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MK Ahmad Tibi, ex-settler leader Dayan duke it out on Twitter

Two of the most well-spoken public figures in Israel are MK Ahmad Tibi and former settler leader Dani Dayan. Dr. Tibi is known to lecture to the Knesset plenum in prose, and is considered one of the MKs with the best command of the Hebrew language. Dayan, on the other hand, has the uncanny ability to make even the most die-hard two-state advocate question their political belief system.

But just because two people are elegant and gifted orators doesn’t mean they can’t get into an old fashion, tit-for-tat Twitter battle — and that’s exactly what happened today. I’ve translated the entire back-and-forth below.

The heated 140-character-at-a-time quasi debate started when MK Tibi tweeted a picture of two Palestinians bound and blindfolded in a humiliating way by the IDF at the Hawarra checkpoint.

Tibi was quickly called out by others on Twitter, however, who pointed out that the picture was from 2011. Dayan, who is active on Twitter himself, replied with a picture of Jewish settlers mourning the the victim of a Palestinian shooting attack. He wrote: “This is from 2013”.

A few hours later, Tibi retorted: “The difference between me, you and [you all] is that I condemn and condemned the harming of Jewish children, see the murder in Itamar. And vastly different, you are participants in the suffering and harming of Palestinians.”

Dayan wasn’t having it. “Not true,” he retorted, “I condemn ‘price tag’ acts against Palestinians much more clearly and explicitly than you condemn acts of terror, [which are] 100-times more severe.”

Of course it couldn’t stop there. “Price tag?!”, Tibi virtually shouted, “What about the biggest land theft in history, which you are a part of? Let me put it this way: There’s no symmetry between an occupier and the occupied! None!”

History? He went to history? I’ll show him history,Dayan must have thought. He replied: “MK Tibi: There’s no symmetry between an aggressor and someone defending themselves. He who tries to take everything by force and loses, pays a price for his belligerence. There’s nothing more just than that.”

Here’s where it starts to heat up. Tibi replied: “The ‘right’ to self defense doesn’t exist for trespassers (*can also mean invaders) in occupied land. Settlers are invaders and they’re the aggressors, and a people under occupation is the victim. It’s very simple.”

“Simple indeed,” Dayan shot back. “You rejected [the Partition Plan]. You started a war “to liberate all of Palestine.” You lost. We liberated Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in a defensive war. There’s a price for your belligerence. There’s no way back.”

Uh oh, did he say there’s no way back? Well then we better look forward, Tibi must have been thinking. “There’s no future for the State of Israel if a Palestinian state isn’t created alongside it, and if not, then one state for everyone,” Tibi tweeted. “If a Palestinian state isn’t established then there won’t be an Israel.”

Always the gentleman, Dayan wrote back: “Wishful thinking, Dr. Tibi. Together with that, I must point out that your concern for the future of Israel touches my heart.”

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    1. XYZ

      In a forum like this one, Tibi’s comment that Israel needs to create a Palestinian state for its own good would brand him as a “concern troll”. Olmert and Livni are always saying that “it is a vital interest of Israel to create a Palestinian state”. I can just see Abbas, Haniya and the others saying ‘we had better quickly create our independent Palestinian state so that we can help save Israel!’

      Reply to Comment
      • Benny

        “In this forum?”
        In the imaginary forum in XYZ’s paranoid, hallucinatory, Fox Newsy brain.

        Reply to Comment
      • aristeides

        I have never once seen on this forum the term “concern troll” being used.

        But it’s discouraging to see the supposed leadership of the factions in Israel resorting to the same tired cliches that we do see from commenters here, day after tedious day.

        Reply to Comment
        • As I was thinking, too: this could be a comment stream on 972, where the actual content of the post soon becomes irrelevant.

          Rah my team! Boo your team! And one more time!

          Reply to Comment
          • XYZ

            Actually, you are all correct, I have never seen that expression here at 972, butI have seen it at numerous other blogs

            Reply to Comment
    2. One other thought, prompted by the picture of mourning the recent settler murder. I think 972 made a mistake by not covering the murder or it social aftermath. Settlers are people who hurt like all people do, and the issue of Bank violence is core to 972. By remaining silent in reportage, even if just a summary from other news outlets (which 972 does occasionaly do), there is a left sense that this murder is not as important as those experienced by Palestinians. We have to know how both sides feel, how both sides react. There can be no resolution save violence otherwise.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        The “settler” has become a mythic figure in “progressive” parlance…the very embodiment of evil. If you saw the discussion in the tread about the photos from the Jerusalem Day march, you saw all the Jews in the photos identified as “settlers” even though I pointed out that it is likely that most of those in the photo live inside the Green Line. One commentor responded that they are referred to as “settlers” because they are walking in east Jerusalem which is an illegal activity…no Jews belong there at all and anyone who even sets foot there is a “settler” (I guess this means MERETZ City Councilwoman Anat Hoffman and her friends in “Women of the Wall” are also “settlers” since they insist on praying at the Western Wall which is also an illegal settlement in illegally occupied east Jerusalem). Thus, the term settler FAR transcends it original meaning as referring to someone who went to live in a particular location to become the very embodiement of evil and the ultimate cause of all the problems in the world…. much like the role the “Jew” played in Europe prior to 1945.

        Reply to Comment
        • Let’s remember this when another young Palestinian is killed by the IDF or adjunct–which will happen.

          Mourning transcends groups. It is a commonality which, if we let it, can give pause. Maybe no more than that at the moment–but at least a pause.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Witty

      Ahmed Tibi is right that there is no future for Israel unless there is a viable and healthy Palestine as neighbor.

      Too much fear, irritation and figurative thinking calling itself as reason.

      Ahmed Tibi is wrong though at the significance of terror, whether he advocated or rejected it.

      That is that traumas leave scars.

      Better that we heal them, than act them out again and again.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ruth

      The picture you referred to as “a picture of Jewish settlers mourning the the victim of a Palestinian shooting attack” is the widely-published image of the son of the murdered man hugging his corpse. This seems like an important detail to miss.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Dany

      Dayan is just “The Trespasser” with a Twitter account. Lame both.

      Reply to Comment