Editorial

Political Murder, Political Rally

Nothing will change the facts, and significance, of Rabin’s assassination: The prime minister was murdered at the height of a peace rally, by a religious, right-wing man incited by the right, among them our current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu speaks at a commemoration ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, October 21, 2018
Marc Israel Sellem

The annual disagreement over the memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv revolves this year around the question of the participation of Meretz. Darkenu, the movement that is organizing the ceremony, issued a partial list of speakers this week, which included Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay, opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid. Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) was also invited, but no Meretz MKs were on the list.

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After the list was published, Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg said, “The exclusion of Meretz from Rabin Square is a victory for incitement and silencing. It’s a red line for the peace camp.” Polly Bronstein, the director of Darkenu, said the list was incomplete and that Meretz would not be left out.

Last year’s “scandal” was over the absence of the word “murder” from the main invitation to the event. In the wake of criticism from the left, the wording was changed — from “rally in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory” to “rally marking 22 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.”

In both cases, what stands out are the ardent efforts of the organizers to lend the event an apolitical, unifying and moderate atmosphere. In other words, the supreme goal is not to annoy, to hurt or to create division, more than it is to put together an event that reflects the circumstances around the time of the assassination and 23 years later. There’s nothing surprising about that: Darkenu calls itself a movement of “the moderate majority” and stresses the importance of cooperation “from across the social and political spectrum.”

>> Read more: Netanyahu’s Current Politics Reopen 23-year-old Wound of Rabin’s Assassination | Analysis 

In this context, this remark by Zandberg is not surprising: “To smoothen Meretz’s participation, I was offered a deal during the past few days: Meretz will participate only if Ayelet Shaked or another senior figure from the settler right also speaks.” Balance and symmetry are the Holy Grail to those who don’t want to say anything meaningful.

Given that this is a private project, and a rather bland one at, it need not be treated as if it were particularly important. Neither Darkenu nor the memorial’s participants will change the simple facts of Rabin’s assassination and its significance: The prime minister was murdered at the height of a peace rally, by a religious, right-wing man who had been incited by right-wing politicians and rabbis, among them our current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.