The Right’s Denial of Responsibility

The right’s attempt to depoliticize Rabin’s murder is another stage in the ideological struggle between right and left

Tzachi Hanegbi speaking at the rally, Saturday.
Tomer Appelbaum

“It was the most successful political assassination in history,” said Meretz chairman Tamar Zandberg, at the rally in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Saturday night. Her correct statement was the proper response to the political morality preaching, accompanied by crocodile tears, of right-wing leaders Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and settler representative Naftali Bennett.

“It’s sad that they’ve turned the gathering in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, into a political gathering,” dissembled chief inciter Netanyahu, in response to the booing heard when Minister Tzachi Hanegbi spoke. Without the slightest shame he pointed a finger at, “Those who champion freedom of expression are trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them.”

The government’s representative of the hilltop youth, their parents and their rabbis didn’t miss the opportunity to educate the left. “A shameful leftist demonstration,” said Education Minister Bennett, in response to the protests at the rally, and repudiated his camp’s political responsibility for the murder, saying, “The right didn’t murder Rabin; Yigal Amir did.”

The right’s attempt to depoliticize Rabin’s murder is another stage in the ideological struggle between right and left. The right rejects the political aspect of the murder and wants to impose exclusive responsibility on Amir, in an effort to render kosher the assassin’s political program – opposition to the Oslo Accords and to the division of the land. In this context it is worth paying attention to the remarks by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who went further, arguing that, “This lowly murder did not help Amir achieve his political goals,” and “If it achieved goals, they were the opposite of what Yigal Amir wanted to achieve.”

This is the right’s objective: to conceal the political evidence of the murder. The right wants the public to be convinced that not only did the right not benefit from the murder, but that it was even damaged by Amir. Since depoliticizing Rabin’s murder serves the right, those people in the peace camp who are willing to cooperate in pursuit of an illusory unity are suffering from political blindness.

Zandberg’s words are a fitting response to the rally organizer, Darkenu chairman Kobi Richter, who compared Netanyahu’s criticism of the rally to Haaretz’s criticism of it and called both sides “extreme fringes.”

“Rabin was not murdered by extremists on both sides,” said Zandberg. “Rabin was not murdered because of some abstract hatred and polarization for no reason. Rabin was murdered because Yigal Amir and the political camp breathing down his neck believed that at the end of the process [Rabin] would evacuate settlements and establish a Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu and the right are constantly yelling that prime ministers should be replaced at the ballot box, while the only camp that ever circumvented the ballot box, and not metaphorically, was the right, via Yigal Amir.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.