Israeli leaders in Samaria were horrified to learn this week that Israeli leftists with the Yesh Din organization took part in an Arab celebration on the ruins of the Jewish community of Homesh.
During the celebration Jewish symbols at the site were replaced with PLO flags, and a banner was waved that depicted a man in religious Jewish garb with a spear through his mouth.
Yesh Din was instrumental in causing the celebration as well. The group’s lawyers filed the lawsuit that lead the government’s legal adviser to declare that the government would transfer Homesh to Arab hands.
Acting head of the Samaria Council Yossi Dagan - who himself was expelled from Sa-Nur, near Homesh - was appalled to hear that Yesh Din had been at the rally. “The extreme left has hit an unbelievable low,” he said.
There were people at the celebration rally who called to murder Jews, he noted.
“We’re used to incitement and even libel from extreme-left organizations. But even for an extremist group like them, this crosses a red line, and brings them to depths I wouldn’t have dreamed they would reach,” he continued.
“I’m trying to picture how they have the audacity to seek donations from Israelis on the one hand, and to participate in anti-Semitic rallies where people call to murder Jews on the other,” Dagan said. In contrast to the group’s self-definition as a peace-seeking organization, “the security situation is likely to deteriorate due to its activities and provocations” in the region, he warned.
He called on the government to take a strong stance on the matter by stripping Yesh Din of its NGO status.
Yesh Din gets roughly 94% of its funding from foreign sources, among them the European Union. In 2012 the group got over 1.1 million shekels from the EU, 1.2 million from the Norwegian foreign ministry, 120,000 from Holland’s embassy in Israel, and 120,000 from the British Foreign Ministry.
Also Present: PA Legal Official
The Palestinian Authority also played a troubling role at the rally. One of the men who held up the anti-Semitic poster depicting a dead Jew has reportedly been identified as Samir Dausha, a senior PA legal official in the Shechem region.
Yesh Din: It’s the Occupation
Yesh Din director Haim Erlich admitted that the group had representatives at the Arab rally in Homesh, but denied that the overall tone of the rally was anti-Semitic.
“During the event celebrating the restoration of lands, one anti-Semitic banner was indeed displayed by a Palestinian man who does not live in the area. After a short time, at the request of various people, the banner was taken down,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the reality of occupation creates mutual hatred between some Israelis and some Palestinians, and sometimes it spills over into hostile expressions and cruel actions,” he continued. “As a human rights organization, Yesh Din is trying to fight for a different reality, a better reality.”