Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
A few days ago, the Israeli Elections Commission banned the violent terrorist Hanin Zoabi from running for the next Knesset. Zoabi had attacked Israeli soldiers violently when they boarded the Turkish terrorist Flotilla ship on which she was riding to support the Hamas. Zoabi has been a Knesset Member from the Arab Balad party, which is little more than a surrogate party for the Hamas.
She openly supports terrorism and the destruction of the state in whose parliament she wants to sit. Letting her sit in the Knesset makes about as much sense as having open Nazi supporters sit in the British parliament of 1942. And let us note that Churchill not only prohibited such a thing, he jailed the leadership of the British Fascist Party, a policy that would make infinite common sense with regard to Balad.
But Israel's radical Left is upset by this. Radical anti-Zionists, tenured extremists, haters of democracy and freedom of speech and ultra-leftists of all stripes have been rallying to show their solidarity with Zoabi. A large petition appears in the Israeli press today under the caption, "Not for Jews Alone." It is a solidarity petition with Zoabi and a protest against her having been banned from running for election. It is also a smear campaign against Israeli non-leftist public figures. It is signed by a gaggle of tenured extremists plus some other prominent leftists.
The signers of the petition are posturing as if they are free speech absolutists, such that even a violent terrorist like Zoabi should be granted her "democratic rights," including the right to run for parliament.
But just how many of the signers of this petition ever in their lives protested against the most outrageous violation of freedom of speech in Israel, the banning of the Kahanists and the denial of freedom of speech to them?
How many of these free speech absolutists favor freedom of speech when it comes to rightwing fringe extremists?
How many of these objected to the Labor-party-led McCarthyist campaign in the 1990s to paint the exercise of freedom of speech by non-leftists as the weapon that murdered Rabin?
The answer is zero. Not a single one is on record protesting that denial of freedom of speech or that McCarthyism!!
This being the case, the more appropriate caption for their petition should be "For Arabs and Leftists Alone." Freedom of speech, that is! These are decidedly not people who favor democracy and freedom of expression for all. Many signers have been involved in other petitions to deny parties and public figures from the Right the ability to run in parliamentary elections or exercise their freedom of speech.
But it gets worse. The petition claims that while Zoabi was banned, other "convicted felons" are free to run in the election. Their examples?
They mention Moshe Feiglin, now on the Likud slate, whom they write was "convicted of sedition and imprisoned in the wave of incitement that produced the Rabin murder." That single sentence reveals the true nature of the signers of the petition. Every part of that sentence is false and reveals the fascist inclinations of the petition signers. Feiglin was not convicted of incitement producing the Rabin murder; he was "convicted" by a politicized kangaroo court of blocking a traffic intersection, he did some community service and not jail time.
If the petition signers were democrats, they would protest the conviction of Feiglin for "sedition" when all he did was block a traffic intersection, something leftists do all the time. And the obsessive repetition of the McCarthyist mantra that right-wing "incitement" produced the Rabin assassination proves that the leftwing anti-speech fascism that engulfed the country after the Rabin assassination still drives the anti-democratic radical Left in Israel.
The petition also adds that former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman faces criminal indictment as proof that criminals are being allowed to run for Knesset. But no indictment has yet been filed against Lieberman, let alone any conviction having been reached. And the single pending charge against Lieberman is the absurd accusation that he failed to run to the cops when a diplomat leaked to him that Israel had asked a foreign government to provide material about Lieberman's financial affairs. This is not even a crime, at least not one by Lieberman (maybe that other diplomat broke the law, maybe).
Among the signers of the petition against "criminals' running for the parliament is Amiram Goldblum, Hebrew University professor and founder of Peace Now. A criminal indictment was filed against Goldblum himself a few years back for his violations of Israeli campaign finance laws, but the court procedures were indefinitely "postponed" when Goldblum admitted guilt.
This is the same Goldblum who begat the recent distorted pseudo-poll that claimed that Israeli Jews support apartheid. The same Goldblum, pretending here to be a free speech absolutist, is the Israeli champion for filing frivolous SLAPP suit harassments designed to deny critics of the Left freedom of speech and to attempt to get the courts to censor non-leftists.
Then there are the communist professors and anti-Israel Stalinist author Sami Michael who are signed onto the petition, whose notions of freedom of speech are manifested in Stalin's regime. They are joined by Marxist anti-Zionist professor Daniel Bar-Tal from Tel Aviv University, whose career has been devoted to churning out propaganda for anti-Semitic agencies claiming to prove that Israeli Jews are racists. Bar-Tal has been openly calling for suppressing watchdog groups like Isracampus.com that monitor and expose the anti-Israel Left. Some free speech absolutist!
Then there is Chaim Gans, the law professor at the Tel Aviv University law school, whose devotion to freedom of speech is evident in the fact that he organized the petition there to bar a woman army colonel from lecturing in the Law School because Gans does not like her political opinions. He is joined by Alon Liel, the ex-diplomat now organizing world boycotts against Israel. Retired Professor Gabi (Gavriel) Salomon (from Haifa University) is also there. Between articles he churns out for Aljazeera, Salomon for years ran a classroom indoctrination program at Haifa's school of education in "peace education," where students were re-educated, North Korea style, into leftist dogma. Some believer in freedom of speech!
Then there is Hebrew U's David Shulman, serving as a one-man lobby for convicted violent thug and child molester Ezra Nawi. Ze'ev Sternhell, the Marxist Hebrew University professor who urged the Palestinian Arabs to murder "settlers and who denounces "settler" children as Hitler youth, is one more great defender of freedom of speech in the petition. Airhead singer Avinoam Nini is there. Orthodox-Jew basher Sefi Rachlevski is there.
I will spare you the thumbnail sketches of the three dozen others on the petition.
A partial list of signatories appears in this article in Hebrew - http://www.kr8.co.il/BRPortal/