Letters to the Editor: Readers react to police commissioner’s comments on Ethiopian olim

No. Racism is not “natural.”

By
August 31, 2016 21:35
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Readers react to police commissioner’s comments on Ethiopian olim

With regard to “Alsheich: It is ‘natural’ for police to be suspicious of Ethiopians and migrants” (August 31), how can we, a state of Immigrants, accept the racist and bigoted words of Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and stand silent? How can we, a state of immigrants, allow this man to stay in his well paid, high-powered position, knowing that he is discriminating against a group of immigrants? Are American immigrants under suspicion? French immigrants? British immigrants? South African immigrants? We are all immigrants – or “migrants,” as Alsheich perhaps is wont to call us.

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Where is he from? Did he face this kind of racism? Did his parents? Was it justified in his eyes? It’s high time that the people of this dear country of ours stood up as one and demanded the resignation of leaders like this – leaders who are leading the way to a more and more fractured society.

Mr. Alsheich, stand by your words and step down, leaving this highly respected position to someone who can really lead the way to a safe and secure nation.

NINA ZUCK
Netanya


Which police academy did Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich attend exactly? The one in Baltimore or in another foreign city racked by harsh attacks against blacks and other minorities by police? Ethiopians have been in Israel for more than 30 years. They serve in the army. They work in the post office. The guy who comes with nauseating regularity to rescue me every time Windows forces a new something-or-other on me is Ethiopian. They are productive members of society who have adopted Israeli culture and have not, like the Muslims flooding Europe, tried to impose their ideologies – since, in case no one has noticed, they are Jews.

In San Pedro, California, they say that three blacks standing outside a church talking politics are a challenge to authority.

Maybe Alsheich would prefer to be a cop in California.

ELIZABETH YUVAL
Kiryat Tivon


Your headline made me see red! Since when is it “natural” to be racist? Talk like this is disgraceful, coming from a police commissioner whose policy is supposed to be to treat everyone equally and not give racist rants shaming people of color.

We as Jews should be especially sensitive because of our history, where being “suspicious of Jews” was part of everyday life in Europe and brought us harm more often than not. We must remember that immigrants and others of color are running from desperate poverty and war. We should remember that there is a quote from the Bible that says we were once “strangers in a strange land.”

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich should resign – immediately – and apologize to the Ethiopian immigrant community.

Racist rants and comments do not to belong in our so-called democratic country.

Shame on him!

ALIZA WEINBERG
Rehovot


I was horrified seeing the quote from our police commissioner! Our Ethiopian brethren are some of the finest citizen we have. To put them in the same category with illegal migrants in beyond insulting. I wonder how some of our Ethiopian policemen feel about his statement.

Our sages told us that life and death are by the tongue.

Roni Alsheich owes the Ethiopian immigrant community a big apology for what he said.

HAVIVAH GOLDSMITH
Beit Shemesh


I’m beyond outraged by the remarks of the police commissioner.

Thank you for putting them on your front page.

As a migrant myself, I never felt suspected of a crime more than anyone else might be.

I’ve not been aware that there is such a prejudice for the simple reason that there isn’t: I’m white and European.

I meet Ethiopian immigrants mainly on buses, as drivers and passengers. I never had one thought that they would be more prone to violence or other crimes, nor did I see other passengers behave like that.

Roni Alsheich’s assumption reminds me of plain old anti-Semitism outside of Israel: “It is only natural that we do not like Jews.”

No. Racism is not “natural.”

Kids are colorblind until racial bias catches up with them or they are outright forbidden to play with “the other.” Just like in Germany, where there is a law against denying the Holocaust, we should have a law against denying the existence of racism.

We must not let Ethiopian immigrants be the only ones who demand Alsheich’s resignation, just as Jews should not be left to be the only ones who demand action against anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem


Who is Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich trying to fool? The police force is anti-black.

Period. End of quote. Unfortunately, I know from first-hand experience.

My wife Jane and I adopted two interracial boys before we moved to Israel in 1993. The younger of the two, Michael Joshua, is African-American. A number of months ago, our other son and his family moved to our community, renting a home one block from ours.

Michael walked over to spend some time with them, but mistakenly knocked on the wrong door.

A young girl inside, seeing a black man at the door, panicked and ran screaming to her mother, who called the police.

In the meantime, Michael started walking back. Some 200 meters from our home, the police arrived, threw him to the ground, handcuffed him, shackled his legs and chained his arms and legs together.

Michael tried to tell them where he lived, but it was of no interest to these “public servants.” They threw him into the police car, returned to the station and grilled him for hours, referring to him in the most vile terms (all this time, he was shackled as if he were a violent criminal and repeat-offender) before he could finally call us at home.

The fact that I went to the station (with Michael’s interracial brother) and spoke to the officer in charge and his associates to assure them that Michael was our son was all for naught. Bottom line: Michael was released only some five hours after having been “nabbed.”

Commissioner Alsheich: Stop trying to gloss over a major problem. It is not going to go away by itself. Your entire staff is anti-black. They are pure racists. I hate to say it, but my son would have had a better shot at justice if he had been arrested in America’s deep South – prior to the Civil Rights Act.

Fix it, Commissioner. Don’t try to gloss over it.

MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Kochav Yair


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