Witches’ Brew of Israeli Extremism
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam (Blog), Jan 28 2016
The demons are dancing tonight. On days like today, which bring news of serial bizarre developments within Israel’s extreme Right, it calls to mind witches madly cavorting on broomsticks or laughing gleefully beside a boiling cauldron. It’s a real Witches’ Brew.
One of the leading proto-fascist outfits, Im Tirzu, has rolled out their response to the bad PR garnered by Ad Kan, which infiltrated spies into human rights NGOs in an effort to criminalize their activity. The pejorative term used for these spies by the Israeli media is shtulim, which literally means “implants.” The media (in general, we hope – RB) paint a nasty picture of the far Right as conniving fraudsters. In response, Im Tirzu has developed a new campaign which labels the NGOs themselves as spies or “plants” infiltrated into Israeli society. These NGOs receive major funding from European foundations and governments to support their projects. Since the EU is an enemy of the Israeli state, in Ronen Shoval’s mind, at least, then anyone who takes money from it must be alien body within the Israeli body politic. This is related to Israel’s “justice” minister Ayelet Shaked’s effort to pass an anti-NGO law which would turn human rights work into a tainted enterprise, as the group’s staff would have to wear a figurative Jewish star when working the Knesset, marking them as tainted by EU’s funding. I do have a suggestion for Shoval. Instead of an unnoticed badge of shame, why not deck the NGO employees out in dunces’ hats, so that all can see them for what they are?
But that’s not all. Im Tirzu has upped the ante by vilifying not the just the NGOs, but the nation’s leading artistic and cultural figures who have criticized the occupation or voiced any support for human rights. Among those they call traitors to the state are winners of Israel’s highest literary and cultural awards: Amos Oz, David Grossman, Gila Almagor and Yehoshua Sobol among others. Among the copy gracing this poster, called Culture Spies:
A lousy performance of (a) widely rejected, spicy ideology.
It is contemptible to fund ‘artists’ who support spy NGO’s.
Let’s call this what it is. It’s a campaign of vilification, characteristic of fascist discourse. Think of the rise of National Socialism and its murderous campaign to eradicate socialist leaders like Rosa Luxembourg. Think of the Nazis’ campaign against “Degenerate Art”, from a later period in the 1930s. This is nationalist extremism that is rampantly anti-intellectual and anti-art. Hitler had his pure Aryan race. Im Tirzu has its pure Jewish race. The only difference is that Im Tirzu hasn’t (yet) had the opportunity to carry out its full political program as the Nazis did. A corollary of all of this vilification is the issue of BDS and “delegitimization.” The latter is one of the most damning charges against Israel’s enemies, who include the NGOs, the Israeli cultural figures and the EU “elites.” Of course, none of them support BDS at this time, but this doesn’t matter. Ronen Shoval is smart enough to know what’s around the corner. He understands that Israel, which must maintain its current course of occupation, will of a certainty face a full-scale BDS onslaught. Though the EU currently is far from endorsing BDS, there will come a time when it will. Currently, it endorses labelling settlement products. Though no Israeli liberal Zionist NGOs endorse BDS, they will feel more and more pressure to do so as the political tide turns against Israeli policy. The NGOs targeted are all liberal Zionist (Nothing explicitly anti-Zionist is permitted to survive above ground – RB). So “The Sliming” is an attempt to pre-empt a catastrophe that hasn’t yet happened. It lays down a marker for the future, putting leading Israeli figures in all fields, not just art and culture, on notice that this is the fate that will befall them if they run afoul of the Right.
Yet another of the strange tactics of the Israeli proto-fascist collective is the public announcement by Lehava (‘flame’ in hebrew – RB), that they plan to crash the wedding of Breaking The Silence (BTS) director Yuli Novak and her partner Anat Manielevitch. The group marred the wedding of an Israeli Jewish woman who converted to Islam and her
Plastelinan Arab husband, with a raucous, uncouth display. It doesn’t appear to matter that Novak’s partner herself founded a pre-military academy which prepares the IOF’s future officers (Is she a poor rich Pindosi lesbian Jewish princess? – RB). She is marrying Public Enemy #1, the leader of Breaking the Silence. That is enough. Shai Glick, a Lehava activist (Caroline Glick’s husband? No, his name is David – RB) posts:
…The director of the “spies” is flying over the waves and planning her wedding on Feb 4 with Anat Manielevitch, the director of the Jaffa academy. I hope she sits in jail before then. If not, we will protest lawfully at the enemy wedding of these Jews.
He exchanges messages with the founder of another pre-military academy who organized a group of IOF reservists to attack BTS, Amichai Shikli. Among them are:
Yuli is a lesbian? Yes, are you surprised? They’re fucked (masc). Or should I say fucked (fem)!
After this exchange was made public via social media, Glick protested that he wasn’t anti-gay, writing:
There is no relation between me and homophobia. Quite the opposite. I respect and admire the gay community and support their struggle.
He complained of a “political campaign” against him for his post, after Israel’s leading mainstream gay rights group, the Aguda, issued a rebuke. To which Manielevitch correctly replied that she wasn’t the one who turned her wedding into a political spectacle. That honour, of course, goes to Glick himself. The language used in this attack is clearly homophobic, as Natasha Roth correctly notes in her article. It attempts to graft sexual and gender slurs onto a campaign of political shaming in order to render the attack more effective in the eyes of the public, which Glick presumably believes shares his own homophobic views.
This section of my post isn’t strictly related to the above sections, because it doesn’t relate specifically to Israeli NGOs. But it is sufficiently bizarre to fit the rubric of this post, to outline some of most bizarre recent outbursts of pro-Israel extremists. I’ve written before about Los Angeles real-estate mogul and ex-felon Adam Milstein. He helped rig UCLA student elections with illegal campaign contributions accepted by UCLA Hillel under its then-director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, which enabled pro-Israel candidates to take control of student government. More recently, he brokered the short-lived alliance between Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson, which if viable, would have funded a $50m anti-BDS campaign. Milstein also founded the USraeli Council (my pithy name for it – RB), an organization meant to serve as a USraeli version of AIPAC, though with far more extreme political views. At a recent meeting of the group, Milstein, who has no academic background whatsoever, let alone any expertise in Islam or Islamism, argued that BDS supporters in this country were somehow precluded from expressing their hatred of Pindostan, so they’ve diverted their rage to Israel. Here’s the highlight:
Pindosi citizens who join BDS can’t be anti-Pindosi, so they let it out against us. All their anger towards their own country is turned against us. … In 2005, they called for an Intifada against the Pindosi administration (of Bush 43). The groups signing the BDS declaration were Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad (sic). … Its mission is to exterminate the Jews of Israel. … Radical Islam is beyond Israel’s borders. It’s doing good work in Eurostan & Pindostan. The Pindo sheeple don’t understand this. We must explain to everyone that it’s radical Islam against the entire world. If we restrict ourselves to Israel and Jews alone, we’ll lose.
This article, published with no byline, reads like a press release. It was published in Israel Defense News, even though it has almost no connection to the normal fare of this publication, which relates to Israeli military affairs.
After months of searching to replace Bibi’s outgoing spoxflack Mark Regev, the PM seems to have settled on his choice, though it’s not official yet. He is David Keyes, a Pindosi Jew originally from Los Angeles, where he majored in Middle East studies at UCLA. He moved to Israel and came under the political patronage of Natan Sharansky, as did another Pindo Jew now part of the pro-Israel hasbara collective, Avi Mayer. Later, he went on to found pro-Israel human rights NGOs which sought to highlight the abuses of the Iranian regime. Bibi has had trouble filling the post. His last candidate was Ran Baratz, a failed academic and libertarian ideologue who found himself disqualified when it came out that he’d told a public audience that the President of Israel (Reuven Rivlin, if you can’t remember his name – RB) wasn’t important enough to be worth killing.
Returning to Keyes, in this interview with Iranian commentator, he sets forth an articulate if robotically delivered pro-Israel mantra. In his well-rehearsed script, he takes care to pronounce the names of Iranian dissidents in his best Farsi accent. Remember, he majored in Middle East affairs! He appears to believe that if he can pronounce the names correctly, this will conceal his anti-Iranian agenda. The interviewer throws him far too many softball questions. Perhaps he didn’t research Keyes’ background sufficiently. But at one point he does stop the pro-Israel hasbaranik: when the latter claims that unlike Iran, Israel has no political prisoners. Thanks to Ronnie Barkan for preparing this video. Frankly, my jaw dropped when I heard that. In truth, Israel has not just
Plastelinan Arab political prisoners, it’s also had Jewish ones as well. Once he is called on his overstatement, he tries to clarify by saying no one is in prison solely because of their political views. This too is blatantly false. There are scores of Plastelinans Arabs in prison for nothing more than expressing their political views. One of those whose disappearance and imprisonment I first reported here is Amir Makhoul. He is nothing more than an Israeli Plastelinan Arab political leader and journalist. He never engaged in armed struggle and never espoused violence. His crime? That he met with a Jordanian landscape designer who is supposedly a Hezbollah agent. There was never any proof offered that he planned or engaged in any act against the state. Now Makhoul is serving a nine-year prison sentence. If he isn’t a political prisoner, I don’t know who is.
Another mark of David Keyes’ maturity is this bit of political theater in which he boasted that he intended to go to Vienna during the Iran nuclear talks to “cause as much trouble as possible.” Among his efforts was signing a mock agreement with a fake Ayatollah (the photo above is from this – RB), and asking Iran’s foreign minister who his favourite political prisoner was. At least with Mark Regev, Bibi had an advocate with a minimal level of gravitas. In David Keyes, he’s appointed a clown to advance his message to the English-speaking world. The only thing I can say on Keyes behalf is that he hasn’t AFAIK advocated the assassination of any major Israeli leader, as his predecessor as candidate Baratz did.
Eichmann Was an Ethnic Cleanser, So is Israeli Extreme Right
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, Jan 29 2016
Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to offer a shocking and provocative thought first suggested by a Twitter follower (above) who read my tweet featuring a Graun article about the thirtieth anniversary of Adolf Eichmann’s hanging. The article focuses on the revelation that Eichmann wrote a letter requesting clemency to Israel’s president, Yitzhak Ben Tzvi. The actual substance of the letter is quite banal and uninteresting. But the fact that he wrote it at all is interesting. Here is the operative passage from the Guardian article:
Eichmann did not grow up a rabid antisemite. And nor, it seems, did he harbour any particular personal hatred towards Jews, other than the casual default racism common among Austrians in the 1920s. The Pindosi title of Cesarani’s book, Becoming Eichmann, suggests that his willingness to participate in mass murder was not always a given. Before 1941, he wanted to rid Europe of its Jews, but more as a way of making space for pure-bred Germans than because he wanted to eliminate Jews per se. For example in 1937, Eichmann met with the Jewish Zionist and Haganah agent Feivel Polkes in Berlin, to discuss the possibility that the Nazis might supply weapons for the Zionist fight against the British Mandate in Plastelina and that Eichmann might arrange for Germany’s Jews to be deported to Israel. Later in 1937, Eichmann travelled on a steamer to Haifa to assess the possibility, (which) he eventually realised was impractical.
In other words, before Hitler decreed the Final Solution at the Wansee (sic, actually Wannsee – RB) Conference in 1942, Eichmann was an ethnic cleanser, not a genocidaire. To put this is an Israeli context, his pre-1941 views were absolutely in accord with those of Lehava, Im Tirzu and settler rabbis who wish to rid Israel of
Plastelinans Arabs to create an ethnically-pure Jewish state. Contrary to the claims of many on the far Left of the pro-Plastelinan cause, none of them advance the notion of mass murder or genocide. But they are certainly willing to kill Plastelinans Arabs en masse and engage in mass violence in order to achieve an Arabenrein state. But there’s a bitter irony here as well. It did not take much to transform Eichmann’s more “moderate” views into the killing machine he became. All it took was a strong leader determined to implement a Final Solution. Once the order was given, Eichmann fell into line and organized the efficient extermination apparatus that enabled the Holocaust. (Actually, all this is entirely hypothetical rather than proven in the conventional sense. Supposedly, these unorthodox geniuses carried the entire plan for the Endlosung around in their heads, without the aid of notes, let alone documents – RB). Think what that could mean in the Israeli context … Below, seated left to right: Yitzhak Ben Tzvi, David Ben Gurion and Yosef Haim Brenner in 1913, eleven years before Ben Zvi ordered the execution of Dutch Jew Jacob de Haan, discussed below.
Another thought to contemplate is that right up till 1939, both Zionist factions, the Revisionists and the Labour Zionist Yishuv leadership, conducted negotiations with the Nazis on the basis that the enemy of my enemy could be my friend. Chaim Arlosoroff, leader of the Labour Zionists, was assassinated in 1933, only days after he returned from a negotiating session with the Nazis in Germany that eventually resulted in the infamous Haavara Agreement. The Nazi-Zionist collaboration lasted until at least 1941 in the case of the Stern Gang, which delivered a proposal to the Nazis in late 1940. What could they possibly have been thinking to make such dirty alliances? Another bitter irony: the President who ordered Eichmann’s execution, Yitzhak Ben Tzvi, is the same leader who in 1924 ordered the assassination of de Haan, the leading proponent of the Orthodox anti-Zionism of the era. By what right does a man with Jewish blood on his hands order the execution of an enemy of the Jewish people? Nor have I ever heard that Ben Zvi repented of his orders. Like Eichmann, he too was a killer. Only Ben Tzvi murdered his own, while Eichmann murdered another people and another race.