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The Late Israeli Democracy – Dies on a Car Bumper?

To the Right – Anti-Insensitivity Crusader Shulamit Dotan

Freedom of speech in Israel just took another bullet. The Leftist First Amendment, under which anti-Israel leftists and Arabs are entitled to the protection of freedom of speech for everything they say but know one else is, made a comeback this week. The Israeli dual court system also struck back.

Neria Ofan was convicted this week of racism by a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. He was convicted of driving with an insensitive bumper sticker on his car. This is not a spoof. It really happened.

Ofan’s felony? Ofan, who lives in the West Bank, had a bumper sticker on his car that reads, “Where there are No Arabs, there is No Terror.” That, fatwa-ed the court’s judge Shulamit Dotan, constitutes racism. Another Jew was similarly convicted in criminal court six months back for wearing a Tee shirt containing the same slogan. You can see the bumper sticker in Hebrew just below here, but if you do not hear from me again for several years, it is because my posting it here was also deemed “racism” and I was sent off to prison to learn sensitivity.

Now what does NOT constitute racism or incitement in post-democratic Israel? Arab students chanting “Death to the Jews” does not. Waving PLO and Hamas banners on campuses does not. We know that merely calling for Jews to be exterminated and for Israel to be annihilated also does not. The Supreme Court ruled just before the last election that two Arab parties whose platforms call for Israel’s annihilation should be allowed to run and to sit in Israel’s parliament. We know that Holocaust revisionism is protected speech, or at least that is what an Arab woman judge in Nazareth court wrote in one of her better known verdicts. We know that cheering on terrorist murders of Jewish children is not racist. After all, there are scores of leftist faculty members at Israeli universities who do THAT all the time.

Dotan was one of the judges who had earlier “convicted” Moshe Feiglin of “sedition” because he had blocked a traffic intersection in the 1990s with a group of protesters against Oslo. Blocking traffic intersections for other things, such as for the demands of the Histadrut or when students want lower tuition, is democratic and permitted. Among Dotan’s more notorious acts of bias was this: she was the lead judge in the trial over the indictment of Israel’s ex-President Moshe Katsav, accused of sexual molestation and rape. Except that it is looking more and more like Katsav is innocent and the prosecutor is right now proposing that the case be thrown out (see this). It seems that Judge Shula held deliberations on the punishment sentence to be handed to Katsav even before his trial began!! See this.

As for that slogan, “Where there are no Arabs, there is no Terror,” it is very close to being an empirically verifiable statement. One can, I suppose, find terror here and there in places where there are no Arabs, like in Sri Lanka. But racism? I mean, if the court had accused the driver of perpetrating a drive-by slight empirical exaggeration, perhaps it might have a case.

It actually turns out that the slogan and bumper stickers were first the invention of an operator of a bed and breakfast on the Golan Heights, who handed them out during the 2000 intifada violence in the Galilee. Its point was that the Galilee is dangerous, but the Golan, where there are virtually no Arabs, is safe, so come on up for the weekend.

The sticker was then picked up by others, perhaps with a different agenda.

I personally prefer the bumper sticker that reads, “Where there are No Leftists there is no Treason,” and I am prepared to go to prison for having one on my car if anyone can get one printed up and sent to me.

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