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Despicable

Prime Minister Netanyahu rightly called “despicable” the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian youth in east Jerusalem– likely in retaliation for the murder of three Israeli teenagers.

I have no doubt that Israeli authorities are conducting a full and fair investigation of this latest killing and that every effort will be made to bring the person or persons responsible to justice. And I have no doubt that most Israelis are disgusted by this killing, whoever was responsible.

But if this murder was committed by Israeli extremists, it arises from a dark vein in Israeli society. The dark vein which produced the murderers Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir, among others. The dark vein which justifies “price-tag” attacks and bullying aimed at random Palestinians. The dark vein which is too often tolerated by rightwing Israeli politicians. The dark vein that causes ugly behavior like this:

[S]cores of Israeli right-wing protesters embroiled much of downtown Jerusalem Tuesday, rioting and demanding revenge for the murders of yeshiva students Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, who were buried earlier that afternoon.

The protracted riot resulted in over 50 arrests, after hundreds of young extremists marched for several kilometers throughout the downtown area, including to the Old City, while chanting anti-Arab slogans and attacking several Palestinians in their path.

If the rioters believe they are honoring the memory of the three murdered teenagers, they are wrong. They are disgracing it.

And yet the necessary full-scale crackdown on Israeli extremist violence never seems to happen– even when Israeli soldiers are victims.