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Disgrace

This is a cross-post from falsedichotomies.com

The blond youth waving an Israeli flag looked at me in astonishment. I was standing on the other side of the street, just opposite the Damascus Gate, and I was standing with the Arabs. And yet I had just told him that I had made aliyah six years ago and that was he was doing was a Chillul Hashem.

The previous hour had passed with scuffles between Palestinians and the Border Police, but now the Jerusalem Day Parade was in full swing. There had just been another stampede from the horses and suddenly there were no soldiers in the vicinity. It was just me shouting over to a group of Israeli youth, and they couldn’t believe what I was telling them.

This particular group didn’t call me a stinking leftist. They seemed genuinely astonished that I had described their behaviour as a Chillul Hashem. They asked me to explain myself further, but then some Palestinians came over, and insults passed back and forth across the street.

This is what I would have said: I would have said that it’s a Chillul Hashem because you are declaring your love for this extraordinary city by holding a march whose implicit message is that one-third of the population is not wanted here. I would have said that they would never have tolerated a group of Arabs marching through Jewish neighbourhoods with Palestinian flags chanting “Death to the Jews”. I would have said that ‘don’t start none won’t be none’ applies just as much to us as it does to them, and that even if some of the slogans chanted by the Palestinians were as repellent as those chanted by the Jews, the Palestinians did not have hundreds of armed soldiers protecting their right to be racist.

I would also have told him that there are many people who don’t want Israel to exist, and that people like him are one of their most useful weapons. I would have told him that if he truly loved Jerusalem he should work to build bridges with his Palestinian neighbours, that if Jerusalem is to remain the eternally undivided capital of Israel then he would do well to establish good relations with them. I would have told him that this is not a Beitar match, and that the behaviour of him, his friends, and the vast majority of people I saw at the march was a disgrace to the State of Israel.

The soldiers returned, and we were shunted off to the side. Instead I shouted across to the stewards that it was their job to prevent racist chanting, but they just shrugged. “Death to Leftists”, one group now sang, and I asked a commander why he wasn’t doing anything about the incitement, but he shrugged too.

This isn’t about Left or Right or Zionist or anti-Zionist. It’s about whether we should allow thousands of people to maraud through the capital behaving like football hooligans. It’s about whether we tolerate incitement or challenge it wherever we see it. It’s about the moral degeneration of Religious Zionism. It’s about whether the fundamental meaning of Jerusalem as the ‘City of Peace’ should hold significance on the day when we are supposed to cherish it most.