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End these settlers' attacks against our mosques and churches

January 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

On Tuesday, 7 June, illegal Jewish settlers under the full protection of the Israeli army set fire to yet another mosque in the occupied West Bank, the fifth in less than two years. Responsibility for security in all of the villages where these attacks took place lies exclusively with the Israeli army.

The settlers’ terrorism was not, as one might think, an attack in revenge for something done by Palestinians. According to Israeli sources, the arson attack was part of the so-called “price-tag policy”, whereby Jewish settlers vandalise Palestinian property in response to the dismantling by the Israeli security forces of newly-built settler outposts (illegal even by Israeli standards) on the hills of the West Bank. In addition to burning houses of worship, the fanatical settlers have set fire to Palestinian cornfields and olive groves. They have also placed time-bombs in Arab schools, especially in the Jerusalem area. Despite the shocking frequency of these acts, the Israeli security forces have failed to arrest a single perpetrator.

Some observers attribute this failure to collusion between the Israeli occupation army, which controls every nook and cranny of the West Bank, and the settlers. It is well known that settlers and settler sympathizers have infiltrated Israel’s army and justice system, so much so that settlers feel free to commit acts of terrorism in the knowledge that they are unlikely to face arrest, prosecution and punishment for their crimes.

Although some Israeli officials have condemned the mosque-burning, it is clear that these grave terrorist acts, which could spark off a religious conflagration, have failed to raise any eyebrows in the increasingly self-absorbed wider Israeli-Jewish society; nor, indeed, among the activists of the Israel Lobby in the West. Interestingly, most of Israel’s rabbis have either maintained their silence in the face of such abominations or made tendentious statements blaming the Israeli government for “forcing the settlers to lose their patience and behave the way they did”. The less PR-savvy settler politicians, including lawmakers, blame the Palestinians brazenly for bringing the attacks upon themselves. Unfortunately, Zionist rabbis, unlike their anti-Zionist peers, invoke a thousand falsehoods and “red herrings” to justify these unjustifiable attacks against innocent Muslims and Christians.

I don’t intend to hold any Jew legally responsible for the evil committed by a few terrorist settlers. However, I believe strongly that all Jews have a moral obligation to condemn those who commit arson and murder in the name of Jews everywhere; even, in fact, in the name of Judaism. In the final analysis, terror is terror, regardless of the religious identity of the perpetrators and victims. Terror and murder don’t suddenly become kosher when committed by Jews.

I also believe that the failure of most rabbinical circles to condemn Zionist-Jewish terror against Muslim houses of worship contributes to the rise of anti-Semitism. Perhaps that is their aim, as Zionism as an ideology depends on anti-Semitism to justify its aims, objectives and methodology. Could this also be the ultimate goal of the fanatical thugs who believe that non-Jews are children of a lesser God and whose lives, therefore, have no value? Today in Israel there are respected rabbinic authorities of immense influence who advocate the worst kind of racism against non-Jews merely for being Gentiles.

Some of these figures have published religious edicts which permit the killing of “children of the enemy”, claiming that according to Halacha, or Jewish religious law, there is no such a thing as “enemy civilians”, especially during wartime. One rabbi who is especially notorious for his genocidal theology released a religious ruling stating that Jews may kill hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Gentiles in order to save Israeli soldiers. Ovadia Yosef, the religious mentor of Shas, one of the largest religious-right political parties in Israel, has declared that all non-Jews are basically donkeys and beasts of burden whom the Almighty created so that they would serve the chosen people. For the latter, read master race. I thought that this kind of language perished with the Nazis. Obviously, I was mistaken.

Such sinister statements, even from the lips of an elderly and allegedly senile clergyman, are not anecdotal or amusing and ought to be treated with the utmost gravity since they encourage racism. Imagine if you can how Jewish circles might react if a prominent Muslim leader in London, or New York, declared all non-Muslims to be less than human beings.

Not surprisingly, Muslims are not the only victims of Zionist Jewish terror and racism. In recent months, there have been several attempts by Jewish settlers to burn down churches in Jerusalem. The settlers’ religious hostility towards Christians, Christianity and Jesus exceeds by far their hostility to Islam. Some settlers, for example, believe that Jesus is the most evil being ever created and upon uttering or hearing his name recite, “May his name be damned and memory erased”. One settler leader, who is also a rabbi, once referred to Christ as “the Hitler of Bethlehem”.

Some people might think that words, even such emotionally-charged words, are innocuous. But words can and do kill. The path to the Holocaust began with words, and we all know how that ended.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.