I was surfing through Ynetnews for information about a post I’m writing about the upcoming Palestinian elections and this image and headline (Hebron children to police chief: Shoot us”) REALLY brought me up short. “WHOA,” I said. “This stuff is beyond the pale.”
In my last post about the Hebron melee I posted images of young settlers abusing Israeli police and Palestinian residents. I’d also seen images of the Gaza withdrawal in which children were manipulated to invoke pity and especially guilt within the Israeli public. But this goes all the way down to the gutter. Putting young children in front the the world media with signs saying “Karadi [the Israeli police chief]–Shoot Me!” Really. All I can do is echo Joseph Welch’s famous lines which finally turned the tables on Senator Joe McCarthy and eventually led to his political demise (in this passage he comes to the defense of a young lawyer accused by McCarthy of belonging to the National Lawyer’s Guild):
Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness…Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me…
You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
…If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good.
I couldn’t have put it any better myself. I have three young children. I believe strongly in my political principles. They have often been under attack just as the Hebron settlers feel themselves under attack. But I would never stoop to such narischkeit. It would demean me. It would demean my children. And perhaps worst of all, it would demean my cause. Why should anyone sympathize with adults who do such things to their children?
Finally, I note that Ynet has the good sense to protect the privacy of these poor children by masking their faces. But why didn’t their parents have the good sense not to parade them for public show in the first place?