By Jamal Kanj
Death to Christians’ and ‘Death to Arabs’ were scrawled in Hebrew last week on an old monastery and property of Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem.
On February 20, a Baptist church was defiled with graffiti insulting Jesus’ mother. Earlier in the same month, an 11th century Greek Orthodox monastery was desecrated. The work carried the hallmark signature of “Price Tag.”
Price Tag is a pugnacious Jewish organisation, established in 2008. Its members come mostly from illegal “Jewish only” settlements in occupied Palestine. It targets Muslim and Christian sites in the West Bank and native Palestinians inside Israel.
Israeli human rights organisations have documented Price Tag’s violence like burning mosques, desecrating churches, vandalising Muslim and Christian graveyards, assaults, uprooting of olive trees and destroying and stealing Palestinian crops.
According to Btselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, Price Tag attacks have increased exponentially in past three months. It documented seven attacks in December. In one of the documented incidents, Price Tag attacked Palestinian women travelling next to the “Jewish only” settlement of Gilad. When the driver complained to a military checkpoint a few hundred metres away, Israeli soldiers shrugged him off.
Of thousands of racist assaults against Palestinians between 2005 and 2010, Israel investigated only 97 and none was taken to court.
Like Nazi groups in Europe or the Klu Klux Klan in the US, Price Tag members are indoctrinated in deep-hatred towards those perceived as a threat to their self-professed “superior” race, colour or religion.
Price Tag membership is drawn mostly from Haredi Rabbis and students or graduates from Jewish madrasa or yeshiva. They advocate building new “Jewish only” settlements and killing or expelling native Palestinians.
Price Tag spiritual leaders Rabbis Yitzhak Shapiro and Yosef Elitzur co-authored a controversial book The King’s Torah. Mr Elitzur runs a yeshiva in the “Jewish only” colony of Yitzhar.
In the book, they pontificate that under Jewish laws “it is permissible to kill the righteous among nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation… If we kill a gentile… there is nothing wrong with the murder.”
Credence to their authority on Jewish law was bestowed on them by prominent Israeli rabbis, including Yithak Ginzburg and Yaakov Yosef, who recommended the book to their students and followers.
These Jewish theologians represent a growing creed, ignored by the Western media, of ultra-racist religious movement advocating separate laws for Jews and gentiles. Some rabbis went asserted that laws prohibiting the killing of civilians were Christian values not binding to Jews.
This was exemplified in 2006 when the Rabbinic Council of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank appealed to Israeli soldiers “to ignore Christian morals and exterminate the enemy in the north (Lebanon) and the south (Gaza Strip).”
Price Tag membership is around 3,000. Proportionally larger than Hitler-Jugend (youth) who numbered less than 5,000 in 1925. Ignored by world powers, Hitler-Jugend membership swelled to 25,000 by 1930, propelling the Nazi party to power in 1933.
Should world powers continue to condone Israel’s intransigence and disregard for international law by building illegal “Jewish only” colonies on the land designated for the future Palestinian state, the Price Tag’s propensity will soon transform Israel “officially,” into a racist state, taking the region to a new level of hate and destruction.