They burned Joan of Arc at the stake. They wrapped Rabbi Haninah in a Torah scroll and burned him too. They burned Jewish books and synagogues on Kristallnacht. Not to be outdone, Israel’s Kahanists are burning Barack Obama (Maariv Hebrew article here) on Lag B’Omer. To be clear, they’re not burning the president they call “Hussein Obama,” only pictures of him, as if that wasn’t bad enough.
In Israel, there is a custom of lighting bonfires on the holiday of Lag B’Omer. Traditionally, people have taken advantage of the opportunity to burn pictures of those they believe harm the Jewish people. Not until this year, has that list of ne’er-do-wells included the U.S. president. A spokesperson for the project told Israeli radio:
Today the enemy of Israel, even though he does not pretend to be an enemy of Israel, is Barack Hussein Obama. Just like you said that you used to burn pictures of Israel’s enemies. That is how I remember that I too used to burn pictures of Arafat, Sheikh Yassin, Hussein. Today our enemy is Obama.
Here is the radio interview with a correspondent and a leader of the right-wing enterprise. Read it and weep:
Guy Varon: After we have seen right-wing activists burning pictures of Saddam, Nasrallah and Arafat in recent years on Lag B’Omer, this year there is a new star, US Pres. Barack Obama.
Rino Tzror: Did you see an effigy of Obama?
Guy Varon: We saw the effigies and the pictures. I also want to add that we say Barack Obama. These right wing people really like to say Hussein Obama.
Rino Tzror: Right.
Guy Varon: Pictures and effigies of the superpower leader will be distributed this year ahead of Lag B’Omer by rightwing activists. They explained that as far as they are concerned he is an enemy of Israel. His behavior harms Israel more than anything. For them the message is that Obama is bad for the Jews.
Rino Tzror: And they’re going to burn him on bonfires, like they used to burn pictures of Hitler, of all kinds of enemies of Israel. Is that the way Obama is going to be treated this Lag B’Omer?
Guy Varon: That is definitely the intention of the people who are giving out the pictures and the effigies.
Rino Tzror: Stay with us. Now we are going to talk to Bentzy Gopstein. Good morning.
Bentzy Gopstein: Good morning Rino.
Rino Tzror: You are a follower of Kahane, right?
Bentzy Gopstein: Right.
Rino Tzror: Who started this project of Obama effigies?
Bentzy Gopstein: There are a few friends together. They decided that today the enemy of Israel, even though he does not pretend to be an enemy of Israel, is Barack Hussein Obama. Just like you said that you used to burn pictures of Israel’s enemies. That is how I remember that I too used to burn pictures of Arafat, Sheikh Yassin, Hussein. Today our enemy is Obama.
Rino Tzror: No, I never burned Hussein. We used to burn Hitler. We used to go for the real villains, not the ones who maybe were and maybe weren’t.
Bentzy Gopstein: I don’t think maybe he is and maybe he isn’t. I think that Hussein Obama who wants to freeze construction in Jerusalem every minute, he would even like to just freeze Israel over. He pretends to be a friend but actually he loves Islam. He is an anti-Semite, nothing less.
Rino Tzror: What picture of Obama did you choose?
Bentzy Gopstein: A nice one.
Rino Tzror: A nice one. With or without a keffiyeh? Did you add one? Did you touch it up?
Bentzy Gopstein: No keffiyeh. A real picture of him conveys a keffiyeh, even if you don’t put one on him.
Rino Tzror: It conveys it to you. How many effigies did you make?
Bentzy Gopstein: A few hundreds. We are in production now. Some have been made. We distribute through Facebook. We opened the group “Hussein Obama comes to the bonfire.” That is where people will join and receive the effigies.
Rino Tzror: And who are the people who take the effigies or the pictures that they want to burn?
Bentzy Gopstein: A lot of people. We have inquiries from children all over the country.
Rino Tzror: Children. That’s the problem. Maybe you are ruining them.
Bentzy Gopstein: We want to educate children while they are small. When you burn it, when you have a Lag B’Omer bonfire with children, education begins with children. We want to teach them that we have to trust God, not Obama.
Sure, you can say that these idiots represent a small minority of Israelis. But just think–they Photoshopped Yitzhak Rabin in an SS uniform before a settler assassin put a bullet in him and killed him. What’s the difference really? The point is that hate kills. It kills leaders and it kills a nation’s chances for peace.
I would’ve thought Jews, of all people, might be a bit more sensitive to the idea of burning people (even in effigy) given our history.
H/t Rupa Shah and Didi Remez.
10 thoughts on “Burning Obama – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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(This story speaks for itself.)
first time i have ever heard of this custom
the only thing i have done on lag b’omer around the bon fire was to drink beer…for it is a happy time…when rabbi akiva’s students stopped dying.
i really dont know of anyone else who participates in the burning of anyone in effigy, despite what the guy in the above referenced article says.
Richard, did you report abuse on facebook? What are your thoughts on this?
As for Jewish sensitivity, I agree. Not to mention there’s no equating Barack Obama , whatever your opinion of him may be (I personally think he’s a refreshing change after dubya), with Hitler. You just can’t compare an American President with Hitler. And yes, hate kills.
“Today the enemy of Israel, even though he does not pretend to be an enemy of Israel, is Barack Hussein Obama.”
So what they are saying is that although Obama does not act in a way intended to make people believe he is an enemy of Israel, that he is in fact an enemy of Israel.
Is that some convoluted thinking or what?
In my opinion Obama has not made any groundbreaking moves in order to rein in Israel on the occupation and illegal activities thwarting peace. Even H.W. Bush attempted to go further than Obama, had he not been embroiled in the Gulf War.
That’s why I think depicting Obama as the enemy of Israel is merely a strategy meant to box in Obama and curtail his momentum on this issue, and because Obama is in a precarious first term, he won’t dare stray too far from the norm and risk losing a second term.
The truth is that no President since John F. Kennedy has had the political will or courage to confront Israel. Jimmy Carter tried to get an effort going but unfortunately we all know what happened on the Israeli side with Rabin.
I believe Palestinians are on their own. This is why BDS is so important. What else have they got? They’re certainly not going to get to far with protests where dozens get arrested, and many are injured and even killed. It helps to have Israeli Jews and foreigners in those protests though. Palestinians need everyone’s support and help to push for a world-wide movement because I doubt this Administration will get very far with their present initiative which is pretty lukewarm.
Of course trying to swing American public opinion into the Palestinians’ corner will help Obama risk adopting a tougher policy towards Israel, but time is of the essence in this regard.
I don’t know how big or small a minority they are in Israel but the fact that they exist is scary enough.
What are the trends? What role will they play in the political system and how will their overall influence develop in society in the future? Will they still be just a small minority in a few years from now, considering their efforts to ‘educate’ children?
Their birth rate is huge & far surpasses secular Israelis. Plus the latter are more likely to emigrate than the former. Israel, I’m sorry to say is becoming a more right wing, more religious society demographically & politically.
I suggest you qualify Rino Tzror for being a top left-wing journalist personality and not just the generic ‘correspondant’. A couple of weeks ago, he went after the Haredim as well ans painted a skewed picture that 33% of them were lying about studying in the kollels.
Did Rio Tzror force the Kahanist he interviewed to say the horrific things he did? Did the Kahanist say them only because Tzror is a leftist? Did Tzror lie about anything the interviewee said? Puh-leeze. Gimme a break.
“I would’ve thought Jews, of all people, might be a bit more sensitive to the idea of burning people (even in effigy) given our history.”
Oh. come on, that was the old Jew. Israel’s New Jew is ready to stand toe-to-toe with the whole world and duke it out. Listen Gentiles, has your two-bit, one-horse, no-account denomination got atomic bombs with crosses on them? I didn’t think so you three-time losers! But just look over there and see those bombs with the Star-O’-David on ’em? Get the picture? That’s right, baby, us National Hebrews is playin’ in the big leagues now!