‘Hatred and racism are permeating Israel at a rapid pace’ –victim of racist attack writes in ‘The Hill’

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Ibrahim Abu-Ta’a

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?

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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8 Responses

  1. American
    October 23, 2012, 7:49 pm

    Coulda,woulda, shoulda……been stopped a long time ago if any US Prez had the balls.

  2. Mayhem
    October 23, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Reportage such as this which is largely anecdotal does nothing but drive a wedge between the sides in conflict and promote further bigotry.
    There are too many open questions:
    1. Did the attackers get the impression that the woman was being apprehended by Arabs?
    2. The friend who turned to speak prior to the attack supposedly said “Ibrahim,” and apparently less quietly than intended, “leave them be.” Is that really what she said?

    In fact five of Ibrahim’s attackers were arrested (see http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/five-jewish-teens-arrested-over-attack-of-palestinian-in-jerusalem-1.463567
    Moreover three weeks earlier dozens of youths had attacked three Arab youths in Zion Square in Jerusalem shouting racist slogans. One of the three Arabs was seriously injured. Indictments were served against 9 of those involved in the incident.
    The point here is that there are racist extremists in every society. In Israel the authorities do not tolerate it and perpetrators of such acts are prosecuted. To extrapolate a story like this to implicate the whole of Israeli society is completely mischievous and totally misleading.

    • piotr
      October 24, 2012, 2:46 am

      This is a well reported incident. The new info is about the background, that it was a company party etc.

      One aspect of the incident is “regular hooliganism”. However, there is a systematic propaganda from the highest levels against the bane of “inter-religious dating”, “Beduins kidnapping Jewish girls” and so on. The youth in the incident perhaps were not in the anti-social mood “let’s beat up somebody” but genuinely paranoid that they see a Jewish maiden about to be despoiled by an infidel and enemy, as duly warned by their elders and civic organizations.

    • marc b.
      October 24, 2012, 7:48 pm

      There are too many open questions:
      1. Did the attackers get the impression that the woman was being apprehended by Arabs?

      yes, so many open questions. such as how many jewish women are apprehended by ‘arabs’ each year in israel? and if a group of arab men ‘got the impression’ that a jewish man was apprehending an arab woman, what would be the general reaction if they proceded to beat the sh*t out of him with iron bars? and how do public pronouncements against miscegenation and social intercourse among the jewish and arab ‘races’, particularly young jewish women and young arab men, impact the psychology of young male jewish thugs? so, so, very many questions.

  3. jayn0t
    October 23, 2012, 8:41 pm

    ‘Hatred and racism are permeating Israel at a rapid pace’

    I’m shocked. Shocked.

  4. yourstruly
    October 23, 2012, 8:43 pm

    “as a society when are we going to start openly acknowledging that Israelis do not share our values?”

    as we expose israel firsters for the traitors they are, for the first time ever eyes actually will focus on the realities of p/i, whereupon, there’ll be a public outcry that’ll go something like this, “damn! and when I think of all the time I looked but never saw?”

  5. thetumta
    October 23, 2012, 10:26 pm

    So what’s next? I, for one, shudder to think. Just 10 days too late. Maybe a little longer.

  6. traintosiberia
    October 24, 2012, 8:15 am

    A search of archives will reveal what Israel stood for before even it was created .
    Moshe Smilansky in 1914 -“We are dealing with a smei-savge people who has extremely primitive concept..”
    Zee’ve Jabotinsky- Arabs are” yelling rabble dressed in savage-painted rugs”
    Moshe Shertok ( later Sharett and first FM of Israel )-” WE have not come to an empty land to inherit but to conquer from peopel inhabiting it ,that governs it by virtue of its language and savage culture ”
    Herzl in 1895 was writing in his diary of “spriting the penniless population across the ” the desert “discreetly and circumspectly” to build “an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism” which wouls be guarded by Jabotinsky’s “Jewish bayonets”. Violence became the vernacular of Israeli leadership to convey the essence of the new enterprise. Begin after massacring Deir Yassin residents gloated how violnece and terror inflicted by Jewish forces on Arabs would condition Arab to passive acceptance of terror and to leave . Today Geller’s ad on bus in NY or the rejoicing at the violence by majority of Israeli are the long shadows of similar previous ongoing attempts within the Zinost establishmnet and simply now out in the open.

    Ref- Herzl’s Nightmare One Land, Two Peoples-by Peter Rodgers ( a former Australian ambassador to Israel) Nation Books. ISBN-1-56025-694-x

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