From British daily The Independent:
Published: 26 December 2007
Saadia Marciano was one of the founders of the Israeli Black Panthers, a band of young North African immigrants who thrust the grievances of their under-privileged community on to the national agenda in the early 1970s and forced successive governments to treat the Mizrachim (orientals) as subjects not objects.
The Zionist establishment was thrown by the challenge. Golda Meir, the Labour prime minister who briefly put some of them in prison, said after meeting a delegation that they were “not nice people”. …
Although the movement fragmented and petered out after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, it marked the beginning of the end of deference on one side and patronising on the other. To the dismay of some of the Panthers, it paved the way for Menachem Begin‘s right-wing Likud to win the 1977 general election and for the emergence of Shas, a backward-looking religious party, as the voice of Sephardi emancipation.
The young rebels took the American Black Panthers as their model. Marciano said: “Either the cake will be shared by all or there will be no cake.” …
Early one morning in March 1972, they stole bottles of milk from the doorsteps of the middle-class Jerusalem suburb of Rehavia and delivered them to those of the poor with a label reading: “The children in the poverty stricken neighbourhoods do not find the milk they need on their doorstep every morning. In contrast, there are cats and dogs in rich neighborhoods that get plenty of milk, day in, day out.” …
Although the Panthers allied themselves with the radical left, their aim was to shock the Ashkenazi elite rather than overthrow it. Kochavi Shemesh, another Panther leader, said on the 30th anniversary: “Saadia came up with the name Black Panthers. The idea was to frighten Golda. She said that this name wouldn’t let her sleep. That was what we wanted. With this name, we changed the discourse between the social movements and the establishment.”
Saadia Marciano was born in the Moroccan town of Oujda in 1950. His family moved to Jerusalem later that year. He grew up in the impoverished Musrara neighbourhood on the border between the Jewish and Arab parts of the city.
After the collapse of the Black Panthers, he continued to campaign for social equality and ran a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts.
US Black Panther and Green parties: here.
- Fox News begins election day with ‘alert’ over New Black Panthers (rawstory.com)
- Fox Revives Its Bogus New Black Panther Fear Mongering (crooksandliars.com)