Interview by Jen Marlowe for the Nation: “What a week of Extremist Violence Reveals About Israel.”

”…Moriel Rothman-Zecher, an Israeli activist and blogger, was marching in the parade. A few hundred meters ahead, he saw the crowd scatter and begin to scream. He heard someone call out that people had been stabbed.

“We went to sleep shaken up, mourning, horrified and praying for the people who were stabbed in Jerusalem,” Rothman-Zecher said. “And then to wake up and hear that a family had been badly burned and their tiny baby had been murdered in the West Bank, it felt immediately very connected.” Maayan Dak, an Israeli lesbian activist against the occupation, and the co-coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace, agreed. “In a society that is so far away from tolerance, this is what you get. You get extreme settlers attacking people in South Hebron Hills, you get people burning schools, you get people burning babies alive, you get stabbing at Pride parade.”

As the days pass, however, Rothman-Zecher finds it increasingly important not to lump the two incidents together. “The most important context for the West Bank killing is the occupation,” Rothman-Zecher emphasized. “The occupation, by virtue of it being a system of inequality, has as its basis the view that Palestinian lives are less valuable than Jewish lives.”

Yet Dak and Rothman-Zecher both point to a near universal condemnation of both attacks from the vast majority of Israeli society as a common, optimistic thread. “I do think there’s a real value that there’s this outpouring of societal compassion, and this across-the-board condemnation of bigoted violence in response to both murders,” says Rothman-Zecher. “The next step is that it becomes incumbent upon the organized political left to take this real compassion and real anger and help channel it against all forms of discrimination…”

Read the whole piece here.

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