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When is a Jew a Terrorist? For Bibi, Never

In a classified security cabinet meeting, whose deliberations were predictably leaked (this being Israel), Bibi Netanyahu refused to accept the Shabak’s recommendations that settlers engaging in price tag attacks be designated as terrorists.  The thought process behind the decision is truly staggering in its amorality: price taggers, while their acts may be considered terrorist cannot be so, because if they were, the international community could further “delegitimize” Israel:

Netanyahu said that even if declaring price tag activists as part of a terror organization was correct from a domestic standpoint, it would be a diplomatic mistake to do so. Netanyahu explained that such a declaration would damage Israel’s international standing, increase its delegitimization and encourage various groups across the world to compare price tag attacks to rocket fire or Hamas suicide attacks.

Israel haters out there, so the thinking goes, would compare price tag attacks to the truly dastardly terror attacks of Arab militant groups.  And that would be much more harmful than actually calling price tag violence by its proper name and ridding Israeli society of it.

Price tag attack at Christian holy site, East Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey (Emil Salman)

You can easily see by such rhetorical nonsense that Israel’s government is hopelessly co-opted by settler terrorist groups and ideology.  While it may not share the violent tactics, Bibi is so closely tied to the rejectionist-ejectionist ideology behind them that he will not allow the intelligence agencies to fight them with full force.  When you read about Israel’s failure to apprehend and convict Jewish terrorists you read a thousand excuses: Jewish suspects refuse to talk, they’re ideological fanatics.  Blah, blah, blah.  The Shabak somehow manages to get Palestinian security suspects to talk (routinely using torture despite its use being banned by the Supreme Court).  Yet when suspects are Jews, the Shabak all of a sudden becomes a tea and crumpets society.

There were actually two ministers with a minimal level of gumption who opposed this monstrosity: Yitzhak Aharonowitz and Tzipi Livni.

This can be compared to the white supremacist movement in the South prior to 1963.  Until then, the Ku Klux Klan could lynch and torture at will.  It was only after the federal government took over from state jurisdictions in investigating and prosecuting civil rights cases that prosecutions and convictions began (and they took several years to happen even after the FBI took over).  White Southerners were hopelessly compromised in enforcing civil rights.  Those in power essentially agreed with the views, if not the tactics of the hooded nightstalkers.

Ask yourself today, how the federal government would react if white supremacists targeted a particular religion in this country and burned its churches down.  You’ll recall that about a decade ago precisely this sort of campaign did occur with a number of small Black country churches torched in arson attacks.  Within a year, the FBI had tracked down the perpetrators and the vandalism ended.  Where there is a will, there is always a way.  In Israeli there’s no will and no way.

Bibi Netanyahu’s role in something like that of George Wallace.  They both approve/d of the principle of racial exclusion and supremacy.  They both understood/stand that while they themselves may not be seen to support violence, there are those who work on their behalf who will use violence.  The worst that either could say about the thugs among them, was that they embarrassed the cause.  But not that there was anything wrong with the cause itself.

Bibi seems to believe that the international community doesn’t have eyes in its head to see the pictures of the terrors attacks, the burned mosques, destroyed property.  Somehow if Israel simply ignores the problem, the world will too and Israeli’s reputation won’t be harmed inordinately.

All of which puts the onus squarely on the international community to designate these individuals and groups as terrorists and take appropriate action against them.  At the very least, the U.S. government should designate U.S. settler charities like Central Fund for Israel and Hebron Fund as such and deny them 501c3 status.  They are no different, and likely far worse than the Holyland Foundation, which was shut down by the U.S. government for its alleged support (never proven) for Arab terrorism.  So why the double standard?  Why can Arabs be terrorists but not Jews?  Need we even ask?

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Moses June 17, 2013, 2:04 PM

    Mr. Richard,

    Via your reference to the Hebron Fund, why do you refer to the Jews in Hebron in a negative way? There were Jews in Hebron for centuries before modern Israel, and were only massacred and expelled by the Arab armies. So Jews should be allowed to live there, and Hebron shouldn’t be referred to as a settlement either.


    Moses Sparkman

    • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2013, 2:21 PM

      Because the 400 settlers in Hebron (who you refer to as “Jews” but I refer to as pogromists) are thieves and disgusting models of humanity. Hebron is little more than a colonial outpost of the Israeli ultranationalist mission.

      Again, don’t give me lectures about your version of Jewish history. I’ll tire of that rapidly & you’ll end up booted out of the threads. Read the comment rules & respect them. Stay on topic & write comments directly related to my post.

      • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2013, 3:20 PM

        When Palestinians can return to their 400 destroyed villages inside Israel then Jews (not settlers) can return to Hebron.

  • Bob Mann June 17, 2013, 6:56 PM

    What about for you? When does a Jew (or anyone else) cross the line into becoming a terrorist? Do you think anyone who supports the settlers (via the funds you mentioned) is supporting terrorism? If not, that does seem to be your implication.

    • Davey June 17, 2013, 8:44 PM

      Of course — that’s exactly the point. These funds support terrorism and should entail the same consequences in the US as the Holy Land Fund, rather, its participants! What’s the diff?

      The weird thing is why Shabak would make such a politically charged recommendation in the first place. Could that organization be so out of touch with the government’s sensitivities? Seems unlikely to me. I feel certain that most Israelis with some high school or whatever behind them would see that such language could not be applied to Jews, not now, not in that state, its history texts, not ever.

    • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2013, 9:49 PM

      @Bob Mann: Being a terrorist & supporting terrorism are two different things. Not sure why you need my definition of what makes a terrorist. It’s pretty self-evident. But settler hooligans & price taggers are definitely terrorists. States too can adopt practices that are terror if they completely abandon any adherence to codes of conduct or international law. There are many that do and have including Israel (& many others).

      As for supporting terror: certainly almost all charities that support settlements support terror. Hebron Fund & Central Fund for Israel are definitely enablers.

      • Bob Mann June 18, 2013, 2:17 AM

        You wrote: “Not sure why you need my definition of what makes a terrorist. It’s pretty self-evident.”

        But I thought the whole point of the article was precisely that such a thing is not self-evident.

        Your title is: “When is a Jew a Terrorist? For Bibi, Never” so clearly there is a discrepancy between different people’s definition of what makes a terrorist. According to your piece, there is stark disagreement on this subject even within Israel itself.

        • Richard Silverstein June 18, 2013, 1:11 PM

          @Bob Mann: Bibi and the ultra-nationalists who tacitly support Jewish terror, don’t believe it exists in any meaningful way. The rest of the country except for the peace movement and left, which has minimal power, doesn’t do anything to contradict this scandalous situation. Saying there is stark disagreement within Israel overstates the case. People outside Israel know Jewish terror exists & judge Israel accordingly.

  • Mary Hughes-Thompson June 17, 2013, 9:15 PM

    Richard, I believe the number of villages destroyed or ethnically cleansed of their Arab inhabitants is generally accepted to be 531.

    • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2013, 9:41 PM

      @Mary Hughes-Thompson: Thanks for the correction.

    • Moses June 18, 2013, 7:18 AM

      [After repeated requests and warnings, your comment has been deleted because it is off-topic and repeats hasbara memes offered her numerous times by others before you. Future comments will be moderated and approved if they respect the comment rules–which you must read before commenting here again.]

  • Gony June 18, 2013, 12:13 AM

    If Bibi was in Germany in 1935, he would call the ‘Brown Shirts’ a youth movement.
    He is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Got a good belief system at home. His father was a Hitler sympathizer until he heard about the holocaust.

    • Richard Silverstein June 18, 2013, 1:16 PM

      @Gony: Do you know if Bibi’s father actually wrote about the Nazis before the War began. I’d be curious if he made any such statements. That would be very interesting if he had. Of course, the Revisionists did have such sympathies or at least were willing to do business with the Nazis. So it’s possible, perhaps likely, he shared them.

  • Davey June 18, 2013, 12:06 PM

    I’ve always wondered about the bizarre formulation that Palestinians were told to leave their homes to “make way” for invading armies. There is apparently no evidence of any such thing anywhere. But this aside, what does “make way” mean? Was the native population “in the way?” How so? It is just unfathomable how this clear lie ever got repeated and repeated.

    As for Mr. Sparkman — Palestinians rightly opposed Zionism, not Jews, because Zionism was out to steal the land and kick out Palestinians. Jews were just the medium in which these goals flourished. That’s not hard to understand, is it? It is Zionism that ruined Jewish innocence in the Holy Land as it was, and is, a frank program of expansion and racism. The US opposed Germany in WWII because of the German policies that were very similar…expansionism and racism.

  • Alun Palmer June 18, 2013, 3:47 PM

    It matters little whether Nutty Yahoo designates these people as terrorists, as the word has long since lost its meaning due to the way it has been applied, and they will still actually be terrorists regardless what he calls them.

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