Friday, August 24, 2012

A Jewish Lynch Mob

I don’t often find myself agreeing with a Conservative rabbi. But on this issue, I think Rabbi Jill Jacobs makes a valid point.

I recently wrote a strongly worded condemnation of the fire-bombing of a passing car containing a Palestinian family. Although I don’t believe that those responsible have been arrested and caught there are strong suspicions that this horrendous act was carried out by neighboring Jews – settlers located in the West Bank and living among Palestinian villages.  As I said, if that proves to be true, these people are no less criminal than any arsonist. Especially if they deliberately set fire to a vehicle with innocent human beings inside. There is no place in hell low enough for people who do these kinds of things. 

But... it did not shock me that there were apologists for them responding to that post. As I see it that is part of the problem.

And now only one week later it happened again.  Only this time it wasn’t arson. From the Forward:
On August 17, a mob of several dozen Israeli Jewish teenagers — some reports say as many as 50 — assaulted four Palestinian youths in the center of Jerusalem in an attack that the Jerusalem police have labeled an attempted “lynching.” The young people shouted “death to Arabs” as they chased down and beat the Palestinians. One of the four victims remains in critical condition after being resuscitated.
I cannot tell you how much this disgusts me.  And if the relatively short interval between these two events is an indicator, it seems like this type of thing is increasing.

I have been accused of only looking at our own bad apples. And not criticizing the Arabs when they do similar things to us – or worse.

The fact is that they do. I clearly recall the merciless and torturous beating to death of 2 Israeli reservists who took a wrong turn into Ramallah, a more or less upscale Palestinian city on the West Bank. These two innocent young men were literally beaten to death. I don’t recall anything that brutal happening before or after since the Holocaust.  

My gut reaction at the time was to see every Arab as a primitive savage.  After all Ramalah was filled with home-owning successful Palestinians. They seemed so much more enlightened then those living on farms and small villages. Ramallah was supposed to be a model city for the future of how a Palestinian State could look. That people like this could do what they did was so shocking, that I was ready to wipe out the town if I had it in my power to do so. When the Fogels were massacred by Palestinians expressing only pride and no regret at what they did, I had a similar feeling.

But what these Jewish teens did was the same thing. Maybe they were frustrated at the constant threat of terror. Maybe they remembered what happened to those two innocent soldiers in Ramallah back in 2000. Maybe this was some kind of revenge attack against something that happened to a family member of friend. Or maybe this was pent up frustration and anger. Maybe, maybe, maybe…!

The bottom line for me is that not only should these boys be prosecuted, they should be given the maximum sentences allowed by law and made examples of! Jews do not kill innocent people! Jews do not beat up innocent people and yell “Death to Arabs”! There is no excuse for what they did and no defending them!

Yes, we must be realistic about Palestinian hatred of us… and ever vigilant to the kinds of attacks that occurred to the Fogels and those 2 soldiers in Ramalah. Not to mention the constant threat of violence by Islamist terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Suicide attacks were common fare in Israel just a few very short years ago. And rockets are still being fired indiscriminately into populated civilian areas.  They have proven time and again how much they hate us and wish to rid the Middle East of us by any means necessary. Including annihilation.

Even though the State of Israel has done a good job of curbing that type of violence, ignoring Palestinian machinations about our demise is done at our own peril. Israel needs to remain vigilant. But it is just as much of an imperative to eradicate this evil from our own midst. Along those lines it behooves all of us not to shout angry and hateful rhetoric at - or about Palestinians.  That only encourages the extremists to do the kinds of things these teens did.

Not every Palestinian is evil. Not every Palestinian wants to annihilate us. In fact I truly believe that the vast majority of them are willing to settle the conflict once and for all and get on with their lives. Much as they may still hate us and wish we were gone, most Palestinians know that we aren’t going away.

Recognizing that - they are willing to live in peace with a Jewish state rather than continue as we are now. We need to recognize that. And ultimately make peace with them. Although that cannot happen as long as organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah are around - that should be our ultimate goal.

But if things like this keep happening, there is no hope of that. Aside from the absolute immorality of it things like that will only increase the hatred between us to the point of no return.