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On Jerusalem Day, thousands of settlers celebrate ‘conquest’ of the city and say ‘Kahane was right’

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Thousands of Israeli youth march on Jerusalem Day, marking the 1967 Israeli conquest of the city. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands of Israeli youth march on Jerusalem Day, marking the 1967 Israeli conquest of the city. (Photo: Allison Deger)

On Wednesday, May 28, over 10,000 Israeli youth, hailing predominately from settlements in the West Bank, marched in the annual Jerusalem Day parade commemorating the Israel’s victory in the June 1967 war and its wartime spoils. Although to scores of these jubilant youth, Jerusalem is still in need of conquering.

Thousands of youngsters wore “Kahane was right” stickers, a reference to Rabbi Meir Kahane, and some donned t-shirts printed with his face. Kahane is a deceased controversial Rabbi who was leader of the “Kach” political movement, which was deemed a terrorist organization by the Israeli government for inciting a series of attacks against Palestinians during the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a figurehead of the “Jewish Underground,” a West Bank-based band of hooligans who organized clandestine assaults on Arabs and left-wing Israelis. Their heirs today are the hill-top youth, the renegade settlers, perhaps a few hundred at most, who have carried out a wave of “price tag” attacks over the past few years, including targeting Israeli soldiers in 2012.

Youths bring a reel of "Kahane was right" stickers to their father during the Jerusalem Day march. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Youths bring a reel of “Kahane was right” stickers to their father during the Jerusalem Day march. (Photo: Allison Deger)

“Because Kahane said if someone wants to kill you, than you can kill him,” said a youth wearing a Kahane sticker and caped in an Israeli flag who asked that I not to publish his name. He explained that Kahane’s brand of violent Jewish nationalism speaks to young people today because they see current leaders like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as soft on those who have committed acts against the state. This new generation of Kahane followers rejects the formation of a Palestinian state, rejects any division of Jerusalem and decries the Shalit prisoner exchange. And, at least in theory for most, they embrace using force to accomplish the goal of living in an exclusively Jewish society.

“Because of the war, the Six Days War,” said a teen that was interrupted by a spirited friend, “Because of my grandpa, he kicked them [Palestinians] out.” A third youth flexed his muscle exclaiming, “So now Jerusalem is for the Jewish!” and the then whole group chanted “Jewish! Jewish! Jewish!”

Israeli teens wear "Kahane was right" stickers over their school tee-shirts at the Jerusalem Day parade. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli teens wear “Kahane was right” stickers over their school tee-shirts at the Jerusalem Day parade. (Photo: Allison Deger)

“Because Jerusalem is the place of the third temple and all of the history started here,” said another teenage follower of Kahane who was selling shirts with an image of the Dome of the Rock with Hebrew script that called for its demolition. “This is the Dome of the Rock and we don’t want it here. So the shirt says, it should bother you that its over there,” he said pointing in the direction of the Muslim holy site.

A second design pictured the construction of the third temple in place of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, including a construction crane.

Kahanist youth holds up a tee-shirt calling for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Kahanist youth holds up a tee-shirt calling for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Jerusalem Day paraders amass outside of the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Jerusalem Day paraders amass outside of the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Jerusalem is a borderland for Israeli and Palestinian, secular and religious. Reveling in the city’s capture, or “conquest” as most of the youth describe it, contradicts a central concept of international law, which says territory can’t be gained through war—even defensive war. What’s left is a homage to military might, which is exactly why thousands of Israeli youth paraders say Jerusalem Day is special for them. Given this adoration for a national success accomplished beyond accepted law, perhaps this explains why Rabbi Kahane has been adopted as the leader of this movement.

“We fought for it and the whole concept of war is if you win something its yours and we fought in the Six Days War and we won Jerusalem so that’s why I believe it’s ours,” said another teen in an American Eagle shirt.

“I think it’s really exciting to be in Jerusalem for Yom Yerushalyim because we’ve been learning the past few weeks about what happened in 1967 and about how Jerusalem was so miraculously conquered,” said a South African teen on a high school year abroad in Israel. Sitting with a peer also from South Africa she continued, “it doesn’t mention Jerusalem in the Qu’ran once.” Her friend agreed, “Jerusalem is holy for all Jews—not just for religious Jews.” The fact their ability to holiday in Jerusalem’s comes at an expense for Palestinians, “this is a touchy subject. It is a point of anguish but I think at the end of the day Jerusalem is a special place for Jews.”

Others at the Jerusalem Day march eschewed Kahanism. “These people are fanatics,” said Hod an Israeli high school student who had an Arabic exam the next day.” Hod was working as a guide for the march because of the bottom line, “I get paid.” To him Jerusalem Day is an expression of racism, “most of these people here hate Arabs, you know that?” Nearby two secular-appearing teens selling water by the Jaffa Gate said they enjoy the parade because praying at the Western Wall, located in the eastern portion of the city, has great importance to them. Neither believed an end to the conflict with Palestinians was possible, but neither had anything against Palestinians. Still, perhaps the most famous Jerusalem Day attendee was tourist and pop icon Justin Timberlake who is in the region for a Tel Aviv concert. On Jerusalem Day he went to the Western Wall. After his visit, JT posted a selfie on Instagram.

On a typical day this area is a vibrant economic center for Arab-Palestinian life, yet on Jerusalem Day police barricaded off main roads to the locals. Three hundred and fifty thousand Palestinian Jerusalemites are not Israeli citizens, but rather “temporary residents” of the city. They do not vote in national elections, only local, but do pay taxes. Even though after 1967 Israel took down the famed Mandelbaum Gate, which amongst religious Jews was tantamount to taking down the Berlin wall because it allowed them to pray at the Western Wall, Palestinians do have checkpoints in their Jerusalem neighborhoods. Qalandia, the main checkpoint to the West Bank is actually inside of Jerusalem, trapping thousands of Jerusalem ID holders behind the separation wall. In the neighborhood of Shuafat that boasts both an upscale corridor and a refugee camp, a newer checkpoint traps 20,000 Palestinian-Jerusalemites behind the wall.

Palestinian residents inside of the Old City barricaded from leaving their homes. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Palestinian residents inside of the Old City barricaded from leaving their homes. (Photo: Allison Deger)

In the afternoon as the paraders arrived from West Jerusalem, eight Palestinians had already been arrested for disturbances and sound grenades were fired to push back residents. In the bay above the Damascus Gate, the last rally point before the Israeli youth entered the Old City for the final leg of the march, police ushered out Palestinian observers, leaving behind a swarm of journalists and tourists. “You’re only letting Jews in!” yelled a Palestinian-American woman in gym clothing who said she was trying to reach her house. Police escorted her away from the barricade, with her U.S. passport in hand.

Although Jerusalem only officially became part of Israel through annexation legislation in 1981, the city is memorialized as becoming Israeli through the 1967 military feat. In the first decades of statehood Israel did not have the global standing of a top army, nor was it considered part of the western world.  When my mother visited in the 1970s, the country was still shedding its reputation as a backwater where young Zionists needed to bring a roll of toilet paper along for the trip. The war changed all that by nearly doubling Israeli controlled territory in just six days. The paraders called this a “miracle.” And to a certain extent, 1967–not 1948–was cast as the redemption of the Jewish people. They were liberated as the “new Jews,” just as the Western Wall was liberated, set against the anti-Semitic caricature of the past. To them, 1948 was the war of survival, 1967 was the war that made them Israelis.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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2 Responses

  1. on May 30, 2014, 11:14 am

    Defensive war? 67?

    It was nothing of the kind. It was, as Begin later conceded, “a war of choice.” (Perhaps the last time the Zionists have been “honest with ourselves.”)

  2. Walid on May 30, 2014, 11:14 am

    The spirit of Kahane is in full revival in Israel. Although outlawed in the US and Israel, the French chapter of the JDL with the help of the IDF is in full bloom and with its violent and vile actions, it’s raising the level of anti-Jewish feelings in France. Last week the IDF put up a recruitment notice to meet prospective recruits at Paris’ Grand Synagogue. When a French Jews for peace group complained to the French government, the recruitment notice was taken down.

    More about the French JDL from the Jewish Daily Forward a couple of months back that isn’t pleased with the French JDL:

    French JDL Praises Baruch Goldstein’s Massacre of Palestinians
    Kahanist Group Calls Israeli Murderer a ‘Saint’ in Eulogy

    By JTA
    Published March 02, 2014.

    Why Are We Ignoring Palestinian Nonviolence?

    France’s Jewish Defense League has published a eulogy of Baruch Goldstein which celebrates a massacre he perpetrated against Palestinian worshipers in Hebron 20 years ago.

    The group, known locally as Ligue de Defense Juive or LDJ, posted the eulogy on its website ahead of the Feb. 25 anniversary of the massacre during which Goldstein, a U.S.-born physician, shot dead 29 Palestinians while they were praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

    “Baruch Goldstein is an Israeli physician who in 1994 killed 25 Arab settlers and wounded another 125. He was killed in the confrontation and became a hero for many Israeli patriots,” the eulogy dated Feb. 22 said.

    The text also listed commemorations of Goldstein as a “tribute to the memory of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the saint, may God avenge his blood.”

    LDJ officials say the group has several hundred members in France. The group adheres to the doctrines of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, a radical Jewish-Israeli nationalist who was born in the United States. He was murdered in 1990 in New York by a Palestinian gunman.

    Kahane’s Jewish Defense League, or JDL, is considered a terrorist group in the United States. Israel also outlawed the Kach movement which Kahane founded after he moved to Israel in 1971.

    In France, LDJ is not an illegal organization, although its members have on various occasions been involved in violent confrontations, most commonly in vigilante actions against people they accuse of anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic violence.

    The Jewish-French Union for Peace, a small group which supports the boycott of Israel, called on other French Jewish groups to condemn the LDJ for glorifying Goldstein’s actions.

    “French authorities criminalize BDS,” the union wrote in a Feb. 27 statement, referencing the French judiciary’s restrictive policy on activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “Yet they let this band of hoodlums do as they please and enjoy impunity despite their criminal actions. Why? We are awaiting an answer.”

    http://forward.com/articles/193662/french-jdl-praises-baruch-goldstein-s-massacre-o/

  3. amigo on May 30, 2014, 12:01 pm

    “The spirit of Kahane is in full revival in Israel. Although outlawed in the US and Israel, ” Walid

    The spirit of “Lehi ” terrorists was fully revived, even though outlawed in Israel.

    Service ribbons awarded for activity in the struggle for the establishment of Israel !!!.

    The Jewish terrorist gang was honoured by the creation by the GOI in 1980 of “The Lehi ribbon of honour” .

    Terrorist Yitzak Shamir headed up this group of terrorists who it should also be noted twice offered to aid Hitlers forces and still the GOI honours these killers.

    Go figure.

  4. HarryLaw on May 30, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Under International Law it is not possible to gain territory by the use of force, everybody knows that, so the Zionists celebrate occasions like this, and the Israeli politicians berate anyone who disagrees, hoping in time it will all be accepted as a fait accompli, it worked with Obama. The obvious counter from the Palestinians should be to apply for admission to all the UN Agencies and separately, formally join the ICC, then let the UN tell the Israelis their claim to the West Bank, including Jerusalem is not legitimate. Why Abbas refuses this obvious political and legal route only he knows, they will get nowhere with negotiating, but it would appear that is all Abbas wants, in other words to Abbas negotiations are an end in themselves.

  5. Nevada Ned on May 30, 2014, 12:52 pm

    Good article.
    Could you point out hophmi in the photos? :)

  6. LanceThruster on May 30, 2014, 1:28 pm

    “Because Kahane said if someone wants to kill you, than (sic) you can kill him,”

    So does this same concept apply in the case of the Palestinians? Because the Israelis have killed an awful lot of them.

    • JustJessetr on May 31, 2014, 12:00 am

      Of course it applies to the Palestinians also. And since neither they nor the Israelies will ever let down their guard or let any act go unrevenged, it will continue to be an exhausting shitty mess for a long time to come. But thank you for your strong moral convictions that it should continue on principle.

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

      • tree on May 31, 2014, 2:46 am

        Lance was not stating HIS own moral principle, just asking if Kahane’s
        “moral principle” applied to everyone or just Jews. (Kahane of course only applied it to Jews, and also didn’t bother to look past ethnicity to determine who “wanted to kill” him. That’s how Alex Odeh got killed.) Funny how you don’t condemn Kahane, just LT. I guess we can jump to the same conclusion about your “strong moral convictions,” right?

      • Mooser on August 2, 2016, 3:59 pm

        “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

        Exactly, you got your eye, got your Zionist ice pick in first, now all of a sudden you don’t want any eyes taken out.

  7. just on May 30, 2014, 3:28 pm

    I am glad that I visited Bethlehem & Jerusalem & Nazareth, etc. as a young person…

    I’ll not visit again if I have to encounter these miscreants, Kahane youth, the Apartheid practitioners, or the IOF.

    Allison– did you read this about Bennett’s midnight excursion into fantasyland on “Jerusalem Day”?

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.595903

  8. DICKERSON3870 on May 30, 2014, 4:09 pm

    RE: Thousands of youngsters wore “Kahane was right” stickers, a reference to Rabbi Meir Kahane . . . who was leader of the “Kach” political movement, which was deemed a terrorist organization by the Israeli government for inciting a series of attacks against Palestinians during the 1970s and 1980s. ~ Deger

    MY COMMENT: Bob Dylan would undoubtedly app0rove!*

    * SEE: “Bob Dylan turns 70; still hasn’t Recanted Praise for Rabbi Meir Kahane”, by Amago, SpencerWatch.com, 5/24/11
    LINK – http://spencerwatch.com/2011/05/24/bob-dylan-turns-70-still-hasnt-recanted-praise-for-rabbi-meir-kahane/

    RE: He [Kahane] was also a figurehead of the “Jewish Underground,” a West Bank-based band of hooligans who organized clandestine assaults on Arabs and left-wing Israelis. Their heirs today are the hill-top youth, the renegade settlers, perhaps a few hundred at most, who have carried out a wave of “price tag” attacks over the past few years, including targeting Israeli soldiers in 2012. ~ Deger

    MY COMMENT: The hill-top youth might be hooligans and/or renegade settlers who indulge in small-time (at least so far) terrorism in the form of their “price tag” attacks, but they seem to be fulfilling Bob Dylan’s über-nationalist fantasies.*

    * LUBAVICHER/CHABADNICK BOB DYLAN (1983):

    Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
    His enemies say he’s on their land
    They got him outnumbered about a million to one
    He got no place to escape to, no place to run
    He’s the neighborhood bully . . .
    . . . Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill [i.e., Hilltop Youth – J.L.D.]
    Running out the clock
    , time standing still
    Neighborhood bully

    SOURCE – http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/neighborhood-bully

    NEIGHBORHOOD BULLY, ISRAEL TV, ORBACH [VIDEO, 05:49] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1QsuAHLOA4

    P.S. Frankly, I suspect that at least since he fell head over heels for Chabad (if not before), Bob Dylan has gone cuckoo for a lot more than just Cocoa Puffs [YouTube VIDEO, 00:30]!
    I might add that since I have read that the CIA supported the Lubavitchers/Chabadniks back during the cold war in an effort to destabilize the the Soviet Union (much like they supported the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Nasser’s Egypt), it appears that Bob Dylan has truly gone over to the dark side.

  9. DICKERSON3870 on May 30, 2014, 4:41 pm

    RE: Jerusalem is a borderland for Israeli and Palestinian, secular and religious. Reveling in the city’s capture, or “conquest” as most of the youth describe it, contradicts a central concept of international law, which says territory can’t be gained through war—even defensive war. ~ Deger

    MY COMMENT: One way to protect the central concept of international law to the effect that nations cannot gain territory through wars, is to insist that Jerusalem must be made an international city pursuant to General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

  10. Ecru on May 31, 2014, 3:41 am

    Their heirs today are the hill-top youth, the renegade settlers, perhaps a few hundred at most

    A few hundred? Surely you jest.

    Maybe if you forget the donors in Israel and the Diaspora who fund their activities, if you forget the IDF that protects them and punishes their victims, if you forget the police that can somehow never get enough evidence, if you forget the prosecutors who fail to prosecute, if you forget the courts that on the rare occasions a prosecution is made and succeeds impose the lightest possible sentences, if you forget the members of the Knesset who encourage the violence against non-Jews and if you forget the Israeli Jewish voters who elect these politicians in the first place.

    Then when you forget all that MAYBE you can get down to a “few hundred”

  11. talknic on May 31, 2014, 5:13 am

    “Although Jerusalem only officially became part of Israel through annexation legislation in 1981”

    Such is the insidious reach of Israeli propaganda, seeping into every pore, spreading like cancerous growth. Ready to infect anyone who allows it.

    Unilateral annexation is illegal. International Law and the UN Charter trump state legislation effecting matters outside the legal extent of a state’s sovereignty.

    UNSC Resolution 476 is one of at least EIGHT reminders of UNSC Res 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 June 30 1980 and 478 August 20 1980. None of which have anything to do with race or religion. They’re based on, emphasize and/or reaffirm the UN Charter, International Law and the GC’s, all of which are binding and all of which Israel obliged itself to uphold.

    UNSC res 476

    1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

    2. Strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the Occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly;

    3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

    4. Reiterates that all such measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void etc etc etc

    Israel has never legally annexed any of the territories it claimed were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” in May 1948. About one third of the territory Israel claims as Israeli is in fact NOT Israeli, has never been legally acquired by Israel and has never been recognized as Israeli.

    There are hundreds of thousands or more Israelis illegally living in territory occupied by Israel since May 22nd 1948 http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk Israel simply cannot now nor has it ever been able to afford to adhere to the law without being sent bankrupt

  12. traintosiberia on May 31, 2014, 8:25 am

    Guatemalan town uses Nazi-inspired tactics to expel Jews
    Over 30 Jews being evicted from San Juan La Laguna at local residents’ request. ‘Their customs aren’t like ours,’ mayor says.
    Peter Herriman
    Published: 05.30.14, 09:13 /

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4525219,00.html
    It was the Nazi inspired tactics that emptied Palestine of Palestinians by Kahane and his followers before his death and continue to o after his demise .

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