Counterpoint: Questions of loyalty

The Knesset Committee on UnIsraeli Activities - chairman: Avigdor Lieberman; members: Uzi Landau, Eli Yishai, Moshe Gafni, Michael Ben-Ari and Moshe Ya'alon.

By DAVID FORMAN
March 12, 2009 16:26

 
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Lieberman: This Knesset committee was established to explore the individual's right to defend himself against any claims that he has demonstrated disloyalty to the state. This is what democracy is all about. So we have invited all of you to answer some questions relating to your past activities in order to help us - and you - clarify your allegiance to the Jewish homeland. Let's begin. Could Gidon Levy and Amira Haas please step forward? Mr. Levy and Ms. Haas, the committee has in its possession your respective articles that are not only highly critical of the state's behavior toward its enemies, but ones that embrace the enemies' side. Do you not agree that such writings could be construed as undermining the Jewish nation? Levy: Well, Senator McCarthy - whoops, I mean Mr. Lieberman - it strikes me that an open society would allow for such self-criticism. Haas: Isn't freedom of the press a cardinal element of a free country? Lieberman: Will the director of Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman, approach the committee. Mr. Folman, does not our state have enough detractors without you drudging up our past, reminding people of Sabra and Shatila? Folman: With all due respect, I would think that you would consider this a great public relations coup; that is, there is artistic freedom in the country - plus the fact that the movie merited so many awards, bestowing great honor on Israel and its fledgling film industry. Ben-Ari: You failed to mention that the massacre of the Palestinians in those Beirut refugee camps was carried out by Christians and then blamed on the Jews, as if we perpetrated a Holocaust. Folman: Dr. Ben-Ari, as an ardent follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane, what do you think of the Natorei Karta hassidim, especially those rabbis who joined hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Holocaust denial conference in Iran? Yishai: Mr. Folman, they are true believers. Allegiance to God rises above all else, as does belief in the messiah and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. But what would a heathen like you know? Landau: Speaking of heathens, could Zehava Gal-On make herself known to the committee and Gidon Sa'ar. We understand that both of you have been leading the fight against trafficking in women. As you can well imagine, the members of this committee are opposed to smuggling goyim into the country, but to expose this problem to the world gives a bad name to the state. I would expect such behavior from Saeb Erekat's "whore," Gal-On, but from you, Gidon, a sworn Likudnik - blood of our blood. Lieberman: Let's move on. Where is Ami Ayalon? Mr. Ayalon, what is your relationship with Sari Nusseibeh? Ayalon: I was commander-in-chief of the navy and the head of the Shin Bet. I thought it might be a good idea to explore the possibility of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. I found a willing partner in Dr. Nusseibeh. After all, I understand that the greatest liturgical pining of the Jewish people is the prayer for peace, recited three times daily. Lieberman: Will Mr. Ascherman take a seat? Ascherman: Excuse me, sir, but I am a rabbi. Yishai: Listen, you imposter, when you are ready to accept a narrow and exclusive understanding of Halacha, instead of a universal and humanistic interpretation of the Jewish tradition (God forbid), then all you rabbis for human rights can call yourselves rabbis. But, by defending east Jerusalem Arabs from having their homes demolished or protecting Palestinian farmers who want to cultivate their land and harvest their crop - even though you are upholding the sacred biblical dictum that "you are to treat the stranger as a citizen" - you are encouraging mixed marriage, thus contaminating the Jewish bloodline. Lieberman: If we are already addressing the issue of Jewish pedigree, is Devorah Reich in the room? Ms. Reich, is it true that you work at Neveh Shalom, a Jewish-Arab community that fosters sexual cohabitation between Muslims and Jews, just as those Hebrew/Arabic bilingual schools and Arab-Jewish programs like Beit Hagefen do? Reich: That accusation has been proved patently false. Lieberman: Ah, but you do live in Abu Ghosh! Since we are interviewing women, let's call forward Miri Sela, Ronit Nahmias, Yafa Arbel and Rahel Ben-Dor; along with all the women in Machsom Watch. Ladies, we are sympathetic for your concern as Jewish mothers wanting their children to behave like good Jewish boys. The women: Thank you; but, that's not the sole reason that... (they are interrupted). Gafni: Be quiet. You will speak when spoken to. The four of you from the so-called Four Mothers movement that pressured the government to withdraw from Lebanon, and the rest of you who dare to monitor Jewish soldiers' behavior at checkpoints; you are a disgrace to your people. The women: Rabbi Gafni, you need not worry. We will never report the ill behavior of your constituents, as they refuse to serve in the military. And yet, you are ever-so-willing to sacrifice our children's blood for your theological purity. Have you no shame? Gafni: Ah, the female species, they are impossible. Blessed are You O Lord that You did not make me a woman. Mr. Chairman, could we please hear the testimony of Dana International? International: Here I am, love. Gafni: Do you not agree that your transsexual perversion causes harm to the state? International: Cursed are You O Lord that You did not make me according to my will. Gafni, Yishai and Ben-Ari: Stone her or him to death! International, Reich, the Four Mothers, the women of Machsom Watch: Bigots! Lieberman: Everyone, calm down, we need to act civilly and treat each other with respect. Will all the Arabs in the room please stand up and sing "Hatikva," and let me warn you, if you do not, or if you fail to get the words right or fudge the words or sing off key, then we will revoke your citizenship, forcing the state to either incarcerate or deport you. A Beduin and a Druse: But, sir, we are loyal citizens. We have served in the army. We have lost family members in the defense of Israel. Ben-Ari: You do not mean "Israel," you mean the "Jewish state." Ya'alon: Could all the haredim explain why they refuse to serve in the IDF? (Gafni and Yishai walk off in protest.) Rabbi Michael Melchior: General Ya'alon, I know it is not my turn to testify, but I would like to address the committee now. I believe that matters of religious belief and issues of moral conscience rise above national loyalty. That is the essence of a Jewish and democratic society. Yishai and Gafni (who have reentered the room): We should not have to listen to the likes of another fake rabbi, who pontificates about pluralism and inclusiveness, along with all those other liberal-leaning mutinous individuals who have just appeared before this committee, to defend us. Who do they think they are - some sort of prophets who champion moral decency, human dignity, social justice and equality? Lieberman: You are right. There is no room in this state for such lofty Jewish ideals. Next... Will David Forman please take the stand?

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