Monday, July 20, 2009

From One Extreme to Another

I wish I could stick to more intellectually stimulating topics. But yet again I find myself turning to another act of violence perpetrated by so called religious Jews. This time they are wearing a Kipa Seruga. The same type I wear. Just as I am embarrassed by Charedi thugs in Meah Shearim, so too am I embarrassed by these Kipa Seruga wearers.

Do they really think they are serving God with these violent tactics? I’m sure they do. But they are not. To use the phrase that R’ Sternbuch used about the Meah Shearim thugs - they are Meshugoyim. They resort to the same kinds of tactics. The only difference is the victims. The Charedi thugs in Meah Shearim hurt innocent members of their own community with mischief and mayhem. These guys hurt innocent Palestinians.

And please let no one start saying there is no such thing as an innocent Palestinian. That is a lie – and an excuse to harass and endanger innocent people.

Before anyone accuses me of being ignorant or naïve about what the average Palestinian really thinks and point to some Jihadist examples of it - please don’t bother. I know quite well what is on their collective minds about Israel, Zionists, and Jews. I know that it isn’t only Hamas who thinks that way. I am well aware that Hamas and other fundamentalist types act on their beliefs with terror and that most Palestinians sympathize with them. I’ve written about it many times. But that does not give anyone a right to indiscriminately destroy Palestinian property or to throw rocks randomly at them. There is no guarantee that any of those individual victims would lift a finger to harm them - even if they could.

The motives of these settler thugs may be different than those of the Charedi thugs in Meah Shearim. They may look different. Their innocent victims may be different. But that does not make them any less culpable for the mischief and mayhem they cause and the bad light in which they put the Jewish people.

They gain nothing with their illegal makeshift settlement outposts except to further the cause of anti-Semitism. All it accomplishes is fueling the Palestinian hatred of us. They hate us enough. We don’t need to add to it! These criminally violent ideologues play right into the hands of those who see any settlement activity as an obstacle to peace - even building for natural growth in well established cities on the border areas of the West Bank.

These people are criminals no less than those in Meah Shearim. They are blinded by their zeal and do not value anything except their own goals regardless of the consequences of their actions.

I have no sympathy for these kinds of settlers. None! They ought to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law just like the stone throwers in Meah Sheaarim! Religious Zionist rabbinic leaders should be in the forefront of leading the charge against them by supporting the police. These criminals should be apprehended, prosecuted, and if convicted – given the maximum sentence. They think they act in the name of the Torah - as do the Meah Shearim thugs. And they feel the same way about the the police. They have all that in common although they are polar opposite in religious belief. Poetic justice would be to have them share prison cells with their Charedi counterparts.

When it comes to violence in service to their goals they are birds of a feather. When it comes to reckless indifference to life and property of others, they are birds of a feather. When it comes to indifference to the anti Semitism they cause they are birds of a feather. And similarly each environment preaches that their religious goals supersede all others. It is that kind of thinking that leads to this kind of savagery.

But then - how should one be expected to react when there are rabbinic leaders among them who say it is permitted to violate certain prohibitions of Shabbos in order to maintain those settlements!

Just to be clear, while I do not agree with their beliefs, I support their right to believe it. Just as I do the right of Satmar to believe the exact opposite. Elu V’Elu. But what I do not support and absolutely reject is an environment that creates the monsters among both groups. That has to change.