(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that the violent protests that have erupted in Israel in recent days by Ethiopian Israelis protesting against racism and discrimination have “exposed an open, bleeding wound in the heart of Israeli society.”
In clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police forces in Tel Aviv, protesters hurled stones and bottles at police officers, overturned a police vehicle, and forced the shutdown of a highway. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons. More than 60 people have been wounded and 40 arrested, according to the Associated Press.
Rivlin acknowledged the grievances of the Ethiopian Israeli community, which numbers about 120,000 people and whose members began immigrating to Israel 30 years ago, and said Israel was seeing “the pain of a community crying out over a sense of discrimination, racism, and of being unanswered.”
“We must look directly at this open wound. We have erred. We didn’t look, and we didn’t listen enough,” he said. “We aren’t strangers to one another, we are brothers, and we must not deteriorate into a place we will all regret.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there is “no room for violence and disturbances like these,” but also met with representatives from the Ethiopian community and with Israel Defense Forces soldier Damas Pakada, who was beaten by two police officers in an incident that was caught on film, in order to foster dialogue about the issue and calm tensions. The incident with Pakada is being compared to how the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore sparked protests in that city.
Al Jazeera America Responds to Allegations of Anti-Semitism
(JNS.org) Al Jazeera America, the cable news operator which is funded by the government of Qatar, has responded to allegations by a former employee that a top executive engaged in anti-Semitic, anti-American, and sexist behavior.
“Al Jazeera America does not tolerate any discriminatory conduct and we take great pride in the diversity of our organization and its leadership,” Al Jazeera CEO Ehab Al Shihabi said in a statement. “The recent attacks on us as being anti-Semitic, sexist and anti-American are absurd.
Al Jazeera America’s values are based on the highest ethical standards and professionalism. Integrity and respect guide our conduct internally and externally.”
Matthew Luke, who was fired from Al Jazeera America in February, filed a $15 million lawsuit for alleged wrongful termination in retaliation for his complaints regarding Al Jazeera America executive Osman Mahmud, USA Today reported.
Luke claimed that Mahmud purposely excluded women from emails and meetings relevant to their assignments as well as making anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks. Additionally, Luke alleged that Mahmud sought to replace an Israeli cameraman with a Palestinian one.
Launched two years ago, Al Jazeera America has some of the lowest ratings in cable news, drawing only 30,000 viewers a night.
Meanwhile, a top Al-Jazeera America executive, Marcy McGinnis, said that she is resigning from her position over disagreements on the decisions and direction set forth by Al Shihabi, according to her resignation letter, CNN Money reported. Two other executives at the network, Diana Lee, vice president of human resources, and Dawn Bridges, executive vice president of communications, also resigned last week.