Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Longest Hatred

Reporter feels mob's hate in the Holy City

'Humiliated and degraded'

By Anne Barker

ABC News July 6, 2009 (updated July 7)

JERUSALEM -- ABC's Middle East correspondent Anne Barker became caught
in violent street protests involving ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem at
the weekend. This is her graphic account of her ordeal.

As a journalist I've covered more than my share of protests. Political
protests in Canberra (Australia). Unions protesting for better
conditions. Angry, loud protests against governments, or against
perceived abuses of human rights.

I've been at violent rallies in East Timor. I've had rocks and metal
darts thrown my way. I've come up against riot police.

But I have to admit no protest - indeed no story in my career - has
distressed me in the way I was distressed at a protest in Jerusalem on
Saturday (July 4) involving several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews. This
particular protest has been going on for weeks.

Orthodox Jews are angry at the local council's decision to open a
municipal carpark on Saturdays - or Shabbat, the day of rest for Jews.

It's a day when Jews are not supposed to do anything resembling work,
which can include something as simple as flicking a switch, turning on a
light or driving.

So even opening a simple carpark to accommodate the increasing number of
tourists visiting Jerusalem's Old City is highly offensive to Orthodox
Jews because it's seen as a desecration of the Shabbat, by encouraging
people to drive.

I was aware that earlier protests had erupted into violence on previous
weekends - Orthodox Jews throwing rocks at police, or setting rubbish
bins alight, even throwing dirty diapers or rotting rubbish at anyone
they perceive to be desecrating the Shabbat.

But I never expected their anger would be directed at me.

I was mindful I would need to dress conservatively and keep out of
harm's way. But I made my mistake when I parked the car and started
walking towards the protest, not fully sure which street was which. By
the time I realised I'd come up the wrong street it was too late.

I suddenly found myself in the thick of the protest - in the midst of
hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in their long coats and sable-fur hats.
They might be supremely religious, but their behavior - to me - was far
from charitable or benevolent.

As the protest became noisier and the crowd began yelling, I took my
recorder and microphone out of my bag to record the sound. Suddenly the
crowd turned on me, screaming in my face. Dozens of angry men began
spitting on me.

Spit like rain

I found myself herded against a brick wall as they kept on spitting - on
my face, my hair, my clothes, my arms.

It was like rain, coming at me from all directions - hitting my
recorder, my bag, my shoes, even my glasses.

Big gobs of spit landed on me like heavy raindrops. I could even smell
it as it fell on my face.
Somewhere behind me - I didn't see him - a man on a stairway either
kicked me in the head or knocked something heavy against me.

I wasn't even sure why the mob was angry with me. Was it because I was a
journalist? Or a woman? Because I wasn't Jewish in an Orthodox area? Was
I not dressed conservatively enough?

In fact, I was later told, it was because using a tape-recorder is
itself a desecration of the Shabbat even though I'm not Jewish and don't
observe the Sabbath.

It was lucky that I don't speak Yiddish. At least I was spared the
knowledge of whatever filth they were screaming at me.

As I tried to get away I found myself up against the line of riot police
blocking the crowd from going any further.

Israeli police in their flak jackets and helmets, with rifles and
shields, were yelling just as loudly back at the protesting crowd. I
found them something of a reassurance against the angry, spitting mob.

I was allowed through, away from the main protest, although there were
still Orthodox Jews on the other side, some of whom also yelled at me,
in English, to take my recorder away. Normally I should have stayed on
the sidelines to watch the protest develop.

But when you've suffered the humiliation and degradation of being spat
on so many times - and you're covered in other people's spit - it's not
easy to put it to the back of your mind and get on with the job. I left
down a side street and walked the long way back to the car, struggling
to hold back the tears. (End quote)

Read JUDAISM DISCOVERED by Michael Hoffman

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Anne, Welcome to Israel dim-wit!

Khamas goy said...

go to jewtube, i mean youtube and search'how jews treat christians in israel'


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