Ophir Pines

Winner of The Church of Rabin And Peace Award

The Church of Rabin And Peace would like to honor MK Ophir Pines (pronounced PEE-ness). He is also known as Ophir Pines-Paz, as it is fashionable in enlightened circles to have hyphenated family names. Pines is a pious man rich in good deeds, and is certainly deserving of our prestigious prize.

The Banning Of "Bad" Books

The CRAP prize committee has kept an eye on Mr. Pines ever since he stood up for free speech and democracy by trying to ban Barry Chamish's book Who Killed Rabin? The enemies of peace and the forces of darkness are not accustomed to our enlightened form of democracy, as can be seen in the words of the ultra-orthodox journalist Jonathan Rosenblum, which were printed in The Jerusalem Post in November, 1999:
MOST modern theories of freedom of expression are predicated on John Stuart Mill's model of a free marketplace of ideas, in which, Mill believed, truth will ultimately triumph. Those who promote indoctrination in the name of freedom of expression are deeply hostile to Mill's model. They are as eager to protect us from "bad" ideas as to force upon us "good" ones.

When they do so, of course, it is not censorship, but something far more noble. Thus Labor Party stalwart Ofir Pines demanded, with Orwellian flair, that Steimatzky's remove Barry Chamish's book Who Killed Rabin? from the shelves, to protect "democracy and the rule of law." Both, he claimed, were threatened by the book's many errors.

Now Chamish's book may be errant nonsense, but if so, Pines should have refuted its factual inaccuracies, not called for its suppression. He obviously has no faith in the marketplace of ideas. How embarrassing for him, now that the Rabin family has itself raised many of the unanswered questions surrounding the assassination posed by Chamish.

The naive Chamish thought that he could sue our hero for slander. Instead he learned a lesson in our enlightened "rule of the law." Here is what he wrote in May, 2000:

Last October, Knesset Member Ofir Pines sent a letter to the Steimatzky Book chain, Israel's book monopoly, demanding that it remove my book Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin from its shelves. In the letter he called me "the country's biggest inciter and his book is a pack of lies."

So, I sued him for slander. A month ago he defended himself in court, citing parliamentary immunity. Or simply, no one can sue him for anything because he's a Knesset member. Judge Boaz Okun, of the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, turned down his defence and today, May 1, a procedural hearing was held. But wouldn't you know it, the judge had a change of heart and ruled that Pines was immune from further trial.

The Har-Shefi Menace

Mk Ophir Pines was one of the first to criticize President Katsav for even considering to pardon Ms. Margalit Har-Shefi. Thus Dan Izenberg reported in The Jerusalem Post on March 20, 2001:
New Knesset Law Committee Chairman Ophir Pines-Paz sharply criticized President Moshe Katsav for saying he would consider granting a pardon to Margalit Har-Shefi, who was sentenced to nine months in prison for failing to report her friend Yigal Amir's plans to assassinate prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the rulings by Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court and Tel Aviv District Court convicting Har-Shefi and sentencing her to nine months in prison. She is due to begin her prison term tomorrow.

"Katsav should have rejected out of hand the proposal to pardon Margalit Har-Shefi," Pines told reporters shortly after he was chosen to replace MK Amnon Rubinstein (Meretz) as head of the committee. "Katsav has given legitimacy to the illegitimate idea that a person who collaborated in the way she did in Rabin's assassination could be considered for pardon. I would have expected him to speak differently."

Unfortunately, we all know that in the end Katsav shortened Har-Shefi's prison sentence! Our hero foresaw the upcoming tragedy!

Acting Swiftly Against Incitement

And now an item from the abominable Arutz Sheva News Service (Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2001 / Elul 2, 5761):

MK Ophir Pines, currently serving as Chairman of the Knesset Law Committee - MK Benny Elon is scheduled to replace him next year, according to the coalition agreement - has asked that the Gamla Shall Not Fall Again association be investigated for incitement. Pines asked Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein to begin the investigation after the organization published a photo in HaTzofeh newspaper of Peres and Arafat with the caption, "Oslo Criminals Should be Tried." Chairman Pines says that this represents against incitement against Peres that could even lead to physical violence.

Oslo Criminals Should be Tried.  This photo aroused the wrath of our hero.

"Oslo Criminals Should be Tried." This photo aroused the wrath of our hero.

Rebuilding Jerusalem's Ruins

Our hero, took a brave stand against the closing of the holy Orient House by a certain overweight politician and his cohorts. The closing took place after the suicide-terrorist bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in the New Middle East which left 15 dead and many injured. Here are a few quotes from the August 23, 2001 issue of the Jerusalem Post:
Labor MK Ofir Pines-Paz said Labor opposed the takeover of the site earlier this month, and will do everything possible to insure it is returned to the Palestinians...

Pines-Paz said Faisal Husseini was his friend, and he told Abdel-Hader that as long as he speaks the peaceful language of his father he will have a partner on the Israeli side. Pines-Paz, the only coalition MK that took part in the meeting, said he saw no problem with protesting against the government, even at a time in which a foreign minister from his party, Shimon Peres, is planning a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

"I don't see it as a matter of coalition and opposition," Pines-Paz said. "I am part of the peace camp, and there are people in the government who don't believe in peace."

You got to believe in peace. You got to believe in the peace camp. You got to believe in Ofir Pines-Paz!

If you would like to congratulate MK Ophir Pines(pronounced PEE-ness), send him an email at pinespaz@knesset.gov.il .

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Copyright 2001 by The Church of Rabin And Peace.  All rights reserved.