Why Not Add Violent Jewish Settler Extremists to Terror Watch List?

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yuval-diskin.jpg
(Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin)
In a candid statement meant to be heard only by those attending a weekly meeting of the Israeli Cabinet, Shin Bet spy chief Yuval Diskin has acknowledged serious concern about violent Jewish settler extremists trying to assassinate Israeli political leaders and willing “to use firearms in order to halt diplomatic processes.”
The assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, has acquired star status among many extremist settlers and security authorities in Israel are worried about attempts to generate violence linked to the November 4th anniversary of Rabin’s murder.
This raises the question of why Israel and the United States don’t work to classify factions of settler extremists — organizing to propogate violence — as terror organizations or terror-supporting individuals.
Such classification of these groups and/or individuals would allow the freezing of their financial assets in the United States and would create penalties for those who aided and abetted in their violence. Some very wealthy Americans are financing some of the expansionist settler activity in occupied Palestinian territories — and creating penalties for this assistance could be one way of squelching the violent dimensions of settler activity.
Such classification of violent settler extremists in Israel as terrorists would give both the Israeli and U.S. governments tools that will help protect Israel’s political leadership from tactics of intimidation and violence and would help to generate a new equilibrium in the region that satisfies both Israel’s legitimate security needs and the imperative of a viable Palestinian state.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

29 comments on “Why Not Add Violent Jewish Settler Extremists to Terror Watch List?

  1. Nathan Forrest says:

    Note carefully the difference between an Israeli ‘Founding Father’ and an American Founding Father.
    Israeli mindset:
    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
    –David Ben-Gurion [Israeli 'Founding Father'], May 1948, to the Israeli General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York, 1978.
    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”
    –David Ben-Gurion, quoted on pp. 91-92 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians,” pp. 141-142 citing a 1938 speech.
    American mindset:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    –Declaration of Independence
    In light of the above comments by Ben-Gurion; and the July 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel which killed 96 (mostly British) and wounded another 45; who are the real (and original) terrorists in the Middle East? Which is the only real terrorist state in the Middle East that exports its terror world-wide?

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  2. Nathan Forrest says:

    Here’s the answer to the question posed in the article:
    “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”
    –Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister October 3, 2001.

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  3. ron zissler says:

    i certainly am no expert on the mid-east situation .but i understand the jews were planning the theft of palestinian lands in the1880s. why are so many little details unknown such as the destruction of orchards, killing of palestinian livestock, fouling sources of water etc.the right of no return. i wonder how much control the jews had in germany.i have heard there was so much corrution.that a german police officer could not arrest a jew.the list goes on and on.was there only one person that could see where germany was heading.i understand there were a lot of jews who had infiltrated the banking and finacial industry they surely would not foreclose on german citizens.even though they possess no morals or ethics.

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  4. bassam says:

    WHERE IS THE REAL TERRORIST
    Are the Palestinian people, who defend their land could be called a terrorist?
    Palestinian people has the all right to defend of themselves.
    What can the Palestinian people do while the United Nations did not help to regain their rights?
    Jews not applied any decision of the United Nations resolutions concerning the Palestinian Issus
    What can the Palestinian people do while they had no media to tell the world the truth?
    What can Palestinian people do while the Jews have and control all media in the world?
    What can the Palestinian people do , while the Jews are controling all the members of the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States ?
    What can the Palestinian people do , while the Jews are controling Most of the leaders of the world?
    What can the Palestinian people do While they are under siege for years?
    How long will the Palestinian people stay victims of The Executioners of the Jews and the U.S. governments?
    Why the United States and Britain not allow to the Palestinian people to obtain weapons to defend themselves?
    Where is the real terrorist?

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  5. arthurdecco says:

    Thanks for the link, Kathleen. (And regarding Maher – its not “himself” he’s “full of”.)

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  6. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Carroll, Arthburdecco….this is a link to an open letter to Obama from Ralph Nader today…I think you’ll like what he says about Palestine.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21143.htm
    Kathleen G…I agree with you on Bill Maher…I used to respect him until I saw him being interviewed by Larry King shortly after it became clear there were no WMD’s in Iraq..when King asked him about our invasion of Iraq given the lack of WMD’s, Maher said the reasons we invaded Iraq were unimportant…I was stunned…that’s a very dangerous attitude and shows contempt for our Constitution…Maher also had an attitude about Christian Ammanpour’s reporting on a special she did because it humanized Muslims…I also resent his smugness about those of us who question the official explaination of 9/11…saying we should take our meds. Well, he should take some Ex-Lax….he’s way too full of himself.

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  7. arthurdecco says:

    I didn’t want you to “shut up” at all, Ben. After your noble beginning, I simply thought you were trying to justify some forms of terrorism in your first post .
    Thank you for taking the time to expand on and clarify the ideas contained in it with your second.

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  8. Benjamin Spector says:

    vmm2Thank you Arthur Decco.
    I am just trying to understand this. Sorry for my ignorance.
    If a religious fanatic bombs a Planned Parenthood clinic and kills 5 people, is that a terrorist act (I think so) and should it be handled locally or internationally. (I think locally, unless the bomber is from one country and the clinic in another country.)
    Many times people are called terrorists until they get into power and then they are called patriots. Were the participants in the Boston Tea Party patriots or terrorists? Is the Irish Republican Army terrorists or patriots? What about the Basque Separatists, the Tamil Tigers and other groups that use violence as part of their quest to gain a homeland of their own.
    I feel it unfortunate, but clashes are inevitable when one group is fighting for its identity and another fighting to hold power. The lines are sometimes very thin as with Georgia and Russia as to who is the aggressor and who is the victim. South Ossetia seems more comfortable with being Russian than Georgian, but I don’t really understand this complicated situation.
    Being a “Star Trek” Fan I like what they call “The Prime Directive”. That is a rule that the “Federation” stays out of local affairs and allows each planet to decide in its own way how to grow from self determination to inter-cooperation.
    Now, as far as Canadian, American and non-Sabra settlers confiscating Palestinian lands, it seems to me that these foreigners (Canadians, Americans etc.)are interfering with the Prime Directive and getting in between the Sabras(the Israelis)and the Palestinian.
    To me it is far to easy to come to Israel and obtain citizenship. Its time the Aliah must be tempered and Israel attain the separation between Church and State that is the hallmark of democracy for the last few hundred years. Jews, Palestinian and Christians, and Atheists like me should be equal under the law. I believe there are Jewish groups like Peace Now in Israel and JPAC in America that strongly support these ideas. I hope there are Palestinian Groups that can work with them and that peace will come soon to all.
    For too long the religious parties in Isreal have had too much control of Israeli affairs and I think stricter rules must be enforced about who is Israeli, who can own land and that no one can confiscate land that does not belong to Israelis.
    Having Obama as 44 will greatly help. I think he can get things done.
    Sorry Arthur Decco. You wanted me to “shut up” but I am going on like Joe The Biden”.

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  9. arthurdecco says:

    Benjamin Spector said: “Terrorists are terrorists and all nations should work against them in concert.”
    You should have stopped there, Ben.

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  10. Benjamin Spector says:

    Interesting point.
    Terorists are terrorists and all nations should work against them in concert.
    I can argue both ways on this, but there is some merit in distinguishing between “international terrorists who are a danger to all, and terrorists who are only interested in “local causes”.
    In a family dispute, someone may be a danger to his wife, but no danger to others.
    Should we consider the basque terrorists, or native americans who kill FBI agents, or the Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers a danger to the World Community.
    All murders should be punished by local authorities, but what brings the murders to be considered “international” in nature?
    I don’t know and would like your opinion.

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  11. Carroll says:

    I agree with arthurdecco.
    ALL the settlers are living on STOLEN land. STOLEN Palestine land. ALL the settlements are illegal because they are STOLEN land. Land that Israelis took by killing and starving and terrorizing Palestines. Hello?…does there exist anyone out there too dumb to understand this?
    How many times have I said this:
    Declare the Jewish settlers terrorist.
    Arrest the US zionist who fund the settlements..and either prosecute them or take their US citizenship away and deport them to Israel.
    Make Israel give up all 120 illegal settlements and go back to the original UN parcels.
    Make Israel pay reperations to the refugee Palestines the same way Germany had to pay the Jews.
    Then suspend all US aid to Israel and spend that 30 billion on America and more deserving countries around the world.
    The Jewish Irgun and Stern gangs in Israel that were responsible for most of the violence against both the British and the Palestines and other Arabs were originally formed in Great Britian where they were on the UK terrorist list for bombings in England and attempted assassinations of British officials, all for the cause of zionism. A lot of Israel politicans were former members of the Irgun gang.
    Of course we all realize that in order to do justice to Palestine and America and to the ME in general on the Israeli issue we would have to …BURN CONGRESS TO THE GROUND AND START OVER…but that’s fine with me…Let’s Roll!

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  12. pacos_gal says:

    I see that Israel is cutting funding to some settlements.
    “Israel on Sunday decided to cut off all funding for illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in response to an escalation of settler attacks on its security forces.
    The decision would apply to the more than 100 wildcat outposts considered illegal under Israeli law, but not to the more than 120 official settlements. The international community considers all West Bank settlements to be illegal.”
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2008/11/israel_cuts_aid_to_outposts_am.php
    I don’t think there is any real chance of these settlers being labeled either nationally or internationally as terrorists, due to their lobbying positions. U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle would balk at going that far in fear of alienating a large electorate population.
    Politicians will be looking at the next election as soon as this one is over.
    (Have I mentioned how tired I am of this election? That it has left me feeling emotionally drained as never an election before has. Well maybe the Gore/Bush one did that too)
    I’m in Canada and all of my Canadian friends are speaking of this nonstop and asking my opinion, I believe as the token American)

    Reply

  13. Kathleen G says:

    Arthur Decco completely agree.
    Steve thanks for shedding the light on this issue that never comes up in the MSM and barely comes up in the so called progressive blogosphere.
    And let’s not forget that there have been many of Israel’s leaders who have promoted the violent and illegal behavior of the settlers.
    I was especially bothered by Bill Maher’s unwillingness to include the violent actions in his new film “Religulous”. Maher pounds the beliefs and actions of Christians, Muslims but barely scrathes Judaism. He walks out on the Hasidic Jew in the film who contradicts Bill Maher when Maher repeats the rebuked and often repeated statement that Iran wants “to wipe Israel off the map”. The I believe Rabbi said “the Iranian president did not say that”. Bill Maher cuts him off jumps up and leaves the room. Maher promotes “Islamaphobia” in that film by only promoting Muslims as violent. But Maher does not touch the radical and violent Israeli settlers in the occupied territories.
    Bill Maher’s weak effort to shed the light on the contradictions between belief and action left the Israeli settlers completely out of the question. Maher’s film is as lopsided and biased as the MSM

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  14. DonS says:

    The attidtude of the American Jewish community towards the support of Israel in regard to the behavior and tolerance of settler activities, and the ties to American born zealots is a case study in cognitive dissonance — i.e., the mind muddling task of holding two irreconcilable ideas at the same time.
    SanS brings a sobering perspective. Zathras another.
    Would that American Jews, the majority of real mensch, could find the voice to overcome their holocaust bred fear of criticizing anything tangentially Jewish. Sanity demands it.

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  15. Zathras says:

    I agree with the suggestion made in the main post here.
    American administrations before the one we have now always regarded settlements on the West Bank as unhelpful, though Congress almost always took a different view. An attempt to revive any sort of peace process will require a return in Washington to a more traditional posture toward settlements, one that recognizes no vital American interest is affected by who governs what parts of the west bank of the Jordan River. The possibility that the more unreasonable supporters of Jewish settlements there will not take this well is a strong one, and their occasional willingness to resort to political violence in Israel suggests that precautions ought to be taken in this country. These would not represent a political statement by the new administration, but merely prudent recognition of a possible security threat.

    Reply

  16. SansS says:

    Before I get to my point I have to address the post by buck — Nefarious? Get real.
    buck since you choose hearsay to support a simplistic generalization about Arabs, let me ask you the following:
    How many American, Canadian, British, Russian and French passport citizens serve in the IDF as a rite-of-passage ritual? How many Palestinians speak better Hebrew than those IDF temps?
    Is it fashionable for those passport holders to participate in an occupying and brutal force? Is it spoken of with pride by those young and hip Jews?
    Admit it buck, you know those kids that have served in the IDF. They live in your neighborhood.
    The point that I intended to raise, which also speaks to downtown’s point is, that there is no enforcement of ‘foreign agent’ registration.
    PACs with foreign agents that wouldn’t be allowed access to lobbying, political and security positions if registration was enforced.
    Ironically you could say the IDF is full of foreign agents isn’t it?
    Shouldn’t there be a registration requirement applied to those who serve in the IDF too. Wouldn’t you apply that to any western passport citizen that served in Syria’s army?

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  17. arthurdecco says:

    There is nothing “non-violent” about the settler movement, Mr. Clemons. That’s an absurd statement for a man as well-informed as you to make.
    The land they want to “settle” is already “settled” by its legal owners – Palestinians who want nothing more than to be left alone to work and live on their ancestral lands. Unfortunately, many Palestinians, as you know, are systematically terrorized to the point that they flee their homes, leaving the land behind to be stolen from them by the “settler movement”. And much of this happens under the eyes and ears of the IDF – itself a world-klass terrorist organization by any reasonable definition of the word.
    Spare me your disingenuous partition of the “settler movement” into violent and non-violent subsections. There is no such distinctions that can be made based on the evidence. To be a “settler” is to be always a thief, most always a terrorizing thug and sometimes an enthusiastic murderer of those who oppose your mad, racist delusions.
    The beneficiaries of violence, every one.

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  18. Steve Clemons says:

    buck – the point is that there is a very clear red line that can be drawn between those who have gone to Israel to be part of the settlers movement (which I don’t support but can understand) — and those who have engaged in serious violence and who may be plotting to assassinate Israeli political figures, as the Director of Shin Bet pointed out.
    I have spoken to other former Shin Bet officials who tell me that certain “factions” can be identified, and are watched — and modern intelligence techniques make it possible to identify individuals bent on violent plotting as well. My view is to separate these from the rest of otherwise non-violent settler activities and then subject them to the many tools we have developed to restrict funding to these factions and individuals.
    It is exactly because of the networks these violent individuals and groups belong to that subjcting them to national security scrutiny is important.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

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  19. buck says:

    One thing to consider is that a lot of “settlers” are American citizens who travel with US passports outside of Israel. Others carry European and Canadian passports. This is not like a group of Lebanese and Syrians that emigrated to US and Canada, then went back and got involved in nefarious activities. A lot of these people grew up in the US, then went to Israel with the specific purpose in mind. And there are always more where these came from. They don’t consider themselves “Israeli” in terms of citizenship. To the extremists, the State of Israel is merely means to an end. As far as they are concerned, Israel is yet to exist.
    More to the point, their connections–family and financial–are likely to lead where the US government would not want to follow.

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  20. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks Isaac — I didn’t realize that his statement was publicly released in formal form. When I searched, I only found references to the informal release of his statement by others at the meeting.
    Good to know that they put this out there formally.
    I don’t think I’m complaining. I’m offering a logical suggestion of how to curtail the funding and movement of Israel’s terrorists and terror-supporters, just like we do in other cases. The Treasury Department can freeze American assets, call on other nations to do the same, and create penalties for those who aid or abet what these designated factions or individuals are trying to do in Israel.
    Such actions may greatly contribute to Israel’s national security.
    Thanks,
    Steve Clemons

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  21. Isaac says:

    Actually, Diskin’s testimony to the cabinet was in the open part of the cabinet meeting. The government even put out a press release about it. The prime minister has openly complained about these settlers. What’s the complaint, that Israel has its own far-right militias?

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  22. Bonnie Leal says:

    Seems like a perfectly good idea. Why one kind of extremism is unacceptable and another is just fine defies logic.

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  23. arthurdecco says:

    Mr. Clemons, The fact that all of the commenters up until now support your thesis but believe it impossible to implement should show you how far your government is from representing the will of the people or the interests of your State.
    So first things first – legislate severe restrictions on private monies allowed into your political system and elections and re-write media ownership rules to stifle the kinds of distorted news coverage that has led to the present levels of corruption in your government’s policies.
    Then, when your legislators are no longer terrified of the very real destructive effects of the myopic and non-representative Israeli lobby, introduce legislation that would accurately describe the violent, racist nutbars in Israel as the terrorists they are, with consequent harsh punishments directed at those who support them.
    That legislation would pass overwhelmingly once the fear that their Congressional and Senate careers could no longer be destroyed by the outright traitors and Israeli-firsters that infect the media and corridors of power in the United States.

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  24. DonS says:

    If Shin Bet is this concerned
    about violent internal dissention
    and attack, this by definition
    is a security threat for the US,
    given the “powder deg” that Gaza
    and West Bank represent. In fact,
    it seems like a most legitimate
    connection to a US “national security”
    link and threat with Israel amidst
    all the bogus “threats” that AIPAC
    generalize and fearmongers about.
    Perhaps, now that this has “leaked”,
    Israel can assert its own concern
    by naming names of American enablers
    of violent settler activity, and
    requesting the US join in shutting
    down the financial inflow. (I can just
    imagine the AIPAC jihadists wailing now
    – “interference in the internal affairs
    blah, blah, blah.”
    Could be a place for Obama show his bona
    fides on the “change” promise. Or,
    in an equal stretch, a place for Bush
    to do something positive for a change,
    and for his “legacy”.

    Reply

  25. susan says:

    I’ve thought this for a very long time. but to even bring it up is
    touching the electric rail. It’s the same double standard that kept
    abortion clinic bomber Erich Rudolf underground for years-the
    Right is willing to condemn acts of alleged terrorism when it
    doesn’t fit their ideology, but excuse it when such acts are in
    service of their own beliefs.
    remember that Rabin was assassinated by a rightwing Israeli for
    attempting to move the peace deal forward. plus ca change and all
    that.

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  26. karl says:

    An excellent idea, but downtown has it right about congressional opposition.
    Even if we put aside the domestic political implications for President Obama, there still seems to be a large constituency within America’s “Israel lobby” for whom Israeli politics is of secondary importance. To them, any actions of the Israeli state that runs counter the settler’s demands is automatically illegitimate.
    Even after January 20th, I’m afraid that level-headed Israel policy (in America) is almost impossible.

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  27. Steve Clemons says:

    When the Israeli state is scared of its own extremists, that is the time to suggest alternative ways of dealing with them and cutting off some of their access to support.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  28. Mr.Murder says:

    Dangerous territory there, Steve, you know they are treated exceptionally, as is our own notion of political purpose.
    Israel gets more money from the USA than most American states. It’s a charter colony.

    Reply

  29. downtown says:

    Our glorious Congress would immediately issue a House Resolution stipulating that such a classification should be construed as being anti-semitic. Co-sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen R-FL and Eliot Engel D-NY, the resolution would be accepted by a vote of 430 to 2.

    Reply

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