In the US and here in Israel, the media arbitrarily label Kadima- Livni as centrist, Likud-Netanyahu as right, and Fatah as moderates. But what makes Livni centrist, Netanyahu a hawk, and Fatah moderate? Oh, and pray tell, what on earth makes Lieberman-Yisrael Beitenu an ultra-right nationalistic party? Also, as the anonymous column noted, "Kahanism" has become a synonym for "racism". But what about Kahanism is racist?
The answer to all of the above is: nothing. Stam ("because"). Because the media said so; Netanyahu isn't any more right than Livni is, and Fatah isn't more moderate than Hamas (cf. PA Officials Reiterate Warning of Renewed 'Armed Struggle'). And Lieberman is arguably more left-wing than Netanyahu, but be that as it may, he's definitely not right-wing, not at all. And of course, there's nothing racist about Rabbi Meir Kahane's philosophy; to declare that we have nothing against Arabs per se, and that our dispute is ONLY with those Arabs who proclaim the desire(s) of the fall and collapse of Israel and/or the massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, and that we have NOTHING against Arabs per se (especially those who accept Israel's existence and the Jews' lives!) - what is possibly racist about this? Nothing whatsoever, of course.
But labels are everything. The media can label the parties as they will, and the populace will subconsciously not notice the difference. My mother has noted that the West Bank has gone, subtly and slowly, from being the "Disputed Territories", to the "Occupied Territories". What changed in the meantime, to change the conflict from a two-sided dispute of equals to a one-sided occupation of one by the other? Nothing changed physically; only the terminology did, quite arbitrarily.
As for Kahane, it's interesting that if America's response to Japan is any indication, were (hypothetically) Mexico to today launch rockets at Texas (as the Arabs are at Sderot), America would respond in a FAR more racist manner than Kahane ever proposed against the Arabs. On the other hand, were an American president to paraphrase Kahane and say, "I have nothing against Mexicans per se; I only oppose those American Mexicans who sympathize with Mexico, but those Mexicans who are loyal to America, we have no issue with them" (as Kahane proposed regarding Arabs), this president would be regarded as having uttered utterly banal and inane words. Either America would respond to American Mexicans as America did to Japanese Americans in WWII (far in excess of what Kahane proposed regarding Arabs), or, alternatively, the president's above words (paraphrasing Kahane's policy towards Arabs) would be taken as self-evident; our only enemy is with those Americans who sympathize with the enemy. But Kahane says EXACTLY the same thing, and he's labeled as a terrorist and a racist. Newspeak is alive and well.
My mother has told me that when she first heard of Kahane, she heard he was a nutjob wacko, and she said, she had no time to learn about one more. But years later, she heard of Moshe Feiglin, and loved his rhetoric, realizing that he is exactly what Israel needs, and that he is the paragon of clear and moderate and level-headed thought. Not long after that, she started hearing of comparisons between Feiglin and Kahane, the former and the latter being allegedly alike. She was thoroughly confused, she said; Feiglin makes so much sense, and Kahane is a wacko - what's the comparison??!! Finally, she read Kahane's actual words and philosophy, and realized that indeed, he is just like Feiglin, and in fact, there is nothing at all racist or wacko about him! It was all defamatory terminology.
But, there's hope: anyone remember the appendix to 1948, being a scholarly historical study of Newspeak? Evidently, the totalitarian Orwellian world eventually broke down, and Newspeak with it. If so, someday, the Israeli Newspeak (both within Israel and regarding Israel by those without) will too end. Ihud haLeumi, Manhigut Yehudit (Feiglin), it'll happen. I may not be an Asharite Mutakallimun, but I can too be fatalistic.
I just wish I knew who wrote the column I was inspired by. However, I saw that Caroline Glick makes a similar point, in "Entrapping Netanyahu". I do not know where her political allegiances lie, and for all I know, she herself considers Kahane to be racist, etc., but her words suit my purpose; just realize that I may be using her to support a point she herself may not be. Now, she says there:
Second, since Hamas's electoral victory in January 2006, the outgoing government accepted the false narrative that the Palestinian people in Gaza, who freely voted Hamas into power and have supported its regime ever since, bear no responsibility for the consequences of their actions. This false distinction between Hamas's supporters and Hamas tied Israel's hands each time it was compelled to defend itself against Hamas's aggression. After all, if Gazans are all innocent, then Israel's primary responsibility should be to make sure that they are safe. And since its counterterror operations necessarily place them at risk, those operations are fair game for international condemnation.
Finally, through its unlimited support for Fatah, the outgoing government has made it enormously difficult for the incoming government to explain its objections to the Obama administration's policies, either to the Israeli people or to the Americans themselves. By supporting Fatah, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government set up a false distinction between supposed moderates and supposed extremists. That distinction ignored and so legitimized Fatah's continued involvement in terrorism, its political war against Israel and its refusal to accept Israel's right to exist.
If Fatah is legitimate despite its bad behavior and bellicose ideology, then two things must be true. First, abstaining from terror can no longer be viewed as a precondition for receiving international legitimacy. And second, there is no reason not to accept Hamas. Based on the latter conclusion, many European leaders and Israeli leftists now openly call for conducting negotiations with Hamas. And based on the former conclusion, the Obama administration feels comfortable escalating its demands that Israel give land, security powers and money to Fatah, even as it unifies its forces with Hamas and so expands Hamas's power from Gaza to Judea and Samaria.
Due to the Olmert-Livni-Barak government's legacy, when it enters office the Netanyahu government will lack the vocabulary it needs to abandon Israel's current self-defeating course with the Palestinians and defend its actions to the international community in the face of the Obama administration's use of dishonest terms like "peace processes" and "moderates" and "humanitarian aid" to constrain Israel's ability to defend itself. To surmount these challenges, Netanyahu must move immediately to change the terms of debate on the Palestinian issue.