The ancient trick of bad people making themselves appear as pious has always worked like a charm. In Israel, when criminals appear before a judge, many wear a white and shiny kippa, because they know that in some mysterious way it makes them look like decent people, even when everybody knows they are ruthless.
This tactic is equally effective in the political arena. Joshua Yevin, founder of the first Jewish right-wing underground, showed an uncanny insight into the future when he wrote in 1933 about what he called “the good devil.” “The good devil [is] the devil who is wholly committed to good and mercy.” This devil, wrote Yevin, “is equipped with the most advanced techniques for ‘universal justice’ [he] carries the ‘loftiest human ideal’ on his lips – he is the one whom you can’t fight, defeat or destroy … for who would dare raise his hand against the good devil protected from head to toe with an armor of mercy.”
The recent excitement over the new Palestinian heroine Ahed Tamimi (pictured) demonstrates the good devil at work. Tamimi, jailed for eight months for slapping the face of an IDF officer, has never hidden her desire for Israel to one day cease to exist. But Tamimi, like those criminals, is cleverly presented as a saint who captures the hearts of the far-left and those Israeli Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians. This bizarre alliance between these two opposite extremes negates any pretense of righteousness from the get-go. And yet, to the amazement, or amusement, of many Israelis, liberal Jews and Muslim militants are becoming ever bolder, and are now using every available platform to shout their righteous indignation over what they see as raw and inexcusable Israeli injustice.
Speaking about justice instead of land, which happens now more frequently than ever before, is proving to be an irresistible lure for many people who are fed up with the ever-present nuisance of a thing called the “Jewish state.” Speaking only about land, Palestinians know better than anyone else, has a fatal flaw in it. It limits a future Palestinian state to the West Bank, something that cuts right through the non-negotiable refugee “right of return” to their pre-1948 homes.
Shifting the emphasis from land to justice allows the killing of two birds with one stone. As the argument goes, if the “occupation” is unjust, then itself Israel is unjust; and if Israel is unjust, then it has no right to exist. Speaking about Israeli Jews as unrighteous people and Palestinians as righteous people justifies the ongoing fight for the realization of the two primary Palestinian objectives – establishing a Palestinian state in Israel’s place, and resettling those perpetual refugees in their old homes in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashkelon. This twisted concept of Palestinians justice can only ever come at the expense of Israel, which is why the Jewish state has to go.
This tactic known as the “politics of righteousness” was embraced enthusiastically by all those who can’t stand the sight of a Jewish state, and the presence of “Saint Tamimi” gives them the confidence they need to justify the peculiar brand of Palestinian justice. Upon the release of Tamimi, Member of Knesset Aymen Odeh, head of the United Arab List party, said he supports “Tamimi and her fight against the occupation … I hope she will continue in her fight and I hope that all the Palestinian people will resist this damn occupation. We want to live in a place of justice and peace.” Odeh, who speaks in the name of justice, hopes for the day when Israel will no longer be the Jewish home. Odeh, one should not fail to mention, belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim faction, which is considered heretical by mainstream Sunnis, and we all know the fate that awaits Muslim heretics.
From the other side, Guri Mintzer, the Israeli millionaire who covered Tamimi’s legal expenses, was as jubilant as Odeh, if not more so. “I had the honor and privilege to participate in the release party of Ahed, the Palestinian Jeanne d’Arc … come what may, we will stand beside you. Justice always wins,” Mintzer wrote on his Facebook page. And none other than Dana Olmert, daughter of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, wrote that “the occupation will end, and it will be because of these Tamimi women and because of Gabi Laski, who represented Tamimi before the abominable occupation authorities. All the power to Tamimi. A young woman who didn’t break down despite the horror and the violence and the injustice” [Tamimi, by the way, gained considerable weight during her “horrific” ordeal in Israeli prison]. Both Mintzer and Laski are members of the post-Zionist Meretz party, which, like Odeh’s party, hopes to facilitate a future in which a Palestinian Arab state is living in peace side-by-side with a decidedly non-Jewish democratic State of Israel. This is the good devil’s sense of justice.