I fear for the future of Israelis. On what mass of evidence and rationality is this fear based? On a sick feeling I got last summer when Israel was in the middle of bombing Gaza. It just came to me:”The tide has turned; this level of racial hatred will destroy the haters.”
“That’s not rational! That’s not evidence.” You are correct, of course, but that sick feeling has never been wrong. I had been studying the issues rationally and collecting evidence, because I had been a Christian Zionist-but a Christian Zionist with a firm belief in asking questions. The answers, which were rational, documented and evidence-based, horrified me. I had been wrong for two decades.
The growth of rank hatred of Jews around the world has horrified me, too; repulsed me in fact, just as much as Israelis dragging couches out onto the hills to enjoy the fireworks of the Gaza bombings, as real human beings were being blown to bits-or young Israeli women tweeting that that the death of Arabs was sexually exciting. Convinced that neither Stromfront nor these particular Israelis were normal humans, I decided, “Let the Jews speak for themselves. Surely they don’t all get turned on by murder.”
So I read True Torah Jews, orthodox rabbis who are dead set against Israel as a state, based on scriptures and the fact that Zionists are trying to do politically what only God can do in his own good time. I read Mondoweiss, which dissents from the official right-wing position on most issues and Jews for Justice, which sees the current situation in Israel regarding the Palestinians as unjust and downright criminal. I watched Gilad Atzmon, a native Israeli who speaks rather harshly about the whole Zionist project, Norman Finklestein a straight-talking American professor and son of Holocaust survivors and Ilan Pappe, a soft-spoken Israeli historian who demolishes the Zionist historical narrative.
A recent article in Jews for Justice, “Bibi Sinks to New Low to Save his Skin” is a good example of both dissent and the mind-trap Israelis are caught in. Quote:
“…what made Binyamin Netanyahu’s emphatic win so dispiriting were the depths he plumbed to secure victory. Netanyahu reassured (the right wing) that they could forget the lip service of the past few years…there would be no Palestinian state on his watch. On election day itself…he posed in front of a map of the Middle East, as if in a war room, and used the idiom of military conflict to warn that “Arab voters are advancing in large numbers towards voting places” and that this was “a call-up order” for Likud supporters to head to the polling stations.”
Effective propaganda move: A war map as a backdrop, barbarians at the gates, “stand up and fight for the fatherland!” What could possibly be more motivating for a thoroughly militaristic society with a siege mentality? Well played, Bibi, and the proof is in the fact that, though supposedly trailing in the polls, Netanyahu was re-elected. In short, it worked. The Arab voters, by the way, belong to the 20% of Arabs who happen to be citizens of Israel with every right to vote, but their doing so was presented as an existential threat to be beaten back.
The Israelis bought it. Seventy-five percent of Israeli voters are in agreement with Bibi: Arabs are sub-human, they are the dangerous Other and we must drive them out of our land. This tribal supremacy and ethnic cleansing has been tried before. It was tried on the Jews themselves during WWII. That did not turn out well for Germany and it will not turn out well for Israel.
The tide has turned. May the Israeli people wake up before they destroy themselves.
* 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel. This disproportionate death toll is a regular feature of attacks on Palestinians over the years.