By Sherri Mandell
When Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote in an op-ed piece in Ha’aretz last week that “throwing stones is the birthright and duty” of Palestinians, her words caused an immediate angry reaction from a slew of her countrymen, including the mother of a three-year-old Israeli girl who was critically injured last month in a West Bank road accident triggered by stone-throwing; Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli peace negotiator and longtime advocate of Palestinian statehood, who wrote: “Stone-throwing is not a ‘birthright and duty’…but an act of violence that can lead to death, disability and injury;” as well as Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, who said stone-throwing throwing cannot be considered a legitimate form of protest because “people are being killed, people are being injured.” Sherri Mandell, whose son Koby was killed at the age of 13 by Palestinian stone-throwers, also weighed in.
I delayed reading Amira Hass’s article in Haaretz, “The Inner Syntax of Palestinian Stone-throwing,” because I knew that it would put me in pain.
Amira Hass tells us that throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. She writes that for the Palestinians, “throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”
A trope describing my son’s murder.
According to Hass, my son Koby’s murder by stones is not only an act but a metaphor. Koby’s teenage body was bludgeoned to death. Was that a simile or a metaphor? Was a beating with stones like cruelty? Or was it cruelty? Are you, Amira, condoning his murder? Or is it like you are condoning his murder?
Perhaps Asher Palmer and his son Jonathan were killed because of a synechdoche, the rock as a symbol of a whole people’s arm, Palestinian rage?
And the child who is still in the hospital because his mother’s car was in an accident because Arabs threw stones – an act of resistance?
My son and his friend Yosef, a 13- and 14-year-old boy stoned to death. Resistance to their school books, their salami sandwiches, their math homework.
I know that it must be a thrill for you to write a sentence like the one in the article: “the inner syntax of the relationship between the occupation and the occupier.”
Inner syntax of stone throwing.
To turn the death of your people into a grammar of interesting comparisons, into a sly and sinister syntax.
How wonderful for you to be so righteous with the life of my son Koby.
Because even though you mention that there are other means of resistance for the Palestinians, your insistence is so weak and so muted, that you actually come across as condoning the murder of innocent Jews.
Writing this on Holocaust Memorial Day, I remember others who were so cruel and callous with the lives of innocent Jews.
So dear Amira, shall I call you an accomplice, or one who is like an accomplice?
Or should I call you an accessory? Or simply one who condones the murder of innocent Jews?
Sherri Mandell is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation, which runs programs for
bereaved families in Israel. Her book, “The Blessing of a Broken Heart,” won a National
Jewish Book Award in 2004.
This article first appeared in her blog at Times of Israel, www.timesofisrael.com.