Opinion: Liberal American Jewish outrage never extends to Israel’s left

Where is liberal American outrage when it comes to the overtly racist Arab parties in the Knesset?

By Daniel Krygier, World Israel News

Liberal media in Israel and abroad have vocally opposed the prospects of the Israeli far-right Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Strength”) party entering the Knesset. The supporters of the tiny party are painted as racists and terrorists, disciples of Meir Kahane. 

Curiously, liberal critics have for years turned a blind eye to larger Arab and Islamist extremist parties in the Knesset that support Israel’s enemies and oppose the existence of the Jewish State, a racist platform if ever there was one. The Otzma Yehudit controversy spotlights the widespread liberal phenomenon of selective outrage when it comes to bigotry and racism.

When American liberals are queried on their silence regarding Arab and Islamist political extremism in the Knesset, they speak of “freedom of expression” and “democracy.” However, not even the liberal Scandinavian democracies allow political parties that advocate the destruction of the countries that they are supposed to serve.

Radical anti-Israel Knesset lawmaker Hanin Zoabi, who recently declared that she is leaving politics, was allowed to demonize and slander the Jewish state for 10 years in Knesset. Zoabi belongs to the Arab nationalist Balad party, which rejects the existence of the same Jewish state that pays their salaries and gives them full civic equality and freedom.

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Even after joining anti-Israel extremists on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship who violently ambushed IDF soldiers, Zoabi was allowed to stay in Israel’s parliament. Zoabi continued serving in the Knesset even after she defended Hamas’s terrorism against Israeli civilians during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Lawmakers from the Arab Joint List boycotted the funeral of President Shimon Peres. Peres spent decades of his life calling for far-reaching Israeli concessions in the name of peace. In his later years, he became an icon for Arab-Jewish reconciliation. Yet, to former Arab MK Basel Ghattas, Peres was “a tyrant covered in our blood.” Did American Jewish organizations condemn this statement? 

Arab MK Ahmed Tibi praised Arab terrorists who ambushed IDF soldiers during the battle of Jenin in 2002. In 2017, a delegation of Arab MKs went to Brussels to encourage the EU to cut trade agreements with Israel. The list goes on. 

For years, Israel’s left has not only failed to condemn this kind of treasonous behavior, which no other democracy in the world would allow, it actually seeks to broker deals with anti-Jewish, Arab extremists.

In 1999, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak participated in a campaign rally with the radical Islamist Sheik Raed Saleh, who was later charged for incitement and terrorism against Israel. Left-wing members of the Labor and Meretz parties voted in favor of Azmi Bishara, a former Christian Arab MK who spied for Hezbollah.

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In the last election, former Labor leader Isaac Herzog considered the radical Arab Joint List as legitimate potential government partners.

Yet, Israel’s opposition leaders were quick to piggyback on the criticism from AIPAC and the AJC, turning it into a useful political truncheon to bash Netanyahu. It appears that the prime minister was right when he charged the left with “hypocrisy.”

The Otzma Yehudit episode has brought Israel and the Jewish people to a crossroads. Will all radicalism be opposed or only what the left determines is or is not appropriate?