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Shuhada Street in Hebron/al-Khalil (Photo: gettingoffthearmchair.wordpress.com)

Shuhada Street in Hebron/al-Khalil (Photo: gettingoffthearmchair.wordpress.com)

My plan for the morning was pretty simple, I wanted to enter the souq (market) and buy some bread for breakfast, and then walk home. That was it. As I made my way towards the souq entrance I was stopped by two Israeli border police officers and asked for my religion. This is not an unusual experience in this city, the military are a common sight and as well as the regular checkpoints, they can and often do stop you at any time, demanding your identification, asking your religion, and any other questions they desire to ask.

I am neither ashamed nor proud of my religion. It is part of who I am in the same way my hair colour is a part of me. It is also a question I have been asked before and, as in the past, I told the truth.

“I’m Jewish,” I said.

The two border police officers spoke to each other in Hebrew, a language I have very little understanding of.

“Where are you going?” They asked.

“The souq,” I said. “I just want to go to the market.”

“No, you can’t go in. No Jews allowed.”

I wasn’t completely shocked, this has also been something stated to me before.

“Come on, I’ve been in there a thousand times, is it illegal for me to enter?”

“You can’t go in, you’re Jewish, it’s not allowed, it’s dangerous.”

I wanted to laugh, I may well have done. “It’s not dangerous, I have many friends in there, just let me go.”

This continued on for a few more minutes, the blood heating in my face as I tried to argue my case to no avail. The real irony was instead of walking through the market to go home, I was forced to walk Shuhada street, a perfect example of the apartheid that exists within this military occupation, a street where Palestinians have been barred from walking since the year 2000, where many people lost their homes and livelihoods after they were forced to leave and never return. Only the Israeli military, settlers, and internationals are allowed to walk Shuhada Street, it is often christened “Ghost Town” by the Palestinians, and indeed the sight of so many closed shops and houses, is haunting. It is also a street where I have been assaulted twice by settlers, so the idea that this was a safer alternative for me than the market, is laughable.

I have been fortunate enough to live in Palestine for several months, mainly living in the city of al-Khalil (Hebron). Al-Khalil is a city with many problems, mostly due to the illegal settlement in the heart of the city [all settlements in occupied territory are illegal under international law], and the huge Israeli military presence there to enable the settlers.

The Israeli military commits terrible crimes against the Palestinian people. I have seen them arresting and detaining adults and children for no reason, physically and verbally harassing the people of the city, using their military weapons against adults, youths and children, as well as a hundred and one other injustices that impact the daily lives of Palestinians in al-Khalil.

The settlers in al-Khalil are above the law. They attack Palestinians and steal their land and property on a regular basis. The Israeli military not only does nothing to stop this, but in many cases they condone and encourage it. I have seen settler youth throwing stones at Palestinian homes, while Israeli soldiers watched on. When we asked the soldiers to do something to stop this, they replied they would do nothing, as they are “children”. However Israeli soldiers have no qualms in using violence against Palestinian children. I have come to al-Khalil as a solidarity activist; one of the activities I participate in almost daily is ‘school checkpoint watch’. This is where I would assist in monitoring a specific checkpoint the children of the city are forced to go through on their way to school. I have witnessed Israeli soldiers harassing and searching children as they go through the checkpoint, firing tear gas and stun grenades at them and into their schools, and detaining children, some as young as six-years-old.

After the two border police officers denied me entry into the market in the morning, I tried again several hours later. The result was the same. I was angry, and I was upset, and while I am in Palestine as a solidarity activist, all I wanted to do was to go through the souq and visit one of my friends.

However, I have no intention of writing that I now “understand” what the Palestinians experience due to the military occupation, and the complete control that exists over their freedom of movement. My experience today was frustrating, and also unfair, but it is nothing compared to what the Palestinian people experience on a regular basis.

Due to the colour of my skin, and my nationality, I am incredibly aware of the privilege I have in Palestine, and all over the world. The very fact that I am able to enter Palestine is a huge privilege within itself; so many Palestinians in the diaspora were forced away from their homeland and have never seen it again. The fact that, if I so wish, I can travel to Yaffa, and one of my closest friends, a Palestinian woman whose family is originally from the city, can never see her home.

I have never been denied entry to any area due to my religion by Palestinians, or any other time in my life. It is telling that the first time this happens is by the Israeli military, under the façade of my ‘safety’. Unless Israeli soldiers or settlers enter, which they frequently do, the most dangerous thing that could happen to me in the souq is that I could overdose on tea, forced on me by my friends.

This post originally appeared on the International Solidarity Movement website

Ally Cohen
About Ally Cohen

Ally Cohen is a human rights activist volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement.

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68 Responses

  1. Abdul-Rahman
    Abdul-Rahman
    June 5, 2014, 3:22 pm

    A very well written and informative article here. The Open Shuhada Street movement is very important, it is extremely tragic what has been done to the Palestinian families that used to live and work in that part of Al-Khalil. Their lives have been ripped apart; and now, as the author of this piece illustrates, above-the-law thuggish illegal settlers roam about this “ghost town” like street.

    As for the point the author of this piece made about not being able to travel to the souq (privileged as she acknowledges she is in comparison to the indigenous Palestinians, given her Western nationality) reminded me of something I’ve heard Miko Peled mention in one of his remarkable, informative lectures. Peled noted the system of separation is clearly demarcated, and often designed to try to keep Israelis from being able to have human-to-human contact with Palestinians. Wouldn’t want to take the chance of some of them possibly learning the truth and starting to empathize with the people the Zionist movement has long worked to categorize as their own untermenschen.

    This also fits into the apartheid (land stealing) separation wall. That the Zionist “Left” in the 90s actually had a key role in developing, with their openly segregationist slogan: “Us over here, them over there”. Showing once again that the Zionist Left’s “support” for a supposed two-state solution, of some kind, is merely a ploy or matter of necessity in their minds to attempt to maintain their current ethnocracy.

  2. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    June 5, 2014, 3:37 pm

    “hebrew….a language I have very little understanding of” the girl writes as if its such a point of pride. That she is only there in solidarity with the Palestinian people is telling though she self-identifies (in the most lackluster of admissions) as Jew and seems disinterested in this “neither proud nor ashamed” aspect of her heritage. If she were a Palestinian with such an attitude towards her ‘people’ she would be considered a complete ‘shondie’. Palestinians may be frindly and appreciate her but like many cultures -they are nothing w/o family. And you don’t take sides against your family in the ME unless you want trouble

    • annie
      annie
      June 5, 2014, 4:09 pm

      “hebrew….a language I have very little understanding of” the girl writes as if its such a point of pride.

      how, pray tell, is explaining one has very little understanding of a language, get translated into “as if” one is proud of that? the leaps you guys jump over to make your point! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

      I am neither ashamed nor proud of my religion. It is part of who I am in the same way my hair colour is a part of me.

      this is normal. what is abnormal(to americans) is strangers demanding to know your religion. lots of people don’t swoon into a rapturous state of pride if asked, it is simply a fact of ones life. i don’t know to what degree the author is secular or not, but when i was challenged by israelis i simply said i had no religion. which is not allowed! it’s like a multiple choice survey where you have to choose an answer from the options provided!

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 5, 2014, 7:52 pm

        well. the question about religion you make is definitely true, on both counts. 1) that its strange for people outside this region and 2)why should she make the comment at all if it were not a point of contention? it is generally considered courteous to make a minor attempt to learn a few words of the language(s) of a nation one intends to visit. not requisite but still, why should the girl be surprised that the 2 soldiers spoke in hebrew as if that too was abnormal. But I get that Americans are uptight because they don’t learn a second language by 4th grade as a requirement.

      • James North
        James North
        June 6, 2014, 12:22 pm

        DaBakr: Ally is visiting Palestine. The language there is Arabic. And I suspect she knows more than “a few words” of it.

      • MRW
        MRW
        June 6, 2014, 5:55 pm

        why should the girl be surprised that the 2 soldiers spoke in hebrew as if that too was abnormal.

        Ally wrote, “The two border police officers spoke to each other in Hebrew, a language I have very little understanding of.”

        It was an observation of an action. No surprise. No judgment, other than to comment that she couldn’t discern the gist of it.

        You GroupThinkZios have the most amazing ability to see faces in the bottom of coffee cups, like mirages. Jesus on a cookie.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 5, 2014, 9:02 pm

        It’s acceptable at the place in question to have no religion, so long as you’re a Zionist.

    • just
      just
      June 5, 2014, 4:29 pm

      What an idiotic comment, DaBakr.

      ” Palestinians may be frindly and appreciate her but like many cultures -they are nothing w/o family. And you don’t take sides against your family in the ME unless you want trouble”

      Please try not to project your own paranoia on normal folks.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        June 5, 2014, 4:44 pm

        Dear Ally:

        You’re my sister, and I love you, but don’t ever side with anyone against the family again, ever.

        signed,
        DaBakr Corleone

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 5, 2014, 7:52 pm

        exactly.

      • amigo
        amigo
        June 6, 2014, 1:00 pm

        So you wouldn,t condemn Hitlers family for sticking with him.

        No matter what he got up to.

        I envy you.You have so much to learn .

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        June 7, 2014, 9:29 am

        ‘Exactly’

        Well, thanks for your candor. It’s not everyone who would admit that their personal credo is identical to that of a fictional psychopathic mafioso.

    • amigo
      amigo
      June 5, 2014, 4:31 pm

      Da baker, you are a classic example of the old adage !!! “Some mothers do av em “.

    • chet
      chet
      June 5, 2014, 5:57 pm

      DaBakr – “hebrew….a language I have very little understanding of” the girl writes as if its such a point of pride.

      As this zio-troll is aware, the writer provides an explanation for context and in no way denigrates the Hebrew language.

      A prime example of the hasbara tactic of diversion — note that at no time in the post are the substantive issues discussed.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 5, 2014, 7:54 pm

        i didn;t say she denigrated hebrew-a said she denigrated the soldiers for speaking in hebrew. unless she feels entitled to english in return for her governments ‘investment’

    • June 5, 2014, 7:35 pm

      da bakr
      i want to psychoanalyze your thought process
      ‘hebrew, a language i have very little understanding of”
      now you claim she writes about this as if its such a point of pride.
      exactly what are you referring to?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 5, 2014, 8:13 pm

      “hebrew….a language I have very little understanding of” the girl writes as if its such a point of pride. . . . If she were a Palestinian with such an attitude towards her ‘people’ she would be considered a complete ‘shondie’.

      The only reason the Zionists adopted a modern Germanic, bastardized version of ancient Hebrew was their utter contempt for the assimilated language and culture of Yiddish Jews living in Europe. So, it’s ironic and maladroit to demand that someone take pride in Hebrew, and then turn right around and employ Yiddish to describe the alleged attitude of the Palestinians. Frankly, if the mythical patriarch Abraham gave a shit about his idolatrous people living in Ur of the Chaldees, he would have never end-up being considered a “Jew” or “Arab” patriarch in Hebron.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 5, 2014, 8:41 pm

        as usual-your hatred obscures any latent sense of humour that could possibly lurk in the far reaches of your zionist-hating brain. and so-its obvious you didn’t understand the ‘yiddish’ link to your beloved and oh-so-important rock band of the same name. and just in case you don’t understand that all languages evolve and turn into versions that differ from their past-hebrew speakers of today can still understand hebrew as it was translated and re-translated from greek, latin, aramaic olde-english and back into hebrew again. As much as you’d like to imagine it a ‘germanic’ version of its nothing like german. Yiddish is more like romansche and amish then german is like hebrew. So give it a rest

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 5, 2014, 9:59 pm

        So give it a rest

        You wish, but that isn’t gonna happen. The rest of your post is stupid claptrap.

        and so-its obvious you didn’t understand the ‘yiddish’ link to your beloved and oh-so-important rock band of the same name.

        The band has nothing to do with me, this article, or Palestinian attitudes towards Jews involved the ISM who are critical of Zionist racism.

        and just in case you don’t understand that all languages evolve and turn into versions that differ from their past-hebrew speakers of today can still understand hebrew as it was translated and re-translated from greek, latin, aramaic olde-english and back into hebrew again.

        That begs the central question, since the ancients are no longer available to correct any blunders committed by these newly minted modern Hebrew speakers. In any event, linguists, like Ghil’ad Zuckermann, argue that you are speaking Israeli, not Hebrew. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3333948,00.html

        Do Israelis Understand the Hebrew Bible? By: Ghil‘ad Zuckermann https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/davidshasha/HVcY0ADOCFQ

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 6, 2014, 1:57 am

        as usual-your hatred obscures any latent sense of humour that could possibly lurk in the far reaches of your zionist-hating brain.

        As usual you are trolling the threads and spreading as much hatred and discontent as accuse others of doing, while ignoring the fact that I and the others here are trying to promote the idea of equal rights and justice for all in both theory and actual practice, while Zionism promotes inequality and ethnic conflict.

        If you check the comment archives, you’ll find that I defend the proposition that the fundamental human rights of Zionists are not subject to any derogation and that they do not have to earn the right to equality under the law. I feel the same way about the minority of Arabs who happen to be antisemites. I don’t care how many states are established in historical Palestine, so long as the governments accept a binding obligation to respect freedom of transit and access to the Holy sites; the equality of ethnic and religious groups; and their right to participate in the political, cultural and economic life of the countries without any discrimination. I don’t believe that anyone living today should be denied civil or political equality using legislation or regulations that amount to bills of attainder, based upon the misdeeds of long-dead individuals, like Ben Gurion, the Mufti, or Kahane. I’ve also defended the proposition that Zionist and Palestinian civilians, who are not taking part in active hostilities, are not valid military objectives under the laws and customs of land warfare. But that’s about as far as my good nature goes.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 6, 2014, 9:47 pm

        well, I can’t find any fault in that statement except for the comment about ‘trolling’.

        I never knew exactly what the term meant but suspect it means something about wanting to make trouble. however-much as you may think, i spend what little time I have engaging here because I firmly believe that the enemies of my nation that sit in judgement from their places in europe and america need to be constantly apprised of the positions that center left Zionists who don’t fit the mold of your ‘crazy ranting zio-supreme racist bigot Jew’ template.
        So-while I do occasionally engage on strictly pro-zionist blogs (where of course nobody disagrees with me) I notice two things: very few of you venture over there either out of apathy, disgust or pre-conceived notions but I, on the other hand, come here to engage, not denigrate. Your welcome to search my history here and I think you’ll find I am generally civil and maybe sarcastic. I might denigrate an individual for stupidity but never a people-be they Arabs or Hysterical Anti-Zionists. In fact-I have a very healthy respect for my true enemies such as militant Palestinians and the Hezbollah. They have the distinction of being honest in their native tongue about the goals for the future in regards to Israel. I do not begrudge them their propaganda campaign to win territory they failed to gain through battle.
        The area that concerns me the most is the willingness to overlook that there there is an endgame that the Arabs have never deviated from since 1948 and that is the complete eradication of the ‘zionist entity’ so you’ll forgive me for my lack of appreciation for the lack of an Arab ‘ben-gurion’ to make the same ‘infamous’ quote in reverse: “were I an israeli Jew, I would fight too”. I’d actually like to hear that some day but won’t hold my breath.
        In the mean time- I accept that you think I am a bigoted racial supremacist (who doesn’t even believe in the concept of race). You can’t also continue to accuse me of drinking kool-aid but you can’t accuse me of not engaging. I do that -what you call ‘hasbara central’ out of some basic respect for those that my ‘crazy right-wing racist bigot brethren’ would say are a ‘waste of time’ .
        Nobody who would be your enemy is a waste of time. And you should start to consider that the Palestinians have equaled and may even be ready to best the Jews in the mantle of most victimized people on earth. They certainly are getting good at projecting this perspective. Yes, I know who is who in this conflict and know the Palestinians have been displaced. But forgive me for not devoting the rest of my life to correcting every wrong thats occurred in the world circa 1914-1967.

      • MRW
        MRW
        June 6, 2014, 5:49 pm

        just in case you don’t understand that all languages evolve and turn into versions that differ from their past

        Languages, but not land, hunh.

    • Jan
      Jan
      June 5, 2014, 8:50 pm

      DaBakr – I stand with my “family” unless my family is doing something wrong and my Israeli “family” has been victimizing the Palestinians since the ethnic cleansings of 1948 and 1967.

      If what another person or group does is unacceptable to me it should be just as unacceptable when my “family” does something unacceptable. And what Israel has been doing for years to the Palestinians is beyond unacceptable.

      BTW, why should you expect all Jews to know or speak Hebrew? I suspect that the vast majority of the world’s Jews know very little, if any, Hebrew.

      Ally Cohen is a decent human being and that trumps any religion or any “family.”

    • talknic
      talknic
      June 5, 2014, 9:32 pm

      @ DaBakr “a language I have very little understanding of” the girl writes as if its such a point of pride”

      You reach this conclusion thru some logical pathway? Would you mind explaining as I’m sure it would be of great interest to the scientific community.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 6, 2014, 12:11 am

        ok;
        she acts surprised that the two soldiers are speaking in hebrew as if they owe her some explanation in english-which we presume she does have an understanding of. and not like being in the only Jewsih nation on the planet would explain a visitors brash acknowledgement of her ignorance.
        And how I arrive at my “logical pathway”? I read the rest of her article.

        This girl knows exactly what was going on and her mentors in the ISM have taught her exactly how they want her to act. If she wasn’t waiting for an opportunity to call attention to her cause she certainly didn’t shy away from anything either. If you want to play dumb and act as ignorant as she pretending you don’t know what the ISM is all about and this poor poor little girl was just steamrolled by some pompous IDF boys speaking in , OMG, their native tongue, (Oh right, according to you all-its not native. Its a made up language based on German. Uh-huh). And you guys are always calling Zionist bigoted racists. Very funny.

        At the very least the author got to cut her teeth on her first post as a genuine anti-Zionist activist which is probably exactly what she wanted before she goes home to her real life. Kind of like ‘activist-tourism’. We see it all the time. I’m sure she hit the bars in TA as well.

      • talknic
        talknic
        June 6, 2014, 1:56 pm

        @ DaBakr You reached that amazing conclusion based on this? The two border police officers spoke to each other in Hebrew, a language I have very little understanding of.

        WOW! That ol’ ziocaine sure has kick!

        I’ll bet you think a state in breach of hundreds of UNSC resolutions has never done anything to deserve them

      • eljay
        eljay
        June 6, 2014, 2:05 pm

        >> DaBakr: … and not like being in the only Jewsih [sic] nation on the planet …

        Huh, another Zio-supremacist who says “Israel = Jews”.

        I wonder if Zach S can explain why so many Zio-supremacists – guys just like him – actually Palestinians or their supporters.

        Is it because they’re anti-Semitic? Or are they just self-loathing Jews?

    • Abdul-Rahman
      Abdul-Rahman
      June 5, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Contrary to the thinking and opinions you are giving; we are all one family, the human family (“corny” as an ethnocentrist like you might think that is or sounds).

      You really need to read up on the topic of linguistics before you attempt to speak on it; specifically the work of Tel Aviv University linguists like Paul Wexler and Ghil’ad Zuckermann.

      Also then, while first noting that one should stand up and oppose the actions of even “family members” if they are committing grievous crimes against any other fellow human being. I also must say that your comments also attempt to devalue Judaism from something that seeks to “repair the WORLD” (i.e. all human beings) and sees you attempting to proclaim it to simply be a supposed “tribalistic” organization. This whole “tribalistic” mythology is something that Judeophobes have long promoted in their hatemongering, and both you and they are wrong on this point.

      In concluding I think two quotes are of use here, first from Columbia University biologist and scholar Robert Pollack (who looks at the intersection of science and religion) “There are no DNA sequences common to all Jews and absent from all non-Jews; there is nothing in the human genome that makes or diagnoses a person as a Jew.”

      And secondly from Israeli scholar A.B. Yehoshua “A Jew is a Jew because he chose to be a Jew and not because he was forced – because of biology or by some external social force, to define himself as a Jew”

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 6, 2014, 12:27 am

        A)As to the DNA sequence-no sht sherlock. You seem to be implying that jews think they are special. I don’t think so and I don’t think the Talmud said so either. We all know that there is no biological difference between Jews and others.

        B) Secondly-the statement that a Jew is a Jew….becuase he chose is the biggest bunch of BS I ever read here. And your telling me to read up on linguistics before I comment about modern hebrew being more Germanic then Hebrew. (Of course we know it was a resurrected language. So what.)

        If what the stupid scholar said made ANY sense at all-don;t you think some Jews taken to Persia 1000s of years ago, or chased from Spain, raped and murdered in Russia,or marched to ovens in ww2 would have chosen to opt out a little earlier*. Such crass ignorance is really unbecoming.

        *”hey yo! Mr adolph, I’m choosing to not be a Jew now!” . Or “Hey young cossack, I have chosen to not be Jewish. So, you can hold off on the plundering and then killing my family today, thanks.”

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 6, 2014, 12:47 pm

        @ DaBakr

        RE: ” You seem to be implying that jews think they are special. I don’t think so and I don’t think the Talmud said so either.”

        Personally, I don’t think non-Jews should judge all contemporary Jews by what the ancient Talmud says. But there’s no question the Talmud treats non-Jews as, minimally, a second class species of human. Your avid denial of this is interesting. You think nobody critical of the Talmud knows what the Talmud says?

        RE: “…. the statement that a Jew is a Jew….because he chose is the biggest bunch of BS I ever read here. And your telling me to read up on linguistics
        before I comment about modern hebrew being more Germanic then Hebrew.”

        Interesting that both Hitler and the state of Israel use the same general criteria for initially determining who is a Jew–all you need is one grandparent from a Jewish mother. You can be raised secular or even atheist.

        Hebrew has nothing to do with the Germanic language. Yiddish is a derivative
        of the German language.

        It’s true that when a powerful group calls you a Jew, and makes your life hell because of that definition, your claim you’re not a Jew, or at least the kind of Jew they claim you are, is ridiculous, and unheard. Similarly, when another powerful group calls you an anti-semite, or jew-hater, simply because you don’t like what the state of Israel is doing, this makes one’s life hell, and I’m against that.

      • Abdul-Rahman
        Abdul-Rahman
        June 6, 2014, 4:35 pm

        A) You were the one making your whole rant about “the family”. Is this a metaphysical “family of faith” in your writing?? The author of this page clearly seems (by saying she is not even that interested in religious designations to start with) to be quite likely secular humanist to begin with.

        B) “Secondly-the statement that a Jew is a Jew….becuase he chose is the biggest bunch of BS I ever read here” And you just contradicted the bile you wrote in “A”, Judaism is and always was a religion. Regardless of what Judeophobes or Zionists like you try to claim. Also your other scribbles here are not truly intended to be memorializing to any victims of various forms of intolerance and crimes (peoples who severed these atrocities for a multiplicity of reasons) but rather sees you taking the same “tact” that scholars like Norman Finkelstein so classically dealt with in his past works on Zionist manipulation and abuses of human history.

        Once again your ethnocentric, largely incoherent rants fail to deal with anything in this article. Aside from you trying to pathetically assail a courageous woman seeking justice and peace in the modern world.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 7, 2014, 12:10 pm

        ‘ethno-centric’. that is a much better word then supremacist. I would say most of the peoples in this region are ethno-centric. And as for “family” I was writing about typical Arab families-not Jews who have a very strong tradition of indeed-‘standing by their families’. Its hardly a unique concept however as the ‘mafioso’ slurs I read convey.

        Not sure what Finklesteins premise on holocaust exploitation has to do with anything. I always thought there was an element of truth to his argument but that he just went over the top with it. I only mentioned past crimes to shed light on how absurd your scholars ‘interpretation’ of Jewishness is. Maybe taken out of context, it appears even more idiotic but nonetheless, if you see incoherency in my interpretation of your ‘scholar’ then so be it.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 6, 2014, 10:37 pm

        I don’t think so and I don’t think the Talmud said so either.

        So you are claiming that the Talmud doesn’t say that the 70 other nations rejected the Torah before Israel accepted it? Anyone can read the answer online for themselves and determine that you are incorrect.
        * http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/sukot/kas.html
        * http://halakhah.com/

      • talknic
        talknic
        June 6, 2014, 10:48 pm

        DaBakr “*”hey yo! Mr adolph, I’m choosing to not be a Jew now!” . Or “Hey young cossack, I have chosen to not be Jewish. So, you can hold off on the plundering and then killing my family today, thanks.””

        Rather hard to sew a foreskin back on….

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 7, 2014, 12:13 pm

        @Rather hard to sew a foreskin back on….

        they could have been muslims

      • eljay
        eljay
        June 6, 2014, 11:42 pm

        >> … -the statement that a Jew is a Jew….becuase he chose is the biggest bunch of BS I ever read here.

        1. Converts to Judaism are Jews who chose to be Jews.
        2. Anyone who is Jewish can choose to stop being Jewish any time he/she chooses to. I was born to a Croatian father and an Italian mother, and I was raised Roman Catholic…but I’m neither Croatian nor Italian nor Roman Catholic. Jewish is no different.

        >> … If what the stupid scholar said made ANY sense at all-don;t you think some Jews taken to Persia 1000s of years ago, or chased from Spain, raped and murdered in Russia,or marched to ovens in ww2 would have chosen to opt out a little earlier.

        1. Had they chosen to “opt out a little earlier”, you would have chastised them as “self-loathing” for having chosen to assimilate.
        2. The fact that an evil / immoral / unjust person might not respect the choice made by a Jewish person to stop being Jewish in no way negates the fact that the choice exists.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        June 7, 2014, 3:40 am

        So some anti-Semites think that being a Jew is not a matter of choice. So, it seems, do a lot of Jews.

        If having a Jewish mother is sufficient to make one a Jew, then it isn’t a matter of choice. That is a very trivial sense of Jewishness.

        But following the religion, thinking of oneself as a Jew, feeling a tribal attachment to other Jews, etc., are all a matter of choice. A grown man or woman can give all those things up.

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores
      June 6, 2014, 5:57 am

      tragically sometimes families get divided over ideologies. one extreme example of this is civil wars, the slogan brother against brother comes from the American civil war.

      i promote the unity of the family over division any day however for this to work you have to listen and understand when there is something blatantly wrong and agree to make amends.

      for society to function properly all families have to coexist. the concept is really that simple and in practice we should try to reach that goal not hinder it. the alternative is more hate and suffering, who would support that option?

      the difference between us on this issue is

      you see Ally Cohen taking sides with the Palestinians i see her coexisting with her neighbors.

    • bryan
      bryan
      June 6, 2014, 6:13 am

      “And you don’t take sides against your family in the ME unless you want trouble” sounds like the stance of a Khazarian exile. The people you are hostile to are not only ‘peoples of the book’, acknowledging their descent from Abraham and recognising Moses as a prophet, but as David Ben Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi argued they are the descendants of the Ancient Hebrews. (“The fellahin are not descendants of the Arab conquerors, who captured Eretz Israel and Syria in the seventh century CE. The Arab victors did not destroy the agricultural population they found in the country. They expelled only the alien Byzantine rulers, and did not touch the local population… Their whole interest in the new countries was political, religious and material: to rule, to propagate Islam and to collect taxes… The Jewish farmer, like any other farmer, was not easily torn from his soil, which had been watered with his sweat and the sweat of his forebears… Despite the repression and suffering, the rural population remained unchanged.” I assume you are an atheist and not someone who believes the entire human family are the descendants of Adam and Eve.

    • phylliprezzel
      phylliprezzel
      June 6, 2014, 10:52 am

      Referring to Ally Cohen as “the girl” is further denigration. To travel abroad and accept the responsibility of volunteering w/ ISM, Ally Cohen is obviously a woman!

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        June 6, 2014, 4:25 pm

        i’m old enough to refer to her as girl wether you approve or not.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        June 7, 2014, 12:03 am

        its not a matter of approval its a matter infantilization of a grown adult. whether 10 or 100 is irrelevant. that you think age some how gives you a right to insult her just makes you look a few patties short of a big mac.

  3. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    June 5, 2014, 3:39 pm

    I have no intention of writing that I now “understand” what the Palestinians experience due to the military occupation, and the complete control that exists over their freedom of movement. My experience today was frustrating, and also unfair, but it is nothing compared to what the Palestinian people experience on a regular basis.

    Right. There is some similarity- you are both being walled off from eachother. But in this case you are being treated as a person of privilege not allowed to interact with your Christian and Muslim friends from the “wrong” side of the tracks.

    Another way to look at it is even more pessimistic- that it is in accordance with the Israeli plan to “deal with” the Palestinian “demographic problem”, ie their existence. That is, preventing you from visiting them is a way to keep them locked away and caged.

    Your status gives you a chance, like you said, to safely cross into their place and be treated with a certain amount of decency, a bit like the Jewish pharisee Paul’s status as a Roman citizen in that same place – Palestine – many centuries ago. Perhaps you will also take the chance to have and spread a spiritual renewal to the outsiders, the foreigners, the “others”, like he did.

  4. just
    just
    June 5, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Ally– thanks for your account and your activism.

    While the entire account was eerily disheartening, though very interesting, I especially appreciated this:

    “I have never been denied entry to any area due to my religion by Palestinians, or any other time in my life. It is telling that the first time this happens is by the Israeli military, under the façade of my ‘safety’. Unless Israeli soldiers or settlers enter, which they frequently do, the most dangerous thing that could happen to me in the souq is that I could overdose on tea, forced on me by my friends.”

    My experience with Palestinians has been the same… they are so generous with everything that they have, including their friendship and smiles and warmth. So very ingrained is their hospitality, that it takes one’s breath away. Compare that with the lack of same when visiting Israel… unless you really and truly “belong”…

    (in all fairness, I have found that similar grace & hospitality when visiting my friends from all countries in the ME/NA– whether here or abroad!)

  5. Palikari
    Palikari
    June 5, 2014, 8:14 pm

    The same happens if you want to enter the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: the Magav stops you because it’s dangerous. A Muslim crowd would lynch you and throw rocks at you. This is real apartheid, carried out not by Israel, but radical Islamists.

    • Abdul-Rahman
      Abdul-Rahman
      June 5, 2014, 10:11 pm

      The only people who would might get something thrown at them are the racist extremist settlers who attempt to invade the complex, with the stated aim of taking it over and occupying it. Also, as is easily confirmed with a simple internet search, the majority of religious Jews will not enter the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount due to the fact they follow the edicts of the mainstream of Orthodox Rabbinical scholars. You know that whole thing about not stepping on the complex in fear that one may accidentally “desecrate the holy of holies”.

      • Palikari
        Palikari
        June 6, 2014, 12:54 am

        You call “racist extremist settler” any Jew who gets in the Temple Mount for the purpouse of being there only a short time. I don’t buy your victimist, anti-Semitic fairy tale. Any Muslim can freely enter the Kotel without getting stoned or attacked in any way, but no Jew can get in the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, because it is occupied by intolerant Islamists who don’t respect religious freedom.

        I am not a settler nor a fanatic. According to you, have I the right to enter the Temple Mount, pray a moment and then leave? I hope you’re consequent and answer “yes”.

        Intolerant Islamists in the Temple Mount even attack CHILDREN:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycWd1uOuJFA

        Some two dozen or so Jewish children ascended with their fathers to the Temple Mount. Children, not even teenagers. They were surrounded by adult Muslim men and women who chanted, screamed, yelled, pushed, threatened and otherwise acted with verbal and even some physical violence. And surely psychological violence.

        Sadlt this happens usually. Do you condemn this outrageous violence against children just because they are Jewish?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        June 6, 2014, 2:23 pm

        Do you condemn this outrageous violence against children just because they are Jewish?

        If you would condem any violence against children because they are Palestinian there would have never been an Israel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 6, 2014, 3:11 pm

        “because it is occupied by intolerant Islamists who don’t respect religious freedom.”

        No, because it’s their property and they have every right to exclude anyone they want, and they are under seize by Jews who want to destroy the Muslim’s rights to the Muslim’s property.

        “And surely psychological violence.”

        And, if so, they only have their parents to blame. What kind of lunatics use their children as pawns and human shields in a political game? These parents of these Jewish children are sick and those kids shoudl be taken away and given to some non-negligent foster parents.

        “Do you condemn this outrageous violence against children just because they are Jewish?”

        There was no violence because they are Jewish. There was an angry confrontation perpetrated by the Jews adults, who refuse to respect the fact that the Muslims are the sole owners of that property and who apparently have so little regard for their own children that they would insert them into what they should have known would be a contentious situation.

      • Abdul-Rahman
        Abdul-Rahman
        June 6, 2014, 4:48 pm

        The only “groups” of people in question who try to (as you write) “ascend” the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount on regular occasions (as is covered quite widely in the Israeli media itself) are those affiliated with various extremist settler groups. In particular settler groups quite openly linked to the banned terrorist group Kach. Names like Feiglin come to mind there.

        Your comments are disconnected from this reality.

        As for what other, actually thoughtful commenters, have mentioned here. Of course, Jerusalem/Al-Quds should be completely open to followers of all the 3 faiths in question. Once again the main reason the large bulk of followers of the Jewish religion, in particular Orthodox Jews, do not even seek to enter the site in question is due to their own religious sensibilities (protecting “the holy of holies” etc.)

        So your whole line of pseudo-“argument” there “Palikari” has no basis to stand on from the start (putting aside you not being willing to discuss the background of general Zionist crimes to start with). But we actually do have a very good historical example. That is the fact that prior to the start of Zionist colonization a minority population of staunchly anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews, precisely in the heart of Jerusalem, lived and worshipped quite freely and openly in Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine. Before the start of large-scale Zionist colonization once again.

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 6, 2014, 10:42 am

        “You know that whole thing about not stepping on the complex in fear that one may accidentally “desecrate the holy of holies”

        Abdul-Rahman, of course it would be wrong for Jews to storm the place whether because their religion forbid it or because sicko settlers want to evict the Muslims from it, but between us, it has to be mentioned that the place was initially sacred to Jews until Muslims decided to “Islamize” it around the year 700 AD. Ideally today , it should all be be accessible to the 3 religions that consider it holy. The area is now accessible to non-Muslims during certain hours but they are not allowed to enter the mosque that’s built over the sacred rock. This prohibition is hocus-pocus since Popes John Paul II, Benedictus XVI and Francis were welcomed in 4 different mosques. Of the 5 main schools of Muslim thought, only the Shafi’i that comprise only 10% of Muslims are categorically against letting any non-Muslims enter mosques; others are OK with it as long as mosque rules are obeyed.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 6, 2014, 11:45 am

        That is very interesting, Walid – and humane. You know the area and the religious sentiments of the area much better than I do. It would be really nice if things were to turn out as you say and would mark remarkable progress in religious consciousness all round. However, there would surely be great difficulties. It’s hard to see how the Christians and Jews could settle for either open air worship, while the Muslims have a beautiful mosque, or for shelter in a mosque which is offered to them, if it ever could be offered at all, as secondary users. So they would want edifices of their own, which would at the first stage involve extremely controversial excavation and raise the potentially very dangerous question of the Holy of Holies. More deeply, it is hard to see how Jewish opinion could accept an edifice which was not a renewed Temple and in that event have the continuing mosque and the new world centre of Christianity cheek by jowl. And there would be the problem of the relationship between a religious centre where three faiths were equal and a secular society where one faith was dominant.
        My feeling is that we Christians at least should interpret the Book of Revelation as telling us to pull out of Mount affairs until the Perfect Cube descends from heaven.

      • eljay
        eljay
        June 6, 2014, 11:56 am

        Dismantle the “holy sites” and re-build them – and make additions or modifications to them – elsewhere.

        Turn the existing area into a nice park for everyone to enjoy, in a Free City of Jerusalem.

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 6, 2014, 12:04 pm

        Big problem with all of that, MHughes, is that the part that is considered most sacred to Jews lies under the mosque. So it’s not just a matter of putting up a structure next to the mosque.

        Here’s more on the Foundation Stone that lies under the Mosque of the Dome:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_Stone

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 6, 2014, 12:44 pm

        “Dismantle the ‘holy sites’ and re-build them – and make additions or modifications to them – elsewhere.”

        I disagree. This is a Muslim site and it should continue as such. The fact that there used to be a site for a Jewish Temple is interesting trivia, but nothing more. The Jews have turned the Western Wall into a site of worship and that should continue indefinately. But simply because al Haram ash Sharif used to be the site of the Jewish Temple does not negate the Muslim ownership of the property and their right to continued, exclusive and uninterrupted possession and use of the site. It is simply one of an incalculable number of sites — such as the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady in Córdoba — which used to be the site of a different religion’s house of worship but which no longer is. I see nothing special about this site that would demand its change of use that sets it apart from any other.

      • Palikari
        Palikari
        June 6, 2014, 12:54 pm

        “Ideally today , it should all be be accessible to the 3 religions that consider it holy.”

        I totally agree with you!

      • MahaneYehude1
        MahaneYehude1
        June 6, 2014, 11:58 pm

        @Walid:

        Thank you very much!!!

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      June 6, 2014, 2:52 am

      The same happens if you want to enter the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: the Magav stops you because it’s dangerous. A Muslim crowd would lynch you and throw rocks at you. This is real apartheid, carried out not by Israel, but radical Islamists.

      You obviously don’t know what “real Apartheid” is. No radical Islamists needs to commit inhumane acts towards Jews to maintain a regime/system dominated by radical Islamists. Your beloved antigentile Apartheid Junta on the other hand is based on the denial of Palestinan civil and human rights and their rights to self determination, and includes their mass expulsion, mass denationalization and mass dispossession.

    • talknic
      talknic
      June 6, 2014, 3:09 am

      @ Palikari “The same happens if you want to enter the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: A Muslim crowd would lynch you …”

      A) Why on earth would Jewish folk want to visit the site of Mosques?

      B) Many been lynched?

      “This is real apartheid, carried out not by Israel, but radical Islamists”

      Uh? Radical, apartheid kicking people out of an area they’re in against an ISRAELI ban?

    • talknic
      talknic
      June 6, 2014, 6:08 am

      Palikari “the Magav stops you because it’s dangerous”

      Oh…. so it has nothing what so ever with the ISRAELI ban.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 6, 2014, 7:23 am

        I’ve just had a look at a Trip Advisor note on the Temple Mount, which includes a record by an American Jewish couple of their visit. The only problem was when the police thought one of them (looking reverential as he changed a camera lens or something) was trying to pray. Those in agreed control of a site, as the Muslims are of the area in question by what is or was general agreement, do not have an obligation to permit any activity there outside their own purposes. The Vatican isn’t obliged to permit Protestant services on its premises, though it may do so as an act of grace. If acts of grace are hoped for it is necessary to try to relieve tensions, not to sharpen them – as is happening in the name of archaeology around the Temple area. I suppose that the forthcoming Dig television series will keep the tense cords twisted.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 6, 2014, 7:32 am

      In response to your bigoted claim about the “Temple Mount.”

      First: It is al Haram ash Sharif. It used to be “Temple Mount” a couple thousand years ago until it’s Roman owners decided that it would no longer be such and, led by the great general Titus, repurposed the site. So it is false to say it is the Temple Mount, rather than it was.

      Second, your remark about “lynching” demonstrates pure bigotry. So lomg as you respect the fact that the site is and for the foreseeable future will be exclusively Muslim, I doubt you would have any problems. If you come with a different attitude, one seeking to steal their land and property, then you deserve whatever blowback you receive.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    June 5, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Reminds me of Anthony Bourdain–the Palestine episode. It’s really creepy that most Americans think of suicide bombers when they think of Palestinians, not innate gracious and warm hospitality. Shows just how much the average person in the USA is like a buffalo in the old west.

  7. RoHa
    RoHa
    June 6, 2014, 1:08 am

    “I am neither ashamed nor proud of my religion. It is part of who I am in the same way my hair colour is a part of me”.

    “Who I am” should probably be “what I am”, but setting that aside, she is obviously drawing an analogy between her acceptance (without shame or pride) of her hair colour and her lack of shame or pride in her religion. This strikes me as a reasonable and healthy attitude. Far too often people seem to think they have to be “proud” of anything remotely connected with them.

    (Technically, there is an important difference. Even if she does not resort to a bottle, her hair has a colour determined by her DNA. However, her religion is not so determined. It is something learned.)

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 6, 2014, 4:06 pm

      “… if she does not resort to a bottle, her hair has a color determined by her DNA. However, her religion is not so determined. It is something learned”

      Yes. One can change either, or not. I guess the question is why in each case? Hair color cannot be changed permanently–hair roots always grow back, but one’s POV can be so changed.

  8. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    June 6, 2014, 5:15 am

    Off topic: No Jews were allowed in Warsaw as soon as ghetto was completed. This haunting song is called “My Warsaw, will I ever see you again” it is sung in first person by a young woman that sneaked out of ghetto in search of food.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 6, 2014, 12:57 pm

      @Eva
      Do you have a link to that song? And who’s singing it?

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