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Jewish stones are better than Palestinian stones

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Following the killing-by-stones of Palestinian Aisha al-Rabi, 48, on October 12th, allegedly by Jewish settler youths, Israel is facing an ideological question of how to regard stones, and whether stones have a nationality.

“A stone thrower is a terrorist,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said in 2015, when Israel was amending a law that establishes stiff prison terms for stone-throwers (up to 20 years if harmful intent is proven, 10 years even if the stone-thrower does not intend harm).

In the al-Rabi case, there has now reportedly been found forensic evidence– that is DNA on the very stone that killed her as she, her husband, and daughter were traveling in a car on the occupied West Bank– tying it to one of the five Jewish suspects (as Nir Hasson reported yesterday in Haaretz).

This is a pretty clear case. Israel’s security agency Shin Bet also reported that before the arrest of the five teens from the Rheleim settlement Yeshiva (religious school), extremist settler activists rode in cars to the youths’ homes (violating the religious prohibition against driving on Shabbat) to advise the youths on how to conduct themselves under interrogation. One of these activists was Meir Ettinger, the grandson of Meir Kahane and a veteran of arrests and interrogations. Until recently, Ettinger was also the prime focus of the Shin Bet’s Jewish division.

The judge in this case has so far been lenient. He initially said he might release the minor “under very restrictive conditions” because the young man’s version of events could “open a significant gap in the alleged evidentiary basis that would justify rejecting the state’s request [of indictment].” Subsequently the judge reversed that stance.

About a hundred rabbis published an open letter to the prime minister, justice minister and interior minister protesting the teens’ arrest and the conditions of their detention.

A Haaretz editorial today reports on what Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a Chief Rabbi of Safed with several institutional Chief Rabbinate posts, said to students at the very yeshiva that the suspects come from; and Haaretz say he is inciting murder:

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of Safed and an important personality in the religious Zionist community, believes that an injustice was done to the five teens suspected of killing Palestinian woman Aisha Rabi. During a lesson in halakha, Jewish law, that he delivered to students at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva high school which the suspects attend, he called the justice system corrupt and said it was discriminating against the teens, while it favored Arabs. The fact that the teens allegedly threw stones at the car in which Rabi, a mother of eight, was riding, causing her death, doesn’t seem to make much of an impression on him. “When Arabs throw stones in the West Bank, that’s okay,” he said. “But if it’s a Jews, you call out the entire Shin Bet? What kind of law is that? Where is that law written?” The content of his talk with the Pri Haaretz students amounts to explicit support for the terror suspects. The belittling of the stone-throwing that caused the tragedy (“What’s the big deal? What are you being accused of? You threw a stone”) is criminal disregard for human life and indirect incitement to murder.

Eliyahu is an openly racist Jewish-supremacist. He has opposed having Palestinian Israeli citizens study in Safed Academic College; expressed support for transferring Palestinian citizens out of Israel and issued a ruling forbidding Jews to sell or rent apartments to non-Jews.

Let’s do a reality check. If we were speaking of a Muslim cleric here who openly supports Palestinian terror, this person would, at the very least, be condemned by the Zionist Jewish-Supremacists, not least by Justice Minister Shaked.

But let’s look at Shaked’s attitude towards Eliyahu. Two years ago, the Israel Religious Action Center and a few other organizations petitioned the High Court to subject Eliyahu to a disciplinary trial for his previous statements. Shaked avoided taking any steps against him, but pressured by the petition, declared that she had held a “clarification talk” with him.  The justice minister who advocated for genocide in Gaza by posting a recommendation that Israel kill “little snakes” (Palestinian children), held a “clarification talk” with the racist rabbi. One wonders what they were discussing. Nothing happened. And here he is again.

It is an open secret in Israeli society, that stones, in and of themselves, are not considered murderous weapons, when Jews are throwing them.

A comparative case from last year is the evacuation of 15 homes in the illegal Jewish West Bank settler outpost called Netiv Ha’avot. There, the massive Israeli police force took great pains (and injuries) to complete this evacuation without firing a shot (active evacuation personnel were unarmed), despite the fact that security forces were violently attacked by the protesters, who hurled rocks, bottles, paint balls and other objects at them. The police statement said two officers were treated for head injuries, and another was lightly injured in the leg. According to police, a number of the protesters on the roof were also seen carrying cement blocks and glass bottles.

Yet, not a shot fired. Because the outrage of the uprooted settlers, including their stones (and potentially even cement blocks) is something that we need to sympathize with, even suffer injuries from. After all, they are Jewish.

Compare that to the killing of Izz al-Din Tamimi in Nabi Saleh by Israeli soldiers just a week earlier (several live rounds fired at close range). The 21-year-old Tamimi “flanked the troops and hurled the rock, striking a soldier’s head,” the Israeli army said. “In response, the soldier who was hit by the rock fired towards the Palestinian”. The army was nonetheless careful to note that no soldiers were injured.

A slingshot at Gaza border. June 23, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

You see the pattern: the stone of a colonialist settler that has killed an occupied Palestinian, with intent, and has a DNA address on it, is something to be understood and empathized with, whereas the stone of the occupied, thrown at an occupying soldier (possibly scratching the helmet or something) means immediate extrajudicial execution.

That’s “stone-cold justice” in Greater Israel, for real (to borrow the title of the Australian documentary on Israeli detention of Palestinian children).

The case of the killing of Aisha al-Rabi also begs a comparison to another case, which on the face of it seems to be like a mirror case: the alleged stoning of Adva Biton in 2013. Biton, 40, a Jewish illegal settler from Yakir, was driving with three of her daughters (age 3, 4, 5) when she crashed into a truck on the side of the road near the settlement Ariel. The youngest daughter was severely injured. First, the truck driver told police at the scene that he pulled over after he heard a thud, thinking it was the result of a flat tire. Adva Biton had simply crashed into the truck and basically buried the car under it. But quickly, the story came to be about stones. The truck driver said he saw “stones on the road”, and this became a settler-orgy of hate against Palestinian stone-throwing. In no time, some Palestinian youths were rounded up in the nearby towns of Hares and Kifl Hares. After a series of raids and torture-interrogations, five boys from Hares, aged 16 at the time, “confessed” to throwing stones and signed documents in Hebrew (which they do not read or write). The Israeli military prosecutor first submitted an indictment containing 25 charges of attempted murder for each of the boys. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

Despite the Palestinian boys retracting the “confessions” in military court, they were eventually sentenced in 2016 to 15 years in prison and fines of 30,000 Shekels each (about 8,000 USD). They are known as the Hares Boys. The child-icon of this story for Israel and Israel-supporters was the youngest daughter Adele, who died nearly two years later from pneumonia.

Notice how former New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren (now the paper’s associate managing editor for audience) uncritically parroted Israeli claims and propaganda, in a rather short coverage of the girl’s death in February 2015:

A 4-year-old Israeli girl who was critically injured in a car accident caused by Palestinian rock throwers two years ago died on Tuesday after a severe bout of pneumonia that relatives said was complicated by her neurological trauma.

In the tiny 4-paragraph piece, Rudoren tells us how “the girl, Adele Biton, became a potent national symbol of the dangers that stones can cause after the March 2013 attack… when a rock hit their car, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a truck”. Rudoren devoted a paragraph to the settler leader Gershon Mesika, who said that “this serves as a reminder to everyone in Israel that rocks can kill,” and her last paragraph to (then Economy) Minister Naftali Bennett, who “posted on Facebook a photo of himself with Adele and her mother, Adva, who was also injured in the attack, and wrote, ‘There are no words.'”

The child Adele Biton did not die as a direct result of stone-throwing. She may have died indirectly from stone-throwing, but there is real doubt that stones were even the cause of the accident. Nonetheless, this becomes the narrative. And why should the New York Times even doubt the veracity of the Israeli military court, which boasts of more than 99% convictions? There is no time for doubt, when it concerns Jewish lives. And if they are settlers, let’s give the settlers time and space, lots of it.

In the case of the settler yeshiva boys who allegedly stoned Aisha al-Rabi, we are of course not speaking of a military court. Yes, the Shin Bet is alleged to have used torture here, and if true that is a crime. But the arrests touch upon a much wider issue: that of a Messianic Jewish-terrorist network that aims to take down the Zionist Jewish State in order to create a Kingdom of Israel. It may surprise some, that many in this network consider themselves anti-Zionists, in that they view Zionism as way too soft and liberal. Mayan Sarnat covers this issue in the recent Haaretz piece “The False Innocence of Jewish Terrorism”, noting how Ettinger, who sought to assist the youths in the wake of the stoning, authored the manifesto “The Revolt” espousing the basic ideology, and how there are other booklets that aim to help perpetrators. Sarnat explains how booklets of the network advise small cells rather than a wide network, to reduce the chances of exposure. Within the cell, the activists are required to maintain compartmentalization. For example, if two members carry out a certain action, there is no need for them to share this with the rest of the cell. “You just mustn’t tell about it. And of course, the other members mustn’t question this and try to find out more,” it says. This also explains why the network is difficult to define precisely. There is a connection between this circle and the Duma arson attack of 2015, where 18-month old baby Ali Dawabsheh was burnt alive by Jewish terrorists in the West Bank town (Ali’s mother Riham and father Saad died of their wounds a few weeks later, and of the family of four, only 5-year-old Ahmad survived the arson with severe burns). Last summer, supporters of this terrorist network taunted Ali’s grandfather outside court, chanting “Where’s Ali? There’s no Ali. Ali is burned. On the fire. Ali is on the grill” – with police doing nothing.

The letter by the hundred rabbis in support of the recent settler-youth suspects did not include any moral statement regarding the deed at the center of the investigation. Rather, it condemned the Shin Bet’s “unacceptable interrogation methods” and suggested that they be disqualified on that basis. Needless to say, when Palestinian children are randomly and regularly subject to torture, you will not hear an outcry from here.

Anshel Pfeffer writes in Haaretz, “The Settler Leadership Is a Violent, Lawless, Racist Gang of Vigilantes”:

The teenage suspects have received blanket support from the ideological, political and religious leaders of the moment. Nary a word of criticism for their alleged actions, just an outpouring of vitriol against the Shin Bet and its attempts to reach the truth. True liberals can never be complacent when minors are being questioned and prevented from meeting their lawyers, but the settlers protests go beyond mere hypocrisy, as they would never have any qualms when Palestinian terror suspects are treated in similar, and often far worse, manner.

So really, all of this is not about stones. It’s not even about justice.

The real story here is about how a Jewish-terrorist network and ideology is receiving legitimization from a leadership that is growing in strength, numbers and clout. Although these ‘hilltop youths’ consider themselves “anti-Zionists”, they are really Zionists who are seeking to take Zionism a step further. Zionism was never really secular – it always had that Messianic vein in it, in one way or another. Zionists who consider themselves ‘leftists’, like Israeli historian Benny Morris, can say that they oppose a “Messianic occupation”, but “Messianic occupation” is, in one way or another, the essence of Zionism. These Jewish terrorists simply think Zionism is too liberal in its current form.

Israel is at odds with itself. And the struggle is, how much clout the one form of Zionism has, as opposed to the other form.

Will the Israeli government treat a Jewish stone like it treats a Palestinian stone? And if it does, how will it handle the backlash from the many supporters of Jewish terror? And what will Justice Minister Shaked do?

A few weeks ago, Shaked talked on the phone with the mother of one of the Israeli suspects arrested in the killing of Aisha al-Rabi, telling her to “stay strong”. I dare say Shaked would never say that to a Palestinian mother. Why would you say that to someone who you think breeds “little snakes”?

Jonathan Ofir

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

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20 Responses

  1. gamal on January 24, 2019, 4:35 pm

    “a Chief Rabbi of Safed”

    Safed…the city of Kabbalah…in the old days.

  2. Stephen Shenfield on January 24, 2019, 4:53 pm

    Do you have any hints that will help a novice in ethno-geology tell the difference between a Jewish and a Palestinian stone?

    • Steve Macklevore on February 17, 2019, 1:22 pm

      DNA on the stone can do better than that – it can tell us who picked up the stone.

    • echinococcus on February 17, 2019, 6:13 pm


      That was answered in 45 by the UN Charter. A Palestinian stone is by definition among the fully justified “by any means”, while a stone cannot be Jewish as it cannot practice religion. If in Palestine, all stones are Palestinian. Inane question.

  3. Ossinev on January 24, 2019, 5:57 pm

    “Tolerance toward terrorists ends today. A stone-thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment,” Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, of the far-right Jewish Home party, said in a statement”

    Disgraceful ” Corbyn ” standard behaviour then methinks with the Justice(sic) Minister Shaked empathising with terrorists and urging their families to “stay strong”.

    Bear in mind though that these Fascist ministers in the “only Apartheid Democracy in the Middle East” live in an alternative Zionist universe.

    Israel for me has certainly cornered the world market in sick bucket hypocrisy.

    Tick tick

  4. RoHa on January 24, 2019, 10:03 pm

    “A slingshot at Gaza border. June 23, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.”

    That’s not a slingshot. That’s a sling. Why is it so hard to learn the difference?

    • CigarGod on January 25, 2019, 12:12 pm

      In my family, we knew it as a Shepherds Sling.
      As David was a shepherd, it made sense to us.
      From brief personal experience, it is easy to assume that with practice, one could chase off Jackals, Eagles and other varmits who prey on livestock.

      • RoHa on January 26, 2019, 1:26 am

        Shepherds had plenty of time to practice, and space to practice in, so they could get pretty skillful.

        In skilled hands, it is a powerful weapon. When the Romans came to Rye, and out to Severn strode*, the Britons gave them a hard time by pelting them with lead shot from slings. Frequently the tetsudo formation was the main defence.

        (*With the evil intention of straightening out the crooked road an English drunkard made.)

  5. Kay24 on January 25, 2019, 3:44 am

    I always liked the Irish. Here is a stone they have thrown, that will irk the zionists.
    Thank you Ireland.

    Ireland Bans Israeli Settler goods from Occupied Palestinian West Bank

    • gamal on January 25, 2019, 8:28 am

      I see Frances on your link, I see that accusations of anti-semitism are being leveled against her, on line. Is anti-semitism a particularly female failing. Frances and Kieran have heard it all before.

    • amigo on January 25, 2019, 11:55 am

      Especially proud to be Irish today.

      We led the way in the Dunnes Store boycott some decades ago when goods from SA were refused acceptance by the workers at Dunnes.

      Hopefully others will follow.

      Zionism is racism and needs to be wiped from the face of the civilised world.

      Kudos to Frances Black and her crew for seeing this through to success.

      • Kay24 on January 25, 2019, 6:05 pm

        You should be proud of Ireland. It has always shown leadership in supporting Palestinian rights, and I must say courageous when they stand up to the despised occupier and passing such laws.
        Obviously the zionist poison has not overtaken the political arena, unlike the spineless congress we have in the US, who are all in their pockets. Most congresspeople seek to kiss that zionist “ring” to make sure their political careers are on track.

  6. bcg on January 25, 2019, 9:09 am

    Haaretz article that just appeared:

    “Israel is being put to the test. Is it committed to the equality of human life or is it tainted by the Weimar Republic syndrome, making a distinction between “our own” patriotic political criminals and political criminals (from the left) who are not patriots, with the former getting lighter treatment than the latter? “

  7. Misterioso on January 25, 2019, 10:04 am

    Another day in the life of Palestine’s indigenous Arab inhabitants living under the illegal, brutal and utterly immoral boot of the Zionist occupation:

    “The Sadists Who Destroyed a Decades-old Palestinian Olive Grove Can Rest Easy”

    By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Harretz, Jan. 24/19

    “Another Palestinian village joins the popular protest, its inhabitants no longer able to bear attacks by settlers. Vandals have butchered a grove of 35-year-old olive trees in the village. The tracks led to a nearby settler outpost.”

    “Who are the human scum who last Friday drove all-terrain vehicles down to the magnificent olive grove owned by Abed al Hai Na’asan, in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, chose the oldest and biggest row, and with electric saws felled 25 trees, one after another? Who are the human scum who are capable of fomenting such an outrage on the soil, the earth, the trees and of course on the farmer, who’s been working his land for decades? Who are the human scum who fled like cowards, knowing that no one would bring them to justice for the evil they had wrought?

    “We’re unlikely ever to get the answers. The police are investigating, but at the wild outposts of the Shiloh Valley, and Mevo Shiloh in particular, where the perpetrators’ tracks led, they can go on sleeping in peace. No one will be arrested, no one will be interrogated, no one will be punished. That’s the lesson of past experience in this violent, lawless, settlers’ country.

    “The story itself makes one’s blood boil, but only the sight of the violated grove brings home the scale of the atrocity, the pathological sadism of the perpetrators, the depth of the farmer’s pain upon seeing that his own God’s little acre was assaulted by the Jewish, Israeli, settlers, believers, destroyers – just three days before Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish Arbor Day, the holiday of the trees celebrated by the same people who destroyed his grove. This is how they express their love for the land, this is a reflection of the encroacher’s fondness for the earth and for nature.

    “And on a boulder at the far end of the grove they left their calling card, smeared on a rock: a Star of David smeared in red, shamefaced, shameful, a Mark of Cain that stigmatizes everything it stands for, and next to it, the word ‘Revenge.’ Revenge for what?

    “The 25 felled trees lie like corpses after a massacre on the fertile brown, plowed earth. Twenty-five thick trunks stand bare and decapitated, their roots still deep in the earth, their tops gone, the work of a malicious hand – now mere dead lumber after years of having been tended, cultivated and irrigated. It was the most impressive row of trees in the grove; the destroyers moved along it with satanic deliberateness, sawing mercilessly. When, walking amid the stumps in the grove, the distraught owner Na’asan said that for him the act was tantamount to murder, his words made perfect sense. When we were just arriving there, his wife had phoned and begged him not to visit the grove, for fear he would not be able to abide the sight. Na’asan has cancer.

    “In the briefcase of documents he always carries with him is a copy of the official complaint he submitted to the Binyamin district station of the Israel Police, despite the fact that he knows nothing will ever come of it, that it will be buried like every such complaint. Anyone who wanted to apprehend the rampagers could have done it that same day: Mevo Shiloh, where the tracks of the all-terrain vehicles led, is a small settler outpost – violent and brazen.”

    “About 20 members of Na’asan’s extended family subsist thanks to this grove, which before the attack boasted a total of 80 trees of different ages, all meticulously cultivated. Standing here now, he says he’ll have to clear away those that were felled and bandage the stumps against the cold. That’s the only way they will perhaps sprout new branches, which he will have to tend. It will take another 35 years for the grove to return to its former state. Na’asan is 62. This grove grew together with his children, he says. He knows there’s little chance he’ll be around to see it recover.”

  8. Ossinev on January 25, 2019, 1:22 pm

    Gideon Levy:
    “the pathological sadism of the perpetrators”
    And the pathological sadism of the Racist family members,the Rabid Rabbis who encourage and organise these sadistic acts and the great majority of the Jewish population of the only sadistic Democracy in the Middle East including their obscene racist leaders now across the whole political spectrum from far left to right. Truly comparable to 1930`s Germany.

    Judaism in Israel has truly abandoned the basic moral tenets of what was a civilised humane religion and with the current younger generation of Israeli Jews irreversibly brainwashed into thinking that the barbarism which they have inflicted and continue to inflict on the Palestinians is normal there is no going back.

    • Rashers2 on January 26, 2019, 10:20 pm

      “…with the current younger generation of Israeli Jews irreversibly brainwashed into thinking that the barbarism which they have inflicted and continue to inflict on the Palestinians is normal there is no going back.” If the brainwashing indeed be irreversible, the “Jewish State” is not merely headed for the abyss but few will emerge atop the opposing cliff.

      Jonathan Ofir’s article provoked outrage; Gideon Levy’s linked piece, tears. That the murder (Oops! “manslaughter”) of an innocent mother of eight touched my emotions less than an act of wicked, wanton destruction which, for two generations, will affect how an extended family lives may say something about my morals was, however, not the reason for this comment.

      I’ve long thought Zio-pathy, as manifested in acts described above and exemplified, in her “little snakes” remark, by politicians like Shaked, to be a form of sociopathy. Sociopathy and psychopathy can result in similar or identical behaviours; the difference between them, I understand, is that the latter is a natural phenomeon in the sense of its being randomly visited upon the psychopath. Sociopathy, by contrast, can be learned; learning, by definition, requires a teacher, whether the teacher be observation, experience, environment, Rabbis who have forsaken religion in favour of political dogma or Fascist politicians – or, indeed, all five.

      If the sense of entitlement, superiority, impunity and differential understanding of truth, right-and-wrong and justice have become endemic over several generations and induced a psychosis (among Israeli Jews, a national psychosis) which promotes extremes of sociopathic behaviour, how can this be reversed? As previously observed here, the sociopathy which led the Germans to commit the most horrendously inhumane acts was induced over 12 short years. Zionism has had far longer to teach its perverted morality, take root and bear crop after crop of its poisonous fruit.

      • lonely rico on January 28, 2019, 11:04 am

        “The poisonous fruit of Zionism” on display in Gaza –

        (in Spanish; be forewarned, very disturbing)

      • Rashers2 on February 1, 2019, 5:58 am

        Thank you so much for posting this video. Yes, it’s disturbing. The Spanish subtitles were comprehensible (thank goodness for pause buttons!) when the Arabic was hard to follow. I had read about the Israelis using herbicides to destroy Gazan farmers’ crops – how low can one stoop? The interviewee in Beit Hanoun made a point that the Ziopaths can’t grasp despite its universal truth: when you take away everything, ‘everything’ includes fear. Is that such a difficult concept? And little Suhail? Words fail.

  9. Misterioso on January 25, 2019, 2:54 pm


    Breaking: “Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Reaffirms Award for Angela Davis”

    Democracy Now, Jan. 25/19

    “The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute board has voted to reaffirm leading activist and scholar Angela Davis as the recipient of its Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, after previously rescinding the award over her activism for Palestinian rights.

    “BCRI President and CEO Andrea L. Taylor said in a statement to the press: ‘Dr. Angela Davis, a daughter of Birmingham, is highly regarded throughout the world as a human rights activist. In fact, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study acquired her personal archives in 2018, recognizing her significance in the movement for human rights, her involvement in raising issues of feminism, as well as her leadership in the campaign against mass incarceration. Her credentials in championing human rights are noteworthy.’

    “In September, the institute first announced that it would award Davis the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, named after the civil rights icon. But earlier this month, the institute voted to withdraw the award and cancel this year’s gala event. The institute rescinded the award days after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring Davis due to her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

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