The Israeli Left Can’t Handle Criticism

The Israeli left has had a very bad week.

First, it was the subject of a news program that aired shocking film of one of its more radical members bragging that he’d turned in a Palestinian land-broker to the Palestinian Authority security forces for doing deals with Israelis. Considering that selling land to Jews is a “crime” punishable by death in the Palestinian Authority, he was handing this Palestinian over to PA thugs to be killed, or at the very least tortured.

This “human rights” activist, who was filmed coaxing the Palestinian to hand over proof of his intentions so that he could pass it on to the PA authorities, was seen consorting with another “human rights” champion, this one an Arab from B’Tselem.

In their minds, they were doing nothing wrong. They genuinely agree with the Palestinian Authority that Arabs who sell land to Jews are “traitors,” just as they agree that Palestinians who tip off Israeli security forces about planned terror attacks, thereby saving Jewish lives, are “collaborators.” But when they are taken to task for being disloyal to the state, they cry foul. Such charges are incitement, not criticism based on facts, and those who level them will be held accountable for the resultant violence.

Which leads us to the second low point for the left. On Sunday night, the building that houses the offices of B’Tselem in Yerushalayim went up in flames. Coming three days after the news program was aired, it was a perfect opportunity for the left to claim that the fire had been deliberately set by right-wingers who were riled up by the news program.

They blamed everyone, from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down, and, most importantly, had a perfect excuse for not confronting the substance of the charges raised in the program. It was “incitement” as is any news that casts the left in a negative light, so no response was needed.

Joint Arab List chairman MK Ayman Odeh intoned that the “source of the [B’Tselem] fire was the incitement campaign waged against human rights organizations by the government and its leader.” Joint Arab List MK Dov Khenin chimed in that “too many signs point to the suspicion of arson at the B’Tselem office,” adding that if the fire was the result of an arson attack, it’s “scary to think where the incitement against human rights organizations has led.”

Peace Now said that “the arson at the B’Tselem office is an attempted attack that miraculously did not claim human lives, and the cabinet ministers, led by Netanyahu, are responsible. The government must stop its incitement campaign against the left and order the Israel Police to secure left-wing NGOs from any attempt to harm them.”

But then the police and fire department rained on the left’s parade and revealed that the fire was caused by an electrical short. So if there was no arson, there was no incitement to arson. And if there was no incitement, then it was a legitimate news report that demands answers from responsible members of the left. But those answers haven’t been forthcoming.

In fact, the extreme leftists from Ha’aretz went on the offensive, claiming that the program should never have been aired and that those who did so were somehow in breach of journalistic ethics.

Leftist politicians were equally uncomfortable with the news program’s revelations. Meretz leader Zahava Galon came up with the most lame limud zechus that has been heard in a long time. She pointed out that the Palestinian Authority has not executed anyone “in years.” So the extreme leftist who turned over the Palestinians couldn’t be sure he’d be killed — maybe he’d only be tortured.

A tzaddik in Sedom.

The bottom line is that the left is very good at preaching to the right about doing cheshbon hanefesh and rooting out its “wild weeds,” but is unwilling or unable to admit that it has crossed lines in its bid to protect the human rights of Arabs. There have been too many instances when the left has incited violence against Jews, for instance, showing up at weekly protests at the separation fence to egg on violent confrontations with security forces.

They use the courts, their contacts with the international community — who have funded them massively — and the media to push a “human rights” agenda that justifies sending an Arab land-owner to his death if it will prevent a Jew from purchasing land in Yehudah and Shomron.

When it still looked like the fire at B’Tselem’s office was arson, the organization released a statement assuring the public that “naturally, the damage to our offices will not stop our work of documenting and exposing the harm to human rights under the occupation.”

It’s about time that B’Tselem exposes the harm to human rights that it and the extreme left is responsible for.