By East End Walks
December 14, 2008
Umm el-Fahm is a large Palestinian city within Israel. Its mayor Khaled Hamdan is proud that Israeli Jews always come there and are welcome to Umm el-Fahm: "They walk around Umm el-Fahm. They eat in the restaurants of Umm el-Fahm... This happens every day." Only tomorrow, Jews and Palestinians, will be standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to keep a certain unsavoury group of Jews well away who intend to hold a provocative march through the city.
In a December 7th press release, the municipality of Umm el-Fahm called on all "peace and co-existence seeking people in Israeli society" to stand with them at the entrances of the city on Monday December 15th to protest and "to block the racists." This call has been enthusiastically backed by Gush Shalom (the Peace Bloc), who are organising transport for people to join the protest
The group they are trying to keep out are the "Jewish National Front" - followers of the late and unlamented Rabbi Meir Kahane - led today by Baruch Marzel. According to the Jerusalem Post, Marzel is "a former spokesman of the Kach movement, which was outlawed in 1994 and is considered a terrorist movement by Israel, the United States and the European Union."
Marzel remains defiant. he says: "The land of Israel is ours. And Umm el-Fahm is ours... we won't think twice about going there. We will arrive and we will march."
I suppose it is a timely reminder that no group of people on Earth are immune to the poisonous ideologies of racism and fascism, and a group calling itself the "National Front" doesn't become kosher just by putting the word "Jewish" in front of it. Like the National Front or British National Party here, they should be treated as being as treyf as pork.
Let's hope that after this day Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel will be able to look back with pride and say, "They did not pass" just as Jewish and non-Jewish East Enders could say about Cable Street in 1936.
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