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Is Israel now like Europe in 2014?

As Israel continues, unconscionably - in breach of the Geneva Convention, international law and just basic decency and humanity - another strand of Israeli's behaviour is increasingly coming under the microscope.

First, this from Tablet:

"Consider recent events in Israel and the West Bank. Over the last few years, settler extremists have executed hundreds of so-called “price tag” attacks, predominantly but not exclusively against Arab targets, burning down mosques, destroying property, vandalizing cemeteries, and torching homes. When three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in June, expressions of anti-Arab racism on social media spiked, with 35,000 joining a Facebook group called “The People of Israel Demand Revenge” before it was deleted. When the teens were found dead, angry mobs marched through Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs,” and beating up those unlucky enough to stumble across their path. The ugly spectacle culminated in the apparent revenge killing of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and brutally burned alive by Jewish bigots.

In the wake of the murder, some commentators were quick to liken contemporary Israel to Nazi Germany, ominously intoning that Israel was sliding toward its own racist regime. Most of these claims were offensive and transparently malicious, but a few were genuine attempts to grapple with the gravity of what had transpired. In a Haaretz column provocatively titled “Berlin, 1933 and Jerusalem, 2014: When racist thugs are on the prowl,” Chemi Shalev drew a carefully qualified contrast between the two, writing, “When I saw the videos and pictures of gangs of right-wing Jewish racists running through the streets of Jerusalem, chanting ‘Death to the Arabs,’ hunting for random Arabs, picking them out by their appearance or by their accents, chasing them in broad daylight, ‘drooling like hysterical beasts’ and then beating them up before the police could arrive—the historical association was automatic.”

But while Shalev accurately describes the disturbing demonstrations that roiled Israeli society, he applies the wrong historical analogy to them. In fact, Israel isn’t in danger of becoming the Europe of 1933. It’s in danger of becoming the Europe of 2014."

And then there is this "Israel Is Captive to Its ‘Destructive Process" on truthdig (written by the respected former NY Times Bureau Chief in Jerusalem):

"Raul Hilberg in his monumental work “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,” Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank."


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