Justifying Murder – an Abonimation

August 29, 2011 by Isi Leibler
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Since the Middle Ages and earlier, we encountered marginal Jews who turned against their own people. Amongst apostates to Christianity there were those who wrote inflammatory libels against the Jewish people, paving the way for pogroms; socialists like Karl Marx whose vile antisemitic tirades speak for themselves; and more recently, Jewish communists purportedly supporting a new world order who applauded Stalin whilst he was murdering, imprisoning and persecuting their fellow Jews…writes Isi Leibler.

Isi Leibler

Today in Israel and abroad there are Jews who retain the wretched tradition of their renegade antecedents and identify with those who seek to destroy their people. They are few in number but their influence extends beyond their Jewish fringe status because many occupy prominent roles in universities, the media and the arts. Of late, much of the Western liberal media has been promoting and idolizing them.

A few days ago, I was alerted to an unprecedentedly obscene extension of such behavior, emanating to my profound regret, from Larry Derfner, a senior professional staff writer for the Jerusalem Post. Only days after Israeli infants and families had been brutally murdered by terrorists, Derfner publicly stated that the murder of Israeli citizens was a justifiable weapon for Palestinians to employ in order to overcome the “occupation”.

It was not published as a Jerusalem Post column but was posted on his public website to which readers of his regular articles are occasionally referred. It also appeared on Facebook.

The essence of a good newspaper is to open its columns to opposing views. The Jerusalem Post and Israel’s most widely circulated Hebrew daily, Israel Hayom, irrespective of editorial positions, always provide readers with a wide spectrum of political opinions. I take pride in the fact that I contribute regular columns to both newspapers and my column is frequently accompanied by diametrically opposing views.

That of course does not imply that a self-respecting Israeli newspaper would accept contributions from a neo-Nazi, an antisemitic jihadist or a person justifying the murder of Israelis.

Whereas Derfner is regarded an in-house leftist opinion writer for the Jerusalem Post, his chilling outburst extends far beyond traditional far-left efforts to apply moral equivalence towards Israelis and terrorists. In fact Derfner actually scolds those on the left who condemn Palestinian terrorism.

To avoid any misunderstanding let me be specific about what Derfner actually said. He asserted that in fighting for their “independence” Palestinian terrorists are “justified” in targeting and deliberately murdering innocent Israeli women and children. He even explicitly said that “whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile the ideology was, they were justified to attack” and it is the Israeli government that “is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths”. He opined that it was high time for Israelis to appreciate “that terrorism in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government is justified… even to kill Israelis”.

He stated that whilst he endorsed the right of Palestinians “to use terrorism against us”, he did not wish to see Israelis killed and like Abbas felt that terrorism (whilst justifiable) can be counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. However Israeli “blindness” was “compelling the Palestinians to engage in terrorism” and by exposing the “unjust” Israeli government as being “to blame for these Israeli deaths”, it would contribute towards “ending the occupation”.

Derfner conceded that such remarks would encourage Hamas, but was not unduly concerned because Hamas was already committed to Israel’s destruction. It was more important for him to ensure that Israelis recognized that by their behavior, “they are compelling Palestinians to engage in terrorism” rather than worrying about whether his remarks would be quoted approvingly on Hamas websites. In fact the Arab media has already widely reproduced his remarks highlighting the fact that he is a prominent Jerusalem Post contributor.

Derfner concluded his shocking remarks with the extraordinary statement that “writing this is not treason. It is patriotism”. How a person justifying the murder of innocent women and children in his own country can describe himself as a “patriot” makes one question his sanity.

In a twisted sense, Derfner is probably justified in claiming that his remarks are not treasonable. Although there may well be grounds for the Attorney General to charge him with incitement to murder, his remarks are so vile that they go beyond treason. They display an utter lack of sensitivity, humanity and compassion for the tens of thousands of Israeli families who since the creation of Israel lost loved ones, murdered by the barbarians whose actions Derfner justifies due to “harsh” Israeli goverment policies.

If an anti-Israeli Western politician or media outlet published such remarks it would raise a storm. For a purportedly respectable Israeli journalist to do so is simply incomprehensible.

This is not the place to refute Derfner’s ridiculous remarks about the “occupation”. Nor to relate to the offers of 95% of the territories extended to the Palestinians by Prime Ministers Barak in 2000 and Olmert in 2008, which were summarily rejected by Arafat and Abbas. Nor that the principal objective of all Palestinian factions is towards ending Jewish sovereignty in the region rather than attaining independence. And that, since Netanyahu assumed office, the Palestinians no less than Hamas, refused to partake in negotiations even after Netanyahu’s unprecedented ten-month settlement freeze.

For an Israeli Jew professionally employed by the only Israeli English language newspaper, to justify the barbaric murder of his own brothers and sisters in a public website, represents the ultimate abomination and is unforgiveable.

Presumably in response to massive protests directed against him, Derfner “apologized” a week after his article appeared and deleted it from his website. However, he has the chutzpa to reiterate the justification for terrorism and merely states that he does not endorse the murder of fellow Israelis. This is neither a retraction nor an apology.

His obscene and callously insensitive remarks are likely to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Isi Leibler lives in Jerusalem. He is a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.


5 Responses to “Justifying Murder – an Abonimation”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    To say that Jews have developed, by necessity, an acute sense of observation and critical analyssis of their world, all inclusive, is an understatement.
    With the advent of haskala voices of criticism and “reform” have transcended the necessary. You are absolutely right about Marx and his brief, but vicious, comments to Otto Bauer in 1843 and subsequent alluding to the Jewsih pernicious contribution to proletarian exploitation etc., but what is happening in our post WWII and post Israel goes well beyond the simple “analyssis”. Derfner has been a voice of a seriously selfishly destructive anomaly allowed far too long by JP to function. His demise is a belated resort to commonsense. The remnant of critical stances against almost everything the Israeli government does comes from such diverse quarters that designing one single strategy is critically insufficient. Former officials from all sections of Israel’s leadership add their grinding anger in a manner akin to severe psychological complaints of the post-utility frustrations kind. It is, in some cases, the conflict between statutory redundancies and a continuum of necessity to function in the previous formal function. The refusal of a functioning mind to adjust to “objective” requirements.
    Others have been on the baricades of objection as soon as they decided that all and any formal authority is “out to get them” and humanity at large.Others have been the victims of Jewish traumatic self-modulations between loyalty-personal creative satisfaction-distorted ethical conclusions-desire for universal recognition of self worth-intellectual, aggressiveness essentially based on rudiments of knowledge.Quite a mouthful and quite a headache. In the effective wash nothing that a Panadol cannot cure, for the main issues are, indeed, at the coal face of holding the Uzi of realpolitik aimed at the real and tangible problems. Real and tangible is the realisation that a GREAT majority of the same “humanity” has developed itself in a post Shoah adversity towards anything Jewish and only drastic measures can get us out of this crucible of universal indecency. Drastic in both word and tangible action ! All stalwarts of historic justice must retain their resolve in ensuring that klal Israel is recognised as a legitimate entity among the family of nations, to put it mildly euphemistic.

  2. Thank you Isi for bringing it to our attention.
    It is depressing to see how many Jews will justify murder of their own people
    As if we dont have enough enemies.

  3. Rachel Black says:

    I hope anyone reading Liebler’s very selective and hyperbolic ‘account’ of Larry Derfner’s blogpost and the ensuing apology take the time to visit Larry’s blog and read the apology for themselves


    I didn’t agree with Larry’s now-deleted post because it used the same sort of justification that I’ve seen used by some people to justify the terrorism of the Stern Gang during the British Mandate. Just like I didn’t agree with Isi Liebler’s article calling speaking out against bigotry against Muslims ‘oozing political correctness’ because it uses the same sort of justification for minimising anti-semitism that I’ve seen used by antisemites.


    Jerusalem Post (which is not the only Israeli English newspaper as Ha’aretz has an English version) did not sack Larry Derfner for any reason other than his remaining there affected its sales. After all, when the disgusting editorial appeared immediately after the slaughter in Norway which tried to justify the attacks, while Jerusalem Post published an apology, it did not sack those responsible (suspected to be Caroline Glick). Larry was sacked because he was one of only two liberal columnists left there, and there’d been calls from its right-wing readership to sack him going back as far as last year.

  4. Otto Waldmann says:

    That Derfner is simply and ostensively deranged is a fact proven time and again by all of his journalistic exploits. For years readers “online” of the JP have been objecting to his diatribes of imbecility to no avail. JP keeps on publishing his criminally insane articles to which his smiling arrogant face is always attached. It is, ultimately, Jerusalem Posts responsibility not to allow the dissemination of views which, in final analyssis, are not at all distinct from a pure Hamas veritable franchise posting.
    Derfner does,indeed, belong to the, mainly, post haskala advent of cronic departure of a large number of central European Jews from Judaic ethics. Socialist and communist ideologies have contributed fundamentally in creating genuine anti Semites among the “revolutionary” Jerws and converted former Jews.
    I would remind you of Ferdinand Lassalle’s words: “I hate Jews and journalists. Unfortunately I am both.” And to think that he was born and died a Jew…Marx, at least, was converted at the age of 12 , lest he would not carry the “burden” of a Bar Mitzva. Indeed the Russian Bolshevik revolution was lead by an Executive Committe with a Jew at its head and eight others making the majority of the C/tee. Their departure and enmity of matters Jewish was materialised not just in the 1903 rupture with the Bund, but the Bund’s attempt at Lenin’s life. And the Bund were not much better than cretin Derfner when it came to Zionism. Yes, sadly, we do have a shameful legacy in certain places….And don’t start me on Kreisky, Chomsky etc. !

  5. Lynne Newington says:

    The sad thing is, this attitude leaves others to say, look at them disagreeing amongst themselves thus leaving the door open to others to discredit you.
    It reminds me of those who have have been coerced into downplaying the unforgivable past for what end?
    This is speaking my own mind, not necessarily the views of the publisher.

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