The Price Tag of Israel’s Doublethink
Price Tag hit Jerusalem. On February 7, 2012, the Hand in Hand’s Max Rayne Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school in Jerusalem and the Greek Monastery of the Cross overlooking the Knesset were defaced with insulting graffiti signed by Price Tag.
“Death to Arabs” and “Kahane was right” was written on a wall outside the school; “Price tag” and “Greeks out” was written on cars outside the monastery, and “Death to Christians” was written on its walls. The tires of two cars outside the monastery were punctured.
The term “Price Tag Policy” became public in July 2008, when settler Itay Zar from “Havat Gilad” referred to the policy as such: “Whenever an evacuation (of settlers) is carried out—whether it is a bus, a trailer or a small outpost—we will respond.” It refers to illegal actions carried out by radical right-winged Israeli activists and settlers.
The actions of these Jewish hooligans include demonstrations, blocking of roads, clashes with Israeli security forces, throwing rocks at Palestinian cars, torching of Palestinian fields and orchards, and the destruction and uprooting of trees belonging to Palestinians. The last is very important since according to Ottoman laws still legally binding in Israel, trees can be used to show ownership of land.
One of the worst attacks by Price Tag took place in 2009, when a mosque was burned in Yasuf, a village located in the West Bank. Graffiti was sprayed on the burnt building: “Prepare for the Price Tag.” In 2011, a similarly wild attack occurred in Tuba, a Bedouin town in the Galilee; its denizens are Israeli citizens who serve in the IDF.
The fact that so much time after the beginning of its reign of terror, Price Tag is still well and flourishing, indicates that they enjoy the silent support of the Israeli Administration, despite public condemns. “Bad boys! Bad Boys!” politicians shout on the media but keep silently providing them with military training and weapons.
The targets chosen today by Price Tag were clearly political. One attack was against those showing that Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side peacefully; while the second was against Christian targets. The last complements previous attacks against Muslim Palestinians and Bedouins. Price Tag is targeting the entire non-Jewish ethnic map of Holy Land.
Why was a Greek Monastery chosen? After all, there are dozens of Christian denominations represented in Jerusalem. Yet, Jews are not fond of converts to Christianity. They call us “meshumad” or “mityaven” (both terms in Hebrew, and are masculine, singular). “Meshumad” can be roughly translated as “utterly destroyed.” “Mityaven” means “he who became Greek.”
The hatred is so strong that the son of Rabbi Meshulam, a well known persecuted Israeli mentioned in The Cross of Bethlehem, refuses to give me an interview about the violence he is experiencing under the hands of Canadian authorities because I became “Greek.” Thus, by choosing a Greek Monastery, Price Tag hit two doves with one sharp stone.
Monastery of the Cross | Minzar HaMatzleva (“Crucifixion-site Monastery” in Hebrew)
The Max Rayne Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school is part of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. Co-founded by Israeli Palestinian educator Amin Khalaf and Israeli-American educator Lee Gordon in 1997, it attempts to promote the living together of Israelis and Palestinians.
Despite a massive infusion of funds by international donors, it has just 50 students in two campuses. A related project is the Neve Shalom–Wāħat as-Salām Village near Jerusalem; this project has a population of around 200 people. Considering both projects are surrounded by several millions of eligible candidates to join them, it seems peace is not a popular concept over there.
My comment on the nicknames used by Jews towards converted Christians was not casual. Recently, in Jewish Setback in Berkeley, I expanded on the odd behavior of American Jews, who openly preach for being “good neighbors” toward Christians, but in fact behave in clear violence towards their not-so-beloved neighbors.
In 2009, Larry David and HBO provided a disgusting example of Jewish hatred; a parallel act toward a Jewish image would have led to an ADL lawsuit and claims of the USA being anti-Semite (see An Ocean Apart). Christian neighbors in America are “good neighbors,” but in Israel they are “utterly destroyed.” Mr. Netanyahu, this is called Doublethink!
Not for the first time, when reading reports on Israel, I get the impression this state is the ultimate implementation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
“The year was 1983, but at school we were already studying Orwell’s 1984, a book which frightened us by its similarity to life in Israel. The Lebanon War, which had begun a year earlier, was still called ‘the War for the Peace of Galilee’ by the government.
The Hebrew possessive contraction brought together the two words which sounded exactly like ‘War-Peace,’ creating a perfect Orwellian oxymoron. We all skipped the obvious contemporaneous context of the book in our commentaries; such semantics could belong only to the enemy and we lived in an enlightened society.
Our government could not have made such an Orwellian choice consciously. And yet a little voice in my head told a different story, one that must be kept to myself. The glitch allowing such a subversive book to be on our reading list could only be interpreted as some inconsistency of the system.
However, a frightening alternative explanation was that 1984 had been placed on the Education Ministry’s official list of books intentionally, so that we would forever fear authority and behave. It was our first lesson in government manipulation of its people.” (excerpt from The Cross of Bethlehem)
Doublethink is a word coined by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It describes the simultaneous acceptance of two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.
In part 1, chapter 3 of the book, Orwell wrote: “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy.” To me, these words sound as the official discourse adopted by the State of Israel.
Israel promotes democracy and allows the function of Price Tag at the same time. Israel preaches equality and enacts discriminatory laws on the same day (see Israel and the Jewish Fatherland Law). Two millennia ago, Jesus summarize you well (Matthew 23:27-28): “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”