One Knesset member has said African refugees are a “cancer” inside Israel, but the real cancer is Israeli hate, whether it be homophobia or Arabophobia. They are each part of the same malignancy that afflicts the body politic.
SEATTLE — An ultra-Orthodox Jew rampaged through the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Thursday with a knife, wounding six participants, including one woman who was in critically injured.
The suspect, Yishai Shlissel, was released from prison early last month after serving his sentence for wounding three people in an attack on the same parade in the same city in 2005.
Haaretz reports that police near his home in the settlement of Modi’in Ilit claim they had no obligation to monitor him because the crime for which he was sentenced took place in Jerusalem, outside their jurisdiction. While the Jerusalem police intelligence unit had flagged him as a danger to the gay community, it had not identified the potential danger he posed to those attending this year’s parade.
Yet this is a country with security services monitoring suspected Palestinian terrorists day and night. Israeli authorities arrest scores of militants every day in order to frustrate their designs. Israel employs every tool of the security state to stop Palestinian terror. But Jewish terror? Not so much.
Upon his release from prison, Shlissel testified publicly to his continuing fixation on gays and the annual Jerusalem event. He told a Haredi news interviewer (Hebrew):
“What was important and still is — is that these evil people [gays] who hold this despicable parade do so in Jerusalem, in particular. It’s even outrageous in Tel Aviv. But for such a thing to happen in Jerusalem is nothing but sacrilege. …
Perhaps my  deed was extreme, but we must stop this parade. If one man wants to stop it he must do something extreme. Because of our own laxness, the evil ones will make their abominable march in our City of the King. … The Holy One watches to see if we are faithful to Him and will respond to this defiling of his name or whether each of us will care only for our personal material well-being. For that reason, a Jew is obligated to dedicate himself to striking blows, to prison, and even danger in order to join together and stop this defiling of God’s name.”
‘Bring knives today’
Haaretz notes that the attacker published the message on a Haredi online forum the morning of the attack. He accompanied it with this chilling promise: “Don’t forget to bring knives today.” He added: “On the one hand this is incitement to murder, on the other it’s a holy war. Your opinions, my friends?” Then he signed it with his own name.
In light of Thursday’s crime, it’s sad to note that an Israeli appeals court reduced his sentence for his previous attack from 12 to ten years, claiming it wasn’t clear that Shlissel had actually intended to harm one of the victims.
Israel prides itself on being a gay mecca and exploits this in tourism promotion. It also uses the technique of “pinkwashing” as a wedge issue against its Arab enemies. Israel juxtaposes its claims of being a paradise for gays against the supposed wretched reputation the Arab world has for its intolerance of the gay community. In doing so, Israel makes homosexuality nothing more than a propaganda tool in a larger political struggle between Israel and the Arab world. Israel’s leaders don’t care about gay pride per se; they care about ways in which they can exploit it to their own ends.
Tel Aviv gay youth center killings
But the facts and events continually prove the Israeli narrative questionable, if not outright wrong. In 2009, an attacker opened fire on a Tel Aviv gay youth center, killing two teenagers. Four years later, police arrested a suspect and persuaded another accomplice to turn state witness. The latter escaped from police custody, and, possibly after exchanging a few words with his pal, recanted his testimony. No one else has been arrested in the case and it’s presumed the original suspect may be the actual killer. Yet it appears he will not be charged or prosecuted, which means the worst anti-gay hate crime in Israel’s history remains unsolved.
These attacks are no less acts of terrorism than Palestinian attacks on Israelis. Yet few Israelis would dare label this what it is: an act of terror. As such, it must be fought with all the severity Israel brings to addressing Palestinian terrorism.
Further, while Yishai Shlissel was wrestled to the ground by police shortly after he began his assault, no police officer drew a gun or shot him. If he had been Palestinian, he would’ve been shot dead on the spot.
Such attitudes toward Jewish terrorists are a further indication of a brand of Israeli racism which refuses to attribute evil intent to Jews, but attributes it almost instinctively to Palestinians. If Shlissel’s crimes aren’t terror then Israel is casting a blind eye on the evil that lurks within.
Instead of listening to tourist ads proclaiming Israel as a hotbed of gay pride, it’s worth examining the actual status of gays in Israel. The same Orthodox Jewish community which produced Shlissel controls marriage and divorce. No one can marry inside Israel without rabbinical approval. Since Orthodox Judaism views homosexuality as cursed, the state will never recognize gay marriages (though same-sex couples may marry outside Israel).
A key coalition partner in the current government, the Jewish Home party, featured its opposition to gay marriage prominently in its campaign platform. Its candidates trumpeted their homophobia in public appearances ahead of elections earlier this year. One called the gay “agenda” “suicide for society.” Another described himself as a “proud homophobe.” This was the same candidate, who, in 2006, organized an anti-gay event, which he dubbed “Beast Parade,” to coincide with Gay Pride Day.
Kahanist leader: ‘Being homosexual is the same as robbing a bank’
There were other right-wing Jews protesting at Thursday’s Pride march. Benzi Gopstein, the Kahanist leader of the anti-miscegenation group Lehava, told the Jerusalem Post homosexuality was no less a crime than bank robbery. He added:
“The threat posed to the Jewish family doesn’t just come from assimilation but also from undermining the sanctity of marriage. It cannot be that something that is declared in the Torah as an abomination will become a source of pride, and there is certainly no place for this in the heart of Jerusalem, the holy city.”
Lehava pressures Jewish business owners not to hire Palestinian employees. It warns that Arab men deliberately target Jewish women and groom them for marriage so they will convert to Islam. If this sounds historically familiar, it should: This sort of racialism was common to the Third Reich, as well, and popularized in the Nuremberg Laws.
Gopstein is suspected of the murder of a Palestinian couple in 1994 in revenge for the assassination of his mentor, Meir Kahane. Yet another Gopstein NGO is directly funded by the state treasury. He even receives a salary for his efforts, which conveys state approval of his racialist agenda. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, one of the most popular politicians in the Likud Party, has even invited Lehava to testify on this subject before a Knesset committee.
There is one positive development to emerge from this tragedy: This Knesset has had no “out” members until now. After the Jerusalem Pride attack, MK Itzik Shmuli announced he is gay. He was a co-founder of the J14 social justice movement and entered Knesset with the Labor Party.
Palestinian baby dies in ‘price tag attack’
Friday morning saw another Jewish terror attack. Arsonists, widely believed to be radical settlers, set fire to two homes in the West Bank village of Duma. One was inhabited by a Palestinian family of four. While the parents managed to save one of their children, the other, an 18-month-old boy, was suffocated and died. On the outside of the home the killers scrawled graffiti: “Vengeance” and “Long live the Messiah.”
Apparently, the settler “Messiah” demands the death of Palestinian babies. And what sort of Messiah demands such obscene human sacrifices? Moloch? Isn’t that precisely what ancient Jewish Biblical religion rebelled against? Let’s be clear that this is settler Judaism, not any form of Judaism that the rest of the Jewish people would recognize or condone.
These are known as “price tag attacks,” but that term minimizes what they are: acts of terror. Because Israel treats these attacks lightly, despite public statements of outrage from prime ministers and presidents, they recur. The severity increases as perpetrators discover they can get away with, literally, murder.
Authorities will locate the attackers. The Israeli security services likely already know who they are. They will arrest them, but no Israeli media will be able to report their identities because of a security gag order. They may be tried. They may be found guilty. They may be imprisoned.
Nevertheless, they will be treated with kid gloves. In several years, a future president will grant them clemency, as presidents have done for many Jewish terrorists in the past. There is even a campaign to grant clemency to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir.
Here is the problem in a nutshell: Jewish terror is condoned by the state. Any country that does not eradicate terror, root and branch, is not only going to continue to be victimized — it becomes an accessory after the fact. In Israel, a country in which terrorists and their enablers are honored in the Knesset, the problem is greater by ten-fold.
MK Miri Regev cried that African refugees were a “cancer” inside Israel, but the real cancer is Israeli hate, whether it be homophobia or Arabophobia. They are each part of the same malignancy that afflicts the body politic.