Above you’ll find 9 minutes of riveting video of the fisticuffs and mauling used by Israel’s Black Shirt Border Police to “quell” a noisy, but entirely peaceful protest by Sheik Jarrah’s Solidarity activists.
This past Friday’s Sheikh Jarrah solidarity demonstration against the dispossession of East Jerusalem Palestinians from their homes provoked a round of extreme violence from Israel’s Black Shirt police force. They trampled old men to the ground, all while masked with balaclavas intended to shield them from being identified and to intimidate the demonstrators. Some officers were mounted on horses though all protestors were completely non-violent and posed no threat to anyone.
This is the face of Israel’s national security state. A “democracy” afraid of its own shadow.
Compare the images of the activists–youthful, open, hopeful, brash and even eccentric, with those of the police–hooded, mounted, watchful, bored. They tell the whole story. They show us that there are two choices for Israel: the Sheikh Jarrah protestors or the Black Shirts.
There are 124 marvelous images at the Amir Bitan’s Facebook photo gallery page. I read two telling comments here about an image of the masked Black Shirt whose eyes were the only part of his body visible to the camera. One was: “the eyes are the mirror to the soul.” The other: “when the gaze is vacant–what does this tell you about the soul?”
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.