Ranters who rant the anti-Israel rant

Susie Dym,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Susie Dym
Susie Dym serves as spokesperson for Mattot Arim, with over 20 years of expertise on "peace-for-peace" issues.
Rants are still being churned out here in Israel following the shocking arson death of an Arab child.  The more senior the individual doing the ranting, the more irresponsible these are, and the more dangerous for Israel. This is because accusations being made in the public arena, against the right wing and against our country, Israel, get picked up by pro-Palestinian PR groups. This further increases the asymmetric and unjustifiable international  pressure on Israel. I fervently hope that this ranting-causes pressure-on-Israel cycle is not some rant-producers’ deliberate intention; recall the late Haaretz editor David Landau, who famously urged foreigners to “rape” Israel.

One media example of a rant was by former Jerusalem Post editor Jeff Barak, who should know better. He said about the  baby’s death that “the writing on the wall” was there for all to see. This implies that  graffiti of a violent vein is an exclusive right-wing phenomenon which is clearly predictive of violence – neither of which assumptions is correct. For example, right on my own sleepy street in academic Rehovot, the mere presence of a local national-religious high-school yeshiva prompted the following scrawl by never found (never looked-for?) radical secularists: “Dros kol dos, hashmed kol hared” – mow down all religious people, decimate all the Ultra-Orthodox.

Lists of “price tag” attacks” (violence believed to be perpetrated by Jews against Arabs)  over the last couple of years have been prominently displayed in the media marketplace. Incidents listed have  included a murder, 4 arson attacks, a property crime, 2 fire-bombings as well as various graffiti incidents. While this is 7 violent or potentially violent crimes too many,  it is disgraceful and unprofessional for Israeli journalists, columnists and public figures, particularly if writing in English i.e. for foreign as well as Israeli consumption, not to present facts in proper context. To give a few salient examples: Jerusalem’s light rail passengers – just one single target in vulnerable Israel - have been stoned by Palestinians 80 times (!) in 2015 alone. Nadav Shragai wrote in October 2014 summarizing all violent attacks of Palestinians against Jews in a period of less than 4 months and found the number of violent crimes (including those in which no-one was hurt) to be over 10,000 – including fire-bombing and stoning.  The Shabak report, easily available to any journalist, reported 123 violent attacks of Palestinians against Israelis in a single month (January 2015) including 17 bombings, 3 shootings, and 102 firebombings. 12 Israelis were murdered by Palestinians just this past year. And so on and so forth.

Ranters  associated with the left have also accused Israel of making no serious efforts made to find and convict suspected Jewish perpetrators of violence against Muslims. This is completely false and again  what is lacking is context. Israel’s law enforcement authorities have over 300 murders and attempted murders to handle annually -- and over 30,000 assaults. There is nothing high about these numbers suggesting that Israel is more violent than other states; the State Department has determined that Israel’s rate of crime is nothing out of the ordinary compared to other countries. But the point is that crime by Jews against Palestinians simply is not a major component of Israeli crime rates. Such crimes  definitely must be prevented just as all heinous murders and other violent crimes must be prevented. But singling this small category of crime out for major speeches, editorials and television attention, both in Israel and abroad, does  a great and dangerous injustice to Israel and otherwise accomplishes absolutely nothing – other than unprofessional allocation of police resources.

Other loud critics have recently  denigrated ministers in the Government of Israel for “getting away with” criticism of Israel’s High Court. Israel’s High Court is indeed criticized from the right as being dominated by a radical Left school of thought, which seems to encompass most of the court’s judges. But the left cannot deny the right to hold this opinion and simultaneously laud “democratic values” and the “dignity of all human beings”. That is just it, those Israelis, certainly including cabinet members,  who disagree with the left are fully entitled to freedom of speech which the left claims to hold dear. No-one will believe  the left’s sincerity, or vote them in, until they begin to practice what they preach. Nor does the world view of the Right have anything whatsoever to do with the arson (by unknown perpetrators) against the Arab family. To the contrary, “settlers”, such as the residents of Beth-El, are also human beings entitled to “dignity” and full rights, including the right to build a home. Defamation of the large community of Beth-El and even more so, of members of the Government of Israel by associating them with an arson resulting in death of a toddler, is the height of irresponsibility. Eager Israel-hating eyes are always searching for this sort of opinion column, preferably carefully written up in English by an Israeli. This is exactly what is held up to Israel haters as “proof”: here is someone who “must know what he is talking about”, spewing out criticism of Israel. Responsible Israeli media, and civilized Western media, must stop facilitating these rants.

Prof. Shalom Rosenberg, one of Israel's leading intellectuals,  has written that Israel President Ruby Rivlin’s highly publicized accusation that “my people’s sons have chosen terror” was inappropriate; Mr. Rivlin has as of yet made only partial amends. And Israel’s largest left-wing daily, Yediot Ahronot, disgraced itself by blaring of the “Jewish terrorists who burned a baby to death”. In contrast, even normally Israelophobic media in the Western world took the elementary precaution of hedging, such as the New York Times’ use of the word “suspected” (Jewish Arsonists Suspected in West Bank Attack)  or BBC’s use of quotations marks: “Palestinian fury as 'Jewish settler' arson attack kills child”. Not so Yediot.

We already have warnings for smokers. How about a warning for ranters, many of whom are Israeli? How about: WARNING:  Over-dramatized Anti-Israel Diatribes Are Injurious to Israel’s Health.