Something Is Rotten in the Israeli Left

Itay Rom
Itay Rom
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Member of Israeli parliament for Meretz, Gaby Lasky.
Itay Rom
Itay Rom

MK Gaby Lasky is well-known for her work defending Palestinians in Israeli military courts. When I accompanied her to court (for an article I was writing) and watched as she represented Ahed Tamimi – the teen who served time in prison over a slap – I saw a warrior for justice in action. Her arguments are impressive, and she has earned rightfully the admiration of the left.

Last week, however, the lawmaker from Meretz party did something  unconscionable. When the escaped Palestinian prisoners were caught, she tweeted: “Well done, police and security forces. …(Public Security Minister) Omer Bar-Lev, who managed the incident quietly and professionally, deserves a good word.” Ricochets from the left were not long in coming. The principal of Tel Aviv’s Tichonet-Alterman high school, Ram Cohen, for example, wrote her: “It looks as if (journalist) Ben Caspit is tweeting from your account.” Shortly afterward, Lasky deleted her tweet.

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Something is rotten, very rotten, in the Israeli left, if a respected politician from that camp hastens to erase from the record an expression of appreciation for the capture of terrorists. It indicates an idea that has gained traction in certain parts of the left. Because of that same concept, another MK, Ofer Cassif (Joint List), said he didn’t know whether he would give up the terrorists if he encountered them.

Gideon Levy wrote here that the justness of “the path of cruel and violent resistance to the occupation” that the escapees chose “cannot be questioned” (Haaretz, Sept. 9). Really? For the sake of argument, let’s accept Levy at his word when he says that Zakaria Zubeidi wanted peace with Israel but “felt that the only option left to him was that of violent resistance.”

But what about his fellow fugitives, the ones who belong to Islamic Jihad? That is an organization that has never wanted peace and that teach in their summer camps that “as long as Jews remain between the river and the sea, we will continue to kill them.” The stated goal of the murders it commits is not ending the occupation, but rather replacing Israel with a sharia state. What does that have to do with justness?

The right labels any Palestinian resistance to the occupation “terror,” but this inflexibility doesn’t mean the left must identify with every Palestinian, no matter how abhorrent, who fights the occupation. Identifying with Islamic Jihad and its activists is not leftist, and the demonstrators who cheered the terrorists outside the court during their arraignments are not activists for peace and justice. On the contrary: Islamic terror organizations and their supporters are the sworn enemy of those who believe in peace and justice.

Once this was obvious to the left, as well. When Yitzhak Rabin said, one month before he was assassinated, that “[T]he primary obstacle today to implementing the peace process ... is ... Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” no one was surprised, Meretz backed him up and Rabin never dreamed of issuing a retraction. It was the simple, obvious truth, and it has not changed.

The attack in which Mohammed Aradeh, the terrorist who was recaptured with Zubeidi, was involved – a bus bombing that took the lives of Inbal Weiss, Yehiav Elshad and Samuel Milshevsky – did not seek to promote a just solution for both peoples, but rather to sabotage the chances of achieving it. This was not a heroic act against the soldiers of the occupation, but rather part of a murder spree against civilians known as the “second intifada” – a spree that contributed to the perpetuation of the occupation more than any illegal settlement outpost.

And so, Lasky, a human rights and peace activist, should have welcomed the capture of the terrorist activists from an ultranationalist, fanatic organization. The fact that leftists are disappointed and that Lasky deleted her remarks in a kind of apology shows that the camp is confused and has lost its way.

Lasky responded: “I represent Palestinians in court. Period. My point of view always comes from the direction of human rights. And so I was shocked by the harsh public atmosphere calling to shoot to kill the security prisoners. When this did not happen, I thought it was good that they were not shot, as in past incidents, and then I was made aware of the illegal violence toward Zakaria Zubeidi. This is the opportunity to remember that in Israel thousands of Palestinian prisoners who were sentenced because of their resistance of the occupation, for offenses which, when committed by Israelis are not considered security offenses, including minors held in Israel against international law.”

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