Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Israelis Demonstrate in Afula Against the Sale of a House to an Arab - Arabs barred from entering Afula's municipal park



What Afula Does Openly hundreds of Israeli Jewish Communities do covertly but legally

As Ofer Casif, the Jewish member of Hadash in the Knesset wrote on Twitter, "How would we define a mayor in Europe who would demonstrate against selling a house to a Jewish family?"

The answer is that we would call him a neo-Nazi although according to Labour’s racist Deputy Leader Tom Watson and its Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, we would be guilty of anti-Semitism!  Because the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’, which the Labour Party has adopted, defines comparing Israelis to Nazis as anti-Semitism.
However for most people opposing the sale of a house to someone because of their ethnicity or, in the case of Afula, barring access to its park to people because they are Arabs, is the action of Jewish Nazis.
However we should not be too harsh on Afula.  Unlike Israel’s outraged liberals who are weeping crocodile tears, Afula is not alone.  Hundreds of Jewish communities in the Galilee and elsewhere bar access to non-Jews (and Black Jews), quite legally, under the Receptions Committees Law of 2011. This is reinforced by the Jewish Nation State Law 2018 which specifically endorses ‘Jewish settlement’.
The Jewish only city of Afula - its residents are fighting to keep its 'Jewish character'
These gated communities do not allow Arab Israelis to wander through them and have picnics in their parks.
Nor is it simply the Zionist right.  The Israeli Labour Party and Meretz are both based on Israeli Kibbutzim which have always been Jewish only communities, as have the Moshavim.  Jewish settlement and segregated housing was fundamental to the Labour Zionist policy of Jewish land, labour and produce.

But whereas in most middle class Israeli Jewish communities people are prevented from accessing the land by simply preventing the sale of land, via the Israeli Land Authority and the Jewish National Fund, in Afula, this is not possible. Afula is populated by Israel’s Oriental/Misrahi Jews. The Reception Committee Law doesn’t operate for communities above 700 people.  
The Jewish city of Afula
Afula doesn’t simply consist of JNF and ILA land, some 93% of all Israeli land, but private land.  Hence it is more difficult to prevent Arabs buying property as was the case in Upper Nazareth.  This is why Israeli newspapers can tut tut knowing that no Israeli Arab village has been built since Israel’s formation unlike hundreds of Jewish communities.

What Afula is shining a light on is the Apartheid nature of the Israeli state.  An apartheid state that the Labour Right defends and Corbyn is too timid to call out.  However what the demonstrators in Afula are doing is putting the ‘Jewish’ in the ‘Jewish state’ into practice. They are the honest racists.
The Jewish National Fund owns or controls 93% of Israeli land
Suffice to say that the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and other council officials in Afula were demonstrating against the sale of a house to an Arab.  If these people had been Arabs calling for people  not to sell to Israeli Jews, they would have been arrested immediately, charged with incitement to racial hatred and face imprisonment. 
Arab Israeli poet Dareen Tatour served 5 months in prison for simply writing a poem calling on her people to resist Zionism. Raed Saleh was framed for racial incitement because he mentioned the blood of children in the context of demonstrations in Jerusalem against the attacks on worshippers at the Mosques of Omar and Al-Aqsa.
But to most people the connections between what happened in pre-1939 Nazi Germany and Israel today will be unmistakeable. Arabs are not wanted today in Israel just as Jews were not wanted back then.
Tony Greenstein
Jews are forbidden from entering this town - sign in Nazi Germany

What Netanyahu Sowed, This Northern Israeli City Reaps

Jun 17, 2019 12:36 AM
Slogans regarding the need to “preserve the Jewish character” of a place were once again heard in Afula, during a demonstration on Saturday night held in front of a home that was sold to an Arab family.
These slogans cannot hide the racist division between “our people” and “the others,” between the superior and inferior, between the holy and the unclean, that accompanies a person here from womb to tomb. The way the city fathers embraced the demonstration is indicative of the deepening cooperation between government representatives and avowed promoters of racism like the Lehava organization, whose flag was seen at the protest alongside the Israeli flag.
A demonstration to preserve the 'Jewish character' of Afula
There were several dozen people at the demonstration, including Mayor Eli Elkabetz, Deputy Mayor Shlomo Malihi and members of the city council. The Facebook page Otzma Yehudit Afula – devoted to promoting Otzma Yehudit, the Kahanist faction that contended in the April general election as part of the Union of Right-Wing Parties – called on people to attend the protest.
“Our city is being sold,” the page said. “We must not lend a hand to this and we must not be silent. I ask everyone who can and to whom his country is important to come Saturday night.” In one of the responses, a party activist made the intention clear. “If you don’t wake up, Afula will fall like Upper Nazareth and your daughters will become slaves to the enemy.” As in other times in history, the dissemination of hate focuses on the “violation” of women by “the other.” Itai Cohen, one of the city council members who demonstrated, said the municipality would continue “to make sure the city preserves its Jewish character.”
In Afula’s case, preserving some imaginary purity has turned out to be worthwhile. Like many more veteran politicians than he, Elkabetz has learned to use racist dog whistles to benefit his political career. During the last local election campaign, Elkabetz promised to “preserve the Jewish character of Afula,” participated in demonstrations against selling local homes to Arabs, and on his Facebook page claimed that “the conquest of the city park,” i.e., visits to the park by Arabs from nearby communities, “must stop.”
After his victory, the municipal park was in fact opened several times solely to Afula residents. City council members, as they were sworn in, promised to “preserve the city’s Jewish character.” Last month Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit ruled that this addition to the swearing-in ceremony had no legal standing.
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Afula is a racist mirror of broad sections of Israeli society, the legacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent years in office. The spirit of the nation-state law – the Netanyahu government’s crowning glory – wafts over the Afula demonstration and gives legitimacy to discriminatory, ugly behavior toward Arab citizens. Israel urgently needs local and national leadership that will facilitate ways for Jews and Arabs to live together.


Northern Israeli City Closes Park to Non-residents Over Summer Vacation


Mayor’s campaign ad states ‘Park built for Afula residents must remain theirs. … We must proudly wave Israeli flags in entire park and play music in Hebrew’

Jun 25, 2019 2:09 AM
The northern city of Afula announced Monday it will close its main municipal park to nonresidents over the summer, except on Fridays. In recent years, Afula residents have complained of Arabs from the area using the park, and have protested against Arabs buying homes in the city.
The mayor of Afula, Avi Elkabetz, was responsible for building the park during his previous terms in office from 2005 through 2013. His election campaign last year featured a slogan calling for Afula to maintain its Jewish character. Before he was elected, he took part in protests against the sale of homes in the city to Arabs. After the election, members of the city council were sworn in with an oath that they would protect the Jewish character of the city.
As part of Elkabetz’s election campaign, he wrote the following on Facebook: “The occupation of the municipal park must end. It is not a political issue. It is not an election issue. It is simply a fundamental matter of principle. A park that was built for the residents of Afula needs to remain theirs … We must proudly wave Israeli flags through the entire park and play music in Hebrew,” he wrote.
A week and a half ago, Elkabetz again participated in a protest against the sale of a house in the city to an Arab family.
The city said the municipal park was built with public funds and Afula residents pay for its maintenance. The park will be open to the general public on Fridays for free and during the rest of the week it will serve as a community center in every way, similar to other places around the country that are open to local residents only.
Residents can enter the park for free by showing their ID card and children who don’t have an ID card can purchase a wristband to identify them for a one-time fee of 10 shekels ($2.80). 
The park will be run by the city’s Shakim Afula community centers organization, which posted on its Facebook page on Monday: “Good news for Afula residents,” saying it will produce dozens of community and culture events over the summer vacation, including sporting events, shows, family get-togethers, workshops for children, a small zoo and more. It asked the public to wait patiently until it publishes its full program and details, “and not to believe rumors from unfounded reports.

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