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The Jewish Intifada: The conflict turns upside-down

The newest chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – settler-led physical violence and destruction of both Palestinian and Israeli targets, within and beyond the Green Line – has turned regular conflict patterns of political divisions upside-down. Confusion and irony reign.

Settler-led violence isn’t new: attacks on Palestinian civilians has been a regular feature of life in the “Wild East” for years, just as there have been Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank. But something seems different now.

Attacks on mosques, cemeteries and property of Palestinians has accelerated in recent months. A brazen attack on an IDF camp in the West Bank really ignited emotions this week. If there’s one thing you don’t do in Israel, it’s mess with the beloved, almost-holy institution of the army.

The multi-pronged attacks have erased the border between Israel and the Palestinian territories, between citizens of Israel and non-citizens. The conflict lines are no longer solely ethnic. A few weeks ago, the Price Tag attacks on Peace Now and another Israeli NGO turned this into an internecine war of left against right. The country had barely adjusted to that, when the attack on an army base redrew the lines of the conflict yet again.

The extremists seem to have unleashed a fully elaborated and deliberate strategy. This is not about isolated cells of weirdo-freaks. This is an uprising; it’s a Jewish Intifada.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Don’t misunderstand: The destruction of property, religious desecration, and (god forbid) the loss of life, are horrific, and the long-term damage they wreak knows no bounds. But the tragic fact is that this alone does not make the conflict any worse than it has been for the last four or six decades. I wonder if Palestinians care about the fiery debate raging Israel. They suffer violence as a matter of course, at the hands of Israelis, all the time – what do they care if it’s settlers, soldiers, or private security companies, whether it’s sanctioned by, or violates Israeli civil law, military law, or just the arbitrary nature of the occupation?

But for Israelis, the very juxtaposition of two symbolically incompatible notions – Jewish and Intifada – is a potential paradigm-crack of the moldy self-perpetuating alliances of the past. Suddenly the political forces most viciously opposed to each other in Knesset, especially when it comes to the protection of human rights – sound remarkably similar to one another. Eerily, some have even switched places. Here are some examples:

When the settlers attacked the holy (I’m speaking, of course, of the IDF base), suddenly rabbis, settler leaders, settler-rabbis, news reporters and the rightest of the right-wing MKs found common cause with security-centrists and the ever-self-righteous left in condemning the violence, with the latter is missing no opportunity to say “I told you so.”

Former defense minister Benjamin (Fouad) Ben Eliezer of Labor told reporters Wednesday that the IDF ought to have fired mercilessly on the vandals who broke into the army base. Arch-right-wing MK Arieh Eldad then cautioned against heavy-handedness. In a radio interview, he recalled late prime minister Rabin’s exhortation to “break the bones” of Palestinians during the Intifada, because soldiers took him “too seriously,” and found themselves under legal scrutiny. Who ever says such things, beyond the far left?

Holding these arguments days after Mustafa Tamimi was killed by a tear gas canister fired directly at his head by a soldier during the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh is like a theater of the absurd.

In an Alice-in-Wonderland scenario, now imagine Arieh Eldad using his soothing, newfound moderation to caution against indiscriminate firing on Palestinian demonstrators. I fantasized that the swirling debate over whether to shoot/kill violent Israeli Jews ends in a stunning moment of tragic self-realization that the Israeli norm involves routine violence against mostly non-violent Palestinian demonstrators who are at best guilty mainly of stone-throwing, when soldiers invade their villages.

In a second bizarre example, a settler interviewed on the radio today complained that the authorities don’t give permission or permits to build their neighborhoods. Then, he said, the Israeli authorities have the nerve to accuse them of illegal expansion. “If they don’t let us build,” he said, “we are forced to build illegally.”

So the most extreme elements of Israeli society now find themselves in precisely the same situation as the most marginalized elements of Israeli society – Palestinian citizens of Israel, Bedouin, East Jerusalem Palestinians whose lands and cities are overcrowded, who build without permits for lack of any other options, and face the constant threat of court orders, bulldozers, and eviction. Now their greatest advocates will be the settlers, who are magically making precisely the same arguments. Their human rights advocates can copy-paste that settler interview, and maybe the settlers will hear it. That should throw them for a loop.

A third instance of irony was when the head of a news-transcription service told Israeli radio about an analysis of 200 conversations among extremists who comment on right-wing news outlets on Thursday. He was struck by the fact that even those who criticized the violence did so for strategic, not for moral reasons.

At that point, the interviewer, Ayala Hasson – also a veteran reporter for the state-run television Channel 1 – went out of her way to emphasize that merely 200 conversations should in no way be seen to represent all the settlers (I suppose she takes for granted that they represent simply no one in “normative” Israeli society).

I never heard anyone say such a thing about Palestinians. But how deep does self-deception have to run to avoid the obvious comparison? Maybe the point will slowly sink in, with the state mouthpiece making it.

The irony is that the Jewish Intifada has thrust the issue of how Israel treats and thinks about the people it doesn’t like into the forefront of our consciousness.

Just when human rights seemed to be hanging by a thread, the settlers have bitten the political hands who feed them. But in making themselves into enemies, just like Israelis view Palestinians, the settlers’ defenders are forced to both condemn their actions and defend their human rights. That will make it ever-harder to justify violation of those rights for Palestinians without acknowledging blatant, savage inequalities (with due respect to Jonathan Kozol) in the application of justice.

But there are of course grave dangers to this Jewish uprising, and it’s not quite an Intifada. That word refers to the occupied Palestinian people fighting against unrepresentative rule. The settlers are fighting Palestinians, but now they fight their own elected representatives in territory controlled de facto by their own people. That dissolves any moral aspect of the ‘uprising.’

There’s another difference: At present the level of violence is different from both Intifadas. The first Palestinian Intifada was intended as a non-violent protest of strikes and demonstrations, although there is nothing non-violent about the stone-throwing that became common. From the start, the extremist settler uprising is founded on violence – against property, sacred sites, and verbally, against lives. Thankfully, the current violence has yet not reached the level of either Palestinian suicide bombing or overwhelming Israeli military force that characterized the second Intifada.

But with the easy access of settlers to arms – either regular or improvised weapons – the settlers also stand to challenge the Israeli state’s monopoly on the use of force altogether, while the Palestinian Intifada only consolidated Israeli state force.

The prospect of Israel losing internal cohesion is truly frightening, and not because I hold the state’s policies in high regard. Rather, with the integrity of Israeli democracy already breached, a profound threat to state legitimacy could result in ever-more coercive attempts to hold the state together for the sake of itself: raison d’état. And who knows what will be sacrificed for that cause.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Jalal

      wow, good job comparing the act of burning down mosques, burning olive trees and brutalizing helpless villagers to an Intifada. Good job comparing extremist terrorism to the Palestinian uprising against injustice and occupation.
      I salute that ignorant comparison of two situation which do not have a single similarity.
      Unlike the Palestinians, Jewish settlers have been spoiled by their government in every mean. Settlers are living as if they’re in heaven in those settlements with free and easy flow of weapons coming in, defense lines stretching hundreds of meters into Palestinian land, and almost free governmental services. This is what happens when you spoil a child a lot, he becomes crazy and demands more. Its shameful to see the term “Intifada” used to describe such horrendous actions.
      Plus, when Palestinians rose 24 years ago, it was the whole Palestinian population rising against the occupation, not a bunch of crazy kids torching down mosques.
      And don’t ask me to “read the whole article” to read the part where you say “But there are of course grave dangers to this Jewish uprising, and it’s not quite an Intifada.” because I did read it, and it doesn’t matter anymore.
      I don’t have anything else to say on this, thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Lauren

      I really am enjoying watching the settlers….. Israel turns a blind eye to the violence against non-Jews and also protects them even if they are assaulting a non-jew right in front of them.
      So after allowing a violent and hateful mob free reign to hate and kill non-Jews, the chicken is coming home to roost. All I can do is laugh….. well deserved for Israel who supports all this hate.
      The day the world will end is the day these insane, inbred settlers attack the government and take control of the nukes.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Mitchell Cohen

      I would like to go on the record for condemning these “price tag” attacks. No excuses! Lest anyone think I am putting on a show for 972, I also condemned them on the “dreaded” Israel Forum that has been described as a “fascist” forum.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rachel

      I’m confused as to why you’ve decided to call the settlers’ actions an intifada; who exactly are they trying to throw off? They don’t want to get rid of the Israeli government’s authority over their region but rather to force that government into adopting their own positions by violent means. The protests in Syria and Yemen are regularly referred to as intifadas in the Arab press because the people involved are trying to shake off the illegitimate regimes ruling over them – this is what the term implies. If you wanted to find a “Jewish intifada” it would probably be the Maccabean Revolt, nothing the settlers are doing fits that description at all (and to my mind, the application of the word to their situation sounds both ignorant and insulting to those involving themselves in a real intifada.)

      Reply to Comment
    5. Rachel, I assume you realize that the settlers are against the current government because they believe it is holding back their plans to rule the entire region, and for the noise it makes about taking down a hilltop or two – which they believe is shameful capitulation to global forces. Settlers believe Bibi is too left – to miss this point sounds a bit ignorant too, actually. For the record, i wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are those who indeed compare themselves to Maccabees, it’s just the kind of ancient grandiosity extremists with religious fervor love to claim. But at present, they are against the gov, but also against the Supreme Court, against the army, against Israeli civilians – in other words, the state itself is becoming their enemy. They are rising up to throw off state authority and take control for themselves. It is coordinated, strategized and planned and that is primarily the sense that I meant it. I tried to clarify that this is was not an intifada in the local, contextual sense of a liberation struggle from occupation, and that this takes away the settlers’ moral legitimacy (by obvious implication – the struggle against genuine occupation is legitimate, although i personally repudiate violence of all sides). But you and Jalal don’t accept that distinction – which is your prerogative.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ad-Dajjal

      Correction: the settlers are not controlled or governed by their elected officials, in fact most Palestinians (the A territory Palestinians are the vast majority) are and all settlers are not.

      The ruling body in the West Bank is the IDF, through the Minhal Ezrachi – which is bound by military rules and Ottoman laws. Israeli laws apply to individuals, but not to the land. It is true that settlers are not tried by military tribunals, but so is the case for Palestinians who get arrested over any offense besides terrorism. The only elected official relevant to Jews in the West Bank is the Minister of Defense.

      Also, do note that the when a present Army is not welcome by both rival populations, it’s legitimacy becomes nil. The Army needs the settlers, much more than they need it to enforce whichever policies Tel Aviv’s Kirya has in mind.

      Morality is not an issue here, reality is. And you miss it by a mile.

      Reply to Comment
    7. ya3cov

      Dahlia, the settlers are really not against the regime. Their roots are in the regime and the regime’s roots are in their ideology.

      They do not wish to overthrow the state, they merely wish to continue to realize their Zionist dream just as the early colonizers did.

      Therefore, they are NOT “rising up to throw off state authority and take control for themselves”, they are demanding that the state recognize them as Zionist pioneers, as well as demanding that the state not cease its support at this time.

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    8. Ya3cov, Sure, the basic settler ideology is a direct outgrowth of state policy – both ideology and material support. But this article is about what looks to me like a turning point in extremist violent settler activity – maybe you’re referring to other kinds of settlers. The extremist aspect is that these settlers not only reject state authority (such as supreme court decisions) they actively, violently attack it. To me that says that they are beyond caring whether the state ‘recognizes’ them and they demand far more than ongoing support – the attack expresses a desire to destroy or replace state institutions. The sickening attacks on mosques, death threats against Jewish Israelis, torching of an Israeli NGO implies total disregard and subversion of the israeli rule of law – which is the state. I believe these perps desire to replace the current state with a theocratic, messianic one of total control over all the region, with second-class minorities whom they eventually drive out. Their actions in recent weeks/months speak louder than your words.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Amir.BK

      Wow Dahlia just Wow. How dare you compare Settler violence to Our Beautiful Intifadah. Don’t you know the Beautiful Intifadah was divinely sanctioned? settlers raising abandoned mosques is in no way justified as opposed to murdering innocents in Tel-Aviv which is Fard and Beautiful.

      Reply to Comment
    10. AYLA

      @Amir–your post just made me cry (truly) with gratitude. The smallest most human willingness to empathize–to realize that empathy does not take away from the injustices that need to be acknowledged, repented for, rectified–is our only hope. I live in a bubble of Jews and Palestinians working together. Many of my friends who are Palestinian came through the Arava Institute: Jews and/or Israelis, Palestinians and/or Israelis, and Jordanians working on environmental issues together (water knows no borders… the environmental crisis is bigger than all of us…). And even here in my little bubble, there is such rare willingness on the part of Palestinians to let in anything that doesn’t make them Right/TheOnlyVictims. If anything, it seems that the fact that they are in Israel earning masters and PhD degrees and with true friends who are Israeli makes them feel more of a responsibility not to ‘normalize’ in attitude. That these are my friends, and that this is such a bubble of cooperation, and that even in this world empathy is seen as weakness makes me feel hopeless at times. Thank you for giving me hope.

      Reply to Comment
    11. directrob

      Today in Haaretz there is a gem of an article. I guess the fact that the IDF soldiers have totally the wrong orders creates much of the problem. Settlers are almost untouchable.
      .
      “Our purpose there is to protect the Jews, but they generate many of the problems. It’s very confusing…”
      .
      “…when a Jewish boy throws stones at a Palestinian. Are we allowed to detain him or not?”
      .
      “These guys [the settlers] are out of control. I guard them, I’m responsible for protecting them and I know one day they’ll sabotage my car….”
      .
      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-soldiers-problem-in-west-bank-isn-t-palestinains-it-s-jews-1.401683

      Reply to Comment
    12. AYLA

      Dahlia–thanks for helping us navigate/synthesize all this; there is so much substance here in one piece, and it hinges on this idea: “But for Israelis, the very juxtaposition of two symbolically incompatible notions – Jewish and Intifada – is a potential paradigm-crack of the moldy self-perpetuating alliances of the past.” It’s clear from what you wrote before this that you’re using the term ‘intifada’ as it resonates with Israelis, as this is what your piece is about, plus you too plenty of care to unpack the differences. To me, the use of the term when addressing Israelis serves only to further expose Israeli hypocrisy. In any case, I pray that the undeniably widening crack leads not to Israel twisting herself further to justify what is unjustifiable, and, rather, leads to deepening cracks that force us to reconstruct our mirror.

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      a Jordanian friend had Jalal’s reaction when he read my re-post on facebook. You know, I disengaged from the word “zionist” after I grew to understand how hateful it was to Palestinians. I decided that it doesn’t even matter if their association is fair or not, and it’s not worth my energy to try to explain what my peace-working, kibbutznik friend means when she uses the term; I decided just to let the word go, and hope everyone else would as well. Regarding “intifada”, I would love to see a world in which Palestinians could imagine how this word sounds to those–many who were born here and have only one passport, and many who fight actively for Palestinian rights–felt fearing suicide bombers every minute of every day, or actually losing friends and loved ones to suicide bombings. I would love to live in a world where Palestinians could both covet the intentions behind the intifada, and the justice behind that intention, and ALSO understand how the word resonates with Israelis, understandably. And then, at the same time, it occurs to me only today, only having listened to Jalal and also to my friend, that maybe we, too, should be very careful when we use the word. Language hits so many deep places for so many people, and when we get triggered by language, we’re no longer able to hear what the other person really means. I’m pretty sure Dahlia’s just talking about how the fact that these particular settlers are not throwing stones at the army turns everything around. Maybe without the word “intifada”, we could have this conversation across ethnic lines. At the same time, Palestinians can’t expect Israelis to hear “intifada” without a chill any more than Israelis can expect Palestinians to hear “Zionism” without one, and if that sounds to Palestinians like a ridiculous comparison, you don’t understand how so many Jews relate to the word in its original intention.

      Reply to Comment
    14. AYLA

      “now” throwing stones (not “not”)

      Reply to Comment
    15. Ed Frias

      Here’s a great article.
      An excerpt.

      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/150789

      In the Hamavaser article Zalmanovitz notes that even though some 130 soldiers and policemen have been injured by protesters in Bil’in by Arabs, anarchists and leftist Israelis over the years, the violent demonstrations there have not raised the ire of security officials or drawn charges of “terrorism” from ministers, the way the Ephraim Brigade incident has.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Matthew

      I know people are upset about the fact that this author is appropriating the term “intifida” but it’s been appropriated multiple times. It just means “uprising.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intifada

      They’re a fringe group. They’re defying authority figures, often using violence. That’s an intifada.

      Reply to Comment
    17. The religious Zionist settlers are, indeed, trying to “throw off” the state. Where once they believed the state as created by human (and secular) hands could be accounted for as part of God’s plan, they now see the state has veered off that predestined plan. The most radicalized among them, especially the hardal, do not see the state as a legitimate actor. They utilize it as an instrument, but it no longer represented the type of authority they believe should govern in the Land of Israel. All state institutions that the religious Zionist used to give loyalty to, or at least tolerate–the judiciary, the government, the military–are now questioned as to their validity and appropriateness.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Brent, yes. However, like Ayala Hasson, I will say ‘not all of them.’ Perhaps the majority of the religious settlers at present still believe in a normative, law-comes-first approach to the state – at least on the official, rhetorical level. But i fear this is becoming a shallow claim, when just below the surface rumblings of a more widespread nature are apparently opening up space, or even fueling, radicalization of some. That leads to violence coming from the most marginal. The question becomes – will it become widespread or will the the minority perpetrate an extreme event that changes things substantively (eg, Rabin). Or perhaps both scenarios are too pessimistic and the combined force of the strange bedfellows i describe in the article will get control over them. Of course, that still won’t end the occupation…

      Reply to Comment
    19. AMIR.BK

      Brent: There is nothing new about this view, The secular Zionist state was always viewed as but a temporary Means to an End by the Messianic Zionist stream. This has been articulated by Avraham Isaac Kook, early last century when he defined the Secular Zionist movement as “The Messiah’s Donkey”.

      Wikipedia has a nice summary of this topic:”In Israel, the phrase “the Messia’s Donkey” can also refer to the controversial political-religious doctrine ascribed to the teachings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook which claims that secular Jews, which represent the material world, are an instrument in the hands of God whose purpose it was to establish the State of Israel and begin the process of redemption, but upon its establishment they would be required to step aside and allow the Religious-Haredi public to govern the state. According to this analogy, the secular Jewish public are the “donkey”, while the Religious-Haredi public who would take their place represent a collective quasi-Messianic body”.
      .
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Messiah's_Donkey

      Reply to Comment
    20. Brent Sasley

      Dahlia, you’re right that the majority of religious Zionists have not become radicalized in the way I meant it. But it’s a powerful minority that has, one that’s in control of some of the community’s important institutions (eg, yeshivas). And I think that many of the law-comes-first ones at a minimal sympathize with that minority’s goals. Most of them are not going to speak out against the extremists’ actions. That’s not a proper basis on which to build a secular system. That single extreme act (I assume you meant violence) is increasingly likely the more this situation remains in place. But until the state reasserts its firm control over governance, these conditions will fester and grow. But I’m pessimistic anyway…

      Amir, the religious Zionists’ views about the state are not new. But what is new is the willingness to challenge its authority and legitimacy. For many of them, the state just isn’t serving its purpose anymore, as Kook had envisaged it.

      Reply to Comment
    21. AMIR.BK

      Brent: from the onset it was perceived as an ongoing process. the ‘plan’ was to supercede the state once it has outgrown its usefulness. The secular state was only the donkey, while the halachatic kingdom to come was the ‘messiah’.
      .
      But maybe that’s what you’re saying.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Brent, we are basically in full agreement. 2 points:

      1. the single extreme act – I’d propose to look beyond the obvious. It could be an act of violence, a political act, a symbolic act, planned or semi-spontaneous. One thing I’ve learned about this place is that it will probably come in a form we don’t expect it (if at all – I’ve also learned that being alarmist doesn’t always pay off).

      2.The other major fear I have – which I expressed in the article – is that the state “reasserting its firm control” involves sacrificing the civil and human rights we are already struggling to keep alive.

      To summarize, a Jewish enemy from within can either serve to moderate, or exacerbate the current forces inside israel that use the external enemy as a justification for suppression of democracy and a viable society.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Brent Sasley

      Amir, yes that’s right. I’m not sure Kook and anticipated this would happen so soon, though.

      Dahlia, I guess we are. (Isn’t the point of the comments section to argue, not agree? 😉 ) Okay on the extreme act, though so many symbolic acts have already been done in Israel by now, I think violence is about the only option those who would engage in this act see left. On the second point and summary, I do hope you’re right that this internal enemy can prod society and the state into appropriate action. Israeli society has been extremely passive in the face of this creeping radicalism and fundamentalism over the years. J14 notwithstanding (and that momentum seems dissipated), there doesn’t seem to be widespread, sustained, intense passion among the broader public to make politicians and others aware of the need to do something about it. That’s how the enemy within will moderate the internal conflict AND prevent the state from infringing on rights. Viva reinvigorated political left!

      Reply to Comment
    24. AYLA

      learning a lot from this thread; thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Sean Mullin

      A case of not seeing the forest for the trees. To me this typifies everything that is bad about some Israeli commentary about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It wears its left wing credentials loudly and proudly; it allows those Israelis admittedly embedded in the situation to chin scratch and meditate on the great spectrum of opinions given voice in their liberal, pluralist democracy, but actually; by treating Israelis and Palestinians as two sides of the same coin, it legitimizes occupation; by using semantics and conjecture it muddies the waters of a clear right and wrong situation; by using rhetoric such as “holy institution” in relation to the IDF it emboldens dangerous ideas instead of doing what journalisim should and challenging them. Heres the thing; as a reaction to the injustices visited upon them, the Palestinian’s intifada (1 & 2) were as inevitable as they were tragic and pathetic in the face of the Israeli military machine. The occupation is apartheid; the occupation is racism. Your “holy army” are scared teenage boys and girls with major attitude problems. Go spend a week in Hebron and tell me I’m wrong. the settler movement? Well I read and interesting opinion piece in Jpost a while back which says a lot, it was a settler complaining about discrimination against him by the Israel state; One of his arguments was that he couldn’t get cable TV in his heavily defended colony. If you care about your country, don’t get “thoughtful”, get angry. demand an end to the occupation and encourage your military and security people to treat the settlers the same way they’ve happily treated “arabs” for 63 years. Otherwise you’re just as racist and fascist as the government that represents you.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Moshe

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Intifada (انتفاضة intifāḍah) is an Arabic word which literally means “shaking off”, though it is usually translated into English as “uprising” or “resistance” or “rebellion”.
      Dahlia, even though they are not “shaking off” the current government your translation is still within the commonly accepted uses. Here I would call their behavior Rebellious.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Moshe

      Amir
      The Mosque has been unused for about 70 years. My Father-in-law lives in the house his father built about 100 years ago on the same block as the Mosque and I often take my son to the park next to it. The Mosque is still standing a bit blackened on the exterior due to smoke and fire but hardly destroyed. And the suspects were arrested in Jerusalem. So no Mosque was raised and the settlers weren’t involved. As far as beautiful “divinely sanctioned” intifada… that’s what the “violent settlers” say to justify their actions and its a slippery slope.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Amir.BK

      Moshe,
      Seriously, I was being sarcastic and factitious, I was mocking Jalal’s post. I have a belly-full against the Settlers but I was mocking the view that it is “disgraceful” to compare the Intifada to the settler pogroms. The Settlers are just a part of the Israeli colonialism apparatus, and comparing their little riots to some of the heinous stuff that happened during both intifadas is FINE (even a little offensive to the settlers…?). It is not offensive to Palestinians and if they take offense from it it’s their deal, for us Israelis Intifada means charred buses in Tel-Aviv, dead innocents in Jerusalem. We do not have to treat it like a beautiful thing.
      .
      “Wow, Just Wow” 😉

      Reply to Comment
    29. Moshe, I do not condone attacks on mosques or any religious site, in use or not, razed to the ground, or just scratched.

      Reply to Comment
    30. AYLA

      @Dahlia–you mean you *condemn*, right?

      Reply to Comment
    31. Ayla, thanks – I meant condone 🙂 it’s corrected now.

      Reply to Comment
    32. AYLA

      been there. got your back :).

      Reply to Comment
    33. If Rachel is still on this thread, just an interesting update – an op ed by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat today makes precisely the comparison to Maccabbees that you raised. As I predicted, he agrees that this is how the religious extremists view themselves: “You consider yourselves the new Hasmoneans, the Maccabees who do not bow their heads before the Hellenizing priestly establishment, which today, you believe, wears the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces…you are convinced that all your deeds are for the sake of heaven…” http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-hanukkah-letter-to-the-hilltop-youth-1.402209

      Reply to Comment
    34. Mitchell Cohen

      Dahlia, thanks for posting the link to the op ed by Rabbi Riskin. There are a heck of a lot more of us who can be described by the “dirty S word” who agree with him, then not, yet ALL of us (including the esteemed Rabbi Riskin) will continue to be judged by many based on our address, rather than our deeds, which is a pity….

      Reply to Comment
    35. AYLA

      I’m pretty embarrassed to admit this, but when I was moved by your post, Amir, I thought you were Palestinian-Israeli. I usually hear names here; I’m not nearly as familiar with them as they’re written (especially since all English spellings are transliterated. Mine, for example, is actually aleph lamed hei, or as Israelis write: Ela). Anyway, I generally appreciate your posts very much. But I would not have been *moved* by that one had I realized. Embarrassing.
      *
      Great post from Rabbi Riskin. Really wish we had those fb red indicators to keep this dialogue going; it’s a a good one, thanks to the rich analysis in the primary post.

      Reply to Comment
    36. AMIR.BK

      Ayla- I’ve been pretty honest about my identity here so far, I did not mean to make any misleading posts. Not do I expect my posts to be moving :).
      .
      Apologies for the embarrasment my name might have caused.

      Reply to Comment
    37. AYLA

      my mistake, Amir. No fault in your name. Thanks.

      Reply to Comment
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