Religious Fascism, an Israeli Minister’s Gift to the World
B Michael (Michael Barizon), Haaretz, Sep 21 2016
Last week, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he prefers Jewish studies over science in order “to return and be a spiritual power and export spiritual knowledge to the entire world …. That’s how we’ll return to being a light unto the nations. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” When the laughter died down, the embarrassment began. Bennett, the most enthusiastic exponent of Judaism in its most inferior form, is the leader of a party that has made the essence of Judaism uninspiring and Jewish tastelessness the essence. And now he’s the one who wants to teach the world with his party’s spiritual good. How embarrassing. But when the laughter and the embarrassment stopped, there was no choice but to admit it: Bennett can relax. He and his ilk have already made a unique contribution to the cognitive world; they have made a novel addition to political science: religious fascism, something that had never been seen before.
Fascism, in the clear definition of Prof Zeev Sternhell, is an ideology, not a form of regime, that views the nation, not the individual, as the almost organic, almost living über-entity. The nation is like a tree, and the people are but the leaves with meager rights. To glorify and preserve the supremacy of the nation, fascism requires a war against enlightenment, liberal democracy, individual rights and universal humanism. After all, these abominations put the individual in the center, and in doing so impair the supremacy of the national collective. In fascism, democracy isn’t a structure of values, but only an “aerobic” legislative technique, and culture is only meant to strengthen the nation’s spirit. As a result, these things must be enlisted to impose fascism, and/or to be emasculated by it. Racism, violence, thuggery and all the other dictatorial delights are just side-effects of the implementation of the fascist ideology. And that’s it. That’s the Torah. Those with sharp eyes certainly have noticed that one entity is missing: God. The Creator. The imaginary comrade in the heavens. Fascism has no God; not German, Italian or Spanish fascism. Fascism has always been secular, because it thinks only about the nation, not God. And then came the hardalim, the nationalist ultra-Orthodox types with Bennett as their prophet, or at least his son. Fascism with all its principles and ideology has joined God and His commandments. This matchmaking was very successful. The theological pretexts have joined with the fascist ideology, and together they better fight the Enlightenment and its abominations.
Equality? God forbid. What’s-his-name in heaven chose us only. Individual freedom? Religious freedom? Freedom of conscience? Freedom of movement? What’s-his-name doesn’t allow it. Freedom of expression? Just a bit. For now. Until further notice. After all, excessive freedom of expression could damage the people’s faith in what’s-his-name, blessed be he. Fraternity? Only between you and your neighbor, who’s like you, a member of the chosen people. “Brotherhood of nations?” God forbid; that’s for the atheists and communists. There’s no room for brotherhood between those who “go to the polls in droves” and those who have been chosen. Democracy? Eroding steadily. Its fingers are used time and again for self-emasculation. Culture? It’s becoming more and more ridiculous; fear, sycophancy, superficiality and vanity control it. Progressiveness? It has become a dirty word. Rule of law? It’s subordinated more and more to divine law. And nationalism, dark and evil in its own way, has returned, even though it’s ostensibly forbidden to Jews after the failed Bar Kochba revolt of the second century. In short, fascism in all its details and minutiae, and all in the name of God. And everything under the supervision of the rabbis, and all for the glory of the one holy nation, which continues to insist on being called democratic. It’s truly a unique invention, and it deserves its own name. Maybe “theocism,” maybe “religiousism.” It’s without a doubt Bennett’s Judaism’s unique contribution to the world. And we will achieve his vision.