Saturday, February 01, 2014
The McCarthyism that Israel's Radical Left wants us to Forget
The McCarthyism that Israel's Radical Left wants us to Forget
By Steven Plaut
For the past couple of weeks the Radical Left in Israel has been screaming about the "right" of communist teacher Adam Verete, employed as a civics teacher in a northern Israeli high school, to turn his classroom into an anti-Israel indoctrination center. He used his classroom time to urge his students to refuse to serve in the Israeli military. In other words, the Left insists the communist teacher has the "right" to advocate law breaking in his classroom, all in the name of freedom of speech. After launching an investigation of the teacher, the ORT school system, to which his school belongs, at the insistence of the Minister of Eductaion, merely slapped Verete's wrist and did nothing. Had Verete been a "Kahanist" using his classroom to advocate his agenda, he would have been dismissed faster than you can say Jiminy Cricket, and probably also jailed.
The leading far Leftists defending the right of Verete to indoctrinate in the classroom include Yuli Tamir, who once led the campaign to fire a different teacher (and rabbi), Yisrael Shiran, because Shiran wrote a letter OUTSIDE HIS CLASSROOM with which Tamir disagreed. Shiran in that letter claimed that the school curriculum was improperly teaching the controversial ideas of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as unchallengeable dogma. He was dismissed for this "crime" at the initiative of Tamir, but later sued the Ministry of Education for unrightful dismissal and won a large damages award.
Other defenders of the communist teacher include those Israeli "intellectuals" and "academics" who insisted that the Nobel Prize-holding Prof. Yisrael Aumann be proclaimed a pariah undeserving of an honorary PhD because he holds opinions disliked by the Left. Many of the same leftists defending the "right" of Verete also lead the campaign to indict and prosecute rabbis who wrote a controversial book; they insist these rabbis are guilty of the thought crime of expressing opinions that the Left considers to be "intolerant." And a great many of these leftists were among those who demanded that the freedom of speech of non-leftists be suppressed after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin based on their "theory" holding that non-leftists exercising freedom of speech produce murder. It goes without saying that not a single leftist in Israel has ever protested the selective denial of free speech rights to "Kahanists."
While the radical Left in Israel has a very long record of demanding that the freedom of speech of non-leftists be suppressed, one of the most outrageous examples of the anti-democratic assault by the Left has been ignored in recent years and overlooked in the debate over freedom of speech in recent days. It involves the case of Prof. Nahum Rakover.
Rakover is retired professor of law from Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv Universities and now serves as president of a small college in Israel. In the past he served also as deputy attorney general. He is an expert in Jewish law. In the early 1990s he held a side position as deputy legal advisor for the government of Israel, this in the days of the Rabin-Peres government and the initiation of Oslo appeasement.
It was at this time that Israel’s Supreme Court made a controversial ruling recognizing homosexual "marriages," when it ordered El Al to allow a gay steward to receive a spousal ticket for his partner. The judges in that learned opinion cited Michel Foucault, gay Marxist deconstructionist and pseudo-philosopher, as a legal basis for the decision. The Court's decision was written by leftist Justice Dalia Dorner. (She later prevented the defamation suit proceeding against Arab propagandist and film maker Mohammed Bakri for falsely claiming that Israeli soldiers carried out atrocities in the Battle of Jenin.)
The Knesset (parliament) then held hearings on the Dorner decision about the stewards. In these hearings, Rakover was invited in to say what Jewish Law and the Torah think of gay marriage. Rakover answered truthfully that the Torah considers it an abomination and that granting a spouse ticket to a gay partner is no different from giving it to someone practicing bestiality with his dog.
That sent the PC camp into ionospheric orbit. The Left launched a merciless venomous ad hominem assault against Rakover, demanding his dismissal from his civil service post. It should be noted that Rakover did not even state his OWN opinion about "gay marriage," only the Torah’s, a task for which he was getting paid as part of his job. The real issue of course is not whether you agree with the opinion described by Rakover. The real issue is whether Rakover or the Torah have the right to hold an unfashionable opinion about anything. The Israeli Left unanimously said no!
Within days, Professor Itzhak Galnoor, a Hebrew university leftist from political science, who had earlier been a Peace Now leader, attacked Rakover. Galnoor, today part of the semi-Marxist Van Leer Institute, has long advocated the position that any criticism of the Radical anti-Israel Left or questioning of its motives amounts to "McCarthyism" and should be suppressed. See this. Galnoor was at the time serving as the Labor Party-appointed head of the civil service, a position from which he introduced affirmative action quotas and dumbed-down standards. Galnoor opened up internal persecution of Rakover in the civil service and led the campaign to get him dismissed from his position. Demands for the dismissal of Rakover also filled the leftist press. Among those demanding that Rakover be prevented from exercising his freedom of speech were the far-leftist Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), whose current president is a Stalinist, and Tel Aviv University Prof. Asa Kasher, who claims to be an expert on ethics.
Rakover’s reputation and name were dragged through the mud by the anti-democratic McCarthyist Left. Never mind that he is one of Israel’s greatest legal minds and was only stating what appears in black and white in the Torah. Citing the Torah became in effect a hate crime in PC Israel.
In 2002 the Israel Prize in Jewish Law was given to Prof. Nahum Rakover. This was newsworthy because Rakover had been the victim of the McCarthyist assault against freedom of speech launched by the Israeli Labor Party and the rest of the Left in the 1990s. It is also noteworthy because in recent years the Israel Prize has so often been granted to radical anti-Israel leftists!
But the radical Left's selective devotion to freedom of speech, where everyone has the right to agree with the radical Left but no one has the right to disagree with it, continues to run amok.