Silencing the Lambs

Every liberal group is trying to fend off an attack on its own niche, as though the anti-democratic forces were not raging in all corners of the country.

History provides no evidence of the ability - or the desire - of Jews to maintain a democracy. Jerusalem was never Athens. The past 64 years are therefore a kind of miracle on which we cannot rely. Whence will come our relief and deliverance?

The state of the democratic forces here is like that of the firefighting services: the equipment is outdated and the system is divided. Every station is trying to overcome the fire in its own back yard, as though the fire were not raging in all corners of the house.

Judges are pouring out their bitterness in their distress; journalists are discussing their distress because they are bitter; civil human rights organizations are causing an uproar as their world is about to be destroyed; and academics are awaiting the barbarians. When you are scalded and have to save your skin, only then do you exchange permission to speak with permission to cry out.

After all, it's the same cry, because it's the same attack, and the person leading it is the same Benjamin Netanyahu. While he pays lip service to the courts, he persecutes the media and the "left-wing non-profit organizations."

It is not only Netanyahu who is blurring his objectives. Gideon Sa'ar, who from the beginning has been supporting the right-wing Zionist Im Tirtzu organization, gets angry at those who go too far. And he who attacked NGOs like the New Israel Fund or Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights, without realizing that his time would come too. Now, his skull is floating on the water, as Hillel wrote: "You were drowned because you drowned others."

From the moment you accept the bon ton in one area, immediately a second one is exposed. Fascism cannot be stopped in a narrow sector, because it attacks on a broad front. United we can stand. Separately, defeat is guaranteed.

The targets of the attack change, but the main objective remains to change the nature of the regime and all abominable means are sanctified. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is not the only Israeli disciple of Vladimir Putin. Only this week the Russian prime minister removed from his path the organizations that monitor the elections, and do so with money from foreign governments.

The next target is the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Now it is in the direct line of fire, but make no mistake: all of academia is within range. The precedent will be determined here, because Be'er Sheva is easy prey. Let's see the Council for Higher Education deal with the "Ariel University Center," create an "international examination committee" to probe suspicions of impersonation: How can it be called a "university center" when it's only a mediocre college? And I don't recall a committee being appointed to examine Bar-Ilan University after Yitzhak Rabin's assassin emerged from there.

There is no need for conspiracy theories to discern the practice of venting anger on an entire department and defaming an entire university. They give up the services of a renowned American professor identified with Peace Now, and in his place hire a right-wing professor, and in that way they write the indictment in advance; that's how a prejudice becomes a learned opinion.

Be'er Sheva first - a warning signal for those to come. Academia would do well to wake up, emerge from the silence. You don't have to identify with every viewpoint in order to defend the right to express it; and the more difficult the defense, the more essential it is.

The "brown brothers" have rebelled against the elites in order to blacken them. They have decided to make them dance to their tune. Every lamb is to be silenced. In a place where there's a witch hunt against lecturers, nobody is immune from the burning of thoughts.

Don't be lambs, because your day is also approaching, and it is night rather than day. And on that day you'll be asked: Where were you during the war for our home, and not only the one for cottage cheese.