Opinion: Extremists acting with unbridled violence against Palestinian civilians and even IDF soldiers, do so due to racism and not patriotism as they claim, and are no less dangerous than those seeking to delegitimize Israel
Members of the Hilltop Youth throwing stones at Palestinians in the West Bank(Photo: AFP)
There are those who falsely believe the fight against anti-Israel activists, especially the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that seeks to end international support for the Jewish State, is actually a battle between the Left and the Right.
But, there is no bigger lie.
The soldiers at the forefront of this this war are all prominent public figures, such as Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, a former MK and an Israel Prize winner; Prof. Alan Dershowitz, an American professor, civil liberties activist and an associate of Donald Trump; and International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights Prof. Irwin Kotler.
A lot of things can be said about those three, but they are neither right-wing or left-wing, they are simply supporters of the compromise that is the two-state solution, no matter how painful it may be.
The problem is that the campaign to dehumanize Israel involves activists working from inside the Jewish state. They hail from the anti-Zionist radical left, as well as from the anti-Zionist radical right.
In almost every event in which I have participated over the past decade – panels, lectures or media interviews – I’ve always had to answer questions about the radicals who seek to harm Palestinian lives and their property.
Time and time again I find myself forced to explain that this is not Israel’s way, nor is it the stance of the majority of the settlers living in the West Bank. It is nothing but a small minority of fanatical hooligans, the likes of which exist in every country.
The issue is that it seems the problem is only getting worse as time goes by.
On Monday, Ynet reporter Elisha Ben-Kimon reported a disturbing rise in violent cases directed not only at Palestinian civilians, but also at IDF soldiers stationed in the West Bank.
The hooligans responsible for these attacks don’t care for the law, the state, the military, or its soldiers who work tirelessly to protect them.
It is not patriotism or love for the country that drives these radicals, but the burning fire of racism and hate. If there were only a few of them, the military would have caught them and put an end to this nonsense a long time ago.
But in reality, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands. They live in their own outposts, have their own rabbis, and even representatives in the Knesset who may formally object to their actions, but give them backing when they can.
A thousand articles and lectures won’t be able to fix the damage caused by these attacks on Palestinian civilians, of which a fair number have been caught on video.
True, there have been cases when these videos have been faked, staged or edited for maximum provocation – but there is no denying that the spike in violence is a malignant tumor growing among us.
One would expect that the Yesha Council of Settlers – the settlement movement’s umbrella organization – would opt to do something to stop this phenomenon from running rampant near their homes. But no, the council has done or said nothing so far, not even a condemnation.
The demonization of Israel in the West, meanwhile, has reached new heights.
Just a few months ago, a survey was published, which revealed that 25% of American Jews think that Israel is an apartheid state, while another 22% think it commits genocide against the Palestinians. Among the younger generation these numbers are even higher.
Some of the things published by these so-called “human rights organizations” working against Israel are unfortunately true, and they reach not only the Jewish population of America, but the entire world.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government is failing to address this organized violence in the West Bank.
Israel’s enemies are not only those who spread false information about the country’s alleged crimes, but those who live among us and choose to act as monsters.
Even in 1947 there were Jewish radicals here. It was Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook who witnessed with his own eyes, in the center of Jerusalem, how young people harmed two Arabs, one young and one old.
The rabbi then issued a letter to the school where the aggressors studied.
“I was very ashamed by the sight of this,” he wrote. “This reality – which is painful and insulting – obliges me to emphasize to you the need for excessive and special educational attention, so occurrences like this won’t be repeated.”
The question is, where is our learned leader who would condemn these hooligans today, who would say to them – You are hurting us, and you are shaming us.