The Extreme Right's Incitement Will End in Murder

PM Netanyahu must denounce the inflammatory statements of Avigdor Lieberman loudly and clearly.

In response to a video clip that urged the murder of Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador said it represented a new nadir in an ongoing trend of vicious incitement against civil servants who do their jobs professionally and properly. And indeed, calling for the murder of a lawman who decided to try to stop the incitement against Israel's Arab citizens violently crosses the line that separates freedom of expression from freedom of incitement.

Public figures on the right have dismissed the issue with the tired claim that those responsible are "wild weeds." But nowadays, these "weeds" are in fact sprouting in the garden of the cabinet and being enthusiastically cultivated by the Knesset.

Scarcely a day goes by in without the coalition joining hands with the extreme right in order to depict non-Jews as hostile elements. From here, the distance is short to inciting against Jews who strive to prevent harm to minority rights, and also to delegitimizing rightists who display sensitivity toward human rights.

The video clip "accuses" Nitzan of "protecting Arabs" and even of "collaborating with them against Jews." But it's hard to find the difference between these inflammatory statements and those of Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who accused organizations that defend human and civil rights of abetting terror and undermining the Israel Defense Forces.

Lieberman, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, even claimed that "the terror being waged against us from within is more dangerous than the terror being waged against us from without." And at best, people who abet terror belong behind bars.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Lieberman's assault on Likud members who object to persecuting human rights organizations, "in a democratic country, it's important to maintain a spectrum of opinion." But the unbridled incitement by his senior coalition partner against Israeli citizens is outside the legitimate spectrum of opinion.

It's a pity that Netanyahu does not see fit to get rid of his foreign minister. But at the very least, the prime minister, like the justice minister and the attorney general, must denounce his inflammatory statements loudly and clearly.