I Want to Know

I had never heard about this incident back in November 2006.

A 19-year old Swedish human rights worker had her cheekbone broken by a Jewish extremist in Hebron today. Earlier the same day at least five Palestinians, including a 3-year-old child, were injured by the settler-supporting extremists, who rampaged through Tel Rumeida hurling stones and bottles at local residents. Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home were also attacked. The Israeli army, which was intensively deployed in the area, did not intervene to stop the attacks.

When we first saw the pictures out of Abu Ghraib of grinning soldiers posing next to dead, wounded or otherwise tortured and humiliated Iraqi prisoners with their thumbs up, we were appalled. Does anyone remember that? I hope so, because I hope we will be appalled at the rest of this story. I’m pretty certain that most Americans haven’t got the faintest inkling that this kind of thing goes on in Israel and has been for a long time.

Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 Jewish extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day.

After about thirty seconds of waiting, a small group of very aggressive male Jewish extremists surrounded the international volunteers and began spitting at them, so much so that the internationals described it as “like rain.” Then men from the back of the crowd began jumping up and spitting, while others from the back and side of the crowd kicked the volunteers.

The soldiers, who were standing at the checkpoint just a few feet behind the HRWs, looked on as they were being attacked.

One settler then hit Tove on the left side of her face with an empty bottle, breaking it on her face and leaving her with a broken cheekbone. She immediately fell to the ground and the group of Jewish extremists who were watching began to clap, cheer, and chant. The soldiers, who had only watched until this point, then came forward and motioned at the settlers, in a manner which the internationals described as “ok… that’s enough guys.”

The extremists, however, were allowed to stay in the area and continued watching and clapping as the HRWs tried to stop the flow of blood from the young woman’s face. Some, who were coming down the hill even tried to take photos of themselves next to her bleeding face, giving the camera a “thumbs-up” sign.

At this point, a HRW was taken into a police van and asked to identify who had attacked the group. The HRW did this, pointing out three Jewish extremists who the police took into their police vehicles. However, the extremists were all driven to different areas of the neighborhood and released nearly immediately. When one of the three was released on Shuhada Street, the crowd that was still celebrating the woman’s injuries applauded and cheered.

A settler medic came to the scene about 15 minutes after the attack and immediately began interrogating the internationals who had been attacked about why they were in Hebron. He refused to help the bleeding woman lying on the street in any way.

Five minutes after the settler medic arrived, the army medic arrived and began treating the injured woman. When she was later put on a stretcher, the crowd again clapped and cheered.

Police officers at the scene then began threatening to arrest the remaining HRWs if they did not immediately leave the area, even though they had just been attacked.

The injured woman was taken to Kiryat Arba settlement and then to Hadassah Ein Keren hospital in Jerusalem.

HRWs were later told by the police that they had not even taken the names of those who were identified as having attacked the HRWs and that one of the main assailants had simply told the police that he was due at the airport in two hours to fly back to France.

The incident was the latest attack by extremist Jews in Hebron. The small group of Khannist settlers in Tel Rumeida regularly attack and harass Palestinians in the area. The violence sometimes spills over to the international human rights workers who accompany Palestinians in an attempt to protect them from settler attack.

The settlers in Tel Rumeida encourage Jewish tourists to come to support them, as a way of making up for their small numbers. Today, hundreds had come from tours in Israel for a special event — many from overseas: France, England and the United States.

This story links to a blog entry that gives even more details. Here are a few excerpts:

We are confronted by around 100 ultra-orthodox Jews, who are gathered in Hebron to mark ‘Hebron day’, one of whom shouts “You know that Jesus is gay?”. None of us really react to this arbitrary taunt, however it does serve to focus the crowd’s attentions squarely on our small group of human rights workers. Another shouts “What are you doing here?”

“Tourists” I reply, believing this to be the safest response under the circumstances. The crowd then begins chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” — we are quickly designated the ‘other’. The mob mentality takes on an oppressive and ugly turn; now almost a single entity justifying almost any excess as long as it is directed towards the ‘other’. The crowd edges forward “You love Palestinians” one of them shouts, spitting in a human rights worker’s face.

…As Tove lay on the hard concrete floor, blood oozing from her wounds the crowd re-groups, fed by curiosity and growing in energy “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” I now felt a growing sense of apprehension as awareness dawned of the mob’s evil intent and the soldiers’ unwillingness to intervene in any meaningful way.

A religiously dressed Orthodox Jew then adds insult to injury by posing with a thumbs-up gesture over Tove’s bloodied face. The sight of this was so obnoxiously contemptuous I never gave the guy the satisfaction he sadistically craved by taking his picture. The decision as to whether I should have taken that picture has been discussed over and over by people I know, though I feel the impact of sharing that disgusting image I have etched in my mind, can serve no purpose other than that of breeding hatred.

…As I walked back down the street I witnessed the police open the door of a van and release one of the attackers. Upon seeing this the crowd then began jubilantly celebrating his release. We were later told by the police that they had not even taken the names of those who were identified as having attacked us, and that one of the main assailants had simply told the police that he was due at the airport in two hours to fly back to France.

…It was getting dark but the streets were still busy. We escorted one group of three boys, the oldest of whom was 9 or 10. We were followed closely along the street by a dozen or so Orthodox Jews who hissed and berated the Palestinian boys in Arabic with obscenities I am grateful of not understanding. “You like protecting the animals?”, they taunted us in English — “Nazis!”.

We reached some steps and turned off the main street and began to climb, the little boys nervously glancing back to see if we would be pursued. A couple of hundred metres further on the older boy made it clear they were OK to continue alone now. I asked the oldest boy if they were sure, he forced a smile and shrugged his soldiers in defiance as if to say “no problem this stuff happens every day”. He seemed so strong, but as I put my hand on his shoulder and looked into his teary eyes they gave out another message and I saw pain and fear.

I wanted to tell him that the world wasn’t really like this. But for him and the people of Tel Rumeida it is.

Speaking as an American, this is not ok with me. Speaking as a Christian, this is not ok with me. Speaking as a human being, this is not ok with me. I do not support people who treat other people this way. I don’t support these Jewish settlers. I find their behavior disgusting and evil, and I condemn them.

Unfortunately, some Jews do not hold the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, as their governing scripture. They have other books that take precedence. One of them is the Talmud. The behavior of the Jews in this incident can be explained by the Talmud.

You can read about the secret teachings of the Talmud here and here. It’s very disturbing to realize the contempt which some Jews hold for Christians, but it’s the key to understanding this kind of behavior. Each person must consider for himself or herself the degree to which these beliefs are held in secret and the extent to which these beliefs prevent peace in the Middle East.

I want to know when American Jews will stand together and disown these Zionists. I want to know when American Christians will stand together and disown these Zionists. I think if some people consider themselves or others above the rest of us, they should have the courage of their convictions and say it out loud. Why sneak around? If not, then it’s past time to condemn the evil things that go on in Israel, by Jews.

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