‘When you push an entire population up against the wall, when you demonize them and trample their rights, [the situation] will explode in the end,’ the Israeli parliamentarian writes with no sense of irony.
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich, a member of Israel’s ruling coalition, penned an oped on Wednesday arguing that Jews cannot be terrorists. The two labels are mutually exclusive, he argued.
“Terrorism is only violence carried out by our enemies in the framework of a war against us,” Smotrich wrote in settler news outlet Arutz 7, “us” referring to Jews. (Hebrew) “Anything else is a serious crime, a despicable crime, a nationalistic crime, but not terror.”
The context of Smotrich’s article is Israeli authorities’ draconian treatment of the suspects in the arson-murder of the Dawabshe family in Duma earlier this year, which senior politicians have called a “Jewish terrorist” attack. The suspects have been reportedly held in administrative detention, been prevented from meeting with their attorneys, and have subject to pressure in ways that likely violate their civil rights.
He is right in opposing such draconian law enforcement tactics — against anybody. I argued as much myself, here. The problem is that he believes Jews and Palestinians are entitled to different rights. He believes what is unacceptable for Jews is acceptable for Arabs.
“If price tag incidents are ‘terrorism,’ then the suspects’ families are ‘families of terrorists,’ and the residents of their settlements and the people who work there are ‘a terror-supporting population’,” Smotrich wrote, without any semblance of outrage that the same is standard practice in relation to Palestinian terrorists.
It gets worse, though. It isn’t enough for Smotrich to condemning civil rights abuses against terror suspects of one ethnic-religious group while condoning the same for the other. He actually warns that imposing collective punishment and exerting disproportionate force against an oppressed population could push people to rise up and become violent.
“When you push an entire population up against the wall, when you treat them like terrorists,” he wrote, “when you demonize them and trample their rights without any inhibition, it will explode in the end.”
That’s only a valid reaction for Jews, though. Palestinians deserve it.