I didn't back terrorism

By Larry Derfner, September 8, 2011

In the wake of the outrage over my personal blog post on Palestinian terror that got me fired from the Jerusalem Post, Anglo Jewish readers might not know that besides writing that the occupation "justified" terror - which I later apologised for and sought to clarify - I also wrote the following passages:

"But while I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don't want them to use it, I don't want to see Israelis killed, and as an Israeli, I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen.

"The possibility that Israel's enemies could use my or anybody else's justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one; I wouldn't like to see this column quoted on a pro-Hamas website, and I realise it could happen.

"Still, I don't think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle. What's needed very badly, however, is for Israelis to realise that the occupation is hurting the Palestinians terribly, that it's driving them to try to kill us, that we are compelling them to engage in terrorism, that the blood of Israeli victims is ultimately on our hands, and that it's up to us to stop provoking our own people's murder by ending the occupation."

The passages quoted above are in a 1,000-word essay. There is no way a fair-minded person can read them and conclude that I intentionally advocated, endorsed, encouraged or otherwise approved of violence against Israelis, as many commentators have said.

I made a terrible, terrible mistake of the head, not of the heart. My intentions were good, and they led me to hell. I tried to shock Israelis into seeing how deadly the occupation was not only for the Palestinians but for us, and in blind recklessness I wrote other, much more prominent things that came out obscene and invited readers to think I was actually writing in favour of attacks against Israelis. When I realised this, it filled me with horror.

I set this whole thing in motion by using the word "justify" next to words like "killing Israelis" and "the eight Israelis [killed] near Eilat last week." The word "justify" carries positive connotations, and I thought I could neutralise them with the passages I quoted above. I was entirely wrong.

Last updated: 11:27am, September 8 2011