Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Racist Violence of Jewish West Bank Settlers

A disgusting, disheartening, enraging report from David Schulman at the NYRB blog, about a brutal attack by the Jewish settlers of the West Bank settlers at Anatot on a local farmer and his wife (and on members of an Israeli peace group) when the farmer tried to visit his land (land that even the Israeli courts ruled was legally his).  Didn't matter to the settlers - or to the security forces accompanying them, who simply didn't intervene.

On the morning of September 30, the activists accompanied him to the rocky hillside that is still nominally his; they were carrying with them a Palestinian flag. The Anatot settlers seemed to have known ahead of time about the visit, and within minutes, a large contingent of them—estimates range from 60 to 100—arrived and attacked the group. First they cracked open Yasin’s head and attacked his wife, breaking her ribs, and then they beat the Israeli activists with clubs and rocks. Many were injured; four were hospitalized (Yasin himself is still recuperating), and, as usual, some activists—in this case three of them—were arrested (generally, settlers are above the law). There were uniformed Israeli police there—some were present on the scene ever before the attack began—who made no effort to stop the assault. There is no question that the attack was premeditated, and its scale was impressive. Cameras documenting the violence were smashed by settlers and police; vehicles belonging to activists and Palestinians parked nearby were savaged.

And it is, of course, racist hooligans such as these who know that they can act with such impunity when the Netanyahu/Lieberman duovirate and a right-wing Knesset, a US Congress bought-and-paid-for by AIPAC and the Israel lobby, a vote-hungry Barack Obama, the pro-Israel propaganda machine that is Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, and those millions of so-called Christians who would be overjoyed to see every last Arab removed from the "Holy Land - when people such as these have your back, you may believe you can do whatever you want.

That Israeli society as a whole will tolerate, even embrace, acts such as this, even as Israel's leaders pursue policies that have left Israel basically friendless, isolated, in the Middle East, can only mean that at some point, quite possibly in the near future, when some match lights up the tinderbox, there's going to be a terrible, terrible reckoning.

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