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Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Price Tag" Vandalism, Who's Guilty?

The so-called "price tag" vandalism has been high up in the news recently. It's mostly spray-painting, no more, no less. The latest was discovered in Jerusalem on church property.
The words “price tag,” “Jesus is garbage” and “King David for the Jews,” were found spray-painted on the site’s walls.
Read more: Church defaced in Jerusalem in suspected 'price tag' hate attack | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/church-defaced-in-jerusalem-in-suspected-price-tag-attack/#ixzz31LQn4ZYz Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

The odds are that it was done by either locals or those hired to get headlines and not by the so-called "settler youth." Having worked in advertising, all sorts of marketing, public relations and teaching I find the picture of the writing very curious.  Look carefully.

A general principle in advertising and graphic, and consistent with human nature, is to write the most important word or phrase the largest. Paying attention to the principle is even part of a technique I was taught to use in teaching how to do what's called in Israel "unseens," reading comprehension exercises. In this picture we see תג מחיר Tag Machir Price Tag being much larger than the rest of the message, which says:
David is The King, Jesus is garbage for Jews
In other photos the "Tag Machir" is visually more the slogan/message than the signature.

That makes me wonder about the actual perpetrators. I highly doubt if it's done by members of an organized "group." I also don't think that they are doing it for the same reasons. I divide the possible perpetrators into three very distinct groups.

  • Shabak, Israeli secret service agents, provocateurs, out to make trouble. After the Avishai Raviv scandals during the lead-up to the Rabin assassination, I always look first to Shabak. 
  • A very small number of Jews who live all over the country and are angry, daring risk-takers. It's doubtful that they know each other.
  • Arabs who want to make "settlers" look bad. The chances of Jews getting into and out of the Arab villages to spray-paint alive is pretty much impossible.
And returning to the work Avishai Raviv had done for Shabak for about ten years before his cover was blown. I feel a deja vu about how the media, self-styled moralists and politicians are exaggerating the damage and danger of spray-painting reminds me too much of the anti-settler campaign twenty years ago.

Antisemitic vandalism is happening all over the world. That should concern us even more.

Van Nuys, CA, Photo by LAPD
And it's happening in Israel, too.
This is the second year in a row that vandals have destroyed the memorial site dedicated to the school's 16 fallen alumni. Jerusalem Post

memorial day
Vandalized memorial site at AMIT High School in Beersheba Photo: Courtesy

This is not a simple issue, not at all. And I'm certainly not condoning any of this. I just don't think that "settler youth" is the problem.


yosef said...

Firstly: I congratulate you on your post - you show remarkable bravery by risking arrest by the "thought police" for the undemocratic charge of "incitement". I'm shocked (said with French accent) that you could accuse our security services of being agent provocateurs. All seriousness aside: price tag vandelism (terrorism NOT) will cease when our security forces actually protect Jews.

Batya Medad said...

yosef, thank you
At first I never thought I'd bite the bullet, but on Shabbat I was talking to a neighbor who was also suspicious, and then after Shabbat I read of Amos Oz's remarks. I just had to let it out.

yitz said...

In the picture you posted, the words about David HaMelech are clearly in different handwriting than the rest ("Price tag, J is garbage"). Perhaps the "advertiser" who wanted to "point out" the price tag work made his own "addition" = edition!

Batya Medad said...

yitz, interesting observation and good question

Esser Agaroth said...

This post has been included in this week's Jewish-Israeli Blog Round-Up (AKA: Haveil Havalim), Parashath Behuqothai Edition!