The Desecration of Jewish Cemeteries: Serious, But Not New

March 28 2017

Over the past few months, there have been at least three incidents of vandalism of Jewish burial grounds in the U.S.; these have coincided with the series of bomb threats (all hoaxes) against Jewish communal institutions. Senator Bernie Sanders, Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, and New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with countless journalists, have placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump. But the truth is that anti-Semites have a long history of striking at dead Jews, especially when live Jews are unavailable or sufficiently protected. Seth Mandel comments:

Nowhere is [the prevalence of this form of vandalism] illustrated more clearly than at Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery. Constructed 3,000 years ago, it contains tens of thousands of burial plots, including those for great rabbis and Jewish figures over the centuries. When Jordan took control of that area of Jerusalem during Israel’s War of Independence, it commenced desecrating every Jewish holy site it could find, very much including the Mount of Olives cemetery, using the stones for construction. Israel won the territory back in 1967, but the cemetery has consistently been the target of vandalism up to the present day. New security measures seem finally to be working; in late February the Forward reported that the cemetery was “free of vandalism for the first time in decades.”

All of which makes what’s happening now in the United States so disturbing, for two reasons. First, it’s not new. Second, it’s being treated as if it is. . . .

In [2008], Jewish graves in France, Hungary, Latvia, and Greece were hit. In 2011, cemeteries in New Jersey and Kosovo were hit. In 2012, Jewish cemeteries in France, Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Canada, and New Zealand were vandalized, as well as the graves of Jewish war veterans in Florida. In 2013, it was Arizona’s turn. In 2014, Wisconsin and Massachusetts saw vandalism at Jewish graves, as did Hungary, Greece, England, and Norway. And these are just the ones that make the news. But . . . many don’t.

Attacks of this sort didn’t start in 2015, when Donald Trump decided to run for president. . . . Candidate Trump’s response to [the] outpouring of hate on his behalf was never better than insufficient, and often worse. But there was nothing linking Trump to any of the cemetery desecrations around the world in 2015, or the one that hit Philadelphia’s Adath Jeshurun in July of that year. Yet this year, when another Philadelphia Jewish cemetery was hit, and despite the fact that no arrests had been made as of this writing, it was viewed differently—not only because it came after another such incident in Missouri and amid the JCC bomb threats, but because the media framed the attack specifically in [in the context of Trump’s presidency].

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More about: ADL, American Jewry, American politics, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Jewish cemeteries, Jewish World

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy