It's not simply "hecklers" bothering White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his family, visiting Israel and East Jerusalem for their 13-year-old son's bar mitzvah.
Zach Emanuel, praying today at the Western Wall in East Jerusalem. It's a truly scary bunch: Oft-arrested Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel - leaders of the right-wing Kach terrorist organization outlawed by the Israeli government. They were picked up by the Israeli police after their actions almost prevented Emanuel from going up to pray at the Western Wall in East Jerusalem with his son. CBS News reported they had threatened to "take Zach Emanuel "on a day of fun without his father" in order to "teach him a few things about the Jewish peoples' heritage." As a result, the Emanuel family was accompanied throughout their visit by a heavy guard of plainclothes police.
Kach, a terrorist group founded by the late racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, was officially labeled as such and outlawed by the Israeli government in 1994, following the massacre of 29 Palestinians and wounding of 125 others by a Kach follower, Baruch Goldstein. Yigal Amir, another Kach follower, assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Since then, though officially outlawed, Kach members continue to operate in settler communities on the West Bank and have an extensive network on Facebook. A former Kach member, Michael Ben-Ari, actually holds a seat in the Knesset; Ben-Gvir and Marzel are his aides. The U.S. government asked Israel to intervene last fall when Ben-Ari tried to stage an official Knesset tribute to his late terrorist mentor, Kahane.
All three of these Kahanist troublemakers reside in illegal West Bank settlements. All three specialize in staging protest marches by settler extremists in Palestinian towns in Israeli and in the occupied West Bank, inciting Palestinians to riot.
Ben-Gvir, restrained by Israeli police as Emanuel and entourage toured occupied East Jerusalem today, yelled a mantra of the extremist settler movement:
"You are an anti-Semite, a hypocrite who hates Israel!" Ben-Gvir shouted. "You want Israel to return to the 1967 borders. Shame on you!"
Previously, these terrorist group members had spread false rumors that the Emanuel family was treated to a non-kosher meal funded by the Israeli government - another attempt to incite anti-Obama hatred among the Orthodox, kosher-eating settler population.
Emanuel did manage a pleasant visit with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, inviting him to the U.S. to visit with President Obama next Tuesday.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday. Here's M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters for America's take on this:
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