The Electronic Intifada / May 20, 2021
Two mainstream Israeli radio journalists last week incited violence targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel in Lydd – Lydda in English – a city renamed in Hebrew as Lod after its ethnic cleansing in 1948.
Readers should be aware that this article will report on profane and violent language, including references to sexual violence.
Asked by a Palestinian guest phoning in to their radio show on 13 May if Israeli Jews were “allowed to slaughter us,” host Yinon Magal replied, “Yes, that’s how it will end, correct.”
The guest was Sheikh Yusef al-Bazz, the city’s imam, who was explaining why Palestinian youths had come out onto the streets to protest in solidarity with their people in Jerusalem and Gaza.
He argued that the responsibility for any rioting lay with the Israeli government.
“You forgot the power the Jews hold” in Israel, Magal shouted into the microphone.
Magal’s co-host Ben Caspit made similar threats. He told Al-Bazz that “you are making a mistake you made in 1947-1948.”
You can watch the radio segment in the video :
Between 1947 and 1949, as the state was founded, the Zionist militias that later became the Israeli army expelled two-thirds of the Palestinian population to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and to surrounding countries, where they remain today.
Palestinians call their violent expulsion from Lydd the “death march.”
Palestinian citizens of Israel are the survivors and their descendants of the minority of Palestinians who managed to stay inside the new state. Although they have some civil rights, like the right to vote, they face routine racism, and discrimination enshrined in dozens of laws.
By bringing up 1948, Caspit was threatening that Israel would finish the job of expulsion.
Using crude and violent profanity, Caspit told Al-Bazz: “I am telling you that even myself, a fierce critic against Netanyahu’s government, I think that we should fuck the mother of your mothers.”
He argued that violence against the Palestinian citizens was necessary “to show you who is the owner of the land here. This is why a Jewish state was established.”
The same morning of the broadcast, Magal made a similar threat on Twitter.
He wrote that if “rioting Arabs” were “deported to Gaza,” matters would “end pretty quickly.”
“Hello 1948, we got back to you again!”
The mass expulsions by Zionist militias that made the establishment of the state of Israel possible are known in Arabic as the Nakba, “the Catastrophe.”
Around 800,000 Palestinians were kicked out, with many massacred and some documented instances of rape.
The night before Caspit and Magal spoke, mobs of Jewish Israelis had rampaged across towns and cities in Israel attacking Palestinian citizens.
In Bat Yam, south of Jaffa, Palestinian citizen Said Musa was dragged from his car and beaten unconscious. He suffered life-threatening injuries that required surgery.
A popular ice cream shop owned by Palestinian citizens in the same suburb was smashed up by a Jewish Israeli mob.
“An organized pogrom took place tonight against Arabs in Bat Yam,” one Israeli commenter wrote.
In Lydd a few days earlier, Palestinian citizen Moussa Hassouna was shot dead by suspected Jewish Israeli residents.
Mobs of Jewish Israelis have been organizing in WhatsApp and Telegram groups in recent days. One wrote they were “dying to kill Arabs.”
Armed Jewish extremists from Israeli settlements in the West Bank have also been taking part.
“We are no longer Jews today,” one user wrote in a Telegram group. “Today we are Nazis.”
One of the WhatsApp groups includes the phrase “Fucking the Arabs” in its title – echoing Caspit’s violent incitement.
While Israeli leaders have superficially condemned violence by both Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel, the state’s response has followed its usual pattern: Most of the 1,200 arrests and all 120 indictments related to the recent street violence have been against Palestinian citizens of Israel, according to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid.
That discrimination is so blatant that it has even disturbed the staunchly pro-Israel Biden administration, Ravid said.
Israel expert and Hebrew translator Dena Shura described Yinon Magal and Ben Caspit’s radio segment as “genocidal,” warning that the pair are both very prominent household names.
“Their words have weight not merely as recommendations to their listeners but also as reflecting opinions that are acceptable to the main thrust of Jewish Israelis,” she said.
Caspit is the author of two books on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His latest, The Netanyahu Years, was acclaimed in the West.
British pro-Israel lobby group BICOM called Caspit “one of Netanyahu’s fiercest critics.”
A TV series based on the book is reportedly being produced by the company which made the Israeli versions of X-Factor and America’s Got Talent.
Caspit also writes for the Al Monitor website.
In 2017, Caspit wrote an article in Hebrew insinuating that 16-year old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi should be raped.
“In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras,” he wrote.
Caspit later denied he had incited the rape of a child. He claimed the translation was taken “out of context.”
Hebrew translation verified by Dena Shunra.
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London