Sara Hirschhorn’s op-ed in the New York Times on Jewish American terrorists rampant in Judea and Samaria is disturbing in that it assumes guilt, collective guilt and shame, when all her geshrai [wail] stems from an extreme liberal weltanschauung. She contradicts her principled humanist foundations to make a dubious point. Before some observations of the piece, I want to deal with her one central element that jumped out which is a charge of guilt as to how the local Jewish population relates to acts of terror committed by Jews, such as the ‘Jewish Underground’ of three decades ago and the more recent ‘price taggers:
“Settler rabbis and the leaders of American immigrant communities in the West Bank have either played down their crime or offered muted criticism.”
That assertion is either a lie or a sign of ignorance. Or a dubious misrepresentation of the reality. Ms. Hirschhorn has chosen to be both an op-ed columnist (she has had several at Haaretz) and an academic at Oxford, at this stage of her life. That can be problematic, especially if her opinions expressed are based less on facts than on desires, wishes and outlook. I have criticized her two years ago.
For example, as the readers of this web site know well, more than three dozen Rabbis, leading Rabbis from within the Gush Emunim/Yesha camp, Rabbis of communities, signed a proclamation entitled “Thou Shall Not Murder” and more joined later. Here:
Leading spokespersons of the Yesha Council denounced the act as they have done for the past years, notably by Dani Dayan and others. Here is Dani in 2012:
“It’s terrible, terrible, terrible, it’s a terrible thing,” he exclaims. “First off, from the moral point of view, it’s really terrible, a shame,” he says with visible annoyance, as if it is a line he has had to repeat numerous times over the past few months. “And it’s the greatest damage that I can see today to our cause, and so the people that do these things, if they think that they help our cause, they are both criminals and stupid.”
Educators like Rabbi Eli Sadan, the head of the most prestigious pre-Army mechina expressed opposition. Rabbi Haim Druckman issued a strong statement. Tzohar Rabbis, too. There is also this story and even I upped the poster at my FB account. There was an interfaith event in Gush Etzion. Well, sort of interfaith. If she was looking for a serious moral problem she should have pointed the finger at the Palestinian Authority and its attitude towards the killing of Jews, including an American passport holder. The few Rabbis that were equivocal in their pronouncements are either part of the ‘price tag’ thinking or known for their out-of-camp views and very few follow them. Maybe she relied on this claptrap. Of course, for some people, there is never enough evidence that some people are not doing the wrong thing.
Pillorying is easier than praising.
I know Sara, even well, and here we are in the hills back of Shiloh.
I assisted her in her research. No regrets.
I am aware that Sara doesn’t think these denunciations enough. Condemnations should be louder and stronger in her opinion.
She assumes that ‘price tag’ activities are being tolerated like this person publishing in the Jewish Press. Our fundamental respect for life, she assumes, has been lost.
However, we Shilonians turned in a ‘price-tagger’, who did not live in Yesha, who had broken windows of the cars of Arab laborers in Shiloh parked outside our entrance gate. A recent inflammatory poster on churches didn’t last the night on our billboards. We need no patronising lecturing.