Opinion: Haaretz writer thinks Jews in Judea, Samaria have it coming

“Their tragedy isn’t ours,” Levy writes, “because they’ve brought the tragedy on themselves and their entire country.”

By Dexter Van Zile, The Algemeiner

Gideon Levy hates Jews living in Judea and Samaria. He hates them so much that he feels no sympathy for them when they are murdered by Palestinian terrorists. He even blames them for their own murder.

He made this perfectly clear in an article published in Haaretz five days after a newborn baby died after being shot in his mother’s womb in a drive-by shooting by a Palestinian terrorist. In the piece, Levy declared that Jews living in the West Bank “brought it on themselves.”

“They brought it on themselves” is a point that Levy drives home relentlessly in the piece, titled, “I Feel No Sympathy for the Settlers.” Just to eliminate any uncertainty over how much contempt Levy has for Jews living in the West Bank, the article is illustrated with a picture of the baby, Amiad Israel, being held by a mourner at his funeral. This is how bad it has gotten: Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, used an image of a dead infant Jew to illustrate an article affirming Jewish villainy. The mind reels.

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In the piece, Levy says that he feels no “compassion or solidarity” with Jews living in the West Bank. even when they are murdered. “Their tragedy isn’t ours,” Levy writes, “because they’ve brought the tragedy on themselves and their entire country.”

Language and rhetoric like this, is a warrant — an invitation, even — to Palestinian terrorists to murder more Jews in the West Bank. “Even Levy, a fellow Jew says so!” a Palestinian terrorist could say to himself to assuage his conscience.

A process of ‘othering’

Levy’s screed is an example of a process of “othering” — which has been documented by researchers Joyce Dalsheim and Assaf Harel. In a number of academic articles and books, these two scholars have documented how Jews living in the West Bank (and prior to 2005, the Gaza Strip) have been used as a  foil for those wishing to affirm their own moral superiority.

“Since the late 1980s,” Dalsheim and Harel wrote in 2009, “scholars have often represented religious settlers in Israeli occupied territories as irrational, violent, dangerous to Israeli democracy, and threatening to the future of peace in the region.” By portraying Jews living in the West Bank as a “break from Judaism,” a “perversion of Zionism,” and as “categorically different” from “ordinary” or “mainstream Israelis, writers opposed to the settlers are able to affirm “a moral high ground” for themselves.

“Jews living in the West Bank are bad, while the rest of us who condemn them, are good,” is how the logic goes.

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Dalsheim and Harel’s research is based in part on the writings of Susan Harding, an American scholar who detailed how progressive Christians and secular liberals in the United States portrayed fundamentalist Christians as the “repugnant other” in an effort to establish and maintain themselves as the dominant, hegemonic force in American civil society.

But this ignores the reality that many West Bank Jews live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors, while Palestinians refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Middle East.

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This reality was underscored when Israel pulled its citizens out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, only to be met with more violence. Does anyone really believe that pulling Jews out of Judea and Samaria will mollify Palestinian hostility toward Jews in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa?

The fact that Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s population also raises an important question: If Arabs can live in Israel, then why can’t Jews live in the West Bank? If Arabs can live in Israel with legal protections against being “other”ed, then why can’t Jews living in the West Bank enjoy the same protection?

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Levy and his fans do everything they can to ignore questions like these, revealing the mendacity of their worldview, which tolerates the murder of Jews in Judea and Samaria in the name of “justice.”

Dexter Van Zile is Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. His opinions are his own.