Jul 6, 2014

Heartbreak in Israel : Blaming the victim as gay

Grieving parents of Mohamed Abu Khdeir

The recent abductions and murder of three Israeli teens, followed by the abduction and burning of 16 year old Mohamed Abu Khdeir has shocked the world. The following are some disjointed notes I've put together.

The case of murdered Mohamed Abu Khdeir is tragic enough in its own terms, but I became alerted to this aspect of the  case with reports Israeli police were first spreading rumors the boy was 'gay,' and had suffered a homophobic retaliation attack - instead, as is now being admitted, he was the victim of a revenge by Israeli extremists killing in retaliation for the murder of the three teenage Israelis last week. Now his  visiting American cousin has fallen victim to the same hideous brutality. He was savagely beaten by Israel police, who claim he was 'intending' to throw rocks, but not actually doing so. 

First the "gay" report:

Taken from Richard Silverstein's blog:

Yesterday night, I noticed severalIsraeli Facebook users infecting myfeed with false claims that Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the 16 year-old who was murdered by suspected Jewish terrorists, was killed in an honor crime because he was gay.  With the help of an Israeli friend, I traced the rumor to, of all places, the Israeli police (Hebrew).  They leaked (Hebrew) this false information to the media, which dutifully reported it as if it was true (it wasn’t).  The police claim (made anonymously of course) that it had “information” Abu Khdeir was gay was false.  But this calumny spread like the wind, and a credulous Israeli public eager to believe the worst of Palestinians and refusing to take any responsibility for their own brethren spilling the blood of a Palestinian, took to social media like a raging plague and spread this bile everywhere.

This is the proverbial “blaming the victim” tactic often used by accused rapists and their defense attorneys.  But this is worse because the victim in this case is dead and the fellow citizens of the accused killers refuse to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the murder.  They want to wipe it out because they hate Palestinians and believe them undeserving of sympathy.
This Haaretz report (pictured on right) by Nir Hasson and Jack Khoury documents the fraud and conveys the angry response of the victim’s family:
Our family is not involved in any dispute and he was a good boy.  this is not a family problem.  It is a kidnapping [now murder] and everyone must know this.
You can read the rest at Richard Silverstein's wonderful blog,  which I can't recommend too highly.

Tikun Olam-תיקון עול

And now the story of Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15 year old cousin of Mohamed Abu Khdeir

(Warning, the video is very graphic!)

The Palestinian youth who was caught on video earlier this week being beaten by members of the Israeli Border Police is a United States citizen from Florida, the U.S. State Department confirmed on Saturday. 

The US teenager was kept in custody by police for seven hours and denied all medical attention - until his father showed up with the boy's American passport. That suddenly changed everything - and as the proverbial expression goes, the shit hit the fan. 

You can watch this video here at Al Jazeera in which an Israeli police spokesperson attempts to justify the arrest of the boy - but unfortunately we have the video footage of his savage merciless beating - which goes on and on and on and on. Very painful to watch. As the father says, "No mercy." 

Before receiving medical attention.

So as not to unduly sensationalize the event, here he is some 24 hours after the beating and after receiving medical attention - so it's some relief to realize the injuries will not mar his face permanently. But I've rarely been so shocked as I was watching the Israeli police mercilessly beating and beating this 15 year old child, and then justifying it as "he was intending to throw rocks."

Full coverage from the New York Times with two different versions of the video. 

I don't really have the heart to editorialize on these tragic events, except to point out that homophobia is alive and well in Israel. But here is a voice of conscience I truly respect - whom the UK's Independent calls "The Most Hated Man in Israel or the Most Heroic."  A really excellent in depth article. 

The great Israeli journalist, Gordon Levy, lamenting the state of his country: Our Wretched Jewish State.

Here is Tarek, looking like an ordinary happy hip teenager - replete with the essential accessory of all teens -  earphones.  His visit marked the first time his American branch of the family had visited Palestine in over ten years.

Tarek Abu Khdeir before his injuries. (Photo provided and published with consent from the Abu Khdeir family)
Tarek Abu Khdeir before his injuries. (Photo provided and published with consent from the Abu Khdeir family)