The postman knocks twice: Labels and libel

The Knesset has become a place for “machers” of all kinds.

Ayelet Shaked
The Left is wrong to fight against the proposed law under which lobbyists for NGOs funded by foreign governments would be “labeled” when in the Knesset.
The legislation making representatives of nongovernmental organizations wear labels would be more democratic if it required that every single lobbyist to wear a tag.
The Knesset, I have been told, has become a place for “machers” of all kinds. “Macher,” in correct Yiddish transliteration, is “makher” and is a pejorative for questionable deal-makers. These machers (male and female) quite possibly help finance some of the lawmakers’ election campaigns in one way or another.
It would also make sense to require tags for representatives of publicly funded bodies, who regularly float around the Knesset pushing their agendas. These machers range from lobbyists for the Negev or the Galilee, and from Judea and Samaria. Once they use our tax dollars, they too should be tagged.
And how about lobbyists for the oil, food, finance and other cartels... oops... industries? Shouldn’t they be tagged as well? I agree with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that there must be transparency. For all. Okay start with the NGOs.
I do not want foreign governments pulling our strings.
But keep going, Mme. Minister. Cover the field so we can recognize all representatives of special interests.
Speaking of Shaked, the university lecturer who called Mrs. Shaked “neo-Nazi scum” is obviously a disgrace to academia. Worse than that he is a disgrace to himself and his profession. As a teacher of political science, he should know what neo-Nazism is. If I were head of his department, I would not renew his contract on purely professional grounds. And “scum?” What class this academic shows.
The minister has lodged a complaint against him for incitement. Good for her! She may be criticized but not libeled. I hope the attorney-general will also file a charge against the father of “a sweet young innocent lad” (my words) who is suspected of illegal acts against Palestinians.
I do not know if his son is also a suspect for the ugly murder by fire of a two-year-old child and his parents in Duma.
This paragon of fatherhood, according to a press report, called the Shin Bet “Gestapo” and Israel a “Nazi” state. In that case, he should be an eminent candidate for leaving the country. I may even be able to wangle him a visa to Iran if he has a non-Israeli second passport. Another fine statement by a father of a suspect: “I hate this state. It’s the most anti-Semitic state in the world since the Third Reich.”
I am disgusted by such language. Happily, gladly I would see the backs of such people. As for murder-arson, which is the suspicion that is being investigated, let’s be clear: the Crusaders burnt people, the Inquisition burnt “heretics,” the Poles in Jedwabne burnt Jews in 1941. The Nazis burnt Jews and others, too.
In that case, who committed a Nazi-like act? One major pillar of Nazism is racism, and another is rabid nationalism.
Perhaps these so-called religious people do not know that the Talmud teaches us that he who takes a single human life is as though he has destroyed an entire world.
Now let’s look at the sanctimonious defenders of democracy and of human rights, the Ben-Gvirs and their ilk, lawyers who rush to the defense of anyone accused of committing a Kahane-influenced act of violence against the body or property of Palestinians. These are clearly bleeding-heart democrats who doubtless would defend all Jews of all persuasions, and of course, any Arabs as well as who feel their civil rights have been violated. No doubt they will soon rush to the defense of the left-wing NGOs who claim their rights are being infringed upon.
By the way, who is paying their fees? Some transparency please.
Now should the entire national-religious public be tarred by the same brush? Of course not. However, there are signs that too many in this large community are in denial. Here is a paragraph copied from a report by this newspaper’s Jeremy Sharon: “A poll conducted for Army Radio... showed that 78 percent of the national-religious sector feel the Duma murders are being used to attack their community, while 36 percent believe “Arabs” to be behind the attack on the Dawabsha family and 79% believe the media have focused disproportionately on the issue in comparison with Palestinian terrorism.”
For a “normal” (normative or average) national-religious person it is hard to believe that one of his/her sons could be involved in this gruesome act. Therefore a large number feel they are being singled-out unfairly. Over a third polled deny it could have done by them, and wishfully project the crime on “Arabs.”
The political leaders of the religious-camp represent this split. Naftali Bennett has come out loud and clear that this act is Jewish terrorism. His partners further to the Right in his Bayit Yehudi party belong to the deniers, and vilify the security services. Education Minister Bennett has shown signs of increasing understanding of his role as a national leader. The minister should by now have realized that calling the Arabs “a thorn in the butt” and referring to them as the “enemy” is counter-educational.
The indictments will come soon. The case will be dragged through every possible level of the justice system.
I hope it will make clear to all that terrorism is terrorism and the sanctity of all human life is above smokescreens, labels and libel.
Avraham Avi-hai has long experience in Israeli political and public affairs, ranging from government to academia. Reaction and comments to [email protected]