While Police Minister (of Internal Security) Yitzchak Aharonovitch is busy touring sites with anti-Arab graffiti (and apparently sidestepping the sites with anti-Jewish graffiti), here’s some Hamas graffiti celebrating buses blowing up in Jerusalem and missiles being launched at Israel (actual acts of terrorism that have happened) – just to keep things in proportion.
Posts Tagged ‘price tag’
A West Bank-based organization filed a police complaint charging Israeli author Amoz Oz with incitement to racism.
The complaint by the Samaria Residents Committee was filed in the West Bank settlement of Ariel two days after Oz called Israelis who carry out “price tag” attacks “Hebrew neo-Nazis,” the Times of Israel reported Sunday.
Oz made the statement Friday at an event in honor of his 75th birthday.
“‘Price tag’ and ‘hilltop youth’ are sweet, sugary nicknames, and the time has come to call this monster by its name,” he said in a speech recorded by Israel’s Channel 2. “We wanted to be like all other nations, we longed for there to be a Hebrew thief and a Hebrew prostitute — and there are Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.”
Oz is considered a candidate for a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Defending his words Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio, Oz said he made the statement in order to “shock.”
“The comparison that I made was to neo-Nazis and not to Nazis,” he said. “Nazis build incinerators and gas chambers; neo-Nazis desecrate places of worship, cemeteries, beat innocent people and write racist slogans. That is what they do in Europe, and that is what they do here.”
On Friday, hours before Oz’s speech, price tag attacks were discovered on a Jerusalem church and an Arab home in the Old City of Jerusalem, part of a recent uptick in attacks against such sites.
Price tag refers to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters generally to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.
Minister for Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited Umm el-Fahm, Yokneam and Furadeis Monday to express the government’s support for Arab communities as they deal with a wave of “price tag” attacks.
The same cannot be said for Jewish sites that have been vandalised by Arab anti-Semites.
Although the Israeli and international press have barely noted Arab attacks against Jewish sites around Israel, swastikas and anti-Israel graffiti have become commonplace in recent weeks. Attacks have included:
- Graffiti on a memorial to IDF paratroopers
- Swastikas and anti-Semitic drawings of religious Jews (Hadera)
- Defaced Israeli flags (Katamon section of Jerusalem)
- Anti-Israel graffiti (Arab-majority Shuafat section of Jerusalem)
- Death to Jews (Petah Tikva)
- Swastikas, anti-Jewish graffiti, slashed tires (Lod)
- Swastikas (Ramla, grave of Rabbi Halafta, Beer Sheva, Tsfat
Yaron Zamir, a spokesman for Minister Aharonovitch, told The Jewish Press that although the minister would not be visiting any Jewish sites today, he can hardly be accused of ignoring Arab anti-Semitism.
“As someone who has worked with the Minister for the past three years, I can tell you that Mr Ahronovitch routinely spends two-and-a-half to three days a week dealing with anti-Semitic attacks committed by Arabs. Today, we are visiting the Arab community,” Zamir said.
During the visit, Aharonovitch said he’d come to the Arab sector in order to show his support, and to promise that criminals who deface mosques will not be allowed to destroy Jewish-Arab coexistence in the Galilee.
“They are trying to destroy Jewish-Arab coexistence here, but we will not allow them to destroy it,” Aharonovitch said. “We will do whatever we need to do in order to put a stop to this phenomenon. It has reached very large proportions, both in Judea and Samaria and inside Israel.”
The minister added a plea for local Arabs to “act responsibly”and to let police and internal security forces “deal” with the price tag criminals. “There are already too many people out there trying to ignite this area. I call on all parties to act responsibly,” Aharonovitch said.
Minister: Price Taggers ‘terrorists’
During a press conference in Umm el-Fahm, Minister Aharonovitch repeated his call on the government to declare price tag incidents as “terror attacks” in order to give police “more tools” to deal with the phenomenon.
“(We need) all the tools available to deal with the organizations and individuals involved with this,” he said. “These include administrative detentions, bans on people coming to certain areas. Some of these measures have already been taken, some will be taken soon…. But it is important for residents to know that the perpetrators of these attacks will be caught, and will be brought to justice.”
The true shame about Amos Oz’s epithet “neo-Nazi” to describe Israeli price-tag thugs is that the essence of his comments are important food for thought. But by choosing outrageous populist rhetoric over nuanced criticism, Oz essentially relegated his concerns to the wastebasket of history.
Before rejecting Oz’s comments, it is important to note that he could be an important social voice for Israelis of every stripe. His books, from My Michael to In the Land of Israel to A Tale of Love and Darkness reveal a passion for Israeli society, and for the Land of Israel, that few contemporary writers have managed to capture. Oz’s 1950s-era Jerusalem is a quiet border town where observant and secular Jews lived together as neighbors. His writing betrays a deep, emotional connection to the city, and to the Jerusalemites with whom he shared his adolescent years.
Oz’s relationship with Jewish tradition is less obvious, but a close reading of his work in Hebrew brings to mind another of Israel’s leading writers: Nobel laureate Shai Agnon. In contrast to Agnon, Oz’s work does not obviously draw on traditional sources or Jewish history. But he is clearly influenced by Agnon, and perhaps therefore by Agnon’s close relationship with Jewish sources. In short, it is simply impossible to dismiss Amos Oz as a “self-hating” Jew or Israeli.
All of which is what makes Oz’s absurd comparison of price tag vandals to European neo-Nazis so upsetting. Self-criticism is a sign of strength, not weakness, and many of Oz’s observations about the religious-Zionist world are deserving of consideration. Yes, many religious Zionist communities have failed to excise the price taggers from their midsts (public condemnations from religious Zionist leaders notwithstanding, does anyone doubt that price taggers would be awarded aliyot [Torah honors] at most synagogues in Judea and Samaria?). It is true that the price taggers enjoy a certain measure of backing, stated or implied, from rabbinic figures in Judea and Samaria and farther afield. Religious Zionist would do well to consider those facts.
Similarly, the need to denigrate Muslims or Christians in order to validate Judaism, settlement activity or our historic connection to the Land of Israel is a sad comment on the state of Torah Judaism. Is our belief in the Torah really that shaky that we feel a need to bring down other faiths, rather than rely on the validity of ours?
Our rights to and in the Land of Israel not dependent on rejecting other groups, and it does not do our community proud to be associated with pathetic grafitti. It is rightly a point of pride that Israel is a haven for religious freedom. It should go without saying that minority groups need not be made to feel subject to attack.
These criticisms are valid, or at least are important points for discussion, in our communities. Oz is correct to ask whether a Judaism that relies on insulting others is a Judaism we want to sustain.
But his use of the epithet “Nazi” effectively reduces his views to little more than the wild ranting of a hate-filled man. By equating graffiti on a mosque wall to the gas chambers for which real neo-Nazis clamor, Oz has taken himself out of the realm of legitimate social commentator. His comments are no longer astute, concerned observations about Israeli society, but rather venomous invective directed at a subset of that society that Oz has designated as “enemy.” If the settlement community are neo-Nazis, if Judea and Samaria Israelis – rather than the price tagging minority here – are the errant weed of Israeli society, it stands to reason there can be no compromise on the uprooting of their communities and of the total neutralization of their role in society.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) came out strongly Wednesday evening against lawmakers claiming that ‘price tag’ vandalism attacks were tantamount to terrorism.
The minister demanded at the emergency meeting that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch prove how ‘price tag’ attacks meet the definition of ‘terrorism.’
Ministers Livni and Aharonovitch had earlier Wednesday vowed a crackdown on the price tag attacks, referring to them as “terrorism.”
“Price tag” is something that is absolutely forbidden and should be not allowed to take root anywhere in our country,” Ariel said. “The criminals must be brought to justice,” he continued, but “terrorism is murder and [involves] intent to kill by throwing rocks, shooting, firebombing, car bombs and more.”
There is a difference, he said, and “the repeated failure of the police and Shin Bet to bring the perpetrators to justice does not turn these illegal acts into terrorism.”
Ariel called on lawmakers to clearly differentiate between murderous intent, and serious hate crimes that involve spray-painted graffiti and slashed tires.
Acts of vandalism and graffiti have been on the rise against both Jews and Arabs throughout Israel, as of late.
In response to anti-Arab graffiti and vandalism that has repeatedly hit the Northern Israeli-Arab town of Shfaram, 100 Israeli-Arab students decided the proper response would be to fix up the ancient synagogue in the town, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2.
The directors of the project said, “This is our answer to the extremists who are trying to destroy the [Jewish-Arab] coexistence in our country.”
The Shul dates back to at least the early 1800’s, and possibly even earlier than that. The town was populated with Jews until the 1970’s, when the last Jewish family left the town.
The town of Shfaram became famous in 2005, when AWOL IDF soldier Eden Natan-Zada shot up a bus of Israeli-Arabs from Shfaram, killing 4 people and wounding 12. After being captured by police, he was lynched by Shfaram’s residents.
Some youths at the time wanted to also destroy the shul, but the mayor of the town forbade it.
One can certainly hope that this latest act and mindset of coexistence spreads wider.
Former Shabak (Israel’s secret service) chief Carmi Gilon, speaking on the failure to stop “Tag Machir” (Price Tag) vandalism, said of the Shabak, “We don’t see results because we don’t have the intention to.”
Gilon added about the Shabak, “There’s no such thing as can’t – there’s don’t want to.”
Carmi Gilon was the head of the Shabak when it failed to prevent the assassination of PM Yitzchak Rabin.
Gilon also ran agent provocateur Avishai Raviv and aggressively went after Rabin’s grassroots civilian opponents who understood the dangers of the Oslo Accords.
Gilon’s agent, Avishai Raviv, instigated a number of high-profile provocations and tried to incite others to commit violent attacks against Arabs in order to lay the blame for these activities on Israel’s religious, settlers and all those who opposed the Oslo Accords.
One of Raviv’s more famous missions included creating and distributing the poster of Yitzchak Rabin in an SS uniform, which was then blamed on Rabin’s political enemies.