MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL - Ta'al) in the Knesset..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
“I am not a contractor for calming operations,” proclaimed MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List- Ta’al) when asked in a host of interviews, following the Kafr Kana shooting and ensuing countrywide riots, what he might do to cool passions.
With his usual in-your-face bluntness, Tibi proceeded to do quite the opposite and to pour oil on the flames. In breathless succession, he accused the officers who shot 22-year-old Kheir-a-Din Hamdan of premeditated homicide, deliberate execution mafia-style, committing racist murder and altogether being “bloodthirsty animals.”
Shouting down other speakers, Tibi charged that the policemen were out to “intentionally terminate Hamdan” rather than neutralize him when he attacked them with a knife. Tibi belittled Hamdan’s actions as “an understandable expression of anger.”
He insisted on stiff punishment for the individual cops, their commanders and government ministers.
As the video that captured the Friday event showed, Hamdan pounded on a police van with a knife and then attempted to attack an officer when he opened the back door. Apparently giving up the attack after the officer went back in the van and shut the door, Hamdan started to walk away. It was then that the officers emerged from the van with one of them shooting him fatally.
As a legislator, Tibi of course ought to be adequately familiar with the principle that punishment isn’t made-to-order or on-demand according to the moods and/or interests of any given sector in the population.
In a democracy sentences are only handed down after exhaustive legal due process, which includes investigation of forensic evidence, formal indictment and, if it comes to that, trial in open court.
By announcing his verdict a priori and hectoring for prohibitive penalties throughout all law-enforcement ranks as well as in the executive branch of government, Tibi knows he’s doing nothing but engaging in outright incitement.
By agitating for non-starters Tibi builds up impossible expectations, which inevitably breed frustration that’s then perceived as another searing grievance and as another casus belli.
By throwing spurious analogies into this already incendiary mix, Tibi further calculatingly ramps up subjective sensations of injustice. Thus Tibi argued that Yigal Amir (prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin) “wasn’t killed but Hamdan was. The only difference is that Hamdan is an Arab and this is how Arabs are treated. The shooting of Arabs isn’t frowned upon. A Jew in the same circumstances wouldn’t be shot.”
This is cynical demagoguery foremost because Jews who endangered the police were shot whereas Amir didn’t threaten the officers who arrested him. Inflammatory harangues in these contentious contexts are akin to tossing a primed grenade into a powder keg.
Not only does Tibi do so with undisguised relish, but he and many of his fellow Israeli-Arab politicians compete fiercely with each other for the title of most abusive and abrasive. That distinction is worth political gold in Israel’s ominously radicalized Arab sector where it becomes a prime vote-getting asset.
The terrifying consequences of rabble-rousing were evident on Sunday when Netanya resident Moshe German left Taiba after visiting a friend and headed back home. He was waylaid on the road by more than 20 ruffians who inquired if he was a Jew. When it emerged that he was, he was beaten and stoned. His car was set on fire while he was still in it. Had a local Taiba man not taken on the role of Good Samaritan and pulled him out, he might have been lynched.
Taiba is where Tibi resides and the incident occurred not too far from Tibi’s home. Yet no murmur of denunciation could be heard of the infliction of grievous bodily harm after the Jewishness of the victim had been previously ascertained. Tibi doesn’t call this racist.
Moreover, what happened to German is hardly unique. Back during the October 2000 riots we had already seen mobs going through the papers of drivers they ambushed and then beating them up if they were Jewish.
In June Umm el-Fahm rioters, expressing support for the snatching of the three schoolboys, closed off Route 65 and pulled out Jewish drivers from their vehicles, battered them and burned their cars. Their slogans and chants praised the boys’ abduction and called for more kidnappings.
Tibi and his colleagues are largely silent amid such provocations, and in fact are part and parcel of the problem by their fraudulent ethos of victimhood and concomitantly the delegitimization of Israel. Their cavalier attitude threatens to plunge whole swathes of this country into entrenched anarchy.