Through his own personal account of being brutally attacked, Ibrahim Abu-Ta’a writes about the threat emanating from “the power of hatred, incitement, and the intolerance” which, he claims, have permeated Israeli society at a “rapid pace.” The chilling report out today, that Israelis are “shamelessly, and guiltlessly” defining themselves as nationalistic racists, further buttresses his claim.
From The Hill, “Obama and Romney need to confront, solve Israeli-Palestinian divisions,” by Ibrahim Abu-Ta’a:
At the annual employee appreciation party for the upscale Jerusalem hotel where I work as an accounts representative, one of my Jewish colleagues, a good friend, had too much to drink. She asked another co-worker and me to give her a ride home. When we arrived at the apartment she shares with her family, she assured us that she would be able to continue on her own. But when she exited the car, she promptly lost her balance. As we got out to help her, a group of nine Israeli-Jewish teenagers approached us and asked what was going on. We responded in Hebrew that everything was fine so they began to walk away. With a look of concern, my friend turned to speak to me. “Ibrahim,” she said, less quietly than intended, “leave them be.”
Today I know that if my name had been Avraham, and not Ibrahim, I would not have been attacked that night several weeks ago. Ibrahim is the Arabic version for the Bible’s Avraham. Nowadays, however, instead of hearing the slight variation in pronunciation, people hear Palestinian, or Jewish. And, within seconds after my friend uttered my name, I felt the pressure of a hand grab my shoulder, as eight other men joined in pummeling my body. One of my attackers struck my left leg with a heavy iron rod, shattering the bone and sending me to the ground. I remember trying to protect my face, while I faded in and out of consciousness.
One month ago I would have told my younger sisters to make as many Jewish friends as possible, to understand and experience the lives of others and to share their own lives. But I love them and I care about their safety, and I can no longer encourage them to be anything but cautious.
I am now physically recovering. I will eventually return to my job and work side-by-side with my Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish colleagues. I realize now, however, that we are facing a much greater threat than fear of what happened to me weeks ago, and what could happen again. The threat emanates from the power of hatred, incitement, and the intolerance that is permeating Israeli society at a rapid pace.
How can this overt escalation of racism be discussed openly? Is it to be continually glossed over, silenced, ignored and otherwise hidden away from the American public at the time when we are being indoctrinated into accepting Israel’s ascendancy in American political discourse? As a society, when are we going to start openly acknowledging that Israelis do not share our values?