Guardian gets it wrong: falsely claims “mocked-up coffin of Rabin” at ’94 rightwing rally

Guardian Executive Editor Jonathan Freedland published an op-ed (Israel’s hawks can’t dodge blame for this day of violence) on the recent far-right violence in Israel, including the horrendous murder of a Palestinian baby on Friday and a stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade – both at the hands of Jewish extremists.  

Freedland places partial blame on Israel’s “rightwing” politicians who, he suggests, have – by word and deed – created an environment whereby such violence is more likely to erupt.  He takes specific aim at Israel’s prime minister, in the following passages, noting Netanyahu’s comments during the recent Israeli elections:

Netanyahu himself is not much better. You don’t have to recall his own disavowal of Palestinian statehood and a two-state solution on the eve of March’s election, or his racist warning that Arab citizens of Israel were heading to the polls “in droves”. Look only at his actions in recent days. Stung by the protests at Bet El, he announced construction of another 300 units in Bet El and 504 in East Jerusalem. In other words, he did not punish the settlers for their lawless behaviour: he rewarded it.

He then cites another alleged example, from the mid-90s.

The prime example of turning on the tap – only to be appalled by the flood – is Netanyahu himself. Twenty years ago he stirred up crowds livid at then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s apparent concessions to the Palestinians. They waved placards depicting Rabin as a Palestinian terrorist, even as an SS officer – but Netanyahu said nothing. They carried a mocked-up coffin of Rabin and still Netanyahu said nothing. But when a far rightist assassinated Rabin, Netanyahu was of course among the first to be shocked, shocked, by such wickedness.

However, Freedland’s claim that the rally in question (in 1994) included a “mocked-up coffin of Rabin” is flat-out wrong and represents a recycling the far-left myth that Bibi was somehow responsible for the former prime minister’s death. In fact, as blogger Elder of Ziyon demonstrated in response to a CNN program in 2013 which advanced this allegation, one side of the coffin actually said “Rabin is burying us” (”רבין קובר אותנו”), while the other side said “Rabin is bringing about the death of Zionism” (“רבין ממית [ה]ציונות”).


second pic

The coffin symbolised – for the right-wing protesters at the demo responsible for the mock coffin – the death of Zionism, not the death of Rabin.

Jonathan Freedland got it wrong. 

16 replies »

    • Is this the same Freedland who once realised at a debate that the anti-Israel lot don’t just want to boycott but want Israel destroyed? The impression given was that he was “shocked.”

      Hasn’t learned much, has he? He’s still totally al-Groan’s creature.

  1. @Adam Levick –

    ‘Freedland’s claim that the rally in question (in 1994) included a “mocked-up coffin of Rabin” is flat-out wrong’.

    Your assumption here is that Jonathan Freedland was referring to a SPECIFIC rally, which YOU – not he – identify in the video link provided.

    Before being too sure of your ground, it may be worth reading a Jewish Post article @ which recounts that ‘Rabin was depicted as a twin of Arafat and even as an S.S. officer. His “coffin” was seen in a few anti-Oslo rallies’. (NB plural.)

    The Post’s claim might, of course, be equally ‘flat-out wrong’. But if you and Elder of Ziyon are so concerned to dispel it as a ‘myth’ I’m afraid you have rather a lot more research to do…

    • @Miranda the rally in question is the one always cited by those who try to draw a connection between Bibi and the murder of Rabin. I emailed Guardian editors and if it turns out Freedland is referring to another rally Bibi marched in that I’m not aware of where there was a coffin of Rabin, I’ll gladly update my post to note this.

  2. Freedland clearly erred with reference to the coffin episode but not in his overall claim that Benyamin Netanyahu
    bears a large measure of responsibility for the demonization of Rabin. Graphic evidence appears in the YouTube film clip below, showing Netanyahu, with some other right wing party politicians, on the balcony of a hotel overlooking Zion Square, Jerusalem, acknowledging the crowd chanting the most extreme anti-Rabin slogans.

    Moreover, in the months preceding Rabin’s assassination, his anti-Oslo and anti-Rabin rhetoric was particularly venomous. In retrospect, one might have forgiven Netanyahu for his show of opposition had it been genuinely sincere, but after his election as Prime Minister in 1996, he readily scrapped the right wing ideology in favour of continuing to implement the Oslo Accords. Some might dub this realistic politics, which indeed it is, but one can’t help being disgusted by the cruel cynicism which cost the life of his predecessor in the job.

    • Freedland clearly erred with reference to the coffin episode but not in his overall claim that Benyamin Netanyahu
      bears a large measure of responsibility for the demonization of Rabin.

      This is sadly true. And what is the difference between this and the demonization of Netanyahu and his family at the last election campaign by the left? Saying that Netanyahu destroys Israel? The slogan “rak lo Bibi” and we will save Israel from Bibi?
      BTW I think that this demonization put him back in the premier’s chair…

      • I confirm that at anti-government rallies there are many posters and speeches calling for the electorate not to re-elect Netanyahu, but cannot recall any advocating his murder or removal from office by armed rebellion. Such cries are the exclusive stock in trade of the extremist wing of the Likud, parties even further to the right and some of the settlers over the Green Line. What’s worse, is the ever present undercurrent of violence, something not felt at rallies organized by centre-left political bodies.

        • calling for the electorate not to re-elect Netanyahu… saying that he will destroy Israel… and saying that his electorate are mezuza kissing barbarians who should have rotted in Marokko…that his wife is stealing bottles, beats employees and cheats them with the price of a bottle of eye-drops… Would be interesting to know why the media suddenly stopped to publish the day to day developments of the accusations and trials of Meni Whoever (I forgot his family name).
          Alleging that he will destroy Israel if elected is exactly the same incitement to murder what he tolerated in 94-95, the difference that then nobody thought about the possibility of a Jewish murderer, not Netanyahu and not anybody else.
          Demonization is demonization – it doesn’t depend from political views.
          …but cannot recall any advocating his murder or removal from office by armed rebellion
          Netanyahu didn’t support any armed rebellion against Rabin or didn’t advocated his murder.

          • @peterthehungarian –

            Re. “…the difference [is] that then nobody thought about the possibility of a Jewish murderer, not Netanyahu and not anybody else.”

            Israeli citizens may arguably have been “in the dark” (or “in denial”?) about this possibility, but neither Shin Bet nor Knesset members – particularly Netanyahu – can so easily be let off the hook.

            Well worth reading (@ ) is a scholarly analysis of why Rabin’s security needs failed to be met. Also see – @ – the entry headlined ‘October 1995’, which recounts how:

            ‘Housing Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer … horrified by the frenzy of the mob … tells Netanyahu, who is orchestrating the [Zion Square] demonstration, “You’d better restrain your people. Otherwise it will end in murder. They tried to kill me just now.… Your people are mad. If someone is murdered, the blood will be on your hands.… The settlers have gone crazy, and someone will be murdered here, if not today, then in another week or another month!” Netanyahu ignores the warning, and, basking in the chants of “Bibi! Bibi! Bibi!,” takes the podium, where he is optimistically introduced as the next prime minister of Israel.’

            And finally … for a depressing supplement to that History Commons account – illustrating how few lessons from the mid-1990s had actually been learnt ten years later – take a look at this Haaretz story:@ in which Ben-Eliezer again looms large.

          • Your ability to make sober comments seems to have deserted you on this occasion. One speech by some celebrity at a rally does not add up to “demonization.” Nor can Netanyahu’s domestic arrangements whereby he- and more specifically, his wife- conducted themselves in what is at least a manner unbecoming holders of high office, be included in that category. Moreover, the revelations concerning the Netanyahu household became public as a result of former employees seeking redress for alleged humiliations and are not part of any political campaign by his opponents.

            Yes, politicians and others opposed to Netanyahu’s policies regard them as wrong, even disastrous for the country’s future, but none have ever expressed such opposition in the kind of terms used by some of Netanyahu’s political allies.

    • And there is no freedom of speech for those that disagree with leftists? Do not you leftists routinely denounce Netanyahu?

      Oh I get it one rule for you and another for those that don’t agree with you

  3. I consider the terrorist attack to be as despicable as anything ever done. I hope that they catch the person and charge with the maximum penalty possible – too bad there is no death penalty.

    Meanwhile I will post last weeks arson attacks by the Islamofascists that the Western media ignores – one whole day with out an arson attack:

    Thursday – July 30
    10:40 Muslims threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles near the village of Beit Ummar in Gush Etzion

    Wednesday – July 29
    Muslims threw firebombs and stones at police in Jerusalem’s Isiwiya neighborhood

    12:22 Muslims threw an explosive device at the Tomb of Rachel. The worshipers were taken away and a police sapper on his way to the scene (Tazpit News Agency)

    Tuesday – July 28
    0:23 Muslims threw firebombs at homes in Ma’aleh Olives in Jerusalem’s Old City
    19:59 Muslims firebombed military vehicles on the Gilad Road in the Shomron

    Monday – July 27
    0:23 A fire broke out in the town of Psagot Benjamin after Muslims threw multiple firebombs at homes
    21:37 Muslims threw a Molotov cocktail at Israeli vehicles near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim
    11:10 Muslim terrorists imprisoned in jail, ignited a fire in one of the cells. 11 prison guards and two inmates were injured moderately easy to smoke inhalation, one of the guards was evacuated to a medical center.
    11:09 The fire broke out in Elon Moreh was renewed. Three firefighters working there.

    Sunday – July 26
    19:04 Two policemen were wounded by a Molotov cocktail thrown by Muslim rioters in Isiwiya
    18:00 Muslims set fire to a forest fire in Gush Etzion hills. Six planes and six firefighters with volunteers were in place.
    16:30 Elon forest fire flared up again. Eight firefighters and six aircraft were in place. Two mobile homes were burned down
    14:11 Muslims threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Border Police in Isiwiya

    Friday – July 24
    21:20 Firefighters arrived to extinguish a fire in Isiwiya Jerusalem, a confrontation between police and Muslim rioters. Number of people shut down affected by tear gas, and two of them were evacuated to a medical center for further treatment.

  4. Just as general observation that won’t be a revelation to any of you, if there is a tidbit of suspicion; not only are we guilty the un-G-dly crime of course is compared to a past historical event and people. If our enemies bold-face commits an actual Crime Against Humanity either the Media says it never happened or justifies and mitigates it. Ban smiles, Federica smiles Obama looks mean and point their fingers at us citing guilt.

  5. So far, there is no evidence, except for spray-painted graffiti, that the arson was carried out by Jews. The witnesses saw “masked men”, but did not (or could not) identify them.

    Unless you have evidence that it was Jews who carried out this d3espicable attack, please write “violence attributed to right-wing elements”.

    As for the nutcase who stabbed 6 people, he was jailed for this 10 years ago and was released 3 weeks BEFORE the “gay pride” parade. He was NOT watched – the police in his home town “did not have responsibility to watch him outside of town”. In spite of the fact that he had put on Facebook his intention to stab marchers in the “gay pride” parade, the Jerusalem police were not notified. Either incompetence or provocation on the part of the police appears to be indicted.