The first thing Israel’s “center left” star Yair Lapid did after his “Yesh Atid” list took 19 seats in Israel’s recent election was to declare that he’d never form a coalition with parties representing the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Now Lapid has expanded on his hatred of Arabs by invoking the memory of his late father Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, politician and former chairman of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial Israel uses to bolster international political support for Zionism.
The younger Lapid told Time magazine this week:
You know my father didn’t come here from the ghetto in order to live in a country that is half Arab, half Jewish. He came here to live in a Jewish state. And we have 3.3 million Palestinians now between the sea and the eastern border of Israel. If we don’t do something about it, her generation [nods toward a 15-year-old girl at our table] is going to spend her time with six or seven or eight million Palestinians. So doing nothing about it is shortsighted.
Don’t think this is raw bigotry? Just switch it around: imagine the reaction if any politician from any “democracy” declared that there were too many Jews, too many black people …. that their numbers needed to be reduced. It’s not that politicians never say those things; they do. But when they do they are labeled accurately as racists or worse, but certainly never “centrists,” “leftists” or “democrats.” But Zionism, as we know, is judged by lower standards.
Tommy Lapid compared Israel’s crimes against Palestinians to persecution of Jews
Tommy Lapid was certainly no great champion of human rights, let alone Palestinian rights. You can’t be and serve as Israel’s “minister of justice,” which he did. But Abu Yair was often lucid enough to draw a comparison between the ghetto he came from and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
In 2004, after Israel demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes in Rafah, in the occupied Gaza Strip, Lapid reacted to a widely circulated photo of an elderly Palestinian woman sitting in the rubble of her house:
In an interview with Israel Defence Forces radio, Mr Lapid revealed that the army was considering demolishing another 2,000 homes in Rafah to widen the so-called Philadelphi road on the border with Egypt.
The UN estimates at least 1,600 people have lost their homes Referring to the TV picture, Mr Lapid said he was “talking about an old woman crouching on all fours, searching for her medicines in the ruins of her house and that she made me think of my grandmother.”
“I said that if we carry on like this, we will be expelled from the United Nations and those responsible will stand trial at The Hague,” Mr Lapid told Israel radio, describing his argument in cabinet.
On another occasion, in 2002, Lapid condemned the Israeli army for writing numbers on the foreheads of Palestinian prisoners, comparing it to the Nazi practice of tattoing concentration camp inmates. “As a refugee from the Holocaust I find such an act insufferable.”
Lapid also compared the routine harassment of Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron to the anti-Semitism of pre-World War II Europe. “It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us,” he said in 2007, “but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn.”
It is interesting that unlike his father, Yair Lapid has not spoken out against the raging anti-Arab and anti-African bigotry consuming Israel. Instead, he is its most respectable and “centrist” champion.