"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

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co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13

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Israel’s Ethiopian Jews Rise Up Against Police Terror

by Larry Everest | May 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Protestors shut down a major highway in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 3, 2015

On Sunday, May 3, several thousand Ethiopian Jews and their supporters marched against police harassment and brutality right in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel’s main and largest city, and brought business-as-usual to a halt for hours. The protest then turned into what the New York Times (May 3) called “a chaotic and unusually violent confrontation with the police.” The Times reported, “demonstrators hurled stones, overturned a police vehicle and clashed with the police.... Officers responded with stun grenades and water cannons.” Forty-six were injured and 26 arrested.

Israeli police claimed the outbreak took place because “agitators had stirred up the atmosphere.” But thousands marched because racism and police brutality directed against Ethiopians is common in Israel. The New York Times reported, “Many here compared the cry of the young, angry generation of Ethiopian-Israelis who came out on Sunday to the tensions in American cities like Baltimore or Ferguson, Mo....” “Enough of racism, enough of violence” the marchers chanted. “A violent police officer should be in prison!”

“If I Need to Put a Bullet in Your Head,
I Would Do It”

This outpouring was sparked by the unprovoked beating by police of Damas Pakada, an Ethiopian-born Israeli soldier who was in uniform, a week earlier in a suburb of Tel Aviv. The beating was caught on video. Damas Pakada was simply riding his bike, and was shoved off by an Israeli pig who told him, “I can do whatever I want.... I’m doing my job and if I need to put a bullet in your head, I would do it. I am proud of my job.” Pakada said “It’s because of [my] skin color.” (Times of Israel, April 27, 2015).

One protester told the New York Times how cops had attacked and pepper sprayed him, then put him in jail for three days for “attacking a police officer.” Another said, when he was in the military years earlier, Israeli police claimed he’d stolen his uniform and then beat him.

Deep Fissures Within a European-Supremacist Enforcer for Imperialism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to intervene, trying to contain the situation by calling for calm, stating, “All claims will be looked into but there is no place for violence and such disturbances,” and agreeing to meet with Pakada and representatives of Israel’s Ethiopian community. The cop who beat Pakada was fired.

The contradictions that erupted in the streets of Tel Aviv on May 3 cannot be papered over or contained with firings, statements, or photo-opportunity meetings. There are about 125,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel, a state with just over 8 million people (6.2 million or 75 percent are Jews, 1.7 million or 21 percent are Palestinians). Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish population has come in waves of immigration. Two of the largest—so-called “Operation Moses” in 1984 and “Operation Solomon” in 1991 when 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were secretly airlifted to Israel in 36 hours—were organized by the Israeli government in collaboration with the U.S.

sample image

Ethiopians confront Israeli police during a demonstration in Jerusalem, Israel on April 30, 2015

There were various necessities at work in these missions; in many cases the people who were shipped to Israel were in desperate situations. But Israel’s motives, and the actual effect of moving Ethiopians to Israel, were not humanitarian. They were bound up with efforts to bolster Israel’s legitimacy. First, by portraying it as a safe haven for Jews in a hostile, anti-Semitic region. In reality, there have been Jewish communities across the Middle East for centuries and whatever mistreatment Jews were subjected to in the Arab world doesn’t hold a candle to the centuries of systematic persecution, pogroms, and finally the Holocaust in Europe!

The nature of Israeli society is defined in a million ways by the reality that it is a country built on the ongoing genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Israel's motives for "adopting" Ethiopians Jews, as well as the racist discrimination they face in Israel, are framed by that reality. "Rescuing" Ethiopians and moving them into Israeli society was an effort to obscure the nature of Israel, and to help brand Israel as a multi-ethnic democracy for all Jews and other Israeli citizens. Ethiopian Jews were dropped into a European-supremacist, settler-colonial enforcer for imperialism, built on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab/Palestinian population. And with a deep current of racism arising with and justifying all this.

One professor who has researched treatment of Ethiopian Jews by Israeli police told the New York Times that “Ethiopian-Israelis perceived themselves, much like blacks in the United States, as subject to ‘overpolicing,’ including racial profiling; being stopped and arrested more often than other, ‘white,’ Israelis; and being treated with a tougher hand. Ethiopian-Israeli citizens strongly believe that they are discriminated against and harassed. Young Ethiopian males in particular feel the police are out to get them and that they won’t get justice.”

Israel’s Ethiopian Jews are subject to systemic discrimination and oppression, which also drove Sunday’s protest. One newspaper reports: “Fifty-two percent of Ethiopian-Israeli families live under the poverty line, according to a report jointly compiled by the Brookdale Institute and Israel’s ministry of immigration. Compare that to 16% for the general Israeli population. In 2010, only 65% of Ethiopian-Israelis enjoyed regular employment. Those who do secure jobs still face a labor market rife with exploitation.... There are more blatant instances of discrimination, too, according to Tebeka, a legal aid organization serving the Ethiopian community. In 2012, protests erupted after reports surfaced that a group of Israeli landlords had conspired to deny property rentals to Israelis of Ethiopian descent. In 2011, the parents of 281 Ethiopian-Israeli children sued a school in Petah Tikva for denying them enrollment. Perhaps the most infamous instance of anti-Ethiopian racism was revealed in 2013, however, when the Israeli ministry of health admitted to injecting a number of Ethiopian women with a long-acting birth control drug without informed consent. This is the same government body criticized in 1996 for destroying stocks of blood donated by Ethiopian Israelis out of fear that it might be infected with HIV.” (Quartz,, May 5, 2015)

After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel

The European/white supremacist nature of Israelis has become more blatant and overt as Israel and its main backer, the United States, are increasingly exposed and isolated over the crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians. Just this past March, on the eve of national parliamentary elections, Netanyahu openly expressed this reality in a racist rant warning right-wing Israelis that “Arabs” (Palestinian citizens of Israel) were streaming to the polls “in droves,” threatening to steal the election. (See “Israel’s Ugly Election—Heightened Conflicts, New Challenges.”)

Israeli pigs have had a long history of training and collaborating with U.S. pigs in all manner of crimes—within their countries and around the world. It is fitting that rebellions against illegitimate police violence are now rocking both societies.

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