Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Strange Case of Ariel Zilber

The anniversary of the Rabin assassination is approaching swiftly, and the media is whipping up their usual storm of adoration for the man. Over the years, Rabin has stopped being, it seems, a mere mortal, and became a form of quasi-deity for these people, a sort of mini-Jesus that had laid down his soul for the Peace Process.

It not, however, the identity of Itzhak Rabin this post is concerned with, but rather the media idiocy du jour.

It appears that a group of people, most notably Larissa Amir, Yigal's wife, have starred in a 15-minute video requesting the early release of Yigal Amir (under Israeli law, well-behaved lifers can have their sentence cut down to 'only' 20 years, and Amir is a well-behaved prisoner). This video was distributed online, on Flix.co.il (Israel's Youtube), and in DVD form as well.

There is nothing really to it. The video is amateurish as all get-out, and could have possibly been done by a twelve-year old using Windows Media Player.

But of course the media strives on creating frenzies. This time they had done their best screaming their head off about the Evil Extreme Right. Naturally they've been demanding that the public ignore the video and those behind it - while replaying fragments of it on TV and inviting Larissa to every show possible.

This would have been well and good, but here's the thing: A single person of major note, Ariel Zilber, appeared in the video.

Ariel Zilber is a local singer of medium fame. He sings and plays the piano, awfully at that. He is known for his right-wing views and has previously campaigned for Feiglin during the Likud primaries.

But now he has commited the unforgivable sin.

He was included in the 15-minute Video Of Doom saying that he is not sure Yigal Amir killed Rabin [even though Amir confessed the killing and video footage of it exists], and that he believes Amir should be treated 'like any other prisoner'.

This was enough.

First, multiple cities have cancelled appearances of Zilber at city-sponsored events (starting with Tel-Aviv, of course, which is the San Francisco of the Middle-East).

Then, musical artists of different kinds have decided they wish to boycott Zilber.

And now, a radio station announced it will cancel airing a radio show because Zilber is in it in a minor role (even though it's already been recorded).

And, with the witch-hunt elevated to a new level, people down here have started demanding the maximum five-year penalty "for incitement of violence" for those responsible for this video. This has been the talk of the radio show hosts this morning.

Does nobody think this is a little bit of an overreaction?

Demanding that Amir should be treated like all the other prisoners is now such a terrible crime that it merits a witch-hunt of this sort? What, are there no real problems for this country to deal with? Have all of them gone mad?

7 Comments:

Blogger MikeK said...

I am by FAR not a big fan of Rabin. Nor have I actually seen the video in question. And while the "Incitement to violence" (I'm a 'free speech even hate speech' kinda dude) thing is total bullshit, a healthy backlash against zilber is totally in order.

I'll check out the video in time, but while demands for equal treatment should carry merit, tese ones are swaddled in a tone and form that's identical to what many creationists, holocaust deniers, and conspiracy theorists use.

But of course, none of this is at issue. The backlash is motivated by blind Rabin idolation (like the US is about FDR and JFK), and symmetrical Rabin hatred on the right.

This is what's motivating the media circus here, and there's really nothing to be done. It's just going to got worse over the years.

Also, sorry for hogging all the comment space. It's very rare for me to have someone lnok at Israel in a libertarian manner, that's actually on the inside (those on the outside tend to be against Israel in all ways as a point of principle mostly because the US gov't supports it). It's always just standard left or right positions. So I'm enjoying this :>

3:14 PM  
Blogger Allanea said...

Thank you, MilkeK. The local politicians pretend everything is about the Palestinians, and the foreign media is even worse. It really might seem to a foreigner that there is no debate to be seen about Israel's policies that doesn't revolve around the Palestinians.

Well, I don't want to talk about the Palestinians, the peace process, giving them or not giving them land.

I want to talk about real problems this country has.

The 48% average tax burden, the giant oversized government that regulates everything from .22LR rifles to the content of television shows.

The terrible laws on privacy, on police brutality, on search and seizure.

THIS stuff.

But back to our point.

There is a Russian proverb regarding this situation. It says: “Here two madnesses stood face to face.”

On one hand you have the usual brand of idiots who think the Rabin assassination was a good thing [alternatively, 'was done by Shimon Peres'.] On the other hand you have the idiots that think that 'he who supports Yigal Amir in any way opposes democracy', and 'Yigal Amir murdered democracy on the Malchei Israel square'.

Now, I obviously do not endorse Rabin's assassination. Let us lay that one to rest, I don't. I do sympathize with Amir's wife as a person because the way the government is treating her and her family is disgusting, and is beyond what even a murderer and his family should be treated as.

But this said, I think the mechanism of the media frenzy that is at work here is disgusting.

Here's a man who has not said anything particularly against the principles of democracy, much less freedom.

Do you imagine American city governments denying permits to Ted Nugent appearances based on what Ted says? Or doing it to the Dixie Chicks?

Do you imagine a complete media boycott of Charlton Heston or John Travolta? Or, I don't know, Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise?

Let us for once return to reasoned, civilised debate, where people's suggestions are treated on their merit.

Does any one of my readers believe that advocating an early release for Yigal Amir [eight years from now] is a terrible, terrible threat to democracy (and I note I don't carry a portfolio for democracy so much as for freedom)?

I'd like to hear a reasoned response from people who really believe this.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Red Tulips said...

The 48% average tax burden, the giant oversized government that regulates everything from .22LR rifles to the content of television shows.

The terrible laws on privacy, on police brutality, on search and seizure.


For the record, this too troubles me about Israel. I also think it is a vestige of labor (socialist) zionism, and is very un-Jewish. From my reading of things, in many ways Israel is improving. The kibbutzim no longer are socialist vehicles, and the nation is moving towards a free market.

As far as Rabin goes, I am anti-Rabin, but also anti-assassination. I am more anti-Peres than Rabin, actually.

Does any one of my readers believe that advocating an early release for Yigal Amir [eight years from now] is a terrible, terrible threat to democracy (and I note I don't carry a portfolio for democracy so much as for freedom)?

I agree with you 100%. It will not somehow be a death blow for democracy if he is let out.

Right now, there is talk to release Samir Kuntar from prison, one of the most brutal terrorists in the history of Israel, in exchange for Regev and Goldwasser. Regev and Goldwasser are likely dead. So this means exchanging a live mass murdering psychopath for two dead soldiers. Words fail me.

And yet it is an abomination to let out Amir for good behavior? Why is Rabin's life worth more than the innocents slaughtered by Kuntar?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Red Tulips said...

The 48% average tax burden, the giant oversized government that regulates everything from .22LR rifles to the content of television shows.

The terrible laws on privacy, on police brutality, on search and seizure.


For the record, this too troubles me about Israel. I also think it is a vestige of labor (socialist) zionism, and is very un-Jewish. From my reading of things, in many ways Israel is improving. The kibbutzim no longer are socialist vehicles, and the nation is moving towards a free market.

As far as Rabin goes, I am anti-Rabin, but also anti-assassination. I am more anti-Peres than Rabin, actually.

Does any one of my readers believe that advocating an early release for Yigal Amir [eight years from now] is a terrible, terrible threat to democracy (and I note I don't carry a portfolio for democracy so much as for freedom)?

I agree with you 100%. It will not somehow be a death blow for democracy if he is let out.

Right now, there is talk to release Samir Kuntar from prison, one of the most brutal terrorists in the history of Israel, in exchange for Regev and Goldwasser. Regev and Goldwasser are likely dead. So this means exchanging a live mass murdering psychopath for two dead soldiers. Words fail me.

And yet it is an abomination to let out Amir for good behavior? Why is Rabin's life worth more than the innocents slaughtered by Kuntar?

5:07 PM  
Blogger at the edge said...

You say, "He sings and plays the piano, awfully at that."

That's what some people say about Bob Dylan too. But others, if you don't mind, love them, and to these people your taste obnoxious.

11:05 PM  
Blogger alon said...

Plays awfully--what a little, conceited, shmuck you are.

5:04 PM  
Blogger at the edge said...

Alon - you must be a really nice guy!

10:01 PM  

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