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This sick glee in the face of a terrorist attack

Many Israelis find “educational” value in horrifying attacks, as long as they happen to others

Following the terrorist attack in Norway, before the Israeli media had to reluctantly admit it was actually carried out by a Norwegian neo-Nazi (and yesterday 7th Eye, a news watchdog, noted the media, aside from Haaretz, kept its readers in the dark about the killers’ pro-Israeli agenda), the comment section on the internet sites was filled not with expressions of horror and sadness, but with virulent attacks on Muslims and Islam, and a strange and awful sort of glee. Even when it turned out that the killer was, in fact, Anders Breivik, many of the readers commenting on Israeli websites (see sample here) justified his act.

It is not, in fact, at all surprising that a neo-Nazi would support Israel. The extreme European right loves Israel, often describing it – as did Breivik (and, for that matter, founder of Zionism Theodore Herzl) – as a bastion of the West in the lands of Islam. Under Liberman, the Foreign Ministry has began making contacts with extreme right wing parties; the latest example being the meeting between an Israeli deputy minister, Ayoub Qara, and representatives of the Austrian Freedom Party (Hebrew), formerly led by Jorg Haider. While Haider was alive, his party was described as a “Neo-Nazi” party by Israeli officials. Well, turns out lepers can’t be choosers, and Israel needs every friend it can get. I mean, Israel was South Africa’s best friend during Apartheid; we’re used to that.

But where did the glee come from? It is not new. During the shock following the 9/11 attacks, a strong undercurrent of glee showed up. Four Israelis were actually arrested in New York for dancing in front of the burning towers. They spent quite some time in detention before being kicked out of the US.

Much of it stems from the feeling that “now, after a terrorist attack, they will understand how we live, and we’ll see how they’ll deal with it; let’s see them preach to us after suffering a suicide attack.” This sort of sentiment is not at all limited to right-wingers: Doron Rosenbloom, generally a sharp leftist satirist, wrote one of his poorest columns (Hebrew) based on this fantasy of attacks on London and Paris. Three years later, following the 7/7 attacks in London, Ha’aretz republished the column (Hebrew).

Of course, the attacks on London did not end up as Israelis hoped: The Londoners have a long history of resisting terror, from the Fenian “underground dynamiters” of the late 19th century to The Troubles of Northern Ireland. Blair’s government did not react to the attacks as the Israelis expected. No hysterics. No moaning and chest-beating in front of the cameras. Quiet, dignity and a stiff upper lip. Nor did Blair’s government respond as an Israeli government might, presumably by bombing Islamabad.

This glee is not reserved for gentiles (it is never present when a Jewish target is attacked abroad); it often appears after a terrorist on Tel Aviv, of which there were many. It is often expressed after a rocket attack on Sderot or an attack on a settlement in the wish for an attack on Tel Aviv, or on a leftist demonstration. Rather than opposing all terrorist attacks,  they accept some of them – as long as they have an “educational” value. Strangely enough, this is quite similar to what the terrorists are trying to do: To educate a hostile public about their grievances by violence.

The support of Breivik’s act after his identity was discovered, even though most of his victims were children, follows the same pattern: Israeli commentators support his ideology, and, having adopted him – who is merely an armed and ruthless version of Glenn Beck – they tend to forgive him for this minor indiscretion. The fact that many people could identify with a mass murderer of children spotlights another problem, one rarely mentioned: The de-humanizing effects of Jewish Orthodox education, which most Israeli Jews receive in one form or another. Being taught from an early age that you belong to a master race, and that other people are inherently inferior, that their lives aren’t worth as much as yours, will take its mark.


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    1. RichardNYC

      “Being taught from an early age that you belong to a master race, and that other people are inherently inferior, that their lives aren’t worth as much as yours, will take its mark.”
      A new low. Truly stomach-turning stuff.

      Reply to Comment
    2. RichardNYC

      I wonder whether other 972 authors (Roi, Dahlia) are comfortable writing pieces that mingle with antisemitic screeds such as this.

      Reply to Comment
    3. The alliance between Zionism and the far right, even anti-Semitism, has been well established and recognized since the beginning of Zionism. Arthur Schnitzler wrote about it in his 1908 Novel (Der Weg ins Freie), and Benny Morris described how Herzl foresaw the harnessing of anti-Semitism for the realization of Zionism, stating: “Herzl regarded Zionism’s triumph as inevitable, not only because life in Europe was ever more untenable for Jews, but also because it was in Europe’s interests to rid the Jews and relieved of anti-Semitism: The European political establishment would eventually be persuaded to promote Zionism. Herzl recognized that anti-Semitism would be HARNESSED to his own–Zionist-purposes.” (Righteous Victims, p. 21)

      Reply to Comment
    4. Truly stomach-turning stuff.

      I fully agree, Richard. We should tell people that praying for the destruction of gentiles three times a day, and prattling endlessly about “the chosen people”, the Jewish code of laws which does not punish the death of gentiles and disallows saving them unless it refraining from it causes trouble for Jews – we should tell people it is sick, stomach-turning stuff. I’ve been doing so since I left the yeshiva. How about you?

      Reply to Comment
    5. And another quote, taken from Herzl’s diary, showing the unholy alliance between Jew-haters and Zionists:

      “It is essential that the sufferings of Jews.. . become worse. . . this will assist in realization of our plans. . .I have an excellent idea. . . I shall induce anti-Semites to liquidate Jewish wealth. . . The anti-Semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews. The anti-Semites shall be our best friends”. (From Herzl’s Diary, Part I, pp. 16)

      Reply to Comment
    6. Yossi, You really need to do better then this. Your constant spin on the truth of the situation is just to pathetic to be taken seriously. GLEE? Who are your friends? Am I living in the same country as you? Do you really get off on making these bold generalities for the sport of it? I had hoped for better. This sounds more like the Guardian or the News corp rag sheet.Disappointed.

      Reply to Comment
    7. kat

      I wonder if commentators like RICHARDNYC will ever stop using anti-semitism as a tool to shut up any criticism of Israel or the Jews… OK they suffered… does this mean they’re untouchable angels now?? many people suffered, were abused or persecuted in history… I don’t see any other untouchables!

      Reply to Comment
    8. Sam Smith

      Yossi, you’ve already proven yourself to be an awful debater on the issue of Maimonides, moving the discussion to irrelevant points. Here you continue the thread of ignorant statements.
      You take your own provincial experiences and project them on to everyone.
      *You* received an Orthodox education, but most Israeli Jews do not.

      Reply to Comment
    9. I’m sorry Richard NYC mentioned it first, but it’s on record elsewhere that I was already in grave disagreement with Yossi’s suggestion moments after it was published. Yossi, the notion that a religious Jewish education causes people to become mass murderers is far beyond any realm of fact or even conjecture. As a student of comparative religion, I can safely assure you that many if not most world religions hold an element of being “chosen” or “selected” by god as well as elements of destroying enemies. Further, the fact is that 99.9% of Jews, including religious ones – just like most people – are not mass murderers. It’s a hollow and incendiary statement that sounds more like a mean-spirited smear than the thoroughly grounded stuff you usually write – even if I disagree with some of it! For that reason, i have a hard time seeing how it’s constructive.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Yossi, You can hate being Jewish and so be it for you. But to attempt to take the dark side of being religious as the mainstream is childish and reeks of tremendous dissatisfaction of life. Surely, there is something positive you can find in all of your education that lends itself to a “unity experience” I am sure the many people you share with here take your word for it because they lack the experience of an education you so despise.

      Reply to Comment
    11. anon

      Given that you’re writing in English, it would be helpful if you could provide at least a couple of translations the Hebrew comments that you link to.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Yossi, the notion that a religious Jewish education causes people to become mass murderers is far beyond any realm of fact or even conjecture

      I fully agree. That, however, is not what I’ve said. I’ve said this make it *easier to identify* with mass murderers.

      Further, the fact is that 99.9% of Jews, including religious ones – just like most people – are not mass murderers

      And, again, I never claimed otherwise. But religious murderers often have surprising public support. Baruch Goldstein is a cult figure to many Israelis. So is Yigal Amir. As you know better than I do, the more religious you are in Israel, the more likely you are to be on the extreme right.

      Furthermore, while each religion considers itself to be God’s final word, few religious sects have bothered to raise so many barriers between them and others. The first such barrier is the laws of kashrut; Jews simply can’t eat the food of others or drink their wine. Another is the prohibition, inherent to Orthodox Judaism, of marrying outside the sect. This prohibition is very strong in Israel today, and legally a Jew and a gentile are prohibited from marrying in Israel.

      I think this point is constructive because it will force people to re-think the way people are educated here. The schools are becoming more and more Jewish, which means more and more nationalistic and, to a degree, racist.

      Reply to Comment
    13. I wonder if all those analyzing Yossi’s upbringing bothered reading the comments he discussed.

      Reply to Comment
    14. You take your own provincial experiences and project them on to everyone.
      *You* received an Orthodox education, but most Israeli Jews do not.

      Most Israeli educators will take affront at what you say. There are no secular schools in Israel. The “malkhuti” schools are religious-lite. The thing they mostly teach, year after year, is the mythology of the Jewish holidays. Which, around Purim, is downright deadly.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Yossi, You can hate being Jewish

      Umm, Steve, what makes you think I’m a Jew?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Yossi, you’ve already proven yourself to be an awful debater on the issue of Maimonides, moving the discussion to irrelevant points

      Who said they were irrelevant? I thought the debate went swimmingly when the other side took the position of “it’s an old and embarrassing law, let’s not discuss it.” My point was twofold: To hit the idol of Maimonides, and to note that while an attack on a server is a technical possibility, the idea that you could brainwash people that way is idiotic beyond measure. I think I made them both.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Amir-Ras

      Yossi, you are really doing yourself a disservice with your rhetoric focus on racism in ‘Orthodox Judaism’. The jewish delusion of choseness has been a mainstay of all varieties of jewish thinking for a long time now.

      Which sect of Judaism doesn’t consider jews to be the chosen people? Even Karaite judaism considers jews to be the chosen people.

      Even though all modern varieties of judaism, even secular and reform ones, are largely derived from talmudic orthodox judaism it is still “unfair” to single out orthodox judaism as the “racist variety of judaism” all varieties of judaism are racist.

      It is my opinion that Orthodox racism is at least excusable by virtue of its commitment to traditionalism; Reform\Secular\Conservative jewish racism is actually much worse because they pretty much cherry pick from the scripture and tradition, yet all varieties chose to preserve the ‘choseness’ (while they could’ve just as easily have purged them).

      Reform judaism is in many ways a nativist racist ideology almost completly removed from all traditional and ritual aspects of (orthodox) judaism.

      Reply to Comment
    18. ami

      1- “educational terrorist attacks” ??? Only a sick mind can forge such a definition.
      2- “Israeli commentators support his ideology”: where in Israel live a supporter of a Nazi/arian criminal ?? The first thing that came into my mind, when I watched the picts of his hunt, was the stories of whole families (Judean and Gentiles) hunted and slaughtered by the SS and their collaborators (maybe Breivik father ???)

      Reply to Comment
    19. RichardNYC

      @Kat
      There are many ways to criticize Judaism or Jewish people without comparing them to Nazis. The straw man argument you’re deploying here has become quite tiring. Many many people criticize both Israel and Jewish fundamentalism without employing the revolting language that Yossi does.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Amir-Ras

      Dahlia: while many religions (especially abrahamic ones) have an element of ‘choseness’ to them (usually boils down to “it’s us against the heathens”) most religions other than judaism cannot be classified as racist simply because there is no ‘hard coded’ ethnic qualifier for the degree of choseness.

      I’m not saying that the islamic conception of ‘infidel’ is infinitenly superior to the jewish conception of ‘gentile’ but it’s quite obvious that one is racist (“ethnicist”) while the other isn’t.

      Reply to Comment
    21. There are many ways to criticize Judaism or Jewish people without comparing them to Nazis.

      But I didn’t, Richard. The only who did was you.

      Reply to Comment
    22. RichardNYC

      “The first such barrier is the laws of kashrut; Jews simply can’t eat the food of others or drink their wine.”
      Yes, I suppose there are “few” religious sects behave likewise, just Islam, which is really only one religion. Nevermind that it is the second-largest in the world. The extent to which Yossi strains fairness for the sake of demonizing Jews should concern other authors on 972.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Yossi Mossel

      From one Yossi to another – I’m wondering why you think that talk backs on news sites are representative of what most Israelis think? By definition the people that write talk backs are more extreme than the mainstream. You also well know that the talk backs are being used by extremists to inflame the public debate in Israel with people being paid to talk back. Writing a critique of Israeli society based on what goes on in the sewer at the bottom of almost any article in ynet is shaky.

      I still think most Israelis, or at least the admittedly biased sample that I interact with, were horrified by the attacks.

      Reply to Comment
    24. RichardNYC

      @Dahlia
      The question is now whether its appropriate for you or any of the other non-antisemitic writers on 972 to remain associated with Yossi’s David Duke-esque rhetoric. Its pretty clear that Yossi would have been treated as a leper not long ago. Now, however, antisemitism is in vogue enough that his opinion is simply “indepedent.”

      Reply to Comment
    25. Yes, I suppose there are “few” religious sects behave likewise, just Islam, which is really only one religion.

      Muslims may not eat meat slaughtered by Christians, but they do eat meat slaughtered by Jews (and, in Jerusalem, have long bought their meat from Jewish butchers). And they have no problem with eating bread made by others, or milk from their cattle. They do not consider food cooked by non-Muslims to be a priori non-halal. Nor do they have an elaborate system disallowing eating milk products and meat, demanding a separation of several hours between each meal. Nice try.

      Reply to Comment
    26. RichardNYC

      @YG
      “But I didn’t, Richard. The only who did was you.”
      Are we reducing ourselves to children who deny common sense and play semantic games now?

      Reply to Comment
    27. sh

      I had an orthodox (diaspora) religious education, Yossi, and if I was told to pray for the destruction of the goyim or made to rule the world, I must have forgotten about it. The parents wouldn’t have a water pistol in the house, never mind a toy gun, tank or tin soldier.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Are we reducing ourselves to children who deny common sense and play semantic games now?

      Don’t look at me. I’m not the child screaming “antisemite! David Duke!”. I’m the responsible adult around here.

      I understand you have issues with the dark side of Jewish Orthodoxy. That’s understandable. Many people have become very much upset when they found the great Maimonides considered the proper punishment for the rape of gentile girls to be an execution – of the rape victim. But take a deep breath, look calmly at your heritage, and then decide how to deal with it in the light of enlightened values.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Robin

      Yossi, maybe you can help me understand something. I’ve asked others. Judaism is a religion, so how do people equate it with a race? Also, WHY do the Jewish people feel they ‘deserve’ a nation of their own? There are people of the Jewish faith around the world, they are not of one nationality/ethnicity…
      Any comments, anyone? (and I am not trying to be fresh or make trouble, I am truly asking)

      Reply to Comment
    30. G. from Antwerp

      Strange that people are shouting here slogans from Stormfront

      Reply to Comment
    31. G. from Antwerp

      Why do you live in Israel?
      A state that was created so that people could live without being disturbed with slogans as what I can read in this post and the comments?

      Reply to Comment
    32. RichardNYC

      @YG
      “Jews simply can’t eat the food of others or drink their wine”
      Your rebuttal doesn’t draw any meaningful distinction, in the context, since your point was about how Jews express their separation through dietary restrictions (a practice also common to Muslims, Hindus, Jains, etc…). It shouldn’t really matter if Muslims eat food that others have prepared, since Halal creates a similar separation from non-Muslims merely by the restriction on consumption. Your attempt to focus your argument after the fact fails, since the focusing bares no relevance to your overarching allegation.

      Reply to Comment
    33. RichardNYC

      @Robin
      Because Jews share common ancestry and culture. Irish-Americans and Lebanese-Brazilians outnumber the Irish and the Lebanese, respectively. Do Ireland and Lebanon not deserve to exist people each has a diaspora?

      Reply to Comment
    34. @Robin, I fully agree. Judaism is a religious sect. However, its members are forbidden to marry – or have intercourse with – members of other religions, and people who deviate from this are considered anathema.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Because Jews share common ancestry and culture

      No. they don’t. They don’t speak the same language, at least those living outside Israel don’t, they don’t dress the same way, and their cuisine is very different. They have no common culture except religion, and even this is to a minor degree fractured. As for ancestry – yes, everyone can see that Russian Jews and Yemeni Jews have obviously had the same ancestry.

      Jews are a religious sect, albeit a clannish one. Always have been. There never was a Jewish nation, and it still doesn’t exist.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Amir-Ras

      Judaism is not -just- a religious sect.

      This oversimplification is really unnecesary. an honest examaniation of the words ‘judaism’ and ‘jews’ will reveal that Jews\Judaism refers both to a religious sect as well as to an ethnic\cultural group.

      Jews are not the only ones who view ‘non-practicing jews’ as ‘jews’ or of ‘jewish origins’ – this does not refer merely to the religion practiced by one’s ancestors but also to the cultural\ethnic group they assosciated themselves with.

      european jews had a distinct language, culture and religion, they lived in self imposed ghettos, etc. they were a distinct ethnicity for all intents and purposes.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Shoded Yam

      “…Further, the fact is that 99.9% of Jews, including religious ones – just like most people – are not mass murderers.”
      .
      “…The fact that many people could identify with a mass murderer of children spotlights another problem, one rarely mentioned: The de-humanizing effects of Jewish Orthodox education, which most Israeli Jews receive in one form or another.”
      .
      Yes,we’re all very busy clapping ourselves on the back, telling ourselves that we’re “The Light Unto The Nations”. I understand that if you repeat this mantra enough times you’ll eventually learn to ignore the smell of your own feces. And therein lies the rub. The 99.9% forgot to scream bloody murder at the heinous sh*t committed on the part of the other .1%. Note the Catholic reaction to the scourge of pedophilia within the church as opposed to the almost screming silence in the Jewish community when faced with the perversions and degeneracy amongst our own clergy.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Robin

      @RichardNYC…common ancestry and culture is one thing. My ancestry is Irish, Scottish & German, but I am an American. My religion is not a factor. There are people from all over the world who are of the Jewish faith, yet they are not Israelites – they are Polish, Russian, American, etc. @Yossi: So a Hasidic Jew from America can marry a Hasidic Jew from the Ukraine – yet they still would not be an Isrealite. Guess I’ll never understand…

      Reply to Comment
    39. Amir-Ras

      Yossi – There are other minorities that exist ‘in diaspora’, They still exist as ‘coherent minorities’, jews are not unique in this regard and it is not neccesary to strip them from their ‘ethnic heritage’.

      just because there are several varieties of ‘ethnic jews’ in existance it doesn’t mean they’re not related to one another.

      Reply to Comment
    40. RichardNYC

      @YG
      You seem to have a problem with the facts. Jews simply do not take seriously the ideas that you attribute to them in large enough numbers for it to be relevant to the real world. Nor do Christians stone adulterers. Nor do Muslims continue to raid Hispania. If you personally stumbled on a dark corner of Jewish orthodoxy, I’m sorry that happened but it doesn’t really matter out here in the world of journalism and public discourse. I personally have no experience with what you’re talking about. I think its pretty clear to most reasonable people (I’m looking at you Dahlia), that an intelligent person would need to have a large amount of personal spite to spit in the face of generations of murdered Jews the way you have, based on anecdotal experience. A balanced person would weigh the potential benefit of exposing largely irrelevant orthodox misfits against the harm of inciting against Jewish people the way you have (and yes, you do sound just like David Duke), and conclude that what you’ve said really isn’t worth writing.

      Reply to Comment
    41. @Robin, they would be “Israelites”, since that’s the ancient name for what would become Jews, but they would not be *Israeli*. Unless they decide to hop over for a few weeks, waltz to the Ministry of the Interior, show proof they are true-blooded Jews (it’s much more complicated for converts), and prance away with an Israeli ID and citizenship. Which will grant them more privileges than those accorded to a native-born Palestinian.

      And, should they decide to stay here, they’ll get benefits as Olim, which will be better than those accorded even to native-born Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    42. RichardNYC

      @Robin
      its pretty easy to understand. Jews are a nation with a common ancestry, like the Irish. They exist in many countries but also have their own, like the Irish. Its good that you identify with America and now Ireland, and so do American Jews. But this doesn’t mean that Israel is therefore superfluous anymore than your identity means that Ireland is superfluous.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Robin

      @Shoded…I respectfully disagree with “…note the Catholic reaction to the scourge of pedophilia within the church as opposed to the almost scheming silence in the Jewish community…” Speaking ONLY to the Catholic part of that statement – the Catholic reaction for decades was to not only STAY SILENT, but to move the offender to another community with NO consequenses and without informing the new community. The Catholic Diocese in America has been terribly, terribly shameful in their actions (or lack of) in this regard. Not even notifying the authorities is now a criminal offense….

      Reply to Comment
    44. RichardNYC

      @Robin
      Notice that Yossi’s anti-Zionism punishes Jews for being inclusive. If Zionism were restricted to Ashkenazi Jews, Yossi’s argument would fail. Yossi complains that Jews are too ethnocentric and then turns around that they’re not pure enough to deserve a country. It seems pretty clear to me that someone with their wires crossed like that has something against Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Jews simply do not take seriously the ideas that you attribute to them in large enough numbers for it to be relevant to the real world.

      Really? I think the victims of Baruch Goldstein, who as a doctor refused to treat Druze soldiers, would disagree with you. So would victims of the settlers, whose ideology is precisely that of Jewish supremacy.

      Reply to Comment
    46. RichardNYC

      @YG
      Maybe you want to reconsider your argument that a nation inclusive of people who have light and dark skin doesn’t deserve to exist because of its inclusiveness. I could name a few countries that would take issue with that.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Maybe you want to reconsider your argument that a nation inclusive of people who have light and dark skin doesn’t deserve to exist because of its inclusiveness.

      Where precisely did I say that something “doesn’t deserve to exist?”

      I understand you are retreating from your argument that Jews share common ancestry and culture?

      Reply to Comment
    48. RichardNYC

      “Really? I think the victims of Baruch Goldstein, who as a doctor refused to treat Druze soldiers, would disagree with you.”
      The logic of Islamophobia applied to Jews. well done.

      Reply to Comment
    49. @G. from Antwerp:

      Why do you live in Israel?

      Very strange question. Why shouldn’t I? Unlike some great patriots from across the sea, I was actually born and raised here.

      Reply to Comment
    50. RichardNYC

      @YG
      “Where precisely did I say that something “doesn’t deserve to exist?”
      I thought we had a talk about semantics. What you expect your reader to infer = what you mean. That’s how language works.

      Reply to Comment
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