Here is some eye-opening video of the protest outside Rabbi Arik Ascherman’s Jerusalem home by extremist settlers from the Shiloh settlement. They protested against Ascherman’s planned Tu B’Shvat tree planting ceremony (today) at a Palestinian village whose orchards have been destroyed by the Shiloh settlers. I blogged about the protest two days ago.
It’s remarkable that when Ascherman offered the settler a sacred text which he planned to use in his prayer reading, the man crumpled it and threw it to the ground. Given that God’s name could likely have been printed on the page (albeit a photocopy) I found the act to be revealing of the fact that religious convictions of settlers are often trumped by political ones. In Jewish tradition, the name of God printed on a page lends a text sacred status and it should be treated with veneration.
Among the statements made by the settlers were this one broadcast on a bullhorn to all residents of the neighborhood:
A man lives here who destroys the Jewish people, causes damage [to it] and cooperates with the enemy.
Interesting that if Ascherman were to go to Shiloh and say the same things he’d likely be met with a hail of bullets. In Jerusalem, they’ve given a legal permit by the police to smear Acherman in public.
Later, another settler, arguing with a peace activist, says:
settler: When God told Joshua to conquer the land, the whole entire land was ours without buying it.
activist: You want to conquer the whole entire land? Just like Joshua?
settler: Yeah. That’s what it says in the Bible. You can’t argue with that. The Bible says that we have to conquer the land, so we believe the whole, entire land is ours.
Not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but you can imagine when this dimwittedness is backed by an AK-47, that mindless fervor mixed with firepower is a potent force when confronting unarmed Palestinians trying to protect their orchards.