Peace groups angry at police slur
by Jonathan Cook
"Jewish peace groups have accused the Israeli police of fueling racism by canceling a "Jewish Pride" march by a far-right group that was to have taken place through one of the largest Arab towns in Israel.
The police postponed the march, due last Monday, claiming they had evidence extremist residents of Umm al Fahm in northern Israel would open fire on the marchers and police.
"There was a real danger that lives could be lost," said a police spokesman, adding that the decision to ban the march would be reassessed in two weeks.
But local Arab leaders and Jewish peace activists claimed the police concocted the story to justify the cancellation of the march. Thousands of Jews had planned to form a human chain with the residents of Umm al Fahm at the entrance to the town to block the way of the Jewish National Front.
Adam Keller, of the peace group Gush Shalom, said the planned show of solidarity would have been nonviolent. He denounced the police for exploiting the stereotype of violent Arab citizens promoted by the marchers, many of whom are hardline settlers in the West Bank.
"It is a supreme irony that we had organized for thousands of Arabs and Jews to prove we can live here as citizens in harmony," he said. "Then the police cancel the march but use the false pretext that the marchers are in danger rather than that they seek to inflame violence."
Claims by the police that Arab residents would shoot at the marchers were derided by Jewish and Arab organizations......."