Posted on: January 22, 2015 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 0

I just got this tweet from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter account:
שוב נחשף אופיו האמיתי של המחנה האנטי-ציוני בראשות בוז’י וציפי. כאשר ח”כ עתידי ברשימת “העבודה” משבח סוכן של חיזבאללה – מה יש עוד 6915863535_dbfef3f7f4_zלהוסיף?
It says: “Again, the true face of the ‘anti-Zionist’ camp headed by Buji (Herzog) and Tzipi (Livni) is revealed. When a future member of the Knesset from the Labor list praises a Hezbollah agent, what more is there to say?”

I submit, these are the ravings of a lunatic mind.

Bibi is referring to testimony given by Zuhair Bahloul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who is #17 on the joint Labor/Ha’Tnuah list, dubbed “The Zionist Camp.” Bahloul is a well-known figure in Israel, a soccer and basketball broadcaster for Israel’s Channel 1. He is also known for his efforts in bringing Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel together to promote co-existence and equality, which has generally been the sum total of his political activity.

In this case, Bahloul was testifying on behalf of the family of a man who was convicted of aiding a Hezbollah plot to attack Shimon Peres in Turkey. The man, Milad Khatib, accepted a plea bargain and is serving a seven-year sentence. Bahloul’s testimony was offered in defense of Khatib’s family, not Milad himself. (It’s worth noting that such scrutiny is not generally focused on families of Jewish radicals, even the ones sometimes labelled “terrorists” after so-called “price tag” attacks). 

In fact, Bahloul went out of his way to differentiate between Milad and the rest of his family: “When I heard what this young man did I was shocked,” he said, and he stressed that whatever made Milad “fall off the right path, it was not the family that brought him to this. It is not at all typical of this family.”

Today, he clarified further:“I know the Khatib family well and their efforts for coexistence between Jews and Arabs. I am completely opposed to the kind of actions taken by (Milad) Khatib. I find attempts to harm the good relations between Jews and Arabs on the basis of the acts of individuals to be disgusting, and I will fight it with all my power.”

This, my friends, is the man Netanyahu is pillorying as a defender of Hezbollah. It does, in my opinion, show how tragically warped Netanyahu’s thinking is and just how much he is relying on stirring up more hatred of Arabs to win his bid for re-election. This is hate-preaching demagoguery, nothing less. It should not be tolerated by anyone, much less by anyone who cares about Israel, whether they are Israeli or not, right-wing or left-wing.

Bibi has been harping on the absurd notion that the “Zionist Camp” is a radical left, even anti-Zionist ticket. Yes, that’s right, the coalition that is mostly made up of the party that was the very definition of Zionism from the days of the Second Aliyah to the end of the twentieth century, and which joined with the party led by a woman whose family has long been considered Likud royalty is, actually, anti-Zionist.

These words are completely disconnected from reality, but they are important for us to note. Bibi’s attack on a well-known public figure — an Israeli citizen who has worked for Arab-Jewish harmony and who is only defending a family whom he knows to want only peaceful co-existence from being punished for crimes they did not commit and are firmly opposed to — makes the racism at the heart of the Likud absolutely clear. It demonstrates the disdain for basic principles of democracy and civil rights that dominates the heart of the modern Israeli right wing.

And, lest we forget, Netanyahu actually represents the moderate wing of Likud these days. Indeed, Likud itself is more moderate on such matters than rising powerhouse, HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home). That, my friends, is where the Israeli right is leading Israel. Not only Israelis, but every Jew and every person who stands against racism has a strong stake in stopping them.