It’s hard to envy Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev. On one hand, he is one of the few qualified appointments of the Bennett-Lapid government. On the other, what can be said about someone who believes that all the recent terrorist attacks had “personal” motives, even though they come on the heels of the ongoing Palestinian violence on both sides of the Green Line in the last six months?
It’s hard to believe that Bar-Lev truly believes that one terrorist murders because his wife left him and another terrorist was motivated by a family squabble, and that a car-ramming happened because some teenager argued with his dad. Maybe we should send in Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton to handle Palestinian family troubles.
Bar-Lev has to hang on to the supporters to his left. So, much like his legendary father, he barricades himself in local battles: He fights Palestinian terrorism as if there is no settler violence, and fights settler violence as if there was no Palestinian terrorism. What he isn’t taking into account is that the very phrase “settler violence” is a slogan. It’s a campaign that left-wing groups have been working to promote for six months or more, as a moral counterassault to the wave of terrorism and rioting that erupted during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May.
It started at the end of July. Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. (res.) Yair Golan dared to sign a letter condemning the Ben & Jerry’s boycott. His fellow Meretz member, Mossi Raz, attacked him and informed him that the settlements in Judea and Samaria weren’t part of Israel.
Golan withdrew his signature. At the same time, we started to see billboards that warned about the people in charge of the defense and public-security portfolios, Benny Gantz and Bar-Lev. This was the work of the Breaking the Silence NGO. “Settler violence—not on your watch,” they said. The threat went along with quotes from the two ministers.
Bar-Lev’s recent meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland proves how deeply the radical anti-Zionist left has penetrated. The left-wing groups have inserted this narrative into the core of the discourse among American Democrats and media, including, of course, left-wing “Jewish” organizations. J Street is passing it along on its social media to people whom it sees as propaganda targets.
In one case, images show clashes between a few masked settlers and a group of left-wing activists and Arabs. It’s not clear when or where this happened. In another, images show the demolition of a house in the middle of nowhere, while a Palestinian woman makes gestures of despair. There are doubtless other scenes in this campaign that seeks to instill hatred of Israel through isolation incidents of this kind.
A minister in the Israeli government, even one who holds a Labor Party-style view of how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved, should be expected to present the truth to the American diplomat. To put the systematic Palestinian attacks and a few isolated cases of violence by Jews, which Israel is able to handle, in proportion.
Amnon Lord is an Israeli journalist with the daily newspaper “Makor Rishon.” His articles and essays about media, film and politics have been published in “The Jerusalem Post,” “Mida,” “Azure,” “Nativ” and “Achshav.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.