Israel-critics take their cue from Lapid and Gantz - opinion

Friends of the Miller-and-Kurtzer ilk are merely glad for having Lapid and Gantz hand them the justification – and feed them the appropriate quotes – for castigating the Jewish state.

 YAIR LAPID and Benny Gantz will certainly risk fatal electoral injury, but they should accept reality, says the writer (photo credit: OLIVER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
YAIR LAPID and Benny Gantz will certainly risk fatal electoral injury, but they should accept reality, says the writer
(photo credit: OLIVER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Leave it to two prominent American Jews to call on the White House to censure Israel. In fairness to former State Department Mideast analyst/negotiator Aaron David Miller and one-time US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, what they jointly penned in The Washington Post on Tuesday could easily have been crafted by any of the outgoing powers-that-be in Jerusalem.

Indeed, though Miller and Kurtzer – senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Princeton University professor of Middle East policy respectively – have never been shy about criticizing the Jewish state that both profess to love, they might not have been so openly hostile without encouragement from Israelis in high places. Take temporary interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, for example.

Given their own horrifying statements of late, it’s hard to expect critics abroad not to jump at the chance to spew equivalent vitriol. And, boy, did Miller and Kurtzer let it rip.

“As Israel approaches its 75th birthday next year, Benjamin Netanyahu has midwifed the most extreme government in the history of the state, all in an effort to secure legislation to postpone the trial against him or cancel the indictments altogether,” they wrote. “Having brought to life the radical, racist, misogynistic and homophobic far-right parties, Netanyahu is now stuck with them.”

They went on: “He has cut a deal with convicted inciter of hatred and violence [Otzma Yehudit leader MK] Itamar Ben-Gvir and made him minister of national security, with far-reaching authority for the West Bank, Jerusalem and mixed Arab-Jewish cities in Israel proper. [Religious Zionist Party leader MK] Bezalel Smotrich, who has called for the expulsion of Arabs, is in line to run the Finance Ministry, with additional authority over the Civil Administration, which governs the West Bank. And [Noam Party leader] Avi Maoz, who proudly espouses a fierce anti-LGBTQ agenda, has been made a deputy in the prime minister’s office in charge of ‘Jewish identity.’”

 FROM LEFT, prospective coalition partners Yitzhak Goldknopf, Bezalel Smotrich, Yoav Kisch and Moshe Gafni in the Knesset plenum this week (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) FROM LEFT, prospective coalition partners Yitzhak Goldknopf, Bezalel Smotrich, Yoav Kisch and Moshe Gafni in the Knesset plenum this week (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

NEVER MIND the hyperbole, which was plagiarized from the playbook of Israel’s defeated “change” government, most of whose members are barely on speaking terms with one another. There’s method to the madness, as the next passage illustrates.

“This coalition’s agenda,” asserted the pair of failed peace-processors, “could be marked by increased settlement activity and land confiscation, violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, terrorist attacks against Israelis, efforts to change the status quo by legitimizing Jewish prayer on the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount, and loosened rules regarding the use of force against both Palestinians in the West Bank and Arab citizens of Israel. And Palestinian terrorist groups are likely to intensify their attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and Israel proper.”

What a mendacious mouthful. But its point was clear: to blame Israel, in advance, for all the ills that are about to befall it, including the murder of its citizens.

For a bit of unintended comic relief, the co-authors added, “At a minimum, this threatens to put to rest the already-moribund two-state solution.”

They then suggested that “it well may also lead to violent confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, between Israeli Jewish and Arab citizens, and between the Israeli military and Palestinians on the West Bank – [and] trigger another serious round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as occurred in May 2021.”

Israelis were victims

Apparently, they hadn’t noticed the ongoing acts of aggression committed against innocent Israelis since that war. You know, the one aimed at stopping the incessant rocket barrages on the south and center of the country.

According to Miller and Kurtzer, Washington has to adopt a series of punitive measures to keep in check Netanyahu’s “democratically elected [coalition with] antidemocratic values inimical to US interests.”

“Israel should be told,” for instance, “that, while the United States will continue to support its ally’s legitimate security requirements, it will not provide offensive weapons or other assistance for malign Israeli actions in Jerusalem or the occupied territories.”

US President Joe Biden, they said, “should also make it clear to Israel that his administration will have no dealings with Ben-Gvir, Smotrich or their ministries if they continue to espouse racist policies and actions.”

The clincher was their claim that American backing for the Jewish state “in international forums, including the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice, has its limits. And Israel should know that the Biden administration will be on the alert for Israeli actions that deserve to be called out and condemned.”

The most radical-leftist and antisemitic elements of the Democratic Party couldn’t have articulated it better themselves. These paragons of virtue-signaling can hardly be taken to task, however, when Israel’s soon-to-be-oppositionist politicians have been providing them with the script.

AT A MEMORIAL on Wednesday for Israel’s first prime minister, Lapid declared: “I didn’t come to eulogize [David] Ben-Gurion; I came to apologize to him. What is happening in Israel today contradicts everything he believed in and the legacy he left for us.”

This might be accurate, since Ben-Gurion probably would have cringed at the thought of a light-weight like Lapid heading the Zionist enterprise.

Unabashed at using the somber ceremony and occasion for gratitude to decry the people’s choice by blatantly lying about it, he continued: “The incoming government-in-formation does not share the first prime minister’s beliefs. [Its members] do not believe in equality for women and LGBTQ. They do not believe in political and social equality, or in equality for Israelis who are not of the Jewish faith.”

Aware that it was the bulk of the Zionist-Israeli populace who gave the right-wing and religious parties the mandate to run the country, he explained that “this is a democratically elected government, but it seeks to destroy democracy. Democracy is not only the rule of the majority; it is also protection for minorities from the majority, separation of powers, autonomy of the courts, freedom of expression and speaking of truth.”

The new government, he claimed, “doesn’t believe in that, but… we do. We are Zionists and believe the words of our Declaration of Independence. We believe in a Jewish and democratic state and in the rule of law. … [T]he incoming coalition marches to a different and inciteful tune. … [W]e must pray it does not set the Temple Mount and Jerusalem on fire.”

Like Miller and Kurtzer, he was giving the Palestinians a ready-made pretext for assault. In this case, the attack would take the form of arson in the Israeli capital and on the holiest site in Judaism, where Muslims have the religious freedom denied to Jews.

Contrary to their delusional “two-state-solution” apologists, terrorists have ever needed an excuse – other than Israel’s existence – to go on deadly rampages. Netanyahu and his partners were elected, among other reasons, for their cognizance of this fact.

WHICH BRINGS us to Gantz. The retired lieutenant-general, the former chief of staff of the IDF who heads Israel’s Defense Ministry, had the nerve earlier this month to warn that Ben-Gvir was building a “private militia” in the West Bank that could “lead to the severance of coordination with the Palestinians and a security escalation.”

It’s worth noting here that Gantz circumvented the law enacted to prevent the Palestinian Authority from funding terrorist “martyrs” and their families through a fictitious “loan.” He also increased the number of work permits, by many thousands, for Palestinians seeking employment in Israel.

The stupid and dangerous move was due to his clinging to the ridiculous theory, long ago proven to be false, about poverty causing despair that spurs terrorism. That six recent bloody attacks on innocent Israelis were carried out by PA residents in possession of such permits didn’t elicit a peep from him.

This makes sense, since he’s been too busy defaming Ben-Gvir, Smotrich and, by extension, the Israeli voters. With a steely stare and a wistful tone, he told Kan 11 News in September that, “if Netanyahu manages to forge a narrow, extremist coalition, invite me for an end-of-the-country interview.”

Israel’s enemies are hoping he was being prescient. Friends of the Miller-and-Kurtzer ilk are merely glad for having Lapid and Gantz hand them the justification – and feed them the appropriate quotes – for castigating the Jewish state. Shame on all of them.