Elor Azaria has been tried by an Israeli military court and found guilty of manslaughter after murdering a helpless Palestinian alleged to have attacked and wounded an Israeli solder. Unfortunately for the Israeli military who condone such attacks, this murder was captured on a mobile phone, shared and went viral.
The killer last March, Elor Azaria, was actually an Israeli Army medic. He was filmed firing a bullet into the head of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, a 21-year-old Palestinian, as he lay wounded on the ground in the city of Hebron.
After Azaria's arrest, there was an outpouring of sympathy for the soldier from the Israeli public, politicians and fellow soldiers.Netanyahu and many ministers have called for him to be pardoned. A Jerusalem Post poll shows a large majority calling for the killer to be released.
Aida Touma-Suleiman, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, told Al Jazeera there was a growing fear in Israel that its soldiers might one day face scrutiny from bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Although the army top brass needed to act to assert control of the murder machine against do-it-yourself elements like Azaria, the trial was also largely for appearances sake, suggested Touma-Suleiman:
"In a clear-cut case like this, it is important for Israel to look as though it is taking war crimes seriously, otherwise the ICC might itself decide to investigate. But the case has caused problems because it has upset right-wing politicians and much of the Israeli public, who expect absolute impunity for soldiers."
The defence case in other - extremely rare - examples of Israeli soldiers tried after a flagrant execution of a helpless Palestinian has been that "confirming the kill" is standard operating practice in the Israeli Army. Israel has been practising murder of innocents since its inception. The father of the nation, David ben Gurion was clear on the need for the Army to use terror against civilians.
"What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place, and casualties. If we know the family, we must strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise, the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action, there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent."
Ben Gurion's Diary entry, 1 January 1948
Any settler-colonial project has a built-in tendency to genocidal violence, that may or may not become actual. Israel demonstrates increasing levels of support for genocidal violence against Palestinians.
0795 800 2591
Genocidal demonstrations in Tel Aviv
Watch this short video to see into the genocidal mindset of a huge swathe of Israeli Jewish public opinion. The Zionist project to build a normal state following the ethnic cleansing of Palestine has come to this. A mass psychology of extermination, familiar in all settler-colonial projects, is winning masses of Israelis.
Israel is not just lethal to Palestinians and aggressive towards neighbouring states, this nuclear-armed state is based on an ideology, morphing from its original secular rationalisations to religious fanaticism, thit's the world is irreversibly saturated with hatred of Jews. Watch the video, be very worried, and then get involved in support for the people of Palestine.
Letter to the New York Times: New Palestine Party Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed (1948)
To the Editors of the New York Times:
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.
The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants240 men, women, and childrenand kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.
The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.
During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.
ISIDORE ABRAMOWITZ, HANNAH ARENDT, ABRAHAM BRICK, RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO, ALBERT EINSTEIN, HERMAN EISEN, M.D., HAYIM FINEMAN, M. GALLEN, M.D., H.H. HARRIS, ZELIG S. HARRIS, SIDNEY HOOK, FRED KARUSH, BRURIA KAUFMAN, IRMA L. LINDHEIM, NACHMAN MAISEL, SEYMOUR MELMAN, MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D., HARRY M. OSLINSKY, SAMUEL PITLICK, FRITZ ROHRLICH, LOUIS P. ROCKER, RUTH SAGIS, ITZHAK SANKOWSKY, I.J. SHOENBERG, SAMUEL SHUMAN, M. SINGER, IRMA WOLFE, STEFAN WOLFE.
New York, Dec. 2, 1948
Mass demonstration of Israeli Jewish youth calling for the mass murder of Palestinians, Arabs. Many of the Whiteshirts are serving soldiers with power of life and death over Palestinians.
The demonstration was to celebrate the "reunion of Jerusalem", by spitting at Arabs, by standing in front of a mosque and chanting "Death to Arabs", " Muhammad is dead", " Butcher the Arabs", " I hate all Arabs" and " Listen well you Arabs ! we don't want any making-up ! the refrain will always continue, May your village burn down, May your village burn down !"
If an equally vile mass demonstration had taken place anywhere in the world chanting "Butcher the Jews!", we would have known about it.
A Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi - these young men are the Israeli equivalent of Nazis, who are put in ISraeli Army uniforms and given power over Palestinians in occupied Palestine.
"The Mercaz HaRav yeshiva is based on contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs. This yeshiva was founded by Rabbi A.Y. Kook, and later led by his son, T.Y. Kook. The manner in which young minds are shaped at this Yeshiva can be guessed from one of A.Y.'s spiritual pronouncements, that “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all different levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.” Kook's classification of Palestinians as non-human allows the graduates of Mercaz HaRav to ignore those commandments that forbid stealing, murder and coveting."
A Palestinian killed eight Israeli students in a settler movement training centre, in retaliation for Israel’s massacre of over a hundred Gazans, mostly civilians. Hundreds of the seminary students later chanted “Death to the Arabs” at the gates of their seat of learning.(1) This was somehow missed by the BBC. British prime Minister Gordon Brown, following Bush, hurried to condemn “the murders” of the Israelis at the settlers’ training centre.(2) This contrasts with his deep silence during Israel’s recent massacres in Gaza. The word "murders" could never pass his Presbyterian lips to describe what Israel does to thousands of Palestinian women and children.
The BBC would have us believe that Mercaz HaRav yeshiva is a normal school where 'religious students' (3) pursue esoteric religious studies. In fact Mercaz HaRav is the main educational and training centre of the fanatical Israeli settler movement, Gush Emunim, what the British newspaper, The Independent, somewhat disingenuously calls the “controversial settler movement”. Many Mercaz HaRav graduates fill the ranks of Gush Emunim,(4) which organises attacks on Palestinians from Jewish-only military settlements across the West Bank as part of its declared aim of dispossessing Palestinians of 100% of Palestine.(5) The parent organisation, Gush Emunim, is heavily armed and carries out the most revolting crimes against innocent Palestinians across the West Bank.(6) This writer visited the Palestinian village of Yanun after settlers had washed their dogs in the Palestinians’ drinking water. A Medieval ideology goes hand in hand with Medieval tactics - Hebron settlers poison village wells with putrescent chickens.(7) They beat and shoot Palestinians, poison their sheep,(8) generally act like the violent thugs they are. One well-known graduate of Mercaz HaRav, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who founded the colonies of ultras in Hebron was such a vicious psychopath towards Palestinians that he was even found guilty of killing a Palestinian by an Israeli court. For the murder he served three months in detention.(9) Rabbi Levinger was also found guilty of unprovoked assaults on women and children, unusually, since the settlers enjoy complete immunity;(10) many a Palestinian has been found guilty by the Israeli authorities of beating himself up in the vicinity of Jewish settlers.
The Mercaz HaRav yeshiva is based on contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs. This yeshiva was founded by Rabbi A.Y. Kook, and later led by his son, T.Y. Kook. The manner in which young minds are shaped at this Yeshiva can be guessed from one of A.Y.'s spiritual pronouncements, that “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all different levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle."(11) Kook's classification of Palestinians as non-human allows the graduates of Mercaz HaRav to ignore those commandments that forbid stealing, murder and coveting. Since non-Jews are similar to another species in the Kooks’ world-view, the very notion of human rights governing the relations between Jews and others is naturally repugnant to his followers; human rights are definitely not on the syllabus at Mercaz HaRav.
The Kooks’ primitive god is similar to that of their American Christian fundamentalist counterparts. Both groups of fundamentalists believe that the coming of the Messiah is imminent (they disagree on whether this is a first or a return visit; they also disagree on who should kill or rule over whom at that time) but they agree that the normal forms of human decency are no longer in force. For reasons that need not concern us here, the beginning of the messianic age allows the activation of the rule, as expressed by another unlovely Gush Emunim Rabbi, Shlomo Aviner, that “While God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.”(12) The suspension of ‘such laws’ extends to non-Jews’ right to live and breathe. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, another settler leader, asked pragmatically whether “If a Jew needs a liver, can he take the liver of an innocent non-Jew to save the Jew?”(13) He replied in the affirmative, supporting an Israeli fundamentalist theology that should make anyone think twice before taking the kids on that beach holiday in Israel.
Palestinians have to take Ginsburgh’s ideas seriously, though, for the learned Rabbi leads a heavily-armed gang of settlers,(14) past graduates of the classrooms of yeshiva Mercaz HaRav. Ginsburgh also defended one particular massacre of Muslims, the killing of 29 Hebronites at prayer in the Al-Ibrahimi mosque, on the religious basis that a Jew is permitted to kill any non-Jew and not be deemed to commit murder. He added, in case anybody didn’t quite get the message, that killing even innocent Palestinians to exact revenge is ‘a Jewish virtue’.
Another Mercaz HaRav graduate, Rabbi Dov Lior, in 2004, instructed his settler followers, parents of those killed in the yeshiva recently, that the Israeli occupation forces are allowed to kill innocent Palestinians.(15) Mercaz HaRav alumni all sing from the same savage hymn sheet. Mercaz HaRav graduates don’t just believe they can use your, or any passing Palestinian’s, liver. Gentiles can also be useful to science. The Israeli Attorney General was forced to intervene to bar Rabbi Lior’s election to Israel’s top religious body following concern over his public proposal to use captured Arab ‘terrorists’ to conduct medical experiments.(16) (Gush Emunim considers all Palestinians to be 'terrorists'.) Lior is reputed to be the top student of Kook fils. Note that Lior had to be barred by adminstrative methods after he had secured enough votes from his supporters to secure a seat on Israel's Supreme Rabbinical Council.
Lior recognised a kindred spirit in American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, who murdered the 29 Palestinian worshippers (and wounded another 150) in the Hebron mosque. Lior eulogised the mass killer thus: “Goldstein was full of love for fellow human beings. He dedicated himself to helping others.”(17)
The idea of using Arabs for medical experiments ought to be a clue to something bigger. Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, spell it out: “The similarities between the Jewish political messianic trend and German Nazism are glaring. The Gentiles are for the messianists what the Jews were for the Nazis.”(18) If you think that stealing peoples organs is just your average settler yeshiva ghoulishness, Gush Emunim settlers’ idea of leisure time activities after yeshiva is out is to decorate Palestinian homes in Hebron with "Arabs to the gas chambers".(19)
The Israeli settlements where Mercaz HaRav sends its graduates are centres of military power and domination of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Since secular Jews are no longer very much interested in building settlements in densely-populated Palestinian areas, where there is a risk of armed Palestinian opposition, only the religious fanatics are prepared to undertake this task. That is why they are so strongly supported by the army(20) which is still mainly controlled by secular Zionists. The Gush Emunim settlers are highly militarised zealots who can be relied upon to fight in the army and to abuse and beat Palestinian ‘cattle’ at the hundreds of checkpoints they help to run across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
These zealots are increasing their influence throughout the Israeli military(21) as the Labour Zionist-run core of the state is eaten away with corruption and failure to defeat the Palestinians or Hezbollah. Their settlements vote overwhelmingly for ultra-right parties, groups that the late Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz termed “Judeo-Nazis”.(22)
Why did some Gazans celebrate the Mercaz HaRav attack? We might find an answer if we ask why the US refused to allow the UN Security Council to condemn the Jerusalem Yeshiva and the Gaza killings together.(23) The US has a high limit on the number of Palestinian Arabs it allows Israel to kill, and it doesn't object that some of the huge volume of US arms pumped into Israel find their way to settlers. These thugs combine their guns with creative methods to harm the farmers whose land they covet. When one man strikes back against the most genocidal settler group it is bound to bring a grim satisfaction to those crouching under Israeli-imposed siege in the Gaza Killing Zone. Bush, Brown, the EU, and the UN have delivered these Gazans to Israel’s tender mercies. They well remember the hideous settlers inside Gaza who treated them like 'cattle'.
Jerusalem, like Palestine as a whole, is saturated with armed Jews, uniformed soldiers and police as well as gun-toting settlers. Both groups cooperate to control the Palestinian population, who are kept unarmed in order that they can be dispossessed. This dispossession is achieved by a combination of the illegal occupation’s ‘legal’ means combined with the settlers’ violent extra-legal actions. Any armed Palestinian is killed on sight. Jerusalem, like all of Palestine, pits Jewish supremacism and military power against a colonised population, whose anger at their status and hostility towards their occupiers and violators is natural and healthy. Should they kiss the whip held over their heads? Palestinians continue to resist and we should be inspired by their courage, fortitude and endurance against an enemy that threatens them openly with a ‘Holocaust’.(24)
Alaa Abu Dheim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student. Abu Dheim's sister, Iman, said he had been deeply affected by the Israeli massacres in Gaza. She said her brother had told her "he wasn't able to sleep because of the grief".(25)
Rafael Eitan, a past Army Chief and Deputy Prime Minister explained the rationale behind Israel's incessant brutality:the crushing of the Palestinians. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle”.(26) Israel’s brutality towards Palestinians is a means to the Zionists’ declared end, shared by dominant groups in both secular and religious camps, to dehumanise the ‘cattle’, the ‘cockroaches’.
Israel was cleared for immigration in 1948 by terror, and is still to this day based on terror against the entire Palestinian people. Gideon Levy claims that “Most of the delusional right-wing perpetrators and the mongers of hate for Arabs came from this flagship,”(27) but the atheists who founded the state of Israel were no slouches at using terror to drive out the natives,(28) nor are their secular descendents.(29) Mercaz HaRav graduates, however, take second place to none in the history of Israeli demonization and dispossession of Palestinians.
(Mick Napier is Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, affiliated to PSC-UK. This article represents his personal views
5. Shahak, I. And Mezvinsky, N. (1999) Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, London, Pluto Press, p.20
7. Zionism in Microcosm & http://www.cpt.org/hebron/documents/Tuwani_media_packet.htm for CPT detailed reports of poisonings by settlers in Hebron hills. In one example, "Israeli settlers put dead chickens in one of the two At-Tuwani drinking water wells." CPT, Hebron reported, 15 January 2008 settlers "stop next to a cistern in Humra Valley, open the lid and raise the bucket. Such activity raised suspicions in the village because of previous incidents when area cisterns have been poisoned with dead chickens or dirty diapers....an international NGO [obtained] results from a university lab [which] showed the water had pH 2.4 (potable water has a pH of approximately 7), and a high number of solubles. The NGO determined the water was `contaminated', and said it is not healthy for humans or animals."
11. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.ix
12. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.71
13. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.43
14. Amayreh, Khalid. “Kristallnacht Revisited.” Al-Ahram Weekly On-line 12 –18 Oct. 2000. Issue No. 503
15. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5338.shtml and "We were in a weapon carrier when this guy, around 25, passed by in the street, and just like that, for no reason, he didn't throw a stone, did nothing - bang, a bullet in the stomach - he shot him in the stomach and the guy is dying on the sidewalk and we keep going, uninterested. No one gave him a second look." http://files.tikkun.org/current/article.php?story=20071019115027411
17. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.103 Goldstein was not an isolated murderer. "...within two days of the massacre the walls of religious neighborhoods of west Jerusalem (and to a lesser extent of many other religious neighborhoods) were covered by posters extolling Goldstein's virtues and complaining that he did not manage to kill more Arabs. Children of religious settlers who came to Jerusalem to demonstrate sported buttons for months after the massacre that were inscribed: 'Dr. Goldstein cured Israel's ills.' Numerous concerts of Jewish religious music and other events often developed into demonstrations of tribute to Goldstein...No major politician protested against such celebrations."
18. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.65
19. http://electronicintifada.net/artman2/uploads/1/gaschambers235.jpg & http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9381.shtml This writer has seen a lot of this Nazi graffitti by Mercaz HaRav graduates in Hebron.
20. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/seth_freedman/2007/07/peace_now_report.html Western media flag up the risk of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of fundamentalist Muslim groups in that country,
See also IDF's Religion Problem Displayed in Assault, Tablet, 16 April 2012 at http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/96923/in-assault-israels-religion-problem-bursts-through/?utm_source=outbrain&;utm_medium=referral
21. Shahak & Mezvinsky, p.65. 22. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=1798
24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7270650.stm "We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the temporarily "paused" bombings of Lebanon continue. Tariq Ali / Noam Chomsky / Eduardo Galeano / Howard Zinn / Ken Loach / John Berger & Arundhati Roy
For updates on the incessant criminality of Marcaz HaRav graduates:
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.