Not All Criticism Is Incitement

There is no dangerous threat in the right’s recent attacks on the prime minister and justice minister - just a spineless shirking of responsibility.

Prof. Aryeh Eldad should use his scientific training to make sure that his political commentary be informed by the absolute minimum of intellectual integrity.
Aryeh Eldad
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Prof. Aryeh Eldad should use his scientific training to make sure that his political commentary be informed by the absolute minimum of intellectual integrity.
Aryeh Eldad

When our prophets wanted to cast away any doubts ahead of time, or to provide absolute validation for their words, they would begin and end their prophecies with the words "Thus said the Lord." The non-sacred parallel nowadays in the land of the Bible is "Don't forget the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin."

In the name of Yigal Amir's deed there is a readiness to silence an entire community and to prevent any criticism of the government from the right. Any legitimate political criticism immediately becomes "incitement," which in the end will lead to the assassination of the prime minister, or at the least – the assassination of the justice minister. A statement such as "It's better to leave [Justice Minister] Tzipi Livni outside the coalition than to endanger Israel," becomes incitement to murder in the eyes of the left.

Anyone who makes such a claim is not stupid and is not playing dumb. He is simply to trying to silence people. In the press there has been an equilibrium between right and left in recent years (Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth on the left; Israel Hayom and Maariv/Makor Rishon on the right); on television there is still a sharp leftist bias, and about three quarters of the current affairs programs on Army Radio and Israel Radio's Reshet Bet are edited and presented by people with a leftist world view.

And so most of the interviewers in the electronic media won't interrupt their interviewee if he mentions a picture of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer, and won't remind him that the person responsible for that horrifying initiative was Shin Bet security services agent Avishai Raviv, code-named "Champagne." Nor will they try to ask why those who claim that the settlements are to blame for terror and are preventing peace aren’t considered to be inciting to murder. Both have legitimate political arguments. They may be nonsense or truth – but not incitement.

Criticism to the effect that releasing terrorists undermines the security of the country is not incitement. It's a statement of fact based on the definition of the goals of the terrorist organizations. But the declaration that the release is designed to enable Livni to continue serving in the cabinet and to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians is a cowardly statement.

Habayit Hayehudi does not want to quarrel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. Not because U.S. President Barack Obama is forcing him to conduct such negotiations, but because "we don't want to be a binational state." Netanyahu has already adopted the left's explanations, and not only its program.

But a frontal attack against Netanyahu would force Habayit Hayehudi ministers Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel to resign from the government. Therefore they prefer to attack Livni. And the present attack by Habayit Hayehudi is nothing more than another patch designed to cover their asses -- an attempt to remind their electorate that they voted in the cabinet against the release of terrorists. They hope this new patch will cause their voters to forget the fact that the ministers of Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beitenu are just as responsible for the release of the murderers as are Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and Livni. That is what the Basic Law on the Government states in Article 4.

If they wanted to be absolved from this responsibility they should have resigned. If they really wanted to prevent the move they should have threatened to bring down the government rather than going along with the choice of "either the release of terrorists or a moratorium on construction in Judea and Samaria." They should have declared that negotiations over handing over parts of the Land of Israel make it impossible for them to remain in the government. All the members of Habayit Hayehudi are also partners, by dint of the same collective responsibility, to the offers Israel is making to the Arabs. They are trying to cover up this disgrace. The battle against the release of the terrorists is not incitement. It's a diversion.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at the J Street Conference this week. "I decided that a middle voice was needed."Credit: AFP

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