You May Not!

Israel is gradually relinquishing the rule of law and becoming a tribe.

In London on July 22, 2005, two weeks after the series of terror attacks that killed and injured dozens, police detectives killed a dark-skinned man who had fled into the subway system. The man was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian. The police tried to stand behind their officers; court verdicts at various levels of the process contradicted each other and reeked of a cover-up.

In the end, in a fairly drawn-out process, it was determined that de Menezes had been shot in the head at close range and that the police had misled the public. Those directly responsible for the killing were not punished, but Sir Ian Blair, the commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, had to resign years later. The Daily Telegraph reported that Blair's "job had been in peril since firearms officers mistakenly killed the innocent Brazilian electrician." Al-Qaida, suicide bombers and the dead and injured could not be used as cover.

It is difficult to imagine that a public security minister there would continue at his post after launching a public campaign against a court verdict.

Israel, in contrast, is gradually relinquishing the rule of law and becoming a tribe. The killing of an Arab is immediately associated with "the Middle Eastern reality." A demand for restraint becomes "living in a bubble." A shrugging off of all inhibitions is now typical of relations between the right, including Kadima, and the creators of the news as purveyors of cheap thrills. It's clear that the passion to protect private property by imposing the death penalty is not what played the primary role here, but rather contempt for the life of an Arab.

Is there a law? We'll thumb our noses at it. That's how the incitement went on after the Turkish flotilla, with no questions about what is permissible and what is not. That's how the incitement sounded against MK Hanin Zuabi, and that's how the sanctions against her look.

If detective Shahar Mizrahi had killed a Jewish criminal, there probably would not have been such well-orchestrated moral panic by Liebermanian elements in government and the leaders of the yellow journalistic flotilla. There is something arousing, attractive and low about incitement, about permitting the forbidden. The culture of posting comments online, the yellow submarine that is all about the pleasure of the anonymous forbidden statement, has infected sensationalist journalism with its aphids. The police are not the problem. The need of the High Court of Justice to "describe the details of the incident" has once again exposed a lazy media that is not interested in the facts and is fed by a political leadership that has no verbal or other inhibitions.

After all, "we" are not really allowed to do everything and "they" are not forbidden from doing everything. There are things that are legal and things that are illegal. Now the campaign against the Palestinian boycott of products from the settlements is traveling the same road with no boundaries, and has already invented a legalistic name ahead of the next panic: "economic terror." We are allowed to organize boycotts, against Sweden and Turkey, for example. The Palestinians are not allowed to organize boycotts at all. Why? Because they are our subjects, lacking rights, born to slavery. They only buy from us. They may not sell, except for very cheap labor, of course, in small doses.

A decade ago a few of the doves came complaining to the Palestinians that they were not using "passive opposition" against the occupation. As if every protest march had not always been deemed a violent act. Now our legislators - and in their footsteps the purveyors and consumers of cheap thrills - have turned this legitimate struggle into terror that must be punished.

To return to the London example, Ehud Barak's confrontational statement that "this is the Middle East, this is not Europe" has long become a slogan of bogus citizenship in a Western democracy. It befits a smooth Swiss officer from a provincial kibbutz on the coastal plain, as well as a Swedish bar bouncer from Kishinev.