Originally published in The Jewish Press, reprinted at HONENU Legal Defense Organization
Is It Ideologically Driven? Honenu can attest that it is.
(July 21, ’10) There is a surreal phenomenon enveloping Israeli society, causing right wing nationalists to pause and contemplate – have they landed in an Alice-in-Wonderland universe?
Could it be true, are there really two parallel sets of justice/rules of law, one applied to leftists and their Arab counterparts, the other to right wing nationalists and their “settler” brethren? These questions require urgent answers, particularly in light of several recent high profile, disturbing events taking place in Eretz Yisrael.
The outrageous, humiliating spectacles of Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef hauled into police stations, for the “crime” of endorsing (issuing a haskama) a leading Jewish legal treatise, Torat HaMelech, The King’s Torah, raises the specter of the arrival of a new level of selective prosecution against the nationalist sector. The threatened charge: Incitement. A troubling thought indeed.
Torat HaMelech, the focal point of the office of the State Prosecutor’s outrage, deals with the issue of wartime, specifically, when is it permissible under Jewish law to shed the blood of non-Jews belonging to the enemy populations? The present IDF Code of Ethics, attributed to Tel Aviv University Professor Asa Kasher, has led to the preventable deaths of hundreds of IDF soldiers. Tragically, Kasher’s “morality code” has never been the subject of serious public debate. The hysteria over Torat HaMelech may well serve as the catalyst for this urgent public discourse.
Not surprisingly, in response to the above undemocratic arrests for “thought crimes”, thousands participated in mass protests erupting in Jerusalem. 44 were arrested for peaceful civil disobedience, mainly blocking traffic on major thoroughfares in the capital.
Enter Honenu. As Israel’s only legal defense organization for its loyal citizens, as always, rushed to the aid of the protestors, thus making sure that their legal rights were secured. Not only were their rights to due process protected, but many were spared the fate of spending time in jail under the same conditions reserved for criminals and terrorists
On the other hand, unlike Rabbis and Jewish nationalists, leftists do not suffer the same personal and public humiliations nor are they arrested for their comments which actually incite to Jewish murder!
Consider the following, albeit a tiny sampling of their high profile utterances: Professor Yehudah “Judd” Ne’eman, Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University Faculty of the Arts, an Israel Prize Winner (usually reserved for those on the far left), publicly called for a civil war. Unlike the above Rabbis who simply interpreted Jewish law, Professor Ne’eman urged his fellow leftists to execute a “war between the political left and the Jews of Judea and Samaria”, AKA the “settlers”. Even though recordings of Ne’eman’s statements were obtained and publicized by Israel’s TV Channel 1, incredulously, he was never called in for investigation by the State Prosecutor’s office.
His call follows a recent statement by former Technion physics professor Oded Regev that he would be willing to volunteer in a civil war against the radical right. Oded lobbed this verbal grenade,”I believe that there is only one way to overcome the religious extremists and that is through organized violence, through launching warfare in the full meaning of the term. Anyone who does not surrender in that war will be incarcerated. Those Rabbis and their friends continue in the tradition of Goebbels”.
Not to be outdone in his leftist vitriol, Professor Eyal Nir, of Ben Gurion University’s Chemistry department, (following in the infamous footsteps of Neve Gordon, BGU’s poster boy for worldwide anti-Israel rhetoric) likewise incited against the nationalist sector, calling “on the world to come and help break these scoundrels’ necks.” His “ scoundrels” were young Jews who marched with Israeli flags on Jerusalem Day through areas lightly populated by Jews in our united capital.
The above heinous utterances, if ever spewed in reverse by the right wing public, to go to war against left wing Jews, would have resulted in immediate arrests. Moreover, the tired mantra, “no one is above the rule of law”, would be heard over and over.
The above vile expressions imparted from professors who teach our students, influencing them in ways both seen and unseen, dare not be underestimated. While hiding behind academic freedom and democracy, leftists are undeterred in their ideological (hate) missions, knowing full well that the justice system is tilted in their favor.
“Within any truly democratic society free speech is one of the most basic and protected tenets, said Honenu spokesman, Shalom Pollack. “At the same time, a society cannot sustain its freedoms without the underpinnings of the rule of law, a law which applies equal justice. There is law here indeed, but it is not equally applied to all. Anytime that is the case, the law loses its legitimacy.”
Therefore, the urgent question before all of us becomes – why are Rabbis arrested, yet leftist academics, cultural icons and Islamic leaders are allowed their inciting opinions, albeit without fear of arrest?
Until the question loses its relevancy, Honenu Legal Defense Organization is the only thing standing between mass arrests of nationalists Jews and an Israeli jail cell, all for the ‘crime’ of expressing their democratic opinions.