Re: "Leave them alone? Never!" (Calgary Herald, 25Mar04).
Your use of Clifford Olsen as a recurring motif to underscore why we should not shirk from going after octogenarians suspected of having in some way contributed to the Nazi war against the Jews moves me to use the Montréal Polytechnique shooter, Marc Lépine, in a similar manner.
On Purim, February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, the Brooklyn-born doctor and Israeli Army officer, slaughtered 29 Palestinian worshippers as they knelt in prayer in a mosque in Hebron. Among his victims were children. Goldstein was subsequently disarmed and killed by Muslim survivors of his massacre.
Days later, Israeli troops commanded by one Ehud Barak shot dead 25 more Palestinians who were protesting the massacre.
To add insult to injury, the Israeli government authorized the closing of some of the busiest city thoroughfares in honor of Goldstein's funeral cortege, and the army provided a guard of honor for Goldstein's tomb. A site immediately considered "holy" to many right-wing and religious Jews.
Israeli journalist Teddy Preuss noted after that Goldstein's "recorded statements and those of his comrades, however, prove that they were willing to exterminate at least two million Palestinians at an opportune moment ... As their statements abundantly testify, they see the Arabs as nothing more than disease-spreading rats, lice or other loathsome creatures..." [Davar, March 4, 1994].
At his funeral, the Jewish supremacist and mass murderer was eulogized by a host of rabbis, including Dov Lior, who has called for using Arab prisoners in medical experiments [Yediot Ahronot, March 16, 1994]. These rabbis both lauded Goldstein and vociferously cheered his massacre, then advocated more slaughters of Palestinians. Their eulogies included these rapturous soundbites:
Rabbi Israel Ariel: "The holy martyr Baruch Goldstein is from now on our intercessor in heaven" [Yediot Ahronot, Feb. 28, 1994].
Rabbi Yaacov Perrin: "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail" [New York Times, February 28, 1994. p. 1].
A poll taken a week after the massacre later determined that "at least half of all Israeli Jews would approve of the (Goldstein) massacre, provided that it was not referred to as a massacre ... " [Yuval Katz, Yerushalaim, March 4, 1994] and Israeli reporter, Gabby Baron, reported that Jewish schoolchildren had been "enthused" by the Goldstein slaughter [Yediot Ahronot, March 16, 1994].
Moshe Belogorodsky, an Israeli municipal council member, stated: "It says in the Talmud that when a non-Jew strikes a Jew it's as if he's striking the Divine Presence itself [Sanhedrin 58b]. It's a desecration of God's name. What Baruch (Goldstein) did, at least in my book, is the opposite. It's the sanctification of God's name" [New York Times, March 4, 1994. p. 10].
In 1995, a book co-written by Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Rabbi Ido Elba and other scholars, entitled Baruch Hagever ("Baruch the Blessed"), was meant to "celebrate" Goldstein and the atrocity he committed.
In his contributing essay, Rabbi Elba observed: " ...it is a *mitzvah* (divine good deed) to kill every gentile from the nation that is fighting the Jew, even women AND CHILDREN [my emphasis]."
Five years ago, the JTA reported:
"A memorial plaza near the grave of Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler who killed 29 Muslims in a Hebron mosque five years ago, was dismantled as right-wing Jews protested nearby. The work was conducted in accordance with a ban on memorials to people who commit terrorist acts" [Jewish Telegraph Agency, News At A Glance, December 29, 1999 06:56 AM ET].
Now, to put things in a Canadian perspective, imagine if the Montréal Polytechnique shooter, Marc Lepine, had been turned into an object of veneration following his massacre, with a shrine erected to honour his memory and that it required special laws to be enacted after five years to tear the shrine down. How would Canadian women feel?
I close with a copy of a very recent JTA report that shows the Goldstein cult is still alive and well among some Israeli Jews.
JTA | News Briefs | 07Mar04
Memorial for Baruch Goldstein
Extremist Israeli settlers are commemorating a decade since the death of
Baruch Goldstein. On Purim 1994, Goldstein killed 29 Muslims during prayer
services at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs before being killed himself.
Signs were posted in Jerusalem announcing the memorial in the settlement
of Kiryat Arba. Goldstein's tomb has been a prayer site for many who support
c. Editor, Calgary Herald, et al.