23 March 2012
The video shows a large crowd, some wearing the colors of the Jerusalem Beitar football team, whose fans are notorious for their ultra-nationalism and racism shouting “mavet la ‘aravim” – death to the Arabs – in Hebrew. The chant can be heard at 2:30 and 5:21 in the video.
Haaretz reported on the mob attack earlier today – four days after the incident – in a story headlined “Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests”:
Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters assaulted Arab cleaning personnel at the capital’s Malha shopping center on Monday, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes. “It was a mass lynching attempt,” said Mohammed Yusuf, a team leader for Or-Orly cleaning services.
Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested. Jerusalem police said that is because no complaint was filed. Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.
“I’ve never seen so many people,” said A, a shopkeeper. “They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed ‘death to the Arabs,’ waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices.”
Shortly afterward, several supporters started harassing three Arab women, who sat in the food hall with their children. They verbally abused and spat on them.
Some Arab men, who work as cleaners at the shopping center and observed the brawl, came to their rescue. “How can you stand aside and do nothing?” said Akram, a resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter who was one of the cleaners who got involved. CCTV footage shows that they started chasing the rioting youths, wielding broomsticks.
It seemed the workers managed to chase the abusers away, but a few minutes later supporters returned and assaulted them. “They caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” said Yair, owner of a bakery located in the food hall.
“Death to the Arabs” chant common
Unchecked racism against Arabs is endemic in Israeli soccer. “In the late 1990s and onwards, ‘Death to the Arabs’ became a common chant in almost every football [soccer] stadium in Israel” wrote Amir Ben-Porat, a professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben Gurion University in an academic article I quoted in a piece I wrote in 2008. Ben-Porat, who authored a study on the use of the chant, says that because of the importance of soccer in Israeli society and its high profile in the media, “This chant is heard far beyond the stadium” (Amir Ben-Porat, “Death to the Arabs: the right-wing fan’s fear,” Soccer & Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, pp. 1-13).
On last year’s “Jerusalem Day,” an Israeli government sponsored ultra-nationalist festival, hordes of Israeli youths were also caught on video marching through eastern occupied Jerusalem chanting “Death to the Arabs” and “Muhammad is dead.”
The shocking incident at Malha Mall is an indicator of how far it has spread. Malha Mall is built near the ruins of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of al-Maliha.
With thanks to Storyful for highlighting the video:
Permalink Nora Lester Murad (in Palestine) replied on
This is the mall where we always shop. Seems like half of the customers and workers there are Arab. I have let my children hang out in this mall alone! Not again. That there were no arrests! Where was security? I just am horrified.
Israeli mob in shopping mall
Permalink rainintheface replied on
This show Israelis for the Fascists that they are. These "people" are no better then the KKK or any other gang of racist bully boys.
Except that had a similar
Permalink Gin replied on
Except that had a similar number of KKK stormed a US shopping mall chanting similar obscenities it would be worldwide news.
Permalink Morton Nadler replied on
Murderous football mobs are notorious over the whole world. Think of Manchester fans stabbing French fans some years ago, rampages in Brazil this year. It's too bad these hooligans are Israeli. That no arrests have been made reflects on the inherent apartheid character of the Israeli theo/demo/cracy. Lynching is alive and a threat to all. I am reminded of our own Trayvon Martin, just the latest victim.
night of broken glass
Permalink michael hall replied on
This is very similar to the 'Night of Broken Glass'...Racism at its most odious and vile...
Israeli football fans
Permalink Donald Reinseth replied on
If only American TV would allow these things to be seen, I'm sure there is something left in the morality of our country that would start to speak out.
Permalink Estbd 2012 replied on
In the title of this blog entry, please change "that" to "then."