Kristallnacht in Palestine – by Stephen Lendman
Virtually daily, Israeli security forces attack, kill, or injure Palestinian civilians with impunity. They also destroy their property by bombing, shelling, bulldozing and uprooting it.
At the same time, Israeli authorities wink and nod, occasionally decry, yet do nothing to deter extremist settler crimes against Palestinian civilians.
Most often, they’re given license to terrorize, vandalize and commit physical violence with impunity. Rarely ever is anyone held accountable. The same holds for its own security forces, no matter how outrageous their crimes.
So imagine Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s hypocrisy. In response to days of settler attacks against Palestinian property, he shamelessly called them “Jewish terrorists.”
B’Tselem responded, saying “this is an illegitimate way to deal with the phenomenon of violence by Israeli citizens in the Occupied Territories. Instead, this phenomenon must be dealt with through the criminal justice system.”
Netanyahu disagreed, stopping well short of condemning settler attacks and ordering arrests. Instead, he described them as a “small group that does not represent the public that lives in Judea and Samaria.”
For years, radical settlers terrorized Palestinians with impunity. In the past two years alone, six mosques in Palestine and Israel (belonging to peace and other activist groups) were burned or otherwise vandalized.
More recently in early October, settlers torched a Galilee mosque in Toba Zanghriyya village, then wrote “Price Tag” and “Revenge” on its walls. Despite efforts by residents to extinguish the blaze, destruction was extensive, including holy books consumed.
Northern Branch on the Islamic Movement deputy head, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, said “racism is controlling the Jewish sector in Israel.” He also held Netanyahu’s government responsible for “encourag(ing) hatred toward Muslims.”
In June, another mosque was targeted, and “(u)nder the Price Tag campaign, Israeli settlers….attacked and torched several others, in addition to setting Palestinian orchards and farmlands” ablaze.
Each time, Israeli police say they’ll investigate. Arrests and prosecutions rarely follow. Settlers have virtual impunity to terrorize Palestinian civilians as do Israeli security forces. They take full advantage.
On December 14, settlers overnight torched the historic Jerusalem Okasha mosque. They also defaced walls with Star of David images and graffiti, saying “Muhammad is a pig” and “A good Arab is a dead Arab” in Hebrew.
In addition, they spray-painted their “Price Tag” identity on exterior surfaces, knowing they can act with virtual impunity.
The Al Aqsa Foundation denounced the attack, saying:
“We condemn the torching of the mosque and hold Israel fully responsible for this terrible crime and all its aggressions against our holy sites and that it is enacting racist laws and not doing anything against those who commit these crimes.”
On the same day, northern West Bank settlers torched cars and a water tanker in Nablus and Salfit districts. They tried, but failed, to set a bus ablaze.
In 1948, West Jerusalem’s Okasha mosque was closed when Israel was established. It’s remained a historic site, though Israel denied Al Aqsa Foundation requests to renovate it.
Similar incidents happen regularly. Targets include mosques, homes, cars, olive trees, farmland, and civilians, including women and children.
Authorities say they’ll investigate. Occasionally settlers are interrogated and at times briefly detained. However, prosecutions rarely follow. At most, Israel decries the acts, but does nothing to deter them.
On December 15, a Burqa village West Bank mosque near Ramallah was torched and defaced. An eyewitness said armed settlers entered before dawn, set it ablaze, and caused considerable damage.
After the Jerusalem mosque attack, MK Mohammed Barake condemned extremist parliamentarians for drafting and enacting racist and other anti-democratic laws, saying:
“Responsibility for the mosque burning does not only lie with the gang of fascists who carried it out, but also with some of the scumbags among the (MKs) and ministers. (They) should not pretend they are shocked when the draft laws they back become a raging fire that devours mosques” and other Palestinian property.
Other moderate MKs, analysts and activists also condemned racist legislation and policies. They’re causing Palestinians, human rights groups and others great harm.
Supportively, Emek Shaveh, an archeological and community activist organization, also denounced the Jerusalem mosque attack, saying:
“The destruction of the antiquities, in this case probably by Israelis, is part of the process of erasure of ‘the other” – of everything that doesn’t suit the extremist and one-dimentional ideology of certain Israeli groups.”
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned racist settler attacks, including houses south of Nablus.
Windows were smashed and Molotov cocktails thrown. Women and children especially were terrorized. One house was set ablaze. Israel security forces provide no security for Palestinians and did nothing against those responsible.
On December 15, Haaretz writer Ari Shavit headlined, “Israel has never been so ugly,” saying:
Natanyahu wants to silence Muslim calls to prayer, shut down the Palestinian/Israeli peace radio station, and effectively support settler vandalism by doing nothing to stop it.
Moreover, “Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is trying to turn the Supreme Court into another one of his subsidiaries. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is working to prevent the media from reporting on investigations against public figures. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litziman excludes women from participation in an official award ceremony.”
“Coalition chairman Zeev Elkin undermines and neuters civil society. Religious fanatics exclude women, tryannize secular citizens and spit at priests. Jewish terrorists burn Muslim houses of worship, invade Israeli Defense Force bases and attack soldiers.”
“We see what we would never believe with our own eyes. Darkness at noon, a dark Israel snuffing out” a once more enlightened society, though never one treating Arabs like Jews.
Under Netanyahu and MK hard-liners, extremism and moral cowardice rose to unprecedented levels. Anything now goes, including police state laws and failing to stop increasing numbers of violent attacks on Palestinians for being Arabs, not Jews.
A Historic Analog – Nazi 1930s Violence Against Jews
Nazis institutionalized violence to solidify power and establish despotic rule. The Gestapo and SS enforced it against declared enemies of the state, including communists, social democrats, gypsies, homosexuals, and, of course, Jews.
After the March 1933 elections, Nazis institutionalized violence. Riots in the Ruhr spread nationally. Jewish businesses, enterprises and stores were picketed. Handbills said: “Germans, don’t buy at Jewish shops.” SA stormtroopers broke into Jewish homes, mistreating and arresting occupants.
Hitler launched a nationwide boycott against Jewish enterprises, doctors and lawyers. Entrances to their establishments and offices were blocked. Anti-semitic graffiti was displayed and windows smashed. Racist propaganda institutionalized public anger against Jews as enemies of the Third Reich.
By 1935, they were publicly humiliated, banned from certain towns, and party activists assaulted the orthodox. Their beards were cut off and heads shaved to humiliate them and Judaism.
Racist legislation followed, including the infamous “Nuremberg Laws.” More on them below. Landlords were forced to break leases with Jewish tenants. By 1936, harming Jews physically and using legal measures destructively against their businesses and livelihoods were commonplace.
By 1938, violence escalated. It intensified with the March Austrian Anschluss. A wave of anti-Jewish measures followed, aimed at Austrian Jews. Nazi policy enforced “Aryanizations,” confiscations, arrests, and physical violence.
In November, the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom occurred. Hitler and Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, incited it.
They exploited the November 7 attempted assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris. Violent riots followed. The entire party apparatus was involved.
In most German cities and towns, enterprises and Jewish homes were looted. Over 200 synagogues and 7,500 Jewish enterprises were attacked, burned and destroyed, and, when it ended, 680 Jews were dead and nearly 30,000 interned in concentration camps.
In addition, the ministerial bureaucracy and Gestapo intensified enforcement of Jewish emigration and keeping Jews and Aryans apart. German law exempted violent anti-Jewish acts.
Many occurred, including murders, rapes, other sexual assaults, organized pogroms, public humiliations, vandalism, anti-semitic graffiti, boycotts, confiscations, looting and other forms of theft. Virtually anything was permitted to vilify and remove German Jewry.
On WW II’s eve, German society was accustomed to anti-semitic violence. It was the genesis of the 1941-45 holocaust, facilitated by the 1935 “Nuremberg Laws” that:”
Nazi genocide followed. For decades, Palestinians have endured similar abuses from racist laws, persecution, land theft, lost homes, dispossessions, exclusion, isolation, mass imprisonments, torture, targeted assassinations, violence, wartime slaughter, and Gazans suffocating under siege.
Nazi Germany’s historic analog shows how extreme racist persecution can become. Unless checked, genocide may annihilate a population entirely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.