Condolences insufficient response to Jewish terror attacks

Jewish organizations and media, both in Israel and here in the U.S., continue to react strongly to last week’s two deadly Jewish terror attacks: a mass stabbing at the Jerusalem Pride Parade and an arson attack in the West Bank.

One theme quickly emerged: condolences are insufficient response.

Tali Mizrahi, a member of the anti-racism group Light Tag, visiting the home of a Palestinian baby allegedly killed by Jewish arsonists. photo/jta-ben sales

“Expressions of outrage are no longer enough,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt and ADL Israel Office Director Carole Nuriel in a statement. “The perpetrators of these crimes need to face specific, enhanced consequences for these despicable acts of hate and terrorism. Community and religious leaders must make unquestionably clear that any act of hate and violence is unacceptable, un-Jewish, and that anyone involved in such incidents will be shunned by the community, let alone prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They must take concrete steps to identify and root out extremist elements. They must model and educate about how to express political and social views through legitimate, democratic outlets.”

Other Jewish organizations that condemned the attacks included the American Jewish Congress; fraternal organization B’nai Brith; the Reform Religious Action Center; and the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America, who said, “We support the Israeli government’s description of [the arson attack] as ‘a terrorist crime.'”

+972 Magazine covered large rallies across Israel Saturday night condemning both attacks: “In Tel Aviv over 3,000 people attended a rally organized by Peace Now, calling for ‘an iron fist against Jewish terrorism.’ Among the speakers were opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who earlier on Saturday called on the government to expand its use of administrative detention against Jews involved in terrorism.”

The uncle of the 18-month-old Palestinian infant who was burned to death in the village of Duma was also on hand, “saying that Netanyahu’s condolences were not enough, and that it is the prime minister’s duty to ensure the security of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

The following night, JTA said, “Hundreds gathered in Jerusalem for a memorial to Shira Banki, the teen who died from injuries suffered in a knife attack at the city’s gay pride parade.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett spoke, telling the hundreds present “that Banki was murdered due to ‘extremism, because we don’t know how to accept the other.'”

The Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Authority has submitted a report on the July 31 firebombing to the International Criminal Court. “We will turn to the Security Council requesting to place the Zionist gangs on the terror list and define them as terrorist organizations that must be confronted by the international community,” Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told a Jordanian newspaper, according to TOI.

And, turning back to the stabbing at the pride parade, there is this statement from Danny Grossman, CEO of the Bay Area’s own Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties:

“Our hearts are heavy after yesterday’s hateful attack…. What should have been a joyful day celebrating Israel’s wonderfully diverse LGBT community was marred by pointless violence and hate. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”

To members of the Bay Area community who want to make donation to the LGBT cause in Jerusalem, Grossman said, “we encourage you to donate to Jerusalem Open House, our long-time partner in Jerusalem supporting the local LGBT community. All funds donated will go to care for the victims and their families and support the important work of Jerusalem Open House.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is interim associate editor of J. He previously served as assistant editor and digital editor, and is a member of the board of the American Jewish Press Association. He can be reached at [email protected].