Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Price Tag attacks. A Tale of Two Cities.

In Israel, they are called "price tag" attacks.

From Patrick Martin of the Globe and mail:

Amidst a series of audacious attacks carried out apparently by young Israeli settlers this week, one of the extremists’ targets stood out. It was a site I’d never heard of right in the centre of the city: The Nebi Akasha mosque, built more than 800 years ago.
It’s situated, I would learn, where three ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods converge, on a small one-way street named Prague.
The mosque itself is a simple single-storey stone building, with most of its barred windows bricked up – no longer active as a place of worship since 1948. Attached is a modest, attractive stone minaret that stands about two and a half storeys high.
Across a courtyard dominated by a playground filled with children on swings and climbers sits an equally old domed mausoleum. Inside this stone structure are three graves, believed to be those of some of Saladin’s commanders who perished in the taking of Jerusalem in 1187.
The mosque is named for Akasha Bin Mohsin, a 10th century Muslim, whose tomb was on the site when the stone buildings were constructed.
It was to this unused historic structure that the young extremists came before dawn on Wednesday. They threw a gas bomb through a small opening of one of the bricked up windows, scorching the stone all around the window and doing minimal damage inside.
They spray-painted on the outside stone walls and on the green metal doors things written in Hebrew such as “Mohamed is dead,” “Mohamed is a pig,” and “price tag,” a reference to the costs that Muslim and other Arab institutions will pay if Israel moves to dismantle any Jewish settlements or outposts in the West Bank.

Reports of the vandalism attack spread throughout the country and the act was widely condemned. But words are one thing. Actions are another. Two young men, Avi Mayer and Arie Hasit showed up. They painted over the graffiti and scrubbed smoke off the exterior walls.

“What happened here is unconscionable, and I don’t think it is representative of Israeli society, this neighborhood or Jerusalem,” said Avi Mayer, a Jerusalemite who works for the Jewish Agency. I found the entire incident deplorable and felt I had to try and right this wrong..."

Thank you, Avi and Arie. May you go from strength to strength, and continue to be a source of light to all.

In Berkeley, there appears to have been a local version of a price tag attack. The fence surrounding Michael Lerner's home in the Berkeley Hills has been vandalized again.

From JTA:

The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized for the fourth time in the last year.
In an e-mail sent to Tikkun supporters, Lerner said that on Tuesday evening, two black-hooded men pasted signs on the outside of his house and garage saying that "Palestine is an Arab fantasy." ...
"It seems obvious to me that the attack, while responding to the NPR interview with me this morning, is part of the same attempt to terrorize me and my family as the past three assaults," Lerner wrote in his e-mail. "As the police made clear to us the last time, the goal is not to destroy property as much as to remind us that they know where we live, and that we are not safe."

People. This type of childish hate-driven vandalism is wrong in Israel. And its also wrong in Berkeley. Your actions do nothing to help our people or to further our cause. Remember the words of our sage Hillel "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary".


Juniper in the Desert said...

"a modest, attractive stone minaret"... when is it EVER any of those things in reality? A minaret is a symbol of izlamic supremacism, always taller than any other building!

Dusty said...

The Nebi Akasha mosque was still a house of worship, and a historic one at that.

From Hillel- "Where there is no man- be a man."

Never lower yourself to the level of the haters. Even when you are surrounded by evil.

Anonymous said...

Call me skeptical, but has anyone ever actually seen photos of the alleged "vandalism" of Michael Lerner's house? We've all seen the press releases, but strangely enough, the vandalism doesn't seem to be documented. If anyone has seen photos or anything, can you link to them, please?

Makabit said...

This sort of nonsense only serves to lend credence to Lerner's sense of victimhood, and leads directly into his fundraising efforts.

Illegal and inappropriate at best, entirely counterproductive at worst.

The back of the hill said...

If anything, it makes Michael Lerner again the focus of attention, and the subject of conversation. Given how unimportant the man is, and how pathetic his ideas, that serves no purpose.

Entirely aside from which, such actions are remarkably chickenshit. Debate his ideas and defeat him with argument. Don't flatter his ego and boost his cause with stupid angry actions.

DrMike said...

To anyone who thinks attacks like this, whether in Israel or here, are helping the pro-Israel cause:

Please stay home. If you must, play out your little fantasies in a video game. Don't associate with responsible advocates for Israel, because our enemies will love to use you as a poster child for the pro-Israel movement.

Mike L. said...

It looks to me that what we are going to see over the coming year is a huge challenge to the solidarity of the Jewish community and the attacks on Lerner may be reflective of this.

Most American Jews, such as myself, come out of the liberal-progressive tradition, but it is that very tradition which is now in the process of turning against us.

Thus the community is becoming polarized.

It's a shame, really.

Mike L.

Anonymous said...

If I were to guess, I'd guess that all of this noise that Michael Lerner is making is probably over a couple of pieces of paper tacked to his fence again. The use of phrases like "attack" or "vandalism" are purest hyperbole. However, these juvenile incidents don't advance Israel advocacy and just provide attention seekers like Lerner an opportunity to self-agrandize.

Dusty said...

Michael- is unity a necessary goal? Can we all move in the same direction, even if we have separate destiniations in mind? What has worked locally is the lowest common denominator approach. A pro Israel activist, a Zionist, is anyone who believes in the right of the Jewsih people to self determination in their ancient homeland. You can be a Zionist and be far left. You can be a Zionist and be far right. You can be a Zionist and be an atheist. Its all good.

Mike L. said...

Hi Dusty,

pleasure to meet you good sir and thank you for welcoming me here.

I suspect that what we are going to see within Jewish community politics over the coming year is a real argument over Barack Obama.

I expect this fight to get personal, and sometimes ugly, for many caring Jewish people around the world.

I hope that I wrong.

Peace to you, please, good sir.