This week (in the Hebrew calendar) marked the 12th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. This time the backdrop was an increasingly active and ugly campaign by the Israeli far-right for the release of his assassin, Yigal Amir. Part of that campaign has been the attempt to advance a conspiracy theory regarding the assassination, namely that the Israeli authorities orchestrated it and even that Shimon Peres was responsible. What you may ask has all this to do with the John McCain Presidential campaign?
Here’s what – the McCain campaign has placed official ads on a Kahanist, pro-extremist settler website that promotes the claim that Shimon Peres, Israel’s President, “master-minded” the Rabin assassination!
Here is the link to the site – Ahavat–Israel.com (literally love of Israel) – you may have to click refresh a few times to get the McCain ads (that is, until they are eventually taken down – after all the McCain campaign pockets don’t run so deep).
The website and the group behind it seem pretty obscure and very extreme, clearly Kahanist. Ahavat-Israel brings together a collection of the more bizarre predilections of the Israeli-religious settler right – don’t even ask how I stumbled across this!
Alongside some rather useful Kosher cooking tips (especially this late on a Friday…), there are promos for the settlers in Hebron, calls to demonstrate against the Israeli government, and adulation of the racist Meir Kahane who was banned from standing for Israeli Knesset.
Here’s what the site says about Israel’s Arab minority: “the transfer of Arabs to Arab lands should be done…most Jews in Israel and abroad would prefer that there be no Arabs in Israel.” And on the Rabin assassination, “Rabin was hated by most Jews in Israel. Rabin was considered a traitor and Israel’s most incompetent politician…when Rabin was murdered Peres became Prime Minister and accelerated the process of giving away land…Peres had the motives and the evidence is against him.”
So, does Senator McCain think that Israel’s new President “master-minded” (as the website claims) the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin? Does McCain feel comfortable advertising on a website that makes these accusations – would he like to distance himself from such claims, apologize and remove the ads?
To be honest, I assume the Senator knows nothing at all about the ads on the website and that some low-level aide out-sourced some media-buys to a mad-man.
But there it is and I hope this revelation embarrasses the McCain campaign (the ad links to their official donation page), and leads to many voices being raised that demand an apology for the association with this offensive Kahanist hatred.
Then again, maybe I’m wrong and this is all pre-mediated and this exposure is music to the McCain campaign ears and will fill the coffers. After all, if Giuliani has recruited Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz and Martin Kramer to advise him on the Middle East, then being more extremist right-wing on Israel really takes some effort! Well, it is up to McCain to clarify.
And for a kinder take on Rabin’s real legacy, read this piece from Yossi Sarid in Haaretz and this excerpt from Ofer Shelah’s piece in Ma'ariv.