BEILIN AND THE THREE DICTATORSHIPS
By Elyakim Haetzni
Twice this week I was seized, in addition to the usual feelings of rejection and alienation, by a physical feeling of fear. After visiting the Binyamin District, Yossi Beilin was interviewed on television and asked by Chaim Yavin on Israel Television's First Channel) if he wasn't scared that someone would murder him. Here, something remarkable occurred in Yossi Beilin's body language. Beilin, who generally acts the role of Peter Falk's Detective Colombo, the ostensibly innocent lamb, the old softie, moderate, courteous, easy-going and mollified, suddenly coiled up in a spring and a tiger leaped out of the lamb's skin. A fanatical gleam kindled in his eyes, unbridled and pitiless: the genuine Beilin. We are going to make peace, he says. He repeats it and then repeats it a third time. Nothing is going to stop us. The old Bolshevik appeared before my eyes, marching to the world of tomorrow over heaps of corpses. This is the familiarly sinister character, for whom the end justifies all the means. I saw the peace dictatorship sweeping away democracy to the side of the road as if it were but a tattered rag.
In the last hundred years, Israel has witnessed three dictatorships which have turned our democracy into a cripple. At first there was the dictatorship of the "Workers Movement Hegemony ". This dictatorship deprived adherents of the right of live-saving immigration certificates and jobs i.e., a crust of bread. It sent "Plugat HaPoel" toughs break their bones. It kidnapped and imprisoned Irgun and Lehi members in their "hunting season", betrayed them to the British and also murdered some. When the ruddy socialist cheeks slowly paled, a "Security" dictatorship supplanted it. In the name of security they allowed themselves to steal and experience the good life. They stayed in power and removed others from power. They trampled upon the principles of equality before the law and freedom of expression. The hegemony of "the" party yielded to a security aristocracy, but these were the same people and their descendants. After the Six Day War, when the allure of security began to evaporate, a third dictatorship arose, and the security dictatorship made way to the Dictatorship of Peace. The Socialist Bolshevik caterpillar which had metamorphosed into a Security pupa emerged as a black-winged butterfly -- a butterfly of false peace with all the crushing cruelty of its predecessors. In my view, the cruel gleam in Beilin's eyes reflected the murder of De Hahn, the bully boys, the blood libel of the Arlosoroff murder, the sanctified howitzer of the Altalena. I was frightened, because I beheld a country held captive by a fanatical fundamentalist dictatorial sect, the ayyatolahs of peace. I witnessed and I internalized the reality that nothing would deter them from their demented path and I wondered what resources did the forces of light and sanity dispose of to marshal against them.
2. Naboth's Vineyard in Ras El Amud
The second blow I received while driving. Someone must have noticed the sudden lurch of the vehicle. This occurred, when they announced on Channel 7 how Barak, Beilin and Ramon plan to reconstruct the abomination of Naboth the Jezreelite's vineyard in Maaleh Hazeitim a.k.a. Ras El Amud in Jerusalem. The plan was also reported in Yediodt Achronot and one could view it as the start of the expulsion, uprooting, transfer and ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Land of Israel. The evil this time will not descend upon us from the north, but from Jerusalem. Irving Moskowitz, of Miami, owned a plot of land in the Mount of Olives, situated precisely in the corridor between Abu Dis and the Temple Mount, which the Peace Dictatorship intends to be a Palestinian corridor into Jerusalem. Moskowitz paid good money for the plot. He obtained all the documents legally and after expending copious efforts. He invested huge amounts on planning and construction and imagined that he was basking in the rule of law in the capital of the sovereign and democratic state of Israel, a rule of law which guarantees the property, honor and liberty of everyman. He built 119 apartments, and within a few short months, they would be ready for occupancy. At the same site Moskowitz purchased a few existing houses, and a number of young Jewish families have already been living there for a number of years. A number of babies, mazel tov!, were born there during this period and the relations with the Arab neighbors are excellent. The relations are so good that the dictators, as is their custom, invited the Jerusalem police and the General Security Service to supply an opinion that would substantiate the canard that the entry of Jews, of living Jews, to Mt. Olives would endanger the security of the state and public order, (behold the pupa and the butterfly!). But the police refused to sign, after the failure of every effort made by Feisal Husseini and his Jewish cronies to foment riots at the site. On the contrary, the Arab neighbors are waiting for their forsaken neighborhood to flourish with the arrival of Jews. But there is a resident Ahitofel (or possibly David's other resident adviser, Hushai Ha-Archi) at the Justice Ministry.He is called Meni Mazuz and he provided that chilling piece of advice which almost involved me in a traffic accident: If there is no legal way to prevent a Jew from using his property, thus he proposed, let's steal the property from the person by the brute force of the law, and with one stroke of the legal sword we will simply expropriate Moskowitz's ownership over his property and houses! This law, "The Law of Purchase for Public Benefit" which serves law abiding countries for road construction and other public projects, is now to be employed to expropriate Jewish land for political purposes. The same Mazuz is not embarrassed to state his opinion brazenly "we should not hide behind considerations of planning and construction", but should explicitly reveal the official and genuine motive: "Moskowitz will not dictate the government's political agenda!"
But Ahab also had raison d'etat. Naboth's vineyard "is near my house", states the bible. Ahab was also prepared to com-pensate Nabot: If this is agreeable to you "I will give you its full price in money". And yet there is a difference: Ahab's Rule of Law did not allow him to expropriate the vineyard from Naboth, even for official purposes, namely its propinquity to the palace. Therefore Jezebel could only lay her hands on the plot by an indirect method. She had to spread a false accusation that Naboth had cursed -"deity and king" and execute him. In our Peace Dictatorship one doesn't require such detours. The Naboth- Moskowitz affair presages the expropriation of the property and the expulsion of 218,000 settlers in the Golan and Yesha. They too will pay--with their families, their honor, their property and liberty-- for the "political agenda" of the fanatical cult which clasps this country in an iron grip and holds it hostage toward advancing its mendacious dream, the peace of horrors.
3. The State Emigrates but Harel and Keinan Remain in the Land of Israel.
Caught in this steel vise, what remains, what is possible, what is permissible for persons trapped in the peace snare to do? Yehuda Harel -- a dove in Yesha, hawk in the Golan and Amos Keinan--a dove in both places have given their reply, which in principle goes to the very heart of the matter, but in reality is practically worthless. This is what they have to say: if the State of Israel intends to emigrate from the Land of Israel, we prefer to stay on the land even under Syrian rule (and with regards to the forthcoming 200,000 victims--under terrorist Palestinian rule.) Implied in this statement is an abandonment of hope in a state which has betrayed its historic mission to return the Jewish people to its historic homeland and is conversely expelling them from that land. It is a loss of hope in a state which has dissolved the fundamental contract which underpins all relations with her citizens and upon which their loyalty is predicated: mutual responsibility in preserving the life, property and human and civic rights of everyone. Once a state approaches a minority of its citizens and tells them via the country's president who, in his words, claims to represent only those who elected him, that it intends to sacrifice the minority for the sake of the majority, then that minority is permitted according to Harel and Keinan to sever its connection with such a mother who devours her children. They could, for example, have asked the Jews of the Galilee pan-handle: perhaps Assad would be prepared to take your land and your houses for the sake of this peace instead of the Golan settlements? Did the state at least propose this? If not, why should we be some sacrificial victim? Why shouldn't you be our sacrificial victim? The very possibility of staging such a dialogue demonstrates that the state has dissolved and expropriated the ties of mutual responsibility between the country's regions and the citizens which it rules -- a connection which defines it as a state. Against such a state, which in reality is a defunct state, Harel and Keinan have sued for divorce. But the Jewish State constitutes the realization of the dream of many generations, torrents of tears and blood have been shed on her behalf and therefore this statement is shocking, but it is also devoid of practical content. The state plans to operate its brutal coercive apparatus in order to drag away and uproot Harel from his home by force. It will not allow him the luxury of remaining in the Land of Israel on his own, especially since if he did stay, the Syrians would not permit him to remain there, at least not above ground. Since the state is aware of the murderous character of this partner for "peace", it must drag the Jews bodily away from there in order to save their lives, as Begin did in Sinai. This brings us back to square one: Harel, Keinan and the other uprooted, all those about to be evicted from their homes, what can they do save for emigrating to foreign lands? But this is an option that a Jew, loyal to his country and homeland, doesn't even want to hear of.
4. An Exchange of Letters with the Attorney-General
On 4.11.99, the Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein sent a letter to yours truly which stated inter alia:"In your statement broadcast on the radio on 13.10.99, you amongst other things, called for 'non-violent civil disobedience, for the moment on a limited basis but which would intensify as Barak's plans began to surface.' Pursuantly, it is purported that you explained (14.10.99) that one was dealing with 'non-violent disobedience to an anti-democratic measure.'
I would like to bring to your attention that we view calls of this nature which raise the possibility of disobedience to the laws of the state, with extreme gravity. We of course have no interest in limiting freedom of speech nonetheless, we must view with severity expressions which carry a potential for criminality... Therefore, it would be fitting if you would refrain in the future from expressions which exhort disobedience to the laws of the state or to the decrees of its constituted authorities."
On 12.12.99 this writer sent a reply, passages from which are quoted below. Perhaps they constitute an answer to the problem of what a minority, which is trampled by the majority via the administrative power of the state, can do in an upstanding western democracy -- "According to various publications, the prime minister intends to annex to Israel within the framework of "most of the settlers" who he intends to leave in place rather than uproot (or within the framework of the Beilin-Abu Mazen plan) a sleeve in Samaria stretching from Oranit to Ariel and perhaps till Tapuah Junction. A number of Arab villages are located within this area. If the prime minister would seek your opinion on whether it would be permissible to expel these Arabs and destroy their villages (or to introduce settlers into them) what would you have responded? Allow me to imagine that you would have totally negated such a possibility due to domestic legal constraints, such as the basic law: Protecting Human Dignity and Liberty, as well as on the basis of general principles protecting fundamental human rights... may I be bold to suggest that you treat the Jews, citizens of Israel, as creatures who are the bearers of no lesser rights than the Arabs of Yesha. It is even more apparent, that you would not advise the prime minister to expel Arab citizens of Israel from their residence within the framework of any peace agreement, neither from the territories which Israel would surrender nor from territories which Israel would annex. It is a fact that when Wadi Ara (the Eeron Valley) was annexed to Israel within the framework of the armistice agreement with Jordan, not a single person was expelled or evicted. Keep this in mind when you are queried about the fate of the Golan's Jews and their communities.
Please ask yourself as well, why the expulsion of Albanians from Kosovo was condemned throughout the world as "ethnic cleansing", to the extent that it justified a bloody military attack by western democracy? But the "blood" of Jews, for whom a Jewish government intends a similar fate is forfeit? In this respect, you have been allotted an historic task: to safeguard the Government of Israel from taking such a fatal step. I believe with all my heart that a government decision to uproot a Jewish community with its inhabitants is illegal, because of among other things, the basic law for Protecting Human Dignity and Liberty. Any one called upon to implement such a decision must visualize a black flag fluttering above it and he must not obey it. In contradistinction, a person calling for disobedience will not be flouting the law but will save the decision maker from committing an action that is not only barbaric, brutal, violent, hideous and anti-national, but also illegal. The doctrine of civil disobedience of course extends further than this and states that even if technically the decision or the order is legal, a decent person and a Jewish Israeli patriot must prefer the dictates of his conscience and refuse to obey it. In such an event, he must voluntarily assume every criminal sanction, as did model historical figures such as Socrates, Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King. These matters are quite familiar and I am certainly not revealing anything novel to you on the issue. As for myself, when I observe my people and country sliding and sinking on a descent to destruction, and the self-inflicted extraction of our heart in Yesha marks a point of no return on this route, what am I to do? On what shall I educate my children? One of my children, who is already a father of children told me bitterly that when confronted with an ethnic cleansing of Jews by Jews he can't live here anymore (and it is clear to me that hundreds of thousands will do likewise). I answered him with this question: Before you emigrate from the Land of Israel, do you at least intend to spend some time in jail? With this I silenced his arguments. This is how I educate my children. If you like, you can add this admission to the indictment against me. There is no need for an investigation.
I have the honor of directing your attention to an article which I published in the book "Disobedience and Democracy", (Shalem Publications, Jerusalem 5759, P. 183). - "Civil disobedience in the Speculum of the Crisis of Israeli Society". There I emphasized, that the preparedness of a person, who refuses to obey a criminal and evil law to accept punishment is an important and necessary component of "civil disobedience" in a democratic state. Via such preparedness the person who refuses obedience, pays his debt to democratic order and the rule of law. Therefore, if tragically matters should reach such a pass, that a Jewish ruler in the Land of Israel will uproot and expel Jews, as was perpetrated by Nebuchadnezzar, Titus and Hadrian, (the latter indeed exiled Jews "only" from Judea and Samaria to the Galilee), I am hereby informing you, that I will not obey and I will publicly call for disobedience, and I only hope that I will be persuasive enough to ensure that any opposition to such actions will be purely nonviolent. For this too is a virtue of "civil disobedience", in that it serves as a substitute for the use of force and could potentially prevent civil war. Have a look what occurred in Seattle concerning questions which are not life and death issues for the individual and the public. Consider how 4% of the citizens of the United States, (perhaps ten million Americans) would have responded, if the authorities had decided, via purely legal legislation to wreak upon them an "evacuation", "clustering into blocs", on behalf of some form of "peace" whatsoever. Wouldn't a bloody civil war have immediately erupted? There is no better way of summing up my arguments, than a "Hebrew University Research Paper: The Need to Inculcate the Obligation of Civil Disobedience in Students." I am appending a copy of this pronouncement to this letter. Let me cite here only the closing part of the pronouncement: 'In a democratic state which respects the opinion of a minority, and demands obedience to the decision of the majority, a minority which has found itself caught in difficult dilemmas twixt the obligation to obey the law and an obligation to the dictates of conscience, religion, ideology or a different national approach turns to extreme measures accompanied by violence. In contradistinction, if Israeli democracy would have studied the subject and taught it in a clear and openly declared fashion, then the individuals and groups that have found themselves in such a dilemma, would have known what could be done and how they could do it within the framework of non-violent civil disobedience.'
I regret the lengthiness but I saw the need to dwell in detail upon the matter amongst other reasons because of the statement in your letter 'we must view with severity expressions... that include a degeneration into twisting legality.' I believe on the contrary, that if you affix the seal of legality on transfer and ethnic cleansing of Jews in Israel, you would be one who is guilty of misrepresenting: the very sinews of democracy, the very basis for our return to Israel and our settling there, the raison d'etre of the state of Israel as such a state, as well as the laws of the State of Israel which defend human dignity and freedom. You also misconstrue the issue of non-violent disobedience, which constitutes today one of the pillars of western democracy. Therefore, in all due respect, I cannot accede to your overture to refrain in the future from calling for disobedience and I hope that the heavens will take mercy upon us and the poisoned chalice which could mandate disobedience will depart from our midst."
A few days ago, in one of the for a in Yesha, a member expressed himself: if we could but find 5,000 Jews prepared to go to jail in a struggle similar to the struggle of the blacks in the United States, the evil decree would be annulled, because only such a display of devotion--not only slogans, bumper stickers, opinion polls, demonstrations, and public relations -- will speak to the people. This will convincingly communicate to them that "the town is indeed on fire", when they will be called upon to decide their fate and the fate of their country in a referendum. As long as the expeller and the expellee stand at the crossroads, the one adjacent to the other's slogan and nothing more, there is no chance that the people will sense that we are dealing with real anguish, with a tangible national disaster and a rift that will never be healed. The concept "Messiruth Nefesh" in Jewish terms, connotes passive sufferings that a person assumes for the sake of a noble goal while relinquishing all violence to the side of the wicked, the persecutor, the suppressor. Only such devotion can save the land from sliding to perdition. Have we in the poet Bialik's term, become a "people like dry grass"?
Or do there still remain with us a few thousand who are willing to draw from their soul that same redeeming Mes-siruth Nefesh? The not too distant future will tell the story.
Elyakim Haetzni is an attorney and Jewish activist who lives in Kiryat Araba.