Professor Steven Plaut teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa. He also writes articles, pamphlets and blog posts intended to defend Israel.
This is what he offered in defense of Israel this week, in response to physicist Stephen Hawking's decision to boycott next month's Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
"I have a suggestion," Plaut wrote on Wednesday, in a reference to the wheelchair-bound noted scientist, and to a 1985 incident in which Palestinian gunmen commandeered an Italian cruise ship, murdering a disabled American Jewish passenger and throwing his body overboard:
"I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!"
Plaut's argument, that the proper punishment for boycotting Israel should be execution, was only slightly more obscene than that of attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center Organization, a right-wing pro-Israel not-for-profit whose stated primary goals include "defending human rights" and conducting a "civil war" in court against global terror.
In a statement, Darshan-Leitner alluded to the fact that Hawking is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device:
"His whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. I suggest that if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet.”
For years, prominent voices on the ostensibly pro-Israel far-right have been competing to see who can be the most outrageous in cruelty, the most childish in bullying, while pursuing a career in what they call Israel advocacy.
Just last week, the New York-based Jewish Press, which describes itself as "the largest independent weekly Jewish newspaper in the United States" and "a tireless advocate for the state of Israel," published a news article that used classic anti-Semitic imagery in the service of a right-wing polemic on Israel.
Taking actor Dustin Hoffman to task for accepting the Muslim Public Affairs Council's invitation to present an award to the Academy Award-nominated film "Five Broken Cameras," Jewish Press correspondent Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote:
"Hoffman is someone whose Jewishness seems to have played very little role in his life other than as a trigger to anti-Semitic bullies, and the fact that his height, his nose, his nasal voice and his plucky, outsider roles are all stereotypically Jewish."
Later, Marcus, who also serves as president of the far-right Z Street Israel advocacy organization, concludes:
"So, in the end, Dustin Hoffman with his honking nasal voice and Semitic nose may be emulating the pattern of the mindless good-looking movie stars against whom he rose as the iconic non-handsome, non-sexy male movie star of the counter-culture years."
Increasingly, the rabid "Pro-Israel" far-right has taken on as principal targets Jews whose most cherished wish is to see Israel become a stronger, more democratic, more livable society.
Commentator and media personality Pamela Geller, whose bread and butter "pro-Israel" tack is hatred of Muslims, has branched out to target writer and editor Peter Beinart as a "vomit-inducing kapo."
Geller, at times borrowing her writing style from Stormfront, has also called the Daily Beast's Beinart "the pet Jew turncoat" of Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-In-Chief Tina Brown.
It has to stop. It has to stop here and now. When self-styled pro-Israel advocates on the far-right practice incitement and repulsive bullying to further their cause, when hate speech becomes the go-to tool in their belt, it is time for people who care about Israel's future to take a stand, call them out, shut them down, fight their smirking, obscene, proudly bigoted pronouncements.
The "pro-Israel" far right takes full advantage of – even while scorning – its liberal opponents' beliefs in freedom of expression and tolerance for democracy's sake. Their vile views regularly grace newspaper columns and are granted platforms by synagogues and Jewish organizations.
And it's only getting worse. It may have been anger over the realization that most Western Jews disagree with them, it may have been input from the high-IQ snots of Im Tirtzu, it may have been the sense that their beloved settlers have won a final and permanent victory in Israel, but of late, something terrible and growing is infecting far-right "pro-Israel advocacy."
It has to stop. We have to stop meekly putting up with it. Otherwise, as we've seen a number of times recently, if smartly dressed thugs of the right can disrupt a serious debate on Israel's future by booing and delegitimizing a two-state solution as being anti-Israel, the way forward is clear.
If the bigots, the fanatics, the Apartheid apologists, the velveteen fascists of the pro-Israel far-right are freely granted platforms as respected "experts" on Israel, no one who hates Israel as bigoted, fanatic, Apartheid-ruled and fascistic - no one who wants to see Israel ostracized to death - will ever need to say another word.
The Plauts, the Gellers, and a host of others will have already done their work for them.
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