The Left in Israel is very much like the Left is elsewhere, highlighting small failings while overlooking the general good, etc. etc. highly typical. Also, the beating up of one’s self in order to appear more pious on the world stage, is similar to that of a monk mutilating himself through flagellation, with the big difference being, only he feels the euphoria and pain of his actions.
Leftist Tempests in Teapots Add to Demonization
A number of years ago someone asked me why I listen to the Israel Broadcasting Authority newscasts. Answer: So I can figure out what the Left is up to. For example, many years ago during a Labor government when an IBA “expert” confidently stated that the Israeli economy was strong and everything was fine, I knew it was heading for the dumps. And, indeed, a downturn followed shortly.
Yesterday, Reshet Bet, the main Hebrew news radio station, was all over a cooked-up story about alleged discrimination in Israel’s maternity wards. Later, other media outlets picked up the story as well. For years, many hospitals have often opted to put Jewish women in with Jewish roommates and Arab women in with Arab roommates. It is not an official, inflexible policy and the care and the facilities are exactly the same for everyone.
Since the care here is less deluxe and a lot more short-handed than what you would find in the U.S., there is a certain logic operating. Women with the same language can support each other after labor. Many Arab Israeli women do not speak Hebrew, and these days far fewer Jewish Israelis speak Arabic. Anecdotally, in my own experience, a laboring Arab woman who spoke impeccable English was put in the room I shared with another Jewish English speaker. We, the Jewish ladies, were post-birth and ended up labor-coaching the Arab lady for hours, as her family had dropped her off and left. So much for apartheid.
This total non-story, which anyone could have reported more than twenty-five years ago, was an excuse to show the allegedly dangerous racism “rampant” in Israeli society. Reshet Bet produced several chest-beating moaners to wail over this horrid “discrimination” and demand forced integration. (And just to ramp it up a more, a right-wing MK managed to open his mouth and insert both feet. To be fair, one of the leftists also managed to slur the Sephardi population while hysterically hyperbolizing.)
What does any of this have to do with politics?
There are two recent stories in the news that the left has been pre-occupied with and imaginary racism was connected to both.
One story, which we have already seen, is that of the soldier in Hebron who shot to death a terrorist who was not neutralized. While the left-wing media has run a kangaroo court to try the soldier, the evidence also shows that there was a fear that the terrorist, who had already knifed one soldier, also had a bomb.
The other story is even more to the point. Meir Ettinger has been held in administrative detention for eight months. Allegedly he has been linked to a lethal hate crime, but no charges have been made against him, nor has he been tried. He is being held in solitary confinement. He was just denied a temporary release to attend the circumcision of his newborn son.
Meir Ettinger is a right-wing activist. His late grandfather, Rabbi Meir Kahane, was assassinated by a terrorist belonging to the group that tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Rabbi Kahane was also a controversial activist who started the right-wing Kach movement. He was also the only elected member of the Israeli Knesset who was removed from the Knesset solely for his views. Not an Arab, a Jew.
The whole brouhaha over the maternity wards is to show not only that the right wing in Israel is a danger to society, but to show that the whole society is tainted. Only by throwing these two young men into the maw of the over-reaching judicial system can Israeli society atone for its “racism”. This story smacks of group hate and propaganda, à la Orwell’s 1984. Both the Left—including members of the judicial system—and members of the government who are cowed by the accusations of the left seem to feel that punishing Ettinger as an example is acceptable. Sadly, Ettinger is not the first of the “hilltop youth” and right-wing protesters to be treated with Orwellian justice.
What is needed in all cases is a fair examination of the facts, not a trial in the media, and not a travesty of justice. Israel as a society is better than Orwell’s dystopia, and strong enough to hold a diversity of views.
What the Left has failed to grasp is that trying to appease its so-called liberal peers on the world stage by beating up Israeli society with false accusations and punishing the voices of the right-wing does not work, except to demonize Israel further. And demonizing Israel is something that those same liberal nations have already done themselves. No need to add more fuel to that fire.