The Commemorative Rally for Yitzhak Rabin Played Directly into the Hands of the Right Wing

The commemorative rally for Yitzhak Rabin united Left and Right under a canopy of empty slogans promoting peace and non-violence, and, for all intents and purposes, reinforced the status quo of Peace with Occupation, without raising even one difficult question

By Micha Rachman (Translated from Hebrew by Alan Horowitz)

Two commemorative rallies were held at the beginning of November at the same day last year: one organized by the Left and the other organized by those opposed to violence in the name of national unity. This year, only one rally was held. The Left (represented by the Meretz party and Peace Now NGO) participated in the rally under a canopy of rightist slogans for national unity and against violence. The participation of Meretz and Peace Now together with the settlers in a single rally espousing minimalistic shared slogans, for all intents and purposes buries, somewhere deep under the status quo of Peace with Occupation, the message that ending the Occupation is the imperative for achieving peace.

Is the Left innocent, naïve or foolish? The settlers continue to play Good Cop, Bad Cop. The settler Sarah Rosenfeld came to speak about national unity, about peace between ourselves. If the Jews will make peace between themselves, then peace will also come that will trickle through the barriers between the two peoples. What kind of peace can the Palestinians make with settlers who are sitting on their conquered lands? When will we understand that the “apolitical” assembly is, in reality, very political, because as long as the Occupation is extended and settlement construction continues with vigor, the status quo plays only into the settlers’ hands? While we are standing shoulder to shoulder on the same stage, the settlers continue with their pogroms against Palestinian farmers gathering their olives adjacent to settlements, a settler threatens Rabbi Arik Ascherman of the Rabbis for Human Rights NGO with a knife and price-tag activists who burned an entire Palestinian family, leaving a small child as the sole survivor, are free and at large.

רבין

When will we understand that the extremist right and the not so extremist right will do anything [accent in original] to defend the Promised Land? One does not argue with religious faith. While we cooperate with them at an “apolitical” rally, they, either openly or surreptitiously, are preparing all [accent in original] the options for conducting an uncompromising struggle against peace and against the evacuation of settlements, an imperative for peace. They exhibit no moral compunction. There will always be settlers who speak eloquently. However, in the name of the ruling majority, others are preparing for the takeover of the Knesset and the government, for attaining command positions in the army, for eliminating democracy and for the silencing of the Left. If all these do not succeed, the violent struggle remains an option. Assassinating a prime minister will always be considered the work of “crazy people” who follow some “extremist” rabbis, but they are never ostracized from the camp and continue to be nurtured by the open breaking of the law by the settler establishment. The country’s real masters, in their disdain for international law, and, of course, in their religious belief in the sanctity of the land, obviously influence the “designated crazy” who will commit the next political assassination.

The participation of Meretz and Peace Now in the rally only reinforces the status quo of Peace with Occupation. The settlers and the Right are just biding their time until the Rabin legacy comprises nothing more than “peace, anti-violence and anti-racism”, as expressed by President Rivlin. President Rivlin, with all due love and respect for his defense of the law and democracy, still supports the Occupation. In other words, he is opposed to racism directed against the Arab citizens of Israel, but supports the continuation of the racism, repression and humiliation suffered by the Palestinians, unavoidable results of the Occupation. I waited with bated breath for someone (perhaps Zehava Galon, chairman of the Meretz party) to go up on stage and inform President Rivlin that democracy cannot be partitioned. One cannot practice democracy only for Jews and Arab citizens of Israel. What can you do? Occupation does not go hand in hand with democracy. In a rally attended by the entire spectrum, including Bnei Akiva and settlers, including a Revisionist president, there is only one possible message: continuation of the status quo with the approval and support of the Left. The farthest the most moderate of the settlers are willing to go is Peace with Occupation. Indeed, they are interested in maintaining the legitimacy of the Left in the name of national unity. That is the perceived message from the assembly that took place on Saturday night {Saturday night, October 31, 2015], even if they did wave around a few slogans in favor of the two-state solution.

The time has also come to shatter the myth of Rabin Bringer of Peace. One of the reasons for the failure of the Oslo accords was Rabin’s lack of readiness to go far enough to offer something the Palestinians could accept, like control of the Temple Mount, a shared capitol city in Jerusalem and cessation of settlement construction. This would not have been a “favor” on his part. Even after the Oslo accords, he remained the conqueror, who continues vigorous settlement construction.

Finally, the time has also come to shatter the myth of Rabin Bringer of Peace. One of the reasons for the failure of the Oslo accords was Rabin’s lack of readiness to go far enough to offer something the Palestinians could accept, like control of the Temple Mount, a shared capitol city in Jerusalem and cessation of settlement construction. This would not have been a “favor” on his part. Even after the Oslo accords, he remained the conqueror, who continues vigorous settlement construction. We must not play into the hands of rightist propaganda, “no partner” and “they want to throw us into the sea” (propaganda and incitement that continues to this day encapsulated in statements like “the Mufti al-Husseini who helped the Nazis exterminate us”). All the proposals offered the Palestinians after the Oslo accords were insufficient for reaching a peace agreement. Ehud Barak persuaded the Left that peace was just about to be achieved, but we did not have (and still do not have) a partner. But Barak, and [Ehud] Olmert after him, were not prepared to reach the minimum required for the Palestinian leadership to return to their people with an acceptable, generous offer, the core of which is the immediate cessation of settlement construction, Palestinian control of the Temple Mount and a shared capitol city, and recognition, in principle [accent in original], of our responsibility for creating the refugee problem. A true Rabin commemorative rally would have had to raise these issues.

Micha Rachman is a social activist, member of the “Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow” (Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit) and active in the “Hamaabara – the Transit Camp” group and in the “Yesh Gvul” Movement.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Haokets.

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