Netanyahu and Trump Pyromaniacs

Here’s something you did not know.

When Yitzhak Rabin was gunned down by a fundamentalist settler on  November 4,1995.  His widow Leah spurned the condolences of the  man who had stoked so much hate for the Oslo accords Bibi Netanyahu

After Rabin’s funeral the widow  Rabin said it was hard to greet and to be civil to some of the hardline legislators whom she blamed for inciting Jewish radicals against her husband. She never forgave Netanyahu for her husband’s death suggesting that his violent invective led to it.

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Under cover (Israel of course censored any photos of the event as you could not have the brainwashed  citizenry seeing the new “Hitler” as a man of compassion).  She met with  Yasir Arafat  and later said “That Yasser Arafat sat in my living room was like something from the movies…, “special experience″ for me and  my grandchildren. The emotional meeting lasted 90 minutes.

Arafat for all his faults and cronyism was a very warm man. The condolences were authentic. A week later  in front of a crowd of 250,000 the feisty Rabin thundered:

“Where were you before, when the right were calling Yitzhak a traitor?”

Now Rabin’s granddaughter 23 years  later spoke the truth at  a memorial

If the campaign of incitement and vilification against anyone who disagrees with your views does not stop, blood will be spilled here. … There is a deep division and you, elected leaders, have the power to end it.” 

Gershom Gorenberg (one you can trust) writes from Israel

Those words were spoken in Hebrew at the beginning of this week. They were not intended as a comment on the bombs that had not yet been discovered in the mail in America. Unintentionally, though, they provide commentary on the responsibility for violence by the supposed lone extremist. 

The words come from Noa Rothman, granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin. She was speaking at the state memorial ceremony for the prime minister who was assassinated 23 years ago. The “you” to whom she referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present to hear her, and more widely to his political camp.

Netanyahu and his loyalists were terribly offended. Quite a few reporters, more practiced at “balance” than at the pursuit of truth, colored their stories with shock that Rothman took a supposedly partisan tone at a state event traditionally above politics. Afterward, the annual debate about Rabin’s murder at the hands of a right-wing assassin took a more surreal tone than ever.

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Part of the problem is that the assassination was several crimes in one. It was the murder of the nation’s elected leader. At the same time, it was the murder of the leader of a party and a larger political camp, and the goal was to destroy his policy of making peace with the Palestinians—a policy that would have led to Israel withdrawing from most, perhaps all, of the West Bank. The assassin believed that giving up land was treason and that Rabin was a traitor. So the crime was also a bid to determine national policy by force and violence.

The extent to which the assassin succeeded in that goal is uncertain since we do not know what would have happened if Rabin had lived. What we do know is that his much less popular successor, Shimon Peres, lost the election six months later by a thin margin, and that Netanyahu became prime minister for his first time. More than once at that time, I heard people recite the biblical verse, originally a prophetic rebuke of an evil king, “Have you murdered and also inherited?”

This was over the top. Netanyahu did not shoot Rabin. A single gunman of more extreme views had acted on his own.

And yet, not entirely on his own. The right-wing rhetoric against Rabin, and the demonstrations against him, grew ever more ferocious from the moment the Oslo Accord was announced in 1993. Netanyahu was a constant voice, a constant presence. He opposed Rabin’s policy in principle—but he also expected to gain power by riding the wave of anger. At the last major demonstration, shortly before Rabin was murdered, Netanyahu and other Likud leaders appeared on a balcony in downtown Jerusalem before a crowd from which the chant, “Death to Rabin” could be heard. 

Netanyahu can cite rare moments during those two terrible years when—none too forcefully—he asked a crowd to calm down. But he kept coming. His rhetoric fed the fury, and mass fury provided one young extremist with the confidence that he’d be a hero for murdering Rabin. 

The more a leader stokes the hate, the more he uses it to gain or keep power, the less he can claim that he couldn’t have imagined the results.

Come on down Donald Trump (TS)