Totalitarian Purity is Restored

Yet another nail was banged this week into the coffin of Israeli democracy. On Monday, the McCarthyist Left succeeded, at long last, in shutting down Arutz-7, the main voice of non-leftist dissidence in Israel. This under a government headed by Ariel Sharon.

Contact Editor
Prof. Steven Plaut,

Yet another nail was banged this week into the coffin of Israeli democracy. On Monday, the McCarthyist Left succeeded, at long last, in shutting down Arutz-7, the main voice of non-leftist dissidence in Israel. This under a government headed by Ariel Sharon.

Israel's Hebrew media are the occupied territories of Israel's Far Left. Haaretz is considerably less pluralistic than was Pravda in the days of Brezhnev and is increasingly advocating the "One-State Solution", meaning the Rwanda Solution, to Israel's existence, where Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state. Yediot Aharonot is just slightly less extremist than Haaretz and its Op-Ed pages have been dubbed by some wags "Fatahland". Maariv is the most balanced of the Hebrew papers, although it also is more leftist than not.

The Jerusalem Post is balanced, but has a tiny market share - only among English speakers. Israel's three TV stations compete against one another over who can be the most extremist and leftist, who the most biased. They are considerably less pro-Israel than the BBC and CNN. Most radio stations are still state-run and - by definition - that makes them leftist. The Likud has never challenged the hegemony of the Left over the state-owned electronic media when it has held office.

That leaves the "pirate stations". Israel has a long history of "pirate" radio stations. These are broadcasters that operate transmitters technically outside the legal jurisdiction of Israel, at sea on ships, or just illegally from someone's attic. Pirate radio exists largely because the government has refused to sell broadcast licenses to private-sector groups.

The first pirate ship was that of leftist wacko Abbie Nathan, who used it to broadcast obnoxious rock-and-roll noise mixed in with political caterwauling from the Far Left. He was allowed to broadcast unfettered for decades, starting in the early 1970s, by governments of both the Labor Party and the Likud. He eventually went bankrupt and celebrated the shutting down of his "Peace Boat" by scuttling it smack in the center of Israel's shipping lanes.

But sauce for the goose in Israel has never been sauce for the lemmings. When the Right set up its own pirate radio station on a ship outside the territorial waters of Zion, the McCarthyist Left launched a jihad from its first day designed to shut it down. Despite repeated legal and legislative attempts to shut it down, Arutz-7 (meaning Channel 7 in Hebrew) has struggled on, with its shoestring of a budget, until this week. (A handful of other pirate stations, many with Orthodox religious orientation, have also broadcast on and off. Unlike the United States, the Israeli government has never looked kindly on religious radio stations having a right to part of the airwaves.)

Arutz-7 was a breath of fresh air in Israel's near-totalitarian world of Leftist media hegemony. It proved itself absolutely correct in its denunciation of the Oslo Accords, the only media outfit in Israel daring to oppose Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres' policies. The Left denounced Arutz-7 as "inciters", McCarthyist terminology for people who disagree with the Left, and the Leftists made no secret of their belief that Arutz-7 was directly responsible for Rabin getting assassinated. And this, at the same time that they said the Leftist media should not be held accountable for the 1,300 Israelis murdered so far by the Oslo "peace process" they touted.

The quality of Arutz-7 broadcasts varied. By far, the best program was the weekly commentary by Adir Zik. Zik is an eloquent and intelligent commentator, although he lost a lot of credibility by his promotion of the infantile Chamish conspiracy theories. Hagai Segal, who sometimes writes in Yediot, and Eliakim Haetzni are just behind Zik.

The Left had been filing petition after petition to shut Arutz-7 down. The same Labor Party that defended Abbie Nathan's ship to its last decibel has led the jihad against Arutz-7. It was joined by a host of leftists who have served as Attorney-Generals. Incredibly, some of the worst assaults against Arutz-7 were carried out when the Likud was in office, since the Likud always seeks to be the me-too Labor Party and to out-Mapai them.

Five years ago a leftist lawyer filed a suit with the court to shut down the station and indict its owners/managers. It took five years for the Court to find for the plaintiff and restore pure leftist hegemony over Israel's media.






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