There is no contradiction between Jewish and democratic. It is post-Zionism—not Zionism—that guarantees tyranny.
Last Saturday, Politico reported that Trident DMG, a top Washington, D.C., public-relations firm is running a PR campaign in the United States for the Israeli left’s political war against the Netanyahu government and its voters. It was hired by Blue and White Future, the Israeli NGO run by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s cronies, billionaire Orni Petruschka, Gilad Sher and Eran Schwartz. The NGO serves as the Politburo and banker for the left’s billion-shekel demonization campaign.
On Sunday, they began a campaign in New York geared towards undermining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit the United States next week. The main event of Netanyahu’s trip will be his speech at the U.N. General Assembly. A 12-story banner ad on Sunday was projected on the U.N. building. It read: “Don’t Believe Crime Minister Netanyahu.”
Next week, Blue and White Future’s subsidiary, the Kaplan Force will picket, disrupt, heckle and otherwise seek to ruin every event in New York where Netanyahu is set to participate. They intend to demonstrate outside his hotel, the United Nations building, the Israeli Consulate, and every home, office and thoroughfare that hosts the prime minister of the State of Israel.
For $20,000, activists can have coffee with Shikma Bressler, Barak’s pit bull in the demonization riots. Bressler is the Passionara of the “Crime Minister” and Kaplan Force brigades. The New York Times crowned her a cross between Golda Meir, Robert Oppenheimer and Barbie.
Last Saturday, Bressler said that no one should even think of trying to reach a compromise on judicial reform—or anything at all—with the government and its supporters because in Bressler’s words, “It’s forbidden to speak to Nazis, Jews or not.”
Bressler’s statement blends Holocaust denial with the demonization of Jews as Nazis. It is a textbook example of contemporary anti-Semitism. There’s a lot of that going around in the elite circles she travels in.
Last week, former Mossad director Tamir Pardo threw a half-century of Israeli public diplomacy efforts (and 3,500 years of truth) to the seven winds and speaking of Israel told the Associated Press, “There is an apartheid state here.”
Well, no. And calling Israel an apartheid state is not only a slander, it is also a textbook case of anti-Semitic demonization of the Jewish state. Both in Pardo’s and Bressler’s cases, these statements are made for the explicit purpose of demonizing the government and the majority of Israeli Jews who dared to vote for it.
The consequences of their actions are already being felt abroad. Barak, Pardo, Bressler and their elitist comrades have seized the reins of the BDS campaign that has made participation in public life all but impossible for pro-Israel Jewish students on campuses across America.
Why quote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R-N.Y.) or Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan when you can quote a former Mossad director or Israeli Barbie? Their actions demoralize and endanger American Jews and Jews throughout the Diaspora.
What is driving their urge to destroy Israel’s international position, drive Israeli society apart and contribute to the most politically powerful anti-Semitic force in the world?
This past year, we reached the denouement of two revolutions Israel’s leftist elite initiated thirty years ago. The first revolution—the Oslo revolution—was ideological and strategic. The second revolution—the judicial revolution—was constitutional. Both were about securing the left’s preeminent position in Israeli society even as it lost the support of the majority of Israelis. In other words, both revolutions were inherently anti-democratic, and indeed, in the intervening decades, the public rejected both revolutions, but they were maintained through the infrastructures of the state institutions and defended by the Israeli Supreme Court, which the left controls.
The Oslo revolution
This week, we marked the 30th anniversary of Oslo’s initiation at the White House on Sept. 13, 1993. Oslo was an assault on the most basic foundations of the Jewish state—security and Zionism.
On the security front, Oslo was predicated on the fraud that the PLO—the archetypical modern terrorist organization—had abandoned terrorism. Oslo asserted the PLO had become a credible, responsible actor. Indeed, it was a moral actor.
On the Zionist front, Oslo’s assertion that the PLO is a moral actor is based on its deeper assertion—that Israel is an immoral actor. The basic idea of Oslo is that the only reason there is a Palestinian conflict with Israel is because Israel controls Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem (and controlled Gaza until 2005). Until Oslo, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were recognized by all Israelis from across the political spectrum as the cradle of Jewish civilization, religion and history. Control of Gaza was widely recognized and critical to Israel’s security.
Before Oslo, Israelis on the left argued that Israel should be willing to make limited concessions on its control over these areas for peace, despite its national and legal rights to them. But because Oslo asserted that the PLO is a moral agent and Israel is immoral, from 1993 on, the left was radicalized. Israelis who maintained faith with previously consensus views that Israel is moral and has a right to control those areas were demonized as “enemies of peace” and “right-wing extremists.”
The strategic reality Oslo induced was one of continuous chaos and insecurity. By arming and empowering a terror group in Israel’s heartland, Oslo ensured that Israel would be continuously beset by terrorist violence and so destroyed Zionism’s foundational belief that through sovereignty, Jews would ensure their collective security.
To protect and maintain Oslo’s strategic environment despite the public’s rejection of it, Israel’s leftist elites demonized Oslo’s opponents and blamed them for the PLO’s continued terrorism. Their efforts set the conditions for Israel’s calamitous decision to withdraw all IDF forces from Gaza and expel all Israeli Jewish residents of Gaza and Northern Samaria in August 2005.
Throughout 2004 and 2005, the media and leftist activists subjected the Jews of Gaza and the “settlers” as a collective, and their supporters to the most powerful campaign of demonization and dehumanization Israel had experienced until then. The Supreme Court and Justice Ministry were full participants in the campaign. As they were subjected to continuous slander as “fascists” and “theocrats,” “war-mongers” and would-be murderers, the civil and legal rights of opponents of the expulsions—not to mention the property rights of the Jewish residents of Gaza and Northern Samaria—were trampled.
In the event, as anticipated, immediately after the expulsions and the withdrawal in August 2005, a terror state emerged in Gaza, capable of deploying missiles against nearly every point in Israel. The failure of the expulsions and withdrawal, which were simply a means to repackage Oslo, made the left even more unpopular. So, it changed the focus of its campaign against the majority.
Foreign-funded far-left NGOs massively expanded their lawfare and propaganda operations. Their job was to wage a continuous campaign against the legitimacy of Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and its sovereignty over united Jerusalem. From 2005 until last year, the NGO war against Israel blocked nearly every effort by Israel’s elected leaders to walk away from the Oslo fraud.
The Supreme Court, dominated by the Oslo camp, became the central arena of the NGO war on behalf of Oslo, and its strategic and ideological foundations.
As the public and their elected representatives began realizing what was happening, the camp for judicial reform grew. In response, the two revolutions of the 1990s became one.
The judicial revolution
This brings us to the second revolution of the 1990s—the judicial revolution. Former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak’s revolution entailed the seizure of the legislative power of the Knesset and the executive powers of the government through judicial fiat. The Left’s control over the Court was institutionalized by installing a permanent majority of Barak’s disciples on the Judicial Selection Committee.
Barak predicated his power grab on the false assertion that there is a tension between Israel’s Jewish national identity and democracy. Barak posited the existence of an “enlightened public,” whose values and views are embodied in the court. From these two assertions, Barak explained that when democracy and Israel’s Jewish identity come into conflict, “the views of the enlightened public in Israel,” need to decide the proper balance between them.
Until Barak’s assertion, rarely was the notion that there is a contradiction between the two raised because there is no contradiction between Jewish and democratic. But if you ascribe to Oslo’s assumptions that Israel is the immoral actor and the PLO is the moral actor, then you will also arrive at the conclusion that Zionism, at a minimum, has a contentious relationship with democracy.
Some 3,500 years of Jewish history and 75 years of Israeli Jewish history expose the fraud of Oslo’s assertion of Israeli immorality. And 30 years of Palestinian terror and anti-Semitism exposed as a fraud the claim that the PLO is a moral actor. Just so, the Supreme Court’s effort this month to crown itself Israel’s sovereign with unlimited powers, including the power to overturn the results of elections, puts paid the notion that Barak and his followers are guardians of Israeli democracy.
They are its executioners.
The convergence of the Oslo revolution with the judicial revolution in the court and on the streets makes clear that the only way for Israel to remain a democracy is for it to remain a Jewish state.
Ehud Barak’s crony, leftist billionaire Kobi Richter, is one of the financiers of the left’s political war. In recent weeks he’s also been a wellspring of information about its worldview. Last month, he told Israel Radio that the leftist elites will win because they are more powerful than the government. “We are the military power. The economic power is ours!” he proclaimed.
This week, Richter explained that the problem with Israel’s Jews is that most of them are “nationalist.” The left, he said, will solve the problem of Jewish nationalism by joining forces with the Arab parties, who reject Israel’s right to exist and support terrorism.
The majority of the Zionist left opposed the hare-brained scheme of withdrawing from Gaza in 2003. But the incitement campaigns of 2004-05 gave the Oslo left a significant boost. Likewise, until recently, the overwhelming majority of leftists never questioned the basic premise of Zionism.
Aharon Barak and Ehud Barak are right about one thing: The Declaration of Independence is the most important document in Israel’s political history. But as David Ben-Gurion made clear in a 1950 speech before the Knesset, their claim that the declaration justifies their effort to transform Israel into a post-Zionist oligarchy is utterly false.
Ben-Gurion said that the declaration didn’t seek unity of values. It sought broad consensus. That is why the term “Jewish state” appears in the text repeatedly, but the “God of Israel” is replaced by the more inclusive “Rock of Israel.”
Ben-Gurion said: “All the parties sitting in this house signed the declaration—from the Communists to Agudat Israel. Unity that binds like this doesn’t happen every day, and it shouldn’t be minimized.”
It is my prayer for the coming year that in the weeks and months before us, the Zionist left remembers the message of that declaration. There is no contradiction between Jewish and democratic. It is post-Zionism—not Zionism—that guarantees tyranny.
May they also remember that their brothers and sisters on the right are not their enemies but their partners in a common destiny.
Image: Israeli founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion declares independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, at the Tel Aviv Museum, today Independence Hall, on May 14, 1948. Photo by Zoltan Kluger/GPO.