Assassinations, lies and conspiracy theories.
If you want to know about the right-wing culture that rules Israel today, the following isn’t a bad illustration. Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday that Netanyahu’s pick for director-general of the Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, wrote an article in the settler publication Nekuda after the Rabin assassination blaming the Shin Bet for the murder, which is sort of the Israeli right’s answer to Holocaust denial, that’s how popular a conspiracy theory it is. (Filber, along the way, was Netanyahu’s chief of staff in his first term, and headed the Likud campaign in the last election.)
Filber’s response in Yedioth: he always believed, then and now, that Yigal Amir and no one else killed Rabin, but agreed, as a junior employee of the Yesha settlers council following the assassination, to sign his name to the article because the true author, Uri Elitzur, then Nekuda editor and a senior figure in the Yesha Council, thought it would hurt his standing as an opinion writer to have his name signed on to it. Filber says that “out of regard for Elitzur and desire to help put down the incitement campaign against settlers, I agreed to sign in his place. Since then, I have expressed myself forthrightly that the conspiracy theory is delusional and illogical.”
Let’s look at this. First of all, it’s very convenient for Filber to say the article was written by Elitzur because Elitzur can’t deny it, being dead. Elitzur, by the way, wrote the infamous article posted on Facebook by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked last summer calling for the killing of not only Palestinian terrorists, but also their mothers, the people who write Palestinian textbooks, people who give terrorists “moral support” — basically all Palestinians except collaborators.
Here’s the thing: what sort of person agrees to sign his name to a long article making a very controversial claim, one that he considers “delusional and illogical,” when he didn’t even write it? And what kind of writer would write such an article and ask somebody else to take responsibility for it?
Setting aside the issue of Elitzur, who is not relevant and cannot defend himself, Filber is a liar any way you look at it — either he is lying about not having written the article (and is slandering a dead man, not to mention being a believer in vicious nonsense), or he is telling the truth now and agreed then to sign his name to a major article he never wrote. Either way, it’s a dark tale about the kinds of people Netanyahu raises up, about the character of the powers that be in contemporary Israel.