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Dr. Oz dances with Hebron settlers

It takes especially opaque blinders, or immense willpower and ignorance to visit one of the most egregious scenes of military occupation and settler violence without noticing the injustice taking place before your eyes.

Dr. Mehmet Oz with his wife and a Jewish settler in Hebron, July 29, 2013. Behind them are Palestinian homes. (Photo: This World: The Values Network)

Even the world’s most learned minds can walk through life with blinders on.

One of the world’s most well-known physicians, Dr. Mehmet Oz, visited Hebron on Monday.

But the renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and television host did not learn about one of the most shocking and extreme iterations of military occupation and settler domination during his visit. He did not meet with local Palestinians to hear about their hardships under occupation, or even take a tour with an Israeli groups like Breaking the Silence, that try and shine light on the situation there.

No, Dr. Oz went on a tour hosted by the settler community in Hebron.

Yes, the same settler community that brought you this classic tale of coexistence:

The same settler community that maintains a shrine for mass murderer and brother in arms Baruch Goldstein and named a park for [Israeli designated] terror organization leader Meir Kahane.

These are the people with whom Dr. Oz danced with on Monday.

The Turkish-American doctor also stopped to meet Israeli soldiers stationed in Hebron – enforcers of the city’s military regime of segregation.

It’s possible they were the same soldiers who arrested a five-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron earlier this month.

Or the ones who force Palestinians to walk in an unpaved, fenced-off dirt path, in order to keep them off of the “Jews only” street.

Dr. Oz made the trip along with his friend, failed Garden State congressional candidate and kosher sex expert Rabbi Shmueley Boteach.

The pair flew from the U.S. to Israel in order to visit one of the most egregious scenes of military occupation on Sheldon Adelson’s private jet, of course.

In a video message published before alighting the Adelsonmobile, Dr. Oz explained that he’s visiting Israel in order “to understand how the symmetry of our religions dwarfs our differences.”

Did you find that symmetry in Hebron, Dr. Oz?

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    1. The Trespasser

      What is injust exactly?

      Arabs had refused to coexist peacefully and are forced to do so.

      Reply to Comment
      • ulix

        As did, and are, Jews.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Leftist lies.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Shmucky Boteach is the little fraudster who got famous by getting Madonna hooked on Kabbala.

      Dr. Oz is the epitome of the ignorant American who barely even knows where the Middle East is (despite being of Turkish background). These are the types of Americans that Shmucky easily befriends and cons.

      And behind the scenes, in the penthouse level of one of his dens of sin, sits Sheldon, and rubs his hands in glee.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ploni

      Instead of being happy that a person from a Muslim background is finding common ground and enjoying each other and sharing, you despise it and try to focus on the most negative things you can find. Only someone with blind hatred would miss the opportunity to celebrate settlers welcoming a Muslim into their community, dancing with them, and praying with them. Maybe instead of your baseless hatred, you can respect Oz and assume he might know a thing or two about the Ottoman Empire and maybe, just maybe, he recognizes that Jews as well as Muslims have a right to live in the region. BDS FAIL!

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        Whenever someone joins the dark side, it is a moment of mourning.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Yep. The “progressive left” in a nutshell: Coexistance with Jews = dark side.

          Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      I see here the old dream of the period of 1929 (when 70+ Jews in Hevron were butchered and the rest driven out of town) up until 1967 when the Jews returned. It was so wonderful, Arab eyes didn’t have to be offended by the presence of Jews in their town.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sameh

        Yes, a dark spot in the history of the Arabs of Palestine. But to put it in context the Zionist plot to take over Palestine had already started, and that is what incited the Arabs. They were told that the Jews were slaughtering Arabs and seizing lands in Jerusalem, and emotions ran high. It was not just out of “hatred” for Jews. Jews and Arabs in Hebron had coexisted in peace before that date for centuries. And guess who actually took tried to help the Jews back then? Other Arab families. Arabs are no monsters, we are just human beings, we’re susceptible to fall into the same pitfalls all of humanity can fall into. But at least Arabs thought they were being attacked in 1929. Israeli Jews have more than their share of blood on their hands. The massacres committed by actual organized and militant terrorist groups and individuals against Arab Palestinians are countless. 1929 was a riot – it wasn’t planned, Jewish terrorism has always been plotted and targeted.

        Reply to Comment
      • You know that 400+ Jews were rescued and hidden in the homes of their neighbours, who obviously didn’t mind having them under their eyes. The number of the rescued was six times that of the number who were murdered, and many Arab households had to co-operate in the hiding of such a crowd. You know about this, shy do you dismiss it? As for the departure of the survivors, until two weeks ago I also thought that they had all gone in 1929. But then I met a lady in Hebron who was telling me about a family wedding in 1933, and who in passing mentioned the Jewish neighbours who had come. Surprised, I asked if she meant that they had returned to Hebron specially for the wedding. “Some came back from the outside, some were still with us.” I don’t know if she is correct (she may be misremembering – she’s old) as this was the first I had ever heard of continued Jewish residence in Hebron after the 1929 massacre. But other anecdotes that you can hear from elderly Palestinians in that place suggest that the severance between them and their Jewish neighbours wasn’t some gleeful thing that everyone rejoiced over.

        I think you also have to admit that Jewish life in Hebron doesn’t take the form it had in 1929. On the day I met that lady, I was in Hebron to speak with a teacher from the Qurtuba School about the psycho-educational strategies that she uses to help the girls manage their anxiety. They are anxious because they sometimes get harassed and physically attacked on the way to school. In fact, without the international observers the school would have closed by now; its numbers fell by half at one point because parents were afraid to send their students there. I’ve seen the attacks happening, and I want to ask, could you participate in that sort of thing or stand by and watch it? Because it is not an uncommon occurrence in Hebron. While there are plenty of people (including other West Bank settlers) who theoretically support that settlement, they themselves are not going to up sticks and personally decamp there because in their heart of hearts they aren’t terribly comfortable with the recurrent harassment of schoolgirls, or the prospect of seeing someone frolicking around in a Baruch Goldstein costume on Purim. This community has acquired a rather specific reputation for violence and glorifying violence. To support the right of Jewish people to live in Hebron is one thing (I do myself); to support the ‘right’ of this particular group of people to live in the manner that they are doing is another thing entirely.

        Reply to Comment
        • XYZ

          Yes, there were some Jews remaining in Hevron until the mass Arab uprising of 1936. Of course, if it is true that the majority of the Arab population loved and respected the Jews, then it is fair to ask why this remmant felt they had to flee at that time.

          Having a massacre of part of a population and then saying that “well, there were survivors which shows the rest of the attacking population wes wonderful” is, of course, nonsense. Had the Arab population really respected and loved the Jews, they would have DEFENDED them and stopped, with their very bodies, the attackers.
          Remember, the Hevron Jewish population was what today we would call Haredi and not Zionist at all.
          I think this says something.

          Reply to Comment
          • “Well, there were survivors which shows the rest of the attacking population wes wonderful…”

            I don’t think they were wonderful. Nor do I think they were monsters. They were just people. This being so, I think you should try transplanting your criticism of the rescuers to a context that is less emotionally charged for you and see how it sounds. “Had the Hutus who hid Tutsis during the Rwanda genocide really loved and respected their neighbours, they would have DEFENDED them and stopped, with their very bodies, the attackers.” Does it still hold?

            The simple truth is that if you confront a raging murderous mob with your very body, you are likely to be killed yourself (and perhaps your family too), and most people don’t want to die. Can you honestly say, without a shadow of doubt, that if there were just such a massacre of a minority community in your neighbourhood today, you would put yourself in death’s way? Knowing that your own family might suffer, and you wouldn’t be around to help them or care for them? I would like to say that I would take whatever risks necessary to aid persecuted people, but I can’t, because unless I find myself in such a situation (God forbid) there is no way to judge how my fear might affect me or what I might do. Hiding people was brave in itself. I don’t think it’s fair that we ask for martyrdom as a proof of anyone’s love and respect.

            I also don’t think the non-Zionism of the Hebron community matters overmuch in the grand scheme of things; the killings couldn’t have been justified even if they were all Zionist. But their non-Zionism definitely does say one thing about the situation: that it’s dangerous and wrong (wicked, even) to generalise about anyone just because they happen to belong to a particular community. It can have terrible consequences. But in your own comments here you have generalised about Arabs and the people you call ‘progressives’, and any disagreement seems to be interpreted by you as an assertion that the entire Palestinian community is pure perfection. This is not what is being said.

            As for the departure of the surviving Jews, fear of more killing no doubt did contribute, but it was far from the only factor. People who have survived a trauma are often very reluctant to remain in the place where it happened even if that place is 100% safe again, because the memories are very difficult and they prefer a fresh start. Rehabilitation in these circumstances is a complex and tricky thing to do. However, one thing seems simple enough just from visiting the place and feeling its atmosphere hitting you like a ton of bricks: current policy in Hebron does absolutely nothing to heal anybody’s historical wounds. I have a friend, an army officer who has spent a lot of time guarding settlements, and recently she said in the middle of one of our arguments, “I never understood why they want to do it. It must be such a lonely life. You know, ‘We’re here and over there’s the devil’.” I immediately thought of what I’ve seen in Hebron when she said that – the polarisation, the siege mentality, kids growing up thinking it’s normal to have a segregated street and soldiers everywhere. This doesn’t seem to be much of an answer to what happened in 1929 and it is damaging for more than Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • ruba

            shame for dr.Oz

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Of course it is an answer to what happened in 1929 and 1936. What happened is that the Jews were chased out by Arab mobs. Arab raging murderous mobs. I notice that raging murderous mobs tend to be faceless when their identity is politically relevant. It sorta just happened that an Arab raging murderous mob got together and decided to go slaughter the Jews. Freak accident. Like lightning. Just happens.

            So, how can Jews combing back to live in one of the holiest places in Judaism be an answer to them having been chased out by an intolerant Arab raging murderous mob in 1929 and 1936? Well, if the mob wished for there to be no Jews in the town and there are now Jews in the town, that seems to qualify as a response.

            What seems interesting to me is that ‘healing the wounds’ in left-wing progressive parlance is about chasing the Jews out of Hebron again. Now usually this is covered up by talking about the fact that the army protects the Jewish residents of Hebron or that the Jews are isolated from the Arabs. The only problem with this is that the Jewish residents of Hebron would probably be massacred wholesale were the army not there to protect them. This much even people that work for TIPH admit. So, a demand to remove the army isn’t particularly different from a demand to either have the Jews chased out or massacred. Perhaps while this takes place there will be an Arab or two that decides to save a Jew or two. That way in the future when Hebron will once again be Jew-free you can once again argue that Hebron was actually safe for Jews and you are entirely confused and unsure why the Jews had chosen to leave the warm embrace of their Arab neighbors.

            Reply to Comment
          • I certainly didn’t say that it was a freak accident or that it ‘just happened’. I said that when an individual has to decide on a course of action when faced by a violent armed group of people, they’re unlikely to choose something that will almost certainly get them killed. This applies to anyone, irrespective of their own identity or that of the mob.

            Physically existing in a place is necessarily the same as living in it, not in any meaningful sense of the word, and from what I’ve seen of Hebron it doesn’t seem to be the most fantastic life out there. The place is not exactly brimming with happiness and vitality. I can’t consider anything looking like that to be a particularly good response to tragedy, no – especially not when it means inflicting misery and hardship on other people who had nothing to do with 1929. This is done not just through army rule but through the personal aggressive actions undertaken by settlers themselves, often against the more vulnerable members of the Palestinian community (as with the children at Qurtuba). So if a settler came to harm at the hands of a Palestinian in Hebron today, I wouldn’t be at all ‘confused and unsure’ as to the reason why – sad, yes, but hardly surprised. Palestinians have been arrested and even killed for lesser acts of violence than the ones carried out against them by certain residents of the Hebron settlements. This is not simply a resurgence of the pre-1929 community; it has acquired a viciosu reputation all of its own that even some other settlers elsewhere are uneasy with. Do you dispute that it’s deserved?

            I have also never said that the army should just be pulled out overnight. Changing the situation here needs to be a gradual process. But we have had this discussion on another article in the past and I don’t see any point in rehashing it here unless you can try not to mischaracterise my position and attribute things to me that I have not said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            In every meaningful sense of the word physically existing in a place, having families, building houses and raising children is the same as living in it. From what I’ve seen in Hebron they lead meaningful lives and maintain a vibrant community. That you can’t consider this to be a good response to tragedy is frankly irrelevant and only displays a lack of understanding, nothing more. That the way they live is forced upon them by the “sadly understandable and unsurprising” Palestinian desire to massacre them wholesale is certainly sad.

            Likewise I can argue that the Palestinians living in Hebron are not living, but merely existing in that place and “changing the situation” consists of finding ways to remove that population in order to allow the Jewish community to continue with their meaningful lives without the need for army protection. Gradually of course and as part of a process so that I sound reasonable and not in any way calling for ethnic cleansing by way of the “sadly understandable and unsurprising” raging murderous mob .

            Reply to Comment
          • Now you have progressed from paraphrasing what I didn’t say to putting it in direct quotation marks. I try not to put words in your mouth. I’d be grateful if you’d do the same.

            I have never argued that ‘changing the situation’ involves finding ways to remove anyone. Right now I’m pretty interested in learning more about educational models that have had some success in promoting empathy and reconciliation in areas where there has been protracted conflict (Northern Ireland comes to mind) and seeing if anything might be adapted for use here. There are various other tools that might work too. You might disagree with me as to the practicality of such an approach and find it unreasonable, but I mean what I say and it isn’t masking any secret desire on my part for ethnic cleansings.

            As for Palestinian life in Hebron – well, yes, you could fairly say that people’s quality of life is compromised. The prevalence of trauma-related mental health problems attests to that, as does the fact that certain Old City streets have got bars over the top to protect passers-by from the stuff that settlers throw down. It’s hard to make a decent life in those circumstances. Some of the most severely affected children whom I know really do have more of an existence than a full happy life.

            There is a lot that I don’t understand. I remind myself of that pretty often. But I stand by my statement that to be perpetrating this isn’t a great hallmark of quality of life either, however ‘vibrant’ dancing around in Goldstein costumes and celebrating mass murder might look in its way.

            Would you mind saying what your own connection is to Hebron?

            Reply to Comment
    5. TobyR

      “One of the world’s most well-known physicians, Dr. Mehmet Oz,”

      No entries in German, Japanese, Chinese… yeah, I’m thinking my initial reaction of ‘who?’ wasn’t altogether unwarranted.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Laura

      Hopefully, the “I’m in the Holy Land ” experience didn’t blind him for too long. You cannot go to Hebron and fail to see, hear and feel( feeling on an emotional level at the least) what’s it’s like for the thousands of others who must exist at the mercy of those who claim “it all belongs to me!!!!”

      Reply to Comment
    7. Even before reading this article, I saw dr. Oz flaky. I am right now.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mazen El-Khairy

      Shame on you Dr. Oz!

      Reply to Comment
    9. THERESE


      Reply to Comment
    10. Isa Hanna

      Dr. Oz, you were duped by the Israelis and the Rabbi. You are so ignorant about what Israel has done to the Palestinians. SHAME on you.

      Reply to Comment
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