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Touring Palestine, you see… Jewish symbols everywhere

on 64 Comments

jewswestbank9I spent several days in Palestine earlier this month, and even when I was deep in Palestinian territory, on lands that are supposed to become a Palestinian state, I saw Jewish symbols.

Like this menorah, just outside the Palestinian city of Nablus, seen out the bus window of a bus filled with Palestinians going to Ramallah. How would that make you feel?

If you want to understand why the peace process is a joke… If you want to understand why the two-state solution actually feels impossible… If you want to understand why Palestinians feel no sense of sovereignty inside their historic lands… then all you have to do is drive around a little and see how deep is the Jewish presence in the occupied territories.

I’m not talking about the settlements. They’re on all the hilltops. I’m talking about Jewish/Israeli symbols and declarations on the road.

And yes, people say that the Israelis can pull out. I just don’t believe it.



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64 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    October 18, 2011, 9:40 am

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

    The worst part is that I, as a non-Jew, am starting to see these symbols as Israeli symbols and not religious ones. When the Star of David or Menorah is no different than the hammer and sickle, that should trouble people.

    • Antidote
      October 18, 2011, 10:55 am

      Since when was the Star of David a religious symbol or universally adopted and recognized as a Jewish symbol? 19th century, with a few localized forerunners in early modern Europe. A bit late to claim biblical or talmudic authority. It’s no more ‘Jewish’ than the Swastika is ‘German’

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 18, 2011, 11:04 am

        Well, no matter when it began (I confess I have no knowledge of the history of the symbol), it is, today, pretty universally accepted as a Jewish symbol, as far as I can tell.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 18, 2011, 3:05 pm

        “sure, if it’s blue and shows the lines of the pentagram. What if it’s red, no inner lines, or yellow?”

        Are there any examples of such “red, no inner lines, or yellow” in the pictures?

      • Antidote
        October 19, 2011, 1:39 am

        woody, there lots of pics here:

        My post was censored (I don’t see why?) but my point was that while the SoD has six points and the Pentagram/Red Star five, ambiguity and amalgamation are not unusual in the history of symbolism, especially if they are widely used by different cultural, religious or political groups (also true for the swastika, they don’t all look exactly the same either)

        Passage from The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia:

        MAGEN DAVID ‘(Heb. ‘Shield of David’): Mystical symbol consisting of two superimposed triangles forming a star or hexagram; today regarded as a Jewish symbol. Although occurring in the Capernaum synagogue (3rd cent. CE), it was in ancient times predominantly a non-Jewish decorative motif (e.g. on Roman mosaic pavements), and is found in Christian churches in the Middle Ages, while absent from contemporary Jewish decoration and not mentioned in rabbinic literature. The name figures from the 13th cent. in the ‘practical Kabbalah,’ where it is a magic symbol associated with the pentagram or ‘Star of Solomon’ (with which it is frequently confused). The origin and period of its adoption as a Jewish symbol is a matter of dispute. It occurs in a specifically Jewish context in Prague in the 17th cent. The M.D. was adopted by the First Zionist Congress (1897) as a symbol, and figures on the flags of the Zionist Organization and of the State of Israel. It was used by the Nazis, in the form of a yellow star, as the Jewish ‘Badge of shame.'”

        Merriam-Webster’s encyclopedia of world religions states that Jews during the Middle Ages and in the 17th century attached protective powers to the SoD, just as non-Jews had long attached such magical powers to the pentagram. Such pagan practices, however, are incompatible with divine orders:

        ‘When you enter the Land which Yahveh your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to Yahveh and because of these detestable things Yahveh your God will drive them out before you. You must be blameless before Yahveh your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you,Yahveh your God has not allowed you to do so.’ (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)

        In the late medieval context and during the Reformation, all kinds of magical practices and worship of non-Christian symbols were vigorously persecuted (or at least exorcised by the counter-magic of Cross display), and this witch craze lasted for several centuries. It is as if Christians and Jews somewhat switched sides, with the former literally following tough OT directives (Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live) that quite obviously collide with the teachings of the NT (Christ exorcises devils without submitting the afflicted to the stake). Meanwhile, the latter, not known to be engaged in burning each other or Christians for sorcery, increasingly indulge in outlawed idolatry and carry magical symbols for protection rather than place their faith in God (and without being persecuted for it by the Christian witch hunters).

        The next step was adoption of the SoD as a Zionist symbol on the late 19th c and the Zionist/Israeli flag. Protected by the Jewish state, a secular project.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 19, 2011, 10:02 am

        “woody, there lots of pics here:”

        What, exactly, is your point? The pictures at your link depict five pointed star. They are irrelevant to the discussion as the Star of David is six pointed. I’m not really following your point. Yes, it is a late-adopted symbol of Judaism. So what? At this point, it is a symbol of Judaism.

      • DICKERSON3870
        October 18, 2011, 3:16 pm


        The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David (Hebrew מָגֵן דָּוִד; Biblical Hebrew Māḡēn Dāwīḏ, Tiberian [mɔˈɣen dɔˈvið], Modern Hebrew [maˈɡen daˈvid], Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish Mogein Dovid [ˈmɔɡeɪn ˈdɔvid] or Mogen Dovid) is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.[1]
        Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles. One triangle represents the ruling tribe of Judah and the other the former ruling tribe of Benjamin. It is also seen as a dalet and yud, the two letters assigned to Judah. There are 12 Vav, or “men,” representing the 12 tribes or patriarchs of Israel. The hexagram has been in use as a symbol of Judaism since the 17th century, with precedents in the 14th to 16th centuries in Central Europe, where the Shield of David was partly used in conjunction with the Seal of Solomon (the hexagram) on Jewish flags. Its use probably derives from medieval (11th to 13th century) Jewish protective amulets (segulot)…

        SOURCE –

        P.S. The Star of David pales in comparison to my humongous military cap/hat. Everyone genuflect before me! I command it! It is so decreed! (Being a U.S.-sponsored dictator is so kewl!)
        Genuflection –

      • Antidote
        October 19, 2011, 1:46 am
      • DICKERSON3870
        October 20, 2011, 7:35 pm

        Bless you, my son!

  2. Chaos4700
    October 18, 2011, 9:43 am

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — letting Israel steal Jewish symbolism from the rest of Judaism and emblazon that symbolism on their tanks and bombs and other instruments of the Occupation will forever taint that symbolism and will forever tie the stone of Zionism around Judaism’s neck. The same exact way the existing symbolism of the swastika has been forever poisoned by what Nazi Germany did with it.

    • DBG
      October 18, 2011, 9:53 am

      do you feel the same with Islam Chaos? the majority of Muslim states have Islamic symbols on their flags and uniforms.

      • Chu
        October 18, 2011, 10:14 am

        Good point, Yonira.

      • DBG
        October 18, 2011, 10:36 am

        thanks Avi

      • Chu
        October 18, 2011, 11:01 am

        I know it’s you Yonira. I am sure. You go back to your old ways
        and it’s easy to see. I can prove it further. Just say the word.

        But going from David Ben Gurion from Yonira? You really upped the ante brother.

      • DBG
        October 18, 2011, 11:16 am

        LOL, you guys are too much on this site. Wasn’t someone just accusing asher of being someone else too?

        maybe you can include a handwriting analysis while you are at it.

      • Chu
        October 18, 2011, 11:38 am

        Actually, Yoni disappeared from the website after outing himself that he wasn’t fully Jewish. Only half.
        Then you show up five days later with a real macho name like DBG. (omg!)

        But you revert to calling everyone by their first name, a yoni trait indeed. And Chaos and you, well that love affair will go on forever in your mind, son.

        February 19 2011 12:25pm

        February 24, 2011 1:28am

      • annie
        October 18, 2011, 11:44 am

        great catch chu

      • Chu
        October 18, 2011, 11:47 am

        thx for the conyers link, annie.

      • DBG
        October 18, 2011, 11:50 am

        WOW, quite the sleuth, I think my first comment on this blog was from 2011-02-16 00:06:16 though.

        I pretty sure all of the Zionist posters on this site are just one robot anyways. There is no one in the world who would actually side with Israel.

        If you want we can talk w/ the moderators, perhaps they’d allow me to change my name to Yonira for you guys? can you tell me about any of his other traits? he must have left a strong impression on you Chu, LOL.

      • Chu
        October 18, 2011, 12:04 pm

        and de-nial is a river in Egypt, Yoni.

        Talk with the moderators? huh.
        Why bother when I know it’s you.

        Given the amount of traffic ‘Yoni’ made,
        I knew he wasn’t going to pack up his tent
        and head elsewhere. He just macho-ed up
        from Private Yonira to Private First Class DBG .

      • Chaos4700
        October 18, 2011, 9:14 pm

        Call me when Muslim states are herding Jews or Christians behind 12-foot-tall concrete barriers and through military checkpoints just to reach school or their farmlands or the hospital, or dropping bombs or mortars or tank shells on Jewish- or Christian-majority cities, the way your Jewish state does to Muslims and Christians.

      • BradB
        October 19, 2011, 2:20 pm

        Call me when there are a sizeable number of Jews in a Muslim state, before we discuss your hyperbole.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2011, 3:10 am

        You mean like there is in Iran? With a seat on the Iranian parliament? Is that what you mean?

    • Chu
      October 18, 2011, 10:13 am

      Chaos, the more conservative the synagogue, the more pro-Israel they are.Go to a synagogue and see all the Gilad Shalit material at the door and pro IDF support pamphlets. Israel is what they’ve been waiting for, and Jerusalem non negotiable. Why should they not boast a star of David or a menorah? Israel is their long awaited dream come to life.

      *I saw a HUGE billboard on the west side highway this weekend near the Javitz Center. The picture shows Obama and Abbas, and says something like Jerusalem cannot be divided. But, what is really should say in subtext is The Occupation is far from over America. Stop worrying about the economy and support Israel.

  3. Theo
    October 18, 2011, 10:11 am

    Communist eastern Europe was full of symbols of that ruling party.
    After the fall of communism, those red stars, statues of Lenin, Stalin, Marx and Engels, vanished very fast.
    After the palestinians take control of their land, removing the jewish symbols will be just a childs play. I wish that was the most difficult task in front of that people.

    • Mndwss
      October 18, 2011, 12:59 pm

      Symbols that represent evil can be removed:

      But today “us Americans” support the modern symbol of lebensraum for the new master race and genocide against new jews (Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims).

      And a friendly symbol can be created of a soldier that was taken as a prisoner of war when he was attacking defenseless people in Gaza.

      I wonder if IDF changed the rules to: Do not Smoke ’em if you got ’em. Stay in your friendly tank! ?

      The friendly soldier is now honorary citizen of Paris, Rome, Miami, New Orleans, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

      Soon he will be god/messiah/PM or something for his friendly nation…

      This is a strange world…

  4. dimadok
    October 18, 2011, 11:18 am

    I do not know whether to laugh or to cry….
    Israel flag is offensive, Menorah is offensive, Star of David is offensive… but memorial plate on the place where someone was murdered is also offensive?
    Why don’t you Phil focus your reporting on looking for organic restaurants in Judea and Samaria, since you make yourself a laughing stock here.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 18, 2011, 11:54 am

      “Israel flag is offensive, Menorah is offensive, Star of David is offensive… but memorial plate on the place where someone was murdered is also offensive?”

      If you want to put them in the part of Palestine which you stole and call “Israel”, that’s not offensive, beyond when it promotes Nakba celebration and the oppression of the Native Palestinians. When you spread it to the rest of Palestine, then, yes, it is offensive. Not the symbols, per se, but the placement.

      • pjdude
        October 19, 2011, 2:24 am

        all of israel is stolen palestine

    • philweiss
      October 18, 2011, 12:57 pm

      thanks for translation dimadok! appreciated.
      i didnt know that. whom does it memorialize?

      • Shmuel
        October 18, 2011, 1:10 pm

        It is a memorial to Assaf Hershkowitz:

        Two of the banners in the fifth photo read: “This is Eretz Yisrael, Ya Salah” – a line from Haim Hefer’s “Salah’s Song” (from the film “Salah Shabati”):
        Can someone translate the Arabic?

      • dimadok
        October 18, 2011, 1:21 pm

        Thanks Shmuel.

      • annie
        October 18, 2011, 1:23 pm

        They took me by ship,
        They took me away, and took me here.
        They gave us a bed, a kerosene cookstove,
        A torn blanket, and a table.
        They took me, my little doll,
        Gave me a tin shack.
        They took me away, took me;
        When will I also get to take?

        Ach ya rab…

        How we saw the era of the Messiah,
        how we heard the call of the Shofar…
        How we said, God is watching over (us),
        [we] won’t want for anything here.
        Instead of the Messiah, I came
        and now there’s no-one to help (us).
        There’s no Messiah, just Sallah Shabbati,
        who uses his back (for loads), like a donkey.

        who took them away?

        His family immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1936 and settled in Raanana. He began writing at the age of 13, as part of a national contest. He never finished high school and joined the Palmach in 1943.[1] He took part in smuggling illegal immigrants through Syria and Lebanon. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he was one of the founders of the Chizbatron, the Palmach army troupe, and was its chief songwriter.[2]

        In the 1950s, he and Dahn Ben-Amotz wrote A Bag of Fibs, a collection of tall stories made up in the Palmach, and founded the “Hamam” club in Jaffa. During that time, he founded “Revi’iat Moadon HaTeatron” (Theater Club Quartet). He wrote a weekly column for Yediot Aharonot, which included maqamas on current affairs.[2] A Bag of Fibs achieved cult status in Israel.[3] He was later made a cultural attache to the Israeli consul in Los Angeles.[4]

      • Shmuel
        October 18, 2011, 1:31 pm

        The subject of the song is not Hefer, but the Yemenite immigrant Salah Shabati (played by Topol). The “they” Shabati refers to in his song are the Ashkenazi Labour-Zionist (Mapai) establishment who brought him to Israel.

        The film has a lot of conflicting messages and has been analysed to death.

        The banner in Phil’s photo is obviously addressed to another “Salah”, and is meant to convey a rather different message.

      • seafoid
        October 18, 2011, 1:40 pm

        There’s no Messiah, just Sallah Shabbati,
        who uses his back (for loads), like a donkey.

        there’s a famous image of a Palestinian peasant carrying al quds on his back

      • Shmuel
        October 18, 2011, 3:08 pm

        The donkey imagery is based on the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem, poor and riding upon an ass. The stanza refers to the strong religious beliefs of many Mizrahi Jews (particularly the Yemenite) that allowed them to be easily manipulated by the secular Zionist establishment. Shabati expresses his disappointment – he had expected to find the Messiah in Zion, but found only an ass, and that ass was Shabati himself.

        I wouldn’t ascribe that much insight to the settlers who put up those banners, but the connection between the Jewish Salah robbed of the “Eretz Yisrael” of his faith and the Palestinian Salah robbed of Palestine is thought-provoking.

      • jon s
        jon s
        October 19, 2011, 7:22 am

        Shmuel, a correction: the song is not from the film “Salah Shabbati” (1964) but from the musical produced originally in 1988, where Salah was played by Ze’ev Revah.

      • Shmuel
        October 19, 2011, 7:56 am

        Thanks, jon. You’re right.

      • Walid
        October 19, 2011, 12:13 pm

        “The donkey imagery is based on the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem, poor and riding upon an ass.”

        This passage also served as one a several signs to confirm Jesus as the Messiah as he made his entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey (at his express request) on Palm Sunday, for those that eventually became Christians.

      • MHughes976
        October 19, 2011, 6:06 pm

        The different forms that this prophecy takes in Zechariah (Heb and Gk), Matthew and John are an indication of how difficult the concept of Messiahship is – is it about peace or victory?
        Perhaps – considering the anti-Greek tone of these oracles – the original meaning concerned a real visit by a real, presumably Iranian, king to his dominions in Palestine threatened by Athenian or Macedonian machinations. That old Jewish-Persian alliance!

  5. seafoid
    October 18, 2011, 11:27 am

    The contrast in money spent on West Bank archaeological sites such as Herodion (Jewish, lavishly funded, visitor info site, restaurant) ) and Hisham’s palace (Arab, neglected, just piles of stones) says it all. Or the road from the airport to Jerusalem with all the signposts to “Jewish sites”. Hasmonean this. Maccabee that. There is only one history that matters.
    It is such a crock of Zionist garbage.

  6. October 18, 2011, 1:15 pm

    That’s why I don’t belive in so called “peace process”. It is just a sand blown in people’s faces to stop them from seeing what is really going on.
    I do not belive Israel peacefully is going to retreat from Palestine.
    I don’t believe the zionists are capable of living up to what the ‘civilized” world demands from them. They have their own agenda and it does not include Free and Independent Palestine.
    Real, ,merciless Power gives up ONLY when is forced to.
    The whole history of humankind proves it. This situation is NO exception.

  7. Kathleen
    October 18, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Art Gish had talked with us for several decades about this. Israeli’s persistent and cruel efforts to poke at and incite Palestinians. Just flat out cruel.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    October 18, 2011, 2:57 pm

    RE: “Like this menorah, just outside the Palestinian city of Nablus, seen out the bus window of a bus filled with Palestinians going to Ramallah. How would that make you feel?” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I recall reading something written by a young American Jew after visiting Israel (on a Birthright “trip”, I think*) before going off to college. He or she bemoaned the fact that wealthy American Jews seemed determined to cover the Israeli landscape with huge, tacky menorahs.
    Another Birthright success story!

    *I remember one young American Jew who was perturbed that his/her parents wanted him/her to go on the Birthright “trip”. That person resisted at first, but eventually caved when his/her parents said they would buy him/her a new BMW for college if they would submit to Birthright’s brainwashing effort.

  9. Cliff
    October 18, 2011, 3:15 pm

    During Cast Lead, IDF goons carved the star of David in a field in Gaza I think. We had an article of it here too.

    The point about these symbols is that they are inflicted upon the indigenous population as a show of force and power. It’s the zionists who politicize these symbols like the colonist thugs they are.

    The comments from the short bus crew of zios here affirm that sentiment.

    The symbols are in occupied Palestine or following the Gaza massacre. They are often sprayed like grafitti on Palestinian graves or buildings belonging to palestinians.

    I thought the context was clear but never doubt the tin foil hat intellectualism of zionists at MW.

  10. Exiled At Home
    Exiled At Home
    October 18, 2011, 4:54 pm

    If you want to understand why the two-state solution actually feels impossible… If you want to understand why Palestinians feel no sense of sovereignty inside their historic lands… then all you have to do is drive around a little and see how deep is the Jewish presence in the occupied territories.

    Phil, I’ve been saying it and saying it. Glad to finally see some people who purport to be Pro-Palestinian who see through the sham that is the 2SS. It’s nothing but a fantasy to keep chasing so as to maintain the status quo. In reality it will never work, nor can Israel come to terms with one state, so we have the never-ending “process” in pursuit of something that will never be.

  11. October 18, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Its like me walking over to my neighbor’s place and spray painting “mine” on his garage door.

    • Walid
      October 19, 2011, 12:18 pm

      POA, it’s more akin to the wolf that pisses all around his territory to delineate it against intruders. This is just the Israelis ‘ way of claiming land all over the WB by pissing all over it with their Zionist paraphernalia.

  12. jon s
    jon s
    October 19, 2011, 7:27 am

    I’ve been following Phil’s reports, haven’t seen a single report yet from Tel Aviv, or any where else in Israel except Jerusalem.

    • Chaos4700
      October 19, 2011, 9:19 am

      So? Maybe Phil isn’t interested in night clubs or beach resorts.

    • Mooser
      October 19, 2011, 7:15 pm

      “I’ve been following Phil’s reports, haven’t seen a single report yet from Tel Aviv, or any where else in Israel except Jerusalem.”

      And you don’t know how lucky you are? Do you really think that the Israelis will endear themselves to Phil, or are you just hoping he’ll be rercognised and beaten up in your vaunted “Jewish democracy”?

    • Cliff
      October 19, 2011, 9:47 pm

      jon s, why don’t you pay for Phil to travel all over Israel. Clearly you want his reporting.

  13. aparatchik
    October 19, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Why can’t Jews be citizens of a future state of Palestine just as Arabs are citizens of Israel? The only way such a state will come about is through war or peace. If it is through peace, then the Arabs will have accepted the Jews as neighbours with self-determination so why not as citizens too?

    • Cliff
      October 19, 2011, 9:44 pm

      Why are Jews allowed to settle in Palestinian land against international law and facilitated by a 45 year military occupation and Palestinians are not?

      Why is Israel allowed to ‘relocate’ 30,000 Bedouins from their land and homes? Why is Israel allowed to create a new Jewish neighborhood in occupied E. Jerusalem?

      Why didn’t Israel allow the Palestinians ethnically cleansed in the 48′ war, to return to their homes?

      Why did Israel raze 500+ Palestinian villages?

      Why is Israel able to do all of these things, and the only thing that concerns you is whether Jews can gain citizenship in a hypothetical Palestinian state that won’t even exist BECAUSE of the aforementioned LITANY of crimes?

      Why are you so obtuse?

    • Chaos4700
      October 22, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Before 1948, they did. It was European Zionists who destroyed that society.

  14. Cliff
    October 19, 2011, 9:48 pm

    Remember this news item, guys?


    • Cliff
      October 20, 2011, 1:04 pm


      • DBG
        October 20, 2011, 1:21 pm

        you mean from when you mentioned it before today?

      • Chaos4700
        October 20, 2011, 9:39 pm

        You forgot to spam us with the article about the 0.002% of Palestinian prisoners released who are actually quite possibly terrorists, DBG. Just thought I’d mention the oversight, you seem to be dredging that up faster than one can type “Hamas charter” at any and every opportunity.

      • DBG
        October 21, 2011, 9:47 am

        .002%? really? so you basically think all of the Palestinians released were innocent?

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2011, 3:08 am

        How many do you think were guilty? Why don’t you put a number on that. Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. “Interfaith.”

  15. jon s
    jon s
    October 22, 2011, 4:36 am

    I can’t understand people complaining – justifiably- about the settlers, and then not supporting the 2 state solution. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • Sumud
      October 22, 2011, 7:12 am

      …and then not supporting the 2 state solution. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

      I support it, I just see that it will NEVER happen. So I cast my lot elsewhere.

      Make sense?

    • Chaos4700
      October 22, 2011, 1:55 pm

      What, and you make more sense? Supporting the settlers and the bantustans? Uh oh, are you going to exploit 9/11 at us again?

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