Tuesday, June 7, 2011

J.Post June 7: Muzzling Dagan


Sir, – Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief, unquestionably has the right, if not the obligation, to have his voice heard concerning all matters relating to the vital interests of Israel. He has more than earned that right by his many years of devoted service and exemplary achievements in defense of Israel.

Nevertheless, I take issue with much of your June 6 editorial “Let Dagan Speak.” I do so because of what I feel to be misplaced and misleading emphases, in addition to a logic that is not always clear.

In a memorable decision, US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stressed the obvious fact that the constitutional right of freedom of speech does not include the right to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater. The question is not whether Dagan has the right to speak out, but where and when that right should be exercised. Certainly, declarations concerning existential dangers dare not be made by leaked statements to journalists.

I am a long-time admirer of Dagan but I fear that his recent outspokenness has led only to public confusion and an unfortunate sense of disunity.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva