From: "Paul Eidelberg" <email@example.com>
Date: Dec 26, 2015 9:20 PM
Subject: Two Assassinations and the Demise of Israel
This is a slightly abridged version of an essay I wrote the month following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995.
Such was the hysterical Leftwing, and McCarthy-type aftermath of that tragic event, that little more than an allusion to that tragedy could then be published without raising hell and even self-incrimination since the assassin was a member of the Bar-Ilan university where I taught but, was then on a lecture tour in Detroit, and was thus bound to be invaded by journalists calling by phone. as they did even after I had left for New York, where I was known from my weekly columns in the nationally distributed Jewish Press.
Even now, my recounting of that event may evoke heated reactions among those whose intellect is but an instrument of their passions or partisan interests.
In any event, Israel's slain prime minister has since been sanctified. Much political capital was made, and is still being made, of his assassination. The political right and the religious continue to be demonized by the media, still dominated by the Left and its hostile emotions.
And yet, as I had surmised, it has become evident that Mr. Rabin may have been unwittingly responsible for his own demise. As Minister of Defense, Rabin also headed Israel's general security service (GSS). Some believe that the GSS may have authorized the criminal act of Avishai Raviv, the GSS agent who "handled" Yigal Amir, alleged to have been part of a conspiracy to defame the political right and the religious community – this, to perpetuate the Left's control of the Government after the 1996 national elections. Mr. Rabin's public image was at stake and, with it, the political fortunes of the Left, and, most importantly, the strategic Oslo "territory for peace" process with which Rabin's name and fame are associated.
Indeed, I dare say, if the full truth were known about the Rabin assassination, Israel's entire system of government would collapse like a deck of cards. Desperate measures will still be taken by the elite to suppress the truth about that assassination. But we are also in dire need of some truth. Indeed, The time has come to examine Rabin's political character dispassionately as well as that of JFK's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The contrast may provide some impetus for constitutional reform of Israel's political system and thus preclude a repetition of the violence that ended Oswald's life and of John F. Kennedy. The contrast may be instructive. For the sake of analysis, i shall adopt the official position that Oswald was in fact JKK's assassin. Let us first contrast his political character with that of Amir.
Oswald, we know, was a communist. He seems to have been more or less identified with the Soviet Union, hence, not only with a foreign power, but the mortal enemy of his own country, the United States. Inasmuch as Oswald himself was murdered before the commencement of any judicial proceedings, we can only speculate about his motives. If Oswald was ideologically motivated, there was one episode of JFK's presidency that may have triggered the assassination, namely, the Cuban missile crisis.
Kennedy's superb handling of that crisis gave rise to speculation that Oswald, who had spent time in Moscow (as well as in Cuba), was recruited by the KGB to assassinate the president. Whether this is so, or whether the KGB employed the mafia for a simultaneous hit, I leave for others to ponder. As concerns Oswald, however, we remain in the dark about his motives if they were not ideological.
In any event, one can hardly believe there was anything so radical or unprecedented about Kennedy's public statements or policies that would inflame a transform a law-abiding citizen into an assassin. The political atmosphere in America in November 1963 was not saturated with widespread fear of national calamity (the case of Israel and Oswald in 1995).
There were no profound ideological cleavages among the American people. Americans harbored no agonizing resentment or deep feeling of betrayal resulting from some radical and unexpected reversal in the Kennedy administration's political philosophy or national goals. if Oswald was ideologically motivated, it's hard to see how his killing JFK would alter the course of American foreign policy to the advantage of the Soviet Union or of Communism.
This suggests (if purely personal motives are dismissed) that he was either "irrational" or that he served as the pawn of another party. Whatever Oswald's motives for assassinating JFK, patriotism or love of country was not one of them. Contrast Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir.
Amir, who served in the elite Golani brigade, was a member of the GSS, which, as previously noted, operates directly under the prime minister. Had Amir been a Communist or a PLO sympathizer, he would not have been recruited by the GSS, a highly secret arm of Israel's Government. That the GSS employed Amir indicates that it regarded him as a most patriotic citizen. Obviously Amir's love of country did not include Israel's Prime Minister.
Nevertheless, by condemning the assassination, it does not logically follow that one must reject the proposition that Amir, the act of murder aside, was not a patriotic Jew. And yet, to say, without qualification, that Amir was a patriotic Jew is not consistent with condemning the assassination. Accordingly, one would then have to say Amir was a misguided patriotic Jew.
I can almost hear the outrage this statement will arouse among emotional and impatient critics. But what would any unbiased person understand on hearing Amir described as a "misguided patriotic jew"? Stated more simply, how would a disinterested and intelligent observer define a "misguided patriot"? Surely he would first define a patriot as a citizen who, though dedicated to the good of his country, was a misguided patriot as a citizen who, though subjectively dedicated to the good of his country, misconceived his country's good -- say on some basic issue – a misconception or error of judgment) that prompted him to commit an act detrimental to his country. i do not think any fair-minded person will object to this definition.
Yet, to me, this definition is inadequate: it doesn't quite cover the subject, Yigal Amir, who is not just a citizen of Israel, but a Jew. Amir violated not only the laws of the state; prima facie he violated the laws of the Torah, the prohibition against murder, the most heinous of crimes. An intellectually honest observer may nonetheless say this: to call Amir a misguided patriotic Jew is to say that, subjectively, he was dedicated to the Torah, but that his behavior, in the present case, conflicts with Israel's divine mission as a light unto the nations. That would make Amir doubly culpable.
Part II. Yitzhak Rabin
The previous definition of a patriotic Jew, even when his patriotism is misguided, has embarrassing implications. For to the extent that a patriotic Jew is one who believes in the Torah and in Israel's divine mission, this definition excludes most Jews, including, i am reluctant to say, the late Yitzhak Rabin! Would that I could avoid this embarrassing but nonetheless logical conclusion regarding Israel's slain prime minister and thereby avoid offending those who mourn his death. My excuse in pursuing this painful inquiry -- contrasting the Rabin and Kennedy assassinations -- is to prevent Israel's destruction or self-destruction which, I dare say, as a political scientist, could occur in the near future.
Kennedy was the first Catholic President of the United States. He believed, or professed to believe, in God, and he repeatedly conveyed that belief to the public. Mr. Rabin was Israel's first "sabra" or Israeli-born prime minister. If he believed in God, it was a well-kept secret -- surely with tragic consequences for himself and for Israel, given the potentially salutary influence that Israel, as an authentic Jewish state, might have on mankind.
That Rabin, a sabra, was a practical atheist is of world-historical significance when juxtaposed to the 2,000-year suffering of the Jewish people. Not for one moment during all those centuries of dispersion and humiliation, of torture and genocide, did the Jew lose faith in God or forget Zion: "For the Lord thy God will return thy captivity and have compassion upon thee from all the peoples whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. if any of thy dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the lord thy god gather thee. . . . and the lord thy god will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed and thou shalt possess it" (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).
Yet the late Rabin disparaged religious Jews in the land of Israel as "foreign weeds." He called religious Jews "degenerates" for opposing the surrender of land for which their forefathers yearned so long and for which so many Jews have bled and died. To my knowledge, Mr. Rabin holds the unenviable distinction of being perhaps the only head of state in history that publicly denigrated the heritage of his own people. This unheard of degradation of Judaism was not simply personal or a momentary pique. It was the deliberate policy of the Rabin Government.
Under Rabin's authority as defense minister, the word "Judaism" was deleted from the Soldiers Code of Ethics. So was the term "Zionism." Rabin publicly disdained the Jewish attitude toward Eretz Yisroel. "The Golan Heights," he said, "is not holy land but tank land."
He said as much about Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, which PM Netanyahu would yield via his "two-solution" to the Palestinian conflict. The same attitude animated his Labor colleague, Shimon Peres (who was Rabin's Foreign Minister) and who not only deplores the idea of "national borders," but also applied for srael's membership in the Arab League! Also, the Rabin Government's ambassador to the United Nations, Gad Yacobi, told a Harvard University audience in January 1995: "there is no such thing as Jewish land; there are only Jewish people."
Consistent therewith, Mr.Peres (who later became Israel's President) defined Israel as the state of its citizens, not the state of the Jews. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the goal of the Rabin-Peres Government was to convert Jews into "Israelis" such that Israel would no longer be identified as a "Jewish" state. Moreover, Rabin chose the erstwhilMeretz leader, Shulamit Aloni, as his Minister of Education, who disparaged "patriotism" and tried to implant this attitude into Israel's public school system!
(However, in fairness to Rabin and his leftist colleagues, it should be noted that they desperately wanted to accommodate Israel's Arab voters, who abhor living in ae "Jewish" state. Unfortunately, these Arabs refuse to identify themselves as "Israelis." Indeed, they proudly call themselves "Palestinians."
Given that prime minister's negative attitude toward Judaism and Zionism, logic compels us to conclude he was less a patriotic Jew than a patriotic Israeli!
This disturbing but completely logical conclusion will provoke hostile emotions' but one need not be Jewish to draw this conclusion; it speaks to us from Mr. Rabin's own words and policies. Nevertheless, I will surely be accused of right-wing bias if not of religious fanaticism by those who allow their intellects to be governed by their passions or partisan interests. They may even accuse me of mitigating the culpability of his assassin. Nonsense! One can think of many alienated and even repugnant Jewish politicians without wishing to see them dead, let alone assassinated.
If it is politically divisive or construed as "incitement" to discuss a politician's divisive and provocative statements, or if it is "seditious" to indicate that, regardless of an Israelis patriotic intentions, his releasing Arab terrorists not only endangered his fellow citizens but constitutes a clear violation of international law, then let us put an end to the current pretense about Israeli democracy.
I have said that Mr. Rabin was an Israeli patriot. I have now suggested that he was a misguided one. Writing before Rabin's assassination, Louis Rene Beres, a professor of international law as well as a political scientist, points out that "the Oslo agreements do not constitute treaties because they link a state with a nonstate party. . . . [b]ecause the nonstate party in this case happens to be a terrorist organization whose leaders must be punished for egregious crimes. Any agreement with this party that offers rewards rather than punishment is entirely null and void. Indeed, in view of the peremptory expectation known in law as nullum crimen sine poena, "no crime without a punishment," the state party in such an agreement – in this case the state of Israel – violates international law by honoring the agreement."
Nor is this all. Beres writes in the sequel: "terrorist crimes mandate universal cooperation in apprehension and punishment. As punishers of 'grave breaches' under international law (defined at the fourth Geneva Convention), all states and other legal 'persons' are expected to search out and prosecute or extradite for prosecution, individual perpetrators. This assuredly does not mean holding hands and signing documents on the White House lawn. The 'good offices' of the United States do not in any way mitigate Israel's legal failings in this matter; rather, it simply makes one more state – the United States of America – complicit in this failure."
Viewed in this light, Mr. Rabin (and this applies to Mr. Peres) appears to have violated international law by rewarding the PLO, a criminal organization responsible for the murder not only of Jews but of Americans. The Rabin-Peres Government rewarded the PLO with parts of the land of Israel, with Jewish taxpayers money, and even with deadly weapons subsequently used against Jews!
Not that such a violation of international law would justify the assassination of any member of Israel's government (to say nothing of the President of the United States or any member of the American congress that voted to reward the PLO with a grant of 500 million dollars). but when leaders of sovereign states reward a terrorist gang that has slaughtered innocent men, women, and children, it seems to me paradoxical or hypocritical, perhaps even self-serving, to have been so mortified by the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, as if he bore no responsibility for the death of others, whatever his noble intentions.
Reasons for Rabin's sanctificationOf course the assassination of a head of state strikes at the foundation of civilized society, assuming, of course, that he himself is not a tyrant, that he himself does not trample upon man's God-given rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. No civilized society can endure if punctuated by political assassinations. This is why even self-regarding people appear so morally outraged and horrified by such acts.
Ponder, therefore, the glorification of Rabin that followed his assassination. Nothing quite like it adorned the slain president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Rabin was extolled as one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, the hero of the six day war, a saint, the noble and fearless architect of peace. Professor Henry Kissinger described him as a "humble" man, an "honest" man, a "gentle" man, a man of "vision." Kissinger went so far as to say of Rabin: "Like Moses, he did not live to reach the promised land." What greater praise -- some would say obtuseness -- than Kissinger's juxtaposing Rabin with mankind's greatest teacher and law-giver! Meanwhile, Rabbi Norman Lamm, president of Yeshiva University, felt obliged to eulogize Israel's slain prime minister despite the latter's degradation of orthodox Judaism. Why all this adulation?
It is a matter of civilized decency to emphasize the good deeds of a deceased person, even to exaggerate his virtues. all the more so for a fallen head of state, whose character, it may be presumed, is a reflection of the character of his country. The case of Rabin, however, poses a painful paradox. Here we behold the head of a Jewish state whose Jewishness he wished to erase; the head of a state in which 51 percent of its Jewish population (as per one poll) believes in the divine origin of the Torah; a head of state whose policy of territorial withdrawal utterly betrayed the solemn pledges he made to the nation in the 1992 pre-election campaign; a head of state whose Government represented perhaps as little as 33% of Israel's Jewish population in terms of their basic and untrammeled political and religious convictions; a head of state who came to power only by virtue of the support of Arab Knesset members committed to Israel's dismemberment; a head of state who, as mentioned previously, scorned the tradition of his own people.
Nevertheless, although it was appropriate that Israel's slain prime minister be eulogized, those eulogies, for the above reasons, strike a profoundly discordant note to any morally sensitive but unbiased observer. This cannot readily be said of the eulogies pronounced over John F. Kennedy who, though not a paragon of virtue, affirmed belief in God and respected the tradition of his people.
I do not say this to disparage Mr. Rabin, whom i regard as a tragic figure -- tragic for having been slain by a Jew; tragic for having failed to see what Gentiles like John Adams and even Nietzsche saw in the Jewish people, namely, that they have no equal in history, indeed, that they are the teachers of mankind. But there is something else to be said of the sanctification of Rabin following his assassination. Rabin was magnified as a great statesman, a saint, and a hero to render all the more damnable not only his assassin, but opponents of the now deified peace process. anyone who has read authoritative accounts of Rabin's military record and predictions will have reason to regard him as something less than a hero, let alone a saint.
By no means, however, does this mitigate the criminal nature of Aamir's deed. As a political scientist, however, I deem it important to examine the political context of that deed. Clearly Mr. Rabin and his colleagues created a climate of hatred and resentment as well as life-threatening circumstances conducive to violence: (1) vilifying religious and non-religious Jews for opposing a peace process that had already witnessed, at the time of Rabin's death, the murder of 162 Jews and the wounding of 800 more; (2) releasing thousands of Arab terrorists, some of whom went on to murder more Jews; (3) callously calling these Jewish victims "sacrifices for peace"; (4) arming 25,000 unrepentant Arab terrorists to prevent terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza; (5) yielding, again and again, to the demands of Yasser Arafat, whose commitment to Israel's destruction was incontrovertible; (6) allowing the PLO to establish a virtual capital in eastern Jerusalem -- all this inflamed the atmosphere that conduced to Rabin's assassination.
Add the complicity of the GSS in creating this inflammatory state of affairs: how Avishai Raviv (presumably with the Prime Minister's approval) was used to incite public hatred against the political right, i.e., the nationalist-religious camp, at a time when polls indicated only 23 percent was in favor of Rabin's Oslo or "land-for-peace" policy.
(Was it the intention of the Lleft to convey to the general public the impression that the Right wanted to foment a civil war? Conversely, did the Left itself seek to provoke a civil war out of political desperation? i raise this question because the Left sees that its electoral base among Jews is constantly shrinking. tens of thousands of secular Jews leave Israel every year, while another thirty thousand have abortions. This makes the Left increasingly and utterly dependent on Arab voters and Arab partieד to gain and retain power. Nevertheless, with the precipitous decline in public support of the Rabin government and with the 1996 national elections looming ahead, something drastic had to be done by the Left to discredit the Right, such as using Avishai Raviv as a provocateur. But nothing could have been better calculated to discredit the Right than the assassination of Israel's prime minister by an orthodox Jew.)
Two Political Systems
Consider, now, the witch-hunt, the repression of dissent, the incarceration of outspoken and not-so-outspoken critics of the deified peace process -- and all in the name of saving Israeli democracy. Not an iota of this sort of thing occurred after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, even though his assassin was a Communist. There was no purge of left-wing professors in American colleges and universities; no urging of students, parents, and faculty to report teachers who expressed "extreme" left-wing views; no placing of left-wingers under "administrative arrest" for months at a time without trial or notification of the charges; no indictment of persons for having expressed criticism of the government two or three years before the assassination; no cynical exploitation of a tragedy to retain political power.
Strikingly different the aftermaths of the two assassinations! Why? why did dignified calm follow the assassination of president Kennedy? why was there no political hysteria, no witch-hunt, no repression?
Why? Because the United states is a genuine democracy, one governed by the rule of law. Why? Because America's founding fathers, the framers of the American Constitution, respected the biblical tradition, which honors and protects the inalienable rights of the individual. Why? because this tradition, which the Jewish people bestowed on mankind, proclaims the existence of a higher law, a law to which the laws of parliaments and kings must conform if they are to command our loyalty.
In contrast, the founders of the modern state of israel were for the most part Marxists, hence atheists. As atheists they rejected the biblical tradition which has made the United States the greatest power on earth – now falin because the American people have been corrupted by the University-bred doctrine of multicultural moral relativism. For these atheists, a Jew's highest loyalty is not to God, but to "democracy" -- their fig-leaf for a veritable oligarchy.
What has all this to do with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin? Very much, I'm afraid. Contrary to almost universal opinion, and despite periodic multiparty elections, Israel is not and never has been a genuine democracy. (1) Israel does not have a written constitution with institutional checks and balances. (2) Unlike 74 reputed democracies, Israel does not have constituency elections that would make legislators accountable to the voters (as is the case of Great Britain, which also lacks a constitution, but has a well-established legal tradition). (3) Israel's system of fixed party lists makes Knesset members subservient to their party leaders who head the cabinet ministries. (4) Israel's Government can make agreements with foreign entities without serious public debate and even without Knesset debate. (5) Israel's Supreme Court is not only a self-perpetuating oligarchy; it is the only court in the free world that ignores the moral and legal heritage of its own people. (6) Israel's educational and cultural institutions as well as its news media are dominated by secularists.
This overwhelming concentration of political-economic and opinion-making power in the hands Israel's interlocking elites offers no redress and no outlet for rational and effective political dissent between elections. This is why an increasing number of Israelis, feeling helpless, and having grown cynical, frustrated, and desperate, turn to actions outside an ostensibly democratic process that has turned corrupt and illegitimate. It is in this light that we are to understand why Israeli politics has ever been so acrimonious, so vicious, so impervious to civilized debate -- and yes, to the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin!
This undemocratic and oppressive state of affairs did not give Yigal Amir a license to murder Yitzhak Rabin. But unless Israel undergoes a truly democratic transformation, that is, unless a Jewish constitutional democracy is established in this country, he Arabs will turn Israel into a killing ground.◙