Baruch Marzel: Advocate of ethnic cleansing

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Baruch Marzel, an Israeli right-wing extremist from the Jewish settler community in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, clashes with a fellow Israeli left-wing activist during a protest against settlements in Hebron on May 8, 2009. (AFP file photo)
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Israeli extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel leads a controversial demonstration in Nazareth, the largest Arab-Israeli city, on July 15, 2012. (AFP file photo)
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Baruch Marzel, an Israeli right-wing extremist from the Jewish settler community in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, clashes with a fellow Israeli left-wing activist during a protest against settlements in Hebron on May 8, 2009. (AFP file photo)
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Israeli police block the road in front of extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel who is leading a controversial demonstration in Nazareth, the largest Arab-Israeli city, on July 15, 2012. (AFP file photo)
Updated 21 August 2019

Baruch Marzel: Advocate of ethnic cleansing

  • Marzel emerged from hate activist Meir Kahane’s shadow to become a figurehead for Jewish radicalism in Hebron
  • Marzel takes part in aggressive activities against Palestinian residents and hosts Israeli troops for meals

Baruch Marzel, who lives in a Jewish outpost built in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron, has confronted many Palestinians who have tried to witness Israeli restrictions on non-Jews visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The mosque is famous for being the burial ground of the Prophet Abraham, and for being the site of the massacre in February 1994 of 29 Muslim worshippers by Chicago-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, who was a close colleague of Marzel.

In 1995, when I was president of the Palestinian American Congress, Marzel’s colleagues threatened to beat me with clubs as I walked up to the Ibrahimi Mosque to view a memorial set up for Goldstein’s victims.

It was only because I am Christian and was holding a US passport that Israeli soldiers stood between me and Marzel’s settler friends.

BIO

• Name: Baruch Marzel

• Nationality: Israeli-American

• Place of Residence: Hebron, West Bank

• Organization: (Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, Jewish National Front)

• Occupation: Former spokesman of Meir Kahane’s Kach party

• Medium: Through interviews, videos and articles

Marzel was one of the early leaders of hate activist Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League (JDL). After Kahane was killed in November 1990, Marzel played a larger role in the organization, which has changed names several times and was represented in Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) as the Kach political party.

Marzel has run for political office in the Knesset and is a member of the Otzma Yehudit political party, which was reorganized from the outlawed Kach.

He has openly advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. “There’s no way we’ll have quiet or peace inside Israel as long as we have here millions of supporters of terror, people that believe in their religion that all of the Land of Israel … is theirs, and that we’re occupiers, and the Jews have no right to a state or can even exist here,” he said. “The only way to have peace is to get them out of Israel.”

Born in Boston, Marzel’s family moved to Israel when he was an infant. He joined the JDL at the age of 13.

Marzel claims to have joined the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and to have shot dead several unarmed Syrian soldiers he had taken prisoner.

He said he did this as he was wounded by a captured Syrian commando who let off a concealed grenade and thought he might die, so he wished to exact revenge. Marzel took the same spirit of confrontation into his political activism.

“It’s a religious war. And they believe they have to destroy us … to kill us ... And we believe that ... they can’t stay here,” he said.




Hate preacher Baruch Marzel

In 1984, Kahane won a seat in the Knesset and appointed Marzel as his parliamentary aide. Marzel was renowned for his open hostility, harassing leftist and Palestinian Knesset members. After his mentor’s death, Marzel was elected head of Kach’s secretariat and ran for the Knesset.

He emerged from Kahane’s shadow to become a figurehead for Jewish radicalism in Hebron, where he has led attacks against its Palestinian residents. He has been imprisoned many times for his acts of violence and intimidation.

Hostility and confrontations between the small Israeli population in Hebron and its Palestinian residents are a daily occurrence.

But its darkest day was in 1994, when Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque during Ramadan. As the dead and wounded lay on the floor, survivors tackled him and beat him to death.

Marzel celebrated Goldstein after his death, and in 2000 held a party at his graveside during the Jewish festival of Purim. “We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” Marzel told the BBC.

“Without supporting what (he) did … Baruch Goldstein was one of the purest people in the world ... He was a saint,” Marzel said. “After what he did, terrorism stopped in Hebron for four years ... one Jew wasn’t hurt.”

To this day, Marzel encourages and takes part in aggressive activities against Palestinian residents of Hebron, while hosting Israeli troops stationed there at his house for lunch.

 

READ MORE:

All about Baruch Marzel

The rotten apple did not fall far from the wretched tree
 

But his activism is not confined to Hebron. Alongside Ben-Zion Gopstein, Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Marzel founded and became a spokesman for the segregationist Lehava movement.

The Jewish far-right campaigning organization objects to almost every kind of personal relationship between Jews and non-Jews.

Marzel remains active in politics. He is a member of Otzma Yehudit, which calls for Arabs to leave Israel.

The willingness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with such parties means their influence cannot be underestimated.

Netanyahu even received criticism from AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the US, over the election alliance he agreed to with Otzma Yehudit.

Marzel is doing his best to make sure Kahanism passes onto the next generation. “Thank God, out of (my) nine kids, seven had trouble with the police for good causes,” he said. “I educate them to be fighters, and I’m proud that they fight ... They had a big fight with Arabs.”

Whether it is with his own children, other Jewish settlers in Hebron or far-right activists across Israel, Marzel will continue to radicalize Israeli politics and do all he can to prevent coexistence between Jews and Arabs.


Dick Cheney: Upcoming decade bleak if US adopts ‘disengagement’ policy

Updated 46 min 17 sec ago

Dick Cheney: Upcoming decade bleak if US adopts ‘disengagement’ policy

  • Former US vice president sounds warning during panel discussion on ‘The global order 2030’
  • Remarks seen as indirect criticism of President Trump’s pledge to pull forces out of Syria

DUBAI: Dick Cheney, one of the most influential vice presidents in US history, has warned that “American disengagement” from the Middle East would only benefit Iran and Russia.

The 78-year-old politician’s warning came during a speech at the Arab Strategy Forum (ASF) in Dubai, an annual event in which the world’s leading decision-makers address global challenges and opportunities in “a precise, balanced and politically scientific manner.”

Cheney’s remarks could be seen as indirect criticism of US President Donald Trump’s pledges to pull forces out of northern Syria.

Addressing conference delegates, he cited the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the 2015 lifting of sanctions against Iran during Barack Obama’s presidency, as events that amplified instability in the region.

“Our allies were left abandoned, and no one wants to feel that way again,” said Cheney, who was chief executive of Halliburton between 1995 and 2000 and held high posts in several Republican administrations.

The former VP’s remarks came during the forum’s concluding session titled, “The global order 2030: The Unites States and China,” which was attended by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

Joined by Li Zhaoxing, a former Chinese foreign minister, in a candid panel discussion, Cheney offered his views on the world order in the next decade within the context of Iran’s regional ascendancy, China’s rise and Russian ambitions in the Middle East.

“I am not here to speak on behalf of the US government, or to speak to it,” Cheney said, adding that his talking points reflected concerns he suspected everyone shared.

“For decades, there’s been a consensus of America’s influence in the world and how to use it,” he said, citing instances where US disengagement had caused the political situation in the Middle East to implode.

“Humanity has benefited from America’s protectionism of the world and its relationship with its allies in the region.”

According to him, the upcoming decade would be bleak should the US adopt a disengagement policy, with the pressures most felt by supporters and partners in the Middle East.

Turning to the role that the US and China would play in the global status quo by 2030, Cheney said there were still concerns over China’s reputation.

“We had hoped that there would be a political evolution in China, but that hasn’t happened yet,” he added.

Li said: “China will never learn from a world superpower and will never try to be hegemonic,” citing as examples China’s strong relations with the UAE and the wider Arab world, and the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (a global development strategy) on Chinese foreign policy.

“History is the best teacher, but the US has forgotten its own history. You don’t keep your promises,” added Li, directing his statement at Cheney.

Cheney said that since the end of the Cold War, the US had expected that its policy toward China would have had a beneficial effect on its behavior and helped to deepen bilateral relations.

“It was disappointing to see that these expectations were not borne out – China has only grown richer, the regime has become more oppressive, and instead of evolving, it became more assertive,” he said.

In a separate ASF meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Center, Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, discussed Iran’s policies in a session titled, “The race for relevance and influence in the region: GCC, Iran, Turkey and Russia.”

Sadjadpour said he expected in the next 10 years to see the arrival of “an Iranian Putin” with a military background as the country’s next leader.

“After 40 years of a clerical regime and a military autocracy, there is now a rise of Persian nationalism. This is a shift from the sheer revolution ideology,” he said.

Sadjadpour said there had been an evolution of “Shiite Arab” identity during the past two decades, with the focus more on religion than nationality.

Under the circumstances, he noted that Sunni Arab powers had an important role to play in welcoming Shiite Arabs into their fold “and luring them away from Iran.”

The analyst added that the future of the Arab world could not be explored and forecast without considering a growing mental health crisis. “Today, hundreds of millions of people in the region suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and the effects of this will be with us for decades to come, resulting in issues like radicalism.”

He said there was a need for training thousands of counselors in the field of mental health in order to reach out to those whose lives had been robbed by extreme violence and conflicts.