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October 24, 2010

"Kushim! We Don't Need You Here!" Israel's Immigration Police Attack, Allegedly Beat, Black Reform Converts

Israeli Flag The Interior Ministry's controversial Oz immigration police unit has been accused of beating and verbally abusing members of an African-American family from Kansas City whose members converted to Judaism several years ago, and are living in Ashkelon pending a decision on their citizenship request.

Interior Ministry's Oz police unit accused of beating U.S. immigrants
Their lawyer: Police yelled at them, 'Afro-Americans, kushim [darkies], we don’t need you here.'
By Bradley Burston • Ha’aretz

The Interior Ministry's controversial Oz immigration police unit has been accused of beating and verbally abusing members of an African-American family from Kansas City whose members converted to Judaism several years ago, and are living in Ashkelon pending a decision on their citizenship request.

Kristien Garrett, 24, who is seven months pregnant, was taken by ambulance to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital after the Oz unit operation. During the operation, several officers detained her husband Sean, telling family members that his name did not appear "in the system" of the ministry's Population Registry.

Witnesses said Kristien Garrett's one-year-old daughter and Garrett's mother Trina Woodcox were struck a number of times as the officers moved to detain Garrett's husband. Sean Garrett was allegedly handcuffed, beaten repeatedly and subjected to racial slurs while in custody; he was later released when ministry officials determined that his visa was valid.

The Oz unit, which spearheads a high-profile Interior Ministry campaign to track and expel foreign nationals who lack valid permits to remain in Israel, admitted to having detained a family member in error, but denied allegations of use of physical force. It countered that family members had attacked them with "cursing and swearing."

The family had come to Israel at the invitation of the Interior Ministry, which asked to interview them prior to a final decision on their request for immigrant status. Ministry officials held a hearing on their case last month, a step in the process toward receiving citizenship.

When Woodcox, who held the family's documents, asked to accompany Sean Garrett in the police van, "officers grabbed her by her hair and her head, and pulled her by her leg," dragging her out of the vehicle, Kristien Garrett told Haaretz Thursday, after her release from the hospital.

The officer with her mother "turned around and started hitting me and my child in the face," she said. Her husband tried to help her, "but two other officers jumped on him, handcuffed him, and beat him up while the other officer was hitting me and my daughter."

Neighbors left their houses to come to the family's aid. "Everything was just a big frenzy," Garrett said. "One of the neighbors came and took my daughter away from me, so that she wouldn't be hit any more. The police officer was kicking me and hit me in my stomach, and I hit him back, to get him off of me."

Another neighbor called an ambulance. Kristien Garrett was taken to Barzilai with cramps, and hospitalized overnight. She has now been discharged on bed rest.
The lawyer for the family, Nicole Maor of the Israel Religious Action Center, said that they had been subjected to racial abuse by the police officers, who reportedly yelled at them: “Afro-Americans, kushim [darkies], we don’t need you here.”

Family members said the officer who had struck Kristien Garrett later returned and apologized to Sean for beating his wife. "He said that he had never hit a woman before, and that he felt bad for the mistake that had been made," Woodcox said.

Oz unit official Yehuda Ben-Ezra denied that the officers had used physical force against the family, saying that his inspectors had filed a police complaint alleging that the family had attacked them with profanity.

Questioned regarding Garrett's hospitalization, Ben-Ezra told Army Radio, "The woman is not in the hospital because of violence by inspectors. Really not." Pressed by news anchor Yael Dan, Ben-Ezra said "I have no idea why she was hospitalized - why she went to the hospital."

"You mean there was no violence there?" Dan asked.

"Not on the part of my inspectors. On the part of the residents, yes. On the part of my inspectors, truly no."

The morning after the incident, Trina Woodcox went to the Ashkelon police station to file a complaint against the police, but was rebuffed.

"They called her a liar, and said that they couldn't accept her complaint," said Maor.

Wilcox wrote Kansas City Reform Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff, who had converted the family to Judaism, "My heart is breaking right now.

"We have so much love for Israel. But it seems like Israel does not love us back."

The story was picked up by Politico's Laura Rozen, who posted part of an email Rabbi Nemitoff sent his congregation:

Many of you know Michael and Trina Woodcox, and their children. For those of you who don't, the Woodcox family is African-American, came to us a few years ago seeking to learn more about Judaism. Despite living far from our building and despite the ridicule and confusion others in the black community expressed over their embracing of Judaism, they formally chose to become Jewish. One of the highlights of my tenure here was the night we welcomed them. The family, led by Trina (the matriarch) and Kristien (her daughter, whose nickname is Loddie) sang two songs that Loddie had written, combining the nuance of a black spiritual with themes of Jewish faith. It was, due to this faith in God, Torah, and Israel, that the family made the decision last year to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, and to fulfill their Jewish lives living in the land of Israel.

Earlier this week, a horrible incident occurred. Most of the family was home in their small apartment in Ashkelon, when the Immigration Police (the "Oz" unit...how ironic indeed) came to the door, demanding to see papers that proved their status. At this point, details are confusing. I will just give you the link to the Haaretz article that describes what happened next.

Suffice it to say that the family is physically and emotionally bruised and battered. And it seems as though this all occurred because this wonderful Jewish family - who only wants to live in Israel in peace - was of a skin color that some found offensive. Racism - in all its ugliest forms - exists even in our Jewish homeland. ....

[Hat Tip: state of disgust.]


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Ten things want to push themselves out of my mouth and can't. I'm so angry. Those officers, hitting a woman and child!!!! A pregnant woman!!!

this is so sad and so wrong.

i wish i could apologize to that family on behalf of people who don't judge people by the color of their skin.

so sad. so mean. so stupid.

LOL, all of a sudden "kushim" means "darkies" when leftists say it. But according to shmarya didn't kushim mean the n-word?

Obviously we all know it doesn't mean the n-word. We are not stupid.

i wish i could apologize to that family on behalf of people who don't judge people by the color of their skin.

This was a cut'n' paste from Ha’aretz so follow the link to the original story and place you apology in the talkback.

Ibid to LOL Nobody.

Whoever issued that call about kushim is actually right. Israel was intentionally created as a country of Jews. Negroes are not welcome here. If they are interested in Judaism, they can read wiki on the issue. Sitting on their trees or in homes or wherever in Liberia or elsewhere.

Negroes do not belong to my nation and have nothing to do in my country. The same logic is applicable to arabs.

I rarely lose my temper when I read articles on this blog, this time I'm livid. I am directing my anger at "israeli." You are a sick bastard. You make me ashamed to be a Jew. Hashem yirachem.

Jews are not allowed to join the KKK.

"Israeli," you ought to petition David Duke. Maybe he'll grant an exception to you, so you can fulfill your lifelong ambition to be a Grand Dragon.

Meanwhile, I know a 6'2" Negro by the name of O.J. who's locked up in Nevada and who needs a bitch. You're it.

“The struggle for world domination will be fought entirely between us, between Germans and Jews. All else is facade and illusion. Behind England stands Israel, and behind France, and behind the United States. Even when we have driven the Jew out of Germany, he remains our world enemy.

- Rauschning,Hitler Speaks,p. 234

Oz Unit = S.S.(HAS)


The family had not converted but was in the process of converting. In case anyone was paying attention, when Meretz held the Interior Ministry they decided that although recognized as Jews, people who convert in Israel are not elligible for the benefits of the Law of Return. Shas initially expressed outrage that the law would not be extended to "all Jews" but Meretz pointed out that Shas, when previously holding that same Ministry decided that those who convert after entering Israel illegally are not elligible for the benefits of the Law of Return. It was Shas who cut out certain legitimate Jews, Meretz just expanded the law to those who entered legally. Shas shut the heck up and never mentioned it again.

Israel recognizes all conversion (and since 2005 even "quicky conversions") performed outside Israel, but conversions in Israel are only recognized if it is an Orthodox conversion (and the whole Israeli conversion debate is about Jewish recognition for Israelis by Law of Return who are not Jews).

Both partners in this couple, in which the wife is in the process of converting (and her future status with her husband will be determined during that process) have a criminal record involving violence. There are about thirty people on staff for the Population authority in Ashkelon to collect illegal workers and stop illegal employment. They have no criminal history. They went to check the legal status of this family, which led to verbal escalation and then refusal to cooperate or display any documents proving that they have the authorization to be employed in Israel or are even in Israel legally. Then the husband attacked one of the officials.

The Ovdim Zarim unit was now faced by physical attack from a hostile couple whom they had no reason to believe were in the country legally. The use of force was warrented, but they didn't get the shit beat out of them. The local police reviewed the complaint lodged by the family and found it ridden with lies and inconsistancies.

That is the true story. But the media always likes the good headlines, while very few read the follow ups (or even publish them).

The letter from the rabbi says that they did in fact convert. Therefore, they are fully eligible for Aliyah. As for Israeli, people like you are the reason I left your country.

I am saying that the quote is innaccurate. "You" left "my" country because you can only handle your own custom-tailored version of reality.

How is the quote inaccurate? Here is an email from the rabbi who converted them saying that they have converted.

Israel was intentionally created as a country of Jews.

What color was Moses? What color was King David? Since when is being black incompatible with being Jewish?

If they are interested in Judaism, they can read wiki on the issue

Yes, let's all read wiki and educate ourselves. Why don't you start?


and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_and_Judaism_in_the_African_diaspora

or better yet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Black_Jews

Negroes do not belong to my nation

And neither do you belong to ours.

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