In the footsteps of the Mufti - Eighty years later
July 2, 2009
A few days ago I escorted a lovely woman originally from
A writer, speaker and diplomat, this woman seemed very aware of the events
taking place throughout the world, and here in Hebron .
But one thing perturbed her: why were people like us,
residents, and others throughout Judea and , seemingly persecuted by our own
people. My explanation was very simple. "Understand, there are people who
don't want us here because they believe that we are living in, and occupying,
an "Arab" city, and are 'obstacles to peace.'
These same people are convinced that we will, sooner or later, be
Hebron and other communities in Judea
However, it's not easy to decree expulsion. Such actions are quite harsh, and
not easy to implement. Therefore it is necessary to prepare the public-at-large
psychologically for such a possibility. The best way to do so is to vilify the
future victims of expulsion, creating an atmosphere whereby it seems that 'they
deserve what they get.' In other words, an attempt is being made to
'delegitimize' us, creating a scenario depicting us as 'enemies of peace,' and
as such, 'opponents of the state.' That being accomplished, it is much easier
to then throw us out of our homes, no questions asked, no holds barred.
An example of such deception is the most common word used to describe
people living in Judea and
Samaria, as well as
the Jordan Valley
and the Golan Heights. We are all lumped
together in the category of 'settler.'
Should I move to Tel Aviv, the moment by official Identity Card is
stamped by the Interior Ministry, I am a 'resident' of Tel Aviv even if I've
only lived there for a day. However, even after having lived in
for 28 years, I am
still labeled a 'settler,' a word today with negative connotations, symbolizing
'colonization' or in the words of
others, 'occupation.' Settlers' equals 'occupiers' equals 'evil'.
As world pressure on
seems to be mounting, initiating from Washington,
D.C. and running through Paris,
and most other capitals of the world, a very disturbing element of
delegitmization seems to be emerging. That is, the comparison of Israeli
'settlers, with terrorists.
A New York Times article authored by Ethan Bronner on June 6, [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/weekinreview/07bronner.html?_r=1&ref=global-home]
overtly compares the Israeli right to Hamas terrorists. Bronner writes, "There are striking parallels
between the hard-core opponents of a peace deal on each side." Quoting
Israeli Yossi Alpher, he adds, "Look at how settlers go to wealthy Jews
and evangelical Christians to raise money and how Hamas taps into a huge
reservoir of Islamist money."
This, of course, ignores the fact that Hamas' stated goal is the
destruction of the State of Israel, and towards that aim they have participated
in murdering thousands of Jews in cold-blooded terror attacks and have launched
thousands of rockets into Israeli cities. The 'Jewish Hamas' has yet to reach
such stages of bloodshed and violence.
A series of articles written by Dina Kraft for JTA is titled
"Special Report: Jewish Extremists." One article, headlined, "
wrestles with settler challenge" depicts settlers as 'rampaging,'
radical,' and 'lawless.' The article
continues, quoting attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the most leftwing
groups in Israel, but does not speak with anyone from Human Rights in Yesha,
which represents a different point of view.
In a second article called The View from a West Bank Hilltop, Kraft,
writes about residents of such communities. "Critics, including some voices within the mainstream
settler movement, say they pose a violent and dangerous threat to the future of
Israeli democracy." Of course, this is said without quoting anyone
by name. The author also refrains from speaking to anyone who has anything
positive to say about 'hilltop youth or communities.
Where does this lead to?
Two recent articles point in the same
direction. Writing in HaAretz, Yair Sheleg seemingly rejects the comparison
between Hamas and the Jewish right, but readily accepts that there is Jewish
terror: "… I do not intend this as a justification of settler
terror…It is not enough to fight terror; it is also necessary to dry up the
swamp in which it breeds." http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1095237.html His solution is to leave Jews in Judea and
Israeli withdrawal. "if it is possible to
enable Palestinian sovereignty without uprooting 200,000 Jews from their homes,
this would be the most just and moral solution of all. There is also
a practical advantage: If the settlers do not accept the offer, the justice of
evacuating them will increase."
Sheleg conveniently forgets one significant
point, that being the security of the Jews 'morally left behind.' The article
is aptly titled, "Leave the Settlers there."
Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner,
who offers a similar answer, did not forget this aspect of the issue: "I
don't think there would be a wholesale slaughter of settlers in a newly
independent Palestine, because I don't think any Palestinian leadership that
made peace with Israel would want to enter the international community with
such a thing on its head. But I do think there would be individual acts of
revenge against settlers…and if a few nut cases, a few modern-day Masada types,
want to die sanctifying G-d's name or something, I'm sorry - let them."
Next month will mark the eightieth anniversary
of the 1929 riots and massacre which left hundreds of Jews dead, wounded and
maimed. The worst of these riots was in
where 67 were killed, seventy injured, and the survivors expelled by the then
The 1929 massacre was the direct result of
massive hateful incitement, then spewed out by the Mufti Amin el-Husseini
against the Jews then living in
. The day before the riots began, on Thursday,
August 22, four Jews belonging to the Hagana, including Rachel Yanait, future
wife of Israel Israel's second
President, visited .
Warning Hebron 's
Jewish leadership of impending violence, they offered to leave weapons for self
defense. The weapons were refused because Hebron 's
Jews believed that their Arab neighbors would protect them. That naivety led to
the annihilation of a Jewish community thousands of years in existence.
At present, the major source of incitement is
not entirely clear. On the one hand, Obama and the Europeans maintain
exceedingly clear expectations; a total building freeze is only the first step.
Following that, the demands to empty out Judea and
will certainly follow. That is no surprise.
What is much more troubling and problematic is
the systematic effort from within
to demonize our own people,
even to the degree that Jews do not really care if other Jews live or die.
Some months ago I met a man in
himself as a journalist for a publication called Yisrael Hayom. The bottom line
of our conversation was his concluding remark: "I think a good settler is
a dead settler."
Sheleg, Derfner, Kraft and others seem to be
walking in the footsteps of the Mufti, whose vile agitation led to the 1929
atrocities. Is this really the direction
is traveling in, eighty
David Wilder is spokesman for the Jewish
Community of Heborn
July 2, 2009