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Friday, October 03, 2008

'Round up the usual suspects'

At the end of 'Casablanca' the phrase 'round up the usual suspects' was a cute way for the writers to resolve the plot.  But in real life it is a not-so-cute way for people in positions of power to deflect assign blame where their prejudices feel it belongs.

After a recent criminal attack on a far-left academic, Israel politicians and pundits immediately began making accusations and pronouncements before the police had collected so much as a single clue from the crime scene.  Forget the fact that photographs of the crime scene show a small hole in the glass of the victim's door (damage far more slight than any of dozens of politically/religiously motivated attacks Israeli motorists endure every day without comment or action from our leaders). 

But because the people who have been most critical of this academic  (i.e. the settlers) were the targets of his repeated verbal attacks, the assumption is that they, as a group, must have gathered on his porch to plant the [what appears to have been a cherry] bomb.

Despite a complete lack of supporting evidence, Ehud Olmert rushed to breathlessly declare that the attack was proof of the existence of a "New Underground".  Tzipi Livni, with equal haste to please the media, bleated that this was a modern echo of the dark days of the Rabin Assassination.  Other MKs also weighed in with their own dire warnings about the dangers of going easy on 'Jewish terrorism'.

The clear message being broadcast is that someone must pay for this attack... and that 'someone' is everyone living over the green line. 

But now, in case you thought it was impossible to out-do such baseless and undemocratic hate-speech, Larry Derfner has jerked his knee so fast that he's managed to kick himself in the teeth.  In his current screed, he states:

"As I write this, Sunday morning, a teenage Palestinian shepherd has been found shot to death near Nablus, which is surrounded by more Baruch Goldstein wannabes than anyplace else in the country except for maybe Hebron. Some Palestinian witnesses say they saw a white car with settlers in it chasing the shepherd. Recently I interviewed a Palestinian shepherd near Nablus who said the settlers in the area harass him all the time, killing his sheep. He complains to the police, the police do nothing. I'm sure they'll do nothing this time, too. Another unsolved murder of a Palestinian in Israel's "heartland." "Nationalistic motives" - Jewish "nationalistic motives" - are suspected. What's new?"

Does that pile of steaming crap really need to be fisked?  OK, if you insist. 

This intrepid 'Journalist' has, by his own admission, put pen to paper moments after hearing that this Palestinian shepherd has been found dead.  He has no basis for his accusations except his own bigoted opinions. 

He was not privy to any evidence beyond what some un-named 'palestinian witnesses' had shared with the press (and presumably the police), and he used another uncorroborated and unrelated report of another Palestinian shepherd in order to render his verdict: All these crimes are being perpetrated by 'Barch Goldsteins' with Jewish Nationalistic Motives!!!

Yet the Jerusalem Post was forced to insert a disclaimer in his piece stating:

"(Note: After this column went to press, police announced that forensics tests showed the shepherd had been killed not by gunshots, but by shrapnel when a shell he picked up exploded) "

The first question that occurs to me is why the JPost ran the online version of Derfner's piece at all if it had been proven completely false?  The second thing that crossed my mind was why did the disclaimer have to be offered several paragraphs into the piece rather than at the beginning?  If this is how the Jerusalem Post is condoning settler bashing, I can only imagine the free-for-all going on over at Haaretz!

But sadly, Larry Derfner is simply giving voice to what many people believe with all their hearts;  That there is a group of people in this country who are guilty until proven innocent, and if it turns out they aren't guilty of this particular crime... well, they're sure guilty of something, so lock em up!

It sounds like Mississippi in the early 60s.

I have made these observations in the past, but I will share them again: 

If you tell a group often enough that they are evil, violent and completely beyond redemption... some of them will come to believe it.   

If you assign the most evil and immoral attributes to an upstanding and moral group, they will begin to produce demoralized, disenfranchised members worthy of the charges.

If you continually strive to disenfranchise an entire segment of society simply because you feel that they are not worthy of equal rights under the law, you will find an increasing number of them going outside the law to get satisfaction.

As I said to a commenter (who has since softened her stance), the criminals who attacked this academic (and who carry out criminal attacks against Arabs) are not advancing my agenda nor are they attempting to harm people I wish to see harmed. 

When a drug addled punk from Tel Aviv knifes someone in a club or a mafioso puts a grenade on some mayor's porch, should all secular Tel Avivis be punished for not doing more to stop them?  That's nuts, right?  Yet this is exactly what we, who live over the green line, are being told.  Because we are a handy target, any time someone (presumably) from our midst acts badly, we are all assumed to be complicit.

Could the average Te Avivi be doing more to stop drug dealers, criminals and mafiosi in Israel's center?? Not really... and certainly not without putting themselves at risk.  Well guess what?  I have just as much power over the criminals over here. And don't hand me that crap about 'Oh, but you're a good settler David... you're not like them!', because we're all good settlers.  Except for the few individuals who aren't. 

And if anyone is looking to the 'settler leaders' to actually do something about these criminals, they will wait a long time. They are not elected officials and have absolutely no power to enforce their empty rhetoric.

Larry Derfner is just a dope with no real power except to piss off a few hundred readers who seem to follow his column for the sole purpose of being pissed off.  But when the real media and Israel's elected officials try to give themselves political cover by rounding up 'the usual suspects' - a group of law-abiding, tax paying citizens - they shouldn't be too surprised when some of those 'suspects' don't come quietly.

I see dark days ahead.

Posted by David Bogner on October 3, 2008 | Permalink


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I don't really know who Larry Derfner is (I read Ha'aretz-- I know, shocking), and I'm not privy to all the political rumblings right and left in Israel, but I would be a little cautious with the comparisons and analogies.
I don't think it is significant that the pipe bomb only blew a small hole in the glass of the door, and that there are much worse attacks out there. So what. I believe that you yourself in an earlier posting stated that wasn't of particular significance. A bomb is a bomb is a bomb.
I don't really understand the analogy between this and Mississsippi in the early 60's. Are the settlers the disenfranchised African Americans? Are they the civil rights workers? How so? The citizens of Miss who were disenfranchised were certainly not in the same situation. Poor and downtrodden, they were beaten and abused with very little political recourse. They certainly had no weapons. They lived -- for the most part-- in poverty. They had no power at all.
I don't really get it...

Posted by: Larry | Oct 3, 2008 5:05:06 PM

Larry... I shouldn't have to paint a pictures for you, but I like you... so I will. Yes, the settlers are the blacks here. No, we aren't as poor as the blacks of the south, but during the disengagement we were routinely stripped of our rights under the law simply because of who we were. Perhaps the Japanese during WWII might have been a better analogy, but I was tired when I wrote the post. Sue me. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 3, 2008 5:20:26 PM

Wow. Let me tell you a story. It gets pretty nasty. And as a side note; it's not true, but anyway back to my story... I believe in free speech and a free press, but even I can't find any excuse for this kind of nonsense.

Posted by: David Bailey | Oct 3, 2008 5:51:46 PM

I got an an ad e-mail today from the Forward: Terrorist target Peace Now.

Now in the fifteen years since Oslo, I don't recall this level of outrage from Peace Now directed at the Palestinians, encouraged by their leaders, when they bombed, shot or stabbed Jews.

The attacks coming from the government suggest that there's something more serious going on in terms of concessions, I mean negotiations, with the Palestinians. Because if they feel the need to delegitimize dissent, they're probably doing it pre-emptively.

Posted by: soccer dad | Oct 3, 2008 7:17:24 PM

I am not a regular J-Post reader, but Larry Derfner seems to bear a very close resemblance to this guy:


Posted by: psachya | Oct 3, 2008 10:48:36 PM

Where in the world would somebody get the idea to plant a homemade bomb at the door of an ideological opponent?

I'll tell you. In 1952, a bomb was planted at the door of Transportation Minister David Zvi Pinkas. The house was severely damaged and Pinkas, who was home but not directly injured, dies two months later of a heart attack. Police caught radical writer, Amos Keinan, leaving the scene. Keinan stood trial for the bombing and was acquitted for lack of evidence, though he was widely believed to have perpetrated the act along with Shaltiel Ben-Yair.

Keinan's wife, Nurit Graetz, has just written a biography of him, in which she reports that he was indeed guilty. He confessed to her that he bombed Pinkas's house to protest Pinkas's religious world-view.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Read the whole thing here:

Such tactics are only offensive when used against the Left. When the Left does it, it's "freedom fighting".

Posted by: Ben-David | Oct 4, 2008 8:43:47 PM

I am a bit bemused by this rush to judgement. Generally in a democracy, the only appropriate action is to mount an investigation, make an arrest and then announce who the perpetrators are......of course, in a country where the media is dominated by the Left, the Left sets the political agenda regardless of the vox populi, and politicians run on platforms which they later casually discard after their party gets its seats, I suppose the media's and academia's lynching of an entire segment of the population is not so surprising. Pre-emptive delegitimization of the Right (meaning anyone who isn't opposed to "settlements" and "occupation", these days)seems to be the order of the day, no doubt in order to lay the groundwork for further disenfranchisement of any opposition to the Left-wing agenda.

I wonder.....the Left wouldn't do its own version of the Reichstag Fire here, would they? Nahhh...even Sternhall and Haaretz wouldn't go THAT far...would they?

Posted by: aliyah06 | Oct 4, 2008 8:58:58 PM

This isn't about Sternhell, RabinFest simply started early this year.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Oct 5, 2008 12:31:54 AM

Well said!

You did not mention that, in their attempts to deligitimize and demonize the right wing, the government sponsors and pays for crazy (and I mean that literally), right-wing-extremist-nut-cases to perpetrate inflamatory and insiteful behavior.

If we review that last 15 years of history, we discover (by searching the back pages of the newspapers) that MOST of the most outrageous and offensive right-wing acts were actually perpetrated by Shabaq agents.

Want a list? How 'bout we start with that infamous picture of Rabin in a Nazi uniform? Count how many times it's referred to during the upcoming Rabinfest... Count how many times it's mentioned that the only person with such a photo was Avishai Raviv, a Shabaq agent who showed it to the TV guy (forget his name, but I can find it for you if you want)....

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Oct 5, 2008 5:45:36 PM

enough already with the phrase "Rabinfest"!

Ben-David - after your previous tiade, I'm not suprised at anything you come up with. FTI Amos Keinan as a radical, indeed a radical right-winger he joined the Lehi underground (check that if you want, go on)
Rivka - you're talking lies, I don't know who fed them to you, but they're lies.
Aliyah06 - you're talking blood-libel
David - you can't compare the "poor downtrodden settlers" to Southern blacks.
No Jim Crow here, no "strange fruit". So if the police stop you from blocking roads and burning tyres before you do it, so what? When I climbed on a bulldozer to protest a highway, I knew that I'd be spending the rest of the day in the police-station, I didn't claim disenfranchised.

Grow up the lot of you, pleae.

Posted by: asher | Oct 6, 2008 12:13:42 PM

in fact I agree with David in his summation - I see dark days ahead.

Posted by: asher | Oct 6, 2008 12:15:24 PM

asher... I'll leave the others to respond on their own. They are quite grown up enough to do so, your infantile parting shot not withstanding. But your comment to me was beyond the pale. When you say: "So if the police stop you from blocking roads and burning tyres before [my emphasis] you do it, so what?" I'll tell you so what: That is fascist thought police tactics and it is illegal in a democratic society. A policeman can't arrest you or detain you BEFORE you've committed a crime! And most of the so called crimes were actually peaceful demonstrations, the likes of which seem to be perfectly within the law when carried out by the left. You can't compare preemptive arrests with climbing on a bulldozer because you are already climbing on it... but I haven't done anything except exercise my right of free movement in the country where I pay taxes! Stopping someone from driving in Israel because they have a kippah on their head or because they have an orange ribbon on their antenna is illegal. Full stop. If you don't see a problem with it you are a fascist. YOU are the problem with this country... you and everyone like you. You are all about law and order, except when it serves your agenda to look the other way. You see only individuals on the left and only a monolithic monster on the right. You are a bigot. And you are a hypocrite. Your next comment had better be an apology or you are banned.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 6, 2008 3:48:16 PM

"you're talking blood-libel"

I would laugh except that this is a serious accusation. Blood libel has historically been used against the Jews to justify expulsion, murder, pogrom, and other horrors.

For you to casually throw out this accusation because I express an opinion you apparently disagree with simply demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the Left.

To the extent that blood libels are sensationalized allegations directed at an entire segment of the population to their detriment, I submit that the only persons engaging in "blood libel" in Israel today are the Left-wing parties and their adherents in the MSM and academic circles. These are, after all, the only groups demonizing Jews, demanding their expulsion, and shrugging in indifference when they are murdered or wounded by Arabs.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Oct 7, 2008 7:37:12 AM

A quick two cents. My own opinion is that comparing the Israeli Right to African Americans in the Jim Crow South weakens your argument. I know that people like to wear the victim mantle but this is ridiculous. Have you studied the Civil Rights Movement and the treatment of African Americans during the period Post Civil-War and through the civil rights movement? (As in, on any level slightly above superficial). I have, and I agree with Larry that the comparison is bogus.

To clarify, this is NOT to say that you have no basis for complaints, but that it is a lot easier for visitors to your blog to dismiss you as a crank and to ignore your valid points when you pair them with such off-the-wall comparisons. Does the right have a basis for complaints? Yes. Do religious Jews? Yes. But then, so do the left and secular Jews. We each have our problems--but the experiences of neither side is comparable to what was being experienced in the South under Jim Crow. (Of course, ultra-Orthodox women ARE forced to sit on the back of the bus in some communities. And one could argue that the non-religious and modern-orthodox boys are being used disportionately as cannon fodder while their ultra-religious counterparts are safe at home. And Arabs are effectively blocked from moving into a significant number of Israeli cities and settlements, including the nice, new ones with good schools. But I am pretty sure that the above are not what you were referring to.)

I suppose the question to be asked is "what is your goal"? Who is your intended audience? If your purpose is to speak to other people who think just like you--to have a place to rant--than no harm is being done. You sound a bit silly and hysterical, and as a result are easily dismissed by those "on the other side", but that was never your intent anyway. But if your sincere intent in writing this blog is to get your point out to a wider audience and to make a difference, I would recommend that you leave the exaggerations aside.

Posted by: Gila | Oct 7, 2008 11:36:45 AM

Hey Trep,

You wrote:

"It sounds like Mississippi in the early 60s."

Which prompted me to think:

"It sounds like Saudia Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah-stan, or HAMAS-stan, EVERY DAY!"

I've been following reports of the riots in Acre and have noticed that AP seems to only post photos of Jewish rioters as if it were a one-sided affair.

I'm not the only one to have noticed that:


I guess we keep on persevering.


Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Oct 13, 2008 8:08:32 PM


From one of the "usual suspects..."

My Encounter With The Shabba"k

Shabba"k Encounter Update

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Feb 5, 2009 1:02:57 AM

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