We Israelis Are All Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich

Is the extremist MK, who said West Bank arson murders are not terrorism, merely a deviant weed or do we all think as he does, but only he is courageous or foolish enough to publicly proclaim it?

Bezalel Smotrich speaking in the Knesset, November 16, 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich proclaimed that “the murder in the village of Duma, with all its gravity, was not a terror attack. Period.” He thus brought on himself heaps of condemnations saying that his statement was unacceptable and disgusting. Ostensibly.

MK Smotrich explained in his learned article his decisive claim that “terror is only defined as violence enacted by an enemy in the framework of war against us.” The obverse is implied in this statement – violence that we employ in our war against the enemy is not terror and should not be labeled with this expressly repulsive term.

But who are we and who is the enemy? Smotrich has an answer to this question as well: “We are not at war against Jews!” (original exclamation mark), so that “crimes committed by citizens of the state do not turn them into enemies.”

The esteemed Knesset member confuses the issues here as if he knows not whereof he speaks. Since, if “terror is only defined as violence employed by the enemy as part of his war on us,” the Jews, then what should we call the attack on the World Trade Center? A kid in its mother’s milk? And what was the ISIS attack in Paris? A Yom Kippur kapparot (penance) rooster? Was the crossing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian enemy during the Yom Kippur War an act of terror, in being a violent act directed against us?

Is every crime an act of violence? Ehud Olmert and Arye Dery are convicted criminals, for example. Does this mean that they are violent? If an Israeli citizen who happens to be Arab embezzles money from a local authority is he a criminal or a terrorist? If an Israeli Arab stabs a Druze Border Policeman, both of them non-Jewish citizens of Israel, is that terror or not?

But is Smotrich with his worldview merely a deviant weed or do we all think as he does, only he is courageous or foolish enough to publicly proclaim it?

As (bad) luck would have it, as Smotrich was laying out his creed one of the recent terrorist attacks seriously wounded a Jewish man called Shaul Nir. How is this relevant? The same Nir was a member of a terrorist organization in the 1980s with the whitewashed name of the “Jewish Underground.” Along with another member of that terrorist organization they burst into the Islamic College in Hebron and murdered three innocent students at random, as a “revenge” attack.

For these crimes Nir was sentenced to life in prison, since our Jewish state is a law-abiding state and murder is murder, even of Arabs. He was released after less than seven years, since “we’re not at war against Jews,” in Smotrich’s words, and “a crime committed by citizens of the state doesn’t turn them into enemies.”

So what did the media have to say on the terrorist past of this murderer-terrorist (repulsive? despicable?) Shaul Nir who was wounded (as “revenge”?) in a shooting attack 30-plus years later?

Nowhere was there mention – hush – of the words “terror” or “terrorist” or any of their derivatives. What was noted was that he was one of the leaders of the “Jewish Underground,” as if this were some honorable order, and here and there was some mention of his life sentence but not of the reason he was sentenced. The daily Israel Hayom wrote that “he served seven years in prison after being involved in the murder of Arabs” and Haaretz faltered in its wording when it wrote that “Nir was convicted of murder for his membership in the Jewish Underground.”

Judging by our “leftist media,” we all accept and adopt Smotrich’s ideas by which the murder of Arabs by Jews is not terror. That’s a fact.