B'Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad addresses the UN Security Council. Not a traitor
Ben-Dror Yemini
Coalition chair helping turn Israel into a ‘monster’
Op-ed: The proposal to revoke the B’Tselem director’s citizenship weakens the relevant arguments against the organization and provides the radical left with ammunition to slander Israel abroad.
I have blatant criticism against radical left-wing organizations, both because they publish lies and because they are cooperating with the campaign denying Israel’s right to exist. Not only are they not promoting peace, they are leading to an opposite outcome by reinforcing Palestinian rejectionism.



The radical left should have sent Coalition Chairman David Bitan a bouquet of flowers, following the new foolish ideas he has tossed into the air: Revoking the citizenship of the executive director of B’Tselem or revoking Israelis’ right to address international forums like the United Nations.


Bitan’s proposal leads to two things: Primarily, it weakens the legitimate and appropriate criticism against these radical left organizations. When Bitan refuses to settle for criticism and demands a revocation of citizenship—a move that has not been used even against terrorists and murderers, Jews or Arabs—he is weakening the relevant arguments which should be raised, and must be raised, against these bodies.


Coalition Chairman David Bitan. He may gather a few more votes in the primary elections, and to hell with the damage he is causing Israel (Photo: Knesset spokesperson) (Photo: Knesset Spokesperson)
Coalition Chairman David Bitan. He may gather a few more votes in the primary elections, and to hell with the damage he is causing Israel (Photo: Knesset spokesperson)


Secondly, Bitan is providing the members of these bodies with ammunition. After all, they are slandering Israel in the world. They are constantly repeating the fabrication that Israel is losing its democratic characteristics. They are saying that “Israel is hurting human rights activists.” Now Bitan comes along and adding fuel to their destructive fire.


After all, he knows, and the right know, and they know, that nothing will come out of his proposals. These are not right-wing proposals; these are foolish and ridiculous proposals. But that’s not important. He is directing his comments at those Likud members who he sees as reckless and brutish. He may gather a few more votes in the primary elections, and to hell with the damage he is causing Israel and the reinforcement he is giving the delusional left.


In order to understand that Bitan is working in the service of the delusional left—and perhaps not just the delusional left—one should read the response of Knesset Member Tamar Zandberg of Meretz. She is calling for an uprising, no less. She has eagerly seized the opportunity to attack Bitan, although she knows that he has been condemned by right-wing speakers as well and that this is a false and empty proposal. But that doesn’t matter. She is insisting on turning Bitan into the face of Israel. That is the exact method for turning every exception into a norm. That is how you turn Israel into a monster.


B’Tselem activists, let’s make this clear, are not “traitors.” They should be criticized. Like Zandberg, they are wrong and they are misleading. But we should also remember that they believe their way is the best thing for the State of Israel. The fact that they are not traitors, however, does not free the radical leftists from their responsibility for the deteriorating discourse. Because this left is increasingly referring to every political stance it does not approve of as “fascism.” The “fascist” accusation from the left is the twin of the “traitor” accusation from the right.


There is a difference, however: The “traitor” brand is given to radical left-wing activists mainly by a handful of reckless people on social media, while the “fascist” brand has become a regular phrase among circles that consider themselves to be enlightened. What a radical right-wing minority allows itself to do on social media has been turned by the radical left into its most obvious stance.


And there is another difference. The large majority of the right condemned Bitan. The left is repeatedly closing ranks in order to defend every exceptional comment and every exceptional act. There is always a justification. There is always an explanation. Even when left-wing activists turn in Palestinians to the authorities, knowing they'll be tortured—as exposed by the “Uvda” investigative program—is a legitimate action. “Uvda” host Ilana Dayan received more condemnations for exposing the act than the actual act. This is not the way to strengthen democracy. This is the way to do something despicable and ask for a reward.


פרסום ראשון: 10.26.16, 15:16
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