Opinion |

This Is Not How One Questions Jews

Why is the alarm sounded when Jews are interrogated by dark police methods, but no one says a word when Arabs are interrogated with the same methods?

A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el
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A right-wing protest against the alleged violence used against Jewish minors detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a Palestinian woman, Jerusalem, January 6, 2019.
A right-wing protest against the alleged violence used against Jewish minors detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a Palestinian woman, Jerusalem, January 6, 2019. Credit: Emil Salman
A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el

A great dust storm arose following the interrogation of five Jewish minors suspected of murdering Aisha Rabi, a mother of eight from the West Bank village of Bidya. One thing is for sure, it’s not the murder that the country is so upset about, we’re used to those, but rather the way the suspects were questions. How can it be that detainees are not allowed to meet with their lawyer, not to mention minors? They may even have been shaken, bound “banana” style, or given a slap or two, Lord have mercy.

After all, we heard about what one of the minors went through who was questioned in the case of the firebombing attack in Duma. What a horrid trick the police detectives played by disguising themselves as criminals, so horrid that the shocked judge ruled out his confession on suspicion that it was forced out of him by inhumane methods.

>> Severe punishment for Palestinians, but it's not the same stone when Jews throw it | Analysis

As expected, the trumpets of pure morality began to blare. Why? Why is the alarm sounded when Jews are interrogated by dark police methods, but no one says a word when Arabs are interrogated with the same methods? Is a stone thrown by a Jewish murderer more sacred than one thrown by an Arab murderer? This is more proof of the existence of apartheid. Let’s have equality. What can be done to Arabs during questioning can be done to Jews. A moral country cannot abide a double standard.

The problem is that equality before a policeman, a detective and a judge can exist only when the law is applied equally. When the family of an Arab woman who is murdered can receive compensation from the state like the family of a Jewish woman who is murdered; when the robbing of land in Israel and the territories is considered an identical offense, and when the Palestinians can vote and be elected to the Knesset, then we can also cry out about the injustice in the difference between interrogations.

But most people who raise the banner of equality in investigations reject the idea of sweeping equality, which would mean annexing the territories and becoming a binational state. They prefer to select from abundant types of discrimination only the ones that suit them.

It seems that they don’t really care about the murder of a Palestinian woman. At best, they worry about the good name of the security services and realistically they are worried that if juvenile settlers living in Palestinian territory are questioned under torture, tomorrow this kind of action will spread from the occupied state to the legitimate state.

And this is the absurd dilemma: What is more precious to them? The purity of Jewish morality or the principle of equality in abuse that will blot out the stain of apartheid? It’s clear that both of these questions are baseless from the start. No person should be questioned under torture, especially if the crime has already been committed.

It’s too convenient for the suspects’ guardians to place the moral burden on the interrogators. It allows them to ignore the fact that the nature of the interrogation is only the rotten fruit of decades in which they molded and cast the difference between victims. The murder of a Palestinian woman, like the killing of hundreds of children in Operation Protective Edge, and dozens of children killed while protesting near the fence that imprisons them in Gaza, usually raised no more than a brief sigh. Only a few cases in which Palestinians were killed were seriously investigated, while the murder of Jews, especially if they are settlers, is a national matter, one that is above the law.

The real shock and anger doesn’t come from the nature of the questioning or the denial of rights to the suspects, but from the still inconceivable likening of Jewish terrorism to Arab terrorism, from granting the same standing to both types of terrorist. What is worse is the enormity of the rage over the comparison between the victims, by which Palestinians can also be innocent. It is not the apartheid syndrome revealed in the interrogation rooms that should shock us, but the shock of those who can’t say these two words together: “Jewish terrorism.

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