Sometime during our holy days, a group of Jewish-Israelis smashed at least 5 graves and spray painted at least 20 others with Hebrew racist graffiti in Yafo (part of Tel Aviv). The graffiti called for 'Death to Arabs' and 'Price Tag' – a slogan used by militant Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and their supporters. Another group of Jewish 'religious' extremists vandalized a mosque in the Israeli town of Tuba Zangaria. In the city of Bat Yam (just south of Tel Aviv), racist graffiti was sprayed also calling for "Death to the Arabs" and "Kahana was Right" - against Palestinian players on the Haifa Maccabi team.
police officer investigating the racist graffiti
The "price-taggers" have become very active in the last year, and have vowed to avenge any move by Israel to uproot West Bank settlement outposts that have been built without Israeli government permission. Their work includes violence against innocent Palestinians, and also against peace and social activists who go to support Palestinians in their villages (by helping guard them as they try to harvest their olives, go to school, etc.)
Burned Qurans in the mosque in Tuba Zangaria. Oct. 2011
Nazi book burning in Berlin, 1933
Nearly 200 years ago, Heinrich Heine made the statement that has become famous throughout the world: Where they have burned books they will end in burning human beings - Heinrich Heine (1821). This is the quote that also adorns the powerful Holocaust memorial located in the square where the books were burned
I have provided an array of disturbing photos. Unfortunately, I could have provided many, many more, taken just from these last few days. Racism seems to be all around us, in every corner. Not only in the West Bank and at the checkpoints, but also within our cities, from the North to the South. Many politicians have cried out against this racism. The mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ran Huldai, said that the vandals "should have their hands chopped off."
I do not subscribe to Huldai's 'solution.' This too is a solution rooted in more violence, in vengeance, and does NOTHING to solve the problem.
Look at these little guys
This is how the racists began their lives. As sweet, adorable children who did not know what racism and hatred was. They began their lives as we did - full of wonderment and curiosity, full of interest in the world, in discovery, in yearning for love and belonging.
How did some of them/us become hate-filled and violent?
We are responsible for helping these little guys retain their curiosity and goodness and sweetness. We are responsible for showing these little guys, as they get older and older, that racism and violence can have no part in our lives.
WE ARE RESPONSBILE.