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Wanted: Conspiracy Theories

While Israelis and their friends abroad are preparing commemorative events to mark the fifteenth anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1995 assassination, the settlers' chief news site, Arutz Sheva (Channel 7) has come up with its own way of commemorating Rabin. The right wing site is launching a bizarre contest of conspiracy theories regarding the assassination. Readers are urged to send in their wildest theories about who is responsible for Rabin's murder. Arutz Sheva promises to publish the "most interesting" theories.
The project is titled: "Rabin's murder - Your Version..." (three dots in the original). "The Shamgar Commission that investigated the murder left so many questions," Shimon Cohen, the Arutz Sheva reporter overseeing the project told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. "We as journalists have a responsibility to clear up the questions." He did not explain how he intended to clear up the questions by soliciting conspiracy theories from the public.

No, this disgusting campaign is not about clearing up questions but about a longtime effort to clear the conscience of the Israeli messianic right, which systematically incited its public to act against Rabin prior to the 1995 assassination. This is about a self-righteous public that still cannot come to terms with the fact that its zeal, its vitriol, its character-assassination of Rabin pushed one of its members to actually  assassinate a democratically elected Israeli leader who pursued peace.

This is about an ongoing attempt by the national religious camp to trivialize the murder. Those who produced Yigal Amir, Rabin's assassin, have for the past fifteen years been trying to get away with two equally outrageous contentions. One is that it was not them who spilled the blood. The other is that Rabin had it coming, that he deserved it, that he had signed his death sentence by signing the Oslo Accords.

This is about a public whose leaders refuse to learn the lesson of just how murderous their violent rhetoric is.

Take Rabbi Dov Lior, who heads the settlers' Yesha Rabbinical Council. Lior's name was raised (although no conclusive evidence was found) as one of three rabbis who issued a Din Mosser on Rabin, meaning that he ought to be killed for handing over parts of the Land of Israel to non-Jews. Lior is quoted by Haaretz reporter Yair Sheleg as saying that Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer who mowed down 29 Palestinian worshipers at Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, was "as holy as the victims of the Holocaust."
This week, according to a report in Arutz Sheva, Lior was at it again. Speaking at a dedication ceremony of new dormitories of a yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, he called for "cleaning up" Nablus, sending its Palestinian residents to the Arabian Peninsula, and settling American Jews in the large homes of Nablus and Ramallah.