Nathaniel Popper has written an eye-opening account in The Forward of the links between Israeli Kahanist extremists like Eden Natan-Zada, the Shfaram murderer, and various American Jewish “fellow traveler” groups. He notes specific fundraising support and other political alliances between current and former Kahane followers (including some Chabad elements) in Israel and U.S.-based right wing organizations like Americans for a Safe Israel, Zionist Organization of America and Chabad (U.S.).
Popper notes that Natan-Zada was arrested recently along with David Ha-Ivri at a march to the Temple Mount (banned as incendiary by Israeli police), which Ha-Ivri organized. The latter is a “student of Kahane” who did a fundraising tour hosted by U.S. Chabad congregations and AFSI in order to raise money for his “charitable” activities. At least that’s what his donors thought. Little did they know they were giving money to support incitement.
When AFSI organized an Israel tour a few months later, participants witnessed a joint display of attack dogs by Ha-Ivri and Mike Guzofsky. The latter is the contact for the Kahane.org website which in turn is on the Treasury Department’s terror list. These were Guzofsky’s thoughts on the Shfaram massacre quoted by Popper from Voice of Judea: “Eden and those he killed were the first casualties in Sharon’s sadistic disengagement plan.”
Ha-Ivri refused to condemn the Shfaram killings saying instead:
“Violence is a terrible thing, We don’t use violence and break the law for its own sake.”
I wonder then, how he explains “celebrating” (Popper’s words) Baruch Goldstein on his own website?
AFSI’s chairman replied to Popper that Ha-Ivri is a “responsible person. It isn’t all that important whether he’s on a Treasury list or not,” Zweibon said. “They should not be on a list.” Isn’t it interesting that AFSI feels confident superseding the Treasury Department in evaluating terror threats? In case you’re wondering what AFSI stands for…some of their leaders support the Kahanist proposal to “transfer” all Arabs from Israel. The group’s chairman responded to the Natan-Zada killings by saying:
“…Nobody was particularly happy about people being killed in such a way.” Zweibon said the attack could be explained by the fact that Zada was “clearly unbalanced.”
You can see how tortured Zweibon’s statement is by noting the odd locution “nobody was particularly happy people were killed in such a way.” Does it mean there might’ve been ways in which Arabs would be killed that might make him more happy?? Also note that he sweeps away Natan-Zada’s act as one of a tortured soul, as if making him out to be aberrant somehow softens the horror of what he did. Of course the killer must have been unbalanced. But despite that, he represents a totally normative set of political beliefs for the extreme settler movement. In other words, if this boy didn’t do it then scores of others in similar circumstances might have (and may yet still).
The Forward notes this troubling development in the settler movement:
…The most disturbing foreshadowing of Natan-Zada’s attack was a shadowy mystical ceremony, known as a “pulsa dinura,” in which participants prayed, just two weeks before the killing spree, for Prime Minister Sharon’s death. The participants made an explicit point of performing the ritual at the grave of Shlomo Ben Yosef, a pre-independence Israeli resistance fighter who was hanged by the British after opening fire on an Arab bus in 1938.
The article raises a red flag among American Jewish organizations which have not done enough to dampen support for the most militant and violent settler groups:
…Given the links between some American opponents of disengagement and Kach associates in Tapuah, it is unclear whether the American Jewish community has established a firewall between Israeli extremists and mainstream organizations.
Natan-Zada’s act is a wake up call for Israel and American Jewry in the same way that 9/11 was America’s wake up call. American Jews can continue to act as if everything’s normal and maintain support for Kahanists or they can end the coddling of potential Jewish terrorists. And do not think that Shfaram is a one-off thing. There certainly are others out there who would like to do the same given the means and opportunity. Do we American Jews want to help provide those to them?