliament, but it is disturbing that even 300 people chose to participate in their provocation. https://t.co/Rej5wUHIQo
— Democratic Majority for Israel (@DemMaj4Israel) April 23, 2021
And far from being the sole responsibility of a few fringe extremists, they are the direct result of years of anti-Palestinian incitement and dehumanizing rhetoric by Israeli leaders, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s top rabbis to other senior politicians and even comedians and pop singers.
Extreme racist and even genocidal hatred of Palestinians is pervasive in Israeli Jewish society, where there exists no significant popular movement to end decades of Israeli military occupation, apartheid and abuse against Palestinians.
Journo: Does "may your village burn"/"death to Arabs" represent you?
Protester: Maybe not when put like that—
J: Which way?
P: I speak nicely. I don't say "may your village burn," I say 'you'll leave your village and we'll live in it." Exactly what we do in the Old City. https://t.co/jKiOCLEW63
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) April 22, 2021
In 2014, Avi Mayer worked for the Jewish Agency, an official body that has long played a role in Zionist colonization of Palestinian land throughout historic Palestine.
This underscores that Mayer is not upset about anti-Palestinian racism and violence per se, but only violence that is not organized and managed by the state.
You log onto this website every day and argue that routine violence carried out by the State of Israel to preserve Jewish supremacy over Palestinians is necessary & legitimate.
Jewish supremacists were in the streets in full force tonight in part because they know they can be. https://t.co/TOkj8b2jjZ
— Simone Zimmerman 🔥 (@simonerzim) April 23, 2021
The American-born Mayer is, after all, a former spokesperson for the Israeli military.
In that role his job was to justify violence and war crimes against Palestinians on a daily basis.
This is part of Israel’s gradual but relentless ethnic cleansing across East Jerusalem in order to Judaize it, a violent process that began immediately after Israel occupied it in 1967.
West Jerusalem was ethnically cleansed of Palestinians when Zionist forces occupied it in 1948, during the Nakba.
Needless to say, Mayer has tweeted no objections to the state violence in Sheikh Jarrah – or anywhere else that Israeli police or occupation forces routinely attack, injure and kill Palestinians and destroy or steal their property.
Israeli settler home theft is a "continuation of the Zionist project," said a settler spokesperson in #SheikhJarrah, Jerusalem.
"Is it at the Arab's expense? Yes.
But our gov't institutions were also built at the expense of Arabs who lived here.
So was the state itself." (1/6) pic.twitter.com/lxZ7yi9A4z
— JVP #SaveSheikhJarrah (@jvplive) April 21, 2021
Featured image: Members of Lehava, an Israeli Jewish extremist group, marched near occupied East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate on 22 April, many chanting “Death to the Arabs.” Heidi Levine Sipa Press