by Prof. Paul Eidelberg

On February 13, 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet, "Anyone who speaks or writes against the Disengagement Plan is guilty of incitement." Mr. Sharon thus went on record saying that the expression of even the slightest opposition to his highly controversial plan is a criminal offense.

The next day Likud Minister of Internal Security Gideon Ezra, in a live interview on Israel Radio, said that people who yell at ministers should be placed under administrative detention -- which means incarceration of up to six months without trial.

Also, Likud Transportation Minister Meir Shitreet (a former justice minister) told Israel Radio that Likud party members are guilty of incitement when they write letters to Likud MKs informing them that future political support for these politicians is dependent on their voting against the withdrawal / expulsion plan.

Finally, acting on a proposal of Likud Justice Minister Tsipi Livni, the cabinet approved the establishment of a special Justice Ministry unit to combat incitement and perceived disruptions to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement//expulsion plan.

The Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) Council criticized the establishment of the new unit, calling it the "thought police." The Council said that the purpose of the new body is to "shut the mouths of those who are opposed to the expulsion plan, and to brand them inciters. [Its purpose is to] forbid us to think differently than the government. The democratic right to protest is slowly disappearing in face of the 'sanctified' disengagement plan."

The new unit will combat anti-disengagement protests and demonstrations, and will work in coordination with the General Security Services to deter activists from engaging in mass civil disobedience. Nor is this all.

Police Chief Moshe Karadi announced the opening of an official inquiry into the activities of the speakers and participants in an anti-disengagement gathering of thousands of people at Jerusalem's International Convention Center on February 25. The protest was organized by Chabad. One of the speakers was attorney Elyakim Haetzni, a former member of the Knesset and an outspoken critic of disengagement.

It should be evident from the preceding that "intellectual terrorism" is descending on Israel -- the "only democracy" in the Middle East. Why? Why is Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement plan transforming Israel into a police state? Why this reign of intimidation, this suppression of freedom of expression?

The reason is this: There is simply no rational justification for Sharon's disengagement plan. Both IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon and Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter have testified before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that disengagement will lead to an increase of terrorism -- which testimony or attitude is why both of these men have been sacked. It should also be noted that Chief of IDF Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, who is retiring this summer, also testified against disengagement.

No wonder ex-Deputy IDF Intelligence Chief, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, has said: "The Israeli government has not succeeded in producing a single serious argument that can refute objections [to disengagement] and justify the grave step that it is taking."

Since the Sharon government has not and cannot justify disengagement on rational grounds, which is to say, since this government cannot persuade the public by means of logical argument and solid evidence that withdrawing from Gaza and northern Samaria and turning this land over to Arab terrorists will contribute to Israel's overall security, it must resort to intimidation and the suppression of freedom of expression and individual liberty to implement Sharon's plan.

But now let us probe a little deeper. First, notice that the intellectual terrorism descending on Israel is the work of secularists. This secular coercion -- which will be imposed primarily on religious Jews -- reveals the hypocrisy of those who declaim against religious coercion.

Second, with disengagement and its necessary accompaniment, intellectual terrorism, Israel is approaching its denouement. The veneer of democracy is being stripped away. The idol of peace is being shattered. Thanks to the Arabs, Israel will have to redefine itself. It will be Jewish or it will be nothing.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.

HOMEThe Maccabean OnlineComments