I rarely write about or comment on anything that has to do with Israel, particularly Zionism-based politics. The reason is that the current government is as hard right as hardest right of the GOP, and have that Tea Party flavor when it comes to brown people.
Like our haters over here who are quick to call you a racist for complaining about racism, I've seen too many times anyone criticizing an Israeli policy or practice called an anti-Semite. Writing opinions about their political and military shit is rarely worth the headache.
However, I discovered some history that I had never read about before. Ever hear about The Ringworm Children? I'll tell you about them in a moment.
What happened then is as racist as the 1940s Brits and US Government setting up Israel in 1948 not "just to be nice" to post-Holocaust Jewry, but more to carry out a racist agenda for Jews to be the "plantation overseer" of the olive and browned skinned Persians and Arabs of the Middle East.
The good 'ole boys used the Southern strategy of placing Jews in the plantation 'overseer' role, which is a glorified House Negro as a state, in charge of and the darker "primitive" peoples. No one knows better than the average American black folk that the House Negro often internalizes racism, and become as oppressive as the oppressor, sometimes more so, to prove he's assimilated and better.
This divide and conquer strategy set the stage for hate and war between the two groups, and for both to get used and abused by white Europeans and Americans in power, who historically try to get something for nothing by any means possible.
The documentary film is titled "The Ringworm Children". It's 45 minutes long, has subtitles, and won Best Documentary at the Haifa International film festival in 2005. Author Barry Chamish wrote a review, which was fortunately reprinted here, because the original site, Israeli Insider, is gone.
I like the film better myself because it more graphically shows the racism and the children, and because Chamish, in his otherwise excellent written review, avoided using the word "North African" to describe Jewish children from Morocco who immigrated to Israel.
These darker, Sephardi children and many others from Middle Eastern countries had their brains blasted with an overdose of radiation in a "social medical" program, stated in the documentary to be a eugenics program ridding Israel of 'unacceptable Jews'.
This was done under the guise of treating them for ringworm during a class trip. Anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 children were irradiated with mega doses of radiation, well known at the time for causing cancer, death, sterilizing, and risking mutant progeny.
Below are excerpts of the written review of the film in case you don't have time or inclination to watch it, and after that, a brief news clip illustrating the continued divide between the two groups, and a commentary by me.
"The subject is the mass irradiation of hundreds of thousands of Jewish children who immigrated from Middle Eastern and North African countries -- Sephardim, as they are called today.
In 1951, the director general of the Israeli Health Ministry, Dr. Chaim Sheba, flew to America and returned with seven x-ray machines, supplied to him by the American army.
They were to be used in a mass atomic experiment with an entire generation of Sephardi youths to be used as guinea pigs. Every Sephardi child was to be given 35,000 times the maximum dose of x-rays through his head. For doing so, the American government paid the Israeli government 300 million Israeli liras a year. The entire Health budget was 60 million liras. The money paid by the Americans is equivalent to billions of dollars today.
To fool the parents of the victims, the children were taken away on "school trips" and their parents were later told the x-rays were a treatment for the scourge of scalpal ringworm. 6,000 of the children died shortly after their doses were given, while many of the rest developed cancers that killed thousands over time and are still killing them now. While living, the victims suffered from disorders such as epilepsy, amnesia, Alzheimer's disease, chronic headaches and psychosis.
That is the subject of the documentary in cold terms. It is another matter to see the victims on the screen...
The majority of the victims were Moroccan because they were the most numerous of the Sephardi immigrants. The generation that was poisoned became the country's perpetual poor and criminal class. It didn't make sense. The Moroccans who fled to France became prosperous and highly educated. The common explanation was that France got the rich, thus smart ones. The real explanation is that every French Moroccan child didn't have his brain cells fried with gamma rays.
The film made it perfectly plain that this operation was no accident. The dangers of x-rays had been known for over forty years. We read the official guidelines for x-ray treatment in 1952. The maximum dose to be given a child in Israel was .5 rad. There was no mistake made. The children were deliberately poisoned.
David Deri makes the point that only Sephardi children received the x-rays: "I was in class and the men came to take us on a tour. They asked our names. The Ashkenazi [Jews of European descent] children were told to return to their seats. The dark children were put on the bus."
The film presents a historian who first gives a potted history of the eugenics movement. In a later sound bite, he declares that the ringworm operation was a eugenics program aimed at weeding out the perceived weak strains of society. The Moroccan lady is back on the screen. "It was a Holocaust, a Sephardi Holocaust. And what I want to know is why no one stood up to stop it."
David Deri, on film and then as a panel member, relates the frustration he encountered when trying to find his childhood medical records. "All I wanted to know was what they did to me. I wanted to know who authorized it. I wanted to trace the chain of command. But the Health Ministry told me my records were missing."
Boaz Lev, the Health Ministry's spokesman chimes in: "Almost all the records were burned in a fire."
We are told that a US law in the late '40s put a stop to the human radiation experiments conducted on prisoners, the mentally feeble and the like. The American atomic program needed a new source of human lab rats and the Israeli government supplied it. Here was the government cabinet at the time of the ringworm atrocities:
Prime Minister - David Ben Gurion;
Finance Minister - Eliezer Kaplan;
Settlement Minister - Levi Eshkol;
Foreign Minister - Moshe Sharrett;
Health Minister - Yosef Burg;
Labor Minister - Golda Meir;
Police Minister - Amos Ben Gurion.
The highest ranking non-cabinet post belonged to the Director General of the Defence Ministry, Shimon Peres.
That a program involving the equivalent of billions of dollars of American government funds should be unknown to the Prime Minister of cash-strapped Israel is ridiculous. Ben Gurion had to have been in on the horrors and undoubtedly chose his son to be Police Minister in case anyone interfered with them.
Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan was rewarded for eternity with a hospital named after him near Rehovot. But he's not alone in this honor. Chaim Sheba, who ran Ringworm Incorporated, had a whole medical complex named after him. Needless to say, if there is an ounce of decency in the local medical profession, those hospital names will have to change...
There is one person alive who knows the truth: Shimon Peres. The only way to get to the truth and start the healing is to investigate him for his role in the mass poisoning of over 100,000 Sephardi children and youth.
But here is why that won't happen. The film was aired at the same time as the highest-rated TV show of the year, the finale of Israel's talent-hunt show: "A Star Is Born." The next day, the newly-born star's photo took up half the front pages. There was not a word about The Ringworm Children in any paper, nor on the Internet. Until now."
- Barry Chamish, 10/28/2005
Nearly sixty years later In today's news in Israel:
"Police across the country were on high alert, as thousands of protesters massed near the main entrance to Jerusalem...
The protests were called after a Supreme Court ruling ordered the jailing of a group of Ashkenazi parents of European origin who are refusing to send their daughters to a school with Jewish girls of Middle Eastern, or Sephardi, descent.
But although the ruling effectively pitted the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazis against the Sephardis, both communities have come together for a mass protest against what they see as the intolerable intervention of the secular state in their religious affairs."
Sound familiar? It should. Most white, black, and Latino Americans are Christians. The whiter Ashkenazis and more melanin-rich Sephardis are Jews.
What we all have in common is we're still suffering from the devastating impact slavery.
While it's easy to say there is something effed up about "white people", this is too simplistic. Back when whites lived in Europe and thought the earth was flat and knew little to nothing of the existence of non-whites, most of them lived and died as peasants in a brutal feudal system serving lords and kings. These serfs were as mercilessly exploited and expendable as non-whites in many places today.
Prior to this and across every group in the world, we can call it plain old tribalism, which generally includes a component of sexism. Tribalism is not necessarily genocidal, but it can be, and there are plenty of examples of this.
In the more ancient, might makes right times, people sucked up to the chief, and in his absence, whichever man had the biggest fist and could lie the best for his selfish advantage ruled. What, I ask you, has changed? Wars and discrimination continue and the gender conflicts remain fairly intact.
Unless or until humanity stops this madness of allowing divide and conquer strategies by the rich to pit us against one another, and have us believe that one group - race, religion, class, or gender - is superior to another, we will all continue to behave like overseers, house or field Negroes who serve rulers that don't give a damn about any of us, and we will continue to make ourselves and each other miserable.
It is my hope we recognize our modern day tribalism for what it is, lest we wake up one morning and discover that the whole world is one big plantation run by non-human and inhuman mega-corporations.
Given the computer and military technology of today, combined with the let's somehow get rid of them, wall them off, incarcerate them, become a suicide bomber, nuke baby nuke them, sterilize them, or exterminate them mentality of yesteryear, one day we will all be "them", and there will be no turning back.