The face of Israeli hate has once again reared its ugly head. A recent immigrant from France who had also lately become religious lured an East Jerusalem taxi driver to his death in what appears to be a nationalist inspired hate crime:
The 26-year-old Tel Aviv man accused of murdering an East Jerusalem taxi driver on Monday, Julian Soufir, told police, “I decided to murder an Arab.”
Police said their initial investigation revealed that the suspect, an immigrant from France whose family lives in Netanya, went to Jerusalem on Monday morning to find a taxi driver to murder.
They discovered the murder of Taysir Karaki, 35, from Beit Haninah north of the capital, almost by chance after they stopped two young men walking down the middle of a Tel Aviv street at around 4:00 P.M., near Yonah Hanavi Street…
The body of the East Jerusalem man was discovered in an apartment [there] on Monday afternoon. His throat had been cut, and his body bore the signs of a severe attack.
A preliminary police investigation revealed that the dead man had been invited to the apartment by the 25-year-old Israeli…
The motive behind the murder seems to be nationalistic, as the suspect said that he had killed the taxi driver over his Arab nationality.
Neighbors said that the suspect had recently become religious
The victim appeared to have no political affiliation whatsoever and little involvement with politics. He leaves behind a widow and two young children:
Karaki’s father, Yasser Karaki, told Haaretz his son, who was married and the father of four children ages six to 12, had driven the children to school and set off for work at 8:30 A.M. “He was a good guy, he was not involved in politics; all he wanted to do was make a living for his children,” the elder Karaki said.
The few dozen friends and relatives who gathered on Monday at the Karaki house seemed shocked at the idea Karaki was murdered for nationalistic reasons. A neighbor, Wahib Liftawi, said the police called his nearby grocery store.
“They told us Taysir had had an accident and we should go to the police station in Neve Yaakov,” Liftawi said. “Khaled, Taysir’s brother, went there and then to Tel Aviv to identify the body. We heard on the news that French people took him to Tel Aviv. They asked him to help them to the apartment with their luggage and then they stabbed him. Allah will not forgive them; he was a good boy.”
For many Israelis, this incident be merely a one-off event perpetrated by what they hope will turn out to be a mentally deranged individual. It will not resonate. It will not fit any pattern. It will not involve much soul-searching. This will be because of the protective shell covering Israelis that prevents them from interacting or empathizing with Arabs.
We will have to see what influences played upon the terrorist. Where did he get the idea that killing an Arab was a laudable endeavor? Was he a follower of extremist settlers as previous Jewish terrorists have been? We shouldn’t jump to conclusions till we know the facts. But previous similar crimes make us wonder whether this one will fit the pattern of Jewish extremism. And no doubt Soufir will join the ranks of Jewish ‘martyrs’ (at least in the eyes of the Kahanist crowd) like Eden Natan-Zada, Yigal Amir, Baruch Goldstein and too many others who struck a blow for Jewish “justice.”
Haaretz quotes an Israeli Arab Knesset member making a cogent point about how this crime fits into Israeli Jewish attitudes toward Arabs:
MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra`am-Ta`al) said…that “an atmosphere of incitement, hated of Arabs, and the escalating racism in the country are fertile soil for this crime,” and added that ” the court will probably find mitigating circumstances for the murderers.”
No doubt he is correct. Jewish terrorists often serve much shorter sentences than Arab terrorists. And the treason case against Azmi Bishara could also have served as a trigger for the crime. Maariv and other Israeli media were braying for Bishara’s head and Jewish Knesset members were calling for him to be kidnapped and tried for treason. This is precisely the type of incitement to violence Tibi is talking about.
This was a horrible crime committed. It’s a shame that you and Tibi use this tragedy to spread cheap propaganda and Israel bashing with statements like the “face of Israeli hate” or “atmosphere of incitement” (which certainly does not exist in mainstream Israel even if you can dig up some obscure quotes by marginal second rate politicians.)
Calling for the abduction of a Bishara and puting him on trial may be ill-advised but it is certainly not a call for the murder of an innocent individual.
It is more likely that this feebleminded and emotionally disturbed individual was driven to this violent crime by the reality of violence against Jews byArabs. Just today Arabs threw a molotov cocktail at Jews in a car, an Arab was caught with three knives hidden and he confessed to planning to murder Jews and Kassam rockets were fired once again at the Jews of Sderot. These are daily, underreported in the English press events. These events surely influenced this individual more than anything Avigdor Liberman said.
Having said that, there is no excuse for murder, and even if he is found to be mentally ill, I hope he will never be released from prison.
Okay, I want you to give me CONCRETE examples of “dehumanization” of
the Arab s like Dr Tibi gives and I don’t mean one or two quotes from fringe Kahanists. I can give you examples the other way, of Arabs dehumanizing
Jews in official public forums. Just look at MEMRI’s web site. How about , just the other day, Mickey Mouse on Palestinian TV telling how it was a “mitzvah” to kill Jews and the Muslims will eventually conquer the world (this was reported in the media in the last few days). Or how about the endless refrain repeated in Mosques around the world that “Jews are decendents of pigs and monkeys”. Or how about the Imam of the mosque in Gaza who IN THE PRESENCE OF ARAFAT said it is an obligation of all Muslims to kill Jews (now if you are going to say “prove this happened” it was broadcast on the CBS show ’60 Minutes’ and Mike Wallace showed it to Arafat and asked him what he had to say about it-he replied “I didn’t hear him say it”).
I know it gives a lot of post-Zionist Jews masochistic thrills every time some isolated event like this happens to that they can see “see how rotten we Jews are!” . I am not going to carry on me some Jewish guilt-trip of some yefeh nefesh (bleeding heart) Jew. WE ARE NOT LIKE THE ARABS and bringing a handful of tragedies compared with the endless list of Arab atrocities is not going to balance the sheet.
Richard Silverstein says
You’ve published numerous comments here on various posts & I & other commenters have patiently discussed this very subject w. you. The concrete examples of dehumanization have already been given. Go back & read the responses to yr comments. I’m not going to regurgitate for you.
I never cease to be amazed at ultra-nationalist Israelis who tout sites like MEMRI or CAMERA as God’s honest truth when it comes to media coverage of the I-P conflict. If we were debating U.S. politics & I quoted the Socialist Worker Party newspaper as support for my pt of view & expected you to accept it as credible, I should have to have my head examined & you’d be right to say the things I’m saying to you now. MEMRI is NOT CREDIBLE as a source about anything related to this conflict. It is out & out propaganda–little better than Little Green Footballs. Fall down & worship its every word as far as I’m concerned. But don’t expect me to fall into that trap.
You are within a hair of being banned fr. this site. How dare you call me “post-Zionist!” You know what I call myself in this regard & when you’re at this blog you’ll either accept my terms of referring to my views on this subject or you’ll simply be invited elsewhere. My denunciation of this terrorist murder, which is BY NO MEANS an isolated incident since these incidents happen with great regularity, has nothing to do with Jews and everything to do with how Israeli Jews have anesthetized themselves to the Palestinians & the Occupation.
And you will apologize to me for that crack above or you’ll be gone. I mean business!
Richard Silverstein says
I read it the first time & it clearly referred to me even if by implication. I read it the 2nd time & that impression was reinforced. And since you’re trying to weasel out of yr responsibility for what you wrote about me & haven’t apologized for the implications which I found deeply objectionable, you won’t be commenting here again.
Jewish terror happens regularly. I did not quote you every act of Jewish terror against Arabs. Every single act over the past few years is covered in this blog. Do some searching & you’ll find them. It’s not my job to do yr research for you.
You are insufferable. Countless Israeli news reports in Haaretz and Yediot cover the destruction of multiple Arab agricultural properties including olive groves and you call it “mythology.” Unbelievable.
Have you forgotten that Israel’s vice-prime minister last year (before he was a minister) called for hanging Azmi Bishara from a lamppost? Arutz Sheva reported that statement I assume since every other Israeli publication did. So in effect it has by implication justified violence against Israeli Arabs.
If that’s so, I approve of your views. But you cannot possible oppose them more than I as you would see if you read about my current battles with some particularly nasty Kahanists.
I find it surprising you know so little about Israeli Kahanism. Much of the extreme settler movement is Kahanist. Natan Zada was a Kahanist as was the settler who murdered 5 Palestinian workers a year ago (his name escapes me though I covered the story here & you can find my post if you look for it).
If you go back and read what I wrote, I didn’t call you a “post-Zionist”. However, post-Zionists also have had a field day with this as I have seen in Ha’aretz and other polaces.
I assume you can read Hebrew based on your educational background. I also assume you consider
the newspaper B’Sheva and Arutz 7 to be “extreme right-wing”.Their political
line more or less
corresponds to my view of things. They are all available on-line. I challenge you
to bring me ONE example where anything that is written there says it is permissible
to use violence against Arabs or that it is permissible to damage their property (e.g.
the mythological “damaged olive trees”). In you list of examples of “Jewish violence”
you had to go back more than a dozen years to find 2 examples. Yet every day here,
in Israel, as Amir pointed out, there are assaults or attempted assaults on Jews by
Arabs, not to mention the daily indiscriminate rocket attacks in Sederot which
yesterday caused a large number of casualties.
Now, if you want to talk about the Kahanists, I can only tell you that I, as a “right-
winger” am more opposed to them than you are. Fortunatley, they are a fringe
phenomenon and have NO influence on the majority of the national religious
camp and its youth. Although, Kahane succeeded in being elected to the Knesset
almost 25 years ago, today they have NO political presence or following at all.
Yes, some of them make extreme statements, yet, as far
as I know, they are NOT responsible for the few acts of violence against Arabs
that Jews have been responsible for.
It is vital that a sense of proportion be maintained!
Richard Silverstein says
Why do I need to bash Israel when wild-eyed murderous fanatics do such a good job without my help?? And by the way the “marginal second rate politicians” who “certainly don’t call for the murder of an innocent individual” include your current vice prime minister who advocated stringing up Azmi Bishara by a lamppost last year if you’ll recall. Or have you forgotten that charming little comment by Lieberman??
And you certainly & predictably didn’t disappoint:
Good to see you’re also able to rationalize the crime:
You may temporize, but at least in the end you come down on the right side of things:
I just wish you could flat out denounce the crime instead of doing a “yes, but…” “Yes, buts” in the face of cold-blooded murderous terror (whether of one side or the other) are in extremely poor taste and judgment.
It’s interesting how you essentially seek to rationalize this horrific hate crime when you say: “It is more likely that this feebleminded and emotionally disturbed individual was driven to this violent crime by the reality of violence against Jews by Arabs”. I find it notable that apologists for Israel’s brutalization of the Palestinians like yourself always perversely attempt to invert the causality of Palestinian victim-hood no matter how clear the crime appears to the objective observer. This makes me think of the latest issue of the London Review of Books where one can find a great letter written by Yigal Bronner and Neve Gordon detailing the cold-blooded murder of the Palestinian citizen of Israel, Samir Dari, by an Israeli policeman, Shmuel Yechezkel, after he had approached a group of policemen to inquire about the nearby detainment of his brother and demand his release (I hope this hasn’t already been covered by Richard, I’ve just recently come back to perusing this blog after a brief hiatus). The ensuing investigation found that Dari was shot in the back at close range when he was moving away from the policeman and that there had been no struggle or even physical contact. Yet the judge nonetheless exonerated the Israeli policeman despite these concrete findings (substantiated by the autopsy). Bronner and Gordon conclude by noting: “…the verdict reinforces the idea among the Jewish public that not all blood is the same. Not this this should surprise anyone.” It is Jewish voices of conscience like these two that really put apologists like you and bar kochba to shame. Come on, let’s try to morally, spiritually progress a little bit here. I’m one of those who firmly believe that minds and hearts can change, evolve…
Sorry. I posted this before I noticed your riposte, Richard, so I inadvertently end up repeating, a bit, points you make. Alas…
Richard Silverstein says
I hadn’t posted about that incident, Warren. But thanks for mentioning it. It only reinforces my point about anti-Arab violence & hatred. I’ll have to look up the ltr. you mention. It sounds terrific.
Neve Gordon btw, is fighting one of my current nemeses, Steven Plaut, after winning an $18,000 libel judgment against Plaut in an Israeli court for calling Gordon a “Nazi.” Plaut has created a fake blog in my name through Blogger. We’re awaiting what Neve & I hope will be an upholding of the original ruling on appeal.
John Yorke says
Yes, this is a tragedy, for the victims, for the perpetrator, for Arab and Jew alike, for all of us in fact. As on each and every one of these occasions, the old saying still has meaning: ‘never send to see for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’
As an engineer of more years standing than I care to remember, I’ve experienced quite a few ‘tragedies’ in my line of work. Of course, these have mostly been ‘machine tragedies’, confined exclusively to the soulless creatures that I service; the only human actually harmed on such occasions has usually been myself. But there’s one thing I’ve learned in all that time. If a machine is on fire, if the room is filling up with smoke and all Hell is breaking loose in the wiring, then the first thing to do is find the nearest and biggest power-switch and turn it to the OFF position – and do that as fast as possible. Only common-sense I know – but you’d be surprised at just how many people are prepared to sit there, frozen, watching the whole thing burn down around them.
Finding the ‘on/off’ switch for all the present conflict and tragedy in the Middle East would, I suggest, be the first order of business. Leaving the whole situation on ‘standby’ seems to be the best we’ve managed to come up with so far – and that only for the briefest of intervals. The results could hardly be described as ‘encouraging,’ this latest incident serving only to confirm that observation.
Locating that elusive ‘ON/OFF’ switch must surely be our top priority – and if there isn’t one to be found, then install one, preferably one that can handle the load and won’t collapse as soon as it’s thrown. Wouldn’t do any harm to include some properly rated fuses in it as well.
It can be done. Believe me, as an engineer, these things are nowhere near as as difficult as you might think.
Lets see, I called it a horrible crime, a tragedy, I said there was no excuse for murder (not even mental illness) and that I hope the muderer spends the rest of his life in prison. Nevertheless, if you didn’t understand, I flat out denounce the crime. BTW, you haven’t flat out denounced the crime.
Not at all. RS said “We will have to see what influences played upon the terrorist.” He seems to think incitement had much to with it and I differ.
As it were, there seems to be evidence that he has a background of mental or emotional disorders.
I urge readers of Tikun Olam to do a search from this blog on the word “haq” and read what RS writes when an emotionally disturbed Pakistany murders Jews in Seatle and compare it to his reaction to this event.
Believe me, I don’t remember that comment by Lieberman, it’s not played on the radio day and night. I’m sure he meant that he should be hung after a trial and I’m willing to bet that the murderer probably doesn’t even know who Bishara is.
Richard Silverstein says
You say that now when confronted by the fact that both Warren & I independently noted yr temporizing on this issue by saying that his crime should be understood as a response to Arab violence against Jews. That’s what I call, “Yes, but.”
None of the Israeli media have yet confirmed any indication that he is mentally disturbed though that may be possible. The murderers’ lawyer has made this claim which is a far cry from a credible source at this point.
First of all, Naveed Haq is not Pakistani, but American. His parents were from Pakistan. He is a native-born American. 2nd, within 2 days of the shooting it became clear that he had been in treatment for severe mental illness for 10 yrs. 3rd, both the murderers parents and the Seattle Muslim community took great pains to ask forgiveness publicly for Haq’s crime.
I wonder whether you’re in favor of Ehud Olmert going to Beit Hanina to pay a condolence call on the Karaki family to show that the State of Israel shares in the pain that this nut has caused the family as the Haq family did here in Seattle? Better yet, why shouldn’t Lieberman go too? Or why don’t you? And pls. don’t tell me you’ll go as soon as you see a Palestinian paying a condolence call on the family of a murdered Israeli Jew. A mitzva should not be predicated on reciprocity.
I’m not sure I would be safe at the Karaki families house. I saw them on tv. The gradfather said to the orphaned grand child (looked to be a four year old girl) “who murdered your father?” The girl: “the Jews” (not a Jew, THE Jews)
Richard Silverstein says
And you don’t think an Israeli Jew attempting to break through that prejudice by expressing genuine remorse to the family on their loss might be received with genuine appreciation? Why don’t you try it? Why don’t you begin a campaign for donations to the family to support his orphaned children? Or go to Beit Hanina yourself?
Besides, if you were Palestinian & your father had had his throat slit by this terrorist you might not be speaking too kindly of Jews either. I don’t justify the hatred. I merely say it’s our mutual responsibility to try to break through it whenever we see it coming fr. either side.
John Yorke says
Still more heat than light.
Forget for a moment that it’s an Arab who has been murdered here. Or, for that matter, that some as yet unknown and unknowing Jew may tomorrow will pay with his/her own life for this piece of work. Realise that, at this stage, it’s pointless to assign blame or reason for these events; it will solve very little, achieve no lasting memorial or remedy. Instead concentrate on ways to break this circle of pain and payback. Otherwise the sum total of all these deaths – and you can imagine just how many that is – will have been for nothing; no gain, no improvement in the situation and certainly no end to such slaughter.
For once, it may be more to everyone’s advantage, including even the dead, to think- and to act – outside the box.
It was the face of mental illness not Israeli hate which expressed itself here. Source:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3413851,00.html
“Psychiatrists: Murderer of Arab taxi driver unfit to stand trial”
Richard Silverstein says
I’ll have to review that article before I make a judgment. I’m perfectly willing to accept that the man is mentally ill & not accountable for his actions. But often the mentally ill represent extreme manifestations of what is found within society itself.