Derfner apologizes — but he’s still wrong

Tali Fahima with al-Aqsa brigades leader Zakaria Zubeidi. At least she wasn't a hypocrite.

Tali Fahima with al-Aqsa brigades leader Zakaria Zubeidi. At least she wasn't a hypocrite.

Larry Derfner has issued an apology and removed the post I discussed yesterday from his site.

I was one of his milder critics. I contented myself with refuting his argument. There were those who suggested that Derfner’s statement that Palestinian terrorism against Israel is justified — although he ‘qualified’ this by saying that he, personally, was opposed to it — constituted incitement to murder, a felony in Israel. Complaints to Israel’s Attorney General were prepared and possibly filed.

Derfner says that he failed to express himself clearly, and takes another shot at it:

I wrote that because of the occupation, Palestinians are “justified” in attacking, even killing Israelis, that they have the “right” to do so. Later on I stressed that I didn’t want them to kill my countrymen, and that I would do anything necessary to stop it. I meant those two points to show that I wasn’t “for” terrorism, that while I thought the occupation justified it, that didn’t mean I supported it. But I see now that the distance from “justified” to “support” is way, way too short – and I am as far away as anybody can be from supporting attacks on Israel and Israelis…

I meant, instead, to shock Israelis and friends of Israel into seeing how badly we’re hurting the Palestinians by denying them independence: It’s so bad that it’s helping drive them to try to kill us. This is something I believe, something liberal Israelis and friends of Israel believe, and I wrote that if we were to start saying so publicly, it might force other Israelis to finally confront the reality of what we’re doing to the Palestinians, and thereby get them to see that it’s wrong and must stop. [my emphasis]

I don’t know what the Attorney General will make of this. But Derfner is still wrong, for the same reasons. His statement that he believes terrorism to be justified while at the same time he doesn’t support it simply makes him a hypocrite. If he honestly thinks it’s justified, then he should have been out there on Route 12 with an AK-47 last Thursday.

Other extreme left-wing Israelis, e.g., Tali Fahima, have made the choice to help Palestinian terrorists. She went to jail for it. Derfner is not prepared to go that far.  But the degree to which he blames the victim in the conflict is pathological (that’s the only word that fits).

Yesterday I described the false assumptions — about the nature of ‘the occupation’, Arab intentions and security issues — that stood behind Derfner’s argument. I won’t do that again. I do want to mention the really stunning falsehood that he repeats today: that Israel is hurting the Palestinians by denying them independence.

Israel offered independence to the Palestinians several times, notably in 2000 and 2008. Negotiations intended to result in Palestinian independence have been going on fitfully since 1993. They have never borne fruit because the Palestinians have always insisted on conditions — like right of return — that are inconsistent with the continued existence of a Jewish state. The Palestinians have never even been prepared to utter the words “Israel is the state of the Jewish people” or agree to the formulation of “two states for two peoples.” Official Palestinian Authority media continues to claim all of the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean as ‘Palestine’. The PLO never removed the portions of its charter calling for the destruction of Israel, even after the US president (Bill Clinton) personally intervened.

All during these negotiations, Palestinians have murdered Israelis. So I think the correct formulation is that Israel is hurting the Palestinians by refusing to roll over and die, which is driving them to kill . I’m sorry, there is no way that this can be Israel’s fault.

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