The Witch-Hunters of the Israeli Left

Steven Plaut is a native Philadelphian who teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton.  He is author of the David Horowitz Freedom Center booklets about the Hamas  and Jewish Enablers of the War against Israel.


maxresdefaultFor the past couple of weeks the Radical Left in Israel has been screaming about the “right” of communist teacher Adam Verete, employed as a civics teacher in a northern Israeli high school, to turn his classroom into an anti-Israel indoctrination center.  He used his classroom time to urge his students to refuse to serve in the Israeli military.  In other words, the Left insists the communist teacher has the “right” to advocate law breaking in his classroom, all in the name of freedom of speech.  After launching an investigation of the teacher, the ORT school system, to which his school belongs, at the insistence of the Minister of Eductaion, merely slapped Verete’s wrist and did nothing.  Had Verete been a “Kahanist” using his classroom to advocate his agenda, he would have been dismissed faster than you can say Jiminy Cricket, and probably also jailed.  

The leading far Leftists defending the right of Verete to indoctrinate in the classroom include Yuli Tamir, who once led the campaign to fire a different teacher (and rabbi), Yisrael Shiran, because Shiran wrote a letter OUTSIDE HIS CLASSROOM with which Tamir disagreed.  Shiran in that letter claimed that the school curriculum was improperly teaching the controversial ideas of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as unchallengeable dogma.  He was dismissed for this “crime” at the initiative of Tamir, but later sued the Ministry of Education for wrongful dismissal and won a large damages award.

Other defenders of the communist teacher include those Israeli “intellectuals”  and “academics” who insisted that the Nobel Prize-holding Prof. Yisrael Aumann be proclaimed a pariah undeserving of an honorary PhD because he holds opinions disliked by the Left.  Many of the same leftists defending the “right” of Verete also lead the campaign to indict and prosecute rabbis who wrote a controversial book; they insist these rabbis are guilty of the thought crime of expressing opinions that the Left considers to be “intolerant.”   And a great many of these leftists were among those who demanded that the freedom of speech of non-leftists be suppressed after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin based on their “theory” holding that non-leftists exercising freedom of speech produce murder.  It goes without saying that not a single leftist in Israel has ever protested the selective denial of free speech rights to “Kahanists.”  

While the radical Left in Israel has a very long record of demanding that the freedom of speech of non-leftists be suppressed, one of the most outrageous examples of the anti-democratic assault by the Left has been ignored in recent years and overlooked in the debate over freedom of speech in recent days.  It involves the case of Prof. Nahum Rakover.

Rakover is retired professor of law from Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv Universities and now serves as president of a small college in Israel.  In the past he served also as deputy attorney general.  He is an expert in Jewish law.  In the early 1990s he held a side position as deputy legal advisor for the government of Israel, this in the days of the Rabin-Peres government and the initiation of Oslo appeasement.

It was at this time that Israel’s Supreme Court made a controversial ruling recognizing homosexual “marriages,” when it ordered El Al to allow a gay steward to receive a spousal ticket for his partner.  The judges in that learned opinion cited Michel Foucault, gay Marxist deconstructionist and pseudo-philosopher, as a legal basis for the decision. The Court’s decision was written by leftist Justice Dalia Dorner.  (She later prevented the defamation suit proceeding against Arab propagandist and film maker Mohammed Bakri for falsely claiming that Israeli soldiers carried out atrocities in the Battle of Jenin.)

The Knesset (parliament) then held hearings on the Dorner decision about the stewards.   In these hearings, Rakover was invited in to say what Jewish Law and the Torah think of gay marriage. Rakover answered truthfully that the Torah considers it an abomination and that granting a spouse ticket to a gay partner is no different from giving it to someone practicing bestiality with his dog.  

That sent the PC camp into ionospheric orbit.  The Left launched a merciless venomous ad hominem assault against Rakover, demanding his dismissal from his civil service post.  It should be noted that Rakover did not even state his OWN opinion about “gay marriage,” only the Torah’s, a task for which he was getting paid as part of his job.  The real issue of course is not whether you agree with the opinion described by Rakover.  The real issue is whether Rakover or the Torah have the right to hold an unfashionable opinion about anything.  The Israeli Left unanimously said no!

Within days, Professor Itzhak Galnoor, a Hebrew university leftist from political science, who had earlier been a Peace Now leader, attacked Rakover.   Galnoor, today part of the semi-Marxist Van Leer Institute, has long advocated the position that any criticism of the Radical anti-Israel Left or questioning of its motives amounts to “McCarthyism” and should be suppressed.  See this.   Galnoor was at the time serving as the Labor Party-appointed head of the civil service, a position from which he introduced affirmative action quotas and dumbed-down standards.   Galnoor opened up internal persecution of Rakover in the civil service and led the campaign to get him dismissed from his position.  Demands for the dismissal of Rakover also filled the leftist press.  Among those demanding that Rakover be prevented from exercising his freedom of speech were the far-leftist Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), whose current president is a Stalinist,  and Tel Aviv University Prof. Asa Kasher, who claims to be an expert on ethics.  

Rakover’s reputation and name were dragged through the mud by the anti-democratic McCarthyist Left.  Never mind that he is one of Israel’s greatest legal minds and was only stating what appears in black and white in the Torah.  Citing the Torah became in effect a hate crime in PC Israel.

In 2002 the Israel Prize in Jewish Law was given to Prof. Nahum Rakover.  This was newsworthy because Rakover had been the victim of the McCarthyist assault against freedom of speech launched by the Israeli Labor Party and the rest of the Left in the 1990s.  It is also noteworthy because in recent years the Israel Prize has so often been granted to radical anti-Israel leftists.

But the radical Left’s selective devotion to freedom of speech, where everyone has the right to agree with the radical Left but no one has the right to disagree with it, continues to run amok.

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  • Hank Rearden

    I know this ship has left the pier, but McCarthy was RIGHT. He extended civil rights to all witnesses in hearings where he was in charge, including the 5th and also letting witnesses read hostile introductory remarks, sometimes extensive.

    McCarthy never attempted to deny free speech. His concern was whether communists, as security risks, were improperly working in sensitive government positions.

    The Dems had to pretend that McCarthy was crazy because otherwise they would have to acknowledge the legitimacy of his concerns, which reflected badly on the Dems who had been in control of the Executive for the previous 20 years.

    • Consider

      Joe McCarthy was RIGHT only in one thing; most if not all of those accused to be communist were in fact communists. In that respect he wasn’t a witch hunter.

      But there is where his “rightness” ends.

      Under American constitution one has (and had) the right to be a communist if one wishes so, without being denounced let alone be fired from his job. Hollywood screenwriters in particular were not security risks.

      And exactly that was the practice during the McC era.

      The problem with American democracy at the time was that it was breaking its own rules.

      • Hank Rearden

        McCarthy was not involved in Hollywood. That was HUAC. McCarthy was only involved in getting security risks out of the government. While the Hollywood Blacklist may not have been our greatest moment, we have seen in recent decades that the Left is perfectly cool with blacklists – i.e., conservatives in Hollywood today – so long as it is not THEY who are on it.

        Back to McCarthy…you have certainly made a case. The communists and the Dems COULD have said “yes, we’re communists, what of it?”

        But that is NOT what they did!! They said it was IMPOSSIBLE for there to be ANY communists in the government and therefore McCarthy was either crazy or a demagogue or both. It was IMPOSSIBLE that he was acting in good faith. The Dems put party before country and not only got away with it, but were PRAISED for it.

        This is not just in the past. Now we are confronted with Islamists being in influential positions in the government and when several House members brought that up, they were shouted down as if that inquiry was illegitimate.

        • Consider

          To my consternation I find here a Haaretz type censorship that removed my reply.
          Since I am in no mood to type it again, let it be as you say.

        • PAthena

          See the works of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr on the Communists (loyal to the Soviet Union) in the U.S.
          And note that Richard Nixon was demonized the the Communists and their supporters because, as a Senator, head of the Internal Security Committee (I think), he revealed the truth about Alger Hiss. Soviet agent under the Roosevelt administration. (See Whitakker Chambers, Witness.)
          And then there were the Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius,who stole and gave
          information about nuclear weapons to the Soviet Union.

          As Sidney Hook observed, the behaviour of Senator Joe McCarthy made it very difficult to be anti-Communist.
          (I believe that the backer of President Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, is a communist, though not loyal to the old Soviet Union – he is a terrorist, founder of the Weathermen. Note that President Obama is a supporter of Vledimir Putin, former KGB, now ruler of Russia.)

      • retired

        I am not so sure that being a card carrying Communist,with a big C in front,was legal.These people were self incriminated agents of Moscow & Joe Stalin!
        Leftist of various sorts (Socialists) were one thing,but Stalinists working for Moscow had a party line that called for violent overthrowing our government by revolution.This I think would be considered illegal!

        • Consider

          They were not necessarily calling for the violent overthrow of the government but believed that this will come as an inxorable law of historical development.

          And beliefs (read; faith) in this country are sacrosanct.

          Some belive that the end of the world is imminent.

          Should they be subjected to a McC treatment?

    • Insecticide

      That may be true but the word McCarthyism is used the way it is used and the semantic argument of whether it is the optimal name for the phenomenon is separate from the political debate over suppression of freedom of speech.

      • Hank Rearden

        I understand your point…”McCarthyism” now has a certain meaning in the culture.

        But it is clear that the Left is relentless in its desire to put us all under its thumb. One of its tools in doing that is its dominance of the culture and the vocabulary.

        IMO even though it may be quixotic at this point, we have to do what we can to honor conservative heroes. The Left drove McCarthy to an early death. He laid himself on the line for the future of the country. We owe him and we owe ourselves. We are going to have to get Islamists out of our current government and they are going to hide behind the LEFT’s definition of McCarthy.

        McCarthy was right. And he operated within civilized norms, very much unlike the way he is portrayed. Ed Murrow’s CBS documentary on McCarthy was such a hatchet job, CBS has not allowed it to remain in circulation.

        The Left wants to define the debate and to define history. We cannot permit that.

    • Donotask

      Civil Rights was the worse thing that has happened to America in hindsight. The spirit of it was right, but it has taken on a new life of it’s own. The self-hate indoctrination in public schools relating to the Holocaust, black slavery (leaving out white slavery, and the evils done to Europeans of course), and the destruction of the American Indian (without complete facts about the spread of disease) – has created a generation that supports justified massive foreign immigration, and progressive extreme leftism which now seeks to liberate the apartheid in Israel, and considers it an “occupied” nation. They say groups like the ADL were supporting the Civil Rights movement, and if they were it has turned on them in the worse possible way. Borders were created to keep peace. History proves this over and over, and had America’s and Europe’s borders been supported through media and educational indoctrination….(instead of the agenda that was pushed), Israel would have found support for their survival from America and Europe as a whole. The entire PC movement today is a disaster, and everyone will suffer in the end. Sad.

  • Consider

    In the Nahum Rakover story, the most important question is, why on earth should it be relevant to an Israeli court what the Torah has to say about anything, and in particular about gay marriages.
    Its Iran which is a theocracy not Israel, isn’t it?

    • Insecticide

      Jewish religious law is sometimes consulted as a moral guide, just as Judge Learned Hand from the US Supreme Court sometimes cited Talmudic laws as moral guidelines.

      • Consider

        Do they consult these texts regarding slavery?

        • Insecticide

          Do you have any idea what the texts say, ignoramus?

          • Consider

            Yes I have.

            And I have had a considerable trouble to, hm, ‘justify’ these texts with similar ones from the Koran and the NT, in order to counter antisemites.

          • Insecticide

            How upset the authors of the Bible must be to find that you are having such challenges.

          • Consider

            I sympathise with them, indeed.

          • yoelk

            Why would you have to justify anything ? Your ignorance is the problem

          • Consider

            When someone confronts you with something like this:

            Sanhedrin 58b. If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.

            then you have to prove that this and similar texts of others are bullshit, and that there is nothing to be gained in consulting them.

          • Insecticide

            Consider has been reading the Holocaust Denier and Neo-Nazi web sites again

          • Consider

            So according to you there are no passages in the Talmund similar to that one?
            What do you say?
            The usual ‘out of context’ or ‘lost in translation’ bullshit arguments?

          • Ira Shaune

            Trying to debate Talmud with an ignoramus like Consider is like debating astronomy with Snooky. Consider cannot read a cereal box and pretends to know something about the Talmud. He obviously never looked in the Talmud and would not understand anything there if he had. Instead he is willing to take the word of Rense and similar Nazis on what is contained there..

          • Consider

            Yes I admit, I haven’t mastered the art (neither am I trying to) of showing that texts mean exactly the opposite of what is written, a capability that theologians of all faiths share.
            It must by an important part of their curriculum.
            BTW, I bet that this type of quotations from the Quran are accepted wholehartedly by your ilk, without superfluous exegesis…

    • Raymond_in_DC

      Why was it relevant to the High Court what Michel Foucault had to say on the matter? Are cultural, including religious, values irrelevant and only secular perspectives due consideration?

      • Consider

        Yes!

        • yoelk

          The you should go back under the shared rock with the other (paid?) troll. You contribute nothing.

  • Insecticide

    By all means, open the link for Yuli Tamir to see her defense of clitirodectomies! Unbelievable!

  • The Facts

    Mr. Plaut makes it patently clear several times in his essay that he is a Kahanist. Informed people know that means terrorist. Mr. Plaut’s distance from terrorism is that of a Sinn Fein member. Of course, if you use quotation marks creatively, as he did, it makes terrorism OK and anti-war thoughtcrime an act of high treason.

    • Insecticide

      “The Facts” is a lying anti-Semitic weenie with a serious disability when it comes to reading

      • The Facts

        Is that the official position of Gates of Vienna?

        • Insecticide

          “The Facts” still garnering his facts from Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

          • The Facts

            Nonsequitur much, Vlad?

          • reader

            Actually, Insecticide’s comments are relevant and logical by comparison. Hmmm. Another marxists with very low self-esteem. Old news, or should I say, “facts.”

          • The Facts

            Well, there’s certainly no “learned elders” that Insecticide/Tepes is speaking for. He’s merely speaking for Frank Gaffney, Edward May, and Christine Brim. You’re right. They are not learned elders. It is kind of pathetic though, the lengths they will go to prevent a Kahanist from being criticized.

          • reader

            I’m beginning to suspect that you are a mental patient. Something to do with bi-polar disorder. Switching back and forth between Hitlerite rants and Fenimore Cooper’s fiction. You know – what you call “the facts.”

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Another vacuous comment from The Fiction.

        • iluvisrael

          jerk, just because you’re a paranoid nut job doesn’t mean they’re NOT after you!

    • occupant 9

      Ah yes, only “informed” people know what Kahane meant and “informed” people usually get “informed” by avoiding difficult subject matter entirely, preferring to “know” these things by group affirmation: Kahane is a terrorist.

      I’ve heard the same about Limbaugh from several Marxist (former) friends who of course, wouldn’t dare listen to him; wouldn’t dare. They too, were so very “informed” AND invested, they would never venture into data that might just force them to 180 their basic everything and quit “bearing false witness,” a sin for a reason.

      Kahane was feared because he respected the Muslim goal. He respected that they believed what they said about “driving the Jews into the sea,” and the Koranic verses that fuel that antisemitic rage. All he was going on to make his conclusions were 1400 years of Islam, Haj Amin al Husseini (Grand Mufti of Jerusalem/Hitler’s associate), Friday sermons, agreements voided like Mo did with the Treaty of Hudabaya, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, daily terror against innocents and seeing that the perfidous PLO was training their children in more of the same. Flimsy yes, but that’s all Kahane had to go on.

      Oslo, and 14,000 more Jewish victims (mostly all civilians) of Muslim terror, came after Kahane was assassinated by a Muslim associated with the group that tried WTC 1993. Not that I think Kahane had any doubts of his Torah-based position, but his assassination would’ve “informed” him to death.

      BTW, since the KGB seeded the “anti-war” movement, maybe it should be an act of high treason to actively participate in a hostile KGB operation?

      Let’s hope you’re “informed” enough to understand how the chronological roll-out of history makes clear that Islamic “self-determination” is a tangible downer for Everyone and especially their dog.

      • The Facts

        Yes. Kahane was murdered by a Muslim terrorist. It was a clear case of evil vs. evil. Like when Crips kill Bloods.

    • yoelk

      You did not read the article if you spout such nonsense. Nowhere in the article did he say he was a Kahanist. Not once. You are just a Leftist troll. Go back under your rock.

  • victoryman

    I’m sure Obama would find a job for this guy in Homeland Security or the Justice Department. He’d fit right in …….

  • Consider

    Look, look , my reply suddenly appeared.