Wednesday, April 25, 2007

McCarthyism in the Holy Land

It is now official. Former member of the Israeli Knesset Azmi Bisahara is under investigation for passing information to Hizbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

Bishara, who resigned from the Knesset last week, has denied the accusations, but it is unclear whether he will return to Israel any time soon to face his accusers and possibly stand trial. In the meantime the right wing in Israel has begun the feeding frenzy. Various Knesset members are calling to have Bishara's pension revoked, to have him immediately arrested, and are using this case to label all Israeli Arabs as traitors, and to treat them accordingly.

Several MKs, as well as the Gideon Sharon the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, are renewing the call for the revocation of the citizenship of most Israeli Arabs !!

Whether the accusations turn out to be true or not, it is clear that the sense of hysteria is approaching McCarthyist proportions. Just as America's fear of Communism made it focus on myriad supposed traitors at home, rather than on the bigger issues of global strategy and social injustice that where the real sources of any Communist strength and appeal, so too Israel's fears in light of last summer's war and the perceived "demographic threat" are causing it to look in all the wrong places for a a quick fix.

And of course everyone seems to have forgotten that - as yet - Bishara has not even been charged, let alone convicted, of anything.

Hopefully calmer heads will prevail. If the investigation warrants, let Bishara be charged and tried. And if he is convicted (and that's still a big IF in my opinion) lets not assume that the behavior of one person represents that of an entire people. If it did, then all U.S. Jews should be disenfranchised because of Jonathan Pollard.

See here, and here for news article about this, and here for a previous article in this blog.

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