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After mob attacks alternative Memorial Day ceremonies, Israeli education minister criticizes ceremonies not mob

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Alternative Memorial Day ceremonies in Israel joining both Israelis and Palestinians have been assaulted by angry mobs – and the government is rather silent. And when Education Minister Bennett opens his mouth about it, it’s no better.

Memorial Day in Israel, which occurred last Sunday, is officially known as ‘Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism’, and is followed by Independence Day.

Just as Israeli Independence Day is a notion that stands in diametric opposition to the Palestinian Nakba, which is commemorated on the same day (and this commemoration is outlawed), so is Memorial Day a typically Zionist notion which focuses primarily on those who died and suffered on behalf of the Jewish State. If one thinks this is an extreme interpretation, let it be noted that the count of the dead starts in 1860 – almost a century before Israel’s establishment. As Gili Cohen of Haaretz notes in this year’s update for the day, “the count begins in 1860 because that is when the first Jewish neighborhood was established outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Today it is considered the beginning of the rebirth of modern Jewish presence on the land of Israel.”

But in the past 12 years, there has been a serious attempt to offer an alternative commemoration. Two organizations joining Palestinians and Israelis – the Parents Circle – Families Forum, and Combatants for Peace, arrange alternative commemoration ceremonies, which take into account the loss on both sides – that is, also on the side that is considered “the enemy”.

Yesterday Haaretz ran a lead editorial titled “Combatants for Hate”, noting how the events (one in the north, 150 participants, one in Tel Aviv, about 4,000) were met by angry mobs. The Tel Aviv assault against the mourners was particularly virulent, with mobs shouting “Nazis,” “worthless cowards,” “seed of Amalek,” “go back to Auschwitz,” “get out of our country”. The video embedded in the article is really quite unbelievable. These protesters simply came ‘in honor’ of the fallen, whom these people supposedly desecrate, because they show empathy with the ‘other’.

225 Palestinians from the organizations, who are normally allowed entry for this purpose, were barred this time – ostensibly because of a lone-wolf Palestinian stabber who injured four in Tel-Aviv a week earlier. They marked their presence via installed screens at the ceremonies.

But the real shock is the government response – or mostly lack of it. Nonetheless, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (“I killed many Arabs”) did manage to make a little noise, in his typical cynical way.

The day after the rally, in response to a question from Nurit Canetti of Army Radio as to whether anyone on the right had denounced this assault on the ceremony’s participants, the following message (now erased) was posted on Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Twitter account:

“If the report is true, I would expect people who are mourning baby killers and bus bombers to be a little less sensitive to spitting, shoving and water.”

So, if our soldiers kill 550 children in one ‘mowing of the lawn’ in Gaza, that’s heroic. But they’re never baby killers. Indeed, our soldiers are simply “not murderers”, even Netanyahu says so. And if we bomb an ambulance, it can’t be as bad as bus bombers. After all, when we do it, it’s always ‘security’, when they do it it’s ‘terror’.

That’s the divide that the alternative events seek to bridge. But Bennett seemed to spit in their face with his tweet, and what’s wrong with a little spitting? Why so sensitive?

Apparently the Tweet was not that fortunate for Bennett’s PR anyway, so he later explained that is wasn’t really him tweeting, but rather that “one of the students” who was with him (student of what?) had tweeted the remark (and how exactly did this ‘student’ access Bennett’s account?). Bennett tried to calm the waters by conceding that the remark was “tasteless” and that the ‘student’ simply used his username. But don’t think Bennett was all apology – he complained that “now people are going wild” (about his tweet). “Relax. It’s Memorial Day today”, he said.

Yes, let’s all relax. Move along, nothing to see here. It’s just Memorial Day. Forget it.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Other posts by .

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43 Responses

  1. eljay on May 4, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Bennett is one the uglier faces of an ugly ideology and its colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist construct.

    • Maghlawatan on May 16, 2017, 5:51 pm

      He reflects the values of the people who voted for him. And ultimately the education system.
      Israel is an experiment in nihilism.

  2. festus on May 4, 2017, 3:16 pm


  3. JLewisDickerson on May 4, 2017, 5:13 pm

    RE:“But Bennett seemed to spit in their face with his tweet, and what’s wrong with a little spitting? Why so sensitive?”

    Hidden Meaning in A Clockwork Orange – Earthling Cinema

  4. AddictionMyth on May 5, 2017, 8:40 am

    My questions to those who cry ‘security’ and ‘sacrifice’: What exactly are you safeguarding? What precisely are you dying for? Gosh, I hope it’s not me.

  5. Mooser on May 5, 2017, 12:11 pm

    “What exactly are you safeguarding? What precisely are you dying for? Gosh, I hope it’s not me.

    . “I am not a Zionist but I am a very proud Jew and hopefully soon Israeli.” “AddictionMyth”

    Yup “AM’, it’s you.

    • AddictionMyth on May 6, 2017, 8:19 am

      In that case – the joke’s on them!

      • Mooser on May 6, 2017, 8:12 pm

        “In that case – the joke’s on them!”

        Changed your mind about going to Israel? Wise choice.

  6. Steve_Feldman on May 5, 2017, 1:17 pm

    I wonder if he knows that the Jewish terrorist groups they honor were the ones that initiated terrorist bombing of buses:

    Benny Morris’ “Righteous Victims: A history of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881-2001” (page 147)
    “Meanwhile, Britain’s problems in Palestine were aggravated by the advent of Jewish terrorism. Until mid-1937 the Jews had almost completely adhered to the policy of restrain. But the upsurge of Arab terrorism in October 1937 triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension into the conflict. Before, Arabs (and, less frequently, and usually in retaliation, Jews) had sniped at cars and pedestrians and occasionally lobbed a grenade, often killing or injuring a few bystanders or passengers. Now, for the first time, massive bombs were placed in crowded Arab centers, and dozens of people were indiscriminately murdered and maimed-for the first time more or less matching the number of Jews murdered in the Arab pogroms and rioting of 1929 and 1936. This “innovation” soon found Arab imitators and became something of a “tradition”; during the coming decades Palestine’s (and later Israel’s) marketplaces, bus stations, movie theaters, and other public buildings became routine targets, lending a particularly brutal flavor to the conflict.

  7. elian kteily on May 5, 2017, 3:19 pm

    One day they will go back to where they came from


    problem solved

    • jon s on May 7, 2017, 4:12 pm

      elian kteily,
      Who exactly are “they” and how are “they” supposed to go back tho where “they” came from?
      Please elaborate.

      • Mooser on May 7, 2017, 6:18 pm

        “Who exactly are “they”…/…elaborate”

        Be careful “elian”! “Jon s” will be recording your answer in the Book of Life!

      • jon s on May 10, 2017, 1:54 am

        elian kteily,
        Still waiting for a reply…

      • Mooser on May 10, 2017, 12:29 pm

        “elian kteily, Still waiting for a reply…”

        “elian kteily”, be careful! Your life may depend on the answer you give “Jon s”. He’s from Beersheba. Oh, have you heard the latest quip going around the settlement?

        Investigator: “Jon s” did you have anything to do with the mob-murder?”
        “Jon s”: “Me? I was no part of that, my rheumatism was acting up.”
        Investigator: “Sorry to hear that. Is it bad”?
        “Jon s”: “Not too bad. I really can’t kick.”

      • jon s on May 15, 2017, 4:07 pm

        elian kteily,
        Still no reply…

      • Mooser on May 15, 2017, 4:30 pm

        “Still no reply…”

        Serve him with a subpoena, “Jon s”! Everybody owes Zionists answers and explanations.

      • eljay on May 15, 2017, 5:28 pm

        || jon s: elian kteily,
        Still no reply… ||

        It’s only been 10 days. I’ve been waiting over a month for you to reply to this question.

      • jon s on May 16, 2017, 12:25 pm

        This is what you asked on that thread:
        “Does Judaism emphasize that Jews should or should not deliberately and unapologetically do terrorism, land theft, military occupation, colonialism, oppression, torture, murder and supremacism? ”
        …and I didn’t think that you were asking seriously.
        Of course “Judaism”, as such, does not condone any wrongdoing, while there are Jews who are terrorists and thieves and murderers and such. There are Jewish criminals, same as there are criminals among all nations, religions and ethnic groups.

        As to elian kteily not replying, by now I’m more curious about his non-reply than interested in what it may be.

      • Mooser on May 16, 2017, 2:36 pm

        “As to elian kteily not replying, by now I’m more curious about his non-reply than interested in what it may be.”

        And why should “elian kteily” feel he has to answer a Beersheba head-hunter?

      • eljay on May 16, 2017, 3:05 pm

        || jon s: … Judaism puts the emphasis not on what you believe, or claim to believe, but on what you do. ||

        || eljay: Does Judaism emphasize that Jews should or should not deliberately and unapologetically do terrorism, land theft, military occupation, colonialism, oppression, torture, murder and supremacism? ||

        || jon s: … I didn’t think that you were asking seriously. … ||

        I don’t know why you thought I wasn’t asking seriously.

        || … Of course “Judaism”, as such, does not condone any wrongdoing … ||

        It seems odd (to me) that a Jewish person would refer to Judaism as “Judaism”.

        It seems even odder that Zionist Jews – especially the religious ones – continually appeal to Judaism to justify the evils they commit even though Judaism “as such” does not condone those evils. (Perhaps there exists a Judaism “not as such” which does condone them.)

        Thank you for answering my question. :-)

      • Mooser on May 16, 2017, 6:33 pm

        “Judaism puts the emphasis not on what you believe, or claim to believe, but on what you do” “Jon s”

        “One concise formulation which I’ve heard is : “it’s not a believing, it’s about belonging”. “Jon s”:

        And “Jon s” explains the whole Torah while standing on one foot. He saves the other one for kicking Eritreans.

      • talknic on May 16, 2017, 8:37 pm

        jon s “by now I’m more curious about his non-reply than interested in what it may be. “

        There’s an archive . In it one can see where I have asked questions NEVER answered by you or your scummy lying full of bullsh*t propagandist pals.

        I’m sure it’s the same for others here, so it must by now amount to thousands of unanswered questions because you and your idiot friends are too pathetic to admit to anything, you know your whole crap narrative will unravel at the first admission

      • jon s on May 17, 2017, 2:51 am

        In one brief comment you used all of the following:

        full of bullsh*t

        Way to go, talknic, great debating style. Classy.

      • talknic on May 17, 2017, 10:09 am

        @ Jon s May 17, 2017, 2:51 am

        In one brief comment you used all of the following:

        full of bullsh*t

        Way to go, talknic, great debating style. Classy.”

        Deservedly and far more truthful than the lies you and your vile kind spout.

      • Mooser on May 17, 2017, 12:15 pm

        “Way to go, talknic, great debating style. Classy.”

        Poor “Jon s”! Shot and wounded, and then kicked to death by a mob of adjectives and adverbs while he lay on the ground.

      • annie on May 17, 2017, 2:26 pm

        Of course “Judaism”, as such, does not condone any wrongdoing

        the operative words here being “as such”? because, like all religions, judaism is practiced is it not? therefore isn’t it the practitioner’s interpretation of judaism, or perhaps more importantly the practitioners interpretation of “wrongdoing” that is the determining factor?

        ie, that king torah book that went un-condemned by scores of reputable rabbis justified killing non jewish babies on the grounds they might grow up to be terrorists. and, if i am not mistaken, they claimed this was based on the torah, or judaism i presume. so, if one doesn’t think killing non jewish babies is “wrongdoing”, then of course one’s judaism can both simultaneously condone killing babies and not condone wrongdoing. this is a severe example, but an example that might be applied to extreme interpretations of practitioners of most religions (or something similar one presumes). so that’s why i think it’s the “as such” that’s the stickler here.

        religions would cease to exists without practitioners, so i am not sure if there is or can be any religion “as such” (in the exact sense of the word) sans interpretation.

      • amigo on May 17, 2017, 2:44 pm

        Speaking of still awaiting a reply ???.

        Amigo to Jon S some 6-8 weeks ago .

        “Also for Jon S who likes to post links to polls that describe Israel as 11th on the “happiness ” scale.

        If you are real teacher , share this with your students and show them just what a screwed up fascist and racist society their elders are bequeathing them.

        There is even video footage of your fellow Beershebans beating to death an Eritrean.It includes video footage of Israeli Jews handing out condoms to Black people on the streets of Israel,s cities and much , much more.
        – See more at:

        Still awaiting reply with your thoughts on the events raised by the author David Sheen.I asked if as a teacher dedicated to sharing the truth with your students you would provide them with details of Sheen,s work.

        Still awaiting reply.

        Glass houses and stones Jon S.

      • gamal on May 17, 2017, 3:49 pm

        “to go back tho where “they” came from?”

        there is a whiteman reggae for that one

      • talknic on May 18, 2017, 12:59 am

        @ Jon s May 17, 2017, 2:51 am

        It hasn’t occurred to Jon s that were he to stop lying, supporting the nonsense Zionist and Israeli justifications for being in breach of the most basic of Judaisms common sense tenets, that this conversation, perhaps even this conflict, would likely not be happening and he wouldn’t be viewed as he is. A lying propagandist, full of bullsh*t.

        That he claims to be a teacher yet hasn’t the ability to apply simple logic to the situation, is quite bizarre.

      • annie on May 18, 2017, 3:17 am

        just picking up where i left off re your opinion “Of course “Judaism”, as such, does not condone any wrongdoing”

        May 16, 2017

        At a gathering of religious Zionist public figures two weeks ago, Deputy Knesset Speaker Betzalel Smotrich talked about his diplomatic plan, which he dubbed “The subjugation plan.” The purpose of the plan, he said, was “to erase all Palestinian national hope.”

        Under the plan, the Palestinians will be given three choices – to leave the country; to live in Israel with the status of “resident alien,” because, as Smotrich made sure to note, “according to Jewish law there must always be some inferiority,” or to resist, “and then the Israel Defense Forces will know what to do.” When the deputy Knesset speaker was asked if he intended to wipe out whole families, including women and children, Smotrich replied, “In war, as in war.”

        Smotrich presented the Book of Joshua as the source for his remarks. According to the Midrash, Joshua sent the residents of the land of Canaan three letters in which he set out the three aforementioned conditions. Maimonides explains that if the non-Jews do not flee, they must have limitations imposed on them “so they should be despised and lowly, and not raise their heads in Israel.” If they resist, he says, “not a soul must be left among them” – in other words, kill them all.

        How many of those who sat and listened to these horrible things – learned men and women, Torah scholars and community leaders – agreed with him? It’s impossible to know.

        still think “Judaism”, as such, does not condone any wrongdoing”???

        that would depend on who’s interpreting.

      • YoniFalic on May 18, 2017, 4:35 pm

        It’s important for non-Jews to learn what Rabbinic Judaic scripture and texts really say.

        I recently posted one of the more offensive passages from the Rabbinic Jewish Haggadah.

        הִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְלָנוּ–שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ, אֵלָא בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ; וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם.

        It [feminine singular] is that it has stood for our ancestors and us. It [absent/common singular] is that not one [masculine singular] only has stood over us; rather, in every generation, they [masculine/common plural] stand over us to annihilate us. But the Holy One blessed be He saves us from their hands.

        [Generally English translations butcher the above passage. Challenge question. Why is the first “it” feminine?]

        It is worthwhile to look at the previous sentence and read it together with the text I already quoted.

        בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵר הַבְטָחָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַמּוֹ, בָּרוּךְ הוּא: שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְחַשֵּׁב אֶת הַקֵּץ, לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּמַה שֶׁאָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם, יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי-גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם, וַעֲבָדוּם, וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם–אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת, שָׁנָה. וְגַם אֶת-הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ, דָּן אָנֹכִי; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן יֵצְאוּ, בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל

        (בראשית טו,יג-יד)

        Blessed is He who keeps his promise to Israel his people, may He be blessed! For the Holy One blessed be He calculated the end [of our bondage] in order to fulfill His pledge to Abraham in the covenant ‘between the parts’, as it is written “And He said unto Abram: ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance'” (Genesis 15,13-14).

        The above is one sentence in the Hebrew. The translation could be better. I took it from the following URL, which links to a bilingual Mishneh Torah (RAMBAM’s) version of the Haggadah.

        In the traditional interpretation the Rabbinic Haggadah tells Rabbinic Jews that non-Jews hate us and that we can take their wealth whenever possible.

        In some ways the text provides a mental framework for mistreating Palestinians.

        There are not words for me to describe how much I hate Rabbinic Judaism as a religion even if I find it interesting as an historical phenomenon.

      • Kaisa of Finland on May 18, 2017, 6:50 pm

        yoni falic:

        Thanks, that was interesting.

        “There are not words for me to describe how much I hate Rabbinic Judaism as a religion even if I find it interesting as an historical phenomenon.”

        I must say, that eventhough I would not call myself an atheist, I have lately been really tired of all the religions.. The fanatics in each religion seem to use their religion to dominate and oppress someone or atleast resist to give equal rights for everyone, just because they can find some lines somewhere, suitable for their cause.. I don’t know, if the “Holy Books” are good for anyone anymore in this time.. Couldn’t we just make one – really short one – for each religion together:

        Peace, love and respect.. And the rest depends on us.

      • jon s on May 20, 2017, 5:37 pm

        I’ve written about the Beersheva bus station attack in previous comments. There’s also a much-praised documentary:

        People can quote Jewish sources to support the occupation and racism , but also to support peace justice and democracy, There isn’t one voice that speaks for Judaism as such.
        Mr. Smotrich gives the Palestinians a choice: transfer, apartheid or genocide while quoting and interpreting Jewish sources. Others such as myself. reach diametrically opposite positions also based on Jewish sources. As you said it depends on who’s interpreting.

      • jon s on May 20, 2017, 6:00 pm

        The Anti-Semitic meshumad and self-confessed war criminal Yonifalic is allowed to explain why he hates Judaism, in violation of Mondoweiss comments policy. I wonder if a commenter would be allowed to explain hatred for Islam or Christianity.

        And the passage from the Haggadah is not only recited, it’s sung:

      • Mooser on May 20, 2017, 6:32 pm

        In case anybody finds it hard to understand why an Israeli, “Jon s” would be disparaging an IDF vet, who fought in Israel’s wars( “Yoni Falic”), it’s simple.
        Israeli-Americans like “Jon s”, despise sabras, those born in Israel. Israeli-Americans consider themselves superior to the Israeli-born.

      • oldgeezer on May 21, 2017, 12:51 am

        @jon s

        Go on jon! Tell us.

        Now to my mind there is a difference between someone slagging off a religion they have never been a part of and one which they felt forced to leave because of a disagreement in central values.

        As someone who will most certainly not be offended i would love to hear you slag off Islam and Christianity. In fact I implore you to let us know how you feel. It is not only fair but a key to understanding your viewpoint.

        As for quoting sources against oppression and occupation as mentioned in your reply to annie… so what? They are the ones elected to represent the majority of Israelis. It is the pond scum sucking genocidal racists at the helm. The rank dregs of humanity. Lots of decent folks in Israel. Just not enough to halt the progressiob of the totally indecent majority. Get out while you can. Or practice soccer on the head of a person of colour. Your choice. I am betting on what your ilk will choose.

  8. jon s on May 6, 2017, 10:33 am

    Instead of focussing on the ugliness of the hecklers and disruptors, why not focus on the event itself? The 4000 Israelis who gathered to honor the sacrifice on both sides and the hundreds of Palestinians who attended parrallel events , represent those of us seeking a peaceful future for both peoples.

    • Mooser on May 6, 2017, 8:17 pm

      “why not focus on the event itself?”

      Yes, let’s focus on current events.
      Just arrested a bunch of people from Beersheba for terrorist activities against Palestinians, didn’t they? Wait, lemme check Google, you wouldn’t live in a place like that.

      Holy mackerel, never realized Beersheba was such a hot-bed of terrorist activity against Palestinians before.

    • oldgeezer on May 17, 2017, 12:52 pm

      @jon s

      Sounds wonderful jon. All you peace loving zionists paying homage to the memory of the victims of zionist/Israeli terrorism as well as your own.

      What a wonderful future and peace.

      Could you provide a link to any of the speeches by these peace loving zionist leaders where they actually do that?

      Or does losses on both sides mean something else in perverted zionist language.

    • annie on May 17, 2017, 2:01 pm

      Instead of focussing on the ugliness of the hecklers and disruptors, why not focus on the event itself?

      jon, did you open the “combatants for hate” haaretz editorial jonathan linked to? the one with the awful video in the middle of the article? and the graphic on top of the bullseye on the dove’s heart? i’m curious if you’re curious why haaretz focused on the ugliness of the hecklers and the governments refusal to admit the hundreds of palestinians who normally attend the event?

      why do you think haaretz didn’t just focus on the “event itself” (assuming you mean the “event itself” doesn’t include the adjacent police cordoned off riot w/protestors screaming accusations “Nazis,” “worthless cowards,” “seed of Amalek,” “go back to Auschwitz,” “get out of our country” at the bereaved families)?

      why do you think haaretz even mentioned bennett’s tweet? i mean why not just focus on the “event itself” without all that fuzzy uncomfortable information about palestinians not being able to attend? does it sort of irk you haaretz would write all that stuff? do you think it was anti semitic of them to include the not so nice news, do you think focusing on it was irresponsible in light of the fact they didn’t even quote the speakers of the “event itself”?

      Could you provide a link to any of the speeches by these peace loving zionist leaders where they actually do that?

      jon, do you know if any publication covered the “event itself” (especially sans mention of that ugly stuff and the gov banning), any speeches or quotes? if so, could you please link to them (or it). any videos on youtube of the speeches or photos from this years alternate memorial day “event itself”?

      and about your curiosity about elian kteily’s non-reply — just thought i’d mention kteily has only commented 8 times since he registered at mondoweiss in 2014. it’s very likely that, like many of our commenters (including me), he doesn’t get email notifications about responses to his comments. it’s possible he didn’t revisit the article once he’d read it and left a comment. i’m sure there are many times people have responded to my comments over the years and i’ve just missed them. iow, it could simply be he didn’t reply because he didn’t read your question.

      • jon s on May 20, 2017, 5:46 pm

        The event was organized by two remarkable groups:

        You can see the event on the cfpeace website

      • annie on May 20, 2017, 6:14 pm

        thanks for the links jon. i couldn’t find the event covered on either of their sites and neither appear to have been updated since before the event.

  9. jon s on May 21, 2017, 5:42 am

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