Right Wing Gadfly Group Has Day in Knesset

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Im Tirtzu, the right-wing Israeli truth squad best known for bashing the New Israel Fund, allowed itself a victory lap this week after taking credit for an “emergency” gathering in the Knesset on “delegitimization of Israel.”

Unfortunately, as with so much else the organization touches, the facts of the case are a bit murky. Im Tirtzu claimed in a press release afterward (full text appears below) that it had participated in a meeting of the Knesset Caucus on the Struggle Against De-legitimization of the State of Israel. The meeting’s topic, it said, was “organizations claiming to be Zionist, but which actually espouse BDS philosophies,” alluding to Im Tirtzu’s conspiratorial view of the New Israel Fund. The meeting had been convened, the release said, “as a result of Im Tirtzu’s campaign” to link the New Israel Fund with the BDS movement.

But a news report on the pro-settler news site Arutz Sheva-Israel National News said the caucus had convened “for an emergency discussion on the topic of anti-Israel boycotts in the wake of the rise of the extreme right in Europe.” The report cited Im Tirtzu leader Matan Peleg as one of a string of speakers, most of whom focused their remarks on European antisemitism, the shooting attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum and what’s been described as a link between the shooting and anti-Israel incitement.

The delegitimization caucus is one of 132 such groupings of Knesset members registered with the speaker’s office to advance specific causes. They range from promotion of Israeli-Arab peace to annexation of the West Bank, higher education, autism awareness, Israeli Arab economic development and a one-member “Tuesdays without meat” caucus.

The May 27 meeting reportedly drew several dozen attendees, including a half-dozen guest speakers, all but one of them right-wing specialists in left-wing perfidy, as well as seven Knesset members. The seven included four from the settler-backed HaBayit HaYehudi-Jewish Home party, two from Yisrael Beiteinu and one, caucus chairman Nissim Ze’ev, from Shas.

According to several reports, including a detailed account at the Haredi website Kooker, Ze’ev opened the meeting with a declaration that “delegitimization leads to anti-Semitism and antisemitism leads to terrorism.” He called for “dealing with” sources of funding for organizations that promote delegitimization and “exposing their true face,” as there are some that “pose as Zionist organizations.”

He went on to note the strong showing of radical right parties in the recent European parliament elections, which he said demonstrates the rise of an extremist, anti-minority and especially anti-Jewish ideology among 25% of the population of Western Europe — apparently alluding to the Anti-Defamation League survey on global antisemitism. The murders in Brussels, he said, should be particularly worrying as they prove the rise of an antisemitism rooted in delegitimization.

He continued, according to Kooker:

Another speaker, Knesset member Ayelet Shaked, the Jewish Home faction whip, declared that “if the governments of Europe won’t defend the Jews who live under their sovereignty, the Jews will have to defend themselves.” She said that delegitimization of Israel “is currently based on the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, but the bitter truth is that delegitimization is merely anti-Semitism hiding under more politically correct terminology.” Every generation finds new reasons in which to wrap its hatred, but they’re all based in the same hatred.” Therefore, she said, Israelis need to beware of Israeli organizations that come out against the state of Israel, and to “delegitimize the delegitimizers.”

To review: Delegitimization causes anti-Semitism. Also, that anti-Semitism is merely the same ancient hatred, which now disguises itself as delegitimization. Furthermore, Europeans should wake up to the fact that they are threatened by a far-right ideology that stigmatizes Jews and other minorities in their midst. What’s more, Europeans are oblivious to the fact that murder is part of the Muslim way of life.

Finally — if you’ve been following this discussion for the past few weeks — recall that European anti-Semitism can’t possibly be caused, even partially, by perceptions of Israeli behavior, because it’s simply the same European anti-Semitism that’s been around for millennia. On the other hand, European anti-Semitism can be caused by left-wing Israelis who publish reports on Israeli behavior. Got it?

Following is Im Tirtzu’s press release describing its version of the caucus meeting. Note the five-point action plan adopted by the caucus, including the formation of a task force (item No. 2), headed by Im Tirtzu, to prepare legislative and action initiatives to fight delegitimization. Also, a call to Knesset members marching in the New York Celebrate Israel Parade to “denounce any organization that takes part in de-legitimizing Israel.”

Knesset members in attendance: Shas: Nissim Ze’ev. Yisrael Beiteinu: Robert Ilatov, Shimon Ohayon. HaBayit HaYehudi-Jewish Home: Ayelet Shaked, Orit Stroock, Yoni Chetbon, Moti Yogev.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Right Wing Gadfly Group Has Day in Knesset

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