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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Empty words from an empty person

Last night President Shimon Peres stood up at the Rabin memorial and said "Next year, in this square, I want to see that part of the nation that doesn't see itself as a part of this memorial event. That part of the nation that was not involved in that horrible night [when Rabin was assassinated] and that did not pull the trigger”.

I speak for nobody but myself, but this is what came to mind when I read those words:

You are a fraud, Shimon Peres.  You took office with a promise to heal old wounds and bring about a national reconciliation.  From that time until this, you have barely even given lip service to that admirable goal.  Instead you have studiously ignored every violent act by leftists and anarchists and branded every misdeed from the right as the harbinger of 'the next inevitable political assassination'. 

You have never been interested in a national reconciliation, so it puzzles me why you would bother even mouthing the words at this point in your career. 

In your famous Haaretz interview with Daniel Ben Simon following your loss in the 1996 elections, you divided our people neatly into two camps; 'Israelis' and 'Jews'.  According to that interview, the Jews are those who don't have "an Israeli Mentality".  You counted yourself then among the Israelis, and sneered down your prominent Semitic nose at the Jews.

Tell me President Peres... what has changed since then?  Have you and your friends come to a new way of reckoning our people?  Have you arrived at some new formula for doling out legitimacy?  If not, why would you think that 'the Jews' would suddenly come to your party? 

Make no mistake, we feel the same loss of national innocence that you do when we look back at that tragic night.  But we have never been allowed to publicly grieve for a murdered Prime Minister who was just as much our leader as yours.  That privilege has been reserved each year for you and 'the Israelis' who use the occasion to point accusatory fingers towards the right... daring us to profane the night with a harsh word for your St. Yitzhak... and hunkering down at the podium as if the bullets might begin flying again at any moment.

You look out at Rabin Square and wonder rhetorically where the other part of the nation is... but did you even bother to invite us? 

You tell the assembled throngs that the absent part of the nation did not pull the trigger that horrible night, but look behind you at the speakers who were chosen to address the crowd.  Is there a single one among them who hasn't answered every angry complaint from the right with the accusation: "Those are exactly the kind of dangerous words that proceeded Rabin's assassination"?!

Sticks and stones thrown at Israeli soldiers on a daily basis by 'anarchists' from the Israeli left are ignored as a legitimate way of expressing displeasure with the government's decisions.  But when so much as names are thrown from the right, you and your friends take cover behind the memory of a lunatic who acted on nobody's behalf but his own

No matter how insincere your wish last night may have been, President Peres, I share it.  I too wish that one day a memorial for a murdered leader might include all of the people he served, and not just those who would usurp his legacy for their own political gains. 

I would be among the first to arrive at Rabin Square if I felt welcome... and the last to leave.  I would listen to Israeli leaders speaking unabashedly about our Jewish country, and I would place my energy and talents at their disposal.

But until the day arrives when the current crop of empty people ceases uttering their empty words, I and the part of the nation you consider to be hardly better than murderers will stay away and apply our honest efforts elsewhere. 

Posted by David Bogner on November 9, 2008 | Permalink


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A number of senior Israeli officials have been warning about "settler" violence. Ehud Barak Earlier on Thursday, at a memorial ceremony for assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Barak warned of further political murders in Israel by "cancerous" g... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 9, 2008 10:20:53 PM


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I pass by Dealey Plaza on my way to and from work each day. Even 45 years after that fateful day, I still sense that there are those who blame the City of Dallas for the horrible actions of a lone gunman. Lee Harvey Oswald put a bullet in President Kennedy's head, but he planted a far worse thing in the minds of leftists -- the knowledge that they can use blame as a political weapon.

Posted by: Bob | Nov 9, 2008 5:03:00 AM

Definately true!

Posted by: Rickismom | Nov 9, 2008 7:06:02 AM

This blogger says the same thing:


Posted by: What War Zone??? | Nov 9, 2008 7:39:14 AM

Dang, I love when you are on fire. Right on! Nobody could have said it better. Now if all the players will only listen -- as your words need to be absorbed by both "the Israelis and the Jews."

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Nov 9, 2008 8:15:18 AM

Powerful, powerful words, clearly written with feeling. To be honest, I didn't know there was such a division. I need to learn more.

It sounds very much like the problems we have here in the UK following 11th September 2001 and then the 7th July 2005 bombings. There are parts of the North which have a high population of British Muslims who feel totally disenfranchised. And then, if you look back a little further there's the IRA... it goes on.

Posted by: Rachel | Nov 9, 2008 10:07:22 AM

Well put.

Posted by: Risa | Nov 9, 2008 12:59:43 PM

I totally agree and I am neither settler nor orthodox!

Posted by: ruth | Nov 9, 2008 3:33:42 PM

Hear, hear!

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 9, 2008 3:34:24 PM

thsee italics are killing me!

did that fix it?

Posted by: wogo | Nov 9, 2008 4:30:46 PM

Hmm.... guess not...


Posted by: wogo | Nov 9, 2008 4:32:48 PM

Ever notice how the ones who promise to "heal old wounds" and "bring people together" tend to be the ones who work overtime to drive people apart?

(And if you think that there was a more-than-passing reference here to the recent U.S. elections, well, ya thunk right.)

Posted by: psachya | Nov 9, 2008 5:24:42 PM

I wrote about this as well. R' Yuval Sherlo wrote an Op-Ed "Dear Peres" letter too on YNET.


Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Nov 9, 2008 6:21:30 PM

Hear hear.

Posted by: A Living Nadneyda | Nov 9, 2008 6:54:38 PM

Excellent post
Such irony in that the man who commanded the attack on the Altalena was killed by Jews. There's still a question of by whom.
One of my daughters was a law classmate of Yigal Amir and part of the activism. There was no talk of assasination, just politics.
Avishai Raviv was manipulating the youth for many years. He was part of a mostly high school group 8 years earlier, after his army service.
Baruch Hashem he didn't succeed in framing my children.

Posted by: Batya | Nov 10, 2008 5:31:27 AM

Great post...How often it actually turns out that when politicians preach unity and reconciliation it means that you either give up your ideology and join us, or we will demonize you. Here is another classic example

Posted by: ak | Nov 10, 2008 11:46:46 AM

I have to dissent here. You weren't invited to the party? Please. My understanding is that the RZ don't show up at this memorial. So why be surprised if your representatives are not invited tio speak? Or maybe this is a chicken-and-egg thing - so just take the first step!

This does not mean Peres is not a slimy, two-faced politician, by the way. Let it be about you and your participation in a national event, not about him.

Posted by: cyberdov | Nov 10, 2008 2:15:02 PM

Trep, I don't think I could have said it better myself. I think we are still in the sinat chinam (groundless hatred) that destroyed the Second Temple.

My thoughts about some of President Peres' comments: This demonization of the "settlers," the Orthodox, and the Religious Zionists has to stop! They are just as Israeli as anyone else, and I think everyone agrees that Rabin's assassination was condemned by all but a few misguided individuals.

What really hurts, however, is the distinction between
"Israeli" and "Jew." Somehow, I think President Peres has forgotten that we can be both. And if we forget that we are Jews, then it raises the question of how long we are going to hang onto the strip of land we all call Eretz Israel (G-d forbid).

There is a phrase we read in the Blessing of the New Month: "Chaverim Kol Yisrael" (All Israel is one fellowship). I still believe that, and I hope we will all NEVER forget it.

Posted by: sheldan | Nov 11, 2008 4:09:17 AM

So start showing up already, but without pre-conditions. If you RZ's show up in numbers (and I even thought about showing up in Kippa and Tzitzit myself just to be seen) then it will be a "Hakarat haChet" in other words recognition of the sin. After all there is no "Tshuva" repentance without "Hakarat haChet" (the Rambam said that). Let us distinguish between sins of omission and those of commission. Sins of commission include (I should probably say here IMHO) apart from the dastardly assassination itself, the posters, the slogans, the demonstrations with a coffin, (yes Bibi you were there, you did hear it, you did see it). Even if we accept that I am looking back through that wonderful device known as a retrospectrometer there were thing said and done in the summer of hate that should have been clear to all. Sins of omission are harder to define, but I shall say that for us concepts like Pulsa diNura and Din Rodef are lifted from tales of the Golem in Prague. For others they are real and serious. Those who knew and kept quiet and keep quiet even now are guilty ( again IMHO) of a sin of omission in not shouting up against this.
So show up in your thousands, nay, tens of thousands, PLEASE, but please do not come with preconditions. Come with signs saying "we are sorry", no more no less.
The way you write, one would think that nothing short of a presidential pardon and a state pension equivalent to Rabin's (prime minister, chief of staff) will satisfy you.

Posted by: asher | Nov 13, 2008 10:05:48 AM

Asher... You are banned. Done. I committed no 'chet' whether of omission or commission! Neither did 99.99999% of the religious Zionists in Israel. Their only 'sin' is not wanting peace 'at any cost'. Some costs are too high to pay... and often times the other side is not capable of providing it no matter what you offer (although they'll gladly accept whatever payment is offered). But because a lunatic killed Rabin and the leftist political leaders needed to delegitimize their opposition, all religious Zionists were saddled with the blame for Rabin's murder. That is why we RZ types stay away from Rabin Square every year. Why would we show up and let a bunch of post-Zionist fanatics demonize us to o9ur face??? I can't do anything about Peres and Beilin and all the other idiots who have written their political fortunes in the fresh blood of Rabin... but I don't have to tolerate this crap from you. We are done. The next comment you leave will be considered harassment and I will file a criminal complaint for a restraining order.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 13, 2008 10:27:14 AM

I can only smile when I hear President Peres grieve for Rabin. From everything that I've read about him, Rabin was his political arch-rival and a man he hated more than anything. Pretty hard to take him seriously, then, when he clearly uses Rabin's death as a means to try to delegitimize Israelis to the right of himself.

It's ironic, too, that Peres tries to distinguish between "Israelis" and "Jews" when Menachem Begin used to call himself an "old Jew." Yes, the same "Jew" who signed a peace deal with Egypt, enfranchised the Sephardi population, and enjoyed greater popularity than Peres ever will. If THAT's a Jew, count me in.

Posted by: Shimshonit | Nov 13, 2008 10:47:28 AM

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