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In 2004, Jeffrey Goldberg warned Israelis might murder Israeli PM over deal

Israel/Palestine
Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg

The history of rightwing Jewish extremism in Israel is strong. Not 20 years ago a religious extremist murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin because he was considering giving up land to Palestinians under the Oslo accords. Killer Yigal Amir was backed by a conspiracy including rabbis and settlers.

Ten years ago Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister, and Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The New York Times that settlers were urging Sharon’s assassination because he might give up land.

Today Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to do the same thing, give up land, yet we hear nothing about that history of Jew-on-Jew violence in Israeli society. Why isn’t Yigal Amir’s name a household word in the discourse of Israel/Palestine? Why isn’t the violent religious settler culture that nurtured him in our press? It is surely seething now that the Kerry framework nears completion.

Has that culture gone away? Yossi Gurvitz says it’s alive and well. So does Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath. But the mainstream media are ignoring his account of rightwing elements in Israeli society. (Why can’t they even do a hatchet job on it?) They’re not just hiding the crazy uncle in the attic– they’re hiding a crazed homicidal uncle.

Where is Jeffrey Goldberg when we need him? Here is Goldberg, writing in great detail in The New York Times in August 2004 about rightwing extremists threatening to kill the prime minister:

Ayelet [a settler in Ofra] wore a long skirt, her hair was covered, and she carried an M-16. I asked her if she thought Amalek [biblical enemy of Jews] was alive today. “Of course,” she said…

“Sharon isn’t Amalek,” she said, “but he works for Amalek.”..

“Sharon is forfeiting his right to live,” she said.

I asked her if she would like to kill him.

“It’s not for me to do. If the rabbis say it, then someone will do it. He is working against God.”

Over the past year, I’ve heard at least 14 young Orthodox settlers – in outposts, and in yeshivas in the West Bank and Jerusalem – express with vehemence a desire to murder Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his men, in particular the deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and the defense minister, Shaul Mofaz. I’ve met several more who actively pray – and, I suspect, work – for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim shrine on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. And I have met dozens more who would not sit shiva, certainly not for the Dome, but not for their prime minister, either.

The threat of the radical right has become a matter of terrible urgency in the Israeli government. Avi Dichter, the chief of the Israeli internal security service, … told a Knesset committee last month that his agents believe there are 150 to 200 settlers hoping to kill Mr. Sharon. A member of the committee asked, “If we were talking about Palestinians and not Jews, would you place these people in administrative detention?” Mr. Dichter answered, “Absolutely.”

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17 Responses

  1. hophmi
    hophmi
    February 25, 2014, 12:11 pm

    “Today Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to do the same thing, give up land, yet we hear nothing about that history of Jew-on-Jew violence in Israeli society. Why isn’t Yigal Amir’s name a household word in the discourse of Israel/Palestine?”

    We hear virtually nothing about the history of Palestinian-on-Palestinian and Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Palestinian society. Hamas and Fatah had a civil war a few years ago. There are plenty of Islamic radicals in Palestine and in other terrorist groups who would gladly assassinate Mahmoud Abbas over his willingness to talk to the Israelis.

    Yigal Amir is certainly a household name in my community. Everyone knows who he is.

    “Why isn’t the violent religious settler culture that nurtured him in our press?”

    Because, as usual, your assumptions are 100% wrong. There have been plenty of stories about violent settlers on the right. Here are two recent ones from the NY Times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/world/middleeast/palestinians-corner-jewish-settlers-during-clash-in-west-bank.html?_r=0

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/israels-defense-minister-calls-settlers-attacks-on-palestinians-outright-terror/

    But at the end of the day, these guys are a far smaller percentage of Israeli society than Islamic fundamentalists are in Palestinian society. The vast majority of the settlers are not fanatics.

    • doug
      doug
      February 25, 2014, 1:01 pm

      >> “But at the end of the day, these guys are a far smaller percentage of Israeli society than Islamic fundamentalists are in Palestinian society. The vast majority of the settlers are not fanatics.”

      Oh Really! You need to get out more.

      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/yigal-amir-s-thousands-of-sons-1.232644

      “It is no coincidence that the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies stands deserted, while on the soccer fields, the murderer is cheered and the victim is booed.
      The real Rabin legacy should be sought on the soccer fields, in the classrooms, the outposts, the yeshivas, among the secular, the religious and the traditional; in fact, everywhere in the country where – according to surveys – 38 percent of the religious public view Yigal Amir as a hero. The Rabin legacy is in fact the anti-Rabin legacy.”

      But hey, Israel has surely become less polarized and more democratic in the last 6 1/2 years. Right? Hello?

      • Donald
        Donald
        February 25, 2014, 1:21 pm

        Note also that in hophmi’s view, if the settlers aren’t “fanatics” then they’re apparently okay. This is how you’d get to the conclusion he wants to reach–a picture where Palestinian society is sick, while Israeli society is basically fine. But if you’re a settler you’re already telling Palestinians that you have the right to live on their land. Which is racist, unless the settler also thinks Palestinians should have the right of return. How many settlers wish to live in a 1SS with equal rights for all?

      • The JillyBeans
        The JillyBeans
        February 25, 2014, 10:26 pm

        There are plenty of settlers that move out to the occupied territories because of the enticements and are willing to move back if required. So it’s not all “I have a religious right to this land so screw you” type mentalities. HOWEVER, they are participating in internationally illegal acts in the first place. So no points there.

    • Nevada Ned
      Nevada Ned
      February 25, 2014, 3:10 pm

      Hophmi,

      if I want an accurate portrayal of the right wingers in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, I would not listen to you. Instead, I’d turn to Max Blumenthal’s new book, Goliath.

      Even Eric Alterman admits that the facts in the book are right.

      The Israeli government takes “social media” seriously, and has hired a number of bloggers and commenters to make their case on social media.

      Enough said!

    • Qualtrough
      Qualtrough
      February 26, 2014, 8:10 am

      The settlers are all fanatics, that’s why they are living there. Some are just worse than others.

    • talknic
      talknic
      February 26, 2014, 1:50 pm

      @ hophmi “We hear virtually nothing about the history of Palestinian-on-Palestinian and Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Palestinian society”

      What-aboutery fail: Israel’s propaganda meisters tell us constantly

      “Yigal Amir is certainly a household name in my community. Everyone knows who he is.”

      Do they have his photo on their illegal settler’s walls?

      “There have been plenty of stories about violent settlers on the right. Here are two recent ones from the NY Times”

      Two? The best you can do is two of the more than 1,100 registered attacks on Palestinian property and more than 983 episodes of violence by settlers in 2013…WOW!

      BTW

      “The State of Israel cannot permit itself to have phenomena of this kind emerge from within,” he added. “We will not permit marginal, extreme and violent groups to take control by force of land that is not theirs, in violation of the law, or to threaten Palestinian residents who are working their land.” http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/israels-defense-minister-calls-settlers-attacks-on-palestinians-outright-terror/

      I guess he means ” to take control by force of land that is not theirs, in violation of the law, or to threaten Palestinian residents who are working their land” should be left to the state and the IDF.

      ” The vast majority of the settlers are not fanatics”

      Endangering themselves and their families by breaking GC IV adopted to protect all civilians including those of the Occupying Power from the violent consequences of occupying another people and their territory is quite fanatical

      That they purposefully break a convention like so many laws and UN Charter chapters adopted in part by the UN because of the atrocities visited on Jewish folk by the Nazis, is quite bizarre. That they covet other folks property against the most basic tenets of Judaism is even more bizarre and also quite fanatical.

  2. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    February 25, 2014, 12:21 pm

    Three leaders to worry about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and John Kerry. Kerry has already been tagged as an “enemy of God” (Amalek) by some pro-Israel religious extremists.

    Are these extremist views held by some high-level factions within the Israeli government (including Mossad)?

    Was Ariel Sharon’s stroke an “act of God” or something else?

    What was the true cause of Yasser Arafat’s death?

    Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad insider, in one of his books claimed that a Mossad faction plotted the assassination of George H.W. Bush and intended to blame it on Palestinian terrorists (a typical false flag op).

    There are still many open questions about the Yitzhak Rabin assassination (Yigal Amir may have been a low-level pawn) — John F. Kennedy Jr. was investigating these questions (and related matters) for George Magazine when his plane went down off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. If Kennedy hadn’t died, he would would have been a major contender for the presidency. He was also determined to reopen the investigation into the assassination of his father.

    One hopes that NSA is operating under the law to protect Kerry and Obama with the utmost vigilance.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      February 25, 2014, 12:43 pm

      I wasn’t going to wade into it Sean, but the Sharon family history is a star-crossed one, as they say of the Kennedys.

      for some interesting bits on the confluence of officialdom, organized crime, etc. see for examples from recent articles

      Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino addressed on Sunday the recent chain of underworld assassinations in Israeli cities and said the issue was a national problem.

      “The source of most of the explosives (used in the assassinations) is the Israeli Defense Forces,” said the police commissioner. “We work closely with the IDF, and try to prevent the spilling of such explosives.”

      Danino, who made the remarks during a visit to the Akko Police offices, added that “we use technology and cameras in order to reach those who plant the explosives, also retroactively after the blast occurs. Statistically, despite the wide media coverage of the issue, the amount of blasts in 2013 was not greater in comparison to the previous year. But it doesn’t matter. Each explosion is one too many.”

      The car bomb is the latest in a series of at least 10 bombings inside Israel in recent months that have killed four and injured five more.

      A car bomb destroyed the vehicle of a senior prosecutor in the Central District State Attorney’s Office in Tel Aviv Thursday evening in yet another incident believed to be linked to organized crime.

      No one was hurt in the explosion.

      According to police, the car belonged to a senior member of the state prosecution who led the cases against major crime organizations and was considered an aggressive prosecutor.

      so Israel, with a similar population to the state of Tennessee has 10 mob-related car bombs in a span of a few months, including an assassination attempt on some Rudi Giuliani type. fascinating.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 25, 2014, 12:56 pm

      Welcome back, Sean! I’ve missed you commenting here :-)

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        February 25, 2014, 1:16 pm

        Krauss,

        I often comment on Mondoweiss posts here:

        https://friendfeed.com/mondoweiss-on-friendfeed

        Feel free to post there as well without any delays for moderation and if you enjoy rapid exchanges in real-time chat mode. You are one of the sharpest commenters here — you never fail to educate me.

        Another note on John F. Kennedy Jr. — if he had lived, it is easy to imagine that he would have been a much more formidable presidential candidate than every other Democrat in the field — including Hillary Clinton. But he made certain interests in American politics exceedingly nervous. Aggressively investigating the assassinations of Yitzhak Rabin and his father — a real no-no for some parties. He would have been a difficult personality to control.

  3. marc b.
    marc b.
    February 25, 2014, 12:32 pm

    1. has the NYT ever published a front page article wherein an Israeli official refers to settlers as ‘terrorists’? (no, not on the ‘front page’ of a NYT blog.)
    2. read the last paragraph of your comment again, slowly, and let me know if you spot any rhetorical and/or logical problems with your conclusion. setting aside, of course, your imaginary poll of the number of fanatics amongst the settler population.

  4. Krauss
    Krauss
    February 25, 2014, 12:59 pm

    The reason why they don’t report these things is that the Times fears it will fuel the left’s ongoing erosion vis-a-vis Israel.

    It was safe to do it in the mid-2000s, because the 2SS concensus was still intact.
    Of course, then as now, it helped a lot if you were A) Jewish and B) Zionist. In fact, those two attributes were necessities then and are still to a large extent today.

    We will never see this kind of coverage in the Times for a very long time again, because it simply confirms the suspicion many have that the 2SS is finished as an architecture for peace(it was never about peace, of course, as people on this website have been informed of).

    The next time we will see this kind of coverage, however, it will likely be when the post-Zionist concensus is already in place. So it might take a decade or two, but its coming.

    • doug
      doug
      February 25, 2014, 1:23 pm

      >> “The reason why they don’t report these things is that the Times fears it will fuel the left’s ongoing erosion vis-a-vis Israel.”

      They are right.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 25, 2014, 7:57 pm

    RE: “Ten years ago Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister, and Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The New York Times that settlers were urging Sharon’s assassination because he might give up land… Has that culture gone away? Yossi Gurvitz says it’s alive and well. So does Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath. But the mainstream media are ignoring his account of rightwing elements in Israeli society.” ~ Weiss & North

    FOR ONE OF THE REASONS WHY JOURNALISTS IN THE U.S. DARE NOT WRITE ABOUT RIGHT-WING JEWISH EXTREMISM IN ISRAEL, SEE (OR LISTEN TO): “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

    [EXCERPTS] Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees. . .
    . . . The story received very little coverage in the. . . States. . .
    . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)

    [EXCERPT]
    . . . • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . .Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
    • MJ ROSENBERG: . . .This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
    I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers. . .

    ENTIRE (LIGHTLY EDITED) TRANSCRIPT – http://www.alternet.org/story/155866/why_the_u.s._media_barely_covered_brutal_right-wing_race_riots_in_tel_aviv/

  6. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 26, 2014, 10:49 am

    “Sharon isn’t Amalek,” she said, “but he works for Amalek.”

    Amalek Corp is listed on the TASE and Nasdaq. It’s one of Israel’s most successful tech start ups, responsible for inventing the tomato, the G-spot and the most important content in Intel’s chips. Without Amalek’s products you wouldn’t be able to breathe. That is how important Israel is to your miserable life.
    And it has nukes.

  7. Ecru
    Ecru
    February 26, 2014, 1:26 pm

    “The history of rightwing Jewish extremism in Israel is strong..”

    Good lord! An American has mastered understatement! Oh jolly well done!

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