Increasingly Selective Democracy

In a surprise development, it has just been learned that Israeli police, tipped off by the Mossad, have arrested controversial author Salman Rushdie. The exiled Iranian writer had been on a private visit to Israel.

Prof. Steven Plaut,

Consider the following statements. At the end of the list, you will be asked to explain what exactly are the differences among them:

1. Mohammed was a pig.

2. Butcher the Jews.

3. In fire and blood we will redeem Palestine.

4. Zionists are Nazis.

5. Bibi Netanyahu is a Nazi.

6. Rocks are not enough; bullets must be used by Arabs to liberate themselves.

7. The children of Jewish settlers are Hitler Jugend.

8. When I see religious Jews, I really understand the Nazis.

9. The Germans had the right idea of how to deal with the Jews.

10. Israeli soldiers are Nazi stormtroopers.

11. Religious Jews are collectively guilty of murder.

12. Judaism is a gutter religion.

13. Zionists are Judeo-Nazis.

14. We need many suicide bombers and "engineers".

15. We will have a jihad until Israel ceases to exist.

16. Rabin was a mass-murderer of Arabs and no one should honor him.

17. It is right and proper that settlers be gunned down.

18. We will never stop killing until Israel ceases to exist.

19. Zionism is a form of racism and colonialism that must be ended with force.

20. Israel behaved like Nazi Germany in Jenin.

21. Israel should expel the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

Okay. So, what is the difference? Well the answer is simple. Quotations #1 and #21 above are criminal speech in Israel, for which one will do real hard jail time. All the other statements above are protected speech, legal expressions of legitimate political opinion in Israel. Not only may you say all of these other things in Israel, for some of them, you are likely to be granted tenure at a major university.

Statements #2 and #3 are the universal chants at each and every gathering of Palestinians, and, increasingly, also of Israeli Arabs. Number 3 was chanted at Haifa University by Arabs. For #8, the "artist" Yigal Tumarkin was almost granted a Yad Vashem honor. Professors at Hebrew University have stated #4, #5, #7, #10, #11 and #13. Arab Knesset Members from the Communist party have stated #6, #15, #16 and #17. And PLO officials have said almost all of the above, except of course #1 and #21. As for #12, Chicken Lou Farrakhan's famous chirp, this did not cause Israeli officials to deny him entrance to Israel.

In the case of all the above, except for #1 and #21, it is the official position of the Israeli political establishment and of the Israeli courts that the statement is simply protected free speech, perhaps crude, vulgar and objectionable, but protected speech nonetheless.

A few years ago Tatiana Suskin made leaflets with the offensive image of Mohammed as a pig. She may have been a fanatic, a naif, and perhaps even a bit dangerous. She used poor taste and was vulgar and crude. Yet her poster of the prophet Mohammed as a pig would be protected (if tasteless) speech in any true democracy in the world.

But not in Israel. In Israel, it is a crime for which one does real jail time in hard-core prison, for a period of two years; more than many drug smugglers and rapists get.

Then the political establishment, under the Likud this time, launched a jihad against Arutz-7, the only independent voice of non-leftist political dissent in Israeli broadcasting. First, the station was shut down, then the court announced it would seek to toss the owners into prison for long terms. And now, the government wants to prosecute the Arutz-7 web site owners because a columnist wrote an opinion containing point #21.

And which web sites does the Attorney General NOT think need shutting down? Well, for one there is the Israel "Indymedia" web site of extremist Far-Leftist and neo-Nazi anti-Semites, which regularly calls openly for more terrorist murders of Jews, denies the Holocaust, endorses Israel's liquidation, and denounces Judaism, the religion, and the Bible in vulgar terms.

Zahava Gal-On, the Chief McCarthyist for the Meretz Party, petitioned the Attorney General to prosecute the web site operators, because the columnist called for expulsion of Palestinians. Of course, Gal-On's own party calls for the mass expulsion of Jews from the West Bank and Gaza, yet they have not been indicted for "racism".

Suskin's case and the jihad against Arutz-7 have been proof of how selective democracy has become in Israel. Ever since the Yitzhak Rabin assassination, the Israeli Left has promoted a unique political philosophy, holding that free speech protection should apply only to leftists, and that expression by non-leftists is criminal incitement and sedition. This was the official position of the Attorney General and the courts under the misrule of Israel's increasingly-fanatic Labor Party and its Marxist Meretz partners.

The Israeli establishment argued that Suskin's actions offend the Moslems. Well, Moslem anti-Semitic speech and actions offend the Jews, or at least all Jews who are not self-hating lemmings. What is worse, ?porking? Mohammed or applauding the ?Engineer? and the mass murderers of Jews? Israeli freedom and democracy are now in serious danger. And from a government led by the party of that great believer in democracy and constitutionalism, Menachem Begin.

Is the following next?

News Flash - Jan. 15, 2004

Israeli Police Arrest Salman Rushdie

In a surprise development, it has just been learned that Israeli police, tipped off by the Mossad, have arrested controversial author Salman Rushdie. The exiled Iranian writer had been on a private visit to Israel.

Rushdie was apprehended while visiting the Middle East Studies department at the Hebrew University. He had originally been scheduled to address the literature department there, but the professors of literature all announced that they had decided to boycott Rushdie's talk, since Rushdie was offensive to Moslem sensitivities and politically incorrect.

Upon commencement of his talk at the University, Israeli police suddenly broke into the lecture hall and dragged a handcuffed Rushdie away. He is being held in isolation in an unspecified Israeli prison while his fate is being decided. Rushdie's arrest came as part of Israel's new campaign to imprison those whose expression and speech is offensive to Moslems. It will be recalled that a fanatical woman named Tatiana Suskin was recently sentenced to two years in Israeli prison for distributing posters in Hebron that show the Prophet Mohammed as a pig. Unnamed sources have been quoted as saying that Rushdie and Suskin will be sharing the same cell.

The Knesset immediately went into emergency session to debate the Rushdie Affair. The government's recommendation is that Rushdie be handed over to Iran as a goodwill gesture. Iran has an outstanding warrant for the arrest of the author, and it is believed he would be immediately executed if extradited to Iran.

The Hadash Communist Party has initiated a Knesset resolution that would create an exemption to Israel's criminal code, which generally bans capital punishment, and would allow Rushdie to be executed within Israel itself, or at least turned over to the Palestinian Authority for execution. The Likud and Labor Party are expected to vote in favor of the Hadash proposal, while other parties are still undecided. Newly appointed Likud spokesperson Shimon Peres insisted that both arrests were part of the breaking out of good relations in the New Middle East.

Congratulations to Israel have been coming in from all over the world. The heads of the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress in the United States have issued statements supporting the arrest. "After all," explained ADL chief Abraham Foxman, "Rushdie's Satanic Verses is at least as objectionable as Suskin's pig poster. Israel is to be congratulated for its defense of freedom of expression."

Reactions in the Moslem world have been mixed. While congratulating Israel for the arrests of Suskin and Rushdie, the Prime Minister of Malaysia added that this still did not excuse the international Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, backed by singer Cat Stevens, is quoted as saying that while both Rushdie and Suskin deserve the death penalty for offensive statements, Judaism is still a gutter religion. Jesse Jackson expressed satisfaction that Rushdie and "that Hymie-girl Suskin" got what they had coming to them for making offensive statements.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat expressed satisfaction that the Oslo peace process was at last producing some progress and forward momentum.

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