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What Israeli leftists can learn from the radical right

Right-wing activists keep suing Israeli police — and winning — for false arrests and other abuses of power. Maybe it’s time the state start paying for its abuses against left-wing activists and Palestinians.

By Yael Marom

Radical right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein arrives at an Israeli police station in the West Bank for questioning, February 25, 2016. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

Radical right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein arrives at an Israeli police station in the West Bank for questioning, February 25, 2016. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli police and prison officials were ordered to pay NIS 30,000 ($8,000) to radical right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein and two of his cohorts from anti-miscegenation hate group Lehava this week. The court-ordered compensation was for an illegal search conducted after they were arrested on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in October 2013. The three filed a civil suit against the state for false arrest, and reached an out-of-court settlement with the state.

This was not the first time radical right-wing activists have hit the State of Israel where it hurts the most — the wallet. Actually, they have turned it into a pretty effective modus operandi. If you have ever wondered why Israeli police let right-wing activists like Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Benzi Gopstein and others, get away with so much — here lies at least part of the explanation.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a radical right-wing activist and seasoned lawyer, manages to sue the State of Israel at almost every opportunity. In 2011, for example, he won NIS 18,000 (just under $5,000) compensation kicked him during the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Three years earlier, in 2008, another court ordered the state to pay him and two other radical right-wing activists NIS 4,500 ($1,200) each for an unjustified detention and interrogation after they celebrated the death of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in 2004.

In January 2013, Ben-Gvir, Marzel, Noam Federman and three other radical right-wing activists won a NIS 62,500 settlement over a false arrest in 2008. Police officers arrested and held the six overnight while they were on their way to the East Jerusalem village of Jabel Mukaber to allegedly try and disperse a gathering at a mourner’s tent for the murderous attack at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in 2008.

Even Likud MK Yehuda Glick successfully sued the state in 2015 for not allowing him to access the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif over the course of several years. The court ordered the state to pay him half a million shekels ($130,000) and another NIS 150,000 ($40,000) in legal costs. Two months earlier, Glick was awarded NIS 7,500 ($2,000) in a civil suit for false arrest. The cash settlements and awards have certainly done their part in funding his continued political activism, but they also sent a clear message. Next time, the state will think long and hard about whether it wants to stand in his way.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While right-wing activists have found effective ways of dealing with over-aggressive policing and political oppression, the Left just writes human rights reports about what’s happening. The Left shouts its slogans about the erosion of democracy while the Right refines its legitimate tools for making clear that regular citizens also hold power, even if their political agenda is not aligned with the current government or regime. While right-wing activists are successfully making the state pay for its injustices, with money that then enables them to keep up their activities, the Left continues to seek out sources of funding for lawyers to provide support for arrestees the police pick up without thinking twice, Israelis and of course way more than that — Palestinians.

Police use arrests for purposes that go way beyond the scope they are intended, sometimes to deter political activists, sometimes to send a threatening message, or as a form of extra-judicial punishment. Mass arrests at political protests are a regular occurrence, as are violations of arrestees rights during police interrogations. Police (and the army in the occupied territories) often do not hesitate to arrest hundreds of activists in order to prevent them from organizing or taking part in protests before they even happen.

There’s the case of Ansar Aasi, who was video-taped being beaten by Israeli soldiers and then detained for almost a week before police even agreed to review his alibi and the video of his beating.

There’s the case of the man from Issawiya in East Jerusalem who Border Police officers shot in the face with a sponge-tipped bullet while he was standing in his own front yard. When he filed a complaint with Internal Affairs, officers attempted to coerce him into incriminating himself for throwing stones.

There was the case of Mayasem Abu Alqian, who police arrested for no reason other than that he was Arab in the middle of Tel Aviv, and then beat him senseless in the city’s central square in front of dozens of bystanders and video cameras.

There was the case of the teenager from Hebron who was arrested and spent a week in prison for allegedly possessing a knife and attempting to stab Israeli soldiers, but who was released when a forensic test proved that he had never even touched the knife.

The list goes on and on.

Perhaps left-wing and Palestinian activists learned a thing or two from Benzi Gopstein and Itamar Ben-Gvir — how to make the establishment pay for false arrests, unnecessary violence, searches, harassment, denial of justice, and violating the rights of arrestees.

As Alma Biblash wrote (Hebrew) after one of the few successful cases where police were ordered to compensate four left-wing Israeli activists NIS 40,000 ($10,500) who were arrested in front of then IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz’s house: very few left-wing activists, Israelis and Palestinians, seek punitive or compensatory damages from police when they abuse their power. That’s a shame, because such an approach could change the rules of the game and allow activists to stop being persecuted and instead make police pay for their failures. Make them actually pay. It won’t end the occupation or political persecution, but it can make the state think long and hard about just how much it is willing to pay for the lawlessness of its own security forces vis-à-vis its citizens.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew. 

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    1. i_like_ike52

      You claim that Lehava, and by extension, Judaism opposes “miscegenation” is a falsehood. The Jews are not a “race” and Judaism does not recognize race as an sort of category. Anyone can become a Jew and anyone who walks around any city in Israel will see Jews of many colors and flavors. Judaism is an ideological grouping, which some call a “religion”. Anyone who is willing to accept the dictates of Judaism can become a Jew.
      If you are going to insist that Jewish opposition to intermarriage is “miscegenation” even though I showed that is untrue, then you are going to have to say the Muslims also oppose “miscegenation” because it is absolutely forbidden for Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim, in fact I believ that it is in principle a capital crime. Yes, Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women in order to remove fertile elements from the dhimmis, but, as I said, it is a serious crime for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man (that is why, for instance, Omar Sharif, born a Maronite Christian, converted to Islam , so as to marry a famous Muslim singer). Thus, in the name of fairness, you should have mentioned that as well, in addition to your jibe at the Lehava organization which you were trying to imply was uniquely evil for opposing Jews marrying non-Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Ike you are plainly wrong about this. The comparison to Islam is false. Islam welcomes converts and has no tribal obsessions with who one’s genetic parents are. Judaism as entrenched in Israel is begrudging about conversion and intensely interested in one’s biological lineage. In fact it’s all that matters to the Israeli rabbinate. There are a lot of awkward, uncomfortable truths you whitewash. Blithely saying “anyone can become a Jew” covers over many things. In the first place, that one has to be become a Jew to gain equal treatment. That’s your answer to millions of Arabs under Israel’s ethnocratic rule? Then the incredible begrudging unwelcomingness and endless obstacles the Israeli Rabbinate places in front of those who seek to convert. Conversion is a narrow, zealously guarded and relatively trivial loophole in a overwhelmingly tribal, ethnocratic supremacist apparatus–which would be simply what it is if Israel did not also put on such airs about being an American style democracy.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        “Islam welcomes converts”

        Islam is a supremacist religion. By their own admission it is their aim to convert the whole world to Islam and they don’t care whether they do it by voluntary means or by force or coercion. Ben ignores facts which are pointed out to him by people like _Ike who in his above post said:

        “but, as I said, it is a serious crime for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man (that is why, for instance, Omar Sharif, born a Maronite Christian, converted to Islam , so as to marry a famous Muslim singer).”

        Why is Ben ignoring facts? Because Ben’s singular objective here is to demonise Jews and whitewash Arabs and Muslims. Ben is a fanatic.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      As Eva Illouz put it:

      “In Israel the rabbinate has played an increasingly powerful role in transforming nationality into a quasi-racial definition, reserved only for a group that meets clear biological requirements (conversion processes are so difficult and humiliating that they are de facto a politics whose purpose is to dissuade non-Jews from joining the Jewish people, thus reinforcing the biological view that a Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother). It is not by chance that religious people in Israel are spearheading racist views…..

      “Rabbis on the public payroll call for not employing Arabs and for boycotting shops that do so; these rabbis also call on the population not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. They frequently cite the Torah to justify the idea that that Jewish and non-Jewish lives are of unequal value. In fact, the view that Jews and non-Jews are both equally the children of God would be, for many religious Jews, sacrilege, a profanation of Judaism. The Lehava organization, that which battles against interfaith marriages and has set for itself the goal of maintaining the racial purity of Jews has been, as revealed in Haaretz in 2011, indirectly financed by the State of Israel.”
      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.735303?v=036836DE6B2A2A7743800117B75C4315

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      AJew: You too are plainly wrong. Please look up the definition of “miscegenation.” You fail to mount a credible argument here. I never said Islam in the world doesn’t have serious problems. But that’s not the point being addressed here. The distinctions I made are the point. Do try to stay on topic. Oh wait, getting off topic was precisely your aim, wasn’t it? If you even had an aim besides repetitious whining about how much I annoy you. Did you read the article by Illouz in full? It would be wise to do so. Your opinions on Illouz’s extensive and serious argument or my actual brief argument are fair game. Have at it, tiger. My argument against Ike’s assertions stands unchallenged.

      Reply to Comment
    5. AJew

      Again, Ben just pursues his own agenda of “Jew Bashing” and ignores plainly relevant a point made by _Ike about Islamic miscagenation. Here is _Ike’s point again. Maybe this time Ben will respond to it, instead of diverting from it by saying that “Islam welcomes converts” which is clearly an over-simplification of Islam’s supremacist tendencies?

      “but, as I said, it is a serious crime for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man (that is why, for instance, Omar Sharif, born a Maronite Christian, converted to Islam , so as to marry a famous Muslim singer).”

      Reply to Comment
    6. R5

      Another “Just Vision” production. A vision of just zero Jews having a country anywhere on earth. A vision of a handle of foundations financing half a dozen or so NGOs waging a propaganda war against Israel in the western media and against Jewish students on colleges campus. A vision of messaging that is consistent with the Durban strategy in every hit piece, every interview, every slogan, and every BDS lemming brain filled with hatred of the Jew who loves his people and has sovereign rights in his native land.

      Reply to Comment
    7. i_like_ike52

      Islam doesn’t just “welcome converts”, it frequently coerces people to become converts by way of discriminatory rules like the Quranic jizya tax which dhimmis have to pay and which does not apply to Muslims. (Yes, the jizya has been suspended but Islamist movements want to restore it)
      Islam does clam to be ‘non-racial’, although we have heard recently with the creation of the supposed “Islamic Caliphate” that the Caliph has to be a member of Muhammed’s Quraysh tribe, so there certainly is a racial element in Islam. In practice, Islam, particularly Arabs are super race-conscious, generally not marrying outside their clan and referring to blacks whose origins were in Africa as ” ‘abd” which means “slave”.
      Bringing this up is referred to as “changing the subject”, but the virulent denunciations we hear against Israel by “progressives” who, at the same time, are ignoring terrible human rights violations occurring at this moment in many surrounding Arab/Muslim countries and also pretending that the discrimination against non-Muslims which are enshrined in law by Israel’s Arab/Muslims neighbors don’t exist shows an essentially hypocritical attitude by these progressives who falsely accuse Israel of being the greatest abuser of human rights in the world, which is an outright lie.
      A few days ago, there was an article about the recent hajj to Mecca by an American Muslim. She asked fellow Muslims she met there what they prayed for. One from Syria said ” that there should be peace in Syria’, another from Iraq said “that there should be peace in Iraq” and so on to Libya and Yemen. This sort of tells us what the TRUE situation is regarding human rights in the Middle East countries surrounding Israel. This makes any policies the Israeli Chief Rabbinate carries out that don’t meet “progressive” ideals pale in comparison.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Ben

      _Ike: It certainly is changing the subject. You started out here saying that the claim that Lehava, and by extension, Judaism opposes miscegenation is a falsehood. I argued, and Illouz powerfully shows, that that claim is not a falsehood. Your follow up to that outcome is an extended exercise in pure whataboutery–as if defunct medieval jizya taxes or the crazy ideas of Isis psychopaths have anything whatsoever to do with why you must occupy Ariel or why Israel must run a racist supremacist regime. You added to that whataboutery your patented dash of invention: the strawman that “progressives pretend that discrimination against non-Muslims by Israel’s Arab/Muslims neighbors doesn’t exist.” Point me to one +972 author who pretends that. Point me to one commenter here who pretends that. It is non-progressives who pretend that systematic discrimination by Jews against Arabs doesn’t really exist or “it’s not so bad” or it’s somehow the natural order of things; and pretend that a blatant, brutal 50-year occupation does not exist or is not really an occupation. Talk about pretending. Non-progressives (to use your terminology) are world champion pretenders. Hasbara is nothing if not state-sponsored pretending. This Magazine has focused like a laser on human rights for all, Arab and Jewish alike. It does not like administrative detention without trial or torture or other human rights violations for occupying settlers anymore than it likes it for occupied Palestinians. This Magazine does not pretend.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ben

      AJew: “but as I said”

      Neither you nor Ike have said much of anything at all.

      “it is a serious crime for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man”

      This is a problem but it is not anti-miscegenationist. It is not race-based. It is theology-based. Whereas Lehava’s efforts are race-based. With a theological veneer or thread running through it.

      And as Illouz illuminates, this is not a problem that is extraneous to the fundamentals of Judaism as established in Israel. It is intrinsic to that Judaism. Read what Illouz says. Tell me in what way Illouz is wrong about this problem. Be specific.

      Defend the proposition that I am “Jew bashing.” Please be specific. I am prepared to answer any actual point you make. So far you have not made any credible point.

      Defend the proposition–that you imply but do not substantiate–that Ike made any actual credible point about “Islamic miscegenation” or any point at all about the problem of the Jewish anti-miscegenation efforts of Lehava and the Israeli state that tacitly supports them.

      Reply to Comment
    10. AJew

      ” but it is not anti-miscegenationist. It is not race-based. It is theology-based. Whereas Lehava’s efforts are race-based.”

      Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

      According to Ben, if some Jews campaign against intermarriage, THAT’s RACE based rather than religion based.

      But if the Muslims forbid intermarriage of their women to non Muslims, THAT’s just RELIGION based and is ok.

      How does one argue with a one eyed fanatic like Ben? No point. The facts speak for themselves. This was my last post on this subject.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Ben

      “some Jews”

      Nope. Lehava. Lehava is no more “some Jews” than the KKK is “some white people.” Only, last time I checked the KKK was not being indirectly funded by the United States government.

      “THAT’s just RELIGION based and is ok”

      Nope. Not ok. But not race based.

      Your argument fails and I don’t care if you want to make a failed argument your last post or not.

      Reply to Comment
    12. i_like_ike52

      In summary:
      The assertion that the Lehava organization, and by extension, Judaism itself opposes “miscegentaion” is completely wrong because the Jews are not a race and anyone can become a Jew IF they are willing to accept its law system. I presume the term was included in the piece in order to stir an emotional reaction in the reader against Lehava by an accusation that they are “racist”.
      If the writer insists on using the term incorrectly by extending it to the Jewish prohibition on intermarriage, then the accusation must also be applied to the Muslims in general who prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men, with an attitude similar to that in the old American South where white men had no compunctions about carrying on affairs with black women, while, at the same time defending their white women’s “purity” to the point of carrying out lynchings of black men who possibly looked the wrong way on a white woman.
      Therefore, I believe it would be best to leave out emotionally loaded terms like “miscegenation” from pieces like this one.

      Reply to Comment
    13. i_like_ike52

      Where did you get the idea that Lehava is financed by the Israeli gov’t? It is not illegal, of course, any more than the KKK was not and is not illegal in the US as long as they don’t carry out illegal activities. I am not, of course, comparing Lehava with the KKK.

      Reply to Comment
    14. AJew

      @_Ike

      I agree with you.

      All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts,[15] with all denominations accepting converts converted by their denominations. The rules vary between denominations.

      But it is interesting to see how those who relish maligning Jews and Israel make conflicting claims about us.

      When the topic is intermarriage between Jews and non Jews, it is convenient for them to describe us as “a race” so that they can accuse us of “anti miscegenation” if some of us object to intermarriage.

      On the other hand, when it comes to nationhood, they claim that being Jewish is a religion and we have no peoplehood and therefore we are not entitled to our own state.

      And wait for it, some of our maligners claim that we are not descendants of the ancient Hebrews, they say we are all just a bunch of converts who are not entitled to claim this land as ours.

      Lovely double talk isn’t it? The truth is that we the Jewish people are both a nation and a religion and yes, some of us are converts but not the majority. In fact, the most accurate description of us is that we are an ethnicity.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Ben

      It does not look like either of you has bothered to read Illouz. See my link to her essay on September 18.

      “In Israel the rabbinate has played an increasingly powerful role in transforming nationality into a quasi-racial definition, reserved only for a group that meets clear biological requirements (conversion processes are so difficult and humiliating that they are de facto a politics whose purpose is to dissuade non-Jews from joining the Jewish people, thus reinforcing the biological view that a Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother). It is not by chance that religious people in Israel are spearheading racist views….”

      The Israeli Rabbinate gives all these converts this treatment because they are not “sincere”? Is that your idea? There are any number of reports published in Haaretz and elsewhere about the horrors sincere converts are subject to and I do not mean mere stickler-ism and religious exactitude, I mean pure obstructionism.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Ben

      How do I know Lehava is indirectly funded by the government? Illouz states this for one thing. And it is reported by many sources:
      http://imeu.org/article/lehava-state-sponsored-incitement

      The proposition that Gopstein is not a blatant racist is laughable, and it is mind boggling that you want to make excuses for Lehava. Gopstein and others in Lehava are followers of Kahane’s Kach, and have close ties to a government funded nonprofit run by Kach followers.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ben

      “Race.” “Ethnicity.” “Both a nation and a religion.” Call it what you will, it does not remove the point as regards practices on the ground. Which involve an obsession with biological lineage by the Israeli rabbinate. And getting technical about what is “a race” is mere camouflage. If it was about “religion” they would not be so begrudging and difficult about converts. Judaism is tribal and exclusive not inclusive. That’s OK, and it would be just what it is and of little consequence except that the same exclusivist zealotry fuels a ruthless, race-based, supremacist occupation regime that views non-Jews under occupation as Untermenschen. And Jews as “sovereigns in their own land” as ‘AJew’ put it—in other words, Uebermenschen. That is a fact. And that has consequences for the human rights of other human beings affected by this. There is no getting around the problem Illouz identifies.

      From river to sea, everywhere the Israeli government has dominion, everywhere Israeli troops have dominion, non-Jews are treated as second class citizens, at best. This is true west of the green line with its own particular circumstances and it is true east of the green line with its own particular circumstances. You can whitewash this but it is a fact. You have both got so used to this state of affairs that you see it as normal. You guys write these things as if they were entirely unproblematic and then when this Israeli left-of-center blog calls you out on it you go into paroxysms of indignation, you can’t believe your eyes, so used to your ideology you are, so second nature it is to you. So wrapped in layers of self-righteousness are you. The egregious Michael Oren actually called the quite healthy criticism, by the Israeli center-to-left, of Netanyahu’s botched dealings with the Obama administration over military aid, “anti-Semitic.” How odd that is.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tess

        Excellent comments by Ben, the only ones worth notice in fact.

        Reply to Comment
    18. AJew

      A racist like Ben calling Jews racists.

      Ben in effect said that Muslim prohibition of intermarriage is not as bad as Jewish opposition to intermarriage because Muslims opposition is based on religious grounds. But according to Ben, Jewish opposition to intermarriage is NOT based on religious grounds.

      And when challenged about his discriminatory interpretation of the facts, Ben acts all innocent and claims that “Illouz says so”. But who the F… is Illouz to make claims which define us? Probably another fanatic like Ben who hates Israel and Jews. How is that for proof?!! Just point at one of your co-idealogue buddies and claim that he/she agrees with your discriminatory interpretation of facts.

      I wasn’t going to respond to this Ben character anymore but I just can’t let his blatantly racist rants go unchallenged.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Ben

      Pure ad hominem attack, blatant name calling. You have no leg to stand on, no argument, never have. Your comments about Illouz mark you as an ignoramus. No need to reply. It’s a waste of time. I haven’t the time to respond to your endless and by now quite tedious distortions. Thanks.

      Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Hey Ben.

          If the Rabbinate’s objection to intermarriage would be race based rather than religion based, would the Rabbinate allow the conversion of even a single non Jew to Judaism and allow them to marry Jews? Of course not! Yet the Rabbinate converts thousands of non Jews to Jews every year and most of those converts marry Jews. So there goes your allegation that the Rabbinate is racist. It leaves you with egg on your face but no shame about your bigotted claim!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Realize that you will have to label Eva Illouz, not just me, “a bigot.” Your basic problem, Gustav, is that I actually read stuff by intelligent, well-informed, thoughtful Israelis. So you can’t depend on your usual disinformation and smug but erroneous assumptions that work fine on less informed people. And that drives you nuts. (It’s why+972 itself drives you nuts.) And so you fall back on the only thing you’ve got left (especially now that a person on the Right called your “Jewish State” gimmick “a red herring”): name calling.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            There he goes again. Ben quoted Eva Illouz selectively AND…

            Ben ignores my previous post which tells him of the thousands of religious convrsions carried out by the Rabbinate every year. Those converts typically marry Jews. So if the Rabbinate would be race driven in objecting to intermarriage, rather than religion driven, how come they carry out conversions at all? Does conversion to Judaism change one’s race? Of course not! So there goes Ben’s accusation against racism by the Rabbinate down the drain.

            AND despite Ben’s hate driven accusation that Jewishat Israeli Rabbis objection to intermarriage is race driven, as opposed to religion driven, same as the Muslim objection to Muslim women marrying non Muslims, BOTH are religion driven.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​I did not quote Eva Illouz selectively I quoted faithfully from her essay and linked to that essay. Her essay is a coherent argument not negated by simplistic assertions about numbers.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            You did not quote all of what she said. Illouz also said:

            1. Israel is not a fascist state.

            2. She said Israel is a democracy.

            3. She said Israel is NOT an apartheid state.

            4. And she recognises that much of Israel’s behavior of which she is critical is driven by the fact that Israel is in a state of war with the Palestinian Arabs and their regional allies. (A fact which you routinely ignore or sneer at).

            In other words she disagrees with how you view the Jewish state.

            The difference betwen you and her, Ben, is that you constantly dig only for dirt when it comes to Israel. She on the other hand is a harsh critic, even to the point of unfairness in my opinion at least but unlike you, Ben, she does not delegitimise Israel and unlike you, nor does she pretend that there is nothing wrong with the Arabs.

            Read it Ben. All of that is in your link. I did not invent it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            For the millionth time, you distort. Remember, I am the one championing Illouz and providing a link to her writing, which you would never have heard of without my linking to it. I’ve said here before, and I say again, that I endorse every word of what Illouz writes in this particular essay. You are playing a game of selective quoting. You are an enemy of nuance and intelligent distinctions, because you want to make everything a simplistic “us against them” equation. I will not play this game. The nuances you would rather not pay attention to, of course, are found by anyone reading the entire essay, but if I had to pick one brief, summarizing excerpt:

            “…Wittgenstein’s analogy was for language but it is an apt one to understand what is at stake here: Israel’s current colonialist regime bears a family resemblance with other evil regimes, even if it does not share overlapping features with them. It is not Nazi, not apartheid, not fascist – yet it belongs to that unhappy family….”

            read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.735303?v=036836DE6B2A2A7743800117B75C4315

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            I am the one who does not see nuance Benny? Wasn’t I the one who has been saying in many posts that war makes people do bad things not just us, but everyone? Of course I did.

            But you just scoffed at that and kept on presenting your robotic bigotted diatribe against what Israel does, never admitting to Arab wrong doings. Even in your latest post, which I coerced out of you, you ommit to mention the bit in which illouz mentions the war context which makes Israel do what it does. You unerringly leave out anything which makes Israel sound even a little bit like the rest of humanity because being the bigot that you are, you always want to present the state of the Jewish people in the worst possible light.

            As for Eva Illouz, I’ll say it again. She is a harsh critic. I don’t agree with most of her criticism. Nevertheless, at least, unlike you, Ben, she is not attempting to delegitimize Israel because she is not a bigot. She just wants to set the Jewish state higher standards than is humanly possible or even advisable if one wants to survive in the harsh neighborhood in which we live. Unfortunately in real life sometimes one has to fight fire with fire. And yes, Ben, it IS us versus them. Unfortunately we the Jewish people have learnt through bitter experience what happens if we trust in the humanity of others and don’t make arrangements to defend ourselves from those who want to do us harm.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “war makes people do bad things not just us, but everyone?”

            So you agree that war made both Palestinians and Israelis do bad things. Progress. Thanks very much.

            “As for Eva Illouz, I’ll say it again. She is a harsh critic. I don’t agree with most of her criticism.”

            What part of her criticism do you not disagree with? (With what part of her criticism do you agree?)

            “Nevertheless, at least, unlike you, Ben, she is not attempting to delegitimize Israel”

            Please clearly explicate where I diverge from Illouz. Thanks.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “So you agree that war made both Palestinians and Israelis do bad things. Progress. Thanks very much.”

            I always admitted it. Stop pretending otherwise. You were the one who insisted on glossing over Palestinian Arabs doing bad things to us. And you know that’s true Ben. Here, let me test you: Do you agree that Palestinian Arabs have been doing bad things to us both historically and now? Yes or no, Ben? It is an easy question!

            “As for Eva Illouz, I’ll say it again. She is a harsh critic. I don’t agree with most of her criticism.”

            “What part of her criticism do you not disagree with? (With what part of her criticism do you agree?)”

            I will just give you an abbreviated answer. Otherwise my response would be too long.

            I don’t agree with her claim that the Rabbinate deliberately humiliates people who want to convert. Orthodox Judaism requires Rabbis to make sure that the potential converts take that step seriously not just on a whim. This means a certain procedure which gives the prospective converts the chance to back out once they realise what they let themselves into. After all, Orthodox Jews require to keep a lot of commandments. That process is not designed to humiliate. It is designed to protect both parties.

            What do I agree with her with?

            I agree with her that the occupation is harsh. But having said that, I remember what happened after Oslo. We relaxed everything when we made the mistake of allowing Arafat to return and take over. Immediately after that, the rate of terrorism against us shot up. And immediately after Sharon later clamped down on them (a few years later) after the 2nd Intifada and built the wall, the rate of terrorism declined. The message in those two results is obvious. If we want to be a bit safer we need to clamp down on them. Can we be 100% safe? No. at least not until there will be real peace which I don’t expect anytime soon.

            “Nevertheless, at least, unlike you, Ben, she is not attempting to delegitimize Israel”

            “Please clearly explicate where I diverge from Illouz. Thanks.”

            Really? You really want me to? I already pointed it out to you but here I go again:

            1. You scoff every time that I mention the war and it’s consequences on how both parties behave.

            2. You never acknowledge Palestinian wrong doings. You only talk about what we do wrong.

            Want more? Ask me nicely because I already feel that I am wasting my time on you because you are too bigotted to listen. In the past, you either ignored me when I mentioned the above points or you scoffed at them. Are you going to be different this time?

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