Thursday, December 24, 2015

West Bank briefs

Next time the conversation turns to imaginary video of people of some particular religious persuasion dancing and rejoicing over some unspeakably cruel violence, you can tell them you've seen a video like that for real.

Via The Guardian, shown on Israeli Channel 10 Wednesday night, a video showing the celebration of the death of a Palestinian toddler, murdered as he slept—
teenagers dancing with guns and firebombs and stabbing a picture of Ali Dawabshe, who died with his parents in an arson attack on their home this summer – was filmed at a wedding three weeks ago and obtained by an Israeli television channel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the behavior,
which he said displayed “the real face of a group that poses danger to Israeli society and security”.
But he should be asking himself to what extent he created these people, going back at least 20 years, when he assured a group of rejoicing West Bank fundamentalists that they had eternally won:
Singing and dancing greeted a triumphant Benjamin Netanyahu when he visited Eli, then a young settlement of 959 residents, shortly after first becoming Israel’s prime minister in 1996. “We will be here permanently forever,” he declared...
Israeli authorities are, for a change, taking the murder of Ali Dabshawe and his parents seriously, which means, unfortunately, that the Shabak is treating the suspects the way they have long treated suspected Arab terrorists, torturing them.

It would be funny if it weren't so terribly sad; I heard some outraged settler representative on the radio crying, "Jews don't torture Jews!" That's not how I remember it, it was more like "Jews don't torture anybody." Before Jesus formulated the problematic positive Golden Rule, for what you ought to do, Hillel was preaching the morally superior and more workable negative one, for what you should refrain from:
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.
Detail from the Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem, illustrating the story: A potential convert asked Rabbi Hillel the Elder to teach him the whole meaning of the Torah in so short a time that the pupil could stand on one foot during the entire lesson and Hillel reduced it to the single sentence. 
In other news, the Israeli Jewish ISIS wing wants to ethnically cleanse the land of Christians!
The infamous rightwing Israeli Benzi Gopstein, leader of the Jewish extremist terror group Lehava, is back in the headlines. He wants all the Christians out of Israel, and they can take their holiday with them. On December 17, the Haredi website Kooker published (Hebrew) an article by Gopstein: “Christmas has no place in the Holy Land … Let us remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood” and claimed the establishment of the state of Israel was “the most ringing slap in the face the church ever received” after centuries of failed attempts to eliminate Jews. (Mondoweiss)
Should we be demanding that all congregations everywhere in the world denounce this vile viewpoint? Does Tom Friedman want to see a million-Jew march declaring their readiness to live peaceably with the Christians? No, of course not, that would just be insulting. And that, friends, is why I don't think Muslims should be subject to that kind of demand either.

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