Part II in the 20 yrs from Rabin series
Yitzhak Rabin z”l was no Nazi and a picture of his head pasted (this was before PhotoShop® became an amateur tool) on a Nazi uniform didn’t kill him.
SPOILER Photographs of politicians dress as Nazis.
Offensive caricatures are part of the give-and-take of democracy. Of course, there is nothing subtle about dressing your opponent in Nazi uniform but it’s not like whoever it was who pasted Rabin’s head discovered the wheel.
However the truth is I wasn’t particularly outraged, not by the Rabin example nor by the multiple Netanyahu examples, floating around, without comment , on the Internet. This form of ‘criticism’ is just too common. It only took a moment to find Bush Nazi, Obama Nazi and Hilary Clinton Nazi examples. It’s designed to be abusive. One could argue that this is the only reason for doing it.
While researching this article I found a terrific quote from Dave Barry’s How To Argue Effectively.
Compare Your Opponent to Adolf Hitler
This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong.
Bring Hitler up subtly. Say: “That sounds suspiciously like
something Adolf Hitler might say.” or “You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler.”
So that’s it. You now know how-to out-argue anybody. Do not try to pull any of this on people who generally carry weapons.
When one writes a piece like this one feels the necessity of disclaimers. Here are two:
- The assassination of Yitzchak Rabin was unforgivable, not because he was a saint – he wasn’t, nor because it killed peace – it didn’t, but because assassination is totally unacceptable in a liberal democracy where he could, and IMHO would, have been removed at the ballot box.
- Nazi imagery is almost always a false argument.
Two false arguments have been made for twenty years that there is a direct line between the poster and the assassination and that Netanyahu by not stopping the poster was morally responsible for Yigal Amir taking life.
There is no evidence, especially that coming from Yigal Amir, that he saw the poster or was in anyway influenced by it.
As for Netanyahu, two questions must be raised. The first is did he see the poster? Standing on a stage, blinded by spot lights, focused on his performance, could he see and did he identify a small poster in the dark crowd? The second is probably more important, if he had seen and identified the poster, what should he have done? In my time I have attended quite a few political rallies but I have never seen the key speaker refuse to continue because of a banner held by the crowd. Although not as offensive, none of the organisers of the apolitical Rabin commemoration felt the need to demand the huge Meretz balloon be removed.
I believe Netanyahu’s complaint that the media is selective about their outrage is correct. It took only a couple of minutes of googling to find a dozen Netanyahu portraits in Nazi uniform. Although linking them to leftist (as opposed to Arab incitement supported by leftists) is difficult surely it is significant that Gilad Halpern, an editor of the English-language edition of Ynet, uploaded a photoshopped image of Netanyahu in a Waffen SS uniform to his Facebook page on Oct. 21 this year.
- How To Argue Effectively, Dave Barry, Rensselaer – Cognitive Science Department, undated
- Archive of anti-Rabin Posters Captures Ugly Mood in Lead-up to Assassination, Ofer Aderet, Haaretz, 25 October 2015
Merkel as Nazi: Athens, Greece – A bakery has a picture of chancellor of Germany ANGELA MERKEL dressed like a Nazi with ‘Public Enemy’ written in Greek ‘ (Credit Image: © Aristidis Vafeiadakis) — Image by © Aristidis Vafeiadakis/ZUMA Press/Corbis