By Chen Artzi Sror, Y Net News
The young members of the community stand alone crying out against racism and injustice because unlike the protest movements of the recent past, the politicians, artists and agents of the establishment are unwilling to show real support.
When the LGBTQ community was fighting for the right to have children through surrogacy, major Israeli companies joined in and offered financial and moral support.
When settlers protested against their removal from homes built on private Palestinian land, politicians stood by them shoulder to shoulder – busily legislating laws to help them.
When young Israelis took to the streets to protest the rising cost of living, left-wing politicians and performing artists rushed to their side.
Teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers all have the labor unions behind them, but who supports the fight against racism? It turns out, no one.
When we condescendingly announced “the Ethiopians lost us” after causing hours-long traffic jams, we are not being truthful. They never had us to begin with.
Traffic blocked in Tel Aviv during Ethipian community protests(Photo: Aviah Gantz)
This was always “their” protest, with no white people involved, not really of any interest and not really taken seriously.
When Ethiopians are absent from the corridors of power, there is no need to share power with them and that is a formula that has been proven time and again.
After years of neglect, lack of leadership or support, and complete indifference to the cries of the Israeli Ethiopian community, the injustice has now erupted in our faces.
This is not a battle for perception or public opinion, and persuasion is not the objective.
This is a blood-curling cry of a wounded and abandoned community that has nothing to lose by adopting violence. Being polite has gotten them nowhere.
Our discontent over their actions will not make them stop. On the contrary, it is likely to compound their anger.
Black Panther protests in the 1970s (Photo: David Rubinger)
Just like the late prime minister Golda Meir branded the North African Israeli activist group Black Panthers in the 1970s “not nice”. There can certainly be a direct line drawn from those protests to this one.
Instead of standing on the side lines offering comments and advice, the right thing would be to listen to this wake-up call and ask how we have arrived at this point again? And what can we do to create real unity in our society?
I would have liked to see these young people who were blocking the intersections meeting with members of Knesset or government ministers while performing artists sang Kumbaya in the background.
I would have liked to see those dignitaries on the streets, looking the young demonstrators in the eye, listening, offering to help, offering their voices.
I would have liked us all to be committed enough to demand equality and justice instead of branding this the Ethiopian community’s battle, and instead calling it what it is – an Israeli battle against racism.
Source Y Net News