On June 19 an article appeared in the Times of Israel criticizing Dan Cohen and David Sheen’s recent video ‘Worship God By Nakba’: Jerusalem march celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor. The article claims that the moment in the film that the title is taken from, when a marcher yells “Worship God By Nakba” was mistranslated to include the word “Nakba.” In the article below, Cohen and Sheen respond to the criticism and the ensuing controversy, including why they have decided to remove the word “Nakba” from the video.
The Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City was cleared of its Palestinian inhabitants on the eve of the Ramadan holiday, June 5, to make way for a flag procession by Jewish religious nationalists. Some celebrants distributed stickers calling for “transfer” of Palestinians, while a Netanyahu minister called for seizing “sovereignty” of the Muslim noble sanctuary in the Old City to rebuild a Jewish temple. Watch this shocking video by Dan Cohen and David Sheen from this year’s Jerusalem Day march.
“If the day comes and I have the opportunity to lead the country, not to mention become the prime minister, I will build the temple on the Temple Mount,” rookie Likud lawmaker and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Oren Hazan announced last Thursday night at a panel in Petach Tikvah, an Israeli city 20 kilometers east of Tel Aviv. After the panel discussion organized by the group Students For The Temple Mount, Dan Cohen and David Sheen asked Hazan how he would demolish Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in order to make way for a temple, he replied, “It would not be responsible at this point in time to tell you how we would do it, but I will say it clear and loud: When I have the opportunity to do it, I will.”
Following the Israeli High Court decision that African asylum-seekers must be released from the Holot desert detention center, the mayor of the southern Israeli town of Arad ordered local law enforcement to prevent any Africans from entering the city. Dan Cohen, Rebecca Pierce and David Sheen travelled to Arad to interview local residents and ask them what they thought of their mayor’s announcement.
In recent weeks, the world’s attention has been fixed on Baltimore, MD, after 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray died in police custody. Some observers of these events are turning their attention to the State of Israel, questioning the tactical training Baltimore police officers have received in Israel and asking whether the African-Israeli protests of recent days against police brutality were in part inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter uprising in Baltimore. While both of these Baltimore-Israel connections merit attention, there is another relationship between the two territories that also deserves to be explored. Since 2003, Baltimore has had a partnership with the notoriously racist Israeli city of Ashkelon, and ties between the two towns have been cultivated at the highest levels.
David Sheen writes: “In the last week, the German media has been replete with articles accusing me and my fellow journalist Max Blumenthal of spreading hatred of Jews. These baseless accusations are not only defamatory, but also amount to a real physical threat to myself, as I live in Israel, where dissidents are branded as “destroyers of Israel” and are often subject to rape threats and violent physical attacks. Despite the orchestrated attempt to smear our names and get our Berlin speaking gigs cancelled, we testified at the Bundestag – the German Parliament – about the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza and incitement to racist violence by top Israeli leaders. After giving our testimonies, we confronted one of the leading legislators who had publicly endorsed the smear campaign against us.”
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