Here in the U.S. we too have our Teabaggers with their foul hate spewing against African-Americans, gays and even our president. We’ve also seen our share of political violence including presidential assassinations. But still little prepares you for the frenzied, teeth-baring rage to which Anat Kamm is being exposed in the Israeli media and pages of Facebook. I’m displaying some of the relevant graphics here. I don’t know whether to complain to Facebook about the existence of groups calling for the execution of a fellow human being or to leave the pages up as Exhibit A in the venom spewed by these vulgar hooligans.
Here are some of the relevant passages:
Maariv main headline: “Grave Espionage”
“Execute Anat Kamm: We must eradicate leftism from our nation”
“Anti-Zionists have advanced all the way to here [prison]: that she should never see the light of day, the disgusting piece of garbage”
“I too want Anat Kamm executed: what do you say? Electric chair or hanging?”
“Declare Haaretz a terror organization”
I call upon all Israelis, Diaspora Jews and lovers of democracy everywhere to stand against this odious venom. I would like to see a group of legal scholars and jurists organize to rebut the heinous charges and persecution being meted out to both Kamm and Uri Blau. I too am hoping that bloggers and journalists may create an organized campaign inside and especially outside Israel against this McCarthyite vigilantism. Just as Israel was embarrassed into removing the gag order we must try to make Israel embarrassed that the hounds are baying for the blood of a fellow Israeli merely for the fact that she released documents that reveal the immorality and even illegality of IDF actions in the Territories.
This is the face of Israeli rightism exemplified by Lieberman and those farther to his right. But there is no question that the IDF and Shin Bet themselves are contributing to the lynch mob mentality by releasing deeply misleading, histrionic claims about the damage Kamm did to Israeli security.
Now, they are claiming that Uri Blau sought to publish an article exposing IDF battle plans the week before Operation Cast Lead. They bray about this as if Blau was whispering the words into ear of Hamas’ military wing. In fact, Haaretz’s Amos Harel later reported that these very same battle plans were tantamount to war crimes in the blatnat disregard with which they treated Palestinian civilian life. The Israeli shreying for Uri Blau’s head have a fatal inability to understand what Israel is supposed to be: not a State of cold blooded killers virtually executing old men, women and children as happened all too often in Gaza in 2008 and Lebanon in 2006. Is that language too sharp for you? Well, what else do you call free fire zones in which IDF soldiers are told to kill ANYTHING that moves as happened during Cast Lead? This is testimony straight from soldiers given such orders. I didn’t make it up.
And if those battle plans called for Israel invading and occupying Gaza and expelling Hamas as I believe likely–is that not information which any well-informed citizen should wish to be informed of? And if the battle plans called for mass expulsion of Gazans as I understand it did from an informed source: is this not information the public has a right to know in order to determine whether Cast Lead was justly conceived and executed?
The rightist hooligans, newspapers and Shin Bet spokespeople crying treason and other horrid epithets should also recall that Haaretz presented this Blau article to the military censor who initially approved it, whereupon Haaretz printed the edition. When the IDF asked Haaretz to remove the edition from circulation it did so. So how was Israel’s security compromised?? The article never saw the light of day. Blau never gave away “state secrets.” Haaretz acceded to the wishes of the army.
I remind my readers that what Kamm and Blau did is almost precisely what Daniel Ellsberg and the NY Times did in the Pentagon Papers case. Ellsberg revealed Pentagon position papers and strategic doctrine regarding the Vietnam War. The president, defense and intelligence establishment had a holy fit. And guess what happened? The Papers were published as far as I know without censorship. Ellsberg wasn’t charged with treason and didn’t serve a day in jail. The Republic didn’t fall. North Vietnam didn’t win the war as a result of anything it read in the pages of the Times. In fact, many of us believe the Ellsberg case was one of America’s shining hours as a democracy. Is it wrong to demand anything less of Israel?
An Israeli source sent me an e-mail with some acute observations about the most recent developments in this case:
First, he notes that just before the gag order was rescinded, Ehud Barak announced that he had refused to extend Gaby Ashkenazi’s term as chief of staff. There may be many reasons for this, but one very suggestive one might be an attempt to remove the current chief of staff from the mix involving this case. If there is ever a full trial involving this case, Ashkenazi is up to his eyeballs in it and approved the illegal assassinations highlighted in one of Blau’s reports. There may even be further revelations in some of the as yet unpublished documents that further sully the chief of staff’s reputation.
My source notes that it wasn’t just the IDF that performed these illegal targeted killings. They were prepared along with Shin Bet teams as well. Which means that the Shin Bet is also implicated in this wrongdoing. If the Supreme Court ever develops the balls to haul these jokers in to ask them where they get the effrontery to disobey a Court ruling it will be the Shin Bet as well as IDF which will have to answer. That might explain the desperation of the intelligence services to hang onto the gag order far after it outlived its usefulness.
He ends his message with this passage which I found touching and empowering:
I hope that if these issues can be raised in the foreign media through you and others, there will be a chance that they can penetrate the Israeli media as well.
He flatters me and my influence. But some people have listened to what I have to say here. With the help of my readers in Israel and the Diaspora, people will continue finding the material I publish here important for understanding this critical case for Israeli democracy. Tell your friends about this blog. If we’re going to change minds and have an impact we need the largest audience we can muster.