Thirty-one years ago, on February 10th 1983, Peace Now activist Emil Grunzweig was murdered by an extreme right Jewish terrorist at a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem.
Not far from the Prime Minister’s Office, the terrorist, Yona Avrushmi, lobbed a hand grenade at the front row of the Peace Now marchers. It killed Emil and injured several of his friends.
It was the first in a series of terrorist attacks by extremist right-wing Israelis against the Israeli peace camp. This campaign to crush peace efforts culminated with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin twelve years later.
Avrushmi said later in court that he was influenced by the right’s incitement against Peace Now, just as Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin, was influenced by the extreme right’s inciting statements and religious edicts.
Emil’s assassination is particularly relevant at this time, when the extreme right is again inciting against a compromise peace agreement and against those it believes are pushing for compromises.
In the past weeks we have seen ugly personal attacks on John Kerry, the Secretary of state who is working hard to bring peace and security to Israelis and Palestinians. Today, one of Israel’s most popular singers, Amir Banayoun, released a song that criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu for “giving up on Jerusalem,” and calls President Obama “Hussein of America” depicting him as “determined and cruel.”