Israeli Minster Calls for “Civil Targeted Killings” of BDS Leaders
by Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam
March 30, 2016
The Yediot Achronot conference attacking BDS has become a veritable carnival of hate. Everyone from delusional Hollywood celebrities (Roseanne Barr) to cabinet ministers, to the leader of the Opposition have pledged fealty to the cause.
But the apogee came yesterday when Transportation Minister Israel Katz called for the “civil targeted killing” of BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti. The phrase he used (sikul ezrahi memukad) derives from the euphemistic Hebrew phrase for the targeted killing of a terrorist (the literal meaning is “targeted thwarting”).
But the added word “civil” makes it something different. Katz is saying that we won’t physically murder BDS opponents, but we will do everything short of that.
One may rightly ask what business a transportation minister has conducting targeted killings, physical or otherwise, against anyone. Though everything in Israel is in service to the national security state, has transportation fallen under that bailiwick as well?
We are entering dangerous territory when an Israeli cabinet minister engages in wordplay that verges on putting a bull’s-eye on the backs of non-violent activists. If there are Israel apologists out there who dismiss the significance of such rhetoric they are sadly mistaken. In this torrid political environment in which Israeli leftists have become criminals and wounded Palestinian youth may be summarily executed in the street, it is only too easy to foresee Palestinian activists like Barghouti having a bounty on their heads.
Does anyone doubt there are scores of Yigal Amirs out there who’d be pleased to strike a blow for their hateful cause by putting a bullet in the head of a Palestinian?
Not to be outdone, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri called for stripping BDS founder Omar Barghouti of his Israeli residency, which he gained in 1994 when he married an Israeli citizen. Deri claimed that Barghouti is employing a scam against Israel because his main residence is Ramallah and not Israel (though he’s pursuing, or has completed, an MA at Tel Aviv University). Given Katz’s ever so veiled threat against him it would be no wonder if Barghouti did choose to value his safety and live where he’s not under threat of death.
In this context, it’s ironic Facebook activists have posted a gag order involving a potential criminal case against Deri himself. It seems that the Israeli Attorney General has been investigating criminal charges of an unspecified nature. It’s important to recall that Deri has been charged with corruption in the past, been convicted, and spent time in prison. However, when his sentence was served, he was reappointed to the leadership of the Shas party, won a seat in the Knesset, and became interior minister. It appears this recycled thief may be up to the same old tricks once more.
Deri’s spiritual boss, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, told an audience of the faithful a few weeks ago that under Jewish law, no Palestinian should be allowed to live in the land of Israel. In other words, he was espousing the ethnic cleansing of Israel, and the expulsion of 20% of its population. Only later did the rabbi explain that he wasn’t, God forbid, proposing that Palestinians be expelled now, but that this would only happen after the Messiah came and Israel was a proper halachic state. Is it any surprise that Deri himself would jump on the band wagon and commence the expulsion by stripping Barghouti of his legal rights to residency?
Israel’s major concert promoter, Shuki Weiss, who plays a major role in combating the cultural boycott against Israel, complained at the Yediot conference that Deri’s interior ministry was demanding that international artists wishing to perform in Israel sign a loyalty oath in order to obtain a visa. The ministry immediately denied the claim. And concert promoters aren’t known for being fonts of truth.
So it’s hard to know what’s the truth in this context. But given how extreme this government is and how petty its leadership, it’s not hard to believe a ministry official would think it was a terrific idea to pressure Elton John to sign a loyalty oath before permitting him to step foot in the Holy Land.