Muslim and Christian cemeteries desecrated in Jaffa

“Price tag” pogromchiks desecrated cemeteries in Jaffa, as part of their attempts to cause a civil war

Hoodlums whose pride is their Jewishness have desecrated last evening – according to testimonies, less than an hour before Yom Kippur – two cemeteries in Jaffa. One of the cemeteries was Muslim, the other Orthodox Christian. The hoodlums desecrated tombstones and wrote “price tag” and “death to Arabs” on them. This being Yom Kippur, the Israeli media did not report anything yet – at least not that I’ve seen. MK Ahmed Tibi confirmed the details in an email, and you can see pictures here.  Tibi further said that “We are facing a rising wave of terrorist acts by Jewish extremists who act almost with no hindrance in the occupied territories, and have lately turned their attention to the Green Line in order to harm places sacred to Muslims and Christians. The responsibility lies wholly with the government and its apparati”. A protest vigil will be held tonight in Jaffa; you can find details about it here (Hebrew and Arabic).

As my colleague Larry Darfner noted, this latest wave of attacks by Jews comes on the background of an almost unprecedented calmness, security-wise. The fact that they boil over the Green Line is not accidental. These people, after all, are the disciples of Baruch Goldstein; if they had broader horizons, they could name Abu Musab Al Zarqawi as another mentor. Their whole purpose is ending this calmness. They want blood, fire and columns of smoke. When these will appear, they will lean back and say “we told you so.” Another point worth noting is the desecration of the Christian cemetery: Contrary to the myths, it proves that the hatred of mankind of Orthodox Judaism has little if anything to do with the current conflict with the Palestinians. It is the last in a long, under-reported attacks on Christian establishments in Israel.

Netanyahu's denouncments are mere lip service. The burned mosque in Tuba Zangariya (Photo: Activestills)
Netanyahu's denouncments are mere lip service. The burned mosque in Tuba Zangariya (Photo: Activestills)

One further wonders whether this escalation – how many more steps to the gates of hell? – is not a response, among others, to the arrest of a suspect in the burning of the mosque in Tuba Zangaria. Terror organizations often react in this way to the arrest of their members, and the whole logic of the “price tag” pogroms is to punish Palestinians for the actions of the security forces.

The guilt resides, as Tibi noted correctly, with the government of Israel. PM Netanyahu may denounce these pogroms, but he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth: He had no problem whatsoever sitting on the same platform with Dov Lior, possibly the worst of the inciting rabbis. Shmuel Elihau, the municipal rabbi of Safed, keeps drawing his government salary despite publishing illegal calls for denying apartments to Israeli Palestinians. This is the same Eliahu who openly and clearly refused to denounce the “price tag” pogroms. He is still in office. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar – the one suspected of kidnapping and assault, not the one suspected of receiving bribes and inappropriately touching men – said this week that the burning of the mosque in Tuba Zangria “may have been a blood libel.” (Hebrew) It’s easy to imagine the uproar had, say, a Polish bishop said he opposed the burning of synagogues, but we should first ascertain this isn’t a blood libel against good Christians. Amar keeps his job as if nothing happened; we didn’t even had a proper public outcry. In short, the government of Israel looks, when trying to fight Jewish terrorism, like the Saudi government of a decade ago, facing the Salafist terrorists: It is a main source of funds to the terrorists, and they can only exist because the government’s armed forces support them.

The West Bank pogromchiks has made a mockery of the IDF’s legal obligation to protect the indigent population from them. Now they are trying to make it plain to Israeli Palestinians that they, too, will not be protected by the Zionist regime – and the latter know it’s not that the regime can’t, it’s that it won’t.

The pogromchiks, like Yigal Amir and like almost all Jewish terrorists, act out of supporting communities and out of the knowledge no one will turn them in. The vast majority of the settlers and the religious community, of course, will not dare to act themselves in this way. They will simply keep a quiet support from afar. As Yoel Bin Noon, who exposed the rabbis who gave the halachic decision to murder Rabin, found to his cost, the religious have no problems treating you as an outcast; Bin Noon had to move to another settlement and hire bodyguards for a while. If the settlers were serious about denouncing the pogroms, and not just paying lip service, Dov Lior and Shmuel Eliahu would have been excommunicated ages ago. However, lighting a fire on the Sabbath will get in you in trouble in the settlements – unless that fire is in a mosque. Historians dubbed the Ku Klux Klan of the years immediately after the Civil War as the military arm of the democratic party; the pogromchiks are the military arm of the Yesha Council, and they make every effort to import West Ban mores into Israel proper.

So what can be done? We can begin by closing down the hornet’s nest, the yeshiva in Yitzhar, and ban all its teachers and students from the West Bank. The government can announce that for every “price tag” action, a hesder yeshiva – yeshivas of part-time soldiers, the mainstay of the settler movement – will be closed down. Shmuel Eliahu, and all the rabbis who signed his call to deny apartments to non-Jews, can be fired. We can, in short, present the Jewish Brotherhood with an iron wall, and inform them for every “price tag” action, they’ll pay a much more painful price tag.

But that requires resolute political will and the ability to make historical decisions. It cannot be imagined that the Netanyahu government, most of its ministers supporting the pogromchiks anyway, will be able to do so. Like the original pogromchiks, of the Czarist times, the “hill youth” know that the government has its back, and that nothing will happen to it; and that is not likely to change. Not under this government.

So maybe it is time for Israeli Palestinians to turn to the international community and demand protection, as the Israeli government can’t protect them. After all, by its actions – or rather, inaction – in the face of Jewish terrorism, the Netanyahu government is giving up a part of its sovereignty.