The Mask Slips on Israel’s Left

“I don’t want to live in the country of Captain Eliraz Peretz or his mother. My consolations to the family…a family of Jihadist Fascists, and don’t dare let anyone say he was killed for my sake.”

The above quote is from Uri Tuval, editor of the magazine section of Israel’s left-wing daily Haaretz. He said it in a Facebook chat with other left-wing journalists, and even some members of his milieu were said to be dismayed at his words. This mini-scandal comes at a time when Haaretz is under attack for its central role in the much larger scandal of the Anat Kam espionage affair.

Dishonoring the dead: Haaretz editor Uri Tuval.

Eliraz Peretz was a 32-year-old Israeli soldier who was killed last month in a gunfight with terrorists in Gaza. His older brother Uriel died in combat in Lebanon in 1998. Miriam Peretz, the mother, was interviewed on Israeli TV after Eliraz’s death (it being customary in Israel to interview close relatives after the loss of soldiers). The Peretz family are observant Jews; Eliraz lived in the West Bank settlement of Eli.

To his credit, Tuval wrote a gracious apology to the Peretz family. He noted that he too is a soldier and that his father was killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He said he had “stated my personal opinion on the reality we face in a provocative manner, on a forum that I viewed as private,” and that “We seem to disagree over the best way in which to build our national home.”

But if Tuval’s words were indeed meant to be private, those of two other Israeli leftists, playwright Shmuel Hasfari and attorney Eldad Yaniv, were meant for as much public consumption as possible. Hasfari and Yaniv have self-published a manifesto called The National Left as a blue-and-white booklet timed for Israel’s Independence Day (Monday evening and Tuesday). They got Tsomet Sfarim, Israel’s largest bookstore chain, to offer it at the checkout counter for a mere shekel ($0.27) along with a small blue-and-white flag.

Within days, however, Tsomet Sfarim announced that they had pulled the book because of complaints. As the company put it: “Tsomet Sfarim is a chain for all of the people of Israel and has no political affiliation. It is never responsible for the content of the books that are distributed in its stores. Because we received many complaints that the book hurts the feelings of some of our customers, we decided to stop selling it.”

The complaints centered on statements in the book that, again, focused on the bête noire of the Left—“settlers,” or Israelis, particularly religious, ideological ones, who live in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

For Hasfari and Yaniv these people—known for their high rates of volunteering for the army’s officer corps and elite combat units—are “extremist crazies and wackos [who] don’t even pay [Palestinians who work in the settlements] minimum wage, because they’re just ‘Aye-rabs.’” But even this kind of verbiage is too mild for Hasfari and Yaniv, who go on to say:

“The settlers operate on a different type of fuel, which is called messianism. Their god appeared at once and defeated their enemies. After his mishap during the Holocaust—he is back and mightier than ever….”

No one realized that the “new pioneers” were possessed by demons of messianic madness. Think about the brainwashed minds, hypnotized zombies, gangs of horny teenagers forcing themselves on the country….”

Viewing themselves as the pinnacle of enlightenment, it doesn’t occur to Hasfari and Yaniv that their own words display bigotry of the crudest kind for which even mockery of God and the Holocaust is not going too far. From the fact that such words quickly ignited public protest they learn—nothing, having already bragged that they’ll go on offering their manifesto for free at university campuses and other locales.

Meanwhile the settler community, which includes large numbers of secular and ultra-Orthodox Israelis along with the religious Zionists for whom Tuval, Hasfari, Yaniv and their ilk have such special loathing, has reached 300,000 and keeps growing. As Independence Day approaches, ideally the anti-settler Left would liberate itself from its failed dream of keeping the post-1967 lands Jew-free and learn to relate to this demographic with tolerance—which might even include asking why, in a theoretical Palestinian state, its presence as a minority should be so unthinkable.

No chance. The Israeli Left has fallen on hard times, having captured 16 out of 120 Knesset seats in the 2009 elections. Socialism has faded and most Israelis have awoken from “peace” dreams. Hatred, then, is too precious to give up.

  • solemnman

    As if Obama needed any encouragement to embark on his anti Israel campaign- the editor ,of the notorious enemy within tthe Haaretz" newspaper" ,told Obama that he should"RAPE"israel to force it to make all the concessions he deemed necessary for the formation of a Palestinian state.

  • William Smart

    The settlers are going to split the IDF and, even if the two incompatible halves don't start killing each other, they will destroy Israel. The "army that has a state" model has worked pretty well for 60 years, but it cannot go on, it's breeaking down now as because most Israelis want to live normal lives. They don't mind killing Palestinians in Gaza, but they'll balk at ethnic cleansing of the whole West Bank.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

      The courageous "settlers" are the heart and soul of the Jewish state. Who is talking about ethnic cleansing along the American model in Israel today? Only the Americans can forcibly remove (i.e., 1830 Indian Removal Act, the Trail of Tears), ethnically cleanse, expropriate, annex (Texas) on a massive scale and go unrequited. What have the Jews done by comparison?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

        Nothing comes close to what the Europeans, Russians, Chinese, et al, have done. At least Israelis are attempting to be honorable, a behavior I would not exhibit under similar circumstances.

    • Paardestaart

      "they'll balk at ethnic cleansing of the whole West Bank"

      Well – that goes for all the west – we all balk at doing what it would take to save our lands and our people; we rather pretend this is the kingdom of heaven, where the lion sleeps next to the lamb, and everybody is spotless.

      And 'ethnic cleansing'?
      Kicking out people who hate you and want to destroy your wonderful country; who always whine and complain, but who refuse to take responsiblity for peace themselves is simply a matter if survival

      If you refrain from killing them, and if you help them resettle somewhere else calling such a move "ethnic cleansing" is just demagogy.
      It has more likeness to a political divorce – separating yourself from a besotted partner who does not want to be a good companion, but threatens day in day out that he won't rest until he puts an end to you one day. Being reasonable and patient is an admirable thing, but you must not take these things too far.
      Finita la commedia.

      • incubus demonica

        Israel depends on the financial support of America . I think the average American should have a say in Israeli affairs until Israel is able to stand on its own . The question is : Will Israel ever be able to stand on its own without American hand-outs ?
        You cannot treat Israel as an independent country when it relies so heavily on American support .

        • Democracy First

          Israel gets military aid, in exchange for which Israel must spend the money on American arms (so most recycles back to the US), Israel provides vital intel, ISrael is the at the front fighting the same Islamist enemy, Israel is a nuclear power warding off all common enemies, Israel is the US's best military ally.

          Now, let's discuss Egyptian aid, which is almost equal. Are you proposing Obama demand a right to interfere and set that nation's foreign policy?

    • Stern

      Mr. Smart, how ironic that you mention Gaza, where the only people who were ethnically cleansed were Jews! You seem to have no problem with the idea of removing Jews from their homes, and no problem with the idea that Palestinians can "resist" by killing Jews. Which makes it very clear exactly who and what you are.

    • To the ignorant

      You ignorance is beyond words! Here are some FACTS!

      1. Israel is the only country in the history to come into existence via legal development and UN resolution#181 that was ignored by the arabs!

      2. The only one that have done and wants to do ethnic cleansing are the ARABS to the jews. I call them arabs because there is no such a nationality as palestinians, it is a fiction of the arab propaganda against the jewish state.

      3. The British has created a mess, like they did with India and Pakistan, in the MiddleEast. They created Jordan, which is THE PALESTINIAN STATE, in 1922, on about 80% of the Palestine Mandate which was designated to be the Jewish homeland by the League of Nations.

      4. During the war of 1947-1949, when young Israel fought to survive the attack of eight hostile arab countries, they lost the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Jordan.

      The arabs massacred every man woman and child in Gosh Etzion, which was south/ east of Jerusalem and in Hebron too, which is in todays West Bank, and ethnically cleansed the West Bank.

      5. Israel took back the West Bank in the 1967 seven day war, which again started by Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

      6. According to International law; The legal disposition of territories conquered in a defensive war, can be determined only by a peace treaty between the belligerents.

      7. The settlers in the West Bank are on 1.3% of the area and are basically building in the places were jews were murdered and kicked out in 1947 and 1948.

      8. There are 28 arabs countries that have close to zero jews in them. Israel has 1.5 million arabs as equal citizens. It there will be a 29th arab country it can have some jews, especially when it is on historical jewish land!

      8. THE WEST BANK IS NOT AN OCCUPIED TERRITORY. The conflict can be resolved only withTWO willing parties not with a suicidal murderous partner.

      Learn the facts and the history before you open you anti Semitic jew hater mouth!!!!!!!!

      • http://www.yuksel.org Edip Yuksel

        Some of these true but some are big lies. For instance, the number 5. One can find dozens of sources that it was Israel that first attacked Arabs.

        On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a preemptive attack on Egypt.[20] The Arab countries denied planning to attack Israel, and asserted that Israel's strike was not preemptive but an unwarranted and illegal act of aggression.[21] Jordan, which had signed a mutual defence treaty with Egypt on May 30, then attacked western Jerusalem and Netanya.[22][23][24]

        The world does not swallow your lies and propaganda anymore. You will only fool each other until the USA cut its support to your aggression. There is a day of reckoning for every aggressor, be it fascist, zionist, imperialist, taliban, mullah….

        Peace,
        Edip

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

          You wrote: "On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a preemptive attack on Egypt…."

          I think Winston Churchill put it best: "If a dog makes a dash for my trousers, I shoot him down before he can bite."

        • To the ignorant

          Yuksel you are another ignorant that has no idea what is he taking about!

          I was there!!!!!! I know!!!!!!!!!

          1. Egypt ordered the UN forces out of Sinai on May 15, which they gladly obliged!

          2. Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran blocking the Israeli port of Eilat for shipping.

          3. Egypt moved two tank battalions and 150,000 troops to Israel's western border.

          4. Syria, Jordan and Egypt invaded Israel's air space with surveillance flights over Dimona.

          Each one of this acts is defined by International Law as threatening the sovereignty of another state and each one create a legitimate cause for defensive military response.

          Anybody that says that Israel started the 1967 war must be a complete idiot and a certified Anti Semite.

          Congratulation you made them both!!!!!!!!!

          You bought the arab propaganda and lies stock and barrel!!!!!!!!!!

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

            Yuksel's mind is made up. Why confuse him with the facts?

    • Salubrius

      William Smart: The only group that has engaged and is still engaging in ethnic cleansing so far is the Arabs. They do not permit Jewish settlement in Jordan. They don't even permit Jewish visitors in Saudi Arabia. They try to kill as many Jews as they can in Judea and Samaria. Remember Tali Hatuel and her four daughters and unborn son killed in Gaza? Jews from almost all of the Muslim surrounding states in the Middle East have been expelled or forced to flee without their real and their personal property. In the meantime Arabs and Muslims make up 20% of Israel's population, living at peace there and very reluctant to leave.

      Are you blind? Either you are blind or sorely afflicted with cognitive dissonance.

  • Michael

    The Left everywhere is obnoxious Dhimmies,but Israeli's left are traitors.

  • tom kinney

    Speaking of ethnic cleansing, did I not read that Saudi Arabia has for some time been buying out Christian and Jewish owned homes throughout countries contiguous to Israel (and through a programmatic system of offering fat bribe-like prices along with barely veiled threats to make sure the point is made), especially Jordan, in an attempt to return the Mideast to a state of Islamic "purity"?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

      At lease they are offering "bribes" far more than what they offered in the 50s.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/HANKHILL HANKHILL

    TUVAL AND "FRIENDS" WENT WAY TO FAR YIKE!

  • Violenceisweakness

    Well it's nice and easy to only display the hardships endured by the Israelis but you should be less biased if you'd like respect on your history lesson. First off, the real problem lies with the fact that Britian gave that land to both the Jewish and Arab people, ignoring the fact that you can't just do that. I'm not a huge buff on the subject but I believe she first gave it to the Israelis, then the Palestinians? Either way she caused a war, period. My history lesson? Simple. There once lived a great man named Moses who climb Mt Sinai and was given 10 Commandments by G-d for all his people to OBEY! The 6th of those commandments was Thou shalt NOT KILL. There are no conditions to these commandments except that if His people do not obey they lose their promised land, that is the deal G-d made. You are not allowed to kill and take the promised land, only G-d has the power to give it to His people, which he WILL do once they obey him, as in no killing; and 'survival' is not listed as justification. So when His people follow his will He will reward them, but as in the days of Egyptian and Babylonian captivity G-d has turned His back on those who sin, i.e kill.

    • Salubrius

      England gave political rights to Palestine only to the Jews. You can find this in the Balfour declaration, transformed into International Law in the San Remo Agreement. A process verbal of France to the agreement illustrates what was intended. The process verbal says that the rights of the non-Jews are not to be impaired. Then, it expressly preserves the civil and religious rights of the non-jews but not their political rights. Why? You can't preserve something that doesn't exist. The local Arabs in Palestine had never enjoyed political rights of self determination. They had always been ruled from afar. From 1520 to 1920 by the Turks in Constantinople, from 1920 to 1948 by the English under the Mandate, and from 1948 to 1967 by Jordan. By giving World Jewry the political rights to Palestine they took nothing away from the local inhabitants who were no worse off then they had been since the dawn of Islam. The League of Nations put the Balfour Policy and the San Remo Law into effect by creating a trust called a mandate. When the UN now does it, they call it a Trusteeship. The English had the political rights to Palestine in trust for the Jews. When they abandoned their trust in 1948, the trust res, i.e. sovereignty over Palestine devolved to the Jews and Israel. See Howard Grief, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.

  • Violenceisweakness

    The Balfour Declaration was in 1917, but Britian basically annulled that agreement in 1939 with the White Paper which limited Jewish immigration to 15,000 a year for 5 years and after that it would be subject to Arab approval- and that basically means the power over Palestine was taken away from the Jews and given to the Arabs, so no they didn't give it to the Jews only. After WW2 pressure forced Britian to lift that limition, and the rest is a history of war that Britian eventually broke ties with, leaving both sides in peril, forever arguing over whose land it is.