Culture, Israel, Justice, Politics

United Settlers of Pogrom, Inc.

United Settlers of Pogrom, Inc. donation cardI’ve seen fundraising gala invitations to the Hebron settlers’ fund and without knowing the politics, one might think they were raising money for a new coop in Tel Aviv. You’d never know they are the largest source of Jewish settler violence in the territories, motivated by violent extremism that is (truthfully) unsurpassed by any other present-day group of Jews.
So at a recent staff meeting at the granting institution where I work, someone joked that even our most conservative grantees weren’t “the United Settlers of Pogrom, Incorporated” or anything. We’d never give money there.
So I took it upon myself to imagine what a more honest donation card to such an organization might admit! And in this season with Madoff’s fuckery, we fundraisers need a little humor. And for everyone else out there, give money this year. This year and next, more than ever.

22 thoughts on “United Settlers of Pogrom, Inc.

  1. Absolutely brilliant graphic. It had me rolling in the aisles. It’s tough to smile these days as you say w. all the “fuckery” going on. Glad you lightened the load for me.
    And thanks as well for linking to my progressive Jewish tzedakah list.

  2. You lost me at pogrom. I’m not defending those extremist settlers whose appalling acts this post inspired, but I’m sure the Jews who actually suffered the rapes and deaths that accompanied your typical pogrom would have appreciated it if say fellow Ukrainians intervened and helped while the Cossacks were doing what they do, or if they even voiced their disapproval. “Pogrom” is just another catch-phrase like “Nazi” or “Apartheid” used to denigrate an entire people. A bunch of us here in Israel are settlers you know, from French Hill, to the Mt. of Olives to the residents of the Jewish Quarter, all behind the Green Line and all populated by blood thirsty Pogromists, no different than the raping, pillaging, marauding Cossacks of days of yore. Richard Silverstein’s blessing seals the deal as I look on in sadness while Jewschool becomes more and more irrelevant.

  3. mr crescent,
    what happened following the evacuation of the so called “house of peace” was a pogrom.
    from Gershom Gornberg’s “South Jerusalem”:
    Here is a description of the pogroms of 1881-82 from YIVO (
    “The pogroms of 1881 and 1882, which occurred in waves throughout the southwestern provinces of the Russian Empire, were the first to assume the nature of a mass movement. Typically, the pogroms of this period originated in large cities, and then spread to surrounding villages, travelling along means of communication such as rivers and railroads. Violence was largely directed against the property of Jews rather than their persons. In the course of more than 250 individual events, millions of rubles worth of Jewish property was destroyed. The total number of fatalities is disputed but may have been as few as 50, half of them pogromshchiki who were killed when troops opened fire on rioting mobs.”
    In other words, in the classic wave of riots from which the concept of “pogrom” emerged, 25 Jews were killed in 250 incidents. Clearly, most of those pogroms did not involve fatalities. Nonetheless, they were despicable.
    YIVO describes a pogrom as “an outbreak of mass violence directed against a minority religious, ethnic or social group.” This fits what happened in Hebron, except perhaps for the fact that the Palestinians are the majority in Hebron and the West Bank. The general passivity of the authorities in the face of the violence also fits the classic pattern of pogroms.

  4. Very nice Yael. I feel so much better now that you presented a disingenuous historical explanation of what a pogrom encompasses – mostly crimes against the property of victims with an occasional death. As an afterthought.
    The use of the term “pogrom” is meant to inflame because despite your explanation, when most think pogrom, they think raping, pillaging, killing and looting. And the term pogrom is mostly associated with crimes against Jews. It’s a nice way to turn the tables around, again, in much the same way our enemies use the term “Nazi” to describe “Zionists” or the way Richard Silverstein uses the term “Jewish Jihadi.”
    The actions of those extremist settlers need to be roundly condemned, and I do condemn them. But calling what happened in Hebron a “pogrom” does nothing to foster thoughtfulness and sensitivity. It polarizes and offends because it is entirely inaccurate. It is a distraction meant to score ideological points while doing nothing at all to help deal with the issue. This serves only to play into the hands of the extremists who can safely shrug off criticism. It really is no wonder Richard Silverstein finds this post so entertaining.

  5. mr brass.
    so now we can’t make accurate comparisons either because it is not what people “think” (imagine?) a pogrom is?
    i don’t know your historical background but yivo is one of the most respected institutions on jewish history.i don’t understand why you think it is inaccurate.
    Do you really think this is comparible to calling zionists nazis? that sounds to me like a comparison which is just a distraction to score ideological points while doing nothing at all to help deal with the issue (the issue being Jewish pogroms).

  6. Brass Crescent writes: The use of the term “pogrom” is meant to inflame…
    Maybe so. Maybe there are better terms. Maybe it is appropriate. Maybe it did not devolve into a full pogrom because the army (albeit inadequately) stepped in. It certainly was not because the settlers were hell bent on peaceful coexistence.
    The presence of the settlers in the House of Dispute was certainly intended to inflame. Many (most) of those in the house were from outside Hevron. They ignored court decisions to evacuate.
    There are only two sources for law in Israel (yes, I realize that there is also “military rule” in certain parts of the territories)and that would be the Knesset and the courts. The courts ruled against the settlers.
    The settlers, over the objection of even the Yesha leadership, routinely taunted both the Israeli army and the Palestinian neighbors.
    The comparison with French Hill and the Jewish Quarter is silly. Those neighborhoods are part of Jerusalem. Even among those that call for a division of Jerusalem (whatever that may mean and however it may be accomplished)those areas are to remain a part of Israel. There are an overwhelming majority of MKs (I really can not think of a single Jewish party whose policy is otherwise)that supports those areas remaining part of Israel.
    Hevron is a subject of controversy. Those Jewish neighborhoods built over the Green line, rarely see fanatics attacking the army. French Hill is, little by little, becoming an integrated neighborhood.
    Mt. Olives and Silwan are another story. In principle Jews should be able to live in Muslim areas and Muslims in predominantly Jewish areas. But to move into an area simply to provoke, at a high cost to the taxpayers for security and the diversion of security personnel is a move intended to inflame.
    Calling what happened a “pogrom” may, or may not, be an apt description. But it is not this term that “polarizes and offends.” It is the lawless actions of extremists that offends.

  7. Yael: Stop calling me Mr. – I’m not a Mr. The Pogroms of 1881-82 were atypical, plain and simple. Despite being triggered by the assassination of Tsar Alexander II which was erroneously blamed on the Jews, there was a strong economic element to the violence. So there were only 50 deaths despite the wide spread violence. Look at almost all the other instances of anti-Jewish Pogroms and you’ll find loads and loads of dead, injured and raped Jews. You’ll also find a society that actively encouraged and abetted the violence. Mass violence? Hardly. The attacks perpetrated by the radical settlers were roundly condemned. Israeli Jews who were present helped save the victims and extinguish the fire.
    When you mention “a comparison which is just a distraction to score ideological points while doing nothing at all to help deal with the issue” I think you’re starting to get it – but you ought to look in the mirror. I have no ideological points to score. I believe in territorial compromise and a two-state solution. What I don’t believe in is empty and historically inaccurate sloganeering – terms like Jewish Pogrom (and Jewish Jihadi) are just that. Please read a history book!

  8. Meir Enayim: I don’t disagree with you. Most of what you say is perfectly accurate and well thought out. On the Palestinian and Arab side, when they talk about a return to the pre-1967 borders, believe me when I say that they mean to include everything including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Mt. of Olives, Silwan and yes, even French Hill. That most Israelis would abhor such a compromise doesn’t change the fact that the Palestinians are demanding it.
    Jewish settlement in Hebron has a number of reasons behind it – the presence of the Cave of the Patriarchs and the return of the Jews to resettle an old, well established Jewish community that was annihilated (in a pogrom perhaps?) as a result of the Hebron Massacre. Is it wise? Is it advisable? I don’t know, but the reasons I cite are historically accurate at least.
    The rule of law ought to maintained and anyone involved in breaking it ought to be punished. There is a broad consensus in Israel that the actions of the radical settlers were abhorrent and wrong. That consensus is threatened by terms like “pogrom” because people will recoil at its inaccurate use. That was my point.

  9. Actually… don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Ahmed Qurei said the other day in the Jerusalem Post: There will be no room for Jews or settlements in the West Bank because their presence there will always be an obstacle to peace with Israel… Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967… How can we give up any part of Jerusalem? For us Jerusalem is not only a spiritual or cultural or historic center, but also the economic center of the future Palestinian state.”
    Every last centimeter. That means Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Givat Ze’ev and Ariel-Kedumim. But it also means the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel, Mt. of Olives, French Hill etc.
    Abu Alla (Qurei’s nom de guerre) wasn’t even trying to be subtle. What about that very specific undramatic statement, one that’s been reiterated over and over, do you not understand?

  10. BC, the Israeli governments over time have also reiterated again and again that the settlements would always remain and Jerusalem eternally united. And yet, both are at the negotiating table and the leaks indicate Jerusalem is going to be split.
    What do you make of that? Politi-speak is not to be trusted, and because it’s coming from an Arab head of government doesn’t make it less savvy.

  11. Yael, we understand that what occured after the evacuation of the House of Contention may fit the definition of “pogrom” that you cite.
    But to deny that there is a specific connotation to the word — one that is specific to our history and yet transcends the literal definition of the word — is just lame.
    Own up to what you’re doing at least: you’re using an emotive term that is *particularly* evocative when used in a Jewish context. Your protests of “well that’s the definition of the word, and what happened fits the definition” ignores the larger context of the term.
    Like “lynch” or “apartheid” or a hundred outher terms, the word “pogrom” does not exist in a vaccuum. Applying such a term to Jewish behavior is not the same as applying it to the behavior of a Hindu nationalist mob or the Zimbabwean military.
    Surely you understand this; let’s not play dumb.

  12. look, the problem is the nobody is allowed to make comparisons, no matter how accurate they are, because they hurt jewish feelings. this is absurd. yes, the word pogrom is supposed to make you upset. frankly, i don’t really care that you feel that the word is emotional. tough luck. what happened there was terrible.
    it is just frustrating that no rhetoric can be used (no matter how accurate) because it has some sort of unique significance?who decides? why does a pogrom only happen to jews? why does apartheid only happen to south africans?
    the events were indeed roundly condemed by israels- but they were also roundly called a pogrom- every newspaper in the country called it a pogrom. every leading israeli politician called it a pogrom. but that hurts your feelings. so what?
    what angers me most iss, that what you have to say is, “i condemn, but…”
    the pogrom didn’t stop because the army stepped in. it didn’t.and i’m sorry, but there weren’t jews who helped palesinians either.( other than those lefty israelis who use words like pogrom and apartheid).
    the reason these things happen is because when they do, all people like you have to say is, “it’s terrible, but let’s not get to excited. let’s not use words which get me upset”.
    get upset. get angry. understand that there are jews burning house of palestinians while they are inside their own houses.none of them were arrested. that’s what it has come down to.
    only when this happens things will be’ezrat hashem get better.

  13. Regarding giving up parts of Jerusalem, I ask: How many Jews today would feel comfortable walking through Abu Dis or Shuafat?
    Other than the few looking to make a point, or human rights activists, Jews do not go into these areas which were not necessarily historically part of Jerusalem. Exactly why would Israel want to take on the economic, social, and demographic problems entailed in keeping these areas other than to be able to hold to the slogan of a united Jerusalem forever?

  14. Yael, lol at your chalking my indignation up to being “upset” by your words. I assure you that my anger at the sight of Jews rampaging through a Palestinian neighborhood is far greater than any emotion you could possibly evoke in me from some little blog post of yours.
    “The problem” as you describe it is precisely NOT that “nobody is allowed to make comparisons.”
    In fact you have it exactly backwards: the REAL problem IMO with a significant part of the discourse surrounding the Arab-Israel issue is the wildly inaccurate “mak[ing of] comparisons” for emotive effect.
    An unfortunate hallmark of the modern discourse surrounding the Arab-Israel issue is the deliberate use of racially charged words intended to describe past injustices involving one of the parties to inaccurately describe current events involving one or more of the parties. See “pogrom,” “Holocaust,” “genocide,” etc.). And you have done exactly that. And in doing so you’ve cheapened the discourse further (and done very little justice to the victims of the events you describe).
    (It doesn’t take a linguist to understand that words have contexts, meanings beyond the Webster’s definition. Would you begrudge an African American who finds the use of “lynching” to describe a non-racially motivated mob killing somewhat inappropriate? I wouldn’t. But apparently you would, as such a reaction is apparently tantamount in your mind to a ban on “making comparisons” lol.)

  15. and that is why i m sure that the first time you heard about the lynch in ramalkah (
    in 2000 you said: “well that’s awful but let’s be historically acurate guys. it’s not really a lynch”.
    ( i would call it a lynch, BTW, even though it is hard to say that two soldiers being killed in ramallah in an intifadah is purely racially motivated.)

  16. The last thing I was thinking about when I saw the horrific images from Ramallah in 2000 was how to define what I had seen. The term “Lynching” has it’s roots in the deep south of course, but most lynch mobs, while bloodthirsty, violent and horrific, were relatively orderly. The victim would be strung up and hung and death would be quick at least. The Ramallah mob tore the two Israeli reservists apart with their bare hands. I don’t think a word has been invented for the sheer, animalistic frenzy that ensued. Somehow, lynch mob doesn’t really do it for me.
    Yael – it’s not that people can’t make comparisons, or can’t offend Jewish sensibilities. It’s that words have meaning and when you use words incorrectly you distort reality. This is something you fail to understand based on your incessant denials and weak justifications. That’s your prerogative of course, but it is intellectually dishonest or lazy or what have you – anything for a laugh Kung Fu Jew! You do not do the cause any service by utilizing distortion.

  17. Clearly, Yael. I’d like to see a peaceful and secure Israel in a region that is prosperous, stable and free of violence. I clearly have no idea what it is you are hoping for except to make noise and distort reality – modest aspirations which you have already successfully accomplished.
    I know that might sound a bit harsh, but again, let me reiterate that cartoons like that produced by kung fu jew, and the attitudes that it reflects, do not in the least bit help the situation. They serve only to inflame it and distort the reality of the fundamental issues.
    Allow me to explain. If I were asked how to best deal with Nazis during the Holocaust, I might suggest fighting them to the death – given that there weren’t really any other alternatives. If I were asked how best to deal with a rampaging pack of Cossacks about to rape and pillage Jews, I’d suggest trying to escape or fighting them, as, again, what other options were there? When Apartheid was in existence in South Africa, I supported sanctions and isolation as effective ways to try and help bring about the end to that system. Similarly, there are a number of ways we can try to deal with “Jihadis” and by that I mean Islamic fundamentalists bent on spreading terror across the globe by targeting innocent civilians in indiscriminate terror attacks.
    But none of these terms, and many others – Nazi, Pogrom, Genocide, Apartheid, Holocaust – apply to the situation in Israel. The Palestinians do not need to fight the Israelis to the death. Israel is not committing Genocide against the Palestinians and finally, there are alternatives for finding a solution.
    See what I mean by the importance of nomenclature? If you call what happened in Hebron a Pogrom, you are implying that one ought to use the same tactics to resist the extremist settlers as you would to resist a drunken mob of Cossacks about to rape, pillage and burn. Doing that in this case would be out of place and would serve only to escalate the problem. Unless that’s what you really want to do. I don’t know.

  18. Brass Cresent, I would agree that if I call something a pogrom, I should be prepared to respond with the requisite force. Yes, yes, and yes. May the settlers reconsider their “price tag” campaign, for their own safety.

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