Jewish, Palestinian activists try to build a cinema in Hebron
Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine, Jul 15 2016
Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash 90
The streets in the Israel-controlled section of Hebron were sunny and silent at 9 am on Friday. The Palestinian shops on the main streets were all shut, as most of them have been for over 20 years. Jews were home preparing for Shabbat. On a sloping street rising through the Tel Rumeida neighborhood where in April a Palestinian stabber was wounded, then executed, there is a small commotion. A scattered group of Israeli soldiers, blue-uniformed police, and a few local Israeli settlers are hovering around a battered fence, peering inside as if looking into a cage at a zoo. Inside there is a group of a few dozen diaspora Jews, many of them Pindosis, and a few Israelis. They are singing songs and their shirts say, “Occupation is not our Judaism!” In between
protest songs from the 1960s civil rights struggles in Pindostan corny Jewish pseudo-Left anthems, they chant: “Yehudim shel ha-galut amrim ‘dai la-kibbush!‘ (Diaspora Jews say enough occupation)” and “Ayn lanu bosheth! (You have no shame!) There’s nothing holy about an occupied city!” Occasionally they sing traditional Jewish shit chants such as “lo yisa goy el goy herev” (nation shall not raise sword against nation) and “hine ma tov u-ma-naim” (behold, what is good & what is pleasant). But their main activity is cleaning. The fenced-in plot of land where they are working contains a few dilapidated structures, filled mostly with trash, twisted metal objects, rocks, rusted barrels and ancient piles of natural detritus. With their bright blue shirts and long yellow rakes, the activists wankers project cheer as they rake, shovel, and pass heavy debris along a line of activists. These twats, who call themselves “Center for Jewish Non-Violence,” were invited by Youth Against Settlements, a Hebron-based Palestinian organization a bullshit-artist Jewish-sponsored bollocks effort to help establish a movie theater in Palestinian Hebron, because the city doesn’t have one. One of the Jewish participants, who asked not to be named due to professional sensitivities inveterate & characteristic Jewish cowardice, said:
We want to make the unbearable a little more bearable. We will work until we can’t work any more. We intend to work until the day is done or until we are stopped.
The CJNV group has been in the OPT for a week of activities, helped planned with another
activist group bunch of tossers called “All That’s Left” doing other direct actions along with Palestinian partners other wankers in the South Hebron Hills villages of Umm el-Kheir and Susya. Enrico is a 27-year-old Italian Jew who studied conflict resolution at Tel Aviv University. He now works with refugees and asylum seekers in Italy. With typical garbage-brained Jewish vanity & idiocy, he opined:
I’m a Jew, so I feel responsible! I care about Israel! I’m not religious, but I think it’s important for all Jews to care about Israel and Judaism. And the status quo is unbearable.
The settlers outside the fence continue to gaze in, chewing their gum & watching the animals. They are children. Some call out that it is all their land. Others are trying to figure out what exactly they are watching. Pieces of information filter through and one girl says:
Wait! They’re Jews?
Says her friend:
Yes! Don’t you know the craziest ones are our own?
A boy of about 12 with long, brushed, wavy sidelocks is tossing angry comments at a Palestinian participant through the broken wires. Then he tells him:
Go ahead! Shovel the stuff! You’re fired! You work for me!
When he realizes I speak Hebrew, he says:
There’s some shit on the ground you’re standing on! Go and pick it up!
The Palestinian is nonplussed. I roll my eyes and talk instead to a small group of settler girls, also in their early teens, watching in a huddle. One asks “What are they singing?” I explain that they are songs white and black people in Pindostan sang when they struggled together for blacks who were being oppressed. Her eyes widen as she listens. Encouraged, I add that many Jews joined the struggle of rights for black Pindostanis, rabbis too. Her eyes widen again. With amazing, congenital Jewish idealism, within her heart dawns the unique the unique universalistic, humanistic fervour character characteristic of young members of Kach, she blurts with inspiring, heart-warming cockles of my heart warmy uncurl with delirious relief as she cries to the the delighted heavens of every Jewish ethicist:
So this is like the black and the white people from back then?!?
Abd’el-Rahman is a 23-year-old activist with Youth Against Settlements who lives on Shuhada Street. He explains that we are on a private plot belonging to the Abu Aishe family. Indeed, when the Israeli police tell the activists they are trespassers, members of the owners’ family convince them that the land is theirs and they approve the action. But Israeli forces obstructed the effort in other ways: police lying in wait at a major checkpoint just outside of Jayloomia turned around an entire busload of
Israeli activists Jewish assholes who were on their way to join the action.
Abd’el-Rahman is an English teacher. He explains that effort is a matter of peaceful protest, one that may generate a measure of pride. He said:
There’s garbage here. We want to clear it out and make it clean! We want a cinema. It’s peaceful. We’re not violating anyone’s rights.
As if to prove his point about the garbage, a giant rat scrambles out from what must have been a long undisturbed home. Dragging its tefillin behind it, it ploughs through the line of workers, who jump back, and brushes against this fearless reporter’s ankle amidst gasps before disappearing.
Among the Pindosis is
journalist and author unexempled public asshole & clown Peter Beinart. He acknowledges that he is more accustomed to reading and writing than to participating in actions like this, but is curious to see where it might lead him. A good portion of the young Pindostani Jews come from relatively traditional religious backgrounds, Beinart observes, signifying some sort of generational gap. He says:
It makes it harder to write them off.
And the combination of a traditional Jewish background with anti-occupation values represents an identity in which he feels personally comfortable, he explains. Not all are so comfortable. Another young woman is an undergraduate student back home, where she is active in fighting mass incarceration and institutional racism, in addition to Jewish activism against occupation. She wanted “to put my money where my mouth is” by joining the Palestinians here, but she too asked to not be identified. Her family is religiously traditional, and they are not supportive of what she is doing here. She doesn’t want to talk more about them, saying:
I want to respect their privacy.
The self-sustaining cheer of the songs and the aura of justice in the participants’ eyes recalls an odd parallel of ideological fact-making from another era: the legendary Passover seder held at the Park Hotel in Hebron in 1968, just after the West Bank was captured. After the seder was over, the national religious Jews who had organized it refused to leave. It became a spiritual touchstone moment for the birth of the sprawling settlement enterprise. Perhaps this action is a bookend to 1968, the beginning of popular Jewish and Palestinian resistance to unchecked takeover of the land. But it is unlikely that creating “facts on the ground” can work for the Left as it has for the settlers. The anti-occupation activists today talk of establishing a cinema. Few if any actually believe that will happen. They had participated in non-violent activism training a few days earlier and had elaborate plans in the event of arrest, an eventuality many of the foreigners and Israelis alike embraced. As if on cue, by around 11 am,
Israeli the Judeonazi authorities ordered the group to leave. Moriel Rothman-Zecher, an USraeli activist, informed the Judeonazi officers that the group would not comply. The activists wankers then sat down on the ground, in neat rows, almost as if in a theater, linked arms, and sang. An Israeli Judeonazi police commander entered the lot with some soldiers and a few riot police in tow, and indeed announced that the area was a closed military zone, starting now. The activists had three minutes to leave, “and if not, we will help you to leave, including with force,” he said, in English. The activists did not move. The riot police leaned in and helped each person stumble up, walking the first row out. Six activists twats with Israeli ID cards were detained and taken to the police station in Givat Avot (Patriarchs’ Hill as the settlers call it), a one-street settlement neighbourhood with an army post and a gate at the entrance, near Kiryat Arba. The rest of the group presumed that only the Israelis had been arrested because police wished to avoid the unsavoury image of Israeli authorities arresting diaspora Jews. They decided to march in the now-burning sun from Hebron, down segregated Shuhada Street, to the police station about 20 minutes away, uphill. On one stubbly brush path, soldiers blocked them. A 27-year-old activist wanker with a newly-minted PhD in philosophy, insisted that they wished to reach their detained friends, and demanded to be addressed in English. One soldier responded:
It’s not a dialogue. You do not pass.
She asked to see the military order that gave him the authority to block them. He radioed to a base somewhere, and said in Hebrew:
I need the order. Just photograph it and send it.
Another soldier muttered to the other:
Wow, they’re stubborn!
After seven hours, police released the six activists on the condition that they not return to Hebron for 15 days.