Sunday, December 26, 2010

Counting Sheep

It is hard to know which is more outrageous – the crimes settlers commit against humanity (yes, the Palestinians are human), or the crimes some of their supporters commit against intelligence.

The Israeli rightwing blogosphere is crowing because, according to a report on the settlers' media outlet, Arutz Sheva, which has not been authenticated elsewhere, to my knowledge, a West Bank Arab admitted to police that he fabricated a story about settlers burning sheep.

Now let's assume, for argument's sake, that the report on Arutz Sheva is correct. What does that say about the general credibility of reports of settler violence?

At the very least, it says nothing; but more likely, it provides stronger support for their veracity.

How so? Well, in this case, the story was odd from the get-go. As already pointed out in Haaretz, police suspected the shepherd's story – not because settlers don't go on rampage against Arabs, not because they don't conduct pogroms, not because they don't uproot olive trees, not because they don't shoot at Arab children, not because they don't steal land, and not because they don't close up wells….

But because they don't do these things on Shabbat, and the accusation was made that the fire was set on Shabbat.

As Haaretz reported,

Police in the area said they had received a complaint and opened an investigation. They said some of the details were questionable, like the settlers' entering a car on the Sabbath, when most Orthodox Jews do not drive.

Most violent incidents perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians take place on weekdays, police sources said.

Funny that the Arutz Sheva report didn't mention Haaretz's piece on police skepticism. I guess it doesn't consider Haaretz leftist. It's also nice to know that the pogromists rest on Shabbat, although it seems to me that since Yishuv Eretz Yisrael/Settling the Land of Israel is the most important mitzvah for them (keneged kulam/keneged kulam), surely their rabbis could find a heter for settler violence on Shabbat…but I won't go down that road here. Rather, I can hear them complaining about those leftwing "police sources" on the West Bank! What's a poor settler to do when the police has been infiltrated by such "Arab-lovers"!

Again, assuming that the story was fabricated, its fabrication was easily determined, and the fellow who made the complaint admitted the fabrication. If this is such a common occurrence, then why can these settlers only point to one case?

Still, the fact that these settlers either lie or are in denial about settler violence shows that they have not completely lost their tzelem enosh/human image.

Kahane, by contrast, would have bragged about it.

H/t to Martin for calling this to my attention






Michael Davis said...

Jerry -
Thank you as always for your informative and principIed posts.
I noticed you are using more religious Hebrew expressions. Is your goal to air these issues without any mal'izim bela'az?

Anonymous said...

one case?

there are at least 2 cases of mosque fires blamed on jews that were fabricated in the last year.

or how about the recent pallywood incident where an israeli was ambushed by rock throwers, then pics of his car hitting the youth who were throwing the rocks (and who rushed the car...head on) were plastered all over the world as an example of "settler violence"?

and as someone whose family survived and escaped the pogroms in russia, i take umbrage at your use of the term.

John Welch said...

The Israeli givernment seems to have a policy to strangle Palestinian villages and to drive the Palestinians from what remains of their land. This is not simply the work of "crazy settlers", and I think Jerry must have discussed this before, but a coordinated efforted by the elected government. Policy.

I have seen the Wall, seen that it cuts through olive groves around Bethlehem, seen the height, the gun-towers, the military roads, the fences.

The Wall looks like a bit US prison wall, and very much like the remains of the wall I saw in Berlin in 1991.

I've seen the map of the wall, the Jewish-only settlement connected by the military roads, and I can see that it serves to make normnal life impossible for Palestinians.

Those with eyes can see that the Wall works, with other practices, to clear Palestinians from land captured in 1967.

It's curious. My "first true love" was daughter of an important fundraiser for JDL, back when JDL was a liberal civil right organization. We argued with Dad around 1970, suggesting, as New Leftists would, that Israel intented to take all the land captured in '67. "No, that's crazy", he said. "I know the government", pointing to pictures of Dad and various Israeli ministers, lounging, joking, smoking, "They're just like us. They think like us. Nobody intends to occupy the West Bank forever. In a year or two, we'll trade it for peace. You'd have to be a lunatic..."

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...


Orthodox Jews do seem to have a certain flexibility as regards Jewish law when it comes to settling the land of Israel. This story is illustrative in that regard. To quote from it:

Hebron rabbi permits gentile Shabbat construction in settlements

Rabbi Dov Lior, the rabbi of Hebron-Kiryat Arba, issued a halachic ruling last week that it was permitted to employ non-Jews on Shabbat to build in Judea and Samaria during the present construction freeze. (...)

Although there is no prohibition against a non-Jew working on Shabbat, there is a rabbinic prohibition for a Jew to tell a non-Jew to do work for him. It is considered more severe to tell a non-Jew to perform a biblical prohibition such as building than to perform a rabbinical prohibition. Nevertheless, to facilitate the settling of the land of Israel it is permitted.