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August 25, 2011 8:31 am

Jerusalem Post Columnist Calls Eilat Terror “Justified”

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Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner has stated that "the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us."

Calling his comments “an attempt at patriotism,” Jerusalem Post columnist and well known political commentator Larry Derfner endorsed the use of violence against Israeli citizens this week in an article posted on the self-described left-wing Zionist blog “Israel Reconsidered.”

Derfner, well known as a staunch advocate for a two-state solution, posted a link to his article on Facebook on Monday, drawing praise from friends for his contention that “Palestinians have the right to resist [the occupation] – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis.” This is especially the case, Derfner wrote, since “Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over.”

According to the columnist, Israelis, many of whom he regards as secretly agreeing with him, do not want to come out and say this, however, for “fear of being called a traitor.” However, he asserted, “it’s time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going.”

Continuing to explain his thesis, Derfner argued that since the continuing Israeli presence in the territories validates Palestinian terrorism, “the Left’s ritual condemnations of terror are translated in the Israeli public’s mind – as justification for the occupation and an iron-fist military policy.”

“But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have?” he asked. “A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful.”

Stopping short of actively calling for terrorism, however, the columnist -a Los Angeles native who immigrated to Israel in 1985- asserted that while he “think[s] the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed.”

“As an Israeli,” he explained, “I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen.”

“Still, I don’t think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle,” Derfner quipped.

He also stated that he is opposed to “encouraging Israelis in their blindness” that prevents them from seeing that they are “compelling [the Palestinians] to engage in terrorism.” Such encouragement, he explained, “endanger[s] their lives and ours, their country and ours, much more than if we told the truth and got quoted on Hamas websites.”

Concluding with a brief discussion of last week’s triple-terror attack in Eilat, Derfner said that “Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack.”

The government of Israel, which he termed “harsh” and “unjust,” is “to blame for those eight Israeli deaths.”

“Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism,” Derfner explained.

Responding to comments on Facebook, Derfner summed up his thesis by saying that “the occupation makes Palestinian terror justified and inevitable.” After all, he asked, “if non-violence doesn’t convince Israel to end the occupation, what are [the Palestinians] supposed to do?”

Pundits suspects that these comments, coming as they do on the heels of a national tragedy that almost led Israel to war, are likely to create a stir.

The comments are a far cry from his comments in March, following the murder of the Fogel Family in the West Bank town of Itamar.

At the time, Derfner wrote that “Until Palestinians acknowledge the savage streak in their society – even if only to themselves – and resolve to root it out, then, if history is a guide, there will be more abominations done in their name. And it’s completely legitimate to expect Palestinians to understand this – even before they have their own state.”

A senior Jerusalem Post source has stated that the newspaper is looking into the matter.

While the Israeli Ministry of Justice has not issued an official statement in response to inquiries, it is possible that Derfner may have violated Israeli legal statutes prohibiting incitement. In response, several concerned citizens have expressed interest in filing complaints with the police and Attorney General’s office, the Algemeiner Journal has learned.

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  • Robert Spitalnick

    A twisted, insane argument.

  • Dan

    “Jerusalem Post columnist and well known political commentator”

    Jerusalem Post columnist and well known idiot would be more like it.

  • Chaim F

    Dorfner typifies the moral rot that exists in Israeli leftist society, a rot that has infected the mind to such an extent that Dorfner and his ilk call “darkness light, light darkness, bitter sweet, sweet bitter.” But Dorfner is no hero; he speaks out at a time when Israel is the underdog in world Jewish opinion. Useful Idiots, like Dorfner, grow more and more numerous from year to year. Unless the Govt of Israel begins, for the first time since 1991, to act rationally, Israel’s falling stock in the world will progress with greater and greater speed.

  • I hope the Palestinian’s are listening and that Derfner is the first casualty.

  • Dan Kelso

    Barak and Olmert offered the Palestinians a state, something no Arab or Islamic country ever did.
    Israel offered the Palestinians a state, even though there was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
    I have 2 words for you. Palestinian Rejectionism.
    The Palestinians refused to end the conflict as long as it meant that they would have to accept the legitimacy of Israel as a sovereign, permanent country and neighbor. Only when the Palestinians extremist/rejectionist/supremacist attitude changes will peace really be possible.
    Barry Rubin wrote a brilliant article a few weeks ago which documents in detail this.
    Do a google search of Palestinian “Moderate” (He Is In Relative Terms) Shows Why Real Peace is Impossible At Present

    I also advise people to go on Palmediawatch.
    Do a google search of it.
    Then you will see the Arabs genocidal aims.

    • MH8169

      Dan, I am in total agreement with you. Well said.

  • An explosive argument, indeed. However, I can see the logic of his argument. I think it’s possible to condemn such attacks, while recognising the Palestinian point of view that says – what good has the peace process, the Oslo accords etc been?
    Also, the idea of ‘innocents’ being killed is a topic for another debate. I think there is an argument that says that soldiers, wether conscripts or not, are legitimate targets. Aren’t Israel targetting hams fighters, and others?

  • H. Fragman Abramson

    This kind of inverted perversion of all logic is the hallmark of those who would see Israel destroyed and claim to be saving the country from itself. The problem is not Israel’s failure to provide for Palestinians but in it’s failure to cut off the daily diet of hatred and extremism in the Muslim world. Shame on you for giving this lunatic the soap box to justify the murder of innocents. The deplorable state of the Muslim world is not the fault of the Jews nor is the resulting Palestinian violence anything less than their historic propensity for violence that has lasted 1300 years with no end in sight.

  • Llarry

    “Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism.”

    Of course. What could be more patriotic than justifying terrorist attacks against your own country?

    War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.

  • Ilene

    Are you going to tell that to the face of the parents of the kids killed in that terror attack? MURDER OF INNOCENTS IS NEVER JUSTIFIED .. and definitely not in Judaism. There is a very special place in hell for you sir.

    • Opher

      While I vehemently disagree with Mr. Derfner’s position, it should be debated and refuted, without vilifying the person.

      There are three distinct ways of fighting occupation. First, through non-violent means, which allows no legitimate violent response from the occupier. This is a long hard road, but the correct response, as can be seen e.g. from India’s history.

      Second, attacks against armed soldiers of the occupier, which leads to a bloody conflict. If the attacks are carried out from within the occupied civilian population this risks “collateral damage” which while extremely regrettable, is the responsibility of those attacking from within that population and to some minimal extent the responsibility of that population for not forcing the attackers to do their deeds elsewhere. This sort of attacks have been carried out by Palestinians against Israeli soldiers, and is often labeled terrorism by many. As painful as it is to acknowledge, this is a debatable label. To be clear, I would do all I could to prevent such attacks, and am outraged and saddened when they occur, but armed conflict is never pretty and always tragic.

      Finally, there are attacks against unarmed civilians. This last is terrorism, plain and simple, and is never justified, whether carried out by Arabs, Jews, or anyone else. Unfortunately, the Palestinian “resistance” has been concentrating their efforts mostly in this sort of activity, be it knifing a family sleeping in their homes, firing missiles at civilian targets, blowing up buses, event halls, or restaurants, etc. This is what has led to their justifiably being labeled as terrorist groups. Beyond the tragedies they cause the victims, it is my belief that such terror does great harm and little good to the Palestinian cause.

      As to a special place in hell being reserved for Mr. Derfner, I remind you that there is no hell according to Judaism.