It was even before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir that the Israeli Left, led by the Haaretz newspaper, chanted in unison what has become one of its fundamental political axioms: political violence is a congenital inclination of the Israeli Right and is committed exclusively by right-wingers.
Naturally, after the assassination of Rabin the assertion became a matter of unchallengeable theology.
The media obsession with the alleged violent inclination of the Israeli Right long served to obscure the congenital inclination towards treason and espionage by a great many members of the Israeli Left. The simple fact of the matter is that every single incident of anti-Israel espionage has involved left-wing Israelis.
The scandal that was just made public in Israel, after a local court order prohibiting its publicity was lifted, involves Anat Kamm (spelled Kam in some news accounts), a young leftist who leaked classified military documents to Haaretz. She stole more than 2,000 such documents and passed them on to her Haaretz handler, a leftist journalist named Uri Blau, now in hiding in the UK. Haaretz ran some stories using information extracted from some of the material.
As alluded to above, Kamm is far from the first Israeli leftist to be involved in treason and espionage. In the 1950s the Israeli communist parties were rife with Soviet collaborationists. Closer to our own time, Mordecai Vanunu, the notorious nuclear spy, was a member of the Israeli communist party. Marcus Klinberg spied in Israel on behalf of the Soviets for years. Azmi Bishara, who spied for Hizbullah, was a leading member of Israel’s Arab Left.
The worst espionage-cum-terror ring that operated in Israel was organized in the 1970s by kibbutz-born communist Udi Adiv. Leftist Tali Fahima was imprisoned for helping her Palestinian boyfriend plan terror attacks.
And of course there are hundreds of Israeli academic leftists who currently promote boycotts of Israel as well as mutiny and insurrection by Israeli soldiers.
Haaretzhasnever run editorials about the inclinations of leftists to engage in treason and espionage. The Right almost universally denounced Yigal Amir. The Left is celebrating Anat Kamm as a great patriot.
After the assassination of Rabin, every Israeli newspaper and leftist commentator denounced Bar-Ilan University, where Yigal Amir had been a law student. Many even called for shutting the university down. Not one of those same people has called for closing down Tel Aviv University, where Kamm was a student in the history and philosophy departments and where, together with the sociology and political science departments at TAU, one would have to search long and hard to find faculty members who are not leftists or out and out communists.
Not a single mainstream media outlet in Israel is denouncing the radicals at Tel Aviv University for inspiring and breeding Anat Kamm, nor are pundits calling for the university to undertake a complete “critical self-examination” to understand its own guilt, which is what they had demanded of Bar-Ilan.
In 1940 Winston Churchill shut down all the newspapers and media operated by the British Union of Fascists, the pro-German party led by Oswald Mosley. It was one of his first acts as prime minister. Some 740 leading members of the party, including Mosley, spent the duration of the war in prison. Like Haaretz, their newspapers had launched a “peace campaign” (with Nazi Germany) and reflexively supported the enemies of their country in just about everything.
Until now, Haaretzwas a newspaper given to political stands many deemed treasonous but not a newspaper actually involved in treason and espionage. It has a market share in Israel of 6 or 7 percent, and I suspect that at least half its subscribers get the paper in spite of its anti-Israel ideology and thanks to its business supplement The Marker, the best in Israel. (I am one such subscriber.)
But now we have discovered that Haaretz has gone beyond merely championing dangerous appeasement. Will Prime Minister Netanyahu have the courage of Churchill and shut down the newspaper for the duration of Israel’s war with Arab jihadists? (At least two Knesset members have called on Netanyahu to do just that.) Will he imprison extremists supporting the country’s enemies in time of war?
What Kamm did was worse than what Jonathan Pollard was convicted of in the U.S., so Kamm and Blau should be sentenced to a prison term at least as long as that being served by Pollard.
Haaretz for its part is bragging about its role
in the espionage and trying to spin it as a great act of patriotism. Really. After all, among the classified documents stolen by Kamm and passed on to Haaretz were a couple that described Israeli military plans to continue targeted assassinations against Hamas terrorists despite an Israeli Supreme Court order commanding the military and executive branch to stop those assassinations.
Now, if the Israeli military was indeed planning to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling, it should be cheered for doing so. Because the ruling that prohibited targeted assassinations of terrorists was itself grossly illegal and unconstitutional. It was one of the worst outrages by Israeli Supreme Court justices dedicated to “judicial activism,” the anti-democratic doctrine of judicial tyranny that insists that the court need not base its rulings on actual laws or constitutional powers.
There is absolutely no legal basis for the Israeli Supreme Court to interfere in the management of Israel’s war against terrorism. The court has no legitimate standing to dictate to the military how it should pursue its tasks.
But that, of course, is not how Haaretz is spinning it. Haaretz strongly supports judicial activism because judicial activists in their rulings usually impose items from the leftist agenda upon the country.
Kamm, meanwhile, has become the poster girl of Israel’s Far Left, which is increasingly open and brazen in its treasonous political positions. For years now, all too many Israeli leftists have supported the enfoldment of Israel into a Palestinian “bi-national” state, promoted the Palestinian “Right of Return,” organized lawbreaking and insurrection by soldiers, vandalized Israel’s security wall, engaged in violent hooliganism against soldiers and police, and in some cases even cheered on acts of Arab terror and served as human shields for murderers.
Actual espionage is but a mere baby step beyond all that.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.