ZOA Tells U.S. State Dep’t, AJC, Democratic Majority for Israel and IPF: Innocent Jewish People’s Need to Be Protected from Arab Terrorism is Not “Racism”
News Press Release
August 28, 2023

Innocent Jewish Lives Must Outweigh Inconvenience to Arabs

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research and Special Projects, Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir is right when he said, “My right, the right of my wife and my children to move around Judea and Samaria is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs. The right to life comes before freedom of movement.” Stopping the murder of innocent Jewish lives must outweigh convenience to Palestinian Arabs. Shame on the U.S. State Department for telling the Times of Israel that Ben Gvir’s Jewish-life-preserving comments were “inflammatory” and for comparing Ben Gvir’s comments to racist rhetoric. We also criticize the AJ Committee’s statements attacking Gvir’s comments and the far-left Israel Policy Forum (IPF) and the Democratic Majority for Israel for calling Ben-Gvir’s statements “racist.”

Ben-Gvir’s critics dishonestly distorted his comments, and omitted that Ben-Gvir was comparing the Jewish people’s need to be free from Arab terror attacks to inconveniencing Palestinian Arabs’ freedom of movement. The critics deceptively portrayed Ben-Gvir as elevating Jewish freedom of movement above Palestinian Arab freedom of movement. (See also JNS Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin’s discussion of critics’ gross distortion of Ben-Gvir’s statements, at “Is It Racist to Prioritize Freedom From Terror?,” JNS, Aug. 25, 2023, as well as Melanie Phillips’ article, “When Equality Becomes a Killer,” Aug. 27, 2023.)

An honest look at the situation on the ground, including on Israel’s roads, bears out that there is nothing “racist” or “inflammatory” about protecting innocent Jewish lives – even if that means inconveniences to Palestinian Arabs’ freedom of movement – at a time when Arab terrorists daily attack and murder innocent Jewish women, children and men and then get paid for it by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ regime.

Just last week, on August 21, 2023, 39-year-old Aryeh Gottlieb was driving his car on Route 60, in the Hebron Hills, carrying passengers Batsheva Nigri, a Jewish nursery school teacher and mother of three young children, and Batsheva’s 12-year-old daughter. When Aryeh slowed down at an intersection, two Palestinian Arab terrorists drove in front of and cut off Aryeh’s car; and shot at least 20 bullets at Aryeh and his passengers at close range, murdering Batsheva in front of her daughter, and badly wounding Aryeh. The Arab terrorists then fled the scene. The PA’s ruling Fatah faction then proudly claimed responsibility for these murders of innocent Jews.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Batsheva was the fourth Israeli that Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered this August and was at least the 28th victim of Arab terrorism since the beginning of 2023.  Many more innocent Jews have been wounded by Arab terrorists.  Innocent Jews who are simply driving on Israel’s roads, both within the green line and in Judea/Samaria, too often run a life-threatening daily gauntlet of Palestinian Arab terrorists throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails; shooting; and ramming and attempting to run them off the road.

This anti-Jewish terror is directly incited by Abbas’ PA leadership, which continues to pay Arab terrorists $400,000,000 of ghastly, annual “pay to slay” lifetime pensions to murder Jews; and continues to foment terror at every opportunity.  For instance, two weeks ago, on August 9, 2023, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh honored so-called “martyrs” (terrorists) in a ceremony for Arab high school students. Shtayyeh told the impressionable students: “It is our right to resist [i.e., commit terror against] this criminal occupation [i.e., Israel]. Shtayyeh also insisted that all of Israel was Palestinian Arab land (“every grain of soil of the motherland”); and insisted that the PA “will not change even one letter” of its school curriculum that teaches Palestinian Arabs to hate and murder Jews. (See Palestinian Media Watch, quoting official PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida.)

Shtayyeh’s comments were the real inflammatory, racist statements. But the U.S. State Department, Democratic Majority for Israel and IPF remained silent, failing to condemn the incendiary statements made by Shtayyeh, PA dictator Mahmoud Abbas and the PA.

Notably, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office set out the facts – that Israel provides maximum freedom of movement to Palestinian Arabs while trying to maintain security and protect innocent lives – in the following statement:

“Israel allows maximum freedom of movement in Judea and Samaria for both Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, Palestinian terrorists take advantage of this freedom of movement to murder Israeli women, children and families.  Thirty-four civilians have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2023, many of them while driving home. [Citing the recent murder of Batsheva Nigri, on Route 60 in Judea on Aug. 21 in front of her 12-year-old daughter.] In order to prevent these heinous murders, Israel’s security forces have implemented special security measures in these areas. This is what Minister Ben-Gvir meant when he said ‘the right to life precedes freedom of movement.’ Israel will continue its policy of maintaining security while affording freedom of movement for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Arab anti-Jewish terror attacks on Israel’s roads must be stopped.

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