I haven't referenced Juan Cole's blog in ages, but this piece
, by Quinn Coffey, deserves wide attention. It's about radical fundamentalist Jewish settlers who have viciously attacked a Christian monastery, and it's not the first such outrage.
These attacks have been increasing since 2008.
This isn't just another article about the Israeli-Palestinian clash. It's about something dark that has taken hold of the Israeli soul -- a permanent hardening of the heart. To be frank, the Jews in that part of the world are becoming something very different from the American Jews I've known.
The most recent attack occurred at the Our Lady at Deir Rafat Monastery located on the site of the depopulated former Arab village of the same name, north-west of the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. The graffiti, sprayed in Hebrew on the outer walls of the Monastery, read ‘Jesus is an ape and Mary is a cow’, to which the Latin (Catholic) Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, responded, ‘I don’t believe this is a proper way to receive the Holy Father here next month.’ However, this is only the latest in what the UN High Commission reported was a 150% increase in ‘price tag’ attacks since 2008, with over 788 registered attacks from 2012-2013.
Although the majority of these attacks have occurred in the West Bank, Christians in Jerusalem and throughout Israeli have also come under attack. As a series of 2012 Haaretz articles pointed out, Christian clergy who dress in ‘priestly garb’ are frequently spat on as they walk through Jerusalem’s Old City; as one priest commented ‘it’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening’. In fact, these anti-Christian attacks have become so frequent that in 2012 the Catholic leadership of Palestine issued a statement entitled, Declaration of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, in which they urged the Israeli authorities to address the ‘teaching of contempt’ in Israeli schools. Suggesting that, ‘the time has come for the authorities to act and to put an end to this senseless violence and to ensure a “teaching of respect” in schools for all those who call this land home.’
However, the Deir Rafat attack also highlights the contempt that the settler movement and radical right hold for the peace process. Other areas of the Monastery at Deir Rafat were tagged with the slogans, ‘America is Nazi Germany’ and ‘the price to pay for the peace agreement’, which suggests that the settler movement in some way associates attacks on Christian sites with revenge against America or the international community.
Many years ago, I spoke at length with a prominent survivor of Auschwitz -- a lady who had dealt first-hand with Mengele, and barely survived. (She came to his attention because she had a twin.) After moving to America, this lady always wore, in her professional life, a pin with an American flag. She loved this country and was always grateful to it.
What has changed? Certainly, no rational person can argue that the United States has become more anti-Israeli or more anti-Semitic since the 1940s.
Back in 2009, I wrote about an entire site
(which hasn't published new material since 2011
) which, in its original incarnation, was set up to spit venom at Cannonfire and The Confluence. (My site really has nothing to do with Riverdaughter's, but our critics spoke as if we were joined at the hip.) The site was very pro-Israeli. That didn't bother me. What did bother me was its bizarre, paranoid insistence that the American government was somehow conducting war against Israel.
Allow me to quote from my earlier post. These snippets will include sub-quotes from the pro-Israeli site in question.
According to this site, Uncle Sam himself doesn't like Jews -- and vice-versa:
The United States, in its typical ignorance of the functionings of the Middle East, seems to think that it can blackmail Israel by sending the message that there will be no help on the Iran nukes front until Israel consents to a Palestinian state with a divided Jerusalem. [the folks at the Konfluence don’t seem to realize that utilizing this kind of blackmail to dictate the policy of a sovereign nation is the same neocon tactics used by George W. Shrub, but they don’t care as long as they get the results they want; a Palestinian State led by its current terror kleptocracy which means a fucked Israel...
And it goes on and on like that. One more example:
What Tushy Obama, and his anti-Israel cabal don’t understand is that Israel does not need the United States’ approval to bomb the mother loving crap out of Iran. Israel does not need access to Iraqi airspace to bomb the mother loving crap out of Iran...
Rahm is on board with his master's plan to curry Islamist favor by setting up Israel to be rocketed out of existence.
This leads to more blather about how the Department of State "perennially sells out Israel's security interests."
Well. I must say that I am surprised to learn that one of Israel's greatest enemies is the United States of America.
The earlier Cannonfire post from which I quote then went on to talk about related issues. A few other segments may be worth remembrance here:
At the Durban Review Conference on Racism, Alan Dershowitz -- whom I used to admire, believe it or not -- went completely off his coconut:
US attorney Alan Dershowitz said Monday on the sidelines of the Durban Review Conference on racism in Geneva that Switzerland's president was supportive of 'hate mongering' and that the anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu was a 'racist and bigot.'
This is Desmond freaking Tutu we are talking about.
Meanwhile, in Israel itself, Jewish fundamentalism -- which is every bit as obnoxious as its Islamic, Hindu and Christian siblings -- continues to infect the public psyche.
* A Jewish "modesty patrol" in a Jerusalem suburb tossed acid in the face of a 14 year-old girl who committed the crime of wearing pants.
* IDF troops refused to attend a performance featuring a female singer. (Remember when Israel was applauded for allowing women to serve in its army?)
* In some parts of Israel, women are required to sit in the back of the bus. A newspaper editor characterized a petition to change this practice as an attempt "to impose Western secular culture on us."
"Western secular culture"? A telling phrase, that. In my view, this new disdain for "western secular culture" ties into the anti-U.S. blather quoted above.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, those who supported Israel continually argued that the country was an "outpost of the West" in an otherwise inhospitable part of the world. But now, many Israelis speak as the "the West" as an evil force, an opposing force. The orthodox identify themselves as non-Western, as anti-Western. This mindset seems little different from that of the Islamic fundamentalists we have fought in Afghanistan.
This mind-set also reminds me of the right-wingers one encounters on Free Republic or the Breitbart sites or anywhere else where Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter are revered.They too seem to derive a near-orgasmic pleasure from resentment. An inchoate, venomous resentment is how they define
Perhaps, across cultures and ideologies and all other boundaries, that word has become the
word of our time: Resentment