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Monday, February 08, 2010


Labor MK Isaac Herzog condemned the attacks on the New Israel Fund on Saturday, calling them 'McCarthyism.'
"Hounding humans because of their beliefs is McCarthyism, and is a danger to Israeli democracy," he said. "One of the most basic democratic rights is the right to voice criticism. The attempt to silence, to prevent protest, and to enforce a particular definition of nationalism and patriotism is a slippery slope that endangers us all."
Herzog might have more credibility if he had opened his mouth when the Right was being harassed (and arrested and held under house arrest for months without charges) fifteen years ago by the Rabin government to suppress dissent against Oslo and then even more so in the aftermath of Rabin's assassination.

In the meantime, the Jerusalem Post explained its decision to drop New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan's column in a brief statement in Sunday's paper.
The Jerusalem Post has canceled Naomi Chazan’s biweekly column, after she and the New Israel Fund of which she is president threatened legal action against the paper over a recent advertisement.

The decision was taken by Jerusalem Post management after a legal threat was received at the paper from the NIF and Chazan’s lawyers.

Along with other publications, the Post last Sunday carried an advertisement criticizing Chazan and the New Israel Fund in the context of the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead.

In Friday’s paper, the Post carried an advertisement defending the NIF and Chazan against their critics.
Trying to prevent a newspaper from carrying an advertisement sounds to me like exactly the type of "attempt to silence, to prevent protest, and to enforce a particular definition of nationalism and patriotism is a slippery slope that endangers us all" against which MK Herzog ought to wish to protect us, doesn't it? Don't worry - you won't hear him protesting about that.

Shmuel Rosner, who used to write for Haaretz Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily, wrote in a blog post on Sunday that he agreed with the decision to terminate Chazan.
Three short comments - and let me first say that I had nothing to do with this decision, I wasn't asked to consult or give advise, and I don't expect to deal with it in the future:

1. No paper should carry articles by people threatening to take it to court. No reasonable reader will ask a paper to carry such articles. Either you write for the paper and have a dialogue with it - or you go to court. Thus, the basic decision not to post Chazan's articles is more than understandable.

2. I'm sure this decision was made with a heavy heart. JPost carries many articles by writers from left and write (Chazan isn't the "only one" or "one of two" as some commentators observed. Larry Derfner, Gershon Baskin and David Newman write from the left).

3. I really hate the campaign against NIF - it's ugly, brutal and quite disgusting. But the demand that it will be censored, and that media outlets would refuse to carry it, should be considered carefully. Bad taste isn't good enough reason to cease from posting an ad. Chazan - not the new face of the Israel-is-becoming-McCarthystic campaign - should have been well-advised to write her next column on the controversy surrounding NIF rather than trying to silence criticism by legal means. Maybe she can still take this course (I didn't ask Post Editor if he's agree to such arrangement, but I suspect some compromise can be easily arranged).
I agree with him on points 1 and 2 - I don't agree with him on point 3 for two reasons. First, because point 1 precludes Chazan from getting her column back. And second, because the New Israel Fund has been acting traitorously for years and it's time that they be exposed for what they are. There's a fine line between being a loyal opposition and being treasonous. The New Israel Fund has crossed it (for the record, I believe that 'Peace Now,' Gush Shalom and J Street have also crossed it, although with respect to J Street, only to the extent that there are Israelis involved in it - Americans have no duty of loyalty to the State of Israel, although some of them may have a moral duty of loyalty to the Jewish people).


At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they're right, actually--the one key thing the left always forgets is that McCarthy was, in the main, correct in his assessment of Communists in the US Government. Take a look at a book called "Blacklisted by History," where the authors have gone back to the original source material to find out the truth--and it turns out, a lot of it is "missing." What's left clearly shows McCarthy was right in every case that can actually be checked.




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