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Jews wary of Christian Right, promote Gay & minority rights to forestall imposition of Christian values


(1) Jews wary of Christian Right, promote Gay & minority rights to forestall imposition of Christian values

(2) Norman Finkelstein gives up “Israel bashing”, because Israel has lost the battle for public opinion

(3) Cash for access: for the right donation, you can have dinner with David Cameron

(4) Lord Gold put in charge of Conservative Party funding probe. One Jewish peer to investigate another

(5) Lord Feldman is Jewish too

(6) Fenella Feldman is “of Romanian/Russian Jewish descent”

(7) Head of Bill Kristol’s lobby group calls on Israeli army to use Palestinian protesters as ‘target practice’

(8) Hundreds of soccer fans crowd Jerusalem mall: ‘Death to Arabs!’

(9) Israel probes football mob attack on Arabs

(10) Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests

(11) Israeli police investigate anti-Arab mob in mall


(1) Jews wary of Christian Right, promote Gay & minority rights to forestall imposition of Christian values


Kristoffer Larsson <>              19 April 2012 07:52


Jews Cast Wary Eye on Evangelicals


Poll Finds Suspicion of Christian Right, Even Israel Supporters


By Nathan Guttman


Published April 16, 2012, issue of April 20, 2012.


WASHINGTON — Advocates for improved relations between Jews and Christian evangelicals had hoped that years of working together to support Israel would build bridges between the two otherwise distant communities. But a new poll indicates that mistrust and suspicion still run deep, at least on the Jewish side.


Only one in five Jewish Americans holds favorable views of those aligned with the Christian right, a category that includes most of Israel’s evangelical supporters.


“I find this shocking and concerning,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the first major group to engage evangelical Christians in support of Israel. Eckstein and other activists working on Jewish-evangelical relations expressed a sense of betrayal, accusing Jewish liberals of being prejudiced against Christian conservatives and of clinging to pre-conceived notions and stereotypes about evangelicals’ beliefs and goals.


The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and published April 3, asked Jewish respondents to rate the favorability of several religious groups. Mormons received a 47% favorability rating, Muslims 41.4%; the group described as “Christian Right” was viewed in favorable terms by only 20.9% of Jewish Americans. In contrast, the general American population, as shown by other polling data, views evangelicals more favorably than Muslims and Mormons.


“Most liberal Jews view the Christian right as wanting to impose a Christian America on them,” said Marshall Breger, professor at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and leading voice on inter-religious relations. “To the extent to which the bulk of Jews are liberal, both politically and culturally, they’ll have negative views of the Christian right.”


Social views of Christian conservatives have been drawing attention in recent months as an increasingly significant part of the Republican presidential primary discourse. Attempts by GOP candidates to prove their conservative credentials in order to win over the Christian right have had, experts believe, an adverse effect on the Jewish community, turning it away from the Republican Party.


“It’s a huge factor in preventing Jews from becoming more attracted to Republican candidates,” said Kenneth Wald, distinguished professor of political science at the University of Florida and a leading expert on the intersection of religion and politics. He explained that the prominent role played by Christian conservatives in Republican politics is the major obstacle facing the party as it tries to win over Jewish voters.


Nonetheless, some have noticed a greater acceptance in the Jewish community. Eckstein said that in more than three decades of work on strengthening partnerships between the communities, he has seen Jewish opinion shift gradually to a more tolerant view of Christian evangelicals. “In the early years, the Christian right was very, very suspect in the eyes of the Jewish community,” he said.


Over time, the organized Jewish community began to warm up to evangelicals — in part, he believes, because of his group’s financial support to Jewish organizations. “When we started giving to the Jewish Agency [for Israel] and the [American Jewish] Joint [Distribution Committee], the Jewish community’s attitude began to change,” Eckstein said in a telephone interview from Israel.


Eckstein recalled being chastised for bringing televangelist Jerry Falwell to his synagogue 32 years ago, but later he officially represented the State of Israel at Falwell’s 2007 funeral. “Evangelicals went from being a pariah to becoming accepted,” he said.


This acceptance, however, has not penetrated the liberal Jewish circles or the broader Jewish community, all of which still view friendship to Israel as second in importance to shared social values. “There is a small segment of the Jewish population that loves evangelicals because evangelicals love Israel,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington religious affairs think tank. These Jews focus on the issue of Israel while not “buying into”

other values promoted by Christian evangelicals, Cromartie said.


All research points to the sharp contrast between Jews and Christian conservative views on abortions, women rights, gay and lesbian rights, and the separation of religion and state as the key factor distancing the two communities. But David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, America’s largest evangelical pro-Israel organization, sees these issues as an excuse.


“On the social issues, there is more-or-less unanimity between Christian Conservatives, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Jews,” Brog argued. But it is only the Christian conservatives who are treated with mistrust by Jews — a situation caused, Brog posited, by Jewish concerns over evangelical proselytizing or adherence to the belief that the Christian faith should replace Judaism. “We in the Jewish community need to stop viewing the present through the lens of the traumatic past,” he said.


While praising Jewish organizations and federations for welcoming Christian evangelicals, Brog pointed to the Reform movement as leading the opposing views. Eckstein spoke generally about liberal Jews who “are concerned about tikkun olam [repairing the world]” more than about Israel, as those who still refuse to trust evangelicals as partners.


In response, Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, said that it is not the Christian right’s beliefs on social issues that pose a problem to the Jewish community — it is their attempt to bring those beliefs to the public sphere.


“The Christian right has a clear agenda for America that it is trying to advance in all levels of American politics, and this has to do with fundamental questions of our existence, such as church and state separation,” Saperstein said. In contrast, Catholics, Mormons and Muslims, as well as Orthodox Jews, have not taken their conservative beliefs beyond their own communities.


Saperstein sees initial seeds of cooperation between Jews and evangelical Christians on issues such as global warming and the fight against sex trafficking. Cooperation on these matters, he said, has helped build trust. Saperstein, however, warned that the current political focus of Christian conservatives on social issues, including abortions and civil liberties, “makes it very difficult to change the filters through which the Jewish community looks at them.”


Contact Nathan Guttman at


(2) Norman Finkelstein gives up “Israel bashing”, because Israel has lost the battle for public opinion


Kristoffer Larsson <>              6 April 2012 05:41


Published 04:19 05.04.12

update 04:19 05.04.12


Norman Finkelstein bids farewell to Israel bashing


‘It’s become too easy,’ says Norman Finkelstein, talking about his new and surprisingly optimistic book.


By Natasha Mozgovaya


In June, Norman Finkelstein will mark 30 years of criticizing Israel. He remembers the exact day – the beginning of the Lebanon war, which ended his indifference to the Middle East’s troubles. He’ll have a new book coming out – “Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End” – that focuses on Jewish public figures who represent, in his view, the narrative of beautiful Israel that’s coming to an end. He is sure to make a lot of people mad again.


Jobless since losing his tenure in 2007 at DePaul University’s political science department in an ugly public fight with Alan Dershowitz, Finkelstein remains in demand as a speaker at universities.


Yet if you happened to walk into one of his lectures, you might be surprised to hear him say he is “not going to be an Israel-basher anymore.” It’s not that he’s changed his mind on the conflict, he just says blaming Israel has become too easy.


“Nobody really defends Israel anymore,” he said in an interview. “If you go on college campuses, there are some Hillel faithfuls who are bringing an IDF soldier to try to explain that not all IDF soldiers are war criminals. And among the 60 to 100 people in the audience, there are Palestinian supporters who come with tape over their mouth, and when the soldier starts to speak, many people stand up and walk out.


“They’ve lost the battle for public opinion,” he says. “They claim it’s because American Jews know too little – I claim it’s because they know too much about the conflict, and young liberal Jews have difficulty defending the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon or supporting the Israeli settlements. I was bashing Israel in the past because nobody else was exposing its true record. Many people are doing it now, so I switched hats from a critic of Israel to a diplomat who wants to resolve the conflict. I have not changed, but I think the spectrum has moved.”


Finkelstein’s book is suprisingly optimistic about the chances of settling the confict, and about changing the debate, even among American Jewry. The tide of public opinion is turning against Israel, he says, and once support for Israeli policy becomes widely unacceptable in the United States, the “self-designated voices for Israel,” as he calls them, will quickly drop out. Meanwhile, American Jewish college students are having their eyes opened.


“The academic research on Israel is no longer the footnoted “Exodus,”

and younger Jews, when they go to college, are walking away with very different picture of Israel,” he said. “And the American Jewish community that for a long time was a huge obstacle to resolving the conflict is breaking up. If you put forth a reasonable and principled goal, I think a resolution is possible. We might be entering the endgame, but one that might take a long time.”


Loyal to his tradition of combativeness, Finkelstein takes on not only Michael Oren, Jeffrey Goldberg, Benny Morris and others, but also Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book on the Israel lobby.


“I accept that the lobby is very influential and shapes [U.S.] policy on Israel-Palestine. But when Walt and Mearsheimer start generalizing about the influence of the lobby on Iraq, Iran policy and elsewhere – that’s where I think they get it wrong. I just can’t find any evidence for it.”


Finkelstein describes the leadership of J Street as “hopeless”. “It’s simply the loyal opposition. Politically they identify themselves mostly with Kadima.”


Yet he recently clashed with those to the left of J Street, attacking the goals of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions ) movement.


“I’ve written a little book on Gandhi, and one of the significant insights of his is that it’s important not only for your tactics to be perceived as moral, the public also has to see your goal as moral. And the problem with BDS is the ambiguity of the goal. Their official position is: ‘We take no position on [the legitimacy of] Israel.’ While BDS is a legitimate tactic to force Israel to accept the two-state solution, it has to have a just goal, which means it has to include recognition of Israel as a state. I received mostly hostile reactions from the BDS activists, and that’s OK – I am not out there to please.”


Leftist-turned-rightist historian Benny Morris, who gets a whole chapter in the book, said once that “for Finkelstein the only good Israeli is an evil Israeli.” Is he right?


“I don’t claim to know Israel. I don’t speak Hebrew, my contacts are pretty limited. But I didn’t know Vietnam, I didn’t know Nicaragua, El Salvador or Honduras. It doesn’t mean you can’t reach your conclusions.

I don’t study cafe life in Tel Aviv. I visited Israel every year for 16 years until I was denied entrance in 2008. I don’t feel particularly attached to Israel – nationalism, as Noam Chomsky said, is not my cup of tea – but I feel no particular need to demonize it. I do feel a certain amount of disgust, that’s for sure. If my focus was on any other country’s human rights violations, I would be as appalled and disgusted.

It’s just unacceptable, and you can’t make excuses for that with ‘other people do it.’ You probably will find the comparison offensive – it’s like going to my parents in the Warsaw ghetto and asking, what do you think about the Volkswagen? Isn’t it great? Don’t ask people in Iraq or Afghanistan to praise Hollywood, or whether Whitney Houston did a beautiful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”


Why does he put the blame solely on Israel?


“Because I don’t think both sides are equally responsible. If I were a Palestinian I wouldn’t have accepted what was offered at Camp David. On the critical issues, the Palestinians have been willing to make far greater concessions than are required to by [international] law – 60 percent of settlers to remain in place, largest Jerusalem in Israel’s history. How can a rational person conclude that the Palestinians bear responsibility for the non-resolution of this conflict?”


How about the violence against civilians they turned to after Camp David?


“International law says people fighting for self-determination can use force in order to achieve their independence.”


And targeting civilians?


“They do not have the right to target the civilian population. But now more and more Palestinians are turning to various forms of civil resistance and civil disobedience. This tactic of fasting in prison is going to spread.”


“I do not see other reasonable basis for resolution of this conflict other then the international law. What else can you use? To say, I have the rights, and solve it by force? Or based on needs – but who decides what are the needs? Dennis Ross decided Israel needs whatever it says it needs – and the Palestinians get everything that is left over. It’s a political problem, so it’s up to the international community to apply sufficient pressure to Israel to accept this map that is fair, within the parameters of law – and reasonable. And then the conflict can be solved. With the regional changes, there will be pressure applied by Egypt and Turkey however things settle with the Arab Spring, there will be pressure applied by the Palestinians and the international community, that is weary of this conflict, to resolve it on the basis of international consensus,” he said.


(3) Cash for access: for the right donation, you can have dinner with David Cameron


Cash for access: David Cameron under pressure over Lord Gold links to Conservatives


David Cameron is facing calls to replace Lord Gold as head of the “cash-for-access” inquiry, after it emerged the peer had business ties with the Conservative Party’s co-chairman.


By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent


10:00PM BST 30 Mar 2012


Lord Gold was brought in by the Prime Minister to investigate the party’s fund-raising methods after Peter Cruddas, the Conservative co-treasurer, was filmed boasting that top donors could have dinner with the Prime Minister.


However, questions have now been raised over the peer’s links with Lord Feldman, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party, who is in charge of fundraising and was responsible for hiring Mr Cruddas.


Lord Gold was a senior partner at law firm Herbert Smith, which advised Lord Feldman’s family company for many years, until at least 2008. Lord Gold personally acted as a solicitor for the ladieswear company in 1995.


Norman Green, the chief operating officer of Herbert Smith under Lord Gold, has now gone to work for the Conservative Party in the same role.


Last night, Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said the inquiry was “unlikely to have much credibility” with Lord Gold at the helm. …


(4) Lord Gold put in charge of Conservative Party funding probe. One Jewish peer to investigate another


Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 18:04:14 +0800 From: douglas schorr <>


Perhaps Lord Gold is of interest Peter. Your newsletter has previously commented on Jewish funding and lobbying within the Conservative Party … they’re entitled to get money from whoever I guess.Widely known is PM Cameron’s part Jewish ancestry {see} and there were many reports on his affinity for Israel and ‘Jewishness’ when he was in opposition.


Lord Gold put in charge of Conservative Party funding probe


By Jennifer Lipman, March 26, 2012


A Jewish life peer is to oversee the Conservative Party’s investigation into party donations and political influence.


Lawyer Lord Gold of Westcliff-on-Sea has been put in charge of the inquiry, which Prime Minister David Cameron announced following the resignation of Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas.


Mr Cruddas was caught on film by the Sunday Times claiming that high donors would gain influence and an invitation to dinner with Mr Cameron at his flat.


Lord Gold, an LSE graduate and a former senior partner at Herbert Smith, was made a life peer in November 2010. He had previously been a member of David Cameron’s scrutiny committee on the expenses scandal, and also served as chairman of the party’s disciplinary committee.


A member of the Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation, Lord Gold was president of the synagogue for nine years.


Last updated: 1:14pm, March 26 2012


(5) Lord Feldman is Jewish too,_Baron_Feldman


Basil Feldman, Baron Feldman (born 23 September 1923)[1] is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.


Categories:      … British Jews …


This page was last modified on 11 December 2011 at 05:28.


(6) Fenella Feldman is “of Romanian/Russian Jewish descent”


Fenella Fielding (born 17 November 1927)[1]  … is an English actress … known for her seductive image and distinctively husky voice. …


She was born in 1927 as Fenella Feldman in London, of Romanian/Russian Jewish[3] descent, the daughter of Tilly (née Katz; 1902–1977) and Philip Feldman. She is the younger sister of Lord Feldman of Frognal. …


This page was last modified on 18 March 2012 at 18:42.


“£200,000 to £250,000 is Premier League – things will open up for you – you can ask him practically any question you want” – Peter Cruddas


Peter Cruddas (born 1953 in Hackney, North London)[1] is an English banker and businessman, and philanthropist.[2] …


In March 2012 it was alleged by The Sunday Times that he had offered access to the Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Chancellor George Osborne. In The Sunday Times footage Cruddas is heard discussing what access different size donations leads to: “£200,000 to £250,000 is Premier League – things will open up for you – you can ask him practically any question you want.”[4][5] Cruddas resigned the same day.[6]


The undercover journalists were introduced to Cruddas by Sarah Southern, a lobbyist who is David Cameron’s former aide.[9][10][11] The undercover reporters posed as overseas financiers and claimed that their clients intended to buy distressed government assets and wanted to make political connections.[12] …


This page was last modified on 1 April 2012 at 13:17.


(7) Head of Bill Kristol’s lobby group calls on Israeli army to use Palestinian protesters as ‘target practice’


Kristoffer Larsson <>              1 April 2012 19:07


by Philip Weiss on March 31, 2012 14


Bill Kristol is the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, Noah Pollak is the top staffer at the shop. From Pollak’s twitter feed (and thanks to ThinkProgress for spotting it):


Global March to Jerusalem needs a more accurate name, like Global March to Become Target Practice for the IDF.



Pollak has earlier called for “disproportionate force” against Palestinians and forshooting released Palestinian prisoners.


Rachel Abrams is on the board of ECI and has called upon Israel to throw Palestinian children into the sea to be eaten by sharks.


(8) Hundreds of soccer fans crowd Jerusalem mall: ‘Death to Arabs!’


by Annie Robbins on March 24, 2012 76


We’ve missed this and everyone is talking about it: a massive anti-Arab gathering that took place in Israel on Monday. Chanting “Death to Arabs,” hundreds of Beitar soccer fans crowded into a mall in Jerusalem after their team won a match and what spilled out …words escape me:


The Independent:


Hundreds of fans, mostly teenagers, descended on busy Malha Mall, jumping on tables, waving scarves, and chanting “Death to Arabs”.


When a group of fans started to heckle and spit on Palestinian women dining with their children in the food hall, the centre’s Arab cleaning staff rushed to their defence and chased the fans off. But moments later, the fans returned, and started to attack the Arab staff.


“They [the fans] caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,”

Yair, the Jewish owner of a bakery in the shopping centre, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. … One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy.” The brawl might have turned deadly, but food hall staff refused to respond to fans’ demands for knives and sticks. It was only when police arrived 40 minutes later the situation was brought under control.


“I’ve been here many years and I’ve never seen such a thing,” Haaretz quoted Gideon Avrahami, Malha’s director, as saying. “It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible.”


The police defended its failure to make any arrests, saying it had received no complaints from any of the public, a response that drew immediate derision. “No complaints and no arrests. Does this mean riots against Arabs in malls is acceptable behaviour in Israel?” tweeted Joseph Dana, an Israeli blogger.


Shmulik Ben Rubi, a Jerusalem police spokesman, later told The Independent the police would investigate the incident, which might lead to arrests.


After 40 minutes the police arrived.


One commenter at Haaretz noted “if it was skinheads beating Jews the whole world would know about this. ” Joseph Dana and others are questioning the implications of why there have been no arrests.


Lisa Goldman at +972 :


Meanwhile, amongst the Israeli media only Haaretz newspaper published a report about this incident – even though it occurred five days ago. One would think that a major race riot in Jerusalem’s largest shopping mall, patronized by Jews and Arabs alike, would garner some significant local media attention. But no.


More shocking and insidious is the fact that, even though the riot was recorded by the Malha shopping centre’s CCTV cameras, no-one has been arrested. Why not? Well, said the police, because no-one filed a complaint.


Okay, let’s try a little thought experiment here. Imagine that a few hundred Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel rioted at the upscale Ramat Aviv mall in northern Tel Aviv. Imagine that they were fans of the Arab soccer team Bnei Sakhnin, that they waved team jerseys and scarves as they chanted “death to Jews” in Arabic and cursed and spat at some nice middle class Jewish women sipping cappuccinos with their children and sharing pains au chocolat at the Arcaffe. Imagine that they ran around the mall, asking for knives to attack the cleaning staff that was trying to protect the women from being attacked. And that they slammed some of those cleaners into plate-glass shop windows.


Imagine that all of this was was recorded on the Ramat Aviv shopping centre’s CCTV cameras.


And then imagine the police announcing to the media that they had not made any arrests because no-one had filed a complaint.


Yes, I’ve imagined.


There were plenty of warning signs. Remember that this is the truth about Israeli society that Max Blumenthal has sought to convey and that so many denied–stuffing his video, Feeling the Hate. Last month in Newsweek, bureau chief Dan Ephron’s story “No Arabs Allowed” reported “Jerusalem’s favorite football team has hiring policies reminiscent of Apartheid and Jim Crow”.


Israeli football teams started hiring Arabs only in the 1970s; these days they are among the highest scorers in the league. But Beitar, the team of Israel’s capital city, has been a holdout, shunning Arabs even as it hired other non-Jewish players from abroad. “It’s hard to explain the policy as anything but racism,” says Yoav Borowitz, an Israeli journalist who writes regularly about football.


Supporters of the team have a more nuanced explanation. They say the ban is bound up with Beitar’s history and with tensions in Jerusalem, a city where Arabs and Jews live mostly in their own segregated neighborhoods (Israeli Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s population). Until a few years ago, most Israeli football teams were affiliated with political parties. Beitar’s sponsor was the right-wing Likud, the party now headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Though Likud was never an overtly Arab-hating party, Beitar became a magnet for right-wing extremists, who would often shout chants like “Death to Arabs” at players of opposing teams.


How much worse can it get before it gets better? And some still say it’s not apartheid– on both sides of the green line.


About Annie Robbins


Annie Robbins is Writer at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area.


(9) Israel probes football mob attack on Arabs


March 25, 2012 02:21 PM


JERUSALEM: Israeli police said on Sunday that they have opened an investigation into a reported attack by Jewish football fans on a group of Arabs at a Jerusalem shopping mall.


Supporters of Beitar Jerusalem football club last week assaulted Arab employees at the city’s Malcha shopping centre and chanted “death to Arabs,” according to media reports.


“The police opened an inquiry today and they are reviewing CCTV footage from the day to determine whether an incident occurred or not,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.


The incident was first reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Friday, with the daily saying “hundreds” of Beitar Jerusalem fans had crowded into the mall after a match at a nearby stadium on Monday.


Citing eyewitnesses, the newspaper said the fans spat on several Arab women sitting nearby with their children. When Arab employees at the mall tried to intervene, the fans assaulted them, Haaretz said.


The newspaper reported that overwhelmed mall security called the police, and Rosenfeld said forces had responded to the scene “within minutes.”


“We looked around, but the people involved had left the mall. There were no witnesses or people who made complaints, and there were no reports that we were aware of that anyone was injured,” said the police spokesman.


“No investigation was opened at the time, because there were no complaints.


“But, in order to make sure 100 percent, to determine whether or not there were any incidents of any kind, we are investigating, today we are reviewing the CCTV footage,” he added.


The incident has received coverage in several Israeli media outlets since Haaretz reported it on Friday, with commentators questioning why the police failed to arrest or charge anyone.


Fans of the Beitar Jerusalem, which has never had an Arab player, have long been associated with anti-Arab racism, and the team has been sanctioned in the past for the behaviour of its supporters.


(10) Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests


Published 01:25 23.03.12


Latest update 01:25 23.03.12


Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests


Despite CCTV footage, no one arrested after the incident at Malha shopping center on Monday; Jerusalem police say arrests not made because no complaints filed.


By Oz Rosenberg


Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters assaulted Arab cleaning personnel at the capital’s Malha shopping center on Monday, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes. “It was a mass lynching attempt,” said Mohammed Yusuf, a team leader for Or-Orly cleaning services.


Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested. Jerusalem police said that is because no complaint was filed. Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.



An image grab of the incident from security cameras at the mall.



“I’ve never seen so many people,” said A, a shopkeeper. “They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed ‘death to the Arabs,’ waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices.”


Shortly afterward, several supporters started harassing three Arab women, who sat in the food hall with their children. They verbally abused and spat on them.


Some Arab men, who work as cleaners at the shopping center and observed the brawl, came to their rescue. “How can you stand aside and do nothing?” said Akram, a resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter who was one of the cleaners who got involved. CCTV footage shows that they started chasing the rioting youths, wielding broomsticks.


It seemed the workers managed to chase the abusers away, but a few minutes later supporters returned and assaulted them. “They caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” said Yair, owner of a bakery located in the food hall. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. I don’t understand how none shattered into pieces. One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy, and then they had a go at his brother who works in a nearby pizza shop and came to his rescue.”


The attackers also asked Jewish shop owners for knives and sticks to serve as weapons but none consented, witnesses said. Avi Biton, Malha’s security director, sent a force of security guards in an attempt to restore order, but they were outnumbered. He called the police who arrived in large numbers about 40 minutes after the brawl started. At about 10.30 P.M., they evacuated the mall and the management shut its doors.


“I’ve been here for many years and I’ve never seen such a thing,” said Gideon Avrahami, Malha’s executive director. “It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible.”


Biton said that his department would step up security measures when Beitar matches take place. “This event was unusual for Beitar fans,” he said. “We’ve learned our lesson and from now on we’ll make more serious preparations ahead of Beitar games.”


Beitar fans are known for their staunchly anti-Arab positions and have been previously involved in attacks on Arabs.


On Tuesday, a day after the incident, Avrahami gathered the mall workers and apologized to them. “He promised it would never happen again,” said Akram.


Beitar Jerusalem’s management said in a statement that the club “firmly condemns violence and leaves it to the treatment of the authorities.”


(11) Israeli police investigate anti-Arab mob in mall


March 25, 2012


JERUSALEM—Israeli police say they have launched an investigation into reports soccer fans swarmed into a Jerusalem mall chanting anti-Arab slogans and beat Palestinian workers there.


Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says supporters of the Beitar soccer team went to the mall on Monday night after a match.


Video footage posted on YouTube shows dozens of young men dressed in Beitar colors shouting, “Death to Arabs.”


Rosenfeld said Sunday that by the time police arrived the crowd had dispersed.


Witnesses told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that Palestinian mall cleaners were beaten and customers were spat on.


Rosenfeld said no investigation was launched before the Haaretz article stirred a controversy because no one sought medical attention or filed complaints.


Peter Myers

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