The foul material in young Israeli minds
The article from Richard Silverstein is followed by a brief news story from JPost and a blood-curdling article about Rabbi Noam Perel, the ‘world’ leader of Israel’s youth movement and the Facebook campaign.
Foul mouth, foul mind, a voice for Israeli youth, hip-hop star Subliminal
By Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam
June 30, 2014
Whenever there is a terror attack in Israel it brings out the worst, most atavistic reactions. It’s much like the U.S. after 9/11, with the difference being Israel has no robust democratic traditions or constitution, so there are very few protections of free speech or minority views. It allows the worst, most horrific words and deeds to creep into the mainstream.
Here I want to feature two different manifestations of Israeli racism regarding the Hebron kidnapping and its aftermath. As I wrote here, the Israeli media went on the warpath after MK Haneen Zoabi when she expressed understanding of the motivations of the kidnappers (while rejecting the crime itself as justifiable). The follow-up to this nasty episode is this eye-opening interview (English translation) with Channel 2′s Rina Matzliach on the Meet the Press program. Matzliach, who herself is Mizrahi, holds political opinions best described as center-right. Though she expresses nasty, racist, anti-democratic sentiments during the interview, they are sentiments widely held by Israeli Jews. These sentiments, when I read them, made me realize even more than ever, that Israel as presently constituted is a lost cause.
While America in the 1960s was also a society steeped in racism and violence, I always maintained hope for change and that change did come gradually. I can’t feel that way about Israel, especially after watching Matzliach’s performance: she lies, she insults, she interrupts, she baits, she smears. And she does this with no hint of subtlety or nuance. It is a full-frontal attack on one of Israel’s leading Palestinian leaders. This shows that for Israeli Jews it is open season on the Palestinian minority. There is no such thing as national solidarity. No such thing as an Israeli national identity. There are Jews and all the rest.
Facebook selfie on ‘The people of Israel demand revenge’ Facebook page. The inscription written across this soldier’s stomach reads the same. Photo by Facebook
So unlike the U.S., Israel cannot reform itself. There isn’t enough of a solid center or middle ground. There is the Right and the far Right. The center and the left are hopelessly ineffectual. If left to itself, Israel will lose.
I’ve held back on uploading this video trying to get it translated and then captioned. It is now translated, but the captioning is beyond my technical abilities. Perhaps there’s a Hebrew-speaker out there with the technical skills to caption this. That would allow readers to read the subtitles along with the “action” on screen as Matzliach and Zoabi engaged in their verbal sparring. As of now, you can read the transcript of the interview and judge for yourself the status of Israeli democracy.
An Israeli friend with politics somewhat more moderate mine (though still quite liberal), was annoyed, even angered by Zoabi’s performance here. My feeling was precisely the opposite. I was angered by Matzliach’s contemptuous approach to someone who is an elected member of the national legislature.
Israeli hip-hop star, Subliminal, is known for his homicidal rants against Israel’s enemies, specifically Arabs and Muslims. He’s a foul-mouthed version of the more presentable Israeli jingoist, Idan Raichel. In U.S. terms, you might compare him to Ted Nugent, the former rock star who’s now gone over to the dark-side of the Tea Party. I’ve written about Subliminal’s Jewish fascist tendencies here before. He’s on the warpath again with new diatribes against both MK Haneen Zoabi and the kidnappers of three Israeli teenagers.
Most of you join me in denouncing Israel’s invasion of the West Bank in retaliation for the kidnapping. Subliminal, on the contrary appears to favor turning the West Bank into a massive penal colony and burning Zoabi at the stake as a witch:
I can’t bear hearing this terrorist [Zoabi], Hamas’ official, paid representative in Israel’s Knesset. If only someone would finally put an end to her–racist, terrorist, certifiable liar, who distorts reality. Out of her own fiery heart she creates hate and removes any trace of a possibility for mutual respect, not even to say peace! Why Arabs from their side don’t finally shut her mouth, I cannot understand.
It’s a fact that in any other state her story would have ended, and ended badly [for her]. Sometimes this “enlightened” wannabe democracy of ours is like organizing a public rape to get ourselves fucked in the ass.
Cool, let’s pay her salary of 40,000 shekels ($12,000) a month. Makes perfect sense! Let’s give her a car, an office, so it should be quite comfortable for her, with bodyguards too. This is important. Let’s give her the possibility to broadcast her Hamas propaganda on every media channel. Because that’s quite important for democracy. It’s important to let her piss on our heads saying the kidnappers aren’t terrorists, but the IDF are. And most important is that “the only way to return the kidnapped children home is by freeing the Palestinian prisoners.”
I’ve had it! I’m not ashamed to say that I hope she’ll be run down [in an auto accident] and die, or slip in the bath and rip her head off, or eat a rotten egg and die of food poisoning, or anything the IDF can “arrange” for her, the quicker the better. Even worse than a plain murderer, she incites to murder, this demagogue who incites with Hamas propaganda for Israel’s destruction. We should burn her in effigy on Lag B’Omer [when massive bonfires are lit], the new Hitler. May her name be erased, slut! I feel like dropping her in Iraq or Syria. How her brothers there would honor her! Only fools like us can give this piece of shit a stage and power.
Hey, you can frame this any way you like. Apologists can argue Subliminal is a ranting fool. That he doesn’t represent anyone but his diehard fans. But the truth is that while his star has fallen somewhat in the Israeli cultural firmament over the past decade, he is still the voice of Israeli youth. He is the darkest part of their psyche. Not even the most remote or hidden part. Because what Subliminal will say on his Facebook page, hundreds of thousands of others believe as well.
Huge thank yous to Dena Shunra and Assaf Oron for translating the interview and a h/t to Ofer Neiman for Subliminal’s Facebook post.
In the aftermath of the murder of the three Israeli youths, some soldiers take to social media with signs, photographs.
By Yaakov Lappin, JPost
July 02, 2014
Sign that reads: “The nation demands revenge” Photo: FACEBOOK
The IDF Spokesman Unit condemned soldiers who published photographs of themselves with signs calling for “revenge” against Arabs for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli youths, adding that commanders have been instructed to seek out and punish any soldiers found to be involved.
The Spokesman Unit said soldiers involved in “sending racist photographs and calls to harm innocent people” have taken part in a “severe incident” that is out of line with the military’s expectations. “Any incident of this nature that becomes known to commanders will be dealt with the utmost severity,” the army added.
“We regret that national feelings of sadness are being exploited by political elements for incitement, and the linking of those who serve in the IDF to this phenomenon,” the army added. “Freedom of expression on social media is not a replacement to dialogue with commanders, which is what is the appropriate measure in these type of incidents.”
World Bnei Akiva chief calls for price of ‘blood’ for Israeli teens’ murder
Rabbi Noam Perel, secretary-general of world youth movement since 2012, urges government to turn IDF into an army of avengers, ‘which will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins.’
By Or Kashti, Haaretz
July 02, 2014
The secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva, Rabbi Noam Perel, called for revenge of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, the bodies of whom were found Monday.
“An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge,” Perel posted on his Facebook page, shortly after the bodies were found.
“The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn’t a grief meeting. The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons’ bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins,” Perel wrote, alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter.
“The disgrace will be paid for with the blood of the enemy, not with our tears,” Perel concluded.
Perel [above, ageing leader of Israel youth movement] posted the same message in a Facebook group of World Bnei Akiva envoys.
Responses to Perel’s post on his Facebook profile were predominantly negative, with many expressing their disappointment that the leader of the youth movement they were once a part of espouses such views.
“I’m ashamed of the movement I grew up in. I’m pained that you make me ashamed of Judaism, because you speak in its name,” one comment read.
Others called Perel “insane” and a “Judo-Nazi,” with one comparing the rabbi to Adolph Eichmann. Some comments ridiculed Perel’s implied call for the mass-circumcision of Palestinians, with one alerting the rabbi to the fact that as most of the Palestinians are Muslims, they have already been circumcised.
Perel has since removed the post, saying in a new post that he was misunderstood.
Perel, 44, has been the secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva since 2012. A Zionist-religious youth movement, World Bnei Akiva has over 150 branches in dozens of countries worldwide. According to the movement’s website, it is dedicated to fighting “intermarriage and social assimilation” by encouraging immigration to Israel, by “deepening Jewish identity” and by “strengthening and connecting the Jewish nation abroad to the values of religious-Zionism and the state of Israel.”
Rabbi Perel is also the founder of the high-school yeshiva in the settlement of Susiya near Hebron, which he headed for many years.
On Tuesday evening, after the funerals of the three teens, Perel wrote: “We’ve returned from the funerals of our murdered with new and clear insights. Mountains of words don’t do it for us anymore… ”
Dozens of social media groups calling for revenge of the murders of teens have been launched in the last two days, after the bodies were found. One of them, a Facebook group named “The people of Israel demands revenge,” has already raked in over 35,000 likes.
Facebook group named ‘The people of Israel demand revenge’ rakes in over 35,000 members in two days, many of whom are soldiers; Israeli army: Commanders will take a heavy hand against soldiers involved in this serious incident.
By Ruth Perl Baharir, Haaretz
July 02, 2014
Tens of thousands of Israelis are calling for attacks on Palestinians in a new Facebook group formed in the aftermath of the abduction and murder of three Israeli youths in the West Bank last month.
The responses, consisting of racist comments and demands for revenge, urge people to take violent action against Arabs.
By Wednesday evening, over 35,000 people had joined a Facebook group named “The people of Israel demand revenge,” which was set up after the bodies of teens were found Monday. Many of the group’s members are teenagers, and also include soldiers, who posted photographs of signs with messages demanding revenge and calling to exact a price for the teens’ murders, alongside the insignia and berets of Israeli army units.
The group’s managers, who are not identified by name, encourage surfers to send photos of themselves to the group’s page. “Take your own photo with the inscription ‘the nation of Israel demands revenge,’” one of the managers’ posts said. “It can be on a piece of paper, on cellphone, on the body or anything else (it’s more important to send photos of yourselves). Soldiers, you send us [photos] too. Put the photos on our wall, or attach them to this post, or send us the photo in a personal message and we’ll put them all together into one album. Share!!!”
One photograph that was posted to the page is of two teenage girls smiling, embracing each other and holding a piece of paper saying, “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values.” Another post shows an armed soldier with “Revenge!” inscribed on his chest. Yet another post is of a video clip in which a male urges the “slaughter” of Arab MK Haneen Zoabi and swears at her virulently. “I don’t care if I sound racist … [If] they kidnapped you, let’s see what we’d get in return. Half a portion of masbaha with zaatar,” he wrote.
“Many here ask what revenge is,” the group managers say in a post explaining the group’s agenda. “Killing innocents? No. We’re as rightist in our views as can be, but this group’s purpose is to avenge the kidnapped teens’ blood. To catch the terrorists that abducted and killed them and to exact revenge.”
Not everyone agreed with this message. “There’s no such thing as an innocent Arab,” one of the comments to the post said. “They learn to hate us and how to fight us from an early age!” Another surfer wrote: “I say take them all apart because even their smallest child was raised to be a terrorist.”
Some comments in the group were made by people who object to the message conveyed by the numerous photos and statuses. “A person who cares about human life does not see murder as an expression of sorrow and mourning, not even as a mere insult on Facebook,” one of them wrote.
“The abduction and murder are merely an excuse for you lot to express the same violent, dark views you held a month ago as well, with revenge thrown in so that it wouldn’t be murderousness for its own sake,” one wrote.
The Israel Defense Forces released a press statement on Wednesday afternoon in response to the campaign in which it said, “If soldiers are involved in sending racist photographs and in calling on harming the innocent, then this is a serious incident that does not accord with what is expected of IDF soldiers, and every case made known to the commanders will be handled with utmost severity.
“It is unfortunate that the national feeling of sadness is being exploited by political elements to incite and to link IDF soldiers to a phenomenon such as this.
“The commanders have been instructed to take a heavy hand against those involved and act to prevent the phenomenon’s recurrence.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni condemned the online calls for revenge and in an interview for Channel 2 said she will discuss pursuing legal action against those involved with the Attorney General.
Minister of Agriculture and Yisrael Beiteinu MK Yair Shamir also condemned the calls for revenge, terming them “an evil which must be uprooted.”