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Occupation magazine - Commentary

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Red Rag column - police violence in Israel - hunger strike by disabled - Minister of Propaganda
By: Gideon Spiro

30 March 2017

Raging bull

The video clip that documented the Special Patrol Unit (SPU) policeman Moshe Cohen running amok like a raging bull and cruelly beating Mazen Shweiki, a Palestinian truck driver from East Jerusalem, shocked many. If not for that documentation, the driver would have been accused with interfering with an officer in the fulfillment of his duties, as has happened more than once in incidents of undocumented police violence.

Cruel violence like this and similar incidents have been occurring every day in the Occupied Territories for 50 years now. Since the beginning of the Occupation about a million Palestinians have been arrested, interrogated, beaten and tortured by the Occupation army, police and the Israel Security Agency. Fifty years of Occupation have trampled underfoot the human rights of the Palestinians, as if they were subhuman. The criminal behaviour of the SPU policeman Moshe Cohen is a refined expression of the corruption that Israeli society has undergone in the years of the Occupation.

Moshe Cohen should be put on trial and sentenced to long years in prison. And he should be joined there by the leaders of the State, the army, the police and the Israel Security Agency, who designed and set up the regime of Israeli apartheid.

In these circumstances, the planned visit to Israel of the Philippine president, the mass murderer Rodrigo Duterte, is a classic case of birds of a feather flocking together. I will not be surprised if he visits Yad Vashem, which has accumulated a tradition of visits of dictators like the Apartheid prime minister of South Africa, John Vorster, and the Ugandan president, Idi Amin.


Disabled strike

The disabled in Israel are holding a hunger strike to demand an increase in the disability stipend, which now stands at about 2,500 shekels a month. This is a humiliating sum that does not cover basic existence with the cost of living in Israel. The managers of the economy are trying to scare us by saying that to accede to their demand to raise the stipend to the minimum wage will cost billions and cause economic catastrophe. That is of course absolute nonsense, because there is no shortage of sources to finance the demands of the disabled.
It would suffice for Israel to forego one nuclear-missile-carrying submarine out of the 10 to make billions available for the disability stipend. One of the problems is that the disabled themselves do not advance these demands. They (except a small minority) are imprisoned within Israeli brainwashing which sanctifies the billions for war toys in the service of the Israeli Occupation.

This is a sad story of patriotism as the refuge of the disabled.


The Minister of Propaganda

Culture Minister Miri Regev is on a slippery slope that is taking her down to the position of Minister of Propaganda. Every few days she comes up with another innovation in her campaign to silence voices that are critical of the Israeli reality from the lips of liberals and members of the Left, both Jews and Arabs. She is busy preparing blacklists of leftists and in that context she asked the Rabinovich Foundation to give her the list of viewers who approved films in the past 5 years.

The deputy director of the Foundation, Yoav Abramovich, announced that he would willingly submit to the ministers demand. Instead of refusing to collaborate he serves as an example of submission to the environment of fear that the minister is creating.

The creator Ron Kahlili, who sees the minister as a partner in the Mizrahi struggle and partly supports her, published a letter in the newspaper Haaretz full of sweet talk, in an attempt to explain to her that it is not nice to oppress the Arab tribe in the context of her policy of promoting the Mizrahi tribe (Letter to Miri Regev, 29 March 2017).

In Germany in the 1930s there were Jews who wrote letters to Propaganda Minister Goebbels (or even to the Chancellor) in the spirit of Dear (or Honourable) Mr. Goebbels, it is not nice what you are doing to the Jews. Honeyed tongue served up with flattery sauce is not always the right recipe for dealing with racist fascists.


Gila Flint

I am in mourning over the untimely death of the journalist Gila Flint, a comrade in the struggle against racism and the Occupation. There was a period in which we met nearly every week in a kind of parliament of the Left (these days I refrain from mentioning the premises of the meeting lest its owners end up on a blacklist). Into the river of agreements there occasionally flowed tributaries of disagreement. I found myself nearly always agreeing with Gila whose words abounded with wisdom and insight. Her unique voice will be missed by those who valued her and loved her.


Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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