Israeli sentenced for incitement to racism

An Israeli soccer fan has been convicted for shouting "death to Arabs" at a soccer match:

"I said death to the Arabs because that's what I felt at the time," Cohen said in a statement to police.

He said in court "there was nothing to it, just like you shout `go Beitar' you shout `death to the Arabs.' There's no contradiction between the two."

The judge ruled yesterday that Cohen's words constituted incitement to racism since "a man who testifies that he shouted `death to the Arabs' as part of a crowd, because that's what he thought, in his own words, is saying that Arabs deserve to die because they are Arabs."

It's great that Israeli courts are taking racism seriously, although in light of the well-documented racism of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank, this is also something of a joke.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,