Friday, January 11, 2013
The Israeli Left Finds Some Threats to Democracy
By Steven Plaut
The Israeli Left is all worked up these days about the "fascism"
of the Israeli Right and dangers from it to democracy. It is
hyperventilating in anguish because the "Right" supposedly is trying
to suppress freedom of speech. Its anger is focused on two recent
minor incidents. In the first, a "researcher" at the Knesset was
demoted and sent off to work in the Knesset archives. The Knesset has
a small internal research service, kind of a mini Congressional
Research Office. There one Dr. Gilad Natan worked as a "researcher,"
except he insisted on inserting into every "report" that he churned
out for Knesset committees his own personal far-leftist ideology.
Since he was not being paid to spout off his personal views, the
Knesset brass, led by the speaker, decided to boot Natan off into the
archives, where he can spout leftism all he wants to the mice while
dusting the racks. (See this:
In the second incident, there has been growing public outrage
against a Tel Aviv high school principal who co-authored an Op-Ed in
Haaretz (together with a Tel Aviv University tenured leftist)
endorsing the Communist Party (Hadash). See this story
Note the statement in that Haaretz article by the Stalinist communist
party hack Dov Khanin about dangers to Israeli democracy!) It was
part of a leftist cat fight within the Left conducted at Haaretz,
where the principal and his sidekick were upset when the leftist
professor Shlomo Avineri endorsed the Labor Party rather than the
Now school principals, like generals and some other public
servants, are supposed to keep their political opinions to themselves.
So Comrade Ram Cohen, the principal, is under attack by Hizzonuh the
Tel Aviv mayor.
In both these cases, the tenured Left has been organizing
petitions to protest the "suppression of freedom of speech, " and they
are joined by Haaretz, which is so devoted to freedom of speech that
non-leftists are essentially banned from writing in the newspaper
(except for one token conservative Op-Ed piece every week or two).
Pluralism at Haaretz is considerably less than pluralism in Pravda
back in the days of Brezhnev.
The suppression of freedom of speech in Israel by the Left is on
display for all to see almost every day. Take the coming elections.
There is an elections supervisory commission, headed by the leftwing
Elyakim Rubinstein, a yarmulka-wearing lawyer who is so far-Left that
he used to be the Attorney General. He is now one of the many
leftists serving as a Supreme Court judge. He was part of the
original team headed by Beilin that "negotiated" the original Oslo
"Accord." He was one of the Supreme Court judges who ruled that Arabs
in senior governmental positions in Israel need not sing the country's
Elyakim oversaw much of the McCarthyist assault against freedom
of speech in Israel in the days after the Rabin assassination, when
the Left sought to criminalize speech by "Rightists." Rubinstein was
also the sponsor of the law that criminalized and banned the Kahanist
splinters and denied freedom of speech to them. For many years the
real litmus test of whether a person believes in freedom of speech in
Israel has been whether that person criticized this arbitrary
anti-democratic denial of freedom of speech. The point is not whether
or not the Kahanists are fringe loons (they are!). The point is
whether you think that everyone, including fringe loons, are entitled
to freedom of speech. And if fringe loons are to be denied freedom of
speech, how come it has not been denied to any of the fringe loons on
the Far Left or to any Arab fascists?
In any case, as Elections Supervisor, Comrade Elyakim has been
striving hard to suppress freedom of speech. He first banned a
campaign ad by one of the parties of the Right that featured the
slogan, "Without duties and obligations there can be no rights."
Elyakim claimed it was racist and anti-Arab. Later he banned an ad by
the Likud because it featured a pop singer singing that Bibi was "The
Bomb" (she meant it as a compliment) and olde Elyakim thought that was
inappropriate. While he did ban one ad by an Arab fascist party
(Balad, the party of Hanin Zoabi) because it featured an Arab mockery
of Hatikva, the national anthem, all the rest of Elyakim's measures
have been implemented to stifle the Israeli Right. Can you guess
which of all the above bans was the only one that the Left criticized?
The most outrageous decision by Elyakim was his decision this week
to ban an election ad by the SHAS party. Now let me say that I do not
like the SHAS party and disagree entirely with the ad in question. I
also think that the banned ad was the most original and amusing of any
of the election campaign ads being broadcast, the bulk of which are
mind-numbingly stupid and infantile. In the SHAS ad, they show a
young Israeli under the Hoopah with his bride, a blond with a heavy
Russian accent. Just before the ceremony commences, she takes out her
cell phone and dials
"*-conversion" and immediately the fax machine under the Hoopah prints
out a conversion certificate for her. "You mean you are not Jewish?"
The groom asks. "Now I am," she answers and tries to smooch him as he
ducks back. The ad is a SHAS attack against Lieberman and some other
groups that want to reduce and ease conversion procedures. You can
agree or disagree with the message of the ad (I disagree with it) but
it was refreshingly entertaining. And Elyakim banned it.
So just what did Elyakim NOT ban? He was awfully quiet when the
Knesset was trying to ban the terrorist Hanin Zoabi from running on
the Balad slate for the parliament, and he voted with the other
Supreme Court judges to overturn the ban on Zoabi and let her run.
Curious how the same Supreme Court judges have nothing at all to say
about the ban on the Kahanists.
The Far Leftists that are wetting themselves in anguish over the
"assault by Rightwing zealots against freedom of speech" in the cases
of the communist principal and the leftist "analyst" in the Knesset
research office have not had a single word to say about the behavior
of Comrade Elyakim. Not a single one of them has ever spoken out
against the denial of freedom of speech to the Kahanists. Not a
single one of them has protested when Jews are arrested on the Temple
Mount for the crime of moving their lips there (moving lips by Jews is
prohibited on the Temple Mount). Not a single leftist has ever
protested against the McCarthyist assault led by Elyakim against the
freedom of speech of non-leftists, an assault operated by the Left in
the years following the Rabin assassination. Not a single one
protested when Ben Gurion University's president fired a professor
from a position because he expressed a skeptical opinion about the
wisdom of allowing children to be raised by homosexual couples. Not a
single one of them, including the law professors whom I challenged on
a professors chat list to do so, expressed any criticism when a high
school teacher was fired because he called for schools to stop
indoctrinating students into the "Rabin legacy" regarding Rabin's Oslo
ideology. Not a single one.
Finally, Haaretz is all upset because of cases where Far-Leftist
professors find themselves "boycotted." This is the same Haaretz
that has long championed the Far Leftists who promote and organize
world boycotts against Israel. There was the case where Bibi
Netanyahu refused to allow a far-leftist professor from Tel Aviv
University to participate in a state ceremony held with the Prime
Minister of Germany. The professor was not exactly "boycotted," just
not invited. Now Haaretz has found an even more outrageous assault on
democracy. It seems the Hebrew University was organizing a ceremony
to honor its Far-Leftist anti-Israel extremist professor Moshe
Zimmerman, best remembered for his comments calling the children of
Jewish settlers "Hitler youth." Well, Nobel Laureate professor Robert
Aumann from the Hebrew University (retired) let everyone know he would
not be attending. How dare he "boycott" Herr Zimmerman, screams