Yesterday, I posted about Christophobia among the Israeli settler set, which has led to scores of hate crimes against Christians in Israel. This has included church burnings, graffiti desecration, physical assaults on priests, and a bombing which left one Christian permanently maimed. In the comment thread, someone mentioned that the most recent attack was last month at the hands of the brutalists of Lehava, which I’ve chronicled here.
A month ago, Jerusalem celebrated Manofim, the 8th annual Jerusalem Contemporary Art Festival. The event is primarily arts focused. Part of the celebration involved a public performance at a Jerusalem mall by a series of local choirs, one of which was from the Armenian church. The audience listened to the choirs from the various circular floors of the mall as they performed on the ground floor. All the songs sung were in Hebrew and none were on a specifically Christian theme.
But those Lehava dunderheads didn’t let that stop them. They accused the entire musical performance of being “Christian” and said it was devoted to missionizing Jews. Apparently they misread the phrase “polyphonic dialogue” as “polytheism” and believed the singers intended to re-establish pre-Israelite pagan idolator worship(!) Lehava claimed the evangelical intent was clear from the concert program itself. You can read it displayed here you’ll see there isn’t an iota of truth to any of it. In fact, one of the organizers of the event told the Israeli press that Lehava’s actions were a “desecration of God’s name.”
The protesters shouted and disrupted the performance, screaming “Christians, get out, go to Syria” and “Jew-killers” at the performers and audience. The police were called. They took their sweet time, which further sabotaged the performance. In the meantime, the Armenian choir could not complete its second song and was forced to leave the building for fear of further physical assault. Organizers of the festival expressed shock and shame that a cultural project was turned into a spectacle of hate, which tarnished the reputation of Jerusalem for being a city of many cultures and religions.
This desecration of a beautiful musical performance by pogromists reminds me of the German saying mistakenly attributed to Hermann Goring: “When I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my gun.” Israel is no longer a culture of music and art, but a ‘culture’ of brutalism and the gun.
An Israeli colleague has unearthed video of the aftermath of that incident. In it, you’ll see Lehava’s SS commander, Bentzi Gopstein bellowing like a wounded bull. His supporters shout at the top of their lungs at the police: “Free him, free him!” They blow whistles and sing patriotic songs off-key, as if they were at a Beitar Jerusalem soccer match. Gopstein is surrounded by a gaggle of police who don’t seem to know what to do with him. They haven’t a clue where to take him and seem to wander aimlessly for minutes at a time before they finally cart him off to the hoosegow. Admittedly, Gopstein is a man of considerable girth and it would be difficult to move his against his will. But with ten policemen at hand, that should’ve been eminently possible.
In the meantime, one can hear faintly in the background the sound of heavenly voices emanating from the choir performing. What are they singing? The Psalm Hallelujah from the Book of Psalms. They sing it in a beautiful Hebrew as well. Desecration indeed.
This is Israel folks. Liberal Zionists may argue all they wish about these imbeciles being aberrations in the Israeli polity. They can call them extremists and wax on about how tolerant the rest of Israel is. But I’m having none of it. If you watch the police you can see that they don’t know what to do with Gopstein. If they had their choice he would burn down the entire performance and the space in which it’s being held. Of course, this is a bit of projection on my part. But the proof is in the abysmal rate of prosecution of crimes committed by animals like Gopstein and the like. Israeli police are generally corrupt, inept and brutal. But in the case of Jewish extremists they are even worse. They throw up their hands and say: “what do you want us to do?” In other words, do nothing.
And yes, there are a few exceptional cases in which the world clamors for justice and the police arises from its torpor and performs in a manner that reasonably approximates a functioning police force (note that they did this only after they’d accused the 16 year old victim of being gay and murdered by his family in an honor killing). No sooner is this complete than it returns to its slumber.
In the meantime, Sonderkommando aktion like this one only burnish the credentials of such fools. Friends, this is Munich 1928. This concert was the Munich beer hall putsch. This is how Hitler got his start. Within a decade, Gopstein will be prime minister. Yehuda Glick will be defense minister. The Haram al Sharif will be bulldozed and Israel will be swept in a regional religious holy war. Dystopian? Perhaps. Or prophetic…
OK, I know you gave me a big assignment, which I will not be able to fulfill since I am not a crime researcher, but a little searching did give me a general idea:
Comparing apples and oranges is a bit of a problem here because of how one defines “hate crimes” and what number you put in the denominator. But a simple calculation involving the raw numbers mentioned here, and using West Bank and US population figures, reveals that in the US the rate is about 1.7/100,000 per year and in the West Bank it ranges from 0.5 to 6.4 per 100,000. In any case you are talking about pretty uncommon events of which most individuals are not likely to be a victim. (To get a sense of that for sake of comparison, the rate for injury or death from road accidents in the US is 752 per 100,000 per year- https://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics) Under-reporting is a problem according to Yesh Din which results in 30% not reported to police, which are included in the high end calculation. And, using raw numbers to report and compare would be extremely misleading.
Again, the number is not zero and every victim suffers, but you have to look at a population level. I realize that good statistics are hard to come by and can be biased and misleading. However, a big splashy new story with dramatic pictures is far MORE misleading. Imagine if you made a blog with collected stories and pictures of every plane crash victim. It would be very easy to wrongly conclude that air travel is dangerously unwise.
That extremist idiots and criminals exist everywhere is not news, but for some reason you seem to hold Jews to not only a higher standard, but an impossible one.
Don’t find any ref to this in the Israeli eng news?
Gopstein will be prime minister the day David Duke will be the USA president….The latter is of course more likely given that while Duke is free to spread his have and was even elected to public office, Gopstein has been arrested several times including for “incitement” and including a 6 month period of Administrative detention. Interestingly, the only Israeli citizens to be sent to Administrative detention in the last few years are members of the extreme right.
Gopstein and the like of him are a miniscule minority in Israel (thank god) and in the last election to failed to get enough votes to get into the Israeli parliament.
Again, the far right in Israel is being kept under quite a close surveillance by the authorities, including the Shabac and the police. Some are under Administrative detention, others have been arrested for incitement (which goes against the freedom of expression) etc.
So, there is really no need to exaggerate. It is as significant as Neo Nazi rallies in the USA
My view of the video is that the police were fully in charge of the situation. I saw very few Lahava supporters and a pretty small audience turnout for the chorale.
Only Tikkun Olam and the Times of Israel have bothered to report this incident.
And BTW. Indictments have just been handed down against thirteen people involved in last year’s ‘Blood Wedding’ video.
The wheels of justice grind slow, but grind fine.
The State of Israel will survive Benzi Gopstein.
Despite Richard’s projected and forced comparisons, Israel isn’t Wiemar Germany. Never was. Never will be.
Deïr Yassin says
“Gopstein and the like of him are a miniscule minority in Israel (thank god) and in the last election to failed to get enough votes to get into the Israeli parliament.”
There are many people in the Likud (Yehudah Glick, Moshe Feighlin, the guy who used to be a pimp and drug dealer in Bulgaria Oren Hazan etc) and particularly in Jewish Home (Ayalet Shaked, Uri Ariel, the racist who didn’t want his wife to give birth next to an Arab, forgot his name, etc etc) not to speak of Avigdor Lieberman and HIS nutcases, so no, maybe Gopstein is a little more ‘outspoken’ than the average right-winger, but these supremacists who dream about a ‘pure’ Jewish State are not a miniscule minority.
There is no minister in Israel who wouldn’t be considered a fascist in Europe, starting with the minister of culture (since Richard mentioned ‘culture’). When she compared the Black Panther salute by Tamar Nafar and Yossi Zabari after their performance of “Write, I’m an Arab” to a Nazi salute she just exposed what a sick society Israel is (I won’t even write ‘has become’).
Deïr Yassin says
That was supposed to be an answer to Amico and not Barbar(ian) Resurrected.
I appreciate your point but still argue that Gopstein only represents a miniscule minority in Israel. This is beacuse one needs to distinguish between the far-right religious fanatics and the secular right wingers which are, for the most part, loyal to the democratic ethus of Israel. Even Yehuda Glick is, in the end of the day, a non-violent figure with surprising tolerance to people with other views (as was seen in the case of the reform Jewish women in the western wall), which was a big disappointment to the Gopstein-like people. Again, the fact is that the Isreali public objects to the views of people such as Gopstein, ben Ari, ben Gvir etc and time and again does not give them enough votes in the election to allow them to enter the Knesset.
By the way, in Israel you vote for a party not to individuals and this is why clowns like Oren Hazan, Yehudah Glick and Moshe Feighlin and can get to the Knesset. Usually they don’t survive there for too long and the Likud get rid of them-this is what happened to Feighlin and this is what will happen to Hazan (as happened, curiuosly enough, to his father-another clown). This is because the Likud knows that many in the isreali public reject such figures.
Liberman is a class of its own. Many right-wingers in Israel are suspicious of him, and for good reasons. He talks in public like a true facist but in practice acts very pragmatically.
In any event, the fact is that Israel is not in any way on the road to become some kind of a nazi regim.
Deïr Yassin says
Here’s the latest incident, it was on Monday:
“On Monday, October 24, 2016, the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor (Galilee) was robbed by unknown burglars. The intruders destroyed the tabernacle, desecrated the sacred hosts, which are very holy, as these embody the presence of Christ. The ciborium was stolen after it was emptied of the sacred hosts that were thrown on the floor. Some statues in the Church were vandalized and the contents of the donation box were also stolen.”
According to AFP: “Church officials believe the motive for Monday’s incident was robbery and not Jewish extremism, which has been blamed for previous vandalism at Christian sites in Israel, said Wadie Abunassar, a spokesman for bishops in the Holy Land.”
People have no shame 🙁
Interestingly, I was just there 2 weeks ago, taking my family for a day trip
It is A very nice place, with terrific scenery. While walking near the church, a thought crossed my mind that it is not very well secured