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Purim and Genocidal Phantasies

by Ran HaCohen, March 04, 2013 for antiwar.com

Purim. One of the most popular Jewish holidays among Orthodox, traditional and so-called secular Jewish Israelis alike. The streets are packed with children and adults wearing costumes, make-up and all sorts of masquerading, on their way from one joyous Purim party to the next. Happy days. But behind the carnivalesque masks, ominous demons are lurking.

Tel Aviv, Sunday, February 24th

Hanan Usruf, a 40-year-old Arab sanitation worker for the city, was savagely beaten by some dozen Jewish men. The Jerusalem Post reported that Usruf’s injuries

include a fracture in his right eye socket and deep lacerations on his right ear and across almost his entire head. His vision is blurred in his left eye, but he can make out small numbers and letters, doctors said.

The Times of Israel added that the victim – an Israeli citizen, one should add – attacked by “drunken youth” required dozens of stitches and that doctors were doing their best to save his eye; under his horrendous photo ( http://cdn.timesofisrael.com/uploads/2013/02/Hassan-Ausruf-6... ) in hospital, Usruf is quoted saying that

the youths kicked him and broke bottles on his head while shouting racial epithets at him. "They shouted things like ‘f**kin’ Arab’ and ‘get your own country.’

Jerusalem, Monday, February 25th

Hana Amtir, an Arab woman standing at the tram stop near the central bus station, was attacked by a group of young Jewish women. AFP quotes a (Jewish) eyewitness who took pictures of the attack and documented it on Facebook:

Suddenly shouts were heard, and a group of young religious Jewish women confronted the woman and suddenly a young Jewish woman punched her in the head, […] the rest then joined in, hitting and shoving the Arab woman. The woman tried to fight them off but they shouted at her not to dare touch Jews and they continued as a group to attack her and even forcibly pulled off her head covering, […] the incident was witnessed by a security guard from the rail company and a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students who stood by and did nothing.

Framing

Both events – the lynch in Tel Aviv and the attack in Jerusalem – were reported widely in the Israeli media (separately or even together [Hebrew]), justly framed as hate crimes, sometimes with reference to similar crimes in the recent past. Some public protest followed – a demonstration, petitions and op-eds. However, no report I’ve seen mentioned the fact that both crimes were committed on Purim (24.2), a one-day holiday that lasts a day longer in Jerusalem (24-25.2). At best, one could find the holiday mentioned in passing, for instance in the Times of Israel that also described the Tel Aviv victimizers as drunken: “Police had yet to make any arrests […] After detaining suspects, the police will determine whether the attack was racially motivated, or the action of out-of-hand Purim revelers,” as if racist motivation and Purim revelry were mutually exclusive. But as a rule, Purim was simply ignored as irrelevant.

Is the Jewish holiday really irrelevant? The notion that the attackers were drunken can be easily traced back to the religious duty to get drunk on Purim. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Purim has been identified with Jewish violence (and with accusations of violence against Jews, true or false) for centuries. Just think of the West Bank town of Hebron for example: it was Purim 1981 when Jewish settlers brought down the roof over an Arab upholstery in “Beit Hadassah”, expelling its owner and taking over the house, a crucial step in what has since developed into a full-fledged ethnic cleansing at the heart of the Palestinian town. The settlers’ Purim parades in that city have become a tradition of provocations, with Jewish violence escalating from year to year – culminating in Purim 1994, when a Jewish settler massacred 29 and injured 125 Muslim worshippers in the Cave of the Patriarchs. The butcher joined the settlers’ hall of fame: “Purim in Hebron after 1994 was like Purim in Hebron since 1981, only more so – with a new Jewish hero for Jewish children to dress up as,” writes Israeli historian Prof Elliott Horowitz in his excellent Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (2006, p. 8), that documents the roots and history of Jewish Purim violence (alongside with its anti-Semitic abuses by Christians) from ancient times to the present.

The rest of the story: http://original.antiwar.com/hacohen/2013/03/03/purim-and-gen...

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Sickening. A holiday for beating up Arabs.

Sad those people can't even go to a court of law for justice.