(October 31, 2018 / JNS)
Did you oppose the Oslo Accords? Well, then, you are a part of the incitement. Do you support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? You play a part in encouraging violence against people on the left and minorities.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, did you prefer Republican candidate Donald Trump to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton? You are buddy-buddy with neo-Nazis. To this day, you continue to obfuscate your role in the incitement that preceded the assassination of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
This is the message now being promoted by the Israeli left in a patronizing and reproachful tone. And in order to denounce you as encouraging killers, you are being told it is not just your culture of discourse, but your entire worldview that makes you “closer in many ways to the world of the [Tree of Life Synagogue] murderer than that of the murdered.” Yes, that is a real quote.
While disturbing and sick, this tactic can very easily be applied to the other side. In many ways, for example, the Israeli left is closer to Nashat Milhem, the Arara resident who murdered two Israelis and wounded seven at a bar on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street and then murdered the taxi driver who picked him up, than it is to the right.
Like many on the left, Milhem opposed the occupation and believed the settlements were a violation of international law. Like others on the more radical left, he also believed that Israeli soldiers perpetrate war crimes and the Israeli Air Force massacres innocent people. Who knows, he could have been inspired by Gideon Levy’s column slamming the IAF for bombing Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip or former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s remark that had he been Palestinian, he would have become a terrorist.
You know what? It could be that the three members of the Jabarin clan from Umm al-Fahm who murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount never read the Haaretz newspaper, never listened to the tales of the human rights organization B’Tselem or watched the obligatory roadblock scene that comes up in so many Israeli movies. But why would they need to do that when they have lawmakers from the Joint Arab List? Was it not Knesset member Hanin Zoabi who screamed that they need to “wipe the floor”” with non-Jewish members of Israel’s security forces?
Can anyone seriously deny the demonization industry’s presence in the propaganda of organizations against the occupation and the rhetoric of “peace activists”? I am not talking about those on the margins, but rather the spokespeople and leaders on the Israeli left who equate Israel with Nazi Germany, slander Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers and publicly accuse Israel of intentionally carrying out massacres. What is all this if not an alibi for a murder? Someone out there is reading you guys, learning and reaching the necessary conclusion.
And while this hateful rhetoric may not directly influence the mind of a killer, it certainly contributes to the creation of a cultural climate that accepts with understanding, if not empathy, the murder of Jews. It is the Israeli left for whom it is so urgent we cherish the new children’s book by terrorist Walid Daka, who murdered IDF soldier Moshe Tamam and shower Arab Israeli poet Darin Tator, jailed for incitement, with praise.
The right constantly warns about the disgusting incitement in the Palestinian education system and media, but that doesn’t elicit anything other than a shrug of the shoulders from the left.
The time may have come to demand that political correspondents, who have so much to say about Trump, Netanyahu and their supporters but consistently avoid touching on the truth about the sickening levels of incitement in the Palestinian Authority, engage in a little soul-searching.
Perhaps we should also demand accountability from the “spiritual leaders” on the left who maintain friendly relations and even exchange letters with former Fatah Secretary General in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted of five counts of murder? We might also demand explanations from left-wing activists and their elected officials who make pilgrimages to the Palestinian Authority’s Muqataa government compound in Ramallah. These people bear considerable responsibility for the international legitimacy now enjoyed by the Holocaust-denying terrorist and elderly P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose regime honors and pays salaries to the murderers of Jews and teaches its young people to follow their “heroes.”
Before they preach to the right, those on the left should brush up on their ideological environment, because some of its most articulate purists have more blood on their hands than Netanyahu, Trump and their supporters in Israel and around the world will ever have. And no, as I write this, my hand is not trembling.
Dr. Eithan Orkibi is a senior sociology and anthropology lecturer at Ariel University.