Galon Uses Democracy to Proclaim That Israel Is Not Democratic
While MK Zehava Galon claims that the Israeli government wants to suppress free speech and muzzle the Left, the fact that she can bad-mouth the country’s leaders and lie to try to prove a point (or show extreme ignorance, if I want to be kinder toward her) implies that free speech is alive and well. The fact that she can challenge a law already on the books with the purpose of expunging it implies that free speech is alive and well. I will demonstrate her bad faith by examining her justification for the bill to annul the Anti-Boycott Law and declarations she has made in the press concerning the law.
On May 11 of this year, Meretz put forward a bill (פ/466/20) calling to cancel the Anti-Boycott Law. The bill, in combination with a similar proposal tabled by The United Arab List, failed to pass the Preliminary Reading this time, as it did in the previous two Knesset terms. So it dies for another Knesset term.
In their rationale, Meretz wrote (my translation):
Its [The Anti-Boycott Legislation] ultimate goal is to damage left-wing organizations and individuals interested in working toward ending the Israeli occupation in the territories. The law deals a fatal blow to the principle of free speech in the State of Israel and its existence in the Israeli Law books stains the Knesset that approved it and the State in general, and raises doubts regarding Israel’s commitment to an open liberal democratic regime.
Galon is within her rights to suggest that the real purpose of the Anti-Boycott Law is to damage the Left and to muzzle free speech AS IF Anti-Boycott legislation is only a means to bring about the end of the Israeli Left and has nothing to do with the substance of the boycott issue. She has the right to be so full-of-self and so arrogant as to believe that the Knesset would vote in a bill just to do away with the Left. She is free to paint Herzog and Shaffir, to name only two Zionist Camp Party MKs, who now voted to keep the Anti-Boycott Law on the books, with the same brush she uses to smear the Right she scorns. Does she really accuse these two of also wanting to silence the Left (of which many of their peers consider themselves members)? In other words, she has the right to her views however misguided and erroneous they seem to me.
It amazes me every time I see new evidence for the theory that people accuse others of what they fear actually characterize themselves. Let’s look at how she is quoted in the Jerusalem Post:
[Galon] said she has had enough of “. . . this embarrassing victimization by Netanyahu and his ministers in the government” and that “no one in the Western world is talking about boycotts because of anti-Semitism.”
Well, can we not say that she is demonstrating “embarrassing victimization” when she suggests that the Anti-Boycott Law is mainly there to shut her up along with her Leftist fellows? I think we can also say that no one in the Knesset was talking about the Anti-Boycott Law because of anti-Leftism! (She really is not the sun around which the planets spin.)
When she goes public with lies she herself seriously damages Israel’s standing in the world because non-Israeli’s cannot be expected to have enough knowledge or understanding (and perhaps she relies on this) to separate the falsehoods from facts. And, indeed, many Israelis lack sufficient historical knowledge. Therefore, she needs to be called out and her manipulations placed in bold relief for all to see.
We can see two lies in a single statement she made on her Facebook page regarding the Anti-Boycott legislation (my translation – Hebrew original) :
Israel’s problem is that . . . she keeps millions of Palestinians under occupation who merit different laws and rights than Jews settled on the same land, and not only does she do nothing to change this situation, she is proud of it and entrenches it.
Firstly, Galon repeats the half-lie that the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank are under Israeli occupation. I am prepared to say that this is a half-lie rather than an out-and-out lie because whether or not we are an occupying force is under heated and ongoing debate among those who understand international law, both here in Israel and abroad. It would be more correct to refer to these lands as disputed territories. That still leaves room for future determination of its status in whichever way the future will lead. Galon has already foreclosed on that one and thinks everyone should agree with her.
Secondly, and unbelievably, Galon claims that the Arabs in the West Bank have different rights than Jews living in the same area. She KNOWS the truth: As a result of Oslo – largely forced upon us by our friendly loving Left and the friendly loving nations who really do have our best interests at heart (don’t they?) – there is a Palestinian Authority, a temporary government-like body that has taken responsibility over the Arabs. Accordingly, Arabs in the West Bank are citizens of the PA, subject to the PA’s laws, and Jews are citizens of Israel, subject to Israeli law. We have nothing to do with managing their affairs other than where it involves protecting our own citizens.
And I don’t think anyone is proud of this fact – I think, in fact, that Galon smugly raises this lie over and over again and wipes our faces in the dirt of this lie, besmirching us in the eyes of Israelis and non-Israelis who have forgotten this aspect of the Oslo Agreement. Shame on her for providing fuel for the apartheid lie! Shame on her for equating the Israeli Anti-Boycott Law with silencing of criticism from the Left!
This whole situation reminds me of the kids who tack a sign on the back of the “reject” in the school yard that says: “Hit Me!” Only this time the kid is all-of-us-including-Galon. And she uses her democratic rights to do so.