Friday, June 18, 2010

There Will Be No Turning Back:
The "Ringworm Children" Story As A Manifestation Of Tribalism & Other "Isms"

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.


  1. You are very intellegent and bold to speak out on such adgendas... america and eurpoe have been at the helm of such atricities for a very long time. Its a shame that the real issues such as the recent trail of the columbia university issue has taken place with NO MEDIA COVERAGE whatsoever. This goes too show that the only way we can ever be free is by salvation given only by Jesus. We live in perilous times secrets are out and when info begins to surface panic ensues from the top down. Topics like these never surprise me and the problem is that now it is more than just a race issue even inside of the many divisions that are kept up. The atrocities now happening against israel even today are being twisted and surpressed.. funny it seems as the true history surfaces we are begining to discover who babylon is and how many other nations have partaken in her abominations ...making a deal for monetary gain or political position with america always seems like making a deal with the devil.. or so history is now proving. Also funny how some people are being used to draw others out of silence when they really only breach certain info with hidden agendas in their hearts.

  2. Hi Kit,
    First let me commend you for writing this,much respect because in addition to the cries of "anti-semite" you refer to, there are many many people who are conditioned by our media to equate criticism of Israel as terrorism.

    I'd read in a book by Ilan Pappe that the Sephardic Jews were initially encouraged to emigrate to perform manual labor, better them than Muslim Arabs.

    I didn't know the extent of what was done to these poor children, I'm deeply saddened and close to tears. Thank you.

    As I read I made a mental note to comment about the school riots but you are way ahead of me.

    I was just speaking to my cousin earlier today, pointing out that "anti-Semitic" only applies to Sephardic Jews, since the Ashkenaz are European and no more have claim to being Semitic and having a right to the Holy Land than a Catholic Mexican can claim to be Italian and expect an apartment in the Vatican.

  3. Oso, Equate criticism with terrorism? Never heard that one and find it laughable. Fake news must've put that shit out. As for riots at Columbia U which you and Anonymous mentioned, I haven't read about that, at least not yet.

    I won't get into the politics in your last paragraph. I avoid discussing that ongoing disaster like the plague. The point of this post was not to stir that beast of an issue, but to share something completely new to most folk - and then tie it in with human nature of how groups are pushed into heinous roles of overseer, house or field Negroes to the few in power.

    Anonymous, As I mentioned to Oso, I'm unfamiliar with the Columbia U riots. If we think of ourselves as one species of mammals, and race as a social construct, then all that's left is the alpha dog hierarchy fighting over limited resources. This includes power and the division of labor, for with it needs are met. More and more, this is how I'm thinking about conflict. I guess you could say it's the view an anthropologist would take.

  4. I remember once when my son was four, he was frightened by a sound that he heard outside of our apartment one night. So he came into my room when I was still half asleep and he woke me up. He told me that he had heard a noise and he was afraid. He asked me if there were really monsters in the world. I smiled at him and it's then that I remembered that we'd spent the day watching Godzilla movies.

    I told him to come with me because I wanted to show him something.

    I walked him back to his room where we turned on the light and I showed him that the only thing in his closet were toys and clothes. We walked into our living room and kitchen and out on the balcony; where I showed him that everything was as it should be. Then we walked to our front door and I turned on the light outside and I showed him that there was nothing outside.

    Once I had assured him that everything was fine and that there was nothing outside to scare or hurt him I took him back to his room and put him to bed. But before I left his room that night I assured him that the only REAL monster was man himself. I sat there and talked to him about war and death and the hard realities of life. But I told him not to be afraid of such things because it was MY responsibility to protect him from such things until he could protect himself.

    Man is and has always been the real monster.

  5. Kit,
    Sorry I meant the Israeli school protests, unintentionally typed "riots".

    Your overseer analogy is excellent, I absolutely agree that was the British intention.One could even argue that is the role teabaggers fill here, in that they support policy which works to their detriment and the politicians they support don't care about them any more than they care about black and brown people.

    Let me say again how glad I am that you put this post out, yet how sad my spirit is to know of it. The adults they grew to become, are still the children who were tortured so horribly. I mean, they are the same spirit. Horrible.

  6. Much like the Republican party that has been hijacked by neo-conservatives. So too has the Israeli government hijacked by the Zionist movement. The funny thing is that Christians, Muslims and Jews all lived together in harmony in the Ottoman Empire well before the Britsh stepped on the scene.

  7. Reggie, I used to tell my kids the same thing, that the only monsters are people who intentionally hurt or destroy others.

    Oso, I'll bet you watched the film. It's powerful and sad, with all that original footage of those children, and some of the ones who survived (not well, either) to talk about it.

    Rippa, The monied class excels at hijacking.

  8. Kit,

    I had to go through the archives of my old blog to dig this up. It's a documentary called 'Occupation 101', and it' a very powerful film.

    Check it out when you can:

  9. Gee-zus, Rippa! I'm not even ten minutes into that film and upset. And my God! So far it surpasses any action film I've ever seen because the emotions and violence are clearly authentic.

    "Any violence by a large population is not because these people are more violent than any other, it's an alarm, it's a sign, it's a signal, that something is wrong in the treatment of this population."

    I'm gonna go watch more.

  10. You are to be commended for stating your opinion on a subject that gets side stepped too many times in America.

    My politics have denoted for a long time that Zionism is a form of racism. It is not a popular view nor is a stance that one can take without studying to understand what has happened in the past. Also what is happening right here-right now.

    I am going to watch the film. It sounds like there will be a lot of exposure to what happened and why.

  11. Deborah, Tribalism, by any other name, worsened by modern tools of medicine, making a mockery of progress in radiology, and later worsened by high tech weaponry. The word tragic echos hollow, but I can't think of a bigger one.

    Rippa, I finished the intense film you recommended, Occupation 101. I was aware of the nearly all the issues but seeing so many of them visually in one sitting is unsettling. I thought the history was fairly thorough but they still left out a lot. For readers who don't have an hour and a half to blow, these parts bring home the points of this essay:

    At 40:05 to 41:30, they speak of two types of settlers: the ideological and the larger majority who simply want cheap or free housing. I was surprised to learn they receive a large loan to do this, and don't have to repay it if they stay there for ten years. Elsewhere it indicates the US is footing a big part of the bill. Heck, that's a free house and land for the settlers, and given human nature, irresistible for many. It ties into both the concept of conflict over limited resources combined with the overseer mentality, which is a leftover idea from slavery.

    At 51:30 to 52:10, one speaker and Noam Chomsky speak to the US and Pentagon's $trong commitment to Israel in the "oil producing regions". This overseer role addresses my point of the [oil] plantation. The Pentagon, which makes up the five branches of the military, uses and needs a lot of oil to run wars and keep this resource relatively cheap.

    As an aside, at 1 HR 7 minutes, the little Palestinian girl is phenomenal. I fell in love with that kid. So full of life and smart as they come. I hope she survives and does well in life. If the two groups ever return to living in relative harmony, there is no telling what they could achieve together.

  12. Both of these videos are fascinating yet so heartbreaking. Our collective reaping of these British/American dirty secrets are just the tip of the iceberg. Damn.

  13. Penny Wize, Yes, it is heartbreaking.
    However, I've learned to take the long view... the macro view... that throughout human history, scripts can get flipped. Today's victim can become tomorrow's aggressor, and vice versa, and it's always the innocent who suffer most. It's like humanity is too slow to learn its lessons.

    Generally speaking, if collectively those with a modicum of influence cannot persuade the courts, governments and robotic-like corporations to act humanely, our savagery will continue and possibly escalate.

    Then again, Mother Nature has a way of stepping in. The 1300s Black Plague in Europe was a major game changer. I suspect that the Gulf Oil Catastrophe, the melting of the ice caps by 2012, and/or the effects from WW3 (probably starting in Iran or N. Korea) will be too.

    Hopefully we'll live to tell about it.

  14. RiPPa,
    Thank you for the excellent link.


Hi, this is Kit.

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