To put it mildly, I don’t have much love these days for the Israeli left. I watch my former colleagues in the so-called peace camp and am astonished by how deluded they are in their belief that negotiations with the murderous and corrupt Palestinian Authority are still possible, how dishonest they are in their refusal to speak honestly about Palestinian anti-Semitism and incitement, and how ready they are to blame Israel for the smallest of infractions while giving its sworn enemies the benefit of every doubt. I find them a morally muddled, intellectually confused, and emotionally squishy bunch. But even I felt sick the other day when watching the controversial new ad by the right-wing movement Im Tirzu.
The ad, which is about as subtle as a Trump stump speech, accuses the leaders of four Israeli leftist nonprofit organizations of being shtulim, a loaded Hebrew word roughly meaning undercover agents. The four, the video argues, using military-style imagery, receive funds from European governments while severely criticizing Israel and providing Palestinian terrorists with legal counsel. “While we fight terror,” the video menacingly concludes, “they fight us.”
You hardly have to be a card-carrying Likudnik to agree that there’s something infuriating—and potentially corrosive to Israeli democracy—about European governments funneling millions into Israeli organizations committed to furthering anti-Israeli bias, advocating sanctions against Israeli institutions and individuals, or challenging the country’s national security interests in ways direct and indirect.Leibovitz seems to be more offended by the ad than he is by the harm being done on a daily basis to Israel by anti-Zionist Israelis working on behalf of anti-Zionist NGOs based in Europe. I suspect that's more a function of this writer having a foot, and perhaps even his entire brain, in the leftist camp.
But how to address such threats?...
As a former leftist and now a long-time non-leftist, I am far more outraged by these ghastly, extremely corrosive NGOs than I am by the ad, which, going by the line that's been quoted--the one I've put in bold letters--seems to have nailed the problem completely and succinctly.
If Leibovitz really wants to be offended, he should read Tuvia Tenenbom's rollicking takedown of these NGOs in his book Catch the Jew!.
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