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Copyright (c) 2001 University of Maryland School of Law 
Margins Law Journal

ARTICLE: Fighting Words


1 Margins 199


Richard L. Abel*


I. Why Do the Nations So Furiously Rage Together?
Early in 1996 an unusual conflict convulsed Israel. The antagonists were neither Jews and Arabs, nor religious and secular. Instead, the division was racial. An estimated 10,000 Ethiopian Jews protested violently against government rejection of their blood donations because the risk of AIDS was 50 times higher than it was in the general population. Demanding the Health Minister's resignation, demonstrators carried banners declaring "Our blood is as red as yours and we are just as Jewish as you are" and "Apartheid! The 2nd Holocaust! Genoceid! in the Holy-Land." 1 The director of an Ethiopian community health project expostulated: "What connects us? It is blood. If our blood is not Jewish, then what are we, animals?" 2 He echoed Shylock's outburst in The Merchant of Venice: "Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? ... If you prick us, do we not bleed?" 3 Six years earlier an estimated 80,000 Haitian-Americans - virtually the entire local community - had demonstrated in New York over the same issue, carrying signs declaring "We're Proud of Our Blood." 4 In 2000, South African gay activists, who were disproportionately white, denounced blood banks for rejecting their donations on grounds of sexual orientation rather than race. Supported by the Human Rights Commission's view that this violated South Africa's new, democratic constitution, the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality declared it "an infringement of gay men's rights." 5

Classical social theory cannot account for such ...
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