As the Ethiopian Jewish policewoman pulls Haskel by the arms, he shouts at her, “Don’t touch me! I brought your parents here from Ethiopia, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A former Israeli Air Force general turned anti-Netanyahu protest leader found himself in hot water Tuesday after a video emerged showing him targeting a policewoman because of her Ethiopian heritage.
Amir Haskel, who was called “a symbol of anti-Netanyahu protests” by NBC News, is a retired Brigadier General and successful author of several books about the Holocaust.
He has been protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since 2016.
The video, which was filmed in August 2020 but only recently made the rounds on social media, shows Haskel being forcibly evacuated from the protest site in front of the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street.
As a policewoman of Ethiopian ancestry pulls Haskel by the arms, he shouts at her, “Don’t touch me! I brought your parents here from Ethiopia, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
“At that moment I did not understand the seriousness of the man’s words, but now that I have seen the videos, I am shocked that a senior [military] officer is able to utter such words,” the policewoman told Channel 12 News.
“I am considering filing a complaint against him. I still cannot comprehend his statement, I have a hard time with it,” she said.
הפרצוף האמיתי והכעור של ההפיכה האלימה: אמיר השכל עולב בלוחמת מג”ב בת הקהילה האתיופית.
לא נשכח ובטח לא נסלח.
שמאל. גזען. נאלח. pic.twitter.com/njYWbN4uUf
— רן כרמי בוזגלו ציונות בנחישות (@rankarmibuzaglo) October 6, 2020
Haskel’s comments were roundly condemned by Israeli politicians.
Ethiopian-born Deputy Public Security Minister Gadi Yevarkan called Haskel “racist and condescending towards Ethiopians.”
“Shame. This is not how an IDF officer expresses himself,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
“Haskel and his friends are sure that this is their land, that they are lords of the world, and the rest are guests at the best, and slaves at the worst.”
Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shatah, Israel’s first Ethiopian-born government, responded to Haskel’s comments on Twitter.
“Policemen from Ethiopia, soldiers from Ethiopia, firefighters from Ethiopia, rescue workers from Ethiopia, and all Israeli civil servants from Ethiopia – raise your head, be proud of who you are and do your job in the best and most loyal way,” she tweeted.
“Let nobody expect for a moment that you will ‘stand down’ and stop doing your job because he thinks he is lord of the land… or thinks he is above you.”
“Our parents walked hundreds of miles to immigrate to Israel. Let no one appropriate our story for themselves…there are no masters and slaves here. In Israel we are all equal.”
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein called Haskel’s comments “condescending, racist and outrageous” and “not worth even mentioning.”
Haskel claimed that his comment was taken out of context, in an attempt to shift public attention away from police misconduct.
“The attempt to attribute a racist statement to me is baseless, but if anyone has been harmed then I am sorry,” he said.
“This is the place to emphasize that during my years in the Air Force, I was involved in the immigration of Ethiopian Jews – a project that I am proud of.”
“Again, there is an industry of lying, trying to make something out of nothing… instead of dealing with the terrible violence by the police against the demonstrators… especially on that day… they choose to take the whole situation out of context,” Haskel said.