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‘Forward’ runs shocking images of Israeli children glorifying violence

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Settler children at Israeli independence celebration May 2014

Settler children at Israeli independence celebration May 2014

We’re used to hearing about the incitement of Israeli children from Max Blumenthal, who says indoctrination begins in the “spring season” of holidays when kids are taught about the enemies who surround them. Well the American Jewish community is getting the message. The Forward has published a shocking piece called, “When Israelis Teach Their Kids to Hate” with the picture above of children in the settlement of Efrat celebrating Israeli independence day, and another one of a child holding a giant rifle (at that link).

Gideon Levy has also landed on the pictures. “When Hamas treats its children like this, Israeli parents tut-tut with disgust: Look at these beasts.”

Here’s another image from another site:

Photo of children celebrating Israeli independence in Efrat 2014

Photo of children celebrating Israeli independence in Efrat 2014

The Forward’s Michael Kaplan writes sardonically:

Little kids throw mock grenades and pretend to shoot big guns; a boy crawls militant-style as gun-wielding adults cheer him on; a girl wearing a pink dress carries a rocket launcher twice her size.

These are some of the disturbing photos that flooded out of the West Bank earlier this week on Israel’s Independence Day, or what Palestinians call the Nakba (Catastrophe).

I can imagine that despair and hopelessness probably rattled the Jewish community. How could there ever be peace when kids are trained to aspire toward violence and militancy?

Kaplan concludes:

And now, we have yet another confirmation that Israeli children also learn to glorify and aspire toward violence, and — surprise, surprise — no one really seems to care.

Yes but maybe they do. These are settler children now seen widely in the U.S. Jewish community. Not your grandfather’s Israel.

Speaking of the changing paradigm inside the American Jewish community, here is Peace Now’s latest letter, spotlighting Israeli extremism:

“King David is for the Jews, Jesus is garbage.” This is today’s graffiti found on a Jerusalem church the day after the Vatican called on Israel to protect Christian sites.

This is happening nearly every day. No longer just in the West Bank but in Israel proper.

These Price Tag attacks, perpetrated primarily by extremist Israeli settlers and their supporters, have escalated focusing on Arab towns and villages inside Israel. Private property and places of worship are targeted with grotesque destruction and graffiti. Whether it is a Church or a Mosque—it doesn’t matter. Jewish sites have been vandalized in retaliation.

Some may dismiss these attacks because they “just” focus on buildings and cars but as Yossi Alpher writes in this week’s Hard Questions Tough Answers although no Palestinian has been physically attacked or killed in the price tag actions, it is almost certainly only a matter of time until that happens. It is pathetic that it has gotten to this point. It is disgusting that these perpetrators haven’t been caught and dealt with. And it is pathetic that it is only a matter of time…

Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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33 Responses

  1. a blah chick on May 9, 2014, 3:46 pm

    The kid on the right in the top picture looks like he can barely sustain the weight of the flak jacket he’s wearing. If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

    I’m afraid, Phil, that the cadre will not be stirred by these images. Arab lives simply do not have the same merit as the rest of humanity.

  2. Ellen on May 9, 2014, 4:00 pm

    Has the Forward report been called an “antisemitic” attack yet?

    Or when will the reactionaries pin this as a Dreyfus Affair by the Forward?

    • Cliff on May 9, 2014, 6:19 pm

      Check out the comment’s section.

      The usual Zionist buzzwords – kapo, antisemite, etc. etc.

  3. seafoid on May 9, 2014, 4:15 pm

    Last year the FT identified
    “a neediness on the part of a country that expects not only to be supported financially and diplomatically, but also understood”

    And this is a real weakness for the bots now and stories with pictures like this do not help

    • Ellen on May 9, 2014, 4:30 pm

      Add to that, the neediness that their feelings must not ever be hurt.

  4. Kay24 on May 9, 2014, 4:47 pm

    To think we have heard ad nauseam that such behavior is from the other side (although I have yet to see such disgusting pictures of it), and look who is teaching meanness and violence to children now….no wonder the settlers are referred to as “terrorists”. This is hatred and violence being taught in one lesson, Israeli style.

    • bilal a on May 9, 2014, 4:56 pm

      Terrorism and Holocaust education for children and adults creates presumption of Gentile violence and hatred; this is what leads to the justification and glorification of violence to the other much like repetitive 9/11
      trauma led to ten years of American wars only now showing diminished zeal.
      Go into any rural big store in America and you will find toy guns and desert camo clothing for kids to play Army (over there ).

      We need to create a safe emotional place for Israelis (and Americans). I do not see how a one state submersion of Israel will do this for either.

      • Ellen on May 9, 2014, 6:17 pm

        bilal, you are certainly right about the camo culture for kids in rural America. Complete with guns and camo PJs, rifles for five-year-olds for going huntin’ with Mom!

        A safe emotional place for all is not based on ideas of “them” and “us.” Or ideas of “submersion” of one group to another. Life evolves. All hearts beat the same, we all have red blood.

        Israel can become that place, too. Maybe even before rural America can.

      • Pixel on May 9, 2014, 10:02 pm


      • Kay24 on May 9, 2014, 6:43 pm

        I am dead against guns, violence, and wish for tighter gun laws in the US.
        I agree that our kids do grow up with toy guns etc., however on the 4th of July our kids do not have mock rehearsals with weapons and show acts of violence, even pretend. Our kids look forward to the fireworks and picnics. The two cannot be compared. Besides we all know these acts of violence is mostly with their neighbors in mind, especially the occupied Palestinians. They are being brainwashed into hating their neighbors, and told they are in constant danger from them all. I guess to use their own language, they are beasts too.

  5. Citizen on May 9, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Always good to see US taxpayers’ dollars at work, those 98% non-Jewish tax dollars.

  6. ckg on May 9, 2014, 7:42 pm

    We keep discussing the South Africa analogy, while some mention the Jim Crow analogy. Phil prefers Algeria. I like the Sparta analogy–the helots must revolt.

  7. Inanna on May 9, 2014, 8:13 pm

    ‘Not your grandfather’s Israel’

    yeah right. Your grandfather’s Israel merely killed and ethnically cleansed it’s way through Palestine using what is today called terrorism. In what universe is that better than kids throwing stones and mock grenades?

    Look, we need to disabuse people of the myths surrounding Israel’s founding. The first thing we need to do is to stop buying into that myth ourselves.

    • a blah chick on May 10, 2014, 8:40 am

      True that. Also it was easier during the 50’s and 60’s, when most Israeli Palestinians lived under military rule, to cover up its abuses.

  8. Egbert on May 10, 2014, 5:32 am

    These pictures are tame compared to the pictures of Israeli girls signing real artillery shells used to kill real people during Operation Cast Lead.

  9. JustJessetr on May 10, 2014, 7:58 am

    @ Kay 24, here’s some video if you can stomach it.

    Now Israeli children and children of Hamas have glorification of violence in common. And before the Shingos and Taxis of MW start piling on: no, it doesn’t matter who started the hatred first, or who’s is worse. They’re both incredibly awful and sad. And whoever jumps into defend either side is equally awful and sad.

  10. pabelmont on May 10, 2014, 10:22 am

    I am merely “shocked, shocked.” Which is to say, I knew there was gambling (terrorism training by Israelis) going on in Israel.

    Good to hear that (perhaps) Americans are “shocked” to learn this. really shocked.

    Chances are they will (many will) say that Israelis are threatened on all sides and need to arm themselves and be ready to fight, whereas Hamas has nothing to fear from anywhere (drones, what drones? automated machine guns, hunh? soldiers firing into the Gaza Strip? surely you jest!) and has no business to teach its children to hate Israel.

  11. Jackdaw on May 11, 2014, 12:00 am

    Those little boys are wearing suicide belts, right?

    • Shmuel on May 11, 2014, 3:52 am

      Those little boys are wearing suicide belts, right?

      Interesting observation. They don’t seem to be wearing cluster bombs either, but I guess the Air Force planes flying overhead (see the photo gallery I posted down-thread) have that aspect of the glorious struggle covered.

      • talknic on May 11, 2014, 5:57 am

        @ Shmuel

        “Those little boys are wearing suicide belts, right?

        “Interesting observation. They don’t seem to be wearing cluster bombs either, but I guess the Air Force planes flying overhead (see the photo gallery I posted down-thread) have that aspect of the glorious struggle covered ….

        …….. by proxy”

      • LeaNder on May 11, 2014, 10:59 am

        You forget that the cluster bombs belong into the “humanitarian new definition of precise anti-enemy-“toys”, and the however you decide to call it, enemies that have no such toys are thus automatically the less “ethical” losers in our new military power universe.

        I watched a TV press discussion today concerning the Ukraine. The evocation of historical imagery, was interestingly challenged by the NYT correspondent. At least she considered these evocations “unhelpful” in a world that has changed a lot. At the same time she immediately imagined the Russians in Mexico when challenged by her Russian colleague. How would you respond? Are the Russians in Mexico likely?

        But interestingly “Der Spiegel”, who admittedly I initially disliked in the arts section, now is sending out its top expert/threat scenario proponent to all these type of events.

        All this feels pretty similar, actually, to what we so far have only stored concerning the neo-cons; New Hitler’s and 1938’s and all everywhere. Putin the new rising Hitler. Not by name, but by associated imagery.

        Interesting to watch all this Western economical bumptiousness, I can assure you. One question supposedly asked in Italy. We are told not one could name a Russian product. All they have is gas and oil. Hmm? Those Arabs? Supposedly no one can answer: I can, I use Kaspersky for quite long now. Never mind Putin, who is reduced to someone leading a state mainly guided by Oligarchs, versus our Western democracy. On the other hand, of course Europe could never integrate a state like Russia, only smaller ones. So what exactly do we need the NATO confrontation with Russia, which is the essence of Ukrainian integration into the EU, on Ukrainian ground?

        But still it is interesting to watch how the single Russian media voice is assaulted from, almost, all sides as propagandist, whoever he or she may be. One of the few exceptions I noticed today is a journalist from “Die Zeit” who caught my attention as a reporter from the larger Afghan context with enormously helpful and in-dept reporting from the larger context.

    • Sumud on May 11, 2014, 4:59 am

      Poor Jackdaw – getting all nostalgic about the good old days when Israeli terrorism could be concealed by never-ending wailing and moaning about Palestinian suicide bombing.

      Let’s recall that Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 22 days in Gaza than Palestinian suicide bombers killed Israelis (civilian and other) in 15 years.

      Let’s recall that Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and especially Gaza is particularly brutal – and that these Israeli children are being indoctrinated to continue it all the while thinking of themselves as the victims. It’s sick – in itself a form of child abuse.

      • Walid on May 11, 2014, 7:52 am

        Sumud, it’s more than that; it’s actually against international conventions to be mucking around militarily with kids. Even being around kids in military uniform, as is the custom in Israeli schools is against these conventions.

        Video below shows that it’s not only settler kids that are put through indoctrination programs but all Israeli students starting in kindergarten including those at religious schools:

        Stephen Lendman describes in detail the international conventions that Israel is contravening:

      • seafoid on May 11, 2014, 11:33 am

        Anyone who learns Hebrew in Israel gets the indoctrination. The language is the vector.

        BTW they are plugging a stage version of the Anne Frank story.

        That’ll never happen for the Apeldoorn Mental hospital evacuation to Auschwitz .

        I wonder why.

      • Walid on May 11, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Speaking of Ann Frank, the publisher of a holocaust story from 1995 that had dubbed it , “the story of Ann Frank with a happy ending” was just awarded a judgement in her favour against the alleged holocaust survivor and heroine of the story that turned out to be a fraud. After a 6 year battle, the court ordered that the supposed heroine to pay back the publisher her share of the $32 million. From the Massachusetts Courthouse News service 2 days ago:

        ” Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service Thursday, May 08, 2014Last Update: 2:51 PM PT
        Bizarre Holocaust Lies Support Publisher’s Win
        By JEFF D. GORMAN

        (CN) – A woman who fabricated a Holocaust memoir must forfeit her share of a $32.4 million judgment that she won from her publishers, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled.

        Misha Defonseca struck a deal in 1995 with Mt. Ivy Press and the publisher’s principal, Jane Daniel, for the release of “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years.”

        Defonseca spun a tale of survival that included her killing a Nazi soldier and adoption by a pack of wolves that provided her with food and companionship.

        While “Misha” didn’t find a large American audience, it was a bestseller in Canada and Europe. The story was translated into 18 languages and was made into a movie in France called “Survivre Avec les Loups (Surviving With the Wolves).”

        Defonseca and her ghostwriter, Vera Lee, won a total of $32.4 million in a judgment against Daniel and Mt. Ivy for “highly improper representations and activities,” as the court described it in the most recent ruling….”

        Full report:

    • talknic on May 11, 2014, 6:08 am

      @ Jackdaw “Those little boys are wearing suicide belts, right?”

      No. If sometime in the future they get to fly some of the most sophisticated human slaughtering machines in the world against people who haven’t any anti-aircraft guns, they’d surely be required to wear the seat belts provided.

  12. wondering jew on May 11, 2014, 1:24 am

    The alienation of American Jews from Israel as described by Thomas Friedman recently (echoed by Phil as “this is not your grandfather’s Israel”), is a process that will take time. American Jews would much prefer to see photos of Arab and Jewish teenagers studying together at some progressive school in a suburb of Jerusalem rather than photos of young Israeli boys imitating the rite of passage known as tzava, army.

    But, given that the primary mode of persuasion of the Congress and the president takes place through campaign contributions, I think you’d have to confess that the influence on Congress and the president will continue even if there is a major movement away from Israeli support amongst the Jewish masses. And even such a movement of support will take time and not happen overnight.

    And I don’t think highlighting Max Blumenthal will help you in your bid to move American Jewish support away from Israel. You included a reference to Max Blumenthal and his spring holidays, which happened to include (in Goliath) a condemnation of the tribalism of Passover. There is a tribal aspect to the Hagadah, but Max’s emphasis of this aspect of the age old tradition of the seder and his inclusion of the seder with his condemnation of the spring holidays, marks Max as a radical who will appeal to radicals. The bad news of the Israeli right is highlighted by Max and he does a service with this. But he is on the other side of the Jewish issue- He is against even the passover seder and just avoiding analysis and categorization, plainly this: Max is against the Passover seder. And how will this aspect of Max’s salesman spiel help the cause of moving American Jews away from Israel?

  13. ndgk on May 11, 2014, 1:57 am

    I was in Akko recently as a tourist. I saw a line of little Jewish girls and their teacher visiting the old (Arab) part of the town, like me. The little girls forced every Arab pedestrian to get off the sidewalk if they wanted to pass them, and deliberately bumped into the Arab man or woman if they did not move. The teacher paid no attention. I know this is not desecration of buildings or setting olive trees on fire, but they were just little kids and somebody has led them to believe that it is OK to treat Arabs like this.

  14. Shmuel on May 11, 2014, 3:37 am

    Here are some more images from Efrat, mixed in with other, less shocking images of Independence Day celebrations in Israel:

    It is a mistake, however, to just blame “those nutty settlers”. Jewish Israeli society in general is highly militarised, and the indoctrination begins at a very early age.

    • Shmuel on May 11, 2014, 5:05 am

      Efrat, by the way, is widely considered a “moderate” settlement: within the area of “[Jewish] Israeli consensus”, a bedroom suburb of Jerusalem, relatively liberal religiously, led by the “moderate” US-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, well-to-do, many professionals, high level of education, etc.

      • talknic on May 11, 2014, 11:26 am

        “well-to-do, many professionals, high level of education, etc.”

        But too &*&^% stupid to read and understand hundreds of well written, concise UNSC resolutions giving Israel the opportunity to comply with the binding laws those resolutions reaffirm and emphasize.

  15. Feathers on May 11, 2014, 8:17 am

    Efrat, by the way, is widely considered a “moderate” settlement: within the area of “[Jewish] Israeli consensus”, a bedroom suburb of Jerusalem, relatively liberal religiously, led by the “moderate” US-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, well-to-do, many professionals, high level of education, etc.

    A lot like Bethesda MD, a bedroom suburb of Washington, relatively liberal religiously (if I could do photos I’d post several of the “We Support Israel” banners at synagogues on Old Georgetown Road). Bethesda, which means place of healing is home to NIH, Bethesda Naval Hospital & now the facilities of Walter Reed Medical Center. It’s also corporate headquarters for Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, Grumman, and every other major weapons dealer in the world has a large presence in that place of healing.

    Bethesda is home to one of the wealthiest, most highly educated demographics in the USA. Hard to know what proportion of its wealth is generated by the healing industries vs the killing industries.

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