In a classified security cabinet meeting, whose deliberations were predictably leaked (this being Israel), Bibi Netanyahu refused to accept the Shabak’s recommendations that settlers engaging in price tag attacks be designated as terrorists. The thought process behind the decision is truly staggering in its amorality: price taggers, while their acts may be considered terrorist cannot be so, because if they were, the international community could further “delegitimize” Israel:
Netanyahu said that even if declaring price tag activists as part of a terror organization was correct from a domestic standpoint, it would be a diplomatic mistake to do so. Netanyahu explained that such a declaration would damage Israel’s international standing, increase its delegitimization and encourage various groups across the world to compare price tag attacks to rocket fire or Hamas suicide attacks.
Israel haters out there, so the thinking goes, would compare price tag attacks to the truly dastardly terror attacks of Arab militant groups. And that would be much more harmful than actually calling price tag violence by its proper name and ridding Israeli society of it.
You can easily see by such rhetorical nonsense that Israel’s government is hopelessly co-opted by settler terrorist groups and ideology. While it may not share the violent tactics, Bibi is so closely tied to the rejectionist-ejectionist ideology behind them that he will not allow the intelligence agencies to fight them with full force. When you read about Israel’s failure to apprehend and convict Jewish terrorists you read a thousand excuses: Jewish suspects refuse to talk, they’re ideological fanatics. Blah, blah, blah. The Shabak somehow manages to get Palestinian security suspects to talk (routinely using torture despite its use being banned by the Supreme Court). Yet when suspects are Jews, the Shabak all of a sudden becomes a tea and crumpets society.
There were actually two ministers with a minimal level of gumption who opposed this monstrosity: Yitzhak Aharonowitz and Tzipi Livni.
This can be compared to the white supremacist movement in the South prior to 1963. Until then, the Ku Klux Klan could lynch and torture at will. It was only after the federal government took over from state jurisdictions in investigating and prosecuting civil rights cases that prosecutions and convictions began (and they took several years to happen even after the FBI took over). White Southerners were hopelessly compromised in enforcing civil rights. Those in power essentially agreed with the views, if not the tactics of the hooded nightstalkers.
Ask yourself today, how the federal government would react if white supremacists targeted a particular religion in this country and burned its churches down. You’ll recall that about a decade ago precisely this sort of campaign did occur with a number of small Black country churches torched in arson attacks. Within a year, the FBI had tracked down the perpetrators and the vandalism ended. Where there is a will, there is always a way. In Israeli there’s no will and no way.
Bibi Netanyahu’s role in something like that of George Wallace. They both approve/d of the principle of racial exclusion and supremacy. They both understood/stand that while they themselves may not be seen to support violence, there are those who work on their behalf who will use violence. The worst that either could say about the thugs among them, was that they embarrassed the cause. But not that there was anything wrong with the cause itself.
Bibi seems to believe that the international community doesn’t have eyes in its head to see the pictures of the terrors attacks, the burned mosques, destroyed property. Somehow if Israel simply ignores the problem, the world will too and Israeli’s reputation won’t be harmed inordinately.
All of which puts the onus squarely on the international community to designate these individuals and groups as terrorists and take appropriate action against them. At the very least, the U.S. government should designate U.S. settler charities like Central Fund for Israel and Hebron Fund as such and deny them 501c3 status. They are no different, and likely far worse than the Holyland Foundation, which was shut down by the U.S. government for its alleged support (never proven) for Arab terrorism. So why the double standard? Why can Arabs be terrorists but not Jews? Need we even ask?