According to Israeli daily Ha’aretz (July 4, 2012), one of the three men who were arrested last week for painting anti-Zionist graffiti on Israeli memorial sites including Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem was indicted on Tuesday and ordered to remain in custody for three more weeks.
Last month, while Netanyahu’s two cabinet ministers were attending a beauty contest to choose Miss Holocaust, some ‘self-hating Jews’ defaced Jerusalem Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, built on land stolen from native Palestinian family. Some of the slogans daubed in paint on the walls of the memorial read: “If Hitler had not existed, the Zionists would have invented him” – and “The Zionists wanted the Holocaust“.
The suspect, Elhanan Ostrowitz, a member of ultra-Orthodox Jewish which opposes the creation of the state of Israel, told police he wanted to bomb Israeli Knesset (Parliament).
“We are shocked and dazed by this callous expression of burning hatred against the Zionists and Zionism,” said Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev.
Michael Robeson’s July 4 article, entitled Was Hitler or Netanyahu Behind the Defacing of Yad Vashem? shed some light who gains from this act of vandalism.
An attack on Yad Vashem, the Holy of Holies only after Auschwitz, would normally be 24/7’d in Israel with politicians, like Bibi Netanyahu, assuring their voters that this kind of atrocity would never occur again, and with Abraham Foxman issuing his usual warnings about the global rise of anti-Semitism. But the Israeli press has downplayed the attack and the New York Times has given it scant attention, and for good reason. The perpetrators themselves destroy the usual image of anti-Semites; and their shocking graffiti statements greatly complicate the issue of how “hate crimes” and “hate speech” are currently defined. No Arab or Neo-Nazi could have succeeded, like this, in putting a couple of specifically kosher wrenches in the works of wielding “anti-Semitism” as a weapon.
First, Chairman Avner Shalev himself was forced to make a distinction between an attack on Zionists and Zionism and one on Jews and Judaism. This distinction is one rarely heard from reputable people in the American media who would wish to avoid being labeled anti-Semites. Second, the content of those graffiti statements, blaming Zionists equally with Hitler for the destruction of European Jewry, offers a potentially explosive glimpse of an alternative history of WWII and the creation of the Israeli state, damning both to Zionist and Western leaders whose reliance on the “Good War” and the Holocaust narratives, provide a fundamental basis for their increasingly doubtful political legitimacy.
The Israeli Jews and who were arrested and accused of the “hate crime” are allegedly members of Neturei Karta, a group that refers to itself as True Torah Jews. Neturei Karta is an Orthodox Jewish sect, comprised of several factions that take some highly unorthodox views on Jewish and Israeli issues. The factions differ in their beliefs, but all of them are utterly opposed to Zionism and believe that its Jewish state is a sin against God, even an abomination. Members of Neturei Karta are hardly representative of the kind of Jews that Elie Weisel was thinking of when he wrote: “Whatever he chooses to do, the Jew becomes a spokesman for all Jews, dead and yet to be born.” But then Weisel is hardly representative of what Neturei Karta members believe to be a True Torah Jew. As one of Neturei Karta’s leaders, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss put it: “The Zionists use the Holocaust issue to their benefit….Zionism is not Jewish, but a political agenda.” To be clear, Rabbi Weiss, by making an unfashionable distinction between politics and religion, was not referring to the Beauty Pageant.
Attacks, which would normally be considered acts of anti-Semitism, by Jews against fellow Jews are not rare. In the past years in America alone, over a dozen cases of allegedly anti-Semitic actions against Jewish property were, upon investigation, discovered to have been performed by Jews themselves. This includes cases of Jews claiming to have been victims of hate crimes attacks that turned out to have been self-inflicted. None of these cases received the media attention given to that of Tawana Brawley. The media’s usual reaction to these cases is to label such individuals as disturbed or troubled while in the Jewish media the term “self hating” is occasionally used. Neturei Karta upends these usual equations because not only are they Jews, but they consider themselves more Jewish than those who regularly wield the equations as weapons of self protection and tools of self empowerment. One of Neturei’s Israeli Rabbis, in fact, was beaten during a 2009 visit to Auschwitz. But not by vicious anti-Semitic Poles; rather, he was beaten by a group of visiting Jews; and he refused to press charges.
The vandalism at Yad Vashem comes at a time when the U.S. government is being lobbied by some Jewish groups to classify all anti-Israeli protests on college campuses as “anti-Semitic” and to prosecute the demonstrators under “hate crime” laws. Should Neturei Karta members decide to vandalize a college Hillel or Chabad office, would Prosecutors be lobbied to go after them with the same diligence taken against an Arab student group? And under the already strict hate speech law, would, say, a Neturei Karta vandalism of the U.S. Holocaust museum be prosecuted as severely as one by David Duke or Louis Farakkahn? Not likely.