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.
Israel's Left has a new cause. It is operating a jihad against the freedom of speech of poor Daniel Seaman. He is the outgoing director-general of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry and he is a man who speaks his mind.
Leftists do not mind people speaking their mind as long as their mind is speaking leftism. But Brother Seaman speaks politically incorrect thoughts.
Seaman is a Likud activist who has held a series of posts, including serving as head of the government press office. What has the Left in hysterics is that Seaman has been tapped to head a new experimental governmental program to recruit Israeli college students to serve as public relations activists on the internet, where they would
fight anti-Israel demonization and hate propaganda and provide the Israeli side of events.
The Left hates that idea. For the Left, the proper Israeli position should always be the position of the Palestinian Arabs. The Left wants Israel to defend itself by adopting the Arab world's political agenda, not by supporting Israels!
Now it turns out that Seaman is sharp tongued in a rather endearing fashion. The Left insists that he makes "racist and offensive" comments on his blog and Facebook or Twitter pages. As you may know, the Left calls anything with which it disagrees "racist and offensive."
Here is an example of racism and offensiveness that the Left is citing. When the EU sort of and reluctantly included the Hezbollah among the list of terrorist groups, Seaman wrote, “The EU found an unequivocal voice when it comes to Israel, but still can’t declare the Hezbollah a terrorist entity. Ironically, while Europeans try to define
our ancestral borders, the Muslims are redefining theirs.”
He added, “The term ‘half-assed’ is used to refer to something being sloppy or partially completed. For example…The EU decision to only put the Hezbollah military wing on the terror list and not ban the political wing headed by the same Nasrallah [Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah] as well, is half-assed.” The Left is rolling its eyes at horror at the use of the term above.
When Ramadan began, Seaman posted, “Does the commencement of the fast of the Ramadan mean that Muslims will stop eating each other during the daytime?”
On President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday he posted, “Question for Peres, Clinton and Blair – how many ‘victims of peace’ never celebrated their 10th birthday?”
When the PLO chief negotiator demanded that Israel agree to negotiate its return to the 1967 Green Line, he posted, "Erekat, said his side would only agree to renew peace talks if Israel ceased all settlement activity and openly declared that a future state of Palestine would be created on the 1967 lines adding that this should not be viewed as a precondition to talks but rather as an Israeli duty. Is there a diplomatic way of saying ‘Go f--- yourself’?”
When the Palestinians held their "Nakba Day" mourning, he posted, “The Palestinians commemorated the Naqba with a 65 second siren in Ramallah. That’s not nearly enough time to stop and pause to think about how stupid they are.”
Finally, Seaman is being accused of ruffling the diplomatic feathers of Japan with his comments about the bombing of Hiroshima. According to the Haaretz report:
A senior official at the Japanese Embassy contacted the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem asking for clarifications regarding the anti-Japanese remarks on the Facebook page of Daniel Seaman, outgoing director-general of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, which is being closed.
On August 8, Seaman condemned the memorial ceremonies for the victims of the World War II atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, saying, “I am sick of the Japanese, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Peace’ groups the world over holding their annual self-righteous commemorations for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims. [The bombings of] Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the consequence of Japanese aggression. You reap what you sow ...Instead, they should be commemorating the estimated 50 million Chinese, Korean … and other victims of Japanese imperial aggression and genocide.”
Try as I might, I just cannot see very much in all the above with which to disagree!
So now the Left is leading a campaign to insist that Seaman be silenced, denied freedom of speech, and removed from the Netanyahu public relations campaign initiative! Haaretz published an editorial denouncing Seaman.
These are a few particularly extreme messages Seaman has posted on his Facebook page. In many others, he has expressed his rightist political views, has come out against the disengagement from Gaza and the dismantling of the Gush Katif bloc settlements, has attacked international media players such as The Guardian or Israeli media such as Haaretz and has personally clashed swords (figuratively speaking, of course) with journalists such as Channel 2’s Arad Nir and former Haaretz editor-in-chief Hanoch Marmari.
Clearly. anyone who can get Haaretz this upset must be a truly great moral leader and a figure for admiration! The Haaretz hysteria is more than enough of a reason to write Netanyahus office and urge him to retain and promote Seaman at once! You can do so in English here: