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the pulpit

The right must stop being on the defensive

We are used to complaining about the “leftist media,” but continue to consume it like zombies.

TV studio. Credit: Daniel Lobo via Wikimedia Commons.
TV studio. Credit: Daniel Lobo via Wikimedia Commons.
Erez Tadmor. Photo: Courtesy.
Erez Tadmor

Events in the United States in the days since the Capitol Hill riots have been taking place at nothing short of a dizzying pace: Twitter permanently banned U.S. President Donald Trump; Facebook suspended accounts of conservative leaders of public opinion; CNN has called on cable companies to remove Fox News from their services, and Amazon, Google and Apple have kicked microblogging service Parler off their platforms.

This is only a partial list of the great purge that the Silicon Valley-based tech giants are pursuing against the conservative camp in the United States.

Since the Israeli left is no more than an extension of the American progressive left, we immediately saw calls to muzzle some Israelis on the right on the grounds that they are “inciting” and “distributing fake news.”

The good news is that this witch-hunt means that all the cards are finally on the table. Even the most naive rightists will have to come to realize something very basic: that the Israeli left wants to muzzle them altogether. Period.

This is abundantly clear wherever the left reigns: in academia, in the judiciary, in the cultural establishment and in the media.

It was naïve to think that the left would let social media slip from its chokehold. It’s now exposing its brutal McCarthyite nature, thus proving that its commitment to liberal values is hollow.

The bad news is that the right is entering the battle for freedom of expression without the mental and physical tools to successfully wage war, chiefly because of its passive political culture.

We are used to complaining about the “leftist media,” but continue to consume it like zombies even when there are adequate alternatives on the right. The problem is even more serious in terms of the left’s ability to spark moral panic, and the right’s knee-jerk reaction to go on the defensive.

Too many right-wingers in the media, academia and politics have a hard time getting rid of the obscene habit of justifying themselves and asking for legitimacy from those who want to silence them.

The right has to develop independent platforms and media outlets, rather than be satisfied with its status as a fig leaf in the leftist media.

Instead of striving to “balance” the existing mechanisms, the right should remove barriers and create a real free exchange of opinions. Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, Army Radio and the suffocating regulation of televised media—all work against the public interest and must be undone.

Given the frightening McCarthyite onslaught in the United States, which is the essence of the Israeli left’s fantasy, the right must break free from its defensive position.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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