Antisemitic abuse of Yaakov Fauci

Antisemitic abuse of Yaakov Fauci

In April 2021 a video of an argument between two neighbours, Yaakov Fauci and Mona el-Kurd, went viral. Yaakov had stopped a member of Mona’s family from spray painting graffiti on the wall of his home and as tensions rose Mona shouted towards Yaakov ‘you are stealing my house’ provoking him to respond, foolishly using her phrasing, ‘Yes, but if I don’t steal it, someone else is gonna steal it’.

This comment alongside photos of Fauci very quickly began to appear all over social media in memes and even printed on tee-shirts. The words are quoted repetitively as ‘evidence’ of newly arrived Jewish ‘settlers’ stealing, or squatting in, Palestinian properties.

To explain the events leading up to the encounter Yaakoc agreed to an interview with Vice News, but his thirty minute interview was edited to under three minutes and only served to reinforce people’s inaccurate understanding of the situation.

Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) in Eastern Jerusalem is not a settlement but has been a Jewish neighbourhood since 1875 when the land was legally purchased from its Arab owners by Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities and the house, which Mona el-Kurd claimed was being stolen, is not in fact hers but owned by the Committee of the Sephardic Community with the el-Kurd family and Yakkov Fauci living there as tenants.

Nor was Yakkov a newly arrived Jewish American settler moved to Israel by a Zionist organisation as he was purported to be. Yaakov had been living in Israel for over twenty years, ten of which as the neighbour of the el-Kurd family.

Jews and Arabs had lived side by side in Shimon HaTzadik until 1948 when during the War of Independence Jewish residents were forcibly removed from their homes. The Jordanian Government transferred ownership to the ‘Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Properties’ and Arab families were moved into the houses as tenants. It wasn’t until after the end of the Six Day War, in 1967, Jewish families were allowed to reclaim their homes, as long as they were able to prove ownership.

But legal ownership challenges ensued and were to continue for decades. Courts, over and over again, rightly ruled the houses belonged to Jewish families and eventually, in an attempt at a compromise, an agreement was reached that the Palestinian families could remain in the homes as protected tenants as long as they paid the owners a nominal rent. But some refused, including Mona el-Kurd, so she and her family were being legally evicted.

Yaakov Fauci, who had no personal involvement with any court cases or the eviction, was not ‘stealing’ anyone’s house. He just understood that he, or someone else, would eventually be moving in as a tenant to what had been the el-Kurd’s part of the building after their eviction.

Since the video has been released Yaakov has been mocked, abused, received numerous death threats and even his family home, back in the US, has been targeted, all instigated by people determined to demonise Yaakov and to falsely portray Israel as a country intent on ‘ethnic cleansing’.


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