Days after an incitement campaign was launched against Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, the right-wing organization Im Tirzu released a video accusing four Israeli human rights activists of being traitors. Their headshots were shown clipped to dossiers that labeled them foreign “moles.” For what? For documenting human rights abuses in the occupied territories, and for opposing torture and abuses of power committed by Israel’s security forces.
Some people were surprised by the personal attacks. I wasn’t. It’s part of a campaign of hate that has been spiraling out of control. Incitement against Arabs, against women who date Arab men, against NGOs protecting the rights of Arab. Who’s next? Chefs who serve Arab food? Professors who teach Arabic?
Last week, Israel’s Supreme Court sent out a mixed message about our case against rabbis who, in a book called Torat Hamelech (“The King’s Torah”), approved the murder of Arab men, women and children. On the one hand, the court called the book “reprehensible” and “evil,” and castigated government officials who conducted a “too-little-too-late” investigation into our claims.
On the other hand, two out of three judges “begrudgingly” upheld the Attorney General’s conclusion that the evidence collected was insufficient to file criminal charges against the authors of this book of so-called halakhah (“Jewish law”). To soften the blow of its ruling, the court made clear that its judgment was not intended to “discourage the fight against incitement” in other cases.
We won’t give up. We remain on the front lines challenging hate speech, violence and illegal discrimination.
We are drafting bills that would make disciplinary proceedings against rabbis more effective, and that would impose civil fines against people who discriminate against Arabs and other minorities. We are investigating the selective enforcement policies of the police and the Attorney General’s office, and will continue to press for charges to be filed against the leaders of the right-wing hate-group, Lehava. Last week we together with other Reform Movement leaders, sent an open letter to PM Netanyahu urging him to take action to end incitement against human rights NGOs in Israel.
You can count on us to stand up to the bullies. Can I count on you to help us? Take a minute to make a donation and together we will make a difference.
And may the Force be with you,