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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Support Ezra Nawi - Defend Palestinian Human Rights

Ezra Nawi is a dedicated and brave Israeli human rights activist. He is also a pacifist, gay and comes from an Iraqi Jewish family. The video (which I don't seem to be able to load!) shows his violent arrest by Israeli troops intent on demolishing the shacks of Palestinian families. You can see the Israeli troops laughing and joking at their work. You could imagine similar scenes of enjoyment as Jewish families were evicted from their houses in the 1940’s as Nazi soldiers looked on whilst sharing a joke.

Following the previous story, I wrote to the Israeli Ministry of Justice and received the reply below. Apparently it was all a question of Ezra Nawi having gone to intimidate the peaceful settlers of south Hebron, thus necessitating his arrest!

We can hear one Israeli soldier describing how his actions were reminiscent of what he had done in Russia. Ezra Nawi tells his laughing tormentors how their actions will only leave a legacy of hate and bitterness as children are left to sleep under the stars.

The identikit response from Advocate Assaf Radzyner informed me and others that Ezra Nawi was convicted for assaulting .two SS sorry Israeli police officers. As anyone who watches the film the only assaults that took place were on the Palestinians and Ezra. So here is demonstrable proof that Israeli courts will turn a blind eye to the criminal actions of the Israeli military whilst being willing to convict on the basis of bogus and evidently false testimony. As the film was available at the court hearing one can draw one’s own conclusions concerning Israeli ‘justice’.

You can contact the Support Ezra Nawi campaign here. and read an article by an Israeli academic Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University.

Tony Greenstein

June 21, 2009
Assaf Radzyner
Israeli Ministry of Justice
Human Rights and Foreign Relations Department,
Sivan 29, 5769
Ref: 894

Dear Mr Radzyner,

Thank you for your letter of explanation in respect of Ezra Nawi.

So, if I understand you correctly, Mr Nawi comes every week to the South Hebron area with the intent and purpose of disturbing the peaceful settlers of the South Hebron area. I wondered whether these are the same settlers I saw on different video films such as the Iron Wall, who regularly throw stones at Palestinian houses, attack their children and cause damage to Palestinian property? Are these the same settlements established by one Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a man not known for his peace-loving intentions?

Is this the same Israeli Police and Military who again have been regularly caught on camera standing idly by when Palestinians in Hebron are attacked, telling international peace observers that they cannot see anything as the stones fly? Oh yes it is well documented that only Palestinian violence is considered a crime whereas settler violence is 'understandable' 'defensive' etc.

Your letter is worthy of the best traditions of spokesmen for European anti-Semitic regimes. They also used to turn a blind eye to anti-Jewish pogromists, whilst of course arresting and beating up those defending themselves. You have learnt your trade well. I would tell you that you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself but of course shame is something you long since forgotten the meaning of.

The Hebron settlers are known as particularly racist and atavistic. It is not for nothing that they have composed the delightful graffitti which I have seen on walls in that area headed 'Arabs to the gas chambers.'

I happened to watch the recording of the arrest of Mr Nawi. I could see no provocation or violence from him, unless it is provocative to the settlers for an Israeli Jew or other human rights supporter to come and defend the indigenous population of the area. What kind of court is it that convicts someone for having been attacked by the Police?

If Mr Nawi was convicted of assaulting 2 police officers when we could clearly see the opposite, it would suggest that when it comes to offences against Palestinians, the Courts are no more than rubber stamps for the occupation authorities, notwithstanding your weasel words. No counsel in the world can convince a court that has already made its mind up.

The wanton and deliberate demolition of the houses or shacks of Bedouins of the area is a war crime in everyone's eyes but your own. What is your excuse? Hamas? But this is the West Bank. It is your theft of land and destruction and racist demolition of Palestinian homes which has fed the violence which you then use as the excuse for more demolitions, confiscation and violence. But then violence is only a term you apply to Palestinians.

Israel should not be surprised at its increasing political isolation. My own trade union has just voted to support a boycott of Israeli products. Most people don't take kindly to demolishing the homes of Palestinian residents in the West Bank and the wanton attacks by settlers and Israel's armed forces on defenceless people.

Clearly Israeli government spokespersons have learnt well from their anti-Semitic forebears.
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Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein
Brighton & Hove UNISON


Joan Nestle said...

Thank you, Tony. I am a 69 year old Jewish lesbian woman--a member of Women in Black in NYC and here in Melbourne Australia,who has stood with Israeli peace activists in Haifa and Jerusalem. I also write about the horrors of the occupation and the growing international voices of concern and and and I do see a connection between histories of marginalization. Joan Nestle

Tony Greenstein said...

Hi Joan, nice to hear from you. Women in Black has an excellent history of support for the Palestinians and opposition to racism.

It's good to see that people in the gay communities are coming out in opposition to what is happening because a lot of the most prominet voices - like Andrea Dworkin - identified with Israel because, well, they were white. There are some in Outrage (but not Peter Tatchell) who are similarly motivated here.

It's also great that Ezra Nawi is getting such publicity, not least from the New York Times, which I think is indicative that there is beginning to be a move away from blind support for whatever Israel does. From small acorns large oak trees grow!

What I didn't mention as I thought it would take up too much space is the fact that Ezra's Palestinian partner was arrested and jailed for living in Israel with his partner, absolutely outrageous racism and has been arrested again. So much for equal rights in Israel!

best wishes,