The Price of Tagging “Price Tag”

The news coming from Israel these days truly boggles the mind. The most important issue in the media, besides President Shimon Peres’s Kim-Jong-On-esque 90th birthday party celebration, is the growing threat of “Jewish terrorism”, otherwise named “Price Tag”.

“Price Tag” is the name used by a small group of rogue Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria to describe their attempt of taking the law into their own hands. They decided that for every action taken against them, be it by Arabs or by the State itself, they will exact a “Price”. If an Israeli settler is attacked by Palestinians, they retaliate against other, unconnected Palestinians. If an illegal settlement is removed by the Israeli army, they also retaliate against Palestinians. In extreme cases, they have been known to retaliate against the IDF as well. In one instance, they broke into an army base and slashed tires on a number of military vehicles. They are a small group of extreme rightwing Israelis who have lost faith in the State and in its power to serve justice and have therefore appointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner.

This sounds very sinister and very dangerous, until one points out that the range of their actions includes graffiti, vandalism and arson, all of which have been aimed at innocent, unsuspecting… objects. True, a number of mosques have been burnt down, cars have been destroyed and churches have been defaced. Their actions are repulsive, morally corrupt and most definitely illegal, but they are, nonetheless, directed at objects. Another important point is that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are mostly minors, wild youths who have gotten out of control.

This is why I am truly dumbfounded by the Left’s conviction that these actions, deplorable as they are, be lumped together under the label of “terrorism”.

In case you haven’t been following the news over the past few decades, here is a list of a few actions which are normally associated with the word “terrorism”: blowing up buses, blowing up cafes, blowing up embassies, blowing up other government buildings or facilities, hijacking planes, blowing up planes, hijacking planes and then blowing them up in tall buildings, shooting at innocent bystanders indiscriminately, stabbing people because they are (fill in the appropriate nationality/religion/race), firebombing people or vehicles with people in them, stoning people or vehicles with people in them, firing missiles, rockets and other large caliber projectiles at civilian population centers. Spraying graffiti is not on the list. Burning down mosques or other religious sites may qualify, although they would probably have to have people inside them in order to do so. I’ll leave that one up for debate. Burning empty cars and slashing tires, definitely do not make the list. That’s what the word “vandalism” is for.

Nevertheless, there are quite a lot of people in the Israeli Left who truly do not see the difference.

Here is a small example of what’s been going on in our media. The Knesset has been discussing the way to classify “Price Tag” actions and whether or not they should be classified as “terrorism”. On June 6th, Yediot Ahronot (the 2nd most popular newspaper in Israel) published the following photo:

 yediot

The heading in red reads: “A new law will give the State unprecedented authority to act against people who carry out terrorist attacks”. The large blue heading reads: “The law to fight terrorism”, with the yellow circle: “struggle without compromise”. The most ridiculous part is the yellow labels on the two photos: On the right, “Jewish terrorism” and on the left, “Palestinian terrorism”. The photo on the right shows an old, unused mosque in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, covered with graffiti, which reads: “condemned building”, “Price tag, Mitzpe Yitzhar” (the name of an evacuated illegal settlement) and “Muhammad is a pig”. The photo on the left shows the charred remains of bus number two, from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the Central Bus Station. On August 19th 2003, a Palestinian Hamas terrorist from Hebron blew himself up on the bus, killing 23 people, including 7 children, and wounding over 130.

 What really scares me is that some people are stuck so deep inside 1984 that they actually don’t see anything wrong with the newspaper clipping above. They’ve allowed themselves to stop thinking for themselves and let someone else do it for them. They let such a photo get by them and even argue in favor of lumping the two phenomena together, when in fact, they should be rushing to get their heads examined. The fact that I have to explain to people the difference between the two photos and argue about it is chilling.

The heading of this post referred to a price for tagging “Price Tag” as terrorism. The price is this: while the media has been busy spewing the garbage you see above, what has been glaringly missing from news reports is the real terrorism. Here is a list from this week so far: On Sunday (June 16th), at least four instances of Palestinians stoning Jewish cars (with people in them) on roads in Judea and Samaria. Also on Sunday night, a car (with people in it) was firebombed by Palestinian terrorists. On Monday (June 17th) evening, Palestinians threw paint on a moving bus, in an attempt to cause an accident. Later that evening, Palestinians stoned Jewish cars on the Hebron-Jerusalem road. On Monday night, Palestinians attacked another bus on the Hebron Jerusalem road, throwing three firebombs and an explosive charge. Luckily no one was hurt. On Tuesday morning (June 18th), Palestinians stoned Israeli cars on a road in Samaria. During the day, a number of cars were firebombed and Palestinians stoned passing cars in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria. On Tuesday night two Israelis were stoned in their car as they drove through a neighborhood IN JERUSALEM. On Wednesday (June 19th) morning at dawn, Palestinians fired a missile from Gaza at the city of Ashkelon. The missile fell short and landed inside the Gaza strip.

One would expect that these events would appear in large glaring letters on the front pages of every newspaper, perhaps with a nice yellow label reading “struggle without compromise against terrorism”. But the sad price of labeling “Price Tag” as terrorism is that in order to support the lie, the real terrorism has to be hidden. The truth has to be made less glaringly obvious, and none of the incidents above have a place in the newspeak world in which graffiti made by Jews against Arabs is terrorism, while Arabs attempting to murder Jews on the road is not. If they are reported at all, they must be kept in small, controllable articles, to be hidden in the back pages.

To be clear, “Price Tag” is disgusting, it is illegal, it is immoral, it is un-Jewish, it is racist. But it is not terrorism.

Thank God for Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about any of the real incidents of terrorism, and I would have been sure that the only important things going on this week were some hate-graffiti sprayed on a wall in Abu Ghosh and Barbara Streisand’s performance of “Avinu Malkeinu” (“Our father, our God”, from the Jewish prayer book) for President Peres’s 90th birthday celebration.

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One comment

  1. gil lerner · · Reply

    People who want to define “price tag” as an act of terrorism, actually want to create one law for Jews and another law to Arabs.

    That is, because “price tag” is defined as an act that Jews preform against Arabs.

    making this change would create a reality in which an Arab and a Jew can commit the same crime will be treated differently.

    defining “price tag” as terrorism may create the following situation:

    Shlomo writes a graffiti “Muhammad is dead” in Jaffa – Terrorism -> Administrative detention without proof of guilt -> lengthy prison sentence

    Muhammad writes a graffiti “Death to Jews” on Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem -> vandalism -> fine of 200 NIS

    If people really want to set vandalism that has elements of a hate crime is terrorism, the definition must be detached nationality of operation.

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