Israelis, including at least one person identifying himself as a soldier, reacted with genocidal joy on Facebook to the horrifying news this morning that 17 Palestinians returning from a pilgrimage had been killed in a bus accident in Jordan and dozens more injured. Early reports had put the number of dead at 14.
According to The Jordan Times, the accident occurred as the bus descended toward the Jordan Valley “and slammed into a passenger vehicle causing it to overturn. The bus then slammed into a truck and the two vehicles crashed resulting in the deaths and the high number of injuries.”
Israelis overjoyed at horrifying deaths
“I couldn’t ask for a better morning than this,” wrote Facebook user Kobi Yaacov Saroussi under an item about the accident on the Facebook page of Israel’s Channel 2, “Shame there isn’t another zero at the end [of the number of victims].”
There were dozens more similar comments. Facebook user Demri Alice wrote “Finally it’s possible to ‘Like’ something,” to which she added a smiley face.
Many were brief. Tomer Reuven simply commented “Very good.”
“Great! Let’s hope everyone on the bus was an Arab!” said Eitan Wolfer Eifergan.
“I’ve never tolerated Arabs,” wrote Kobi Noga, “I’m an extreme rightist. We should kill them all.”
Shenhav Sharbit, using the perjorative term “arboushim” – roughly the equivalent of the N-word – said Arabs could “all die” and that was “all good.”
Golani Brigade soldier: “May all Arabs die … I am a proud racist.”
Among the most horrifying of the many horrifying comments were those of Chen Shaptiban who, based on a photo on his Facebook page, appears to be a member of the Israeli army’s notorious “Golani brigade” which was recently in the news because some of its members have posted shocking photographs on Instagram. One of Shaptiban’s reactions to the road accident was this:
May all Arabs die. There is no place for Arabs in the land of Israel. Maybe it sounds terrible to some people in north Tel Aviv, but they too do not deserve to live in this state, and yes, I am a proud racist, proud of my state and the soldiers guarding it!
Objections to racism shut down with more racist abuse
Some Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews objected to the pervasive racism. Facebook user Marwan Momo, for example, wrote, “You keep crying Holocaust Holocaust but look how you talk!”
Gilad Kapeliuk wrote, “The sickening racism does not surprise me …. I’m ashamed to be part of this nation.”
But Avigail Mishaiv replied to Kapeliuk, “Gaza is waiting for you with open arms. You can go and be proud over there.
Golani soldier Shaptiban also retorted, “Gilad, you leftists are the cancer in the state, traitors to the state, the garbage of Israeli society.”
Regev Cohen, responding to another Facebook user, whom he addressed with a homophobic epithet, wrote, “All the terrorists in the world, all the fucking martyrs, who are they? Arabs and Muslims” before referring to Arabs as “barbarians” and “human waste.”
Ori Avraham reacted to criticism of the racist statements from a user called “Irit” by telling her, “Do you know what the biggest dream of the Muslims is? To exterminate all the Jews by any means, so be quiet.”
Not an isolated incident
It is important to emphasize that the racist comments in this incident were not rare or exceptional, but numerous and pervasive.
While the comments above were collected from the Facebook page of Israel’s Channel 2, many similar racist comments could be seen just as frequently under the news item about the crash on the Facebook page of Walla! News, another major Israeli media outlet.
Nor is this an isolated incident. The Electronic Intifada has previously documented numerous examples of Israelis expressing shocking racism and calls for racist and genocidal violence on Facebook.
Today’s disgusting comments are also reminiscent of what happened when some Israelis expressed delight after a number of Palestinian children were killed in a bus accident in February last year.
It is also notable that while the habitual expressions of joy by Israelis at the deaths and suffering of Palestinians go largely unremarked, an Egyptian activist, Samira Ibrahim, was the focus of worldwide condemnation recently after her nomination for a White House award was withdrawn when it came to light that she had expressed joy on Twitter at the deaths of Israelis in the July 2012 bombing of a bus in the Bulgarian resort town of Burgas among other objectionable and racist comments.
Words lead to killing
This shocking and pervasive racism is not harmless. Many of those expressing it are members of Israeli occupation forces who hold immense power over the Palestinian population.
In at least one case we know about, an Israeli occupation “border policeman,” Maxim Vinogradov, had expressed a desire on Facebook to assist in “annihilating” Arabs just one week before he shot dead Palestinian father Ziad Jilani at a checkpoint in eastern occupied Jerusalem, a killing for which Jilani’s family continues to seek justice.