Archive for Jerusalem

Settlers Shoot Palestinian, Attack Mosque Imam

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by loonwatch

More anti-Palestinian violence from fanatical settlers who believe the land has been deeded to them by God, and therefore they have right to intimidate Palestinians into leaving:

Israeli settler shoots Palestinian in West Bank

NABLUS (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler shot and wounded a Palestinian man on Saturday in a clash that began when a group of settlers set fire to fields belonging to a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, officials said.

Najeh al-Safadi, 22, was handcuffed by a guard from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar who threw him to the ground and shot him while other settlers kicked him, a relative said.

Muntaser al-Safadi said people from his village, Orif, which is near Nablus in the northern West Bank, arrived and rescued the young man. He was transferred to Rafidia hospital with severe injuries.

Residents said about 25 settlers, some of them carrying guns, set fire to wheat fields and an olive grove near the Orif school. Settlers fired at people who were trying to put out the fire, they said.

Villagers came out to extinguish the fire and ended up clashing with the settlers, said Nablus official Ghassan Daghlas. Eight people were injured and four of them were hospitalized, he told Ma’an.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a settler shot and wounded one Palestinian, adding that security forces were sent to the scene to break up the violence.

“The Israel Defense Forces regards this incident as severe and will thoroughly investigate it,” the spokesman said.

The military is investigating a similar incident from last week in which a video distributed by an anti-settlement group appeared to show a settler shooting and wounding a Palestinian during a confrontation with rock-throwing Palestinians, as soldiers stood by.

Daghlas said Saturday’s attack was a direct assault on civilians, and part of a pattern of incidents sparked by gun-toting settlers.

The official expressed surprise at the “international silence” toward Israeli violations, particularly the silence of the United Nations.

It is also being reported that Settlers attacked an Imam in the Ain Silwan region:

Settlers attack mosque Imam, IOF arrest a boy

(Palestine-info.co.uk

AL-KHALIL– A number of Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday the imam of Ain Silwan mosque in Silwan town in Jerusalem after storming the neighboring area.

Jerusalemite sources stated that the settlers attacked the seventy-year-old imam of Ain Silwan mosque, Adam Samreen, under the pretext of enabling tourists to enter the place. Meanwhile, the Zionist settlers raided the neighboring area, and attacked the guard causing him injuries.

It is noted that the ongoing Zionist attacks against Jerusalemites aim at forcing them to leave their lands and properties.

Marine Le Pen Tells Jerusalem Post that Sarkozy has Encouraged ‘Fundamentalists’, Claims UOIF has Called for Murder of Jews

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by loonwatch

 

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Marine Le Pen Tells Jerusalem Post that Sarkozy has Encouraged ‘Fundamentalists’, Claims UOIF has Called for Murder of Jews

Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate for the French presidential election, accused rival President Nicolas Sarkozy of having sent “a simple message” when some Islamists were arrested on French territory, after French forces assaulted Mohamed Merah’s house last month. Le Pen was speaking at a press conference with foreign journalists in her campaign headquarters at Nanterre, west of Paris.

Responding to a question from The Jerusalem Post, following the surprising absence of mentions in electoral debates of the shootings in the southern French town of Toulouse, Le Pen criticized Sarkozy, calling his crackdown on Islamists “merely electoral agitation after the Merah affair.”

“A few arrested Islamists and that is all… [Sarkozy] is not dealing with the real problem of fundamentalism, although he has been in charge of national security for the past 10 years.” For Le Pen, Sarkozy, like his predecessors, “deliberately downplayed the threat from Islamists who want to see France as we know it disappear in favor of Shari’a.”

Going further, she accused her main rival for the voice of the right wing to have even “opened the door to the UOIF (militant Muslim organization in France) who called for the murder of Jews”. “He provided the first steps to the ladder for the fundamentalists in France and internationally,” she said.

Jerusalem Post, 12 April 2012

Israeli Officials: Starve Iranians to Stop Nukes

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Where’s the humanity in saying you want to “starve” a whole group of people?

(H/T: Saladin)

Israeli officials: Starve Iranians to stop nukes

by Attila Somfalvi (YNetNews)

Iran’s citizens should be starved in order to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington.

“North Korea is halting its nuclear program in order to receive aid in food, and this is what should be done with Iran as well,” one unnamed official said.

“Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food,” the source said. “This would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile, while the Persian people have nothing to eat and may rise up as was the case in Syria, Tunisia and other Arab states.”

“The Western world led by the United States must implement stifling sanctions at this time already, rather than wait or hesitate,” the official said. “In order to suffocate Iran economically and diplomatically and lead the regime there to a hopeless situation, this must be done now, without delay.”

‘Iran has hidden capabilities’

Earlier Wednesday, North Korea said that it has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and adopt a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday the North has also agreed to allow International Atomic Energy inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

On Tuesday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the Islamic Republic has yet to reveal all of its military capabilities, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has many hidden capabilities which are kept for rainy days,” Vahidi said, adding, “We have not yet revealed all our capabilities.”

Addressing Israeli strike threats, the Iranian minister said Washington objects to statements on an Iran strike as the US is aware of Iran’s power and realizes that anyone who becomes embroiled in a conflict with Tehran will be defeated.

Haaretz: Jerusalem Christians are Latest Targets in Recent Spate of ‘Price Tag’ Attacks

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Some more analysis of the ongoing “price tag” attacks against Muslims and Christians in Israel:

Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of ‘price tag’ attacks

“Price tag” graffiti was spray-painted in Jerusalem again Sunday night, with vandals this time targeting a downtown church.

The attack on the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation marks the latest in a series of price tag attacks that have targeted Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in the capital over the last two months. But police believe most of the vandalism is not the work of an organized group; rather, they say, the spray-painted slogans are largely copycat actions carried out by lone individuals.

The original price tag attacks, in contrast, were thought to be the work of a group of settlers seeking to set a “price tag” on house demolitions in the settlements via retaliatory attacks on Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers.

The attacks during the past two months have included the torching of cars belonging to Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood; spray-painting slogans on a Christian cemetery on Mount Zion; spray-painting slogans on Peace Now’s office in the capital, as well as the house of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran; threats against Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer; and an arson attack on an ancient mosque in the city’s Geula neighborhood. Over the last week alone, a bilingual school and two churches have been vandalized, including the Baptist church vandalized Sunday.

In both church attacks, the vandals spray-painted slogans denouncing Christianity, Jesus and Mary, such as “Jesus is dead,” “Death to Christianity” and “Mary was a prostitute.” They also included the by-now customary “price tag” slogan.

The Jerusalem police said they have arrested several suspects in this spate of attacks, including one for the attacks on Peace Now and one for the vandalism of the bilingual school. The latter suspect, arrested last week, said he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago, according to police. Police believe that many of the other attacks are similarly motivated by ordinary hooliganism, rather than ideology.

“It’s intolerably easy,” one senior Jerusalem police officer said. “Any child can take a spray can and spray it, and people know it will be broadcast. Not every case is really nationalistic.”

But to victims, the motive is irrelevant. Jerusalem’s Christian community increasingly feels under assault, and that is especially true for Christians living in Jewish neighborhoods. Priests in the Old City, especially Armenian priests who must often transit the Jewish Quarter, say they are spat on almost daily.

“It’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening,” said a senior priest at one Jerusalem church.

The spitting has become so prevalent that some priests have simply stopped going to certain parts of the Old City.

The Baptist church has been attacked twice before: It was torched in 1982 and again in 2007. “We mainly feel sad” about the attacks, said the church’s pastor, Charles Kopp. “It hurts us that anyone could even think we deserve such treatment. They don’t know us, but they apparently oppose anyone who doesn’t identity with them. I wish them well; I have no desire for revenge.”

Baptist priests don’t normally walk around in priestly garb, but Kopp said he would be afraid to walk through the Old City if he did.

Jacob Avrahami, the mayor’s advisor on the Christian community, visited the Baptist church on Monday to condemn the attacks. “They feel besieged; you can see it on them,” he said.

Dr. Gadi Gevaryahu, whose Banish the Darkness organization works to combat racism, said his big fear is that “one day, they’ll attack a mosque or a church with people inside and there will be a terrible conflagration here.”

“Over the last two years, 10 mosques have been torched here, and today it’s clear that it’s not just aimed at Palestinians or Muslims, but at foreigners in general,” he said.

Gevaryahu also offered a practical suggestion: Security cameras, he said, should be installed on every sensitive building in the city.

IDF Soldier Linked to ‘Price Tag’ Attack in West Bank Palestinian village

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Inscription 'Muhammad is a pig' painted on a Jerusalem mosque, Dec. 14, 2011.

Inscription ‘Muhammad is a pig’ painted on a Jerusalem mosque, Dec. 14, 2011.

These attacks continue. When will it come to an end?

IDF soldier linked to ‘price tag’ attack in West Bank Palestinian village 

An Israel Defense Forces soldier is suspected of perpetrating a so-called “price tag” attack in a Palestinian West Bank village, Haaretz learned on Friday, following recently intercepted security camera footage.

The Golani Brigade soldier and resident of the Itamar settlement was arrested along with two young women after footage indicated the three vandalizing the Palestinian village of Luban al-Sharqiya near Nablus.

According to a preliminary investigation, the three are suspected of entering the West Bank village on 1:30 A.M. Tuesday, where they sprayed the caption “Muhammad is a pig” on one of the walls and sabotaged a construction materials shop.

Security camera footage provided by Israeli NGO B’Tselem shows one of the young women stabbing sacks of building material piled up near the shop.

Later, a confrontation ensued between the three and local residents who woke up following the ruckus, during which the IDF soldier threatened the Palestinians with his rifle, causing them to flee the scene.

Suspects linked to the case were arrested on Thursday, with their arrest remanded until Monday.

The solder admitted to the act and is scheduled to be detained until Monday.

In addition, Orien Nizri from Jerusalem, known for her West Bank activism, and Sarah Goldberg from the settlement of Tapuach were arrested over suspicion that they were the young women in the car.

The young women are to be detained until Tuesday following a remand hearing in a Jerusalem magistrate’s court.

Haaretz, 10 February 2012

The ‘Price Tag’ Terror Group Vandalizes a Jerusalem Mosque

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2011 by loonwatch
Jerusalem price tag attack, Dec. 14, 2011. Photo by: Jerusalem Fire Dept. Jerusalem price tag attack, Dec. 14, 2011. Photo by: Jerusalem Fire Dept.

If Muslims were attacking synagogues or churches at the rate that these attackers are, the right-wing nuts would be having a feeding frenzy.

Jerusalem mosque set alight in suspected ‘price tag’ attack

Jerusalem Mayor denounces arsonists’ attack on burial site of noted Muslim figure, saying zero tolerance should be shown to violence of any kind, and that coexistence in the city must be kept.

By Oz Rosenberg and Nir Hasson

Arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. There was no structural damage reported and the damage mainly consisted of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading “Price Tag,” and anti-Islamic phrases.

The Nebi Akasha mosque, apparently built under the Ayyubid dynasty in the 12th century with additions made under the Mamluk dynasty in the 13th century. It is believed that the mosque was founded on the burial site of combatants in Saladin’s army, though an ancient tradition designates the site as the place where Akasha, a friend of the Prophet Muhammad, was buried.

The mosque is uniquely located in central Jerusalem in the midst of a Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. It was abandoned in the Israeli War of Independence. Its was recently renovated and turned into a municipal storage facility.

Graffiti spray painted on the historical site included inscriptions such as “Muhammad is Dead,” “Muhammad is a Pig,” and “Price Tag.”

The Jerusalem municipality closed off the entrance to the mosque, and the police and Shin Bet began an investigation.

Continue reading

Muslim Graves Vandalized at Disputed Jerusalem Site

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by loonwatch
The cemetery dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints (AFP, Ahmad Gharabli) The cemetery dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints (AFP, Ahmad Gharabli)

The “Price Tag” vandals attack again.

Early in October they vandalized a mosque by setting it on fire. And also, last year around the same time, Safed, a small town in Israel had grafiti that the “Price Tag” vandals are known for:

In a city park next to a college building on a recent afternoon, “Death to Arabs” was scrawled on a gatepost. The park is a hangout for the Arab students, who were scattered on benches during a break between classes.

Let us imagine if these “Price Tag” vandals were Muslims. They would be considered a terrorist group threatening the state of Israel’s existence. Spencer and Geller would make claims that they are here in America terrorizing our citizens daily.

This time around, the vandals thought to ante up their game and vandalize a Muslim cemetery instead.

Muslim graves vandalised at disputed Jerusalem site

JERUSALEM — Racist slogans were sprayed over gravestones in an old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, site of a dispute between Palestinians and supporters of a museum being built alongside, police said on Thursday.

An AFP photographer, who arrived at the cemetery in the city centre, said he saw graffiti on 15 tombs reading “price tag” and “death to the Arabs.”

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that “the slogans were painted several weeks ago” and had not yet been erased by municipal authorities.

Hardline Jewish settlers have adopted what they call a “price tag” policy — a euphemism for revenge attacks against Palestinians and their property following Israeli government measures against settlements.

In recent months, the scope of such attacks has broadened, with vandals targeting Israeli army vehicles, mosques and cemeteries inside Israel and Israeli anti-settlement activists.

On Wednesday, police said they had arrested a suspect in a graffiti attack and bomb hoax at the Jerusalem offices of Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now on Sunday, in which a wall was daubed with the words “price tag”.

In the Jerusalem cemetery dispute, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights group, is building what is termed a “Museum of Tolerance” alongside the disused graveyard.

The project has sparked controversy because it is being built on land belonging to the Ma’man Allah cemetery, commonly called Mamilla, which dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints.

Descendants of those interred in the west Jerusalem cemetery say it also houses the remains of soldiers and officials of legendary Muslim ruler Saladin.

800 ultra-Orthodox protesters attempt to block Jerusalem road

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch
Ultra-Orthodox protestors clashing with police on Jerusalem’s Neviim Street on Saturday. By Nir Hasson Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi

There were 800 ultra-Orthodox protesters attempting to block traffic on Shabbat due to religious motivation, but if Muslims did something of this caliber, everyone would mention that Islam demands all Muslims to act like this.

800 ultra-Orthodox protesters attempt to block Jerusalem road

Police arrived on horseback to disperse the crowd on the central Neviim Street, using a water-spraying vehicle to push the ultra-Orthodox protesters back toward the curb and allow traffic to resume. Protesters yelled out “Shabbos” and “Nazis” and threw objects as police remained in the vicinity to keep the peace.

Earlier this week, Jerusalem District Commander Niso Shaham requested that secular activists refrain from protesting ultra-Orthodox attempts to close off the road, explaining that this would only fuel tensions. The commander pledged to take the necessary measures to ensure traffic would flow as usual on the central Jerusalem road.

Saturday’s events come just days after ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim residents set fire to trash cans and hurled rocks at police officers to protest the shutting down of an illegal slaughterhouse. Six policemen were wounded in the fray.

Neviim Street, a central Jerusalem road, is one of the most important avenues of transportation in the capital, particularly since the closure of Yaffo Road to traffic in recent years. Neviim also serves as a border between ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and the cultural and shopping center of the city.

Secular residents claim that the police are turning a blind eye to ultra-Orthodox efforts to block traffic on the street every Saturday, with hundreds of religious men often resorting to violence in a bid to prevent cars from desecrating Shabbat.

Although police have successfully prevented the total closure of Neviim Street in the past, secular drivers have complained of ultra-Orthodox zealots kicking, hitting, and throwing bottles on their cars when they attempt to drive through the street.

Rightists in Jerusalem: Muhammad is dead, butcher Arabs

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2011 by loonwatch

These Right-wing activists are increasing in numbers across Israel. Will they be a majority in 20 years?

Can you imagine if this happened in a Muslim country?

Rightists in Jerusalem: Muhammad is dead, butcher Arabs

(YNet)

Dozens of right-wing activists marching through Jerusalem Wednesday were filmed chanting inflammatory messages and singing provocative songs in the capital, including “Muhammad is dead,” “May your village burn,” “Death to leftists,” and “Butcher the Arabs.”

The disturbing utterances were made during the traditional “Flag Dance” on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to the capital to celebrate its unification following the 1967 Six-Day War.

http://mediadownload.ynet.co.il/flowplayerlive/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.5.swf

The offensive chants and songs can be clearly heard in the video, filmed by members of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. Elsewhere, Arab residents hurled stones at Jewish protestors during the tense day. The Jerusalem Police deployed in the city in force ahead of time in a bid to prevent friction between Jews and Arabs.

During Wednesday’s violent clashes, police detained at least 15 rioters, both Jewish and Arab. A focal point of tension was the Old City’s Damascus Gate, where Jewish marchers and Arab business owners hurled stones and fruit at each other. Some Jews entered the Muslim market in the area and chanted “Death to the Arabs” and “Muhammad is dead.”

More Jewish protestors were arrested nearby after yelling nationalistic chants and attempting to hurt Arabs.

Overall, two Jews and one Arab sustained light wounds as result of stone throwing during the day and received medical treatment.

Huckabee Wants Palestinians Resettled in “Muslim Territory”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by loonwatch

How outright disgusting can Mike Huckabee get? Suggesting Palestinians should be resettled from their homes to Muslim territory, he also exposes his ignorance of the fact that there are Palestinian Christians and I shudder to think that this guy is a candidate for 2012.

Huckabee: Palestinians Should Be Resettled In ‘Muslim’ Territory

Far from Iowa, likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a crowd of Jewish Israelis yesterday that he’d be just as mad as they are if anybody tried to kick him out of America the way Israelis are being asked to not build or live in disputed lands.

“I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English,” Huckabee said. “I would be outraged if someone told me that in my country, I would be prohibited and forbidden to live in a part of that country, for any reason.”

Huckabee was attending a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new neighborhood on the Mount of Olives in east Jerusalem — a disputed territory in the Middle East that Huckabee says should belong to Israel. East Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank aren’t recognized as Israeli land by most of the international community; Israel annexed East Jerusalem shortly after the Six Day War, while the remainder of the West Bank — where there are numerous Israeli settlements — remains under military administration..

Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Huckabee said, should settle in “territory that [is] in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs,” as determined by the “international community.”

Huckabee appeared at the event with actor Jon Voight, the Tea Party’s favorite celebrity better known to most Israelis as Angelina Jolie’s father.

“And now you are here, this is your time, and you are doing what you should be doing, which is to prepare the next generations and to be the hope of the world that you are,” Voight said. “I love you all.”

 

Allen West Says Keith Ellison is the “antithesis of American values”

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Allen West is on a crusade, no doubt about it. The video for his interview with Shalom TV is insane, it seems as though he puts Israel first even ahead of America.

Allen West: Keith Ellison ‘The Antithesis Of Principles’ Upon Which Country Was Founded (VIDEO)

(Huffington Post)

Freshman Tea Party-backed Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) recently got personal in an attack on one of the House’s two Muslim representatives, declaring that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) represents “the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.”

During an interview with “The Shalom Show,” West also said that he plans to “defeat” Ellison, an outspoken Democrat who “supports Islam,” according to host Richard Peritz, “intellectually in debate and discourse.”

As ThinkProgress notes, West has repeatedly sought to connect Islamic religious beliefs to supposedly anti-American views.

At a town hall meeting during his campaign, West claimed that people who display the popular “Coexist” bumper stickers, which use various religious symbols as font, are those who would “give away our country” and “our rights and freedoms and liberties because they are afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema of who we are.”

If the connection between the bumper sticker and Islam wasn’t made clear by that statement, West went on to drive home his claim that Islam is a “very vile and very vicious enemy that we have allowed to come in this country because we ride around with bumper stickers that say ‘coexist.’”

For more on West’s controversial views of Islam, check out ThinkProgress’s report here.

 

Shocking Religious Defense of Killing Non-Jews (with Video)

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by loonwatch

Rabbi Yizhak Shapira

(hat tip: D. Bartholomew)

How to Kill Goyim and Influence People: Israeli Rabbis Defend Book’s Shocking Religious Defense of Killing Non-Jews (with Video)

by Max Blumenthal

August 30, 2010

When I went into the Jewish religious book emporium, Pomeranz, in central Jerusalem to inquire about the availability of a book called Torat Ha’Melech, or the King’s Torah, a commotion immediately ensued. “Are you sure you want it?” the owner, M. Pomeranz, asked me half-jokingly. “The Shabak [Israel’s internal security service] is going to want a word with you if you do.” As customers stopped browsing and began to stare in my direction, Pomeranz pointed to a security camera affixed to a wall. “See that?” he told me. “It goes straight to the Shabak!”

As soon as it was published late last year,Torat Ha’Melech sparked a national uproar. The controversy began when an Israeli tabloid panned the book’s contents as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.” According to the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, “Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder,” Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

In January, Shapira was briefly detained by the Israeli police, while two leading rabbis who endorsed the book, Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, were summoned to interrogations by the Shabak. However, the rabbis refused to appear at the interrogations, essentially thumbing their noses at the state and its laws. And the government did nothing. The episode raised grave questions about the willingness of the Israeli government to confront the ferociously racist swathe of the country’s rabbinate. “Something like this has never happened before, even though it seems as if everything possible has already happened,” Israeli commentator Yossi Sarid remarked with astonishment. “Two rabbis [were] summoned to a police investigation, and announc[ed] that they will not go. Even settlers are kind enough to turn up.”

In response to the rabbis’ public rebuke of the state’s legal system, the Israeli Attorney General and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept silent. Indeed, since the publication of Torat Ha’Melech, Netanyahu has strenuously avoided criticizing its contents or the author’s leading supporters. Like so many prime ministers before him, he has been cowed into submission by Israel’s religious nationalist community. But Netanyahu appears to be particularly impotent. His weakness stems from the fact that the religious nationalist right figures prominently in his governing coalition and comprises a substantial portion of his political base. For Netanyahu, a confrontation with the rabid rabbis could amount to political suicide, or could force him into an alliance with centrist forces who do not share his commitment to the settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

On August 18, a pantheon of Israel’s top fundamentalist rabbis flaunted their political power during an ad hoc congress they convened at Jerusalem’s Ramada Renaissance hotel. Before an audience of 250 supporters including the far-right Israeli Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari, the rabbis declared in the name of the Holy Torah that would not submit to any attempt by the government to regulate their political activities — even and especially if those activities included inciting terrorist attacks against non-Jews. As one wizened rabbi after another rose up to inveigh against the government’s investigation of Torat Ha’Melech until his voice grew hoarse, the gathering degenerated into calls for murdering not just non-Jews, but secular Jews as well.

Watch the video (article continues below):

“The obligation to sacrifice your life is above all others when fighting those who wish to destroy the authority of the Torah,” bellowed Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, head of the yeshiva in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. “It is not only true against non-Jews who are trying to destroy it but against Jewish people from any side.”

The government-funded terror academy

The disturbing philosophy expressed in Torat Ha’Melech emerged from the fevered atmosphere of a settlement called Yitzhar located in the northern West Bank near the Palestinian city of Nablus. Shapira leads the settlement’s Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, holding sway over a small army of fanatics who are eager to lash out at the Palestinians tending to their crops and livestock in the valleys below them. One of Shapira’s followers, an American immigrant named Jack Teitel, has confessed to murdering two innocent Palestinians and attempting to the kill the liberal Israeli historian Ze’ev Sternhell with a mail bomb. Teitel is suspected of many more murders, including an attack on a Tel Aviv gay community center.

Despite its apparent role as a terror training institute, Od Yosef Chai has raked in nearly fifty thousand dollars from the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs since 2007, while the Ministry of Education has pumped over 250 thousand dollars into the yeshiva’s coffers between 2006 and 2007. The yeshiva has also benefited handsomely from donations from a tax-exempt American non-profit called the Central Fund of Israel. Located inside the Marcus Brothers Textiles store in midtown Manhattan,the Central Fund transferred at least thirty thousand to Od Yosef Chai between 2007 and 2008.

Though he does not name “the enemy” in the pages of his book, Shapira’s longstanding connection to terrorist attacks against Palestinian civilians exposes the true identity of his targets. In 2006, Shapira was briefly held by Israeli police for urging his supporters to murder all Palestinians over the age of 13. Two years later, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, he signed a rabbinical letter in support of Israeli Jews who had brutally assaulted two Arab youths on the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. That same year, Shapira was arrested under suspicion that he helped orchestrate a rocket attack against a Palestinian village near Nablus. Though he was released, Shapira’s name arose in connection with another act of terror, when in January, the Israeli police raided his settlement seeking the vandals who set fire to a nearby mosque. After arresting ten settlers, the Shabak held five of Shapira’s confederates under suspicion of arson.

Friends in high places

Despite his longstanding involvement in terrorism, or perhaps because of it, Shapira counts Israel’s leading fundamentalist rabbis among his supporters. His most well-known backer is Dov Lior the leader of the Shavei-Hevron yeshiva at Kiryat Arba, a radical Jewish settlement near the occupied Palestinian city of Hebron and a hotbed of Jewish terrorism. Lior has vigorously endorsed Torat Ha’Melech, calling it “very relevant, especially in this time.”

Lior’s enthusiasm for Shapira’s tract stems from his own eliminationist attitude toward non-Jews. For example, while Lior served as the IDF’s top rabbi, he instructed soldiers: “There is no such thing as civilians in wartime… A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail!” Indeed, there are only a few non-Jews whose lives Lior would demand to be spared. They are captured Palestinian militants who, as he once suggested, could be used as subjects for live human medical experiments.

Otherwise, Lior appears content to watch Palestinians perish as they did at the muzzle of Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s machine gun in 1994. Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians and wounded 150 in a shooting spree while they prayed in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs mosque, was a compatriot and neighbor of Lior in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At Goldstein’s funeral, Lior celebrated the massacreas an act carried out “to sanctify the holy name of God.” He then extolled Goldstein as “a righteous man.” Thanks to Lior’s efforts, a shrine to Goldstein was constructed in center of Kiryat Arba so that locals could celebrate the killer’s deeds and pass his legacy down to future generations.

Though Lior’s inflammatory statements resulted in his being barred from running for election to the Supreme Rabbinical Council, according to journalist Daniel Estrin, the rabbi remains “a respected figure among many mainstream ZIonists.” By extension, he maintains considerable influence among religious elements in the IDF. In 2008, when the IDF’s chief rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Ronski, brought a group of military intelligence officers to Hebron for a special tour, he concluded the day with a private meeting with Lior, who was allowed to revel the officers with his views on modern warfare — “no such thing as civilians in wartime.”

Besides Lior, Torat Ha’Melech has earned support from another nationally prominent fundamentalist rabbi: Yaakov Yosef. Yosef is the leader of the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva in Jerusalem and a former member of Knesset. Perhaps more significantly, he is the son of Ovadiah Yosef, the former chief rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas Party that forms a key segment of Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

Yaakov Yosef has brought his influence to bear in defense of Torat Ha’Melech, insisting at the August 18 convention in Jerusalem that the book was no different than the Hagadah that all Jews read from on the holiday of Passover. The Hagadah contains passages about killing non-Jews and so does the Bible, Yosef reminded his audience. “Does anyone want to change the Bible?” he asked.

Bibi buckles

Only days before direct negotiations in Washington between Israel and the Palestinian Authority planned for early September, Yaakov Yosef’s 89-year-old father, Ovadiah delivered his weekly sermon. With characteristic vitriol, he  declared: “All these evil people should perish from this world… God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”

The remarks have sparked an international furor and earned a stern rebuke from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “While the PLO is ready to resume negotiations in seriousness and good faith,” Erekat remarked, “a member of the Israeli government is calling for our destruction.”

Palestinian Israeli member of Knesset Jamal Zehalka subsequently demanded that the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein put Yosef on trial for incitement. “If, heaven forbid, a Muslim spiritual leader were to make anti-Jewish comments of this sort,” Zehalka said, “he would be arrested immediately.”

Here was a perfect opportunity for Netanyahu to demonstrate sincerity about negotiations by  shedding an extremist ally in the name of securing peace. All he had to do was forcefully reject Yosef’s genocidal comments — a feat made all the easier by the White House’s condemnation of the rabbi. But the Israeli Prime Minister ducked for political cover instead, issuing a canned statement instead of a condemnation. “Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s remarks do not reflect Netanyahu’s views,” the statement read, “nor do they reflect the position of the Israeli government.”

By refusing to cut Yosef loose, his party remains a central actor in the Israeli government. Thus the statement by Netanyahu was not only weak. It was false.

 

Waiting for Armageddon: The Convergence of Apocalypse and Politics

Posted in Loon Media, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by loonwatch

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There is a eye widening new documentary out called “Waiting for Armageddon” which explores the Faith and ideology that close to 50 million Americans hold dear to their hearts and which also has a tremendous effect on the foreign and domestic policy of the United States.

Waiting for Armageddon

By RONNIE SCHEIB

Doggedly nonjudgmental docu “Waiting for Armageddon” delves into the faith of some 50 million Americans (including more than one president), exposing the central role of Israel in end-of-days scenarios, their impact on the volatile situation in the Middle East, and the confluence of national policy with biblical prophecy. From interviews with families awaiting the imminent arrival of the Rapture to evangelical tours of Israel, where Texans reverently sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” over the Sea of Galilee, the pic explores beliefs as pervasive as they are largely unexamined. “Waiting,” which bowed Jan. 8 at Gotham’s Cinema Village, could spark strong urban response.

Filmmakers Kate Davis, Franco Sacchi and David Heilbroner structure their docu around the four stages of the apocalypse, each headed by numbered scriptural placards: 1) the Rapture, when, in a microsecond, all true believers, living and dead, will be transported into the clouds with Jesus; 2) the Tribulation, during which untold horrendous catastrophes, ecological and man-made, will rain down upon those haplessly “left behind”; 3) Armageddon, when Christ will return with a sword to judge the sinners and the blood will gush as “high as a horse’s bridle,” to quote one comely software engineer, and 4) the Millennium, encompassing the 1,000-year reign of heaven on earth reserved for Christ and his followers (along with 144,000 converted Jews).

Within this general framework, the filmmakers capture adherents calmly discussing “future history” at church, around the dinner table, at “Pre-Trib” conventions, at Christian telethons raising millions for Israel, and, especially, on junkets to the Holy Land.

The unlikely alliance between Christian evangelicals and right-wing Israelis is predicated on their shared conviction that Jerusalem must remain entirely in Jewish hands. The pic’s representative of the Israeli wing of this coalition is a sneer-afflicted rabbi (dismissing Jesus as a second-rate skirt-chaser), in charge of rebuilding the temple supposedly predestined to supplant the Muslim Dome of the Rock. In the words of a savvy political researcher, one of the pic’s few dissenting voices, the evangelicals “want the Muslims to be evicted by the Jews, the Jews to rebuild the temple of Solon and then Christ to return and trump everybody.”

Waiting” sometimes plays like Bill Maher’s “Religulous,” minus Maher’s snarky mediating p.o.v. In their zeal to not misrepresent evangelicals, the filmmakers tend to record every discussion in mind-numbing C-SPAN-like detail and, more problematically, sometimes unintentionally wind up enabling an evangelical agenda; a shot of men praying in a mosque inadvertently reads as an example of “Islamofascist” behavior.

Still, the docu’s open-endedness offers something for everyone. For believers, it provides a sympathetic portrait of sane, educated families coping with what they perceive as the suffering of the world. For Jews, it sounds a wake-up call to the dangers of supporting a faction that counts as necessary an Israeli future of wholesale destruction and a choice between conversion or death. Lastly, for unrepentantly cynical secularists, it serves up delicious ironies (one “saved” Christian’s barely disguised glee at the prospect of a front-row seat for the upcoming carnage).

Camera (color, HD), Sacchi, Davis; music, Gary Lionelli; sound, Heilbroner, Roberta Dougan, Rich Cutler. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Jan. 2, 2010. (In 2009 New York Jewish Film Festival.) Running time: 74 MIN.

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Jewish Lobby Wages War against Christmas, What if they Were Muslim?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by loonwatch
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A new Jewish lobby is proposing a war against Christmas. Stating amongst other things,

Fliers and ads distributed among the public read, “The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity.

“You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people’s tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity.”

Imagine if a Muslim group of scholars made a similar statement, or if a Muslim lobby group waged such a campaign, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the gang at Fox News would be up in arms about how these groups are waging war on Christianity. Also notice the befuddling silence from Robert Spencerand Pamela Geller on this issue, it isn’t newsworthy if it isn’t “Mooslim.”

Jewish Lobby Wages War on Christmas Trees

A new front for religious battles: Hotels and restaurants. The “Lobby for Jewish values” this week began operating against restaurants and hotels that plan to put up Christmas trees and other Christian symbols ahead of Christmas and the civil New Year.

According to the lobby’s Chairman, Ofer Cohen, they have received backing by the rabbis, “and we are even considering publishing the names of the businesses that put up Christian symbols ahead of the Christian holiday and call for a boycott against them.”

Fliers and ads distributed among the public read, “The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity.

“You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people’s tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity.”

The Jerusalem Rabbinate also works each year to ensure restaurants and hotels receiving kosher certification from the Jerusalem Religious Council do not put up Christian symbols.

According to a senior official in the kashrut department, this is done each year consensually, but that businesses which do not meet this requirement may find their kashrut certificate revoked.

It should be noted that most of the hotels in Jerusalem and a significant part of the restaurants in the capital receive permanent kosher certification from the city’s religious council.