“Lynchings” in the Holy Land
Some call it lynching and compare it to Emmett Till. It echoes Nazi Germany’s prohibition against miscegenation between Jews (especially men) and Aryans (especially women). Only it’s happening today, and this time it is a group of Jews who are on the wrong side of justice.
On August 17, some Jewish teenagers in Jerusalem allegedly severely beat three Arab teens, supposedly for talking with Jewish girls. Fortunately the boys survived (though one remains in the hospital), but the incident succeeded in sending the message: don’t mess with “our” women. Just to make sure the lesson was heard, an Orthodox Israeli group posted an open letter to Arabs in the wake of the attack in Hebrew and Arabic (this English translation is mine):
Dear Arab guy:
We don’t want you to get hurt!
Our daughters are valuable to us,
and just as you would not want a Jew to date your sister
so are we unwilling for an Arab to date a girl from among our people.
Just as you would do anything to prevent a Jew from dating your sister – we are the same way!
If you are thinking of visiting a pedestrian mall or shopping center in Jerusalem in order to date Jewish girls – this isn’t the place.
You may walk around in your own village and find girlfriends there, not here!
Last week an Arab who thought he might find Jewish girls was wounded.
We don’t wish for you to get hurt,
guard our daughters’ honor
because our survival depends on it!
The letter is signed by Lehava, a group whose acronym in Hebrew stands for “Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land.”
This is not the first time Jews have attacked Arabs in what Americans would call hate crimes and Israelis call “lynches” but the circumstances and poster introduce a new facet to these assaults: misogyny.
According to an English-language Israeli news website, “There are several organizations promoting ethnic segregation in Israel, with a special emphasis on preventing relations between Jewish girls and Palestinian men.”
The notion that “our daughters” might be defiled by men of a despised population echoes the fears of white Southerners that black men wished to seduce or rape white women. Some combination of a desire to defend their female “property” and an inability to believe that white women would choose to consort with black men led white men to lynch blacks. One young black, Emmett Till, was murdered just for whistling at or speaking to a white woman in 1955. Now we have young Arabs beaten just for talking with Jewish girls – if they even did that, which is under dispute.
Left-leaning politicians and Jewish protestors have spoken out against the racist violence, but not to the extent that they have in the past. “An attempt to introduce laws against intermarriage was the main reason the Knesset rejected Jewish supremacist Meir Kahane in the 1980s. At the time, Justice Shamgar wrote that such ideas ‘remind us of the worst persecution in Jewish history.’” Indeed they do, and they continue.
Photo credit: iStockphoto