Column: From Jerusalem to Harlem: What intersectionality?

The black community will protest police and vigilante-like killings of African-Americans; the ongoing violence within black neighborhoods; criminal trials that resemble kangaroo courts; and over such issues as voter suppression, schools and housing.

Rioting over metal-detectors, though, has not emerged in the Black community’s struggle for social justice.

Yet in 2017, 5,400 miles to the east, Israel proposed installing metal detectors outside the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, and that move set off violence leaving several people dead, The New York Times reported. Israel dropped the plan, but a fatal shooting in Jerusalem last Sunday prompted Israeli minister Yoaz Hendel to revive the concept.

Sunday’s tragedy offers an opportunity to test the trending theory of intersectionality: That Palestinians in Israel and racial minorities in America suffer similar if not identical persecution and oppression. When news broke Sunday that a Palestinian man murdered 26-year-old Eliyahu Kay and wounded four other Israelis near the Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, I searched for comparisons of concerns between Palestinians in Israel and racial minorities in the United States.

There were none.

Instead, Palestinians veered in mostly different directions from that of racial minorities in America. In the example above, metal detectors have been installed in airports, schools and courthouses throughout our nation without triggering violent outbursts. Metal detectors annoy us all, but all of us understand that detectors are needed to provide security.

Of course, it is those plotting shooting sprees who would most likely object to the detectors – like Fadi Abu Shkhaydem, a 42-teacher from the eastern section of Jerusalem who fired an automatic gun near the Aqsa compound shortly after 9 a.m. in an alley outside the site, according to the Times. Kay, a tour guide at the Western Wall, was killed by a shot to the head, a second civilian was moderately wounded and two police officers and a third civilian were lightly wounded; the compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Abu Shkhaydem was shot dead by security officers seconds after the shooting, the Times reported. A Hamas-owned television channel identified him as a senior leader of Hamas in Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem.

While Hamas praised him, as they do most Palestinian terrorists, racial minorities in America are not in the habit of cheering their own people who kill white people. They do raise their voices when police kill one of their own and they are roused when a perceived white vigilante guns down activists at a demonstration for racial justice and is not held responsible for any of his actions; in Kenosha, Wisc., the two victims who were killed and the one who was wounded were all white.

Also, racial minorities here have not sought full control of the religious sites of others, as the Palestinians do with the Temple Mount. Black congregations have purchased buildings that housed synagogues in changing neighborhoods. Native Americans have been upset about mistreatment of their burial grounds, but they have made no demands to seize cemeteries.

In Philadelphia, where I live, there are tensions among ethnic groups, but I have heard of no organized movement to drive whites like myself into the Delaware River. In the Middle East, a substantial segment of Palestinians hope to drive all Israeli Jews into the Mediterranean.

In this incident, the killer was employed in a professional position. That indicates he was not rebelling against poverty directly affecting his status, which is a prevalent condition for racial minorities in America.

On Palestinian Media Watch’s website, Maurice Hirsch writes, “The terror attack yesterday in Jerusalem’s Old City is a prime example of the alternative reality the Palestinian Authority attempts to create, with the goal of demonizing Israel and whitewashing terror.”

The Philadelphia Tribune, which serves the city’s Black community, is a fairly good newspaper that is not known for publishing lies and distortions, and its practices appear to differ from the WAFA news agency operated by the Palestinian Authority.

WAFA’s report opens with the death of Abu Shkhaydem at the hands of “Israeli occupation forces” while ignoring his shooting rampage. The four-paragraph report ends with this passage: “The Israeli Police claimed that Abu Shukhedem opened gunfire on police officers killing one of them and injuring three, the condition of two of whom were described as serious.”

Remember: Kay was not a police officer; he was a tour guide.

“In its attempts to distort reality, the PA never recognizes that Palestinians are terrorists,” writes PMW’s . Hirsch. “Similarly, it never recognizes that Palestinian terrorists murder innocent civilians. As a means to attribute a modicum of moral decency from the point of view of the PA, Palestinians only attack ‘occupation soldiers,’ ‘occupation policemen’ or ‘settlers’.”

 So, does this mean that Palestinians have nothing in common with Native- , African-Americans or any other racial minorities in America? There are some similarities, and Israel does make mistakes in its relations with the Arabs, but the overriding obstacles are their leadership and themselves.

If the Palestinians as a society cared about social justice, they would have compromised with Israel decades ago. In America, racial minorities have vainly sought to work with those who hold power over them. No small difference.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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