The Legacy of the Assassination
Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, may HaShem avenge his blood, was assassinated eleven years ago (exactly by the Hebrew calender; on November 5, 1995 by the reckoning of the civil calendar). This is my tribute. I will say forthwith that the Oslo Accords of 1993 were a mistake, but that the mistake of 1995 was the expression of that thought with a gun, and with words inciting the use of the gun, instead of intellectual argumentation. That is the concisest summary I can give of my position.
Did the assassination kill the “Peace Process” of those days? Apart from the obvious disclaimer that I am venturing into the territory of counterfactuals, I would say, in hindsight, that I think not. Arafat’s plan to break the treaties was voiced as far back as the same year the Oslo Accords were signed, in a summit conference in Johannesburg where he announced they would have the same weight as the Hudaybiyah Treaty signed by Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, a ten-year treaty with the pagan Meccans which he canceled after less than two years. Had Rabin not been assassinated, he would probably have met the fate of Ehud Barak: ousted by a right-wing candidate in elections soon after the outbreak of enemy violence. The effects of the assassination, then, were internal rather than external: they set the new rules for disagreement, even on hot topics, rules which I stand by and advocate.
This post will now dwell on two points: first, that the pre-assassination error does not turn into a right move because of the assassination, and second, that the disputation with disagreeing Jews, even those who actively aid the enemy, is never again to be done the way Yigal Amir (shr"y) did toward Rabin.
I supported the Oslo Accords back in the day. Rabin won the 1992 elections in a landslide, the great majority of Israeli Jews having gotten tired of war and ready to repeat the success of the Begin–Sadat land-for-peace deal.
The 1993 treaties were a grave mistake. It was possible to know it already then, with the aforementioned speech of Arafat and with the bus bombs starting in 1994. However, there were circumstances which, although they clearly do not excuse those treaties, lighten the culpability of those who supported them: the success of the peace treaty with Egypt, as I said; the passage of time since 1947, which made for the assumption that the other side too had grown the will to agree to a partition of the land; and, most of all, the pre-9/11 innocence, which meant people at that time could not even imagine the Intifada of the “Palestinians” to be just a small part of a great Clash of Civilizations, the war between shariah-enforcers and shariah-resistors. The Oslo Accords were a gamble on the lands of Israel, a gamble because there was no guarantee that the enemy would ever reward Israel’s cold, hard cash (lands) with their airy, lip-blown promises (peace). (Such is the nature of haggling in the Middle Eastern peace souk.) It was only the circumstances of the day, the lack of experience, that made them acceptable to the majority of Israeli Jews, including the writer.
Those relieving circumstances are now absent. The Second Intifada of October 2000 was the first shot in conclusively proving the worthlessness of those treaties; 9/11 showed us the long grasp Muslims are capable of in practicing their religion; the Danish Cartoon Jihad razed to the ground the idea that there was ever a rational, civilized partner for negotiations in front of us; and the firing of Kassam rockets upon Sderot after the full evacuation of Gaza in August 2005, and finally the Lebanon War of July and August 2006, was the final nail in the coffin of belief in the effectiveness of Neville’s art with regard to our enemies. There is no Israeli Jew who has eyes to see but can stay with the same beliefs of 1993. Indeed, the assassination did nothing whatsoever to shift the Israeli Jewish public’s opinion away from the belief in the Oslo Accords, but rather it was—and that is a point that cannot be stated enough—the treachery of the Muslim enemy and the injustice of world opinion that have done, more than a thousand right-wing election campaigns, to move the Israeli Jewish public to the Right en masse. A friendly reminder to all those left-wing kumbayistas who think their actions could force Israel’s hand to “end the occupation” and all that jazz.
But there are, unfortunately, among those left-wing kumbayistas quite a few Jews, even Israeli Jews (who had assumed the ostrich position from October 2000 onward—I can’t think of any other explanation for such intransigence in the face of the facts). Noam Chomsky and George Soros stand at the top (or should that be the bottom) of that group, with Uri Avneri, Gilead Atzmon, Amira Hass, Tanya Reinhart and Yossi Beilin, to name just a few, gracing the anti-Israel, pro-Islamofascism scene frequently. And many more of no such fame (yet), such as Democrat-supporting Jews joining Jimmy Carter in calling Israel an “apartheid state”.
If there is one thing good that has come from this grave sin, the assassination of Rabin, a sin for which G-d decreed the destruction of the First Temple, it is the recognition of all (or, at worst, nearly all) Jews of the need to change the way of disputing such Jews. I have castigated them for engaging in actions that contribute to Jews being killed (G-d forbid), in Israel especially, but even in the Diaspora. It is in deep anger and great frustration that I read their writings, their lies, their sympathy with the enemy, their total weighting of the scales to Israel’s guilt, their lack of responsibility. In view of this, I am quite sure that if Rabin had not been assassinated, with all the national trauma to follow it, I would now be calling for action against them just as surely as Pat Robertson once called for action against Hugo Chávez. But the assassination formed a taboo: even an arch-quisling such as Noam Chomsky is not to be harmed, not to be incited against with violence. After November 5, 1995, all are agreed that intellectual argumentation is the only lawful course for dispute.
I am not in favor of word-policing; it is Orwellian, it is the first step toward a thought-police. There are words that should be watched because they drive some hearers to act, for example, most graphically, the fatwas given out by Muslim leaders in the Rushdie and Danish Cartoons and Papal Quotation affairs. But those are very, very clear cases; in most cases, the cries of “Incitement!” and “Hate crime!” are but ruses to silence an opposing view. When I call Chomsky a quisling, I mean nothing by that but to point out the fact of his siding with the enemy against his Jewish brothers; I do not call to silence him in any way, not even intellectually, let alone by violence. In a similar way, I do not care about being called an Islamophobe; but the charge of “Islamophobia” often carries the threat of intellectual silencing (or worse) after it, therefore it goes beyond a statement of fact or opinion. Anti-defamation activity, though a far cry from the silencing an opposing view with a gun, partakes of the same mistake of ending intellectual disputes the easy way.
But we are in an age in which free speech—the right to say things that may offend people—is vital. Let the mistake of the Oslo Accords be decried, or the wisdom of the Oslo Accords be extolled, on blog posts and not through the barrel of a gun.
Grant Rabin his heavenly rest, O God.