Israel’s racist response to Itamar murders would be unthinkable in the U.S.

on 95 Comments

Most of us generally think of the U.S. as a country that has made significant strides in combating racism, even if it still has a long way to go. Israelis and their supporters sometimes try to downplay Israeli racism by comparing it to the unfortunate phenomenon of American racism. But as shown by the aftermath of the recent murders of five family members in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, any suggestion of a rough equivalence is obscene.

First, let us go back a generation and recall the 1989 murder in Boston of Carol Stuart, a pregnant lawyer. She and her husband Charles were shot in their car as they returned from childbirth class; Carol died and Charles was seriously wounded in the abdomen. Charles told police that a black gunman with a raspy voice had entered the car in a hijacking attempt and shot them both. The Boston Police reacted fiercely by targeting virtually the entire African-American male population of the Mission Hill neighborhood where the crime occurred. Men and youths were stopped, frisked, searched, interrogated, some even stripped naked on the street. The police apparently intended to wreak such havoc that eventually someone who knew something would crack and provide a lead on the killer. To that end, they were “successful,” inducing a tip and arresting a known robber named William Bennett as the murderer. Charles Stuart then picked Bennett out of a lineup. If that were the end of the Stuart saga, it would have been outrageous. Only those who worship at the altar of police authority could justify the brutalization of an entire community in response to a crime, however horrible, committed by an individual. The racist overtones of the police response were unmistakable as well. It would have been inconceivable for the police to commit such mayhem against any white community if Stuart had identified a Caucasian as the assailant. As it turns out, the story took an expected and dramatic turn a few months later when Stuart’s brother told the authorities that Charles had murdered his wife and fabricated the black gunman with the raspy voice. Charles committed suicide before the police closed in.

Fast forward 20 years to Itamar and the nearby Palestinian village of Awarta. In the wake of the grisly discovery of the five bodies, the Israelis, assuming the perpetrator to be a Palestinian from Awarta, launched a retaliatory/investigative response on the village that could best be described as the Boston Police on supersized steroids. The Israeli Defense Forces immediately arrested 20 “suspects” and eventually detained hundreds, holding dozens in jail for at least several days. International activists reported that the IDF took over about 30 homes for their own housing, either expelling the residents or forcing them to crowd into one room. They arbitrarily searched and vandalized hundreds of homes, including defecating on beds, and physically attacked numerous villagers. The Jewish settlers themselves sought revenge, hurling stones at random Palestinians. Even PM Netanyahu got into the act, announcing the construction of 500 new housing units for settlers as payback for the crime, as if the entire Palestinian community were responsible. Of course, the fact that all of the settlements are considered illegal by every country on Earth except one never even entered the discussion.

The Boston Police received some much-deserved flak from the public when the dust settled on the Stuart tragedy. It would be nice, but probably unduly optimistic, to think that such heavy-handed tactics could not be repeated today in the U.S. But the orgy of collective punishment unleashed by the IDF, the settlers, and the government went light-years beyond what the Boston Police dared to impose in Mission Hill. Can anyone imagine the police rounding up dozens of innocent blacks, occupying dozens of apartments housing black families, allowing white vigilantes to stone African-American residents? Can anyone imagine Boston’s mayor unveiling a housing plan that targeted the entire African-American community as payback for a black-on-white crime?

It now appears that the initial presumption that the murders in Itamar were committed by Palestinian(s) may also be incorrect, but regardless of how that plays out, the responses of Israel’s settlers, army and government have demonstrated that millions of Palestinians are subject to ruthless and arbitrary treatment at the hands of Israelis – private citizens, army, and government alike – who presume to exercise unchallenged authority over them. The U.S. surely has not resolved its own racial disparities, but at least such brazen public displays of foul racism here would be unthinkable. The Israelis don’t even bother with a fig leaf. How long will Israel continue to enjoy the near-unanimous support of U.S. lawmakers, which requires willful blindness to a system of ethnic superiority that we are proud to have abandoned decades ago?

About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.

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95 Responses

  1. Potsherd2
    March 25, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Until these scenes are shown in full bloody color on US TV screens. Until Americans can watch IDF troops beating children and old women and shitting in a family’s cookpots.

  2. Pamela Olson
    March 25, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Excellent article. Really puts things in (grim) perspective. This will be an unthinkably shameful blot on this history of Israel, if Israel is around long enough to have much of a history. It seems to be self-destructing quite ably.

  3. annie
    March 25, 2011, 3:24 pm



    this is exactly what i’ve been thinking about.

  4. Chaos4700
    March 25, 2011, 3:34 pm

    That pretty much nails it. You can see the racism literally dripping off of many of the Zionists here. Quite a few of them (not all of them, to be fair, but definitely at least half) have come outright and said they are “sure” the murderer(s) are Palestinian.

    And all blends into the same racialized logic. DBG leaped from that, to the rocket fire from Gaza also justifying brutality by soldiers in the occupation on the West Bank.

    They grasp at any reason at all to indulge their racism.

  5. NimaShirazi
    March 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

    How long will Israel continue to enjoy the near-unanimous support of U.S. lawmakers, which requires willful blindness to a system of ethnic superiority that we are proud to have abandoned decades ago?

    Answer: As long as the money keeps flowing.

    Excellent piece, David, as usual.

    • MRW
      March 28, 2011, 12:49 pm


  6. piotr
    March 25, 2011, 4:25 pm

    The plot is even thicker. Two minor mysteries: alleged credit taken by Al-Aksa Martyr Brigades, and alleged celebrations in south Gaza Strip. “Celebration” had the form of two absolutely inconspicuous photos with inflamatory captions. I did not spend time finding what was the form of the “credit”.

    Clearly, Israeli cabinet did not wait a second to (a) approve 500 construction units, although it was a compromise with 5000, (b) launching propaganda campaign and (c) diplomatic campaign. It took several days to ratchet up conflict with militants in Gaza strip.

    Under such circumstances, the chances of discovering a culprit of Itamar murder are close to nil. Unless some confession or accusation will be tortured out. But who cares?

    Another aspect is the orgy of hatred in patriotic Israeli press. Comments to those columns are even more disturbing. It would be a small exaggeration to say that Israeli public demands to exterminate Palestinian and incarcerate Jewish fifth column (exiling Palestinians to Jordan and disloyal Jew to Gaza is actually the most frequent proposal).

    • Danaa
      March 25, 2011, 6:22 pm

      piotr: “Another aspect is the orgy of hatred in patriotic Israeli press. Comments to those columns are even more disturbing. It would be a small exaggeration to say that Israeli public demands to exterminate Palestinian and incarcerate Jewish fifth column…”

      This is what I have been saying for a while now, especially when I find myself trying to counter the rosy-glass “humanist-globalists” a la Avishai – who are forever trumpeting the imminent waking of the great Israeli “left” in israel. Which probably numbers all of a few 10′s of 1000s at a most generous counting.

      People should really start paying attention not just to what the finer-than-fine intellectual elites and deep-feeling leftist zionists are saying . And all those who made their home in israel in later life and are caught in a cycle of yearning and nostalgia for some long lost Kibbutz romance. I keep trying to urge visitors to israel – and the helicopter intellectual part-time residents like Avishai – to please spend a bit more time listening to their taxi driver and the bus passengers, instead of re-reading their own fine words, as if the repetition can make it true. not that they’d ever stoop to taking a bus or listening to the majority of their countrymen (and women and children).

      Sadly, the beautiful Israel the jews of the world have enshrined in their collective psyche is gone. And what was there ever, could only be called a mirage – a Herzlian dream of Jewish utopia – if you dream it, it’ll be there. except it never was and never came to be.

      The larger reality of Israel is closer to what we read in the nasty talkbacks, alas. What I keep saying (and no one seems to ever want to ever take me up on it, which is understandable – - – maybe) is that deep inside the soul of the majority of israelites is a wish for the palestinians to just disappear. If they could find a way to make it so without repercussions, they would. Preferrably many would like it to be bloodless – easier to ignore that way, less raw. But if blood is what it takes, and the world could somehow, miraculously be counted on to not notice, so be it.

      Knowing what really lurks behind even some of the finest words of the Baraks and Pereses, the “good” Meretzians and the not-so-good, not so enlightened great rabbis of israel is, I suspect, what turned me away so irrevocably. There’ a whiff of sin everywhere in israel. Something they are all in on, but can’t admit except in carefree moments – when a need for “brave” words of truth comes over some, and whoops, the facade drop fr a second, and it all comes blurting out in a mad rush. I witnessed thi often, among Israelis – expats and residents. All it takes, is some Israeli death, presumed to be by palestinian hands.if the presumption turns out to be wrong, none take the word back. The sin is the deep-seated wish for disappearing a people they don’t want to share a land with. that is what mot israelis really want. Everything else is compromise or the buying of time till maybe, somehow, an opportunity might open up.

      I think people should really spend some time perusing the talkbacks following the Itamar stories. Do we honestly expect that people will take back their words of revenge and spite once it turns out there was no palestinian killer after all?

      • ToivoS
        March 25, 2011, 11:57 pm

        Danaa you make good points here. I share your frustration with Avishai – who are forever trumpeting the imminent waking of the great Israeli “left” in israel. Which probably numbers all of a few 10′s of 1000s at a most generous counting.

        I had the same reaction to Slater’s piece today — his division of Zionist into the left or liberal variety, the center and the right as if the left has any political relevance in Israel today. I didn’t comment in his thread, but felt his whole position was quite pathetic. The right with all of its racism is the dominant political force. Avishai and Slater must be in complete denial of current political reality inside Israel to write this stuff.

        • Danaa
          March 26, 2011, 12:28 am

          Thanks Toivo. Yes, I was going to comment on Slater’s piece, much in the same vein. But somehow I have a hard time raining on his parade – a well done wishful thinking to the power of 10. I do believe that unlike Avishai, Jerry is really tortured by what’s going on and just can’t bring himself to admit that the entire edifice – that whole vision of israel as the “light unto the nations” has irerevocably collapsed. Not just as a reality that it never really was but even as a good illusion. Have an easier time ragging on Avishai who can stray into serious complacency, with that whole shtick of the “forward marching globalists”, the towering edifice of Hebrew republics(s) made up of Tel Aviv literati. Funny how silent he was in the face of the wall street meltdown and the breathtaking rise of the corporatists. A for Slater, I doubt he is a true friend of corporate plutocrats so have a soft spot for him (need all the friends we can have on that front).

          On second thought maybe I will put a comment on Slater’s piece….not that he would want to hear, of course. Historical abstractions of zionism – pro, con, post and ultra, are so much easier to handle than present day realities and the dreadful future sure to come.

        • MRW
          March 28, 2011, 12:39 pm

          Danaa, once again, I agree with you. You first paragraph is dead on IMO. “serious complacency.” True. Add: “pompous.”

      • Avi
        March 26, 2011, 1:17 am

        What I keep saying (and no one seems to ever want to ever take me up on it, which is understandable – – – maybe)

        Well, Danaa, I share your frustrations as what you describe has happened to me on several occasions. So, how do you explain it? Why is it that people refuse to accept certain truths and insist that they ‘know better’ when they clearly haven’t the experience to support such firm convictions?

        When the killing of the Itamar family happened, I had my suspicions. I mean, knowing the kind of security and fencing that surrounds these colonies, and being familiar with certain procedural aspects, I knew something didn’t seem right and I voiced my objections to the presumption that the act was committed by a Palestinian. Yet, very few took it to heart.

        • MRW
          March 28, 2011, 12:41 pm

          I did, Avi. Didn’t ring true to me from word one. Besides, I give a lot of weight to wire services when there are feet on the ground, actually there. Mistakes are usually corrected by the original stringer quickly. That’s not what happened here. The MoI took over and came up with the entire Palestinian as killer tale. Nothing matches.

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2011, 8:58 am

      The AP blurb article distributed to US local newspapers is a model exercise in casting the Israeli action as purely defensive as matter of fact. One sentence amid this article is allowed for Palestinian POV with the preamble “Palestinian spokesman said–” There is no “Israeli spokesman said” in the short piece updating the American masses in the hinterlands.
      So there’s no “he said, she said.” Takeaway by anyone unfamilar with the detailed context: Here’s the scoop, the Pal lobbed more rockets, breaking the peaceful lull, but an unidentified Pal says they are merely reacting defensively. AP is decidedly not an objective reporting service when it comes to the I-P conflict althoug it chooses short sparse text to appear so.

      • kapok
        March 28, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Cordyceps. AP is not in the business of enlightening minds, but implanting fungal spores in the grey matter of hapless readers.

  7. Justice Please
    March 25, 2011, 4:43 pm

    It is a great post, thanks Mr. Samel.

    But could you Americans please stop saying “Caucasians”? It makes you sound really stupid. Just say “Whites” or “white Americans” or “blancitos” or whatever, but not something that idiotic. You don’t call all black people “Ghananites” or “Senegalasians”, do you?

    • Chaos4700
      March 25, 2011, 5:42 pm

      Meh. It’s the official term for white ethnicities in the US. What are we supposed to do exactly? Modern African Americans are generations apart from their roots on that continent and that nomenclature is still in use too.

    • Donald
      March 25, 2011, 5:50 pm

      “But could you Americans please stop saying “Caucasians”? ”

      Language isn’t always logical. People in the US have been using “Caucasion” to mean “white” for as long as I can remember. But maybe if you go online and correct enough people you’ll make a difference.

      “White” doesn’t really make much sense either. I’m not sure what color my skin is exactly, but it’s not what I’d call white on anything other than skin.

      • piotr
        March 25, 2011, 8:43 pm

        I just wonder how a properly dressed Caucasian would make it through airport security.

      • Justice Please
        March 27, 2011, 10:42 am

        “But maybe if you go online and correct enough people you’ll make a difference.”

        Touche. Unfortunately, I lack real-life interaction with Americans. But I’ll try to work the issue in when I get the chance :-)

        You’re right, “white” isn’t very convincing either. It just bothers me that, as you said, language isn’t always logical. Like piotr further down, I pictured people from the Caucasus, and what they would say if they knew that “whites” are namend after them, of all people.
        And because I’m not American, I was not accustomed to the word, it put me off. It seemed like tiptoeing around an issue of political correctness unique to Americans.

      • kapok
        March 28, 2011, 2:29 pm

        I prefer to be called beige.

    • ToivoS
      March 25, 2011, 11:28 pm

      The term Caucasian derives from the language spoken by Hitites and Babylonians many thousands of years back. This was the center of civilization. In those days the blue eyed, light skinned blonds and red headed barbarians invaded their region from the north, through the Caucasus. Can’t really blame them for not knowing where they really lived in that Northern waste land. But I agree that term is not that good since it implies a specific location today. Perhaps we should insist on “Aryan”. Wasn’t that the word that the Sanskrit speaking people used to describe that same barbarian nuisance.

      • piotr
        March 27, 2011, 4:07 am

        Actually, it derives from works of German anthropologists ca. 1800 who studies skull measurements and traveler accounts and made methodical science of racial classification.

        “Aryan” was describing Indo-Europeans, and the discovery that Sancrit shares important similarities with Latin and ancient Greek came somewhat later. Babylonians were Semitic.

    • Theo
      March 26, 2011, 9:16 am


      The scientific name for the “whites” is caucasian.
      The africans are called negroid.

    • David Samel
      March 26, 2011, 1:48 pm

      Justice, maybe I’ll go with “blancitos” next time. “Idiotic” is a rather strong word, though, but thanks for tempering it with a nice compliment.

      • Justice Please
        March 27, 2011, 10:59 am

        David, I went off a little on that one, sorry. As I explained further up, the word just bugs me. To my non-native-English-speaking-person’s ears, the word still sounds idiotic and if it where up to me, we wouldn’t use the word some German scientist thought was right.
        I did not mean that you are idiotic. As I wrote, your piece was just as great as the rest of the content on MondoWeiss.
        Sorry for getting on a soapbox with an issue apparently only I care about.

        Oh and please don’t use blancitos, I googled it now and it seems it’s not just a little, but very derogatory :-)

        • David Samel
          March 27, 2011, 5:57 pm

          No sweat, Justice. I knew you were not intending to insult, and I was kidding about the blancitos as well. In fact, I never heard the word before and was rather amused.

    • MRW
      March 28, 2011, 12:43 pm

      Justice Please,

      It’s a census term. It’s how we are to be tabulated. And considered the least offensive to everyone here. When you use it, it proves you aren’t being racial. Whatever.

      • Hostage
        March 28, 2011, 9:19 pm

        It’s a census term. It’s how we are to be tabulated.

        Just to be clear “White” is one of the census terms, not “Caucasian”. The government has dozens of NHI-funded genetic studies which prove there is no scientific basis for the discrete racial categories the government employs. Those notions hearken back to the days when self-appointed bigots thought they needed to protect the “purity” of different races through anti-miscegenation laws. It is insulting that the government still requires its citizens to self-report this nonsense. They no longer require you to believe this crap, e.g. The question was changed from “What is this person’s race? Mark one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be” in 2000 to “What is this person’s race? Mark one or more boxes” for 2010.

        The US Census bureau lists the American Jewish Committee, and United Jewish Communities/Jewish Federations of North America as current “Census Partners”, but doesn’t collect any information about “Jewish” ethnicity.

  8. ritzl
    March 25, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Susan Smith as well.

    The sad difference is that we (US) tend to belatedly but arguably ultimately seek the truth (or allow it to come out) and be instructed by it. Israel, as “Western Democracy,” not so much.

    Will there be a notable reassessment in Israel (and the US) if this turns out to be NOT related to Palestinians?

    Great post.

  9. Linah
    March 25, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Love this piece.

    I just wanted to add that in the days following the murders of the settlers, Nablus and its surrounding areas were completely cut off, resulting in half empty classrooms at Birzeit Uni as students couldn’t get anywhere near Ramallah.

  10. Citizen
    March 26, 2011, 9:24 am

    Glen Beck devoted his closing segment on March 15th to the Itmar murders.
    He opened by saying even Manson could not imagine those murders. All Israel was in shock about what “the terrorists” did to that family in their own home. If you think Manson was evil, let me tell you what happened… The Manson family’s stabbing of the preggers Sharon Tate was viewed with joy by Bernadine Dohrn, wife of Bill Ayers. Here, let me show you photos of how the Arabs/Pals also reacted with joy to the grizzly Itamar murders. Shows a few undated or placed still photos of an Arab women in traditional dress handing out candy to Arab children. No actual context at all to the photos. Those couple of decontexualized photos makes Glen think of how “they danced in the street on 9/11.” God or historians will judge these current dark times. We need to get into the light, not the dark evil, the evil growing very fast….

    Glen’s obvious premises: Arabs/Palestinians murdered the good family in their beds, the same terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. They do it with joy same as the Manson family did and the American socialists applaud (funded by George Soros–Koch Bros who?), and teach it to their kids. USIsrael is innocent.

    link to

    Does Glen listen to the White Album too? Helter-Skelter indeed. But Manson didn’t have the Pentagon behind him.

    • Chaos4700
      March 26, 2011, 2:25 pm

      And remember kids! Glen Beck used to have a show on CNN. And he wasn’t fired.

  11. seafoid
    March 26, 2011, 9:54 am

    I don’t want to come across all Hophmi but the US is no Shangri La of tolerance. Presumably the violence inherent in settler colonialism everywhere is a factor.

    link to

    “According to statistics from the Pew Center as well as the Department of Justice that Ogletree cites, the “realities of racial disparity in the criminal justice system” are that “‘one in every 15 black males aged 18 or older is in prison or jail,’ versus one in every 36 men for Hispanic males and one in every 106 White males,” and that “the lifetime risk of incarceration for a child born in 2001 is 1 in 3 for black males, 1 in 6 for Latino males, and 1 in 17 for white males.”

    Blacks, Alexander shows, have made up a disproportionate amount of the prison population since the US first had jails, and race has always influenced the administration of justice in America. The police have always been biased and every drug war in the country’s history has been aimed at minorities. The tactics of mass incarceration are not new or original, but the war on drugs has given rise to a system that governs “entire communities of color.” In the ghetto, Alexander continues, everyone is either directly or indirectly subjected to the new caste system that has emerged. She is most eloquent when describing the psychological effects on individuals, families, and neighborhoods of the shame and humiliation of prison:

    The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer concerned primarily with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.

    Alexander does not believe that the development of this system and the election of Obama are contradictory. We are not a country that would tolerate its prison population being 100 percent black. We will accept its being 90 percent black. C. Vann Woodward wrote The Strange Career of Jim Crow (1955) as the civil rights movement was challenging segregation. Looking back, his optimism and relief at the crumbling of the old order are heartbreaking.”

    • David Samel
      March 26, 2011, 1:50 pm

      You make some excellent points, seafoid, and my piece may have implied a rosier view of race relations in the U.S., especially in the criminal justice system, than I hold, but as I’m sure you are aware, my main point is that things in Israel seem so much worse, even worse than our darker past.

    • Citizen
      March 28, 2011, 10:28 am

      Seafoid, your disparate impact grasp of reality has a logical causal hole in it on both ends. I don’t know just how big those holes are, but they should at least be acknowledged. Similarly, the case for and against “affirmative action.” There’s a point where the policy itself, or at least the de facto implementation of it, negates moral/ethical consistency. That said, probabilities are not to be sneezed at. Yet, the old saying, “the king is dead, long live the king,” doesn’t limit the king’s color.

      If oriental Americans have the highest academic score, shouldn’t we investigate why this might be so other than simply attributing it to favoritism? And conversely, if black Americans have the highest proportion of criminality or imprisonment, shouldn’t we investigate why this might be so other than simply attribuitng it to discrimination?

      Both are current topical issues, e.g., the recent book on Chinese-American mothers & the growing number of black American opinion writers who say they are addressing the pitfalls of their own community’s culture, rather than being Uncle Tom’s?

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2011, 11:20 am

        “And conversely, if black Americans have the highest proportion of criminality or imprisonment, shouldn’t we investigate why this might be so other than simply attributing it to discrimination?”

        It was most certainly not “simply” attributed to discrimination. Where did you get that idea? In fact, every possible answer was explored, before the simple truth had to be acknowledged. Remember? innate deficiencies related to race were the first explanation, commonly accepted, which had to be disproved, not the other way around.

        Oh, by the way, white people don’t even have that excuse.
        And you, sir, show every sign of a bigot who is furthermore incapable of being honest with himself.

        • Citizen
          March 30, 2011, 6:03 am

          Mooser, I was talking in the present; I assumed all here knew the long past history of attributing such things to racial deficiency, which is not a viable or accepted theory today, and has not been for at least 40 years to a half century. Quit jumping to conclusions. Real moose do not do that. It is not a sign of bigotry to ask questions when a significant disproportion of anything is observed (bad or good). Perhaps you moose people let your antlers get in the way of honest inquiry and hurl slurs back. America’s crime and prison situation has been addressed by a myriad of suggested causal [and often linked] factors, as has America’s on-going Education failure (despite continually flinging ever more taxpayer funds at the problem with ever decreasing good net results). Please spell out how I show “every sign of a bigot” who is also “incapable of being honest” with myself.

          You, Mooser appear to be the type of guy who’d be the first to call somebody black addressing such problems beyond its roots in past racial discrmination as an “Uncle Tom.” Further, socio-economic-laced cultural problems are not limited to any particular race or ethnic group. You need to start living in the 21st Century America.

        • Hu Bris
          March 30, 2011, 8:51 am

          “Mooser . . . . . You need to start living in the 21st Century America.”

          Yeah Moozer! Get the hell out of Canada, you bozo!

  12. Danaa
    March 26, 2011, 11:09 am

    David, I just wanted to join the chorus and thank you for an excellent post. I, for one, did not know of the Stuart case and it makes for an interesting contrast. When it come to racism, the differences between the US and Israel are indeed glaring, in just the sense you bring out. In the US incidences of collateral mistreatment of blacks is all mixed up with questions of poverty, status and class, not just skin color. In Israel, the mistreatment of Palestinians takes n the flavor of outright persecution – by one people against another. The whiff of a potential pogrom is always in the air. Had we not lived in the information age, I believe the settler thugs would have probably been unleashed upon Palestinians and allowed to act with full impudence, much as the Cossacks and various citizen “militia” were upon the Jews of Eastern Europe. It is only the glare of the world’s eyes that keep things from escalating even further, IMO.

    Your post makes a great rebuttal to the PR goons* who forever try to bring up American racism as exculpatory evidence for Israel’s behavior.

    * PS Thanks for the anti-goon medicine – much appreciated. Have an open prescription too…..

    • David Samel
      March 26, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Thanks, Danaa, and you make some excellent points on this thread, as usual.

  13. longliveisrael
    March 26, 2011, 11:16 pm

    Well, in the vein of how the Mondoweiss Forum members label Israelis as murderers etc, it would seem that all Americans are murderers.

    link to

    BTW, any of you Chaos, Taxi, Annie, etc,. your country is involved in 2 wars, soon 3, in countries now where near the US, but yet you criticize Israel.

    • ToivoS
      March 26, 2011, 11:58 pm

      Aha a JSF category on how to defend Zionism:

      You suck.

      Keep up the good work, maybe you will win an argument someday.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2011, 11:21 am

        Toivo, don’t forget the inevitable overflow into No.4: “The Whole World Sucks!”

    • Sumud
      March 27, 2011, 12:00 am

      Well, in the vein of how the Mondoweiss Forum members label Israelis as murderers etc…

      Straw Man Alert.

      BTW, any of you Chaos, Taxi, Annie, etc,. your country is involved in 2 wars, soon 3, in countries now where near the US, but yet you criticize Israel.

      Try four to five, possibly more. I count Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and now and intervention in Libya. Given the $3 billion in military aid supplied annually to Israel (and shielding of Israel in the US through abuse of the UN SC veto) it is no exaggeration to say that the US is Israel’s partner in their ongoing war against Palestinians.

      I’m yet to hear “Chaos, Taxi, Annie etc.” defending the US wars in the Middle East – if you have, please provide quotes/links – so again:

      Straw Man Alert.

    • annie
      March 27, 2011, 12:05 am

      any of you Chaos, Taxi, Annie, etc,. your country is involved in 2 wars, soon 3, in countries now where near the US, but yet you criticize Israel.

      it disgusts me these wars and not just for the heinous crime in your link. what do you mean by ‘yet you criticize Israel’? does it mean as long as my counrtymen are commiting crimes i should give israel a pass? your logic seems a little skewed.

      i know how to multi task. i can advocate for free palestine while my countrymen are committing crimes against humanity all across the middle east.

    • eljay
      March 27, 2011, 12:31 am

      >> BTW, any of you Chaos, Taxi, Annie, etc,. your country is involved in 2 wars, soon 3, in countries now where near the US, but yet you criticize Israel.

      What America is doing is absolutely shameful. So, please clarify: How does that, in any way, make Israel’s ON-GOING aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder any more just or moral?

    • Chaos4700
      March 27, 2011, 3:11 am

      Yes, and thank you oh so much for those forged Nigerian documents.

    • Citizen
      March 28, 2011, 10:42 am

      Longliveisrael, yes, the US is involved in at least 2 wars and we are not justifying those wars here; ulimately they have no moral justification–it doesn’t help that our Leaders’ special relationship with Israel is a very substantial cause of these wars. The US is wrong, and so is its partner, Israel. So, we agree?

    • MRW
      March 28, 2011, 12:53 pm

      And you hoover up US tax dollars because you are too inept to make them yourselves; stealing is all you know. Ditto your supposed military invention prowess: stolen.

    • MRW
      March 28, 2011, 12:57 pm

      longliveisrael (contd)

      And since you haven’t been on this board as long as the rest of us, you have zero clue about who has said what about US wars here. So park it, bub. You’re out of your league with the regulars here. We’re miles ahead of you and sneering at you.

  14. Hostage
    March 27, 2011, 2:19 am

    Israel’s racist response to Itamar murders would be unthinkable in the U.S.

    I’m afraid I would have to disagree. In the days following 9/11 there were mass round-ups, detentions, and deportations across the US. Only people from certain Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries were targeted. Many of them were here legally and had valid petitions pending with the now-defunct INS. I remember the atmosphere was reminiscent of the irrational response to the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the internment of the Japanese-Americans.

    The Bush administration used the attacks as a justification to invade and subjugate two countries half a world away.

    • David Samel
      March 27, 2011, 6:01 pm

      Hostage, you make an excellent point, one that I overlooked. I did mean that such response would be unthinkable against the African-American community, or any other minority community except for Arabs or Muslims. I have often said here that the latter bigotry is the last remaining one permissible amonf polite society in the U.S. Sure there are racist overtones against others, but there is a need to camouflage racism where those others are concerned. Not so with Arabs and Muslims, who are clearly the most vulnerable minorities in this country.

      • Citizen
        March 28, 2011, 10:49 am

        Yes, Hostage makes a good and valid point about which most Americans don’t know, and don’t care. And, David, your point is also true.

        • MRW
          March 28, 2011, 12:58 pm

          Count me in on this opinion as well.

  15. GuiltyFeat
    March 27, 2011, 6:42 am

    I agree that much of the response by pro-Israel bloggers was knee-jerk and even racist, but if you go back over the news cycle, you will see that in the first day after this unspeakable crime there were news reports (later denied or retracted) that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the murders.

    There are several mentions of a leaflet that was sent to reporters:

    “‘The mujahid killed all who were in the house at around 1:15 am local time (2315 GMT) at predawn on Saturday’, the leaflet said adding that the attack was carried out successfully thanks to Allah.
    ‘This heroic operation is part of the natural response to the massacres of the fascist occupation against our people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,’ said the leaflet. ‘We tell the criminals of the (Israeli) occupation that their crimes won’t pass without punishment.”

    It’s perfectly possible that no such leaflet ever existed, but it’s also possible that many of the assumptions which you describe as racist sprang from this (possibly fake) report.

    I am not trying to justify racism, I am saying that if someone believed the armed wing of Fatah had claimed responsibility for the murders, then it was racist to say the murderers were Palestinian.

    • annie
      March 27, 2011, 7:31 am

      I am not trying to justify racism, I am saying that if someone believed the armed wing of Fatah had claimed responsibility for the murders, then it was racist to say the murderers were Palestinian.

      i suppose if someone lived in a cave and only came out for the one hour that claim was made before it was retracted you might have a point.

    • David Samel
      March 27, 2011, 6:10 pm

      Guilty, that is not my point at all. I don’t blame people for initially assuming that the perpetrator was Palestinian, though one should always reserve at least a little doubt until proven to be true. My point is that even if it were definitely a Palestinian who committed these murders, the response was savage, indiscriminate and blatantly racist. The Boston Police rampage through the black community in Mission Hill did not become inappropriate with the surprise twist that occurred months late; it was rancid from the start. The mass arrests, stonings, new housing units in ths case are much worse, and that is true even if the killer(s) turns out to be Palestinian.

      Of course, the identity of the perpetrator remains an important issue in its own right.

      • GuiltyFeat
        March 28, 2011, 4:42 am

        I agree that such an extreme response is indiscriminate and very ugly. I question whether it is racist.

        Also I have my doubts about the source you describe as “International activists”. The International Solidarity Movement does not claim to be impartial. It probably shouldn’t be used as a primary source.

        • Chaos4700
          March 28, 2011, 2:48 pm

          Nobody is impartial. Are you impartial?

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 5:37 am

          Of course not. My point was to distinguish between a news source like Haaretz which claims to adhere to some kind of journalistic standard (you are free to decide if it lives up to those claims) and ISM, which makes no such claims and therefore precludes it from being quoted as a primary source.

  16. GuiltyFeat
    March 27, 2011, 6:43 am

    Last line should read: “then it was not racist to say the murderers were Palestinian.”

  17. Potsherd2
    March 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Two weeks since the murders, gag order still in place, no leaks, no news coming out.

    By this time, they usually have a scapegoat to pin it on. I’m more and more thinking they know/suspect the murderer isn’t Palestinian and can’t let this out.

    • GuiltyFeat
      March 28, 2011, 4:36 am

      I think that’s a stretch.

      It’s just not something this country could keep secret and I’m and Israeli who believes that the story that was reported widely about celebrations in Rafah after the murder was clearly generated from nothing for propaganda’s sake.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2011, 11:24 am

        GuiltyFeat! What a great reference to the Zionist project! Wish I had thought of it.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 28, 2011, 12:22 pm

          Mooser, sweetie, whatever your thoughts on the behavior of Israel, its government and its citizens, when you refer to a sovereign country as a “project” you look like a bit of an ass.

          Criticize, don’t delegitimize.

        • annie
          March 28, 2011, 12:28 pm

          you look like a bit of an ass

          beauty being in the eyes of the beholder, this only informs us about you.

        • kapok
          March 28, 2011, 2:36 pm

          Greater good, not jewdihood.

        • Hostage
          March 28, 2011, 8:06 pm

          when you refer to a sovereign country as a “project” you look like a bit of an ass.

          GuiltyFeat the participants who attended the Basle Congress called the implementation of their program – the “Zionist Project”. Here is an extract from Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Volume 8, American Jewish Historical Society, 1900:


          By Max J. Kohlbr, A.M., LL.B., New York.

          The great interest the Zionist Congress, held at Basle recently, has aroused in the idea of the establishment of a Jewish State, renders timely a consideration of some earlier Zionist projects. The scope and aims of our society have suggested a limitation of this subject to this continent, but both schemes formed on this continent for the establishment of a Jewish State, and schemes formed elsewhere, designed to be executed in America, will be discussed. Of course, this paper does not even claim to exhaust all the projects that were formed. The attempt has been made throughout this article to avoid any controversial matter bearing on the Basle Congress project. I use the term “Zionist Project” here in a sense as broad and comprehensive as was given to it by the Basle Congress, so as to include all projects for assuring to the Jews “a publicly, legally assured home,” with some degree of autonomy. Probably the inclusion of projects for the establishment of a Jewish State elsewhere than in Palestine, makes our use of the term “Zionist Project” broader than it is in the official declaration of purposes of the Basle Congress, but as the latter repudiated almost wholly a religious purpose, the idea of a Jewish State, wherever to be located, is the important element.

        • Mooser
          March 28, 2011, 8:41 pm

          “when you refer to a sovereign country as a “project” you look like a bit of an ass.”

          Firsty of all, chump, get one thing straight, I’m not a bit of an ass, I’m probably the biggest ass you ever met, okay? And yes as “Hostage” so neatly shows us, “Zionist Project” is exactly the right words.

          And I’ll tell you something else: You better believe I am trying to “delegitimize Israel” because I firmly believe (and way more so since I’ve been reading Mondoweiss) that Israel and Zionism is trying its hardest to “delegitimize” me, both as an American and as a Jew. Got that straight?
          Israel is out to do me, as a Jew, no good. I’m not saying Israel wouldn’t be glad to use me, or have my support or contributions, but as a person and a Jew, Israel and Zionism means me nothing but harm, and turning Judaism into a nationalist project isn’t meant to do any Jew any good.
          What Israel wants, for its own purposes, is the greatest amount of alienation and bad feelings they can muster between Jews and anybody else. The Zionists who post here have done a very good job of convincing me of this. A year ago, I wasn’t even aware of this aspect of Zionism, but now I believe this is what Israel is counting on.
          Is that clear enough for you?

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 5:54 am

          Awesome work Hostage, but kinda proving my point that the term “Zionist Project” was fine right up until the moment that the world recognized the State of Israel as a sovereign entity. After that (or at least 60+ years after that) the reference is outdated and foolish. It’s like referring to India as “the former British colony”. It’s patronizing and unhelpful. Israel exists.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 6:07 am

          “I’m not a bit of an ass, I’m probably the biggest ass you ever met, okay?”

          Apologies. I can see from the rest of your rant, that your description is entirely accurate.

        • Avi
          March 29, 2011, 6:45 am

          GuiltyFeat March 29, 2011 at 5:54 am

          It’s like referring to India as “the former British colony”.

          Britain does not currently occupy India, nor is Britain transferring its own citizens to occupied land in India. Certainly, Britain did not expel and disposes hundreds of thousands of Indians, sending them to refugee camps throughout the region.

          The comparison is patently false.

          It’s patronizing and unhelpful. Israel exists.

          Patronizing as it may be, had it been intended as criticism, that comment would be mild and trivial by comparison to criticism stemming from Israel’s well-established track record of human rights violations, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

          “Unhelpful” to whom and serving what purpose?

          Israel exists.

          Israel was born as a colonial project, a project that is ongoing and whose effects are still being felt by the indigenous Palestinian population.

        • annie
          March 29, 2011, 7:53 am

          After that (or at least 60+ years after that) the reference is outdated and foolish

          walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s the zionists project and it stinks more and more everyday! Knesset passes law revoking citizenship for treason

          An Israel Beiteinu bill derided by critics as unfairly targeting Israeli Arabs passed into law late Monday night, and was welcomed by supporters as strengthening internal deterrence against would-be terrorists and traitors. The Citizenship Law enables courts to revoke citizenship, in addition to issuing prison sentences, against people who are convicted of treason, serious treason, aiding the enemy in a time of war, or having committed terror against the state.

          MK attends court hearing on her petition against Knesset’s decision to revoke her rights for participating in Gaza flotilla. ‘Extreme Right has become face of Israeli society. Knesset grants immunity to racists,’ she says

          link to

          The Supreme Court began Monday to debate a petition filed by MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), against a Knesset decision to revoke her rights for participating in the flotilla to Gaza last May.

          “The rightist consensus in the Knesset is trying to punish me and not allow me freedom of expression,” Zoabi said. Rightists who awaited her exit from the court called her a “terrorist”.

          next they’ll be revoking her citizenship. the zionist project is still about ethnic cleansing.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 8:24 am

          From the same JPost article you linked to:

          “The Citizenship Law enables courts to revoke citizenship – in addition to issuing prison sentences – against people who are convicted of treason, serious treason, aiding the enemy in a time of war or having committed an act of terror against the state.”

          Actually I find this pretty abhorrent. Nevertheless, the revocation of citizenship (whatever that means) and jail time stands up pretty well against the treatment meted out by Hamas to suspected collaborators whether with Israel or Fatah, no?

          link to
          link to
          link to
          link to

          I’m not a big fan of whataboutery, but if you’re accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, we’re not nearly as good at it as Hamas aspires to being.

        • annie
          March 29, 2011, 8:38 am

          From the same JPost article you linked to:

          did you read my blockquote? i copied that already. your point?

          the revocation of citizenship (whatever that means)

          you do not know what it means? it means one becomes stateless unless one has dual citizenship. yes, we know after the gaza massacre hamas excecuted collaborators and spies.

          if you’re accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing

          what do you mean if? israel revoked about 4000 residency permits for EJ in 08 alone. the zionist project was built on ethnic cleansing and it is still going on.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 12:48 pm

          Annie I really think the ethnic cleansing issue is a bit of own goal.

          How many Jews are living in Gaza? How many Arabs are living in Israel? In a Hamas-led government, how many Jews (let’s not even ask about women or homosexuals) would sit in the supreme court?

          Hamas is desperate for a one-state solution so it show you what Apartheid and ethnic cleansing really means.

          I am not defending my country’s record, but if you’re going to talk about removing an ethnicity from the region, there’s only one side that has it written into its charter.

      • Chaos4700
        March 28, 2011, 2:47 pm

        Oh, really? Do you know where Najd is, out of curiosity. Since you’re so well informed and your country isn’t prone to keeping secrets.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 6:05 am

          link to

          In what way is this secret?

          I believe in a negotiated two-state solution with appropriate compensation paid to the families whose land was taken. There is no way to undo or reverse the Nakba. Sderot exists. Najd is gone. We must all move forwards and not condemn another generation of Palestinians to occupation and statelessness.

          The solution is not to destroy Israel, but to build Palestine.

          link to

        • annie
          March 29, 2011, 7:33 am

          gag me w/your rawabi link.

          I believe in a negotiated two-state solution with appropriate compensation paid to the families whose land was taken. There is no way to undo or reverse the Nakba. Sderot exists.

          settlements exist all over the west bank too. do you also believe palestinians can be appropriately compensated with money? There is no way to undo or reverse the Nakba just like there is no way to undo or reverse the holocaust. but that doesn’t mean palestinians are giving up their international right of return and it also doesn’t mean settlers can’t or shouldn’t be removed from illegal settlements built in the occupied territory.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 8:14 am

          I believe all settlers should be removed from illegal settlements. When I say Israel exists, I mean as a sovereign state within ’67 borders. Delegitimization of the State of Israel within 67 borders is unhelpful to either side, because Israel is not going to cease to exist. Let’s work on defining a state for Palestinians which doesn’t require 7.5 million Israelis to change their passports.

          What’s wrong with Rawabi? I have always felt that part of the international narrative of the Palestinians is that they are poor farmers tending to their sad olive trees juxtaposed with an swaggering hi-tech nuclear power. I find this false narrative patronizing and useless. Perhaps if people saw that Ramallah was a town no different to Petach Tikva and that Rawabi could be another Modiin, they would embrace the similarities between the two sides rather than highlight the differences.

        • annie
          March 29, 2011, 8:41 am

          the only thing sad about olive trees is settlers uprooting and burning them.

        • annie
          March 29, 2011, 8:52 am

          Let’s work on defining a state for Palestinians

          you are barking up the wrong tree. why should we bother. go hang out on likud settler or zionist sites and tell them to speak to their leader. what became abundantly clear after the palestine papers is israel isn’t ever going to agree to a palestinian state so what’s the point of us defining one?

          Delegitimization of the State of Israel within 67 borders is unhelpful

          israel deligitimizes itself daily, we just report it and discuss it. if you want the delitimization to stop go advocate israel change it’s policies and stop enabling them. the truth deligitimizes israel.

        • GuiltyFeat
          March 29, 2011, 12:54 pm

          “the only thing sad about olive tree is settlers uprooting and burning them.”

          Miss the point much?

          Of course that’s horrendous. You keep trying to score points with stuff I’m against.

          But couldn’t the narrative be about unemployed IT people. About lack of access to universities. I think you are doing Palestinians a huge disservice by focusing on farming and small shareholders (of course they’re important). You depersonalize Palestinians by making them seem as though they’re from a different era. Meanwhile the economy in the West Bank is growing steadily and most of the world doesn’t realize that Palestinians look the same and want the same as most Israelis. I think that’s a far more powerful message.

      • annie
        March 29, 2011, 6:35 am

        the story that was reported widely about celebrations in Rafah after the murder was clearly generated from nothing for propaganda’s sake.

        guess what wasn’t reported on march 12th? Tens of thousands in Gaza march demanding national unity March 12, 2011

        and posted the same day. oh, they wrote about it all right, but it wasn’t in celebrations of the murder.

        GAZA, (PIC)– Tens of thousands took part in the march organized by national factions in Gaza Strip on Friday demanding an end to internal division and restoration of national unity.

        The marchers hit the streets following the Friday congregation and headed to the Palestinian legislative council hoisting placards calling for an end to the internal rift and an end to the siege while hoisting Palestinian flags only.

        Almost all factions took part in the march with the exception of Fatah as their leaders marched hand in hand and lifted Palestinian flags.

        One of those leaders read out the march’s statement affirming that the Palestinian people would remain resolute and would continue along the road of resistance and would not be dissuaded from its rights and constants by “Cast Lead” crimes.

        He added that all participants affirm the importance of national unity.

        He stressed that the West Bank and Gaza are part of one nation that would eventually unite to confront “Zionist challenges”.

        The leader said that democracy must prevail to ensure presidential, legislative, and municipal elections that should be respected by all, calling as a priority for ending political detention and allowing freedoms.

        i first read about this while visiting the photojounalist section of the news while reading the captions of the photos. the news story that caught my attention was the ‘passing out the candy’ photo. i just happened to flip to the next one and the one after that. all taken the same day in gaza and all crowds of smiles and cheering. all the others carried captions of the day of unity except the one of the candy and i thought ot myself ‘how do they know they weren’t passing out candy to celebrate the unity?’

        so i totally agree that candy story was invented for propaganda.

  18. longliveisrael
    March 28, 2011, 1:46 pm

    What I love about the anti-Israel crowd is how you confuse us with your message. On the one hand we are idiots that you “sneer” at, on the other hand we are capable of the most devious of plots and machinations. The usual “stealing is all we know” and so on.

    Oh, and you NEVER generalize.

    • Chaos4700
      March 28, 2011, 2:00 pm

      There’s nothing really altogether that sophisticated about Arab-hating and state sponsored pogroms, Israel. Don’t overrate yourself.

    • Mooser
      March 28, 2011, 8:54 pm

      “Oh, and you NEVER generalize.”

      Little tip: if you don’t want to be generalised about, don’t declare yourself a ‘people’ a ‘nation’ and start a state. If on the other hand, you do those things, you can expect to be generalised about.
      That’s life, you can’t deny it, as the song so accurately says.

  19. Mooser
    March 28, 2011, 8:46 pm

    “we are idiots that you “sneer” at,”

    “The usual “stealing is all we know” and so on.”

    I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the attribution for those two quotes. I mean, you are quoting somebody, right? Or is there some Zionist mind-reading technique which allows you to put in quotes what you know people are really saying. That must be it, it couldn’t be a very basic kind of dishonesty, could it?