If Israel is ever destroyed, Yossi Beilin will have more than his fair share of responsibility
for it, second only to Shimon Peres himself.
Beilin was in many ways the mother hen to the Oslo debacle. He had risen in the Labor Party machine after completing a doctorate in political science at Tel Aviv University. (I am one
of those very few who have actually seen his ‘dissertation,’ a copy of which is floating around
the library at Haifa University. It is a shallow, long-winded story about the potential of the
ideologically pure “young guard” in the Labor Party to do really nice things if they take over, and it reveals all of the shallow silliness of Beilin, “The Labor Party Intellectual.” It is a disgrace that Tel Aviv University awarded a doctorate to its author.)
Beilin had organized secret negotiations with the PLO in Oslo back when any contact with the PLO was illegal in Israel. He was accompanied by two other mediocre Israeli “academics.” Beilin accelerated the talks after Yitzhak Rabin got elected on a platform of no deals whatsoever with the PLO.
Beilin’s view was that Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was the source of all the country’s problems, and that it must be ended at all costs, no matter how the PLO behaved, and no matter how many Jews had to get themselves killed along the way to achieve this greater good. In a bastardization of a line by Ben Gurion, Beilin insisted that Israel must fight terror as if there were no peace process and pursue the peace process as if there were
In fact, Israel pursued both the peace process and the war against terror as if there were no
terror, all thanks to Beilin.
When the buses started exploding – thanks to the West Bank and Gaza having been turned into bomb factories as part of Beilin’s grand plan – it was suggested by your humble curmudgeon that a new graveyard be erected for the victims and named Beilingrad. After the
Oslo Accords produced their inevitable bloodshed, Beilin led the campaign to turn all
of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Western Wall, over to the PLO and to
reconstruct the Berlin Wall in Jerusalem. Beilin unblushingly insisted that the most effective way
to retain Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was to turn it into the capital of “Palestine.” When Oslo
produced hundreds of murdered Israeli civilians, Beilin coined the expression ‘sacrifices for
As a result of his political role, Beilin became not only the darling of the leftist Eurotrash and the laughingstock of the Jewish people, but a man despised even within his own Labor Party.
As Labor shrank and approached single-digit percentages of the Israeli electorate, Beilin was
dumped by his own party. In last year’s Labor primaries, he was consigned to political
invisibility, this by the same party that, under Amram Mitzna, had lurched as far leftward as it
had ever dared.
But even the Labor Party of Mitzna saw Beilin as an embarrassment and blocked him in the primaries from getting a seat in the Knesset. Within days, Beilin announced that he was
resigning from the Labor Party and was recruiting himself to rescue the Meretz Party and the
4 percent of Israeli voters who support it, by joining it to erect a new “Social Democratic” party.
Beilin’s latest gambit is to “negotiate” publicly on behalf of himself with the PLO and to crayon yet another grand document for total resolution of all outstanding Arab-Israeli issues through surrender to the PLO - this despite the fact that he does not represent Israel, does not
represent the Labor Party and does not even represent Meretz.
Even Ehud Barak, who came close to offering Arafat at Camp David what Beilin now
suggests and who turned Israel’s northern border over to Hizbullah, has denounced Beilin.
Nevertheless, Beilin has been meeting in Geneva with a PLO representative and they have
produced the “Geneva Understandings,” the newest Beilin answer to the Munich capitulations.
Jewish-Arab ‘peace dialogues’ have been polluting the planet for many years. These are
those meetings between Palestinian fascists and Jewish leftists that inevitably end up endorsing
all of the Arab positions regarding the Middle East as a balanced compromise. These are
dialogues of the deaf and the extraordinarily dumb. They are meetings of the mind between
Arabs seeking Israel’s destruction and Jews seeking Israel’s destruction.
Nevertheless, the Beilin “Understandings” are suddenly the subject of buzz all over town.
Haaretz, the main Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew, can barely control its bladder
because of its excitement. Why, even the Euro-leftists and Egyptians are endorsing the
“breakthrough”! The editors at Tikkun no doubt tossed another cannabis branch onto their
Sukkah in its honor.
The “Understandings” propose a more or less complete capitulation by Israel. They are the old Beilin plan for retreat by Israel to its 1949 borders, complete with turning over East Jerusalem and the Old City to the PLO. The PLO would promise really, really sincerely to let some Jews pray at the Western Wall. Israel would agree to the West Bank and Gaza being ethnically cleansed of Jews in exchange for Israel keeping the neighborhoods of Jerusalem built outside the 1949 “Green Line.”
And what, exactly, would Israel get in exchange? Well, the PLO would promise to really, really try to control the terror, that same old used Buick it has been reselling over and over to
Israel for a decade. The PLO would also have to issue some sort of duplicitous statement about how it was sort of willing to give up its demand for the “Right of Return” of anyone claiming to be a Palestinian to pre-1967 Israeli territory, but could add lots of caveats to this “concession.”
Now, the Gargoyle of Ramallah is likely to reject the Beilingrad “Understandings” because of that last clause. For the moment, however, Arafat and his terror crew are applauding the “breakthrough.” Their presumption is that they will pocket all of Beilin’s proposals for Israeli
capitulations as faits accompli and later demand that any new talks begin from the starting point of the Beilin “Understandings” (and from there proceed to new PLO demands and Israeli
appeasements). No one seriously thinks Arafat will agree to any rhetorical renunciation of the
right of the Palestinians to destroy Israel through a “Right of Return.”
Question: If Beilin is entitled to make up his own negotiated compromise peace plan as a result of dialogue with himself, why can’t I do the same?
Answer: Here are the Plaut Understandings, a new plan to be presented to Ariel Sharon and the cabinet.
1. Israel offers the PLO absolutely nothing.
2. The only exception to point 1 is that it offers to return all of Yossi Beilin’s personal property, including his home, to Palestinian refugees.
3. Israel indicts Yossi Beilin for 1,300 counts of being an accomplice in second degree murder based on depraved indifference to Israeli human life.
4. Israel reduces all Hizbullah villages to powder, and for each shell fired into Israel from the north it erases a Damascus neighborhood.
5. Israel re-occupies and de-Nazifies the West Bank and Gaza Strip and builds 1,000 new
6. Israel turns administration of the Temple Mount mosques over to Turkey with joint Turkish-Israeli flags waving there.
7. Israel indicts those responsible for the Oslo debacle.
8. Israel finances the erection of the National Museum of Folly in Jerusalem, near the Hill of Evil Counsel, to document the mega-stupidity of the Oslo cult.
9. Israel strips leftists who have endorsed Arab terrorism of their citizenship and deports them to Syria.
10. Israel adopts capital punishment and applies it with great, er, liberality.
Meanwhile Haaretz and the Left are clicking their tongues this week. You see, Israel is at long last destroying some illegal tunnels from the Gaza town of Rafiah that run into Egypt, through which explosives and arms are smuggled in for Palestinian civics activities.
The Left is awfully upset, because blowing up those tunnels involves destroying and bulldozing some houses that hide those tunnels. Haaretz demands to know whether it is really worth knocking down so many homes in which so many “innocent” Palestinians live simply to shut down a “mere” three tunnels.
Translation: Haaretz and the Israeli Left are indifferent (at best) to Israeli children and other civilians being mass murdered by Palestinians using explosives smuggled in through the tunnels, or to the sufferings of those residents of Negev towns being bombarded by PLO rockets, and so would prefer that these children and other civilians continue to be murdered by the score
rather than upset the world by showing on TV the buildings, beneath which the tunnels run,
being bulldozed. Of course, prohibiting TV crews from entering Rafiah would also do the trick, but that is a great unthinkable.
I know a lot of Israeli leftist professors and leftist journalists whose homes could be turned over to any Rafiah residents losing theirs as a result of the tunnel destruction, and into which these “refugees” could be resettled. For peace, of course.
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.
Posts Tagged ‘Labor Party’
If Israel is ever destroyed, Yossi Beilin will have more than his fair share of responsibility
Israel has a checkered record when it comes to official commissions of inquiry. Some have done fine, impartial and professional work, such as the Bejski Commission after the bank share controversies of the early 1980′s; the Agranat Commission that investigated the debacles at the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur War; and even the Shamgar Commission report on the Rabin assassination.
Others, however, have been set up for dubious and cheap headline-seeking reasons (the silly commissions that investigated the ‘kidnaping’ of Yemenite children) or for outright purposes of political persecution (i.e. the Kahan Commission that ‘charged’ Ariel Sharon with indirect responsibility for the Sabra and Shatilla massacre).
The Or Commission Report on the deaths of thirteen Israeli Arab rioters in the fall of 2000 was released last week and instantly became the talk of the town. Like most of the other commissions of inquiry, it was headed by a Supreme Court justice. Its report, at first glance, looks balanced, with assignment of blame divided among the police, the Labor Party leadership and the Arab politicians and leaders inflaming the mobs.
But there is more to it than that, and the Or Commission represents some unique dangers and threats to Israeli society.
As background to all this, let us recall what actually happened in the fall of 2000. After Ehud Barak presented Yasir Arafat with Israel’s program for self-annihilation at Camp David II – which the Palestinian Authority chairman rejected because it would destroy Israel too slowly – Arafat ordered his hordes to attack Jews and murder them everywhere. The riots began around Rosh Hashanah, and while they have since been labeled the ‘al-Aqsa Intifada,’ they initially were called the High Holiday Pogroms in these corners.
Making a mockery of the ‘peace process,’ the PLO openly declared war on the Jews. It was at this point that Israel’s own Arabs and their leaders decided the time was ripe to show their solidarity with the enemies of their country by joining the pogroms and demonstrating their opposition to Israel’s existence.
And pogroms these were, in all ways. Jews were attacked and beaten everywhere. The entire Galilee and other parts of Israel became scenes reminiscent of the late 1940′s, when Arab gangs blocked roads, laid siege to Jewish towns, beat Jewish families randomly, grabbed Jews out of their cars, and stoned every Jew they could find.
Jan Bechor was murdered when his car was stoned by Israeli Arabs south of Haifa, in Gissar A-Zarka, on the main road TA-Haifa on his way home These were not Palestinians living across the Green Line, but second- and third-generation Israeli Arabs, with their European standards of living, health and education levels, and their Scandinavian-style social welfare benefits. They were egged on by Arab fascist Knesset members openly calling for violence and murder; Arab Knesset members protected by their parliamentary immunity and the dual Israeli legal system that never prosecutes Arabs or leftists calling for violence, only right-wing Jews.
Throughout the country, small teams of Israeli police were confronted by hordes of violent Arabs hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks and sometimes shooting guns. Armchair commentators today insist that the police should have displayed infinite tolerance and patience at the time, but such people have never been confronted by a mob of thousands of screaming pogromchiks. Police in any other country would have responded to such provocation by mowing down the rioters, which is not only what the Allied troops did with rioting Iraqis, but what the Swedish police did with the ‘anti-globalization’ hooligans.
While also using riot control gas and rubber bullets, the Israeli police in several cases felt their or others’ lives were in danger and fired on their attackers. In all, thirteen Arabs were killed by police fire in a week. Most were rioters, some may have been bystanders.
Whether or not the police over-reacted, as the Or Commission insists, the killings effectively stopped the uprising of the Israeli Arabs cold. In some places, especially in Nazareth, Jewish hooligans also started beating Arabs, and that also may have chilled the Arab hordes. (I have long argued that if a couple of dozen Palestinians had been killed when they launched the first intifada in the late 1980′s, there would have been no subsequent intifada, and the violence would have ended many years ago. Israel would be an oasis of tranquility today. Thousands of lives would have been spared.)
At the time of the pogroms, few in Israel suggested that the police had been out of line in suppressing the rioters with force, and even fewer from among those Jews who had been hiding in their basements in the Galilee, fearing imminent lynching. The police chiefs in charge insisted they had tried less lethal means first, and ordered the live fire by snipers only after a Jewish woman had been lynched and there was a clear and present danger of more lynchings. Galilee Jews, some with Labor Party pedigrees, declared boycotts of local Arab storekeepers who had spoken out in favor of the violence and lynching.
The police commissioner/minister at the time was Shlomo Ben-Ami, one of the vintage Oslo peaceniks, a Moroccan-born professor of law who had been on the Labor Party Left long before Oslo. He had been present at Camp David, urging ever greater displays of appeasement from Barak.
The violence ended not long after the shooting of the thirteen. While Israeli Arab fascist politicians screamed for vengeance and demanded an accounting of the deaths, the bulk of Israelis considered the pogrom leaders and their followers to be the ones who needed to be held accountable.
Little developed until election time. Ehud Barak, his popularity in tatters among Jewish Israelis, tried to formulate a strategy for getting Israel’s Arabs to vote for him. That way, even if the Jews voted against him, he could stay in office.
Barak was under pressure from his party to issue an apology to the Arabs but dragged his feet on that, knowing how such an action would affect the Jewish voters in the Galilee, who had been under siege from marauding Arabs. Just before the voting, Barak did issue an apology, but it had little effect. Wags suggested at the time that Barak would have bettered his chances if he’d issued an apology to the Israeli public for the police having killed only thirteen rioters.
Barak also set up a commission of inquiry, figuring it would tongue-lash the cops but leave the Labor politicians out of things. After all, commissions of inquiry were normally Labor Party devices to persecute Likudniks. Aside from Justice Or, the commission included an Arab judge and the Laborite, left-leaning professor and ex-diplomat Shimon Shamir. No doubt Barak figured this composition would nudge the commission leftward, ensuring it did not attack him and his party’s doves.
The commission did indeed conclude that the police had over-reacted in quelling the rioters, recalling the Kahan commission’s conclusions that reasonable people should have known up front what would happen if the Lebanese Phalangists entered Sabra and Shatilla in 1982, and never mind that no reasonable people at the time foresaw what would happen.
But the commission also blasted Barak and Ben-Ami in its report. The ultra-dove leftists of the Labor Party found that their creation had turned on them.
The Or Commission is just the latest example of the deluded attempts by Israel to try to gain some public-relations brownie points through self-prosecution, self-investigation, self-abasement, and self-criticism. Israeli politicians think the world will gallop over and congratulate Israel for airing its dirty laundry and using democratic tools to fix what is broken in its own house.
Please, reader, stop laughing.
The Or Commission will convince the Jew-baiting media of the world of the pureness of Israel’s intentions and alert conscience about as effectively as the Kahan Commission did. What is much more frightening, the Or Report can be seen as the latest escalation of the Oslo Camp against Israel’s ability to defend itself. The Beilinized Osloids have already largely disarmed Israel, stripping away military budgets and arms procurements, and have handcuffed the military and prohibited it from responding to provocations from Hizbullah and the PLO.
And now they are attacking the police. Sharon’s minister of justice is the loud-mouthed Judaism-hating Tommy Lapid from Shinui, and he has indicated that he plans to try to prosecute the police chiefs. (As it turns out, nothing in the Or Commission Report can be submitted as evidence, meaning that a trial would necessitate years of taxpayer-financed investigation and preparation.)
When next the Israeli Arabs launch pogroms, how many cops will call in sick rather than risk being indicted and prosecuted by some new commission?
I do not rule out the possibility that Israeli police may sometimes behave with brutality (such as when arresting right-wing ‘settlers’), and may sometimes even be trigger-happy. While I am reluctant to second-guess the Or Commission conclusions regarding specific cases of alleged trigger-happiness, I am also reluctant to second-guess decisions from the front lines by cops and soldiers under attack by masses of violent Arabs. Israel has far too much crowd-control restraint and passivity and far too little suppression of Arab violence with massive force. Israeli restraint is the petrol that fuels the bonfire of Arab violence.
Even if misguided, the police shootings of the thirteen Israeli Arabs effectively stopped the pogroms cold. It did not end all Israeli Arab belligerence, of course, and growing numbers of radicalized Israeli Arabs are joining the ranks of the suicide bombers and other terrorist murderers. More Oslo ‘success.’
Among the features of the Or Commission Report, by far the silliest and potentially most harmful is its ‘finding’ that Israeli Arabs took to the streets in pogroms against Jews in the fallof 2000 because Israeli Arabs are the ‘victims’ of discrimination.
The ‘evidence’ behind this remarkable ‘finding’ is nothing more than the lay opinions and biases of the commission members. Not a single one of these members has any background at all in social science, and none of them heard the tiniest piece of social science research on the question as part of commission hearings before coming to this conclusion.
The commissioners based this ‘finding’ on their hunch that it stands to reason. Why else would the Arabs attack their Jewish fellow citizens? But standing to reason gets you nowhere when trying to understand the Middle East. Why else, indeed.
The pseudo-scientific findings of the Or Commission will now no doubt be bandied about all over the globe. Here we have the spectacle of an official commission of inquiry chaired by a Supreme Court justice ‘concluding’ that Israel is a racist and discriminatory country.
Now the ‘finding’ is just the latest manifestation of the Islamofascist Socioeconomic Big Lie, the myth that when Arabs engage in mass murder and terrorism and violence, it must be because they have legitimate grievances and have been victims of injustice. Stands to reason – why else would they get so ‘desperate’?
Moreover, such a view takes off from the axiomatic left-wing starting point that holds poverty and underprivilege as the causes of Arab violence. So if the Islamic Nazis hate the United States, America must examine itself to see what sins and crimes it did to anger them.
The media never get tired of the myth. Never mind that Bin Laden and his cronies are filthy rich Saudis. Never mind that the evidence is overwhelming that the richer a Palestinian is, the more violent and fanatic he is likely to be. Palestinian suicide bombers are invariably college students and professionals. There has never been an undernourished suicide bomber. The most fanatical Islamofascists are the graduate students at Western universities. Palestinian fanaticism and violence grew consistently after 1967 even as Palestinian consumption, health, and schooling standards rocketed upwards.
The Islamofascist Socioeconomic Big Lie is first cousin to the claim that if Arabs engage in terror, it must be because their cause is just. They must have suffered from such injustices to make them so desperate, right? Why else, after all, would they blow up buses of children? It must be that they have no other option.
Now imagine how just the cause of the Germans must have been in the 1940′s for them to engage in so much violence. Heck, imagine how desperate and oppressed and victimized they must have been!
There is not the slightest shred of real evidence that Israeli Arabs are victims of discrimination. Yes they earn less on average and are less educated than Israeli Jews. But if that proves ‘discrimination,’ then the United States is a horrid racist country that discriminates against people who are neither Asians nor Jews. Jews are better educated and on average earn more than non-Jews in every country on earth with a Jewish population, including those with rigid anti-Jewish discrimination and quotas.
The main forms of institutional discrimination in Israel these days are all anti-Jewish discrimination. Only Jews (and Druse) get conscripted into the army. Colleges and civil service agencies all discriminate against Jews. Jews are the only ones prosecuted for ‘incitement.’
The Or Commission has given a massive injection of vitamins to pseudo-scientific superstition.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amazon.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Of all the developments in Israel over the past couple of years, I find the very scariest and most dangerous to be the emergence of a new form of historic revisionism that should be
called Oslo Revisionism. Like Holocaust revisionism, the fashionable term for Holocaust Denial, this is a nefarious attempt to rewrite history and invent a false narrative regarding the history of the Oslo peace process. It is just the latest manifestation of the totalitarian nature of Israel’s Left.
According to the Oslo Revisionism, Israel never in fact pursued a peace process with the PLO. It was little more than false posturing and pretense by Israeli Labor Party leaders for
purposes of public relations spin. Israel never agreed to rescue the PLO from oblivion in exchange for what it thought was a deal with the PLO.
According to Oslo Revisionism, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin never promised Israelis that the PLO had abandoned terror and genocide as its raison d’etre. The leaders of the Labor
Party never promised that Oslo would never result in demands upon Israel to abandon East Jerusalem or acquiesce with respect to the right of return. They never offered Syria all of the
Golan Heights plus slabs of pre-1967 Israel. They never insisted that the PLO would protect Israelis from violence in exchange for its recognition. They never insisted the PLO would
pursue economic and social welfare goals instead of aggression and atrocities, once granted their own territories for control.
According to Oslo Revisionism, Labor Party leaders never insisted it was absurd to suggest that PLO-ruled areas would ever be used to attack Israel or shoot rockets at Israel. They
never dismissed all suggestions that the PLO would smuggle in weapons and produce missiles. They never dismissed as absurd the notion that the PLO would plant bombs in Jerusalem or
shell its neighborhoods or fire into Jerusalem civilian homes. And they never dismissed with a wave of their hands all those dissidents warning that Oslo would produce a bloodbath and
debacle without precedent in history.
According to Oslo revisionism, Labor Party leaders never insisted that anyone questioning the wisdom of Oslo was a criminal and inciter who should be prosecuted. They never dismissed as zealots and criminals those opposing handing arms over to the PLO. They never insisted that all those dissenting from Labor Party fantasies were enemies of peace.
According to Oslo Revisionism, Labor Party leaders never bankrolled Arafat and other PLO leaders. They never insisted that Palestinian violence would decline once Palestinians were
liberated from occupation by Israel. They never insisted that Palestinian Authority arms would never be used against Israel. They never insisted that PLO-controlled media and schools would renounce anti-Semitism and would preach coexistence and tranquility. They never insisted there would be an economic peace dividend with world investments flooding in.
According to Oslo Revisionism, these are all lies invented by the Israeli Right - the sort of insensitive, racist folks who do not want peace and who only covet the lands of the Palestinians.
You – we – are all mistaken. The revisionists know the truth. Nothing of the sort ever took place. The Labor Party and the Left had insisted all along that the PLO would never behave peacefully until Israel had met all its demands. Indeed, continuing PLO violence is justified and understandable. No Justice, No Peace.
Oslo Revisionism insists that Israel never really offered the PLO any offers for peace at all, no serious goodwill gestures, no concessions. Ehud Barak never offered the PLO all of the occupied territories plus East Jerusalem plus parts of pre-1967 Israel plus tribute plus limited agreement to the return of 150,000 Palestinian refugees. Like the Holocaust, it just never happened, and it is nothing more than Zionist propaganda to say it did. In fact, say the totalitarian leftist revisionists, Barak was just trying to trick the PLO by pretending to offer them everything. Really, that is what they are now saying.
According to the Oslo Revisionists, Labor Party leaders never guaranteed that the PLO would suppress all Palestinian terror. They never insisted that there was no need at all to test PLO intentions because it was so obvious that the PLO was serious about abandoning terror and war. Peres never said that he was more concerned about the infiltration of cable television into Israel than he was about the infiltration of Palestinian terrorists. He never guaranteed that Oslo would produce moderation and tolerance by Israel’s own Arabs who would serve as the catalysts for peace.
So why did Oslo fail utterly? The totalitarian leftist revisionists insist, naturally, that it is all the fault of the Israeli Right. First, the murder of 1300 Israelis by the PLO and its affiliates since they signed that eternal peace accord is an understandable response to the murder of 29 Arabs by the fanatic Baruch Goldstein in Hebron in 1994. The PLO was really trying to achieve peace, but it was all because of Goldstein that things failed.
Then along came Bibi Netanyahu and Oslo collapsed because of him. Never mind that he handed Hebron over to the savages and signed Wye. Of course, the real reason peace never
came about was because Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in an act almost as provocative and controversial as would have been a visit by an Italian politician to the grounds
of the Vatican.
In short, the revisionists insist that the Palestinians and the PLO have always sought nothing but a reasonable permanent peace agreement based on fairness and justice. If they failed in their jihad for peace it is all the fault of the Jews.
Those who find it incomprehensible that humans in the 21st century can subscribe to neo-Nazi Holocaust Denial doctrines should study the lessons of Oslo Revisionism. It is just as much a doctrine based on falsification and lying, motivated by a desire to see Jews humiliated, abused and annihilated.
Oslo Revisionism is an attempt to acquit the perpetrators of one of the greatest acts of folly in human history, certainly the greatest act of stupidity in Jewish history since the construction of the Golden Calf. It is a battle to steal history retroactively away from those who know the truth. It is an attempt to prevent future generations from knowing the truth about Israeli leftist stupidity and treason.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available through Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no sound so delightful as the whimpering of leftists in the morning.
There is no message so hope-inspiring as the screams of outrage from the world and the
accusations that Israelis have voted against “peace.”
There are grounds for all of us to recite a collective Hagomel blessing, for the Jewish
people has just been rescued, at least for the moment, from imminent danger of (self-)
destruction. But the danger is not past. And there are more than enough reasons to doubt that the
new Sharon government will have what it takes to rescue Israel from the Oslo war process.
The clearest and most obvious conclusion from the election is that Israel's Oslo Left is
imploding. The once-mighty Israeli Labor Party, now led by Amram Mitzna and the party's
radical wing, received only 19 Knesset seats (out of 120).
Fewer than one Israeli voter in five voted for the Labor Party, meaning the party now has
about the same degree of popular support as Ross Perot's party received in the 1992 U.S.
presidential election. The local Haifa weekly ran as its banner headline ?Mitzna the Leader of the
Small? (a play on words, since in English ?small? means little and in Hebrew it means Left).
But the loss of seats by Labor does not tell the full story of implosion of the Israeli Oslo
Left. In the last Knesset, the Oslo Left held 42 seats, counting Labor, Meretz, and the “Center
Party.” The latter was nominally a centrist party, but was clearly pro-Oslo and featured Yitzhak
Rabin's daughter as perhaps its best-known leader. In the new Knesset, the Oslo Left is down to
25 seats, a loss of over 40%.
The Labor Party itself dropped from 26 seats to 19, losing only a quarter of its seats. I say
“only” because since its policies had resulted in the murder of 1200 Israelis, I was expecting a far
greater loss. In part, the loss was “small” because much of the hostility by voters to Oslo was
already expressed in Labor's losses in previous elections. Labor also capitalized on the alleged
“scandals” regarding Sharon and on the unwillingness of the leftist media to report properly on
Mitzna's own track record of corruption and sleaze.
Mitzna had benefited from the open endorsement of most of the world's leaders (notably
Britain?s Tony Blair) and from financial resources flowing into Israel from those in other
countries who enthusiastically support any Israeli leader who promises to lead the country on the
path to national suicide.
On the other hand, the endorsement of Mitzna by the PLO and Syria no doubt hurt Labor.
And the party?s pathetic attempts to stampede Israeli voters into supporting Mitzna by running
campaign clips with Yitzhak Rabin were complete failures. Only the halo was missing from
Rabin's head in those clips. Israelis can no longer be persuaded to fast-march to their own
oblivion by the flashing of sentimental camcorder tapes of Rabin.
The aforementioned “Center Party” did not even run this time. But perhaps the most
wonderful piece of news is the collapse of leftist Meretz, which lost 50% of its Knesset strength.
Meretz had 10 seats in the last Knesset, but at the last minute added two more when part of the
Shi'ite wing of the Israeli Labor Party (Yossi Beilin and Yael Dayan) bolted and joined Meretz,
promising to bring over some Labor votes.
Only one Israeli voter in 20 voted for Meretz this round. Meretz was left with only six
seats. Yael Dayan blubbered on TV the day after the election that the collapse of Meretz votes
meant the new Knesset would have no open homosexual sitting in the house!
Clearly Meretz collapsed because the voters, even erstwhile Oslo supporters, understand
that Meretz's policies represent national self-annihilation. Meretz leader Yossi Sarid had the
decency to resign as party chief, and later said Meretz had collapsed because it had failed to
denounce Arafat and the PLO. But my pet theory is that a good part of Meretz's collapse has to
do with its adoption of homosexuality as its number two cause. Meretz, banking on that old myth
about ten percent of the population being homosexual, no doubt expected to pull masses of
voters out of their closets. Not only is the ten percent assumption patently false, but the very
endorsement of homosexual “rights” no doubt drove away many Meretz voters, especially Arab
Meretz voters, always a non-negligible portion of Meretz?s strength.
The Israeli far Left still maintains a near totalitarian stranglehold on the Israeli media, the
courts, and the universities, but this tiny totalitarian elite is now negligible in the Knesset. Will
Sharon have the moxie to challenge their remaining power bases? In the past he has not.
The contraction of Labor was also delicious comeuppance for the party that had led the
anti-democratic assault on the Israeli voting system. In the last election, Israelis could vote
directly for their prime minister. The Left, upset because Israelis voted for the ?wrong?
The hegemony over the Hebrew press in Israel by the far Left has always been a threat to Israeli democracy. The Left utilizes its near-monopoly over the press to promote its extremist and defeatist agenda in a naked manner. The Oslo debacle would never have occurred without Israel’s far Left exercising near-totalitarian control over the Hebrew press and electronic media.
But now there is a clear and present danger that Israel’s leftist-controlled Hebrew press may simply “steal” the election away from Ariel Sharon and grant it to Amram Mitzna.
It was, of course, expected that the press would conscript itself as partisan promoters of Mitzna in this election. But the current jihad against Sharon, coming just weeks before the election, is more than anyone thought possible.
Israel’s Hebrew press has simply declared war on Sharon. It is doing so in the form of endless daily front-page giant headlines about Sharon’s supposed involvement in “corruption.” The media campaign is well organized and rather transparent. The great irony is that Sharon, while not exactly bereft of sleaze, is far less corrupt than Amram Mitzna and the Israeli Labor Party.
The background to all this and to the press’s totalitarian jihad on behalf of Amram Mitzna goes back to 1999. At that time, Sharon was fighting a Likud internal primaries campaign challenging Netanyahu — a campaign, by the way, that he lost.
Sharon financed that campaign the same way all Israeli politicians do, with contributions from donors abroad or from Israelis funneled through overseas dummy corporations. Sharon’s doing so was not exactly clean, but it was peanuts compared with the illegal campaign financing schemes of Ehud Barak, Amram Mitzna, and other Labor Party leaders. (Netanyau’s finances were hardly cleaner either.)
Overseas money routinely corrupts Israeli politics. It is what props up the Far Left and even the Arab fascist political parties running in the Knesset, but it also routinely flows into the coffers of the Labor Party and the Likud.
Not only were Sharon’s 1999 primary campaign finances not exceptional in having benefited from some money from overseas, but they were downright honorable compared with the conventional campaign practices in Israel.
This was the case for several reasons: First, the money was being used for a primaries campaign, where Israel’s campaign finance laws are looser than for a real election. Second, no one claims the money was coming from anyone with special interests or expecting some sort of quid pro quo from Sharon, unlike — notoriously unlike — the Mitzna campaign sleaze.
In any event, two years after Sharon had lost those primaries and Ehud Barak came close to ceding Jerusalem and irreparably harming the rest of Israel as prime minister, the state comptroller issued a report on campaign finance corruption.
Much of the report focused on Ehud Barak and the Labor Party, particularly the unprecedented sleaze and corruption in Barak’s campaign, but it also managed to mention Sharon’s questionable finances in those Likud primaries. The comptroller ordered Sharon to repay 4.7 million shekels in campaign contributions that had been received in 1999 through an overseas dummy corporation.
Sharon’s problem was that he had lost those primaries and so could hardly cover the costs of the reimbursement through raiding the Treasury coffers — which someone in his position might have done. So, to come up with the cash and to obey the comptroller, Sharon tried to mortgage his ranch, worth quite a lot.
(It is not clear exactly where Sharon got the money for the ranch, but the very fact that the press has not tried to make a lurid issue out of that shows that it was probably all legitimate.)
The problem was that because of Israel’s bizarre socialist land nationalization system, the ranch is on land “leased” from the Israel Lands Authority. Even though the ranch is worth oodles, technically Sharon could not borrow against it to get the cash.
Instead, he approached his old chum Cyril Kern. Kern is a native Londoner who had served with Sharon as a volunteer in the Hagana in the Israeli War of Independence, stayed on close terms with Sharon, and owns a moderate empire of textile factories in South Africa. Sharon asked his two sons to take care of the paperwork, and Kern loaned the Sharons $1.5 million to pay the reimbursement ordered by the comptroller. Later, the Sharons took out an ordinary loan in Israel from a bank, all above board, and used it to pay back Kern.
So in essence the whole hullabaloo in the Israeli press has to do with the fact that the Sharons took out a bridge loan from an old chum of Ariel Sharon in order to comply with the state comptroller’s order. Kern has no business interests in Israel and so was clearly not being nice to gain favors or patronage from Sharon — of the sort that Amram Mitzna has rained down on Gad Zeevi and the other business cronies of his.
Consider a country in which the minister of
justice prepares an official ''speech code'' that
delineates the boundaries of permissible
speech, and where violators may be sent to
Consider a country in which people are
arrested for expressing criticism or dissent,
even if it is in a casual conversation in a cafe, a
bank or a barber shop.
Consider a country in which the minister
of education calls upon school pupils and their
parents to report to the police the names of
teachers who make ''incendiary statements'' or
engage in ''incitement.''
Consider a country where people are
afraid to express their political opinions for
fear of being overheard by informants and
where people look over their shoulders before
daring to speak candidly about politics.
Consider a country in which rabbis are
openly vilified by the leaders of the state,
where politicians, journalists and professors
call for the wholesale arrest of rabbis and
dissidents, where scores of rabbis are
interrogated by the police for ''inciting.''
Consider a country where religious Jews
walking down the street are insulted and
called ''murderers'' and other foul names by
Consider a country where a popular radio
host calls for a law that would require that all
dissidents either recant their views and
endorse government policies or go to prison; or
where a newspaper columnist closely identified
with the ruling party declares that Voltaire's
famous statement (where he says that he
would die for the rights to free speech for those
with whom he disagrees) represents the most
absurd and ridiculous idea imaginable.
Imagine a country where teenagers are
imprisoned for making statements and posters
that are in poor taste, or where an old man can
be arrested for losing his temper and shouting
at a policeman, ''What do you think this is
here, a police state?
Imagine a country where people can be
arrested for making jokes that some might
regard as being in poor taste.
Imagine a country in which dissidents
quoting old statements by the prime minister
himself or who quote from the Bible could be
arrested on charges of engaging in incitement
Now ask yourselves, does all of the above
describe the Habsburg Empire during the
worst Franciscan repressions of the early 19th
century? Or maybe some totalitarian country
before the fall of communism? Or perhaps a
fictitious government in some Orwellian
No, I'm afraid the above is an exact
description of Israel as it was in the immediate
aftermath of the assassination of Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Each example refers
to an actual event that occurred in Israel in the
months after that murder.
Seven years after the event, Israel is still
in a state of shock from the Rabin
assassination. One of the most harmful and
dangerous aftershocks to that murder has been
a long series of assaults upon the fundamental
democratic freedoms and rights of Israeli
citizens, led mainly by the Israeli Left.
Rabin's body was not yet cold when an
anti-democratic theory of the assassination was
invented. In the following days, not only was
this theory repeated endlessly, but it assumed
the status of revealed gospel. The theory holds
that the assassination was caused by
irresponsible speech, by calls of ''Rabin is a
Murderer/Traitor,'' by incitement and agitation
on the part of anti-Oslo dissidents.
In response to this theory-as-gospel, there
were repeated calls in Israel for new legislation
to suppress ''oral violence'' and ''incitement.''
In 1995 the minister of justice even prepared a
new law that would have instituted a sort of a
national ''speech code'' delineating the
boundaries of acceptable speech (it was never
implemented). The governments of both Labor
and Likud approved decisions to make a
growing list of organizations on the Israeli ''far
right'' illegal, simply on the basis of their
positions and opinions. A long list of people
were investigated and/or indicted for
Following the assassination, an assault on
dissent and democracy was launched by
Israel's politicians from the Labor Party and
the leftist Meretz. For example, a call to pupils
and parents to inform to the police on teachers
engaging in ''incitement'' came from the
minister of education under the Labor Party's
administration, Professor Amnon Rubinstein of
Meretz. Rubinstein is a well-known expert on
constitutional law, which he taught for many
years at Tel Aviv University. Prosecutions of
people for having expressed anti-Oslo opinions
continued even under Likud administrations.
All of this is no less frightening and
alarming than the assassination itself. It is
particularly troubling because the new
orthodoxy is itself patently false. It is also
dangerous because the criminalizing and
prosecution of extremists on the far right could
in fact lead to an upsurge in violence.
First, despite the shock that we all felt
and feel, it behooves us to recall that Rabin
was not killed by free speech, but by a
murderer with a gun.