Saturday, March 12, 2011


The murders at Itamar are just that -- murders. All decent people condemn them, or should condemn them. They are not to be condemned because Jews were murdered, or because settlers were murdered, but because human beings were murdered.

What does this say about the Palestinian struggle? After all, the al-Akseh brigade has taken responsibility. Well, my answer is simple – insofar as murder is murder is murder, it says nothing. If you are asking me, "What are the consequences in the bigger scheme of things," my answer is, probably, none. There have been murders in the past, and there will be murders, I fear, in the future. Were a thousand Palestinians murdered or a thousand Israelis Jews murdered, I would say the same thing. When Whites were murdered in South Africa during the apartheid era – and after apartheid was over, I condemned those murders. Being part of a persecuted minority doesn't give you the right to kill civilians

That those murdered were settlers means nothing to me. I believe that the settlement enterprise is criminal, and that the settlements have destroyed the lives of innocent people. Settlements are, in that sense, terrorism.. But nobody forfeits his right to life, even if he lives in a battle zone, and even if he is part of a criminal enterprise.

As for the method of the murder, stabbings, etc., I see no difference between wielding a knife to kill a baby and dropping a bomb to kill a baby. One is as inhuman as another.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your clarity and wisdom. Sometimes virtues like these are absolutely necessary when in doubt as to where to turn to in the face of bad news like this...

pabelmont said...

Murder is murder, terrorism is terrorism, impunity and immunity and looking the other way for 43 years of (the most recent part of) Israel's settler-colonial onslaught on Palestine is the way of most of the world.

I hope that change is on the way, but I suspect that sea levels will rise by 12" before many in America will admit that there is (or was) such a thing as global warming, and by 24" before Palestinians are freed of any part of the burden of Zionism.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

I have to admit I am bothered by the notion that a group claims "credit" for this. The US/Israeli method when we've killed innocent people in a way that is clearly criminal (as opposed to accidental) is to deny responsibility. That's sheer hypocrisy, but I prefer it to claiming credit.

Though just barely--in the end it still amounts to denying that one has done something terrible.

shmuel said...

I totally agree with your comments on the Itamar murder except for the last sentence concerning the method of killing.
Dropping a bomb is impersonal and antiseptic, and doesn't give the perportrator the chance to stop himself in the second before the killing.
When a murderer sees the person "eye to eye" and, in the case of the children at least, sees them in the split second before the blood covers his own hands it says something about the inhumanity of the murderer.
Who can knowingly and specifically slit the throat of a babe, without it even being collateral damage?

No, Mr. Haber, there is a big difference!

Rebecca said...

shmuel, it is true that an in-person murderer must be deranged to look someone in the eye or see them sleeping peacefully and raise that knife. the deformation of the soul that has to have happened, to engender such a moment, is unthinkable--and yet has happened.

but, is it not also unthinkable that jewish israelis would participate in a system that gives them not "the second before" you push the button to drop the bomb, but in fact the entire flight, the briefing before, the morning strategy session, the previous week's vacation, the several years of army and flight training, et cetera?

those who drop the bombs, drive the tanks, and shoot the guns of the occupation--a perverted state terror system--have lifetimes of moments in which to decide not to aid and abet murder. and yet.

willyrobinson said...


The Itamar murders are monstrous, and using child murder to terrorise settlers and Israelis in general is a crushing blow to peaceful resolution.

That said, I agree with Jerry. I dont disagree wth you about the monstrosity of the man who can wield a knife to a baby - yet he who can kill hundreds by remote control and rubber-stamp it afterwards... Is he not a greater monster?

'Let not the man who is beast and who thinks he is god come near me'

Anonymous said...

Well, shmuel came along and inadvertently demonstrated what is wrong with the distinction both he and I made between the Western way of killing babies and this more intimate manner. It's precisely the distancing between the event and the murderer that enables Westerners to kill babies and feel that they are still decent human beings. It's an ingeniously diabolical (in an almost literal sense) way of reasoning.

Incidentally, your sign in process is a real pain in the butt. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what.

Anonymous said...

Shmuel's comment inadvertently demonstrates the problem with the distinction he and I made. The problem is that Westerners have found a way to murder children and feel good about themselves--we do at a distance, so we don't have to see the connection between our physical actions and the result (dead children) and we think this makes us better people. It doesn't. It makes us hypocrites who can kill innocents in very large numbers while being able to rationalize it.

Incidentally, your sign in process is a real pain in the butt. I must be doing something wrong, but I have no idea what.

SShendeR said...

Reading this cesspool of comments on this post (which incidentally is my first acquaintance with this blog), which in itself is an example utter moral blindness, left me with a feeling of anger and despair.

How can one discuss these murders without at least mentioning the methodical indoctrination, demonization and de-humanization that conditions the Arabs to view the Jews as parasites worthy of being killed like vermin? It's akin to explaining the holocaust as just another murder and without mentioning the propaganda that preceded it. It takes abysmal hate and brainwashing for someone to slit the throats of children and take pride in that. To suggest that this was just a murder is not only pure blindness but is also moral depravity.

Another outrageous phenomena here is the lack of distinction that is being made (and that seems to evade most "progressives") between collateral damage and premeditated murder of innocent civilians and children. To suggest that the death of children or innocent adults killed as collateral damage because the enemy's use of human shields is somehow morally equivalent to the intentional murder of these same people, is to negate any notion of proportionality and relativity.

Your political aversion of Zionism leads you to moral deprivation, the kinds of which are usually remembered sorely in hindsight. You are the enablers of those murderers and your minds are tainted with the blood of these victims and all future victims of this conflict.

May your conscience awake from its slumber and guide in the right path.

But hardly likely....

Jerry Haber said...

"How can one discuss these murders without at least mentioning the methodical indoctrination, demonization and de-humanization that conditions the Arabs to view the Jews as parasites worthy of being killed like vermin?"

I thought not to put the above on the blog, because there is a limit to the absudities I can stomach.

Let me just suggest that the methodical indoctrination you point to is mainly due not to textbooks, but to around 90 years of an invasion of Palestine by Eastern Europeans (mostly) whose express purpose (mostly) was to establish a state AGAINST the will of the indigenous inhabitants, because of 19th century nationalist romantic notions and European anti-Semitism. Were this to stop, say, in 1948, meilah. But to accomplish this state-building Israel had to -- against the will of the inhabitants, and in defiance of the United Nations and moral people everywhere -- refuse to allow the majority of the Palestinians to return to their homes -- on ethnic grounds alone, after the Zionist movement has ensured the world that this was not necessary.

And then, the State of Israel proceeded methodically to destroy all memory of Palestine, wiping close to 500 villages off the map, planting JNF forests on their ruins, destroying mosques, and cemeteries -- against the pleas of Israeli archaeologists -- in order to ensure that the natives would not return to their home.

As if that were not enough, they put the Arab citizens under military rule, in many cases expropriating their land, not investing a cent in the development of 20% of the population, given them the vote so as to reward collaboration and political support for Mapai with patronage, etc. -- not to mention shooting felahin who returned to their home.

And if that were not enough, they captured the West Bank in 1967, and began to settle it, confiscating land from Palestinians, who were not offered citizenship, and ruling with an iron fist, depriving Palestinians of land, resources, and freedom of movement.

And you talk of indoctrination?

Yet despite that, the Palestinians have killed many fewer civilians and many fewer babies than have the Israelis. And when they have used nonviolence they have been shot at and thrown in jail.

Collateral damage? When close to 3000 Palestinians who were not taking part in hostilities were killed by Israeli security forces -- and not during targeting killings -- you call that proportionate? Moral?

But bottom line, and here is where you and I disagree. I think the murder of the Fogel families was evil and contemptible -- truly disgusting. And I condemn it because I condemn all murders.

But you, on the other hand, cannot condemn war crimes committed by the IDF. You are simply incapable of believing that your tribe is guilty as such. You are more prepared to believe that the whole world is hypocritical and antiSemitic, etc., then raise the possibility that the reason why so many innocents died in Gaza is because there was a deliberate policy to shoot first and ask questions (of have the lawyers feneigle) afterwards.

Sir, if I have to choose between the conclusions of all the human rights organizations, and one of the leading experts in international human rights law on the planet, Judge Richard Goldstone (and a Zionist and supporter of Israel, to boot) and between you, when it comes to what is right and wrong...well you will forgive me if I go with the experts.