Readers here know that I regularly report on Israeli miscarriages of justice. Sometimes about prosecutors, police or judges who do a piss-poor job; sometimes about suspects getting away with murder (literally); sometimes about outright corruption or brutality. There’s almost never good news to report. But tonight there is some small measure of comfort that justice is sometimes done in Israel. Imperfectly, to be sure–but done nevertheless.
Last year, Jewish terrorists (aka “price taggers”) tried to burn down Max Rayne Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem. They succeeded in burning several classrooms and did considerable damage. In addition, they scrawled foul graffiti saying: “Co-existence is a cancer.” In such cases, the security services immediately slap a gag order on the proceedings. Israeli journalists may not report the names of suspects. Sometimes they may not even report about the attack itself.
At the time, I was able to break the gag and report that the ringleader’s name was Nachman Twito. In a picture I posted, he sports a dashing mohawk (not usual settler hair-style). His Facebook page features no less than six different Beitar Jerusalem Facebook pages which he’s Liked. Beitar is the favored soccer team of the worst of the settler rabble. The most vicious of the fans form a cabal called La Familia, which is reminiscent of the Mafia. Beitar hooligans (aka “fans”) drew a black eye and a red card in Belgium when they shouted racist slogans and threw flares and smoke bombs on the field. One smashed into the head of the opposing goalie, injuring him. As a result, the team owner announced he wanted nothing to do with the team and would sell it asap.
And these vermin call the Max Rayne school a cancer!! They should look in the mirror.
At the time I wrote my earlier post, I didn’t know that his brother was his partner in crime (along with two other culprits, Shlomo Rachamim and Yitzhak Gabai). Yesterday, Maariv reported the Twito brothers were sentenced for their crime. Last year, I believed they’d get away with their crime. It appears they didn’t. For some reason, the State found it had to act and hold them accountable for their acts of terror. Nachman received a two and a half-year sentence. His brother, two years. They were also sentenced to pay $6,500 in restitution. I saw the arson damage and it was considerably more than that amount. So this was a paltry sum.
The prosecution removed a charge against the terrorists accusing them of a hate crime. The staff of the school have made known that the punishment was exceedingly light. They were troubled by the leniency and a statement from one of the attackers saying the crime was worth suffering the punishment.
The arsonists are activists in the Israeli equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. Called Lehava, it shames Jewish merchants into refusing the employ “Arab” workers, and pressures Jewish landlords not to rent to “Arab” tenants. Like the Westboro Baptist Church, it also publicly shames Jewish-Palestinian couples by protesting at their weddings. Now, Israel can say that Lehava is a genuine terror group. It’s important to note that many Israeli MKs publicly support Lehava, which makes them an accessory to terrorism.
Lest anyone take any satisfaction from the jail sentence meted out, read how the arsonists and their family treated the courtroom and the sentencing:
Accompanied by a large and noisy contingent of supporters, the brothers Twito (Nachman and Shlomo, 18 and 20), heard their sentence after confessing to burning the bi-lingual school in Jerusalem. Afterward, they left the court quite pleased with themselves and smiling.
Last week, I broke another gag order prohibiting publication of the name of a young woman who killed 16 year-old Gal Beck in a traffic accident. Shani Palti-Schulz is the daughter of an elite, wealthy Israeli family and married into the family of a wealthy TV producer. It’s quite possible she was drunk on the night she killed Gal Beck. At any rate, there is no record of a blood alcohol test. The police refused to interview key witnesses who testified that she drove through a red light. A prosecutor later accused of corruption and association with Mafia figures dropped the case after a few weeks.
Israeli TV produced a documentary about the tragic case. But it could not name Palti-Schulz. I hope I played some small role in adding pressure for reopening the case. At any rate, the State just announced they would do so. However, ten years have passed. Since the police did a laughable job the first time, one wonders whether they can still amass useful evidence at this late date.
If anyone reading this chooses to interpret these small victories as proof positive that Israel is liberal or democratic or that it respects the rule of law–two positive developments do not a trend make. It will take far, far more than this to justify hope for change.
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Mitchell Blood says
“The police refused to interview key witnesses who testified that she drove through a green light. ”
I think you mean red light.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Mitchell: Yes, thanks for the correction.
The Mohawk sported by Twito is not a usual settler hairstyle because Twito isn’t a settler. He is Mizrachi. And that’s a haircut very popular among Moroccan, Tunisian and Kurdish kids as well as among Palestinian kids. Settlers aren’t usually football fans because often times watching football live requires sabbath desecration and most “settler rabble” are ostensibly Orthodox. The Familia hooligans are predominantly Mizrachi from the poorer parts of West Jerusalem – places like Malcha and Talpiot. They don’t wear big knitted kippahs, they are almost never bearded and they don’t live in settlements as an ideological statement. You have a few that live in Ariel and Maaleh Adumim but that’s only because housing is cheaper there. I have never seen a Mohawk sported in the Gush by anyone other than local Palestinian boys. I know these might seem like subtle clarifications but the difference between poor Mizrachi Beitar fans and typical settlers is like the difference between two different worlds. Anyone living in Israel understands this – settlers do a lot of objectionable things – but soccer hooliganism isn’t one of them. Hatred of Arabs is something that you would find some in both have in common though. That’s for sure.
Richard Silverstein says
@pea: All of your blather sounds persuasive until you realize that Twito is an ardent follower of Meir Kahane. You would know that if you’d read the earlier post of mine to which I linked in this article (he features a photo of his Kach shrine). So despite Twito being Mizrahi he holds views entirely consonant with settlers & Kahanism.
I don’t deny there are differences of nuance between settler extremists & Mizrahi extremists. But in this case the similarities far outweigh the differences.
This is like a North-Korean saying “I don’t deny there is a difference between democrats and republicans.”
Vast majority of settlers has nothing to do with Kahana. Probably 99%
Richard Silverstein says
@ Eilati: The “vast majority,” indeed all settlers are thieves and participants in an immoral system that violates international law (except those accepting Palestinian sovereignty, of course). The very underpinnings of the entire settler enterprise are Kahanist in nature.
Are you really arguing that Kahanist settlers are Democrats and Kahanist Mizrahi are Republicans??? Really? I’d say it’s more like the South Carolina chapter of the Klan vs. the Alabama chapter.
“The very underpinnings of the entire settler enterprise are Kahanist in nature” – and the entire American constitution is about killing Native Americans and enslaving African-Americans? By your logic, that is exactly the case!
Richard, that’s a gross generalization, at best. I know many “settlers” who reject Kahana vehemently, along with the majority of Israelis. The notion that “all settlers are thieves” is similarly absurd. Out of curiosity, how much time have you spent in the West Bank recently? You seem to know an awful lot about what “settlers” think and feel.
Richard Silverstein says
@ djf: Are you claiming the only way I can know about settlers is by visiting their illegal settlements? I apparently read far more of, by and about settlers than you do & am quite caught up on the latest thought and criminality in the settler enterprise.
Frankly, I could care less what settlers say about Kahane. If they “reject” Kahane “vehemently” then they either wouldn’t live in settlements or would, like Menachem Froman, declare their willingness to live on God’s sacred ground without caring which earthly power was sovereign. IN other words, concede Palestinian sovereignty & you’re in a different category. Refuse to do so & it matters not what you think about Kahane. You’re living his dream whether you admit it or not.
[Comment deleted: comments must be substantive and not cheerleading.]
I have no idea why you always insist on belittling what I say by resorting to invective. I know that many Mizrachi hooligans give lip service to Kahane. Why do I say lip service? Because Kahane’s ideology is premised on divine right and many of the Mizrachi hooligans are simply either not religious at all or not practicing ie they will attend synagogue services and keep kosher but they won’t wear a kippah or tzitzit, they will smoke on shabbat and watch TV etc. I mean even the Mohawk haircut violates Orthodox norms as the peyot are cut/shaved. Sure, Mizrachi punks hate Arabs, but they would view most settlers as chnunim, nerds, because they don’t smoke, drink and party, because they go to religious schools, because their women dress modestly etc.
So yes, there are both similarities and differences between Mizrachi hooligans and Settler rabble. My only point really is that to speak of the two as being the same is factually inaccurate – La Familia is not made up of settlers. Nachman Twito and his buddies are not settlers. Again, please don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone who lives here. They’ll tell you substantially the same thing.
RE: “Beitar is the favored soccer team of the worst of the settler rabble. The most vicious of the fans form a cabal called La Familia, which is reminiscent of the Mafia.” ~ R.S.
MY COMMENT: As I understand it, Muhammed Abu Khudair’s murderers (settlers or not) were active in Beitar’s La Familia. Liel Leibovitz wrote a piece for Tablet Magazine on the Jewish Israelis responsible for the murder of Muhammed Abu Khudair by burning him alive. “If you want to understand the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Muhammaed Abu Khudair in the hands of six young Israelis last week,” the essay claims, “don’t turn to Bibi or the Bible or Hamas or Abbas: turn to Beitar Jerusalem, the favorite soccer team of Israel’s ‘undivided capital.’” – http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/178406/soccer-fanaticism-leads-to-violence-everywhere
ALSO SEE: “Abu Khdeir murder suspect recounts grisly killing”, by Daniel K. Eisenbud, JPost.com, 8/13/2014
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Abu-Khdeir-murder-suspect-recounts-grisly-killing-370911
You’re wrong and you know it but you got to bring up a whole lot of irrelevant (not to mention inaccurate, 3 not 6) information.
If this, or your nextlengthy irrelevant comments aren’t breaking the rules, I’m not sure what is.
Richard Silverstein says
Eilati: So settlers are not violating international law? They don’t live on land stolen from Palestinians?
Remember, comment rules demand accuracy & proof, not opinions. The facts are against you, bud.
International law is not the 10 commandments and are subject to interpretation, not to mention they are driven by politics. Beyond that, what does it have to do with the fact the 3 murderers of Abu-Khdeir weren’t La-Familia members?
[comment deleted: if your comments aren’t substantive & on-topic, you risk losing your comment privileges]
a person named Silverstein makes the obvious error of saying that Israel is not a democracy which is nothing more than afactual opining and untruthful…and demands factuality and substance in comments.
Richard Silverstein says
@ dubinsky: Israel’s non-democratic status is a fact which this entire blog & almost every post in it proves. The facts are brought every day & in every post. Any claim that Israel is a democracy is easily refuted & I have done so–with more facts.
Those are facts and substance. Chew on that why don’t ya?!
I warn you I’m losing patience with this. Comment on the posts & stay on topic. That’s all you have to do.
Mitchell Blood says
“..they shouted racist slogans ”
I think the Belgian fans shouted the racist slogans.
“Fans from the opposite team chanted anti-Semitic slogans at the Israelis, Belgian media reported”–See link
Obviously, the Beitar fans came to the stadium with smoke bombs and were looking for trouble.
I blame the Jerusalem police for not curbing football hooliganism.
European police forces started clamping down on hooliganism a few years ago, and that effort appears to have succeeded.
RE: I blame the Jerusalem police for not curbing football hooliganism. ~ Mitchell Blood
MY REPLY: How can Israeli police curb hooliganism when hooliganism is the essence of Likudnik Israel?
AS TO THE FASCIST ORIGINS OF REVISIONIST ZIONISM, SEE: “The Hidden History of Zionism”, Chapter 6, by Ralph Schoenman
SOURCE – http://www.marxists.de/middleast/schoenman/ch06.htm
FROM WIKIPEDIA AS OF 1/25/14 [Betar]:
SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betar
FOR AN ESPECIALLY EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE OF BEITAR’S RACISM, SEE –
“Suspicion and Hate: Racist Attacks On Arabs Increase in Israel”, By Julia Amalia Heyer, Spiegel Online, 6/05/13
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/racist-attacks-against-arabs-increase-in-israel-a-903529.html
Great copy-paste of propaganda
Richard Silverstein says
@Eilati: This comment has no substance. It’s name calling, instead. It is a comment rule violation. Further violations may lead to restriction of your privileges.
Ahaa – the poor oppressed Israeli Jews were the victim again, like always. So the Belgians started to shout anti-semitic slogans for no reason at all and after that the peaceful and poor (who managed to fly to Belgium) Jews, who are not settlers, started to defend the honor of Jews and resist the new Holocaust in the stand and playing field with methods of IDF in Gaza. Well the European newspapers tell a different story. There are also a couple of videos of the events in YouTube. For example.
Even the Beitar Jerusalem’s owner is so ashamed, that he wants to sell the team. It is high to time to kick Israel out of the international football circles. This was not the first racist incident in Israel or abroad. In may there was a story, that Beitar Jerusalem has been this season already four times in Football Association’s disciplinary court for racist chants. Some years ago hundreds of these Beitar Jerusalem’s fans attacked Palestinian workers in a mall shouting death to Arabs. It is clear that Israel, government, police, football association etc have no means or will to erase this sick racist religious “nationalism” which has been going on for a long time using football as a stage in this Zionist theater.
Let Israeli Jews play football with those they like most – other Israeli Jews. Then there are no racist problems with dirty Arabs and us smelly Gentiles. And as an extra bonus Jews win always. By the way if Jews in Israel can openly and publicly demand, that Arabs are should not be allowed to play in “Jewish” teams, why can not the same be done in Europe and USA for example against Jewish players. Well we know why – it is not allowed and tolerated. What is absurd is that persons who defend the “nationalistic” behavior in Jerusalem and Israel rage furiously if basically the exact same is done against their sect’s members in Europe and USA.
“$50-million gamble that it can defeat the Iran nuclear deal”
$50 million for an alleged existential threat to Israel is gurnicht mit gurnicht.
AIPAC is setting up token resistance,this “deal” is something Obama needs,Iran knows it ,Israel knows it,AIPAC knows it.
Israel can’t stop it,Iran has nothing to lose,and AIPAC will do what her master tells her to do,and that master is not Israel.
The “deal” has nothing to do with nuclear weapons,it has everything to do with Syria,lebanon,Iraq and Turkey.
BRICS are preparing some big(economic) moves,and Obama is trying to cover his bony bum,and is failing miserably.
He’s running out of time,and willing and able to blow up the Middle East while he still can.
Israel has good reason to be worried right now,not about Iran ,but about Obomba bin Golfin’.
Searching for “FROM WIKIPEDIA AS OF 1/25/14 [Betar]:” brings multiple results such as http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/fascists-occupation-activists and http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/challenges-sportswriters-palestinian by user, wait for it, DICKERSON3870 who is obviously JLewisDickerson. This violates rule #12 (Comments should be written specifically for this site and in reply to something published here. Any comments already published at other sites may be deleted)
Richard Silverstein says
@Eilati: if you need to serve as the editor of a blog, start your own. When I need your editorial assistance I’ll ask for it. John Lewis has just sent me an item I turned into a blog post. So I value his participation here. That being said, except in unusual circumstances, I do prefer comments to be original to this site.
Meir Amor says
Racism as well as fascism are influenced by social class and culture. These are not news and this insight is true in the USA with its Jim Crow and Ku-Klux-Klan politics and it was true in Second Reich Germany and of course in Third Reich Germany. It is also true in Israel today. Gush Emunim’s racism and version of fascism is different form lower class Mizrachi racism and fascism. It is different in terms of its language, means and fields of operation. Clearly, there are variations on the notion and theme of “racism and fascism” in Israel. The means and mode of action available to middle and upper class religious Machena leumi, Beit Yehudi Israelis, with upper class religious education and upbringing, are different from the means and mode of actions available to Mizrachi lower class Israelis who were segregated in their education and channeled to the lower ranks of the Israeli Jewish population. However, I would not be surprised if somewhere up the echelons of Israeli political machinery there are those who orchestrate both melodies and symphonies of political violence (there are several people who populate posts and roles of ministers in the current Israeli government who were quite avid hooligans during their student life in Jerusalem University and in other places). Of course, all such actions were done in the name of “Israel” and in the sake of protecting the “Jewish people” against its enemies. This theme does not change. It seems that Silverstein’s Tikun Olam is lagging behind in its understanding of the influence of class and culture, that is the influence of the Israeli made designations of Ashkanazi and Mizrachi not only on the “left” and radical left, but also in the “right” and radical right political expresssions. Dismissing the issue of “Mizrachi-Ashkenazi” politics as an internal Israeli issue and therefore as inconsequential or in no need of political articulation leaves so much to be desired in this very important public venue and dialogue of Silverstein’s Tikun Olam.
” Any claim that Israel is a democracy is easily refuted & I have done so–with more facts.”
no Richard. you have not…because you CAN BOT.
the fact is that Israel Israel is a deeply flawed democracy and nothing else.
your opinion is nothing more than your opinion….and while you can certainly can forcefully present your opinion, and on your own blog, stifle any real examination of your opinion, you cannot change the truth merely by insisting that you are right.
publish this, chide me for disagreeing with your opinions, or ban me from your blog if you can’t abide discussion and disagreement….. it really doesn’t matter, Richard.
Richard Silverstein says
“Deeply flawed democracy.” That’s quite an admission from a hasbarist like you.
Israel has no constitution, no Bill of Rights, no guarantee of a free press or even freedom of religion. It has Basic Laws which are so vague as to be meaningless. Even if a Basic Law endorses any of these rights it doesn’t prescribe how to practice them, nor does it offer any protection to them. Nor do these Laws have the stature of constitutional law or the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court is not an equal branch of government as it is in the U.S. It cannot find laws unconstitutional. It cannot order any other governmental body to change or stop behavior. BOdies like the IDF may follow Supreme Court rulings if they wish or ignore them (and they do). The Court is an advisory body and almost powerless. With the latest batch of nonentities & settler judges the COurt is a toothless wonder compared to the days of Aharon Barak.
Israel offers superior rights to Jews over non-Jews. If offers superior benefits to Jews over non-Jews. It mistreats non-Jewish citizens offering them 2nd class status. It even engages in ethnic cleansing in the Negev and Occupied Territories.
Israel criminializes journalism by imprisoning journalists for doing their job. It censors the media regularly. Reporters regularly self-censor. TV channels are muzzled or bankrupted if they trouble the government.
THere is hardly ever accountability among politicians or public figures for their actions. Generals kill & lie with impunity. Soldiers do likewise. Personal rights are always trumped by national security.
Government ministers themselves don’t believe in democracy & prove it by their stupidity and racist statements every day.
In short, there are thousands of ways in which Israel is not a democracy. An ethnocracy maybe. But certainly not a democracy.
You’re done in this thread. If you do persist & publish a reply here you will lose your comment privileges.
Richard, you’re grasping at straws. Israel’s elected officials exercise decision-making power subject to the rule of law. That’s a democracy. You haven’t shown otherwise until you can point to an aspect of public life in Israel not answerable to the people.
Richard Silverstein says
@ djf: That’s ridiculous. There is no “rule of law” in Israel except possibly in non-security issues. Regarding the 18 Oligarch families who control 60% of the corporate equity in the country, there is no rule of law at all. Can you show another western “democracy” in which such there is such a stranglehold by such a tiny elite?
What rule of law is there when an American Jewish oligarch can buy up virtually the entire Israeli mainstream media or offer his product for free, thus eviscerating his competitors? What rule of law is there when the prime minister can destroy TV channels he doesn’t like at will? What rule of law is there when the State kidnaps or assassinates foreigners outside Israel? What rule of law is there when the military assassinates unarmed Palestinians and this is endorsed by the Supreme Court itself? What rule of law when journalists are imprisoned for doing their job?
Don’t talk to me about rule of law. Talk to me of rule of the mob; or rule of the shekel. But not rule of law.
And who enforces this alleged rule of law? THe Israeli police? The body which I’ve proven scores of times over here is riddled with brutality, corruption & violation of law? Give us a break!
clearly Silverstein is in violation of the site’s comment policy when he presents erroneously opinion that he he claim, erroneously, to be factual…when his purpose is to argue with commenters rather than anything else.
unfortunately site policy prevents any sane moderator from chiding the unbalanced Mr Silverstein.
Richard Silverstein says
Unfortunately for you, site policy does permit me to ban you from further participation in the comment threads.
Determining the level of Israel’s democratic nature and practices is easy. Imagine if in lets say France would be the Israeli practices and rights so that Jews are in the position of non-Jews in Israel. Not a single Jew would call that society a democracy even the Christian majority with their superior rights would call it as an excellent and exemplary democracy. To democracy are linked equality and same basic rights to all. That essential part of real democracy is missing from this Zionist “paradise” called the Jewish State.
Basically if Hiltler would have held a couple of elections in the pre WW2 Germany (1932-1939), it could have done to Jews “legally” in so called democratic circumstances, what was done during that time (1932-1939). Meaning uncontrolled (=politically controlled) racism and nationalism, limiting citizen rights of Jews, letting mobs to destroy Synagogues and Jewish businesses, arresting Jews using “strange” reasons, isolating Jews from the main population, confiscating Jewish properties, encouraging Jewish emigration etc. Most of these pre-1939 “practices” occur in present days Israel, often in milder format but still they exist and even the most fanatic Zionist can not deny that. Ethnic/religious cleansing is always done using the same methods and “instruments”. Eventually Israel must decide what is its “final solution” with the Palestinian population. Mass deportation and mass killing, two states or a real democracy where all people between the river and sea have equal rights (= abandoning the Jewish state idea). But only the third option could be a real democracy. A “two state” Israel, with present practices would not be a real democracy.