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'Our' murderers - what would Arendt and Buber say?

There is soul-searching and there is the self-gratifying appearance of soul-searching. The deception of the latter lies within the words: ‘Tear out these wild weeds from among us.’

Confession: I held out hope, to the last minute, that the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir would not be “mine” – Israeli, Jewish.

The hope that they would belong to some other group, even, god help me, Mohammed’s own people, is primitive. I must acknowledge, helplessly, that at this moment, I felt a greater sense of identification with the presumed killers due to tribal and arbitrary designation of birth: Jewish (assuming none of us are converts by choice). It feels as if their crime reflects on me more than a crime committed by the so-called “other.” As if the “other” is fundamentally different from me.

But I was not surprised. Jews, like every community in the world, contain good and evil people, and hopefully a few really good folks, like Martin Buber. Jews, like every other religious tradition in the world have a culture of goodness, schools of thought that nurture constructive, harmonious values; we also have culture, schools of thought, environments, politics and history too, that nurture violence, devalue human life, twist the straight tree of morality into the crooked timbre of humanity.

——-

On the morning after the news that six Jews have been arrested as the main suspects, descriptions are flying around. The Israeli authorities called them “Jewish extremists”; followed by immediate insistence that they are terrorists, including from security figures such as the Israeli defense minister.

Those distinctions give political insight and have legal consequences. “Jewish extremists” shows that Jewish Israelis have no trouble distinguishing regular people from fanatics when they’re our own. We don’t describe a Palestinian who kills a Jew as “Palestinian extremist.” For most Israelis “Palestinian” is sufficiently synonymous with extremism. Indeed, many Israelis hardly notice Palestinians except to point out acts of violence.

The terrorist label is important because it means the authorities can use extraordinary legal measures rather than due process. But “extraordinary” is misleading: those actions are daily fare for the many Palestinians unlucky enough to go through the military court system. There is much talk of destroying the Jewish families’ homes – from outraged rabbis to the mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. That’s precisely because it’s not “extraordinary”: home demolitions and other facets of non-democratic military rule have become the norm for occupier and occupied alike.

——–

The other common response is to call the killers names that place them outside the Israeli, Jewish or human community. Noting attempts to make them into “wild weeds,” or “vermin,” Haaretz’s editorial warns, “But the vermin is huge and many legged.” Dror Ider, writing in Israel Hayom called them the “impure margins” of society and Labor MK Eitan Cabel was quoted by Haaretz from his Facebook page: “They are not Jews – animals are not part of any religion.” This made brief waves on the Internet and the status was apparently edited, because it now reads:

[the killers] are not Jews. They are probably Jews in their own eyes, on their ID cards and even according to Halacha [Jewish law – ds]; but monsters do not belong to any religion – certainly not to Judaism.

The updated status is not much different: Monsters, animals, vermin, impure.

These responses are natural. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, so many tried to say of Yigal Amir, “he’s not one of us.”

They mask a deep denial: that the Jewish people contain not only good and bad individuals, but also culture that can nurture hatred, vengeance, violence, if we so choose.

There is soul-searching and there is the self-gratifying appearance of soul-searching. The deception of the latter lies within the words: “uproot them!” “Tear out these wild weeds from among us.”

Jews must look at the incubators of violence in our communities, not just within individuals: the sports fans chanting “death to Arabs,” the extremist interpretations of religious sources, the pulsa denuras, the macho aggression of everyday life, the banal militarism of our rule over Palestinians.

These states of mind have generous physical manifestations, but the violence is so common as to be invisible; many Israelis do not even identify it as violence. Even when nearly 7,000 Palestinians  have died since 2000 (over 1,600 of them children and women – and 1,230 Jews, 99 of them women or children); we cannot see that we perpetrate violence.

Seen in this light, the obsession with Palestinian incitement is little more than a psychological escape hatch from our own incitement, dressed up differently, with its regular crop of death.

——-

I am left thinking of Hannah Arendt, excoriated for observing the all-too-average nature of a mass murderer. Maybe the murderers of Naftali, Eyal, Gilad and Mohammed are no less awful and calculating, only their options were more limited.

For Arendt, Auschwitz was an “unprecedented crime.” But paradoxically, she means that it was unprecedented not in terms of tribal uniqueness – a crime against Jews – but because it was a crime against all of humanity. Eichmann too emerged from all of humanity. This is why she gently critiques Martin Buber for saying that he could not feel that “common humanity” with Nazis or Eichmann.

It was disappointing to find him dodging, on the highest possible level, the very problem Eichmann and his deeds had posed.

But since the world is not yet one true global human community, let’s start with our own. Jews and Israelis must not dodge, at the highest and deepest levels, the problem that the Jewish Israeli murderers of a 17-year-old Palestinian old pose for us.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Erica

      1. I think you missed the point of the Haaretz editorial.

      2. if a Palestinian kills a Jew, it’s not considered a crime, rather it’s an act of terrorism; although if a Jew (such as those who killed Mohammed) kills a Palestinian, the former is an “extremist,” whereas if a Jew (such as Yigal Amir) kills another Jew, he’s psychotic (or, again, an “extremist” – certainly not a Jew, b/c Jews don’t do things like that) – pashut — THAT’s the illness of the society/culture (read: ingrained racism/xenophobia)

      Reply to Comment
      • Johanan

        I disagree. the difference is that still a majority of Israelis are disgusted by such acts. Ever been to Ramallah and seen all the posters of the martyrs?

        Reply to Comment
    2. IlonJ

      “THAT’s the illness of the society/culture”

      The illness of our society/culture is that if one of us or a few of us do something evil, then we are the first to pound our collective chests, foam at the mouth, stand on top of the hill and yell to all who hear is that “we are ALL evil”

      Reply to Comment
    3. IlonJ

      … and then we act all surprised when some non Jews get on the bandwagon and also say: “all Jews are bad” or “All Israelis are bad”. And we call them antisemites.

      That’s how stupid we are. Goodby to this magazine. I had my gutful of it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        You are being a bit harsh on us Ilon. Only some of us suffer from that illness. This magazine and it’s faithful fan-base for instance. They have infinite capacity to forgive others for evil and zero understanding for us.

        That’s why on one thing we agree. I too have had enough of posting here. I too am outa’ here.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kibbutznik

          ” I too have had enough of posting here. I too am outa’ here. ”

          Good.

          Bye bye Tzutzik ,
          don’t let the
          screen door hit you on your way out.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I can’t leave before I give you one last message “Kibutznik”:

            Get fucked.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            One more please,pretty please.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Oh no, not Shachalnur the demented conspiracy theorist again. Ok, just for you and “Kibutznik” …

            Rabin was a man. As a man, he made mistakes, nevertheless he was a great man. Above all, he was a Zionist. He dedicated his life to Israel, he fought and died for Israel. That is why people like me love him. Because of his humanity and for his Zionism.

            As for you, “Kibutznik”, you hate Zionism and Zionists. That’s why you couldn’t possibly even like Rabin. To you, Rabin is just a convenient tool to hit your ideological opponents (people like me) over the head with. But in truth, you are not even worthy of polishing Rabin’s shoes, let alone abusing his memory.

            As for you Shachalnur, you are just a pitiful idiot. You want more? I have no more. I just feel sorry for you.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Thank you for your wise words,Tzutzik.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kibbutznik

            Still here !!!

            ” I can’t leave before I give you one last message “Kibutznik”:

            Get fucked. ”

            Okay dokay .
            I cant leave you without one last link :
            http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.603667

            Enjoy .

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            No comments about Rabin, Kibutznik? What a surprise. You people hate it when someone rubs your noses in facts.

            Yes. I am still here because I will be damned if I let idiots like you to utter the last word and gloat. So if you want me to leave this particular blog, either shut your face or convince Dahlia to ban me. I am sure you have enough influence with her to ban me and let you have the last word.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Oh and “Kibbutzkik”, you want “regime change”? Then read this:

            http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Mass-Jewish-Arab-solidarity-gathering-in-capital-deteriorates-into-invective-362059

            There will be no “regime change” till you convince our voters that the policies of the left make more sense. But you will hard pushed to do so till you stop trying to appease our enemies more than to appease our voters. Because as stupid as we CAN be at times, we most of us are not quite as stupid as you are because you choose to put your collective leftist heads in the sand and refuse to see what the Arabs are trying to do to us.

            Read that article and learn!

            Reply to Comment
    4. Richard

      Boring. Just another failed attempt to find moral equivalency where none exists, polished off with an oblique Jew/Nazi comparison. Rise, repeat, rinse, repeat. Anecdotal evidence + statistics taken out of context + double standards = the same leftist op-ed I’ve read on +972 and Haaretz dozens of times already…

      Reply to Comment
    5. Shmuel

      Me too, I too have had enough of this site.

      I started posting here under the name of Shmuel which I had to change to SAMUEL because one of the pro Palestinians here decided that the name Shmuel is his.

      But now I find that I have been banned altogether because I presume, I dared to point out on Mairav Zonszein’s site that the demand to blow up the houses of Israeli murderers of Arabs would be equivalent to a demand that Arabs should lynch murderers of Jews. Both demands are utterly stupid because in a war, no one treats the enemy the same way that they treat their own. One could argue that blowing up houses is wrong period. I could buy that. But to demand that the houses of Israeli murderers should be blown up just because that’s what Israel does to the houses of Arab terrorists is really over the top. Is there a limit to the stupidity of some of us Jews? Would an American demand that New York and Los Angeles should be nuked because Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked? Of course NOT! Only some of us Jews are that stupid.

      So, I started posting here as Shmuel and now I bow out of here under my own name of Shmuel. Enjoy your hatefest against the self. What a looney bin.

      Reply to Comment
      • Johnboy

        Shmuel: “I dared to point out on Mairav Zonszein’s site that the demand to blow up the houses of Israeli murderers of Arabs would be equivalent to a demand that Arabs should lynch murderers of Jews.”

        Ahem. The former is, of course, a demand that everyone be treated equally before the law.

        The latter is a demand that everyone should be allowed to resort to mob rule.

        You can’t see the difference?

        Here, let me help you: the state of Israel insists that it has a right to demolish the homes of those who are merely suspected of “terrorism”.

        That’s the STATE we are talking about, and so the original poster is perfectly correct to point out that if the STATE has the right to inflict that punishment then it should not apply that punishment on the basis of “race”.

        By way of marked comparison, **you** then insisted that if a Arab mob lynches a Jew (i.e. commits a murder) then a Jewish mob has an equal “right” to lynch Arabs (i.e. to murder them).

        Really?

        You really can’t see the difference between a STATE applying the law equally versus rival MOBS acting lawlessly?

        Man, aren’t you a poster-child for the very point that Dahlia is making….

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          Johnboy:”By way of marked comparison, **you** then insisted that if a Arab mob lynches a Jew (i.e. commits a murder) then a Jewish mob has an equal “right” to lynch Arabs (i.e. to murder them).”

          Typical pro Palestinian distortion. He is putting words in my mouth which I did not utter. This is what I insisted on:

          Shmuel:”I dared to point out on Mairav Zonszein’s site that the demand to blow up the houses of Israeli murderers of Arabs would be equivalent to a demand that Arabs should lynch murderers of Jews. Both demands are utterly stupid because in a war, no one treats the enemy the same way that they treat their own. One could argue that blowing up houses is wrong period. I could buy that. But to demand that the houses of Israeli murderers should be blown up just because that’s what Israel does to the houses of Arab terrorists is really over the top.”

          Yes, Arabs lynch Israelis, as they lynched the poor reservists who accidentally wandered into Ramallah during the first stages of the second Intifadah. The Arabs lynched the two Reservists, right under the noses of the PA police who arrested them. So much for Arab law and order. Nobody on this site wants to remind them that if they want to be treated decently then they too need to behave decently.

          According to the “common wisdom” of this site, only Israel must obey the law and have human decency. Arabs need not follow any rules.

          That is why I too have had enough of this site.

          Reply to Comment
    6. Shmuel

      Here is the stupid comment to which I responded on Mairav’s site:

      “It would help if they also tore down the homes of the 6 Jewish suspects like they did of the two “suspects” in the murder of the 3 yeshiva students.”

      It was posted by Jdledell who claims to be Jewish.

      Apparently my response irritated someone on Mairav’s site because I now find that I can’t post under the name of Samuel.

      Reply to Comment
    7. shachalnur

      “our” murderers?

      The more the situation starts looking like the run-up to WW2,the more confusion rules within Judaism.

      Are all Jews Zionists,should they be,who claim it to be so,is Israel the sole representative of world Judaism,is AIPAC,ADL, Bnei Brith,Birthright speaking for Jews,do Jews want that?

      Who says 1897 Zionists outside Israel don’t have a higher master than Israel or Judaism,who gave these Jews their power,did Israel give it to them,world Judaism,their superior brain?

      Under the cover of the murder of the Jewish teens(who did that anyway?) ,B’nai Brith started doing what 1897 Zionist Jews did before WW2,whipping up hate against Jews in a way that is not only dangerous to Israel but to all Jews.

      Read;
      Robert Fisk:How on earth can Israel tolerate this filth from B’nai Brith Canada” in The Independent(19 june 2014).

      And why do ADL ,AIPAC and B’nai Brith start these kind of disgusting psy-ops now?

      Is it only to create hate towards Jews in the Galut,forcing and scaring them to occupied Palestine,like they did before WW2,or is there something more sinister going on,like I’ve been warning about for 2,5 years?

      Might be usefull to keep a very close eye on Israel’s alleged Jewish friends,with friends like this Israel or Judaism doesn’t need enemies.

      As long as Jews don’t force these crypto Nazi’s to shut their lip,and take distance from these fascist hatemongering Banker-slaves,the world won’t be able to see the difference like what happened in WW2,and they’re right.

      The greatest danger 1897 Zionism poses to the world and Judaism is not Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians,it’s world Jewry and Israel letting themselves be represented by the same group of people that helped Nazi Germany to rid Europe of Jews.

      If Judaism doesn’t start recognizing the enemy within,the Shoah will look like a minor incident compared to what 1897 Zionists in GB and US have planned for Jews this time around.

      Reply to Comment
    8. CigarButNoNice

      “If Judaism doesn’t start recognizing the enemy within,the Shoah will look like a minor incident…”

      Your need to wrap those threats with thicker veils, Shahbal. I mean, even I can see beyond the ones you’re currently using.

      Yeah, I know: you only have the best interests of the Jews in mind. Just like every anti-Zionists who just *happens* to sound like the Hamastards. Just a coincidence, of course. Same goes for the “Zionists are the new Nazis” canard somehow unfathomably shared by +972Mag and the leadership of Islamic Iran.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Why thicker veils,ButNoNice?

        Here it is from the horse’s mouth.

        “Something historic is happening.It may be the beginning of the end of European Jewry.”
        (Nathan Sharansky,today in Times of Israel)

        Same thing 1897 Zionists did before WW2,only this time around it will hit all Jews,stuck in two failed States:Israel and the US.

        The alleged threat to European Jewry this time is a lot less,because there are not enough Jews left to exterminate.

        Anything psy-op to give Jews the feeling they are “safe “in israel and the US.

        The internal fight over Israel will decide if 1897 Zionist AshkeNazi’s will succeed in a repeat of 1940-45.

        I’m most worried about the large amount of Mizrahi and Spharadi Jews stuck in Israel,because converted Khazars can be found everywhere and if not 1897 Zionism will convert fasttrack any amount of blond blue-eyed racists they see fit.

        Jews from Arab contries and North-Africa are sitting duck in Israel,after being treated like garbage for 64 years by their white supremicist Banker Slavemasters.

        Your out-of-control suicidal sect is going for broke,and any Jew stepping aside is a Jew saved,so glorious suicide will be limited to the Exceptionalist Chosen Idiots you have proven to be for the last 116 years

        Have a cigar,twit.

        Reply to Comment
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