Terror in southern Israel
Terror in southern IsraelArutz Sheva photo: Flash 90

The Jerusalem Post has fired radical leftist longtime columnist Larry Derfner after he published a commentary piece in which he justified Arab terrorism against Israelis and particularly the recent multiple terror attacks near Eilat.

In a column dated August 21 which he published on his blog and which was entitled “The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror,” Derfner wrote:

“[T]he Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified... the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us....What’s needed very badly, ...is for Israelis to realize that ...we are compelling them (the Palestinians) to engage in terrorism, that the blood of Israeli victims is ultimately on our hands, and that it’s up to us to stop provoking our own people’s murder by ending the occupation.... [T]he Palestinians ... who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, ... were justified to attack....  Israel, which rules the Palestinians harshly and unjustly, is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths – as well as for every other Israeli death that occurred when this country was offering the Palestinians no other way to freedom.”

Derfner, a veteran journalist who can hardly plead that he did not know the connotations of what he had written, deleted the blog post after many readers expressed their outrage. He later published an apology in which he wrote:

“I wrote that because of the occupation, Palestinians are “justified” in attacking, even killing Israelis, that they have the “right” to do so. Later on I stressed that I didn’t want them to kill my countrymen, and that I would do anything necessary to stop it. I meant those two points to show that I wasn’t “for” terrorism, that while I thought the occupation justified it, that didn’t mean I supported it. But I see now that the distance from “justified” to “support” is way, way too short – and I am as far away as anybody can be from supporting attacks on Israel and Israelis.”

The Jerusalem Post, employs a number of leftist columnists and often features opeds by radical leftists, but this justification of Israeli deaths went too far for the paper to ignore, especially when eight innocent Israelis had just been killed, so  that it did not accept the apology and on Tuesday printed the following on its front page:

“A note to our readers: Due to a professional disagreement with Larry Derfner connected to his personal blog, he will no longer be working at The Jerusalem Post.”

Derfner, who announced his termination on his blog on Tuesday, said that the newspaper had received hundreds of cancellations of subscriptions after his post was published, a fact which he claimed prompted the newspaper to fire him.

Derfner, who made aliyah from the United States, is a resident of Modi’in. Over the years he has published many columns sympathizing with the Arab cause, criticizing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria which he would like to see eliminated, branding the "occupation" and activities of the IDF and accusing Israel of injustice, somehow missing the Arab side of the equation.

Arutz Sheva attempted to contact Derfner on Tuesday to get his response, but upon picking up the telephone he said: “Arutz Sheva? We have nothing to talk about,” and hung up.