Sunday, February 24, 2019

AIPAC is being irresponsible - Dror Eydar

by Dror Eydar

For the sake of its important work, the lobby – which is not the American Jewish community – must refrain from making an ill-informed leap into Israeli politics, especially at such a sensitive time.

First of all, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is not the American Jewish community. It is a Jewish-American lobby. In comparison, the organizations that actually represent the Jewish community have thus far refrained from intervening in Israeli elections or politics, especially at such a sensitive time. In the past few days, we have witnessed a concentrated attack by most of the Israeli media, which of course affects the disinformation that American Jewry receives. We aren't talking about an ideological partnership with the far Right but rather a legitimate ad hoc merger to establish a bloc that can prevent the Left from taking power. Immediately after the election, members of Otzma Yehudit intend to separate from Habayit Hayehudi-National Union and join the opposition. So if AIPAC doesn't want to meet with Otzma Yehudit, they shouldn't meet with them. What does it matter to us? Unwittingly, AIPAC is irresponsibly playing into the hands of elements in the media and the Israeli political system who want to attack the Right. For the sake of their important activity, they mustn't jump into the Israeli political morass.

But it's hard to ignore the supposedly moral disgrace that has been heaped upon us. For years, all the coalition math by the Left included the radical, pro-Palestinian Left. This included the Arab parties that are working to eradicate the Jewish character of Israel, claiming that it is "racist"; MKs that encourage an international boycott of their country and support the policies of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who compensates those who murder Jews and increases the payments based on how horrific the killings are. Where has AIPAC been? Why haven't we heard them preaching morality to the Israeli Left for those alliances? In the 1999 election, Ehud Barak took part in a conference with Sheikh Raed Salah, who even them rejected Israel's right to exist, and not surprisingly, the morality glands of the leftist media failed to secrete. Let us remember that the government of Yitzhak Rabin, which brought us the blood accords in Oslo, was established based on a similar alignment of left-wing blocs.

It's lucky that Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir exists; otherwise, whom would we accuse of being far right? Thus far, MK Bezalel Smotrich has had the role, and until not too long ago it was Moshe Feiglin, and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been called a "Kahanist" by the Haaretz newspaper. What a disgrace. And Saturday evening, the poet Yitzhak Laor, who writes for Haaretz, posted to Facebook, calling journalist Amit Segal "Adolf Hitler"!  That is the standard discourse with these guys; the way they see it, we're all Kahanists.

This fuss should show the various facets of the Right that once and for all, they must smash the equation of the enslaved, according to which the Left dictates the limits of the Right's legitimacy while failing to apply the same moral standards to itself. We don't live by their orders and they certainly have nothing to teach us when it comes to morality.

I'll say it again: I was the only Israeli journalist who wrote in this paper against the sanctions taken against Joint Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi following the Mavi Marmara flotilla – Israeli democracy is strong enough to contain her, I wrote. I also objected to disqualifying the Balad party from running in the election. It is even more vital to object to the total rejection of the radical Right. We can cooperate with them on certain things and there are things they do that we must oppose. The Left is expert at disqualifications and boycotts but the Right is directed to be cautious and address the issue rather than the person.

Dror Eydar has been appointed Israeli ambassador to Italy.


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