A few days ago, the Israel-haters of IfNotNow tweeted this photo, allegedly of a Jewish “settler” throwing rocks at palestinian farmers, while wearing a tallit and tefillin.
Many Israel supporters saw it and claimed the photo was clearly staged. What Jew in their right mind would throw stones while wearing these holy items (let alone throw rocks at all)?
Some noticed a resemblance between the man pictured and someone called Shay Kendler, mentioned as the photographer – although this turned out to be a case of barking up the wrong tree:
Others tried to show it was a photoshop:
While I empathize with those who do not trust anything IfNotNow puts out, I have yet to see anyone disprove the authenticity of this photo.
Those of us who support Israel need to face the fact that there are some people on our side who engage in violence and otherwise do the wrong thing. We have some crazies; and yes, if this photo is authentic, the guy pictured seems to be a Jew short of a minyan.
And we need to condemn it.
I believe the reflexive reactions to this photo are telling, in that they show the inherent discomfort the vast majority of us have when viewing this image. The idea of what seems to be an outwardly religious Jew engaged in violence (unless an act of self-defense) is an anathema to us. We hate the idea of a fellow Jew desecrating G-d’s name in this way.
In contrast, photos of palestinian Arabs engaged in wanton violence – and of a way more severe kind than that pictured here – are shared proudly by the Israel-haters on a daily basis. The subjects of these photos are lauded as brave freedom fighters worthy of emulation. In fact, IfNotNow themselves support murderous terrorists.
I think “every Rabbi, every Jewish day school principle, every Jewish camp director” would be heartened that the vast majority of us hate the image IfNotNow tweeted. Not that IfNotNow truly cares what authentic Rabbis, Jewish day school principles, and Jewish camp directors think.