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Feb-26-2011 19:53printcomments

Israel's Own People Increasingly Targeted by Jewish State

One of Israel's activists for humanity takes a soldier's rifle butt to the cheek; is it time now for the People's Revolution of Israel?

Sahar Vard
Sahar Vard

(HEBRON / SALEM) - We write constantly about Israel's abuse of the Palestinian people, but we are infuriated on an equal scale when Israel ratchets up the violence against its own citizens and also toward American Jews like Emily Henochowicz; who Israeli soldiers deemed fit for a nearly point-blank tear gas canister blast in the face last year. It cost her an eye.

Emily Henochowicz's injury in Israel

Today we're talking about 20-year old Israeli activist Sahar Vardi; whose appearance was marred on this occasion by the actions of an Israeli soldier, who drove the butt of the rifle into her face.

A friend from Israel who advised Salem-News.com of the event and sent the photo of young Sahar, said, "Israelis who believe in justice and other such mundane things are no less enemies of our soldiers than are Palestinians, and are therefore also targets."

As Ha'aretz relates, Sahar Vardi was dubbed a traitor and the daughter of a traitor by far-right groups in Israel. Her father is Amiel Vardi, a researcher and lecturer in classics at the Hebrew University. He is one of the founders of Ta'ayush, an Arab and Jewish political activist group that demonstrates on the issue of mass detentions of Palestinians that also engages in humanitarian aid activity. His reward for trying to help Palestinian farmers reach their vineyards during the grape harvest was a bullet from an Israeli settler.

This seems only to have increased the determination of the father and his daughter in their struggle against the injustice, discrimination and denial of rights that are the Palestinians' daily lot, - Ha'aretz wrote.

Emily Henochowicz-US   Omer Goldman-Israel   Jonathan Pollak-Israel     Gila Svirsky-Israel           Hedy Epstein-US

Ha'aretz article: So what's it like being called an Israel-hater?

Ha'aretz: What's it like being called someone who brings trouble to Israel?

Sahar Vardi: Well, of course it's a little scary and it's not true either. Everything I do is because I care and because I want to continue living here, and because I believe that there is injustice and we have to fight it to change the situation.

Ha'aretz: What motivates you aside from optimism?

Sahar Vardi: My sense of responsibility. I'm responsible for the injustice because I pay taxes to the government that uses them in such a misguided way. And also because although I didn't vote for the parties in the coalition, I'm responsible for the government because I'm a citizen of the State of Israel.

Ha'aretz: When did you begin political activity?

Catch the rest of the Ha'aretz interview here: Sahar Vardi interview

Sahar shares a common past with Israel citizens Omer Goldman and Jonathan Pollak; she was imprisoned for refusing to take part in Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine. Part of the Shministim group, she was beaten during the demonstration in Hebron/el Halil two days ago.

Israel's all-draft military is increasingly looking like a misfit batch of kids who have no business in the army, war criminals and pathetic cowards. Their standards are lower than third-world countries and the IDF is like a band of ruthless boy scouts next to polished military groups like the US Marines or Army Special Forces.

But the bottom line is that they commit war crimes constantly and they operate as if beyond reproach, and it is both sickening and alarming in the 21st Century.

These acts of the Israeli government are matched by increasing levels of prejudice toward darker complected Jewish Israeli citizens. Of course it all centers around decades of Israel's illegal occupation and brutal treatment of Palestinian people, for whom Israel creates separate criminal laws and statutes of punishment.

Bigotry and prejudice have no bounds in this world and when a society like Israel is literally based around a supreme race philosophy, one they call 'Zionism' that calls for the displacement of an entire culture, terrible things are unavoidable, and the list of victims widens.

When it comes to the Israeli people, you have a long list of incredible human beings, and many are associated with Salem-News.com or have been the subject of our reports. You've read their names and in many cases, their words on Salem-News.com.

If you are a regular visitor then you probably know about Israeli writer and peace activist Gila Svirsky, who we have conducted an extensive video interview with, and you have read the accounts of Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein a woman of indescribable bravery who regularly rallies for the freedom of Palestine.

We also cover other activities like the Jewish Boat to Gaza and the actions of Israeli heroes who do what they can to help Palestine like Richard Kuper.

Writers like Neve Gordon regularly battle hostile forces in Israel as they deliver the truth. One of the most outspoken critics of Israel in the world is our own writer and dear friend, Gilad Atzmon, who was born in Israel.

A voice of reason in the American Jewish community is our writer, the esteemed Dr. William Barth, who always writes on our behalf when pro-Israel groups attack Salem-News.com with their baseless 'anti-semitism' accusations.

Those false charges of racism are the last defense of people who advocate a violent eradication of human beings, an entire culture; the Palestinians who have lived in the region for hundreds of years. That is Israel's goal. It isn't the goal of every Israeli person, and it doesn't always have to be the policy of Israel, but it goes on, even worsening by the way in 2011.

Artwork by the amazing Carlos Latuff, friend
of Salem-News.com located in Rio de Janeiro.
To see more of his work, visit: Latuff Gallery

Sahar Vardi's having been hit in the face by an IOF soldier with the butt of his rifle, unfortunately, is not a unique event, even for an Israeli. She was taking part in the international "Open Shuada Street" campaign, which also took place in other places around the globe on 25 February 2011.

Activists and organizations from around the world joined together in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Hebron/ al Khaleel, through local protests that demand for the opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an End to the Occupation.

Courageous young women like Sahar Vardi probably do instill incredible fear in Israelis who have wrapped themselves around an isolationist concept. They fear the people they oppress and can't comprehend why other members of their society speak out; it is not any new type of story.

Even if Israel's hostility toward these people simple stopped; if the settlement building halted; if the bulldozing of Palestinian family's homes ended and the sniper towers and walls came down, and protestors were suddenly allowed to simply state their point, then the healing could begin.

It is all within Israel's grasp. The best thing in the world would be for thousands of Israeli people to rise up and force Netanyahu out of office and rid the Knesset of warmongers. Rise up Israel!

_________________________________________________________

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 76 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Robert Benson February 26, 2011 10:56 pm (Pacific time)

Nice work! Thank you for the perspective. The Israeli Army sounds like some California Municipal Police Officers...shoot who you want and let the attorneys "clean' it up.

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