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Activists arrested in Hebron: 'Segregation isn't our Judaism'

Jewish activists arrested for protesting against segregation in Hebron on day when national-religious Jews descend on the city to mark Abraham’s biblical purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Text by Michael Omer-Man
Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

Activists hold a sign reading ‘Segregation is not our Judaism,in Hebron , October 25, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police arrested seven Jewish activists from Israel and the Diaspora in the segregated city of Hebron on Friday for holding signs that read, “Segregation is not our Judaism.”

The activists, from a group called All That’s Left, went to Hebron on the eve of Shabbat Chayei Sarah, which is when the Torah portion of the same name is read. Religious-nationalist Jews descend on Hebron over the weekend, to mark the text they believe to be proof that Jews own Hebron. (Full disclosure: I was involved in forming All That’s Left in early 2013, although never in its activism.)

More on segregation in Hebron

Even more than the rest of the year, during the Chayei Sarah weekend, the Israeli army restricts Palestinian movement in Hebron due to the influx of Jewish worshipers. This year, like years past, the army prevented Palestinians from holding Friday prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The activists arrived in Hebron late Friday morning with a tent and some signs. They said the intention was to erect the tent and hold an alternative study session of the Chayei Sarah text, challenging the nationalist assertions others draw from it.

All That’s Left activists study the Chayei Sarah Torah portion on Shuhada Street in Hebron, October 25, 2013. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“The tent was to resemble Abraham’s Tent, which according to traditional Jewish exegesis was open on all four sides so that any passing stranger would know s/he was welcome,” a statement said.

Police never let them set up the tent and quickly destroyed their signs but allowed them to sit on Shuhada Street and discuss the text for nearly two hours.

Soon after, they were arrested for interfering with a police officer and violating a closed military zone order. Neither the army nor police, however, ever presented the activists with the order and did not give them time to leave the area, as they are legally required to. The activists were attempting to leave the closed military zone area when they were arrested.

Israeli police arrest an All That’s Left activist for violating a closed military zone order in Hebron, October 24, 2013. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

+972 has learned that Meretz chairwoman and MK Zahava Gal-On intervened on behalf of the protesters, demanding that police release them.

All That’s Left member Talia Krevsky, who was not at the action, said, “Our signs are a direct response to counter some of the appalling graffiti we have seen in and around Hebron, with images of Jewish stars alongside racist statements such as ‘Death to Arabs.’ That is not our Judaism.”

Shuhada Street, where the activists were arrested, has been segregated — open only to Jews and not Palestinians — since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, when Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and injured 125.

Update: All of the activists were released at around midnight and all charges dropped.

All That’s Left activists hold signs in English and Hebrew saying, ‘Segregation is not our Judaism’, Hebron, October 25, 2013. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Related:
PHOTOS: In Hebron, demonstrators demand reopening of Shuhada Street
Dr. Oz dances with Hebron settlers 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Average American

      I don’t see how US can continue to pretend Israel is a democracy. Sure Israel can do what it wants, sure it has its own laws. Fine. But don’t pretend any more that it’s Jewish AND Democratic.

      Here’s the Jewish part: laws derived from Jewish Torah, Jewish language, land for Jews Only, two State Jewish Rabbis, Jewish flag, Jewish holidays.

      But wait, what about the Democratic part? What if Jewish people themselves, like these guys, see that something going on is wrong? What if they want to ask fellow Jews to examine what’s happening? What if they believe they are actually trying to get closer to their true faith? This article provides the answer to that.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        What a stupid comment based on willfull ignorance.

        Laws in Israel are secular and passed by democratically elected officials. The official languages are Hebrew and Arabic. The religious clergy of Jews, Christians and Muslims are paid by the state. Family law is delegated to the various religious communities and presided over by state-paid religious judges (Jewish, Muslim, Christian). The flag and official holidays are a reflection that the majority of the population is Jewish. In the US (and not just the US) Christmas is an official holiday and day of rest. Christmas is not a Jewish or Muslim holiday last time I checked.

        The democratic part of Israel is simple. We have democratic elections every x years which determine the government for the next x years in which all Israeli citizens participate. We have freedom of religion, press and speech. So, yeah…

        Israel is both Jewish and democratic. That you dont like Jews doesn’t grant you license to make up your own facts.

        Danny, a country can be both a garrison state and a thriving democracy as Israel demonstrates daily. Enjoy whatever wonderful place you ran away to but try not to retroactively justify your decision by demonizing Israel. This is a pretty common cliche on the emigre Israeli left. Don’t be a cliche.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          While Christmas is an official holiday, it is not a religious one for most people and has, over the years, taken a decidedly civic tone and characteristics (“Happy Holidays” has all but replaced the less inclusive “Merry Christmas”). The U.S. is very strict when it comes to separation of church and state.

          Regarding your assertion that a state can be both a garrison and a democracy: I guess that works in the same way that a state can be both Jewish and democratic – just ignore all the contradictions and viola!

          Last time I checked, an army is probably the least democratic organization there is. Soldiers/citizens are expected to obey. Dissenters and conscientious objectors are punished with a heavy hand. If that’s your definition of democracy, then you need to go back to school.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Christmas is very much a religious holiday for most people. “Happy Holidays” is meant to include other holidays as well, not to remove the religious importance of Christmas. The US is strict when it comes to separation of church and state, and yet Christmas is still a national holiday and religious leaders still play a prominent role in society.

            The United States did not stop being a democracy when it had the draft. Neither did other democratic nations when forced to conscript their youth into the military and to punish draft dodgers. The assertion that a country can not be both a democracy and have a draft is transparently false.

            Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          I seriously am not arguing with you right now (maybe later), may I ask a few things:

          If the citizens of Israel participate in elections, what is the definition of citizen?

          Are there State Christian Priests? State Muslim Imams? Do the MKs consult those in making laws?

          If a Christian priest marries two people, is that marriage recognized as valid by the State?

          Can a non-Jew by State land?

          Do you have State Holidays that are not Jewish holidays?

          Did the State Flag reflect the majority of the population before the Nakba?

          In which version of State borders do you count the population?

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Citizens of Israel are people that have citizenship in Israel. That currently consists of about 78% Jews, 16% Muslims, 2% Druze with the rest Christians or people with no affiliation.

            Yes, there are State Christian Priests and State Imams. The state pays salaries to religious leaders of all faiths. The imam at a local mosque is paid a salary by the Israeli government. Christian and Muslim MKs are welcome to consult their respective clergy on legislation. Jewish MKs would rarely consult official Israeli Rabbis on legislation and in any case religious leaders have zero official legislative powers even if some MKs are more religious than others.

            Yes, a non-Jew can buy state land. The state is legally prohibited from discriminating.

            We have state holidays that are non-religious in nature – independence day, veterans day. We do not have official holidays which have origins in other religions, and neither does the US.

            The state flag reflects the majority of the population of the state of Israel since its founding. It doesn’t reflect those who lived here a hundred years ago or 500 years ago. Does the US flag reflect those that lived in the US prior to Columbus? Last time I checked it had 13 stripes (the original colonies).

            The state has undefined borders due to conflicts with neighbors but defined citizenship. Likewise, when counting American citizens one does not exclude those that live abroad.

            Reply to Comment
          • “Yes, a non-Jew can buy state land. The state is legally prohibited from discriminating.”

            In Israel land is overwhelmingly owned by the State. The State rarely sells it, rather leasing or providing use rights. With the ascendancy of neo-liberalism, use rights are placed on the market, current holder able to sell the right but not land. While the State claims indifference to use right sales, I know of no case in which a prospective buyer has sued claiming racial discrimination and won; that is, the holder of use right sells as s/he wishes. In the US, if a minority places a first bid on asking price, they must be accepted; present holder can demure if given a higher bid than those provided, but if asking price is offered it must be accepted, provided the bidder satisfies loan conditions; of course, an asking bid cash offer must be accepted.

            Some State land has been transferred to the Jewish National Fund, and the JNF has, over the years, accumulated some through its own buys (as, e.g., in the West Bank). This ostensibly private corporation has as its incorporation mission the preservation of land for the Jewish People. The JNF simply does not provide lease hold to non-Jews.

            So to say that the State is prohibited from discriminating on land sells is rather vacuous. I do not believe the private sector of use rights, not fee simple ownership, is regulated much; part of neo-liberalism is the assertion that you can sell to whomever you want. In the US, there used to be clauses in land deeds prohibiting sale to blacks; these were ultimately stuck down by the US Supreme Court.

            However, the State HAS asserted its right to interfere in sales based on non-market criteria. The Community Law allows incorporated village communities to decided on whether someone wished to buy use rights, not land, will “integrate with the community.” This is State sanction of discrimination beyond the tenants of neo-liberalism. The State devolves actual decision to private individuals, those living in said community, somehow appointed or elected to an oversight admittance board; but, if this board denies admittance (purchase of use right) based on some standard irrespective of financial ability to pay, it has discriminated beyond market criteria, so the State has enable such, so the the State has as well.

            There’s instruction, and there’s instruction.

            Reply to Comment
          • It’s wrong. But then the death penalty is wrong too.

            As usual, you divert from focus on Israeli law to what your enemy does, which has nothing to do with the enjoyment of use rights among Israeli citizens.

            Some Native American groups did something similar to what you report. As white (settlers) moved west, they would acquire land by force but also by sale, sometimes valid, sometimes coerced, sometimes a facade. NA groups opposed to assimilation, or rather networks so opposed, would sometimes kill those involved in such transactions. Sometimes, NA’s taking on settler ways, such as direct farming of privately held land, would be assassinated. All of this was a response to encroachment on native land. Generally, when land was “sold” (which can be hard to do when one doesn’t have a distinct concept of private property), it was lost to natives forever. This engendered a violent response against those involved in these land transfers. Sound familiar?

            My comment tried to clarify how use right is allocated in Israel, specifically against the proposition that the Israel State does not discriminate in this; it does, the Community Law an obvious example. This state of affairs is in no way altered by what the PA does or does not do. Further, what the PA does has no bearing on what hardships Israeli Arab citizens are forced to endure. If you are a single person, Shmuel, I must say I thought your mind better than this.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            First: Please don’t compare Jews trying to BUY land in our ancestral homeland to what your ancestors did to native American Indians.

            Second: As usual, you only want to focus on what in your opinion Jews do wrong and you want to hush me up about talking what Arabs do wrong. It ain’t gonna happen.

            Last but not least, you are wrong about Israeli land laws. The laws don’t discriminate. Individuals probably do. FACT: Arabs own lands and they can buy and sell lands from/to whomever they want.

            Reply to Comment
          • Not all the land was bought at all; you know the history of expulsion and abandonment law. The US did something similar. Natives pushed west abandoned land. The land was then either assumed into State property or, under State law, surveyed into private property, he paying for the survey then registered as owner, possibly with total caps on contiguous land registered. The US payed for western railroad development in part by selling off land adjacent to the lengthening track; by the 1860′s, much of the native population was gone, not of free will.

            The State owns the majority of land in Israel. Yes, Arabs own some or have use rights, and they are unlikely to sell what the have outside of family and networks, for there is little reverse Jewish to Arab transferred use rights.

            I detailed in my first comment how sales in the US are structured so as to avoid discrimination in individual transactions; indeed, there used to be lawsuits, and occasionally still are, over such discrimination. The State enables transactions as a matter of law; it is up to the State to provide a mechanism of redress in discrimination. In the US, one such mechanism was the Civil Rights Act of (I think) 1965. If left to individual owners, racial segregation would have lasted much longer. Even into the 1960′s housing deeds could have clauses which stipulated that any future sale had to preserve the nature of the community. Sound familiar?

            In his c 1880 dissents, the first Justice Harlan argued that the State, which enables transaction and preserves contracts and deeds through the courts and law enforcement, cannot allow discriminatory selling because of the 13th and 14th Civil War Amendments; in the 1950-60′s his view effectively became the law of the land. A dominant community ethic cannot exclude others through discriminatory selling.

            This is exactly what the Knesset passed Community Law allows, and it is direct enabling of discrimination in market transactions. I think the High Court has a case pending on the law. In the past, the Court has said that a core principle of jurisprudence is full equality of social rights; given the Court’s recent trajectory I am not certain they will continue to uphold that principle, but the Refugee Detention Camp decision gives some hope.

            I am not trying to silence you. My point was that what happens in the PA does not absolve what happens in Israeli law. Here you make comment on Israeli law, regarding individual discrimination. My point is that when individuals are enabled by law, they may not discriminate in market transactions. While this is a firm principle of US and I think Western European law, I do not think it is upheld in Israel; indeed, the JNF’s very mission makes it difficult to do so, although there might be a way around that.

            I have been told repeatedly on this site that Arab Israeli citizens are fully equal in law; they are not if their bids are shunted aside in favor of others’. Saying the State does not discriminate is simply false at this time. The law does not focus on predominate effect across ethnic or racial entities, but on individual effects in the instance. Saying Arab (citizens) do it too doesn’t go anywhere; no one can, or should, be able to do so. And, yes, that means that Arab citizens too will sometimes be angry at the result. It would be more correct to say “everyone wants discrimination” rather than “the State does not discriminate” in that case.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Look Greg, I won’t give a long winded detailed reply.

            I stand by what I said. There is no law in Israel which you can claim is discriminatory other than perhaps immigration laws. How individuals behave and how courts look at that behaviour should be considered case by case. You simply cannot generalise about it.

            Also, please don’t mix topics. We are not talking about how Israel came into posession of land in the 1948 war of aggression which the Arabs waged against Israel. That is another topic.

            Last but not least, I feel fully justified to highlight the REAL discriminatory way in which the PA behaves with regards to land sales. AND the barbaric way in which they deal with their own people who are prepared to conduct a simple commercial transaction with Jewish Israelis.

            Why am I bringing it up? Because you + 972 people constantly want us Israelis to pretend that WE always have to be FAIR to Palestinians but they have no obligation to be FAIR to US. Do you know how onerous that is on us? Nobody, I say nobody would be different to us if they would be in our place but many, I say many would be worse than us if they would walk in our shoes. You Americans would not be better than us either. Nor were you better when you were in the middle of major wars like WW1 and WW2. No, we are not perfect but we are not the evil incarnate that this magazine tries to paint us either. Israeli laws are basically fair to all. There are many instances when Arab citizens win in courts. Is every outcome perfect? I doubt it. But I can say the same thing about most other courts of law in most places on earth. Why do you expect us to be more perfect than anyone else?

            Reply to Comment
          • “There is no law in Israel which you can claim is discriminatory other than perhaps immigration laws. How individuals behave and how courts look at that behaviour should be considered case by case. You simply cannot generalise about it.”

            Sure you can. That’s what US law did in the Civil Rights period. There was no law saying a black could not buy a house in white neighborhoods. No white would sell. It was freedom in action. All right thinking people felt that way. If you tried to buck that–ostracism. Can you understand the degree of racial hatred employed, the blindness towards others instilled as a sign of right thinking? Can you conceive of how whites refusing that stand were treated–by whites? When Kolumn9 of this site claims Yesh Din is an anti-Israel foreign agent of the EU–well, that’s just the tip of what it was like.

            I detailed earlier in this comment cycle how US law dealt with refusal to sell based on race. The right to economic activity independent of race is protected by the equal protection of the laws. If one cannot purchase a house where one needs, when such are available, one’s economic future may be truncated. Majorities often want minorities to either go away or keep their silent place. Rights do not exist only when the majority wants them; these would be no rights at all. Maybe from your perspective Ben Gurion et al made a mistake in granting inheritable citizenship to some Arabs. But they did. And Israeli jurisprudence must face this. I direct you once again to your founding document, the Declaration of Independence.

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            that’s not racial discrimination. unlike in places that aren’t the west bank, a palestinian selling land to an israeli is presumed to transfer SOVEREIGNTY of the land to Israel. If I sell my house in Los Angeles to a Mexican, it doesn’t then fall under Mexican planning ordinances.
            In this case, selling land to an Israeli can rightfully be considered treason, to which the death penalty is commonly applied.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Haifawi

            Actually, I agree with your point. But let’s take the death penalty. Israel has applied the death penalty only once in it’s history. Against Adolf Eichman. Are you saying that Israel hasn’t had and still has traitors? As for executing people who sell land to Jews, traitors or not, I standby what I said about such a law. It is barbaric.

            Oh and Israel has Arab citizens. Where were the Jewish citizens in the West Bank between 1948 and 1967?

            Now back to your point. It brings up another point. How Israel treats it’s Arab citizens within the Green line should NOT be mixed up with how it treats Arabs in the West Bank who are NOT Israeli citizens. Those Arabs are subject to a combination of Jordanian law and military law.

            Reply to Comment
      • Marcos

        AA, now that you have been schooled, are there other tropes you care to toss out there?

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Yes I do:

          What are the qualifications to be a citizen of the State?

          You acknowledge that MKs consult Religious leaders when making State laws?

          Didn’t answer: If a Christian Priest marries two people is it recognized by the State?

          Wasn’t the imagery on the flag adopted in 1933 as the symbol of Zionism, not as reflection of majority of population in 1948?

          What does Zionism mean to you? Is Israel implementing Zionism?

          Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Agree. Israel is not really a democracy any longer. What we have instead is an ethnocentric, theocratic garrison state, where every citizen is considered a soldier (soon even kindergarten toddlers, who, if Yesh Atid has its way, will be learning about the holocaust from age two). If I were a parent in Israel, I would seriously consider moving my children to a better environment to grow up in.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Shmuel

      This protest is just perverse. They pretend that segragation is just a Zionist thing and Arabs would be willing to live in peace and harmony together with Jews in a democratic state.

      Does that stand up to scrutiny? Of course not. The two peoples have been involved in a 100 year war with each other in which horrible atrocities were committed by both sides. Under the circumstances it is therefore only natural for each side to be wary of the other and not to want to live together.

      In fact, let us try a thought experiment: what do people really think would happen to the Jewish families who now live in Hebron if they would try to live amongst the Arab population of Hebron instead of living together under protection?

      ANSWER: does the 1929 massacre of the Jews of Hebron by their Arab neighbors ring a bell?

      Reply to Comment
      • cycy

        The problem is that Jews in Hebron are not like the ordinary Jews living in Tel Aviv, Los Angeles or New York. They are generally speaking violent and racist religious extremists who DO NOT want to live in peace with Palestinians – their ideological beliefs are in complete contradiction to living in peace with gentiles, particularly Palestinians. That is the whole purpose of the settler movement. It is snide to even suggest that they are typical Jews in any shape or form, because they are not. This is why Yuval Diskin, a chief in Shin Bet said that he’s “found a very high willingness among this public to use violence — not just stones, but live weapons — in order to prevent or halt a diplomatic process. They (the settlers) don’t think like us. Their thought is messianic, mystic, satanic and irrational”.

        The fact that virtually all Arab-only neighbourhoods and streets in Hebron have strong fences ABOVE them acting as a ceiling (google for photos) to protect their streets from Hebron’s illegal Jewish community who always throw garbage, heavy rocks and stones, alcohol and sharp objects from Jewish housing above shows that the Jewish community there is unwilling to live in peace. Besides, what is with the sense of entitlement? Hebron is not part of the state of Israel and its within the Palestinian government’s rights to deny Israelis permission to live there, just as Israel denies Palestinians the rights to live within Israel. The behaviour of the 700,000 Jews living in the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is an absolute disgrace and given their behaviour they shouldn’t just take it for granted that they be allowed to continue living there if Palestine is granted statehood and the power over its territory. This also applies to the 20,000+ Israeli settlers in the Golan Heights, Syria.

        Reply to Comment
    4. nance parent

      For the holiness of humanity why argue?

      When we as a people, the human race, defer to another as less than equal we lose all sense of G-dliness.
      Israel due to their military position has indeed treated the Palestinian’s in Hebron as a people without rights.

      This is neither democratic or humanistic.

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        Being blown up by suicide bombers after a major and comprehensive peace offer is not humanistic either.

        How do you suggest Israel could have stopped them blowing Israelis up, then? By begging them to stop it? Most Israelis had to agree that there was no other choice than to supress them instead. That is context.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rau

          Shmuel, you have a choice. END OCCUPATION.

          Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            It seems I don’t. Everytime we offer peace terms which would end the occupation, the Palestinian Arabs either ignore it or worse. They start an Intifada. It happened in 2000, 2001 and 2008 just lately.

            At other times, they even refuse to negotiate. So how do you suggest we end the occupation, brainiac?

            Reply to Comment
    5. The Trespasser

      Until there are groups of Muslims who claim “Violence isn’t our Islam” these leftist are nothing but delusional fools.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jan

      “Shuhada Street, where the activists were arrested, has been segregated — open only to Jews and not Palestinians — since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, when Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and injured 125.”

      The Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein murders 29 Palestinians but who got punished after this heinous act? Not the settlers from where this monster came but the Palestinians. They were immediately put under curfew for weeks, their shops on Shuhada street were closed and the killer is still revered as a hero in parts of the settler world.

      This is so sick. Israel is sick. The occupation is sick.

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        That’s right keep pretending that the only terrorism that happened in 1994 was the terrorism by Baruch Goldstein. And that there was no Palestinian Arab terrorism. But pretending is not reality.

        Here is something to refresh your mind:

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/victims.html#1993

        Oh and as I mentioned above, let’s not forget the 1929 massacre of Hebron’s Jews by their Arab neighbors. What was their excuse then? Occupation? The settlers? Suppression? My guess is that they agreed with their Mufti of Jerusalem that there must not be ANY Jews anywhere in Palestine. What’s your guess Jan?

        Reply to Comment
    7. Jan

      Shmuel – I find the murder of the Jews of Hebron to be equally as vile as the murder of the Palestinians of Hebron.

      You ask why the Arabs killed the Jews. First of all there were Arabs that saved Jews from death. But one might easily suspect that what was behind the murders was the Zionist project itself which planned to take as much of the land of Palestine for Jews with as few non-Jewish Arabs left on that land as possible.

      You have to know that had there been no effort to drive out the Arab population there could not have been a Jewish majority state and I am certain that there are many, if not most, who supported and still support the ethnic cleansing and the refusal to allow the ethnically cleansed people to return.

      For years Jews had lived side by side with Arabs under the Ottoman empire but it wasn’t until the Zionists decided that they wanted all the land for themselves and began bringing in Jews from Europe that the enmity began. Surely you don’t expect that a people that is slated to be kicked off their lands should love or even like those who planned to take their homeland from them.

      The murders in 1994 were all terrible but you must note that most took place in the occupied territories and not in Israel proper. Had the Jews not been brutally occupying the West Bank and Gaza and taking Palestinian lands and water resources for themselves most of these people would not have died at that time. The list shows that most of the killings were done by Hamas. Are you not aware that Hamas came about as a direct result of the occupation? No occupation. No Hamas.

      Finally I suggest that you read an article written by Hillel Cohen in an earlier edition of 972mag where he discusses the reasons behind the Hebron massacre.

      http://972mag.com/how-the-1929-hebron-massacre-invigorated-the-zionist-movement/67101/

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        Jan:
        “I find the murder of the Jews of Hebron to be equally as vile as the murder of the Palestinians of Hebron.”

        Apparently you don’t Jan, because in the very next paragraph you go on trying to justify the murder of Jews. First by saying that some Arabs tried to save Jews and second by WRONGLY claiming that the “Zionists project” planned to take Arab land by force.

        Now don’t get me wrong Jan, I too applaud those brave individual Arabs who tried to save Hebron’s Jews from being massacred but unlike you I don’t try to excuse that massacre just because of the brave act of some individual Arabs.

        As for your claim about “the Zionist Project”, you are just repeating lies (let’s assume not your own lies). The Zionist project never involved forceful disposession of Arabs. At most, had the Arabs not attacked the Yishuv in 1948, the Jews would have continued to purchase more and more privately owned Arab lands (at exhorbitant prices if necessary) in order to be able to bring in more Jewish refugees to help establish a homeland for the Jewish people. Arabs who would not have wanted to sell would have been welcomed as Israeli citizens.

        But since the majority of Arabs continued the attitude of the 1929 Hebron massacre and attacked the new state of Israel in 1948, what you claim was “the Zionist project”, became a self fulfilling prophecy, partially because of what some Jewish commanders did and partially because of Arab perceptions of what the victorious Zionists might do to them. They assumed that the Jews would do to THEM what THEY planned to do to the Jews.

        That is how things really happened Jan.

        PS
        In 1993/1994, Arabs committed just as many terrorist acts within Israel as near settlements. In fact, Baruch Goldstein committed his act of terror agains Arabs in response to many acts of terror by Arabs against Jews beforehand. Not that I excuse his act of terror either.

        Reply to Comment
        • Jan

          Shmuel – Problems with the indigenous Arab population began when Jews decided that they wanted Palestine for their homeland. They declared that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land. But that wasn’t true. There were people there, people who had lived on the land for many generations and who did not look kindly on another people taking over their lands either through force or through their wealth.

          The Zionist project began as a result of European anti-Semitism, an anti-Semitism that brought my great grandparents to America. The Arabs of Palestine who were slated to lose their lands to foreigners from Europe were not responsible for the anti-Semitism that drove the Zionist project but they paid a high price and are still paying a high price.

          You seem to think it is fine to come in with loads of money to buy up land and force the Arabs off that land and if they don’t want to sell they can live as second or third class citizens in a Jewish state and pledge allegience to a flag that bears a symbol of a religion that is not theirs.

          From the start the Jews came in with a feeling of superiority over the Arabs. I don’t know if you ever heard of Asher Ginsberg, also known as Ahad Ha’am. After a visit to Palestine in 1891 he wrote the following:

          “We must surely learn, from both our past and present history, how careful we must be not to provoke the anger of the native people by doing them wrong, how we should be cautious in our dealings with a foreign people among whom we returned to live, to handle these people with love and respect and, needless to say, with justice and good judgment. And what do our brothers do? Exactly the opposite! They were slaves in their Diasporas, and suddenly they find themselves with unlimited freedom, wild freedom that only a country like Turkey [the Ottoman Empire] can offer. This sudden change has planted despotic tendencies in their hearts, as always happens to former slaves ['eved ki yimlokh – when a slave becomes king – Proverbs 30:22]. They deal with the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly, beat them shamefully for no sufficient reason, and even boast about their actions. There is no one to stop the flood and put an end to this despicable and dangerous tendency. Our brothers indeed were right when they said that the Arab only respects he who exhibits bravery and courage. But when these people feel that the law is on their rival’s side and, even more so, if they are right to think their rival’s actions are unjust and oppressive, then, even if they are silent and endlessly reserved, they keep their anger in their hearts. And these people will be revengeful like no other.”

          And that, Shmuel, lies behind the massacre in Hebron. The Jews of Hebron unfortunately reaped what their predecessors had sown.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Shmuel

      Jan

      First: of all, it wasn’t even a Zionist who coined the phrase “a land without people for a people without a land”.

      Second: The land WAS sparsely populated and there was plenty of space for BOTH Jews and Arabs in Palestine. It was not a case of EITHER Jews OR Arabs. Both could have a state of their own. And indeed, in 1948, the Zionists accepted the partition of Palestine. The Arabs were the ones who rejected it.

      Third: You claim that Palestine is Arab land. Why exactly? Both Jews and Arabs lived there and by 1948, the Jews represented about a third of the population.

      Fourth: The last time there was a sovereign nation roughly on the area of Palestine, it was known as Judea. The Jewish people are the descendants of the Judeans. There never was a sovereign Arab nation in the area of Palestine. After the Arabs invasion, it was part of a much larger Arab empire.

      Fifth: Back in the days of the Hebron massacre of Jews (which despicably you still seem to want to justify), the Arab population did not consider itself a distinct Palestinian people. They considered themselves as part of the greater Arab nation. Therefore they were happy to have Palestine as part of greater Syria, Jordan or Egypt.

      Sixth: have you looked at the map of the middle east lately? How much lands do Arabs own already? Are you saying that we Jews had no right to claim ANY of our ancestral homeland back?

      Seventh: For your information, Ahad Haam was not the only one who expressed those sentiments. Herzl too said much the same thing. Yes, in reality things ended up going pear shaped because of Arab nationalism, intolerance, envy and hostility. They did things to the Jewish pioneers even before the Hebron massacre of 1929. Go read up on Tel Hai and Trumpeldor. How did you expect the Jews to react?

      Last but not least: You talk about your grandparents who went to America as refugees. Do you remember them as evil people who went there to try and exploit everybody else? No? Well get this through your head, the Jews who went to Palestine were no worse than your grandparents. They too were refugees and had no evil intentions. The only difference was that unlike your grandparents who went to a land that was already apropriated from it’s native population, the Jews of Palestine were descendants of a people who owned Palestine way before the Arabs appeared there. As such, they had the right to claim part of it back. And in doing so, they had no need to get rid of anybody. Had the Arabs recognised Jewish rights too (not just their own rights). The two peoples could have built a paradise together, for the benefit of both peoples. Alas, instead, the Arabs decided on massacres of Jews instead and THEY reaped what THEY had sown.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        “First: of all, it wasn’t even a Zionist who coined the phrase “a land without people for a people without a land”.”

        Since when are Christian Zionists not Zionists? Without them Balfour would never have written his Declaration and the State of Israel would never have been established.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          Ok so Christian Zionists are Zionists too. So were leftist Zionists like Hashomer Hatzair and so are the ultra orthodox Zionists. There are all flavors of Zionists, I grant you that.

          But does that phrase detract even one iota from what I said to Jan? I said to her that in the early days when the Zionist began their Aliyah in the mid 1800s, the land was sparsely populated and there was room for both Jews and Arabs. It wasn’t a case of EITHER Jew OR Arab. There was room for both peoples. In fact, there still IS.

          Do you disagree with me on that?

          Reply to Comment
    9. Average American

      Zionism is about establishing and expanding a Jewish State for the Jewish People. Zionism doesn’t care who is already there. Let’s drop the pretense.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        And having a state for the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland as a protection from people like you, Average, who hate Jews is a crime?

        How about the Arab states shich have Islamic Arab states for Arabs? Twenty two of them. Is that a crime too?

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Okay, you’ve dropped the pretense too. Good. Now we can be honest with each other about what Israel is doing: Israel is implementing Zionism.

          Zionism tells you it’s YOUR ancestral homeland, Jews Only. What, nobody else’s ancestors lived there? What’s so special about you?

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I have dropped the pretense? You are an idiot.

            I told you before. But you hear only what is in your stupid head. Israel and the Jews agreed to the two state solution. The Arabs did not.

            20% of Israel’s population is Arab. Given that there is a state of war between Jews and Arabs, Israel’s Arab population is treated well.

            How many Jews are there in Arab and Islamic countries?

            Now why don’t you just go away and bug someone else? Idiot!

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            You didn’t answer the question. You never do. Deflect and distract is what you do. Oh well.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Oh I answered your stupid question ok. Your blunt head just does not want to absorb it , troll!

            Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            Regarding your questions:

            1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_nationality_law

            2. MKs may consult whoever they wish. Some consult religious leaders, others consult their assistants, other consult their parents. They are not bound to do so by law.

            3. Regarding the priest – that depends on the Church he belongs to. Some are recognized, while others are not. All due to the absence of civil marriage. However, there’s no issue at all if the marriage is performed abroad.

            4. The flag is not related at all to the population in 1948, why should it be? Zionism is about creating a state *for the Jews* and the flag reflects that. Does the fact that no place is completely empty deprives us of a right to have a place of our own?

            5. Zionism is a Jewish national movement. As such, its goal is to create a Jewish state. Israel implement Zionism.

            Now a question to you – given the hardships Jews encountered throughout the centuries epitomized by the holocaust, don’t you think that there should be a place that people which identify themselves as Jews can call their home? Even if at times the definition may seem vague? Even if some non Jewish people might find themselves in a Jewish state (instead of a 300th Arab state)? Even if the state is far from perfect? Even if we come from all around the world? A simple Yes or No will suffice.

            Reply to Comment
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