Disclaimer: I don’t think police should treat ANYONE with unnecessary brutality

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Had to put that disclaimer up there to forestall what will otherwise be the inevitable wrong-headed deduction some people will make after they read this post. OK, now that I got that out of the way:

Yaakov Menken wrote:

Why have you not been listening, I ask in my mind, when the charedim were telling you this for decades?

To which Alexander commented:

The Palestinians were telling you this for decades, too. But that was just “media bias” right? Right?

It is media bias that causes selective reporting — reporting Israeli mistreatment of Arabs but not reporting how Israeli soldiers give Arab kids food and toys, or how Israeli doctors treat Arab and Jewish patients alike. It is media bias that reports what the Israeli police did but fails to report what the Arabs did to provoke it. It is media bias that pretends Arab Jew-hatred is the effect, rather than the cause, of police brutality.

It is media bias that cannot distinguish between Israeli civilians in a peaceful protest and Arab jihadists trying to murder Israelis. It is media bias that causes the New York Times to write with great sympathy about Israeli police — ONLY when they are beating fellow Jews.

Criminals and murderers deserve to be beaten, law-abiding citizens do not. It is media bias to blur the distinction — or worse, to transpose the categories and treat Arabs as the innocent victims and Israelis as the criminals — consistently, down through the decades. In certain situations that might actually be true — just as a prison inmate might really be an innocent man, and a prison guard might actually be a serial killer — but it is utterly immoral to paint the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict in those terms, as the press generally does.

Tragically, the police are now transferring tactics that might actually be appropriate when faced with a rioting mob of rock-throwing murderous Arabs, and using those same tactics against Jewish boys and girls who are not terrorists, thugs, murderers or jihadists, but law-abiding, peaceful and idealistic young people. (Yes, I know some of the kids threw rocks — fine, lock ’em up. They were a distinct minority.)

If you are in the middle of an Arab melee where your life really is in danger and you hit back a little too hard, you can be excused for using excessive force under those circumstances. If you are facing JEWISH teenagers in a peaceful protest — yes, you can arrest them — but wading in with horses and batons is a gross over-reaction. One of the most horrible things about the scene in Amona is how the Israeli police seem to think that religious Jews are just the same as Palestinian Arabs — enemies of the Jewish State. What an upside-down world.

Arabs are very well-known to lie in the cause of their faith (see what Mark Twain wrote about them in the nineteenth century — nothing has changed). It is in fact an article of their Moslem faith that they MUST do so to defeat the infidel. They have well learned to play on the sympathies of the western press. But many of their stories are either total fabrications or grossly exaggerated and distorted versions of what really happened. So if once in a while they really are treated with excessive brutality, well, they have cried wolf too often. I do sometimes feel sorry for Arabs who are mistreated and live horrible lives, but it is their own people who are ultimately responsible for their misery.

I had a strange conversation with my sister recently. She is very chareidi and has lived in Jerusalem for decades. She mentioned that when she sees long lines of Arab women and children waiting for hours under the hot sun to get past Israeli checkpoints, she feels sorry for them. I reminded her that it is not the Israelis but the Arabs themselves who have caused those scenes of misery — it is not intrinsic Jewish cruelty but the reality of thousands of innocent Jewish lives lost at the hands of suicide bombers that forces the Israelis to man checkpoints. She conceded that I had a point.

The irony of the conversation is that my sister lives there where the threat of Arab murder is constant while I live in relative safety in Miami, yet she feels compassion for the young Arab mothers she sees around her. And that compassion is natural, Jews do feel compassion for others. Mercy — not brutality — is the Jewish norm.

So to come back to where I started –some Israeli police have become coarse and brutal, but I think it was our enemies who made them so.

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36 Responses

  1. Shawn Landres says:

    I do have a name, as opposed to a number….

    One can go to war with one’s enemy, even kill one’s enemy, and still treat him with dignity. See, for example, Deuteronomy 20:10-12. On treatment of prisoners, see Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and 2 Kings 6:21-23.

  2. Nachum says:

    I do not understand #34’s comment. We must treat our enemy with ‘inestimable dignity’? What Talmud are you refering to?
    I would love to learn where the Talmud, or the Torah for that matter teaches us to treat our enemies with ‘inestimable dignity’.
    I am only familiar with various mitzvot to go to war, and to protect your life, when your life is at risk. I don’t have the source, but the Rambam certainly would say that if someone comes to kill you, you kill him first, and ask questions later. Perhaps someone knows if this is the same as the Shulchan Oruch paskens?

    The violence has split us as a nation. I don’t expect non-Torah Jews to care about Torah, and live their life based on the Torah. I do expect it of Torah Jews. I have never heard a Torah Jew back up his left wing liberal views with anything remotely coming from the Torah. Since the Torah teaches ‘v’dibarta bam’, it is a mitzva d’oraita to only talk Torah. Speaking your thoughts or ideas, without backing them up with a source from the Torah would be forbidden.

  3. Shawn Landres says:

    I cannot believe that anyone who has been witness to a bomb blast, or attacked while driving, could possibly write some of the comments posted here.

    Of course they couldn’t. No one is suggesting that they could. But peace and justice are the responsibility of all of us; we cannot leave these matters solely in the hands of those who are victims and survivors. The law exists to protect those who suffer – not to be rewriten to satisfy their (justifiably) heightened sensibilities.

    And this really is so very sad. Look what this horrible violence has done to us — not only to victims, survivors, and witnesses, but to the rest of us. It has twisted our senses and shaken our balance. Witnessing a bomb blast and being attacked while driving, G-d forbid, are not normal events, and they cannot determine the ground of our ethics. The law — whether it is Torah law or secular civil law — must strike balances within the framework of fundamental rights and dignities. At the very least, regardless of our differences, we must all agree to each human being’s inestimable dignity, his/her equality with others, and his/her uniqueness. (This is a religion blog, right? It’s okay for me to refer to Talmud, right? ;-) )

    I don’t need the last word, and I’m sure I won’t have it, but Shabbes is coming and I hope we can put this debate behind us as we welcome the gift of Shabbes peace. May it be a taste of things to come bimheirah b’yameinu.

  4. Nachum says:

    From DovBear’s comment:

    “If it was wrong for Israel to brutalize the settlers of Amona it was also wrong for Israel to brutalize Arabs during the Intafada. You can’t have it both ways.”

    Has the world gone mad? Who wants to wipe who off the face of the planet? It is not Jews wishing to do that to anyone, including Arabs. However, if Israel is a Jewish state, if Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jews, then we must be ready to inhabit all of Eretz Yisrael, build settlements, fight for the land. And hopefully, by doing this for kiddush Hashem, Hashem will let us stay in Israel.

    Jews get stoned, shot at, murdered, and some of the comments here are about the poor Arabs. I do not advocate harming Arabs for the sake of harming them. But, let’s get real. Either the government defends Jews, or let them do it themselves.

    And while we’re helping Jews to build the country, how about not giving it away for free? How about not beating up on ‘even’ Jews who did no physical harm to anyone, including the cops. How can anyone but any blame on children for what happened in Amona?

    Let’s also remember that so many people are calling for ‘rights’ for the Arabs. No one is calling for ‘rights’ for the Jews.
    Simple things like not getting stoned, shot at, murdered, being blown to bits while sitting on a bus or in a coffee shop.
    So to DovBer and anyone who thinks like him: No, it is not wrong for Jews to brutalize Arabs during the intifada (which by the way has been going on continuously for over 18 years. There was never a break in the intifada). It was self defense. There is no country in the world, no people in the world, who would have allowed an intifada, who wouldn’t have murdered anyone in cold blood that they thought was part of it. Israel didn’t do that. I cannot believe that anyone who has been witness to a bomb blast, or attacked while driving, could possibly write some of the comments posted here.

    By the way, if Arabs stay in ‘their’ areas, there are no road blocks to wait in line. There are only roadblocks when they want to enter pre-1967 Israel.

  5. Ahron says:

    I have no doubt that many Palestinians have had to endure a harder time than they deserved in waiting and going through security checkpoints. That is a far call, though, from charges that they have been “brutalized”. If a wacky bunch of Jews had started sending terrorists into say “Town X,” we would be most understanding of Town X’s need to check thoroughly incoming Jews before they were allowed to enter. I dare say we might even sympathize with Town X’s fury and fear. Police and border guards have no right to be brutal in their security duties, but they do have an obligation to be rigorous, thorough and unyielding.

    In general we’re talking about the difference between a group of unhappy seated teenagers, and explosive-laden mass murderers. Is anybody really going to try to compare the two situations? In terms of similarity, we might as well be comparing police behavior during a traffic stop to that during hostage-rescue. Context matters.

  6. GA says:

    Regarding injuries to police officers ‘proving’ that they did not want to start this:

    Personally, I feel that the reason so many policemen were injured is because the police underestimated these kids. They thought that they would be able to beat the crud out of them, and they wouldn’t fight back. They thought wrong.

    Anyone can see that the police showed up armed with clubs, and horsemen with whips.

    If all they wanted was to clear the settlers out of there – here’s a very easy way to do so:
    1) Spray them with water
    2) Wait

    In the cold and wind of Amona, everyone would have eventually gone home.

  7. GA says:

    I’m not so sure about the police being nasty to arabs…

    There a million organizations in Israel that are looking out for the well-being of Arabs – starting with B’tzelem and ending in Machsom Watch.

    Soldiers don’t get away with being nasty to arabs – they end up in jail.

    I’m sorry, but those are the facts

    Arabs have to wait in line because somewhere in the line, there are probably quite a few of them who want to kill Jews, and as such, the IDF makes them all wait in line in order to check them

    However, they do not beat them up – and when it happens, the soldiers are usually arrested and prosecuted.

    Can anyone explain to me why the police officer {shown in a video beating unarmed protesters who were sitting on the floor} was not immediately suspended, pending an inestigation? Any country in the world would have done so. The facts speak for themselves.

  8. Yaakov Menken says:

    Somebody put this on record: I’m agreeing with DovBear over Mrs. Katz. As I wrote previously regarding police behavior towards Palestinian Arabs, based upon my personal experience with the border police,

    regardless of my opinion that the security wall is necessary, as are police security checks, I have no doubt that the police often make life more difficult than they need to, and are sometimes more brutal than they have any right to be.

  9. DovBear says:

    To remind everyone, my post was NOT about Arabs and Islam, it was about Israeli police mistreating JEWS and acting as if their fellow-Jews were just like the murderous Arabs—which they are NOT.

    If it was wrong for Israel to brutalize the settlers of Amona it was also wrong for Israel to brutalize Arabs during the Intafada. You can’t have it both ways.

    (Your mistake is assuming that every Arab brutalized during the Intafada was “murderous” and therefore the brutalization was justified. But you are wrong.)

  10. Nachum says:

    I have to disagree with several comments.

    Many years ago Arabs threw rocks at Jewish cars. ‘Everyone’ said that the settlers can’t shoot the throwers because they’re just throwing rocks. Rocks aren’t dangerous. Except Mayor Koch of NYC. Then 2 youths were caught up-state NY throwing rocks. They went to jail for attempted murder.

    Israelis still couldn’t defend themselves. Now they can’t defend themselves agains police brutality, even by non violent means such as rock throwing. Even the Israeli courts upheld that rock throwing isn’t dangerous, and punished anyone for shooting at the Arabs.

    In Amona they weren’t defending themselves as resisters, of arrest or anything else. They weren’t given the choice to retreat or even accept arrest. They were attacked, apparantly something that was planned in advance by the police. By the way, I liked the picture of that girl who singlhandedly held back about 20 or 30 cops.

    Amona is not an illegal settlement. Actually, what’s illegal in settlement? If you own land in the States, can the government tell you not to build a home there? So why is Israel different, again?

    Someone, I have no idea who, owns the land privately. He wants to build on his land. Why can’t he? Because it upsets the Arabs? So does Amona’s neighbor, Neve Daniel. So does every settlement in Israel. That includes Tel Aviv, Afula and Haifa. Illegal settlements every last one of them, some of which are really not necessary for the defense of Israel.

    See my blog for more on Eretz Yisrael and Torah at

    http://www.blogforisrael.blogspot.com

    It’s new, and I haven’t written that much yet, but there’s more to come.

  11. Seth Gordon says:

    In the comments to the Head Heeb posting that I linked to earlier, Edelstein makes another observation: if Israeli police in the West Bank are accustomed to dealing harshly with rock-throwing Arabs, and haven’t been trained in other ways to respond to such provocations, we shouldn’t be surprised to see them respond in the same way to rock-throwing Jews. Even if Arab rock-throwers “deserve to be beaten”, Jewish police officers don’t deserve the degradation of the soul that comes from administering the beatings.

  12. Toby Katz says:

    Note to Shawn Landres who mentioned Grant’s anti-Semitism: I reject the notion that justified hostility towards Islam equates to unjustified hostility towards Jews. That is the very moral equivalence that I have been talking about and utterly reject.

    To remind everyone, my post was NOT about Arabs and Islam, it was about Israeli police mistreating JEWS and acting as if their fellow-Jews were just like the murderous Arabs — which they are NOT.

  13. mycroft says:

    I would endorse a commission as described Seth Gordon’s 958AM Post. I would also endorse a commission for the Chareidi/Police riot. A commission could determine the answer.

  14. Shragie says:

    While there probably are no statistics to prove Ms. Katz correct there are countless obvious disturbing facts that do point towards her direction.

    1.Arab aggression is tolerated and even celebrated. We have heard almost no protest from the Arab world against the countless displays of Arab violence that is plaguing the world even from the more liberal news media.

    2. Hamas had a tremendous success in the most recent election. Hams is supposed to be the bad guys.

    3. If the violent portion of the Islamic world is a mere anomaly what then is the norm? Why do no religious leaders among the Arabs confirm to the world that Islam does indeed condemn these acts?

    These facts and many others challenge the view that Arabs seek a global peaceful existence. Intolerance means that there is no room for other views and opinions. Ms. Katz’s issue (and mine) with the Arab world is not a matter of my way or the highway- it is a matter of not swallowing the candy covered propaganda that everyone, including the Arabs, wants to live in harmony. While baseless hate and intolerance is ugly trying to understand the world and making it a safer place is not.

  15. Michoel says:

    Shawn Landreis should apologize to Toby Katz or prove that he is right. A very large percentage of Arabs and Muslims are viscious murderers or their cheerleaders. To say otherwise is pure delusion. Moderate Muslims (like the the one that was speaking on Sean Hannity on the way home last night) say openly that extremism has become main-stream in the Muslim community. And speaking of Torah Judaism, saying that evil is evil is as much a part of Torah as eating kosher.

  16. Shawn Landres says:

    I join with Seth Gordon in endorsing the Commission that Jonathan Edelstein proposes.

    As for the comment about “Ostrich Judaism,” I think I am proposing just the opposite. Succumbing to anger and relying on stereotypes is like walking into a fight wearing a blindfold and earplugs. Sure, your arms and legs are free to lash out, but your aim stinks.

    There are phsyical battles out there with terrorists (including jihadis) to be fought and won. And there are economic and diplomatic battles to be fought and won with the people who underwrite jihadi education, who teach hate and violence, who create more and more jihadi terrorists. I don’t want to change their minds: I want to stop them. But to do that I have to know who they are (and who they aren’t) and which actions are most likely to work. Calling them names will accomplish none of these things and will only make me (not them) look bad.

    Want to start somewhere? Really?

    1. Short-term: Do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring or building a nuclear weapon — but be smart about it. There are two things that we cannot afford: (a) another ground war and (b) leaving the mess for Israel to clean up (and get blamed for).

    2. Short- to medium-term: Keep up the pressure on HAMAS not only via the PA but also on the “moderate” Arab states (I use the term advisedly) that are allied both with the PA and with the U.S.. Even the Arab League is demanding that HAMAS recognize Israel and endorse a two-state solution. Do this while bearing in mind that HAMAS is just about the only Palestinian organization that actually keeps its word (for better or worse): when it says it will attack, it almost invariably does — but on the other hand, even the Shin-Bet has concluded that the recent period of relative quiet is due not to the security barrier but to HAMAS’s maintenance of the hudna (cease-fire).

    3. Medium- to long-term: Ditch your gas-guzzling car and start driving a hybrid or an electric vehicle. As long as Saudi oil barons have money to burn, they’ll keep exporting their Wahhabi ideology wherever they like, from Copenhagen to the West Bank. (Yes, I drive a hybrid.)

  17. Seth Gordon says:

    Not sure whether to trust Cross-Currents or the secular press on what really happened at Amona, I turned to Jonathan Edelstein, a.k.a. The Head Heeb, who remarked:

    The developing fault line seems to be whether it was a settler riot or a police riot. I find myself somewhere between the two camps, but several things about the television footage and news accounts incline me more toward the former. For one thing, the police were met with violence from the moment they moved in. For another, the injury ratio seems to be about 200 protesters against 45 to 80 police. Casualty ratios of three to one, or even five to one, don’t usually happen in police riots – when the police intend to go wild from the beginning, few of them get hurt. This was a confrontation the settlers chose and initiated.

    At the same time, it’s pretty clear that some police officers used excessive force once they broke through, and didn’t discriminate between the violent protesters and the ones who were just there. No doubt they were enraged at being called Nazis and seeing their fellow officers stabbed or hit with cinder blocks, but part of being a cop is not letting rage run away with you. The citizens of a state have human rights even when they are acting illegally, and those who enforce the law have a duty to follow it….

    The police are the responsibility of the state, and any country that claims to be a rule-of-law democracy has an obligation to investigate and punish police misconduct. Also, there are more evacuations in the future, and an inquiry can determine what training, preparation or supervisory measures will need to be implemented next time. The Gaza withdrawal was brilliantly planned and executed, but Amona seemed to suffer from insufficient preparation and threat analysis. Both, as well as professional on-site and overall command, will be needed when it comes time for Ofra or Hebron.

    The Amona inquiry, however, shouldn’t be limited to the police. If there’s going to be a commission, it should investigate all the causes of the violence – who is organizing the hilltop youth, what rabbis and politicians are encouraging them to break the law, and what clandestine networks are planning further resistance. The greatest threat to the rule of law is not the police, who can be disciplined and trained, but the lawless radicals who don’t recognize the authority of the state and who put their messianic doctrine ahead of its democratic decisions. This is a threat that needs to be assessed, documented and effectively countered. So bring on the commission – just make sure it covers all angles.

    Will Ms. Katz (and the other Cross-Currents contributors) endorse such a commission?

  18. GA says:

    Shawn Landres,

    I think we should all adopt your version of Judaism – we can call it “Ostrich Judaism”.

    The main goal will be to stick our heads into the ground, and try to ignore those who hate us and are actively calling for our destruction.

    Hear of Iran lately? It’s just a fringe country, right?

    Hear that Hamas won the elections? That’s only because they are kind and loving and sponsor soup kitchens. The palestinians really love us and don’t subscribe to the violence of Hamas.

    Wake up and smell the coffee (or gunpowder) before it’s too late and we’re smelling nuclear fallout.

  19. Toby Katz says:

    I don’t know how Jabotinsky used the word, but the word “Palestinian” was routinely used to refer to JEWS living in the area, for centuries before the State of Israel was founded.

    As for what Islam teaches, it’s always nice when Jews try to teach Moslems what their faith “really” teaches.

    If you listen to Irshad Manji — a genuinely moderate Moslem who deplores what the extremists have done to her religion — you will hear her despair at the fact that whereas certain streams of Islam USED to be moderate — and cultured, and civilized — Islam has been taken over by extremists all over the Moslem world. Islam is definitely in a Dark Age these days, a very very dark age.

    Maybe America will exercise a moderating influence in Iraq — and maybe from there a benign influence will spread to the rest of the Arab world — I devoutly hope so, and wish Bush (and America) the best of luck — but I don’t have much confidence that that will happen.

    Here is the URL to Irshad Manji’s website: http://www.muslimrefuseniks.com/

  20. Shawn Landres says:

    Regarding your qualification of “most,” we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I am not particularly gentle; but I think precision is an underrated virtue.

    Case in point: I just walked through the Skirball Museum’s installation of the traveling Library of Congress exhibit, “From Haven to Home,” on the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in America. One wall included, inter alia, correspondence related to General Ulysses S. Grant’s expulsion of Jews — “as a class” — from the military district of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi because of war profiteering in the area. Grant decided that most profiteers were Jews, and therefore that most Jews were profiteers, and therefore opted to expel all the Jews. Needless to say, President Lincoln very quickly had Grant rescind the order. (This was the same General Grant who, years later, contributed ten dollars to the building of a New York synagogue — that was in the exhibit, too.)

    Ms. Katz, if you are right, then General Grant was right, and let’s all start talking about how it’s really a compliment to say that most Jews are clever, good with money, etc. (see the JTA for a recent example in the Czech & Slovak Republics). Do you really want to go there? Because that is where you would take us.

    MOST MUSLIMS harbor murderous proclivities against Jews (and Christians too of course) because THAT IS WHAT THEIR RELIGION TEACHES AND THEY THEMSELVES SAY SO! They are not GENETICALLY programmed to be murderers —so I am not a racist—they are TAUGHT to be murderers by their religion of peace.

    Now you’re jsut Islam-bashing. Those Muslims who “say so” are religious illiterates who have been taught by extremists who have twisted Islam for their own political ends. Just because some here might consider chareidi Judaism to be the only authentic expression of Judaism does not mean that fundamentalist Islam of the violent jihadi persuasion is the only authentic expression of Islam.

    Islam emphatically does not teach murder of Jews and Christians. To the extent that there is a strain of violent intolerance in Islam, there certainly is a strain of violent intolerance in Judaism (Joshua, anyone?) and we know all too well the strain of violent intolerance in Christianity. That is not to legitimize any violent intolerance, nor to dismiss the very real violence committed by jihadis against Israelis (and Jews outside Israel); it is simply to suggest that generalizations such as these are profoundly unhelpful.

    One historical correction: No less a “sanitizer” and use of “fake words” than Vladimir Jabotinsky used the noun “Palestinian” in his publications well before 1929, and he used the word much as contemprary Palestinians use it. Check the original. For whatever reason, the Hebrew translation changed the proper noun “Palestinian” to the phrase “Palestinian Arab.”

  21. Toby Katz says:

    Shawn Landres wrote “this kind of racist hatred has no place on a blog that claims to represent Torah Judaism.”

    Find me the place in the Arab world where Arabs routinely protest Jew-hatred the way Jews like you routinely protest slurs to the honor of our dear Muslim brothers. then you can convince me that Arabs and Jews are not all that different.

    Now I have to do the absolutely boring, dumb and totally unnecessary job of pretending you didn’t know what I was saying and dotting every I and crossing every T to satisfy your dear and tender sensitivities. OK, here goes:

    MOST ARABS are MUSLIMS and MOST MUSLIMS harbor murderous proclivities against Jews (and Christians too of course) because THAT IS WHAT THEIR RELIGION TEACHES AND THEY THEMSELVES SAY SO! They are not GENETICALLY programmed to be murderers — so I am not a racist — they are TAUGHT to be murderers by their religion of peace.

    So NOT ALL ARABS are Muslims and NOT ALL MUSLIMS are pro-Jew-murder. Do you feel better now that I have quickly condemned my own previous too-sweeping statement?

    BTW today’s New York Times confirms what I said, as if you didn’t already know this perfectly well ho hum. All you really need is the headline but I’ll give you the link anyway. Headline: Muslim Protests Against Cartoons Spread

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/ads/agora/popFeb06.html

    Oh, and this may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t hate all Arabs. I don’t even hate all Moslems. I think that Jews should treat all human beings humanely, as circumstances permit. Thus, I would be very much opposed to going over to some random Arab on the street who was minding his own business, and beating him with a stick.

    I often tell my students the following two stories:

    1. During the Arab pogrom (they weren’t sanitized with the fake word “Palestinians” yet) in 1929 in Chevron, many Arabs who had been friendly to their Jewish neighbors turned on them and joined in the murders. But other Arabs risked their own lives to save Jews from the mob.

    2. A Jew got lost and drove into an Arab village by mistake a couple of years ago and his van was immediately surrounded by rock-throwing men who were intent on killing the driver and his passengers, including children. One Arab, however, dove into the driver’s seat, pushed the driver to the floor and raced the van through the crowd, out of the village and out to the main road, getting out of the van and walking back to his village when the van was safely on its way.

    I tell my students that there are tzaddikei umos ha’olam even among the Arabs and that you can’t always tell by looking at them which ones will kill Jews and which ones will save Jews’ lives.

    But if you think “Arabs are murderers” is a racist hate statement rather than a mere truism, you are too gentle a man for this dangerous world. However I will modify the statement to which you took umbrage:

    Change “Arabs are brutal insane murderers” to “Most Arabs are either brutal insane murderers or support, cheer and encourage murderers without being murderers themselves.” I think that word “most” should answer all your objections to my original post.

  22. Yeshoua says:

    Mycroft,
    Thank for judging the kids favorably unlike some other people. We should only hear good news on all fronts

  23. Shawn Landres says:

    Arabs are brutal insane murderers whose mothers have nachas when their kids grow up to be terrorists, and Jews and Arabs are very, very different.

    No matter what horrible events may have led Ms. Katz to make this statement, this kind of racist hatred has no place on a blog that claims to represent Torah Judaism.

    How is this statement – or the thinking behind it – acceptable by anyone, at any time, whether on Cross-Currents or elsewhere? I trust that the other moderators of Cross-Currents will act quickly to condemn this statement. Otherwise Cross-Currents cannot call itself a Jewish religion blog – at best it will be a Jewish version of the Kevin MacDonald approach vis-a-vis Jews, and at worst it will be just another ethnocentric (racist?) blog.

  24. Toby Katz says:

    Mycroft, you wrote:
    ” First of all, the kids who threw stones may have done so in self-defence”
    Self-defence does not usually include defending onesself against lawful arrest. Even against private individuals there would have been a duty to retreat. –end quote–

    I was not referring to kids defending themselves against arrest. I was referring to kids defending themselves against unprovoked police beatings.

    According to some of the reports I have read, many of the girls (perhaps the boys too, but I read what the girls wrote) had decided ahead of time to surrender peacefully if police came to arrest them, but they were given no chance to surrender. The police came in and started swinging sticks and beating the girls without ever giving them a warning of any kind and without listening to what they said. The police were dragging them out, breaking bones, etc, even while they were crying, “But I’m trying to surrender, why are you doing this?!” The police were out for blood, and they were enjoying themselves.

    It really seems that the out-of-control mob was the POLICE. However, I admit that I do not know all of the details. The situation may have varied from house to house. BTW even some secular Israelis who are normally very unsympathetic to “settlers” were appalled at the police officers’ behavior.

  25. Toby Katz says:

    My comment #9 above (the Arabs on my planet….) was supposed to come after Joel Rich’s comment #5 (“when one’s own group has elements that act inappropriately, they are often minimized as a fringe element not representative of the greater whole”) but through a glitch in the software — my posts to my own blog have been spurned as spam! — it didn’t show up till later, where it seems to be a reply to something Joel wrote later.

    Anyway, my apologies to him for misreading his post — I thought when he talked about different groups he was referring to Palestinians and Jews, but as he later clarified, he was talking about different groups of Jews.

  26. joel rich says:

    Dear Toby,
    I was referring to the intra-Jewish judgements being made (e.g. charedim, RZ and police)
    KT

  27. Perplexed says:

    Harry,

    “I think I agree with most of what you are saying. I have yet to determine the real facts about what happened in Amona. There are conflicting versions. But you can’t just “wave off” rock throwers with a casual I know some of the kids threw rocks—fine, lock ‘em up. They were a distinct minority.”

    Now you say there are conflicting versions but on your blog you are real harsh on the kids s that you have no pity on them. You were for the Jews leaving Gaza as well and I didn’t you showing any for pity for them as well. I amazed how a a person who is living so far from Israel can speak in such harsh terms and still say he is a student of the Gaon and Tzaddik
    Rav Ahron Soloveichik. I hope you will explain yourself.

  28. Toby Katz says:

    Joel Rich — if the Arabs on your planet are really decent, generous, kind-hearted, warm, loving, idealistic people with just a very few hotheads among them — you live on a nice planet. In my planet, the above adjectives apply to the Jews. Arabs are brutal insane murderers whose mothers have nachas when their kids grow up to be terrorists, and Jews and Arabs are very, very different.

    Any minute now someone is going to start singing the old Baruch Goldstein song (“Some Jews are terrorists too you know”) — I can feel it coming. Argue moral equivalence all you want, though — it is never going to happen (at least not on my planet) that the world will live in fear of what the Jews might do next.

    Across the board, religious or secular, in every country — Jews are not murderous criminals. And if you can find that one Jew out of 10 000 is indeed a murderer, while all the rest condemn murder, that does not make us “just the same” as a group in which one out of fifty is a murderer and forty out of fifty cheer and bless the murderers.

  29. joel rich says:

    No such thing as coincidence! See today’s NY Times Science section:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/07/health/psychology/07exec.html?pagewanted=print

    When Death Is on the Docket, the Moral Compass Wavers

    Common wisdom holds that people have a set standard of morality that never wavers. Yet studies of people who do unpalatable things, whether by choice, or for reasons of duty or economic necessity, find that people’s moral codes are more flexible than generally understood. To buffer themselves from their own consciences, people often adjust their moral judgments in a process some psychologists call moral disengagement, or moral distancing.
    =========================

    Unfortunately I can’t get the sidebar on-line which lists the mechanisms for rationalizing immoral behavior. It includes 8 categories – one of which is “advantageous comparison” defined as comparing someone to Hitler to justify an attack; or excusing a reckless act by comparing it to worse transgression by a rival or predecessor”
    Hamevin Yavin.
    KT

  30. Carmi Wisemon says:

    In light of current events, a group of concerned parents feel that it would not be educational to dress our children in Police purim costumes this year

    We will be sending them instead to President Katzav, who is the ethical representative of the State of Israel, in a creative, civil, apolitical and democratic protest about the misuse of the police force.

    Feel free to attach a letter explaining why this year your children will not be dressed as policemen/women. Please remember that President Katzav is amongst those calling for an investigation into the police actions – so write to him movingly but respectfully.

    1) We are currently seeking drop-off points around Israel. If you wish to volunteer, please email us.

    2) To mail the uniform directly to the President’s Residence, the address is 3 Hanassi Street, Jerusalem, 92188. Please email us after you have mailed them, with your name and geographical location, so that we can keep note of the numbers of uniforms sent and hopefully draw media attention to the campaign.

    3) If you prefer to keep your costume, please consider whether you wish to dress your child
    in police uniform this year.

    For further information or to volunteer, please email [email protected]

  31. mycroft says:

    ” First of all, the kids who threw stones may have done so in self-defence”
    Self-defence does not usually include defending onesself against lawful arrest. Even against private individuals there would have been a duty to retreat.
    Until RZ and Chareidi people start serving in Police-it will always be a problem-us vs them. Thus throwing stones at police etc acceptable “they’re xxxx”

  32. Joel Rich says:

    Dear Rn’ Katz,
    As I posted to R’ Menken’s previous post:
    Interesting is how when one’s own group has elements that act inappropriately, they are often minimized as a fringe element not representative of the greater whole, yet when “the other’s” group has elements that act inappropriatley, that entire group is demonized.
    KT

  33. Toby Katz says:

    When I say “criminals and murderers deserve to be beaten” I mean while they are in the middle of conducting their criminal and murderous activities — while the melee is going on, while the police are protecting their own lives and trying to maintain order. Peaceful demonstrators, in contrast, do not deserve to be beaten. We are not here discussing what is done to criminals after they have been apprehended, tried and sentenced, not discussing beating individuals in their jail cells while they are handcuffed. We are discussing mobs and mayhem — or in this case, a large group of people who were not a mob. Or, actually, I don’t know for sure whether they were a mob, but it doesn’t sound like it. They were kids who came on school buses with their teachers and chaperones.

    [BTW this may surprise you, but I actually don’t think it was such a great idea to send busloads of kids for this purpose — I wouldn’t have signed the permission slip for my own kids to go on that particular field trip.]

    In answer to Harry Maryles, I would say that we do not know who threw the first rock. Except for the people who were actually there, I don’t think anyone will ever know whether the police violence was provoked or unprovoked.

    But in reading descriptions of the police breaking into houses where unarmed teenaged girls were sitting, ready to surrender, obviously threatening no one, it appears that the police were enjoying themselves, enjoying beating the kids up, and not feeling any fear whatsoever. It seems there was not one huge mob with rocks thrown from within the crowd, there were different groups of people in different houses.

    And even where rocks were thrown, as I say, I don’t know whether it was the police or the demonstrators who started first.

  34. Harry Maryles says:

    You know, Toby…

    I think I agree with most of what you are saying. I have yet to determine the real facts about what happened in Amona. There are conflicting versions. But you can’t just “wave off” rock throwers with a casual I know some of the kids threw rocks—fine, lock ‘em up. They were a distinct minority.

    If police are simply trying to do their duty and get rocks thrown at them they are human and react. Sometimes they over-react. All it might take is one rock being thrown at one police officer who gets hit in the head, falls down and bleeds.

    I have no mercy on settlers who build illegal settlements no matter how Frum they are. They want to break the law… they have to suffer the consequences. The model for protest is Gaza, not Amona.

  35. Shawn Landres says:

    I don’t think police should treat ANYONE with unnecessary brutality

    “Brutality” is by definition unecessary. The police should never be brutal, and they shouldnot treat anyone with unnecessary violence.

    Criminals and murderers deserve to be beaten, law-abiding citizens do not.

    No one “deserves to be beaten.” Criminals (who include murderers) should be punished according to a legitimately promulgated and fairly administered system of laws. Even if Torah law refers to crimes for which the punishment involves some form of violence, reciprocal or otherwise, it strikes me that both Jewish law and secular civil law have moved beyond violence-as-punishment. Under most legal systems, beating is not a legal form of punishment and in fact beating prisoners is a crime.

    If you are in the middle of an Arab melee where your life really is in danger and you hit back a little too hard, you can be excused for using excessive force under those circumstances. If you are facing JEWISH teenagers in a peaceful protest—yes, you can arrest them—but wading in with horses and batons is a gross over-reaction.

    This paragraph comes dangerously close to suggesting that the level of force necessary depends not on the situation but on the ethnoreligious identity of the protesters. This is unacceptable. Clearly the force response should be determined by whether “your life really is in danger” or it is “a peaceful protest,” not by whether the protesters are Arabs (Muslim or Christian) or Jews. And again, “excessive force” is by definition inappropriate (that is why it is called “excessive”).

  36. S. B. Rozen, Esq. says:

    “Criminals and murderers deserve to be beaten …”

    I once discussed a similar topic very briefly with Dennis Prager, who is known out in the Los Angeles area, and he told me, when I asked his opinion as to whether we should torture those on death row before executing them, that he isn’t interested in having them suffer, just in having them not live anymore.

    I think the same applies to what you’ve said, and as such, I must disagree.