EDITORIAL: The rise of Israeli extremism

The rise of Israeli extremism

The cartoonist, Pat Oliphant, caused a stir this week with a cartoon (below) which Anti-Defamation League director, Abraham Foxman, said: “employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart.”

Did Oliphant go too far? Or was he merely using incendiary symbolism to draw attention to the ruthlessness of the Zionist war machine?

The role of the Israeli Defense Forces chief rabbi in portraying the war on Gaza as a religious war has been widely reported. Brig Gen Avichai Rontzki used a line from a classical Hebrew text and turned it into a war slogan: “He who is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.”

Another rabbi, David Bar Hayim, conveyed a similar message in a broadcast on Israel National News TV where he cited scriptural authority when saying: “In a time of war, one does not distinguish between the different individuals on the enemy side of the fence, of the conflict. One has to fight the enemy … without any thought for such distinctions.” (A statement interestingly reminiscent of the Bush doctrine.) The rabbi also said: “I don’t believe that there are any innocent [Palestinian] civilians in this situation.”

Christopher Hitchens observes:

Peering over the horrible pile of Palestinian civilian casualties that has immediately resulted, it’s fairly easy to see where this is going in the medium-to-longer term. The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place, with the religious excuses given for Baruch Goldstein’s rampage and the Talmudic evasions concerning the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Once considered highly extreme, such biblical exegeses are moving ever closer to the mainstream.

The extremists are already on the march — literally. And they are being provided with the full support of the state of Israel.

Earlier this week, supporters of Rabbi Meir Kahane descended on the Israeli-Palestinian town of Umm al-Fahm (which was established in 1265).

A hundred militant Zionists, each protected by 25 Israeli police officers, had a simple message for the residents.

“We are going to conquer back Umm al-Fahm” and tell its residents that it is part of Eretz Yisrael (Greater Israel) and that “we are the owners of Eretz Yisrael.”

Just to be clear: Umm al-Fahm is within the 1967 borders of Israel and is populated by Arab Israeli citizens.

The demonstration was also reported by Al Jazeera:

Ynet later reported:

After deeming the Umm al-Fahm march a success, Israel’s extreme right announced it plans to publish regular reports on activities in Arab towns and villages.

“We intend on forming a monitoring committee to counter any infringements of the law in the Arab sector. The committee will be headed by Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) and other right-wing activists will serve as members as well,” a rightist source told Ynet Tuesday.

Radical right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir explained: “The committee will be made up of subsections, with each section in charge of different things, like building violations, affiliation with terror groups, and infringing on Jewish freedom of movement.” The Right, he added, is now contemplating holding processions in other Arab towns as well.

While the majority of Israelis might identify themselves as secular, with militant nationalism on the rise, religious zealotry and military power have become fused together in the conception of an embattled state that needs show little restraint in its efforts to defend itself.

The spirit of Israel’s indomitable military might is captured in the video below: “Don’t Mess With The IDF.”

It’s tone might seem adolescent, yet it is adolescents and young adults who fill the ranks of the IDF and who celebrated the war in Gaza by adorning themselves with T-shirts that advocate shooting pregnant Muslim women. (Anyone seeing this video who understands Hebrew is welcome to explain the lyrics in a comment. The passage in English comes from The Matrix: Reloaded, which an Israeli reviewer said: “intentionally or not, is the most powerful pro-Israel movie since Cast a Giant Shadow — the story of the Independence War — and Operation Thunderbolt — the story of the Entebbe rescue.”)

Update: The soundtrack for this video combines “The Last Zionist” by Israeli rappers Subliminal and Hazel, followed by “We Are Still Here” by the Dutch DJ Korsakoff.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 thoughts on “EDITORIAL: The rise of Israeli extremism

  1. Babylons youth

    Im glad to hear that you finally used all that intellect you claim to have on missile defense technology…Now if only you didnt have to become war criminals by killing all those women and children in Gaza.

    I pray Israel climbs into civil war and that the few rational thinking Israelis can take back their government.

    If there is a god…I guarantee she currently looking after the scores of families and lives you destroyed in your recent one-sided genocidal war.

    I dare these whiny Israeli youths to come to the US and try to debate this…I’ll smack em over the head with my American skateboard. You cant compete with our art and we will help the Palestinians defeat you if you decide to continue pursuing a one-sided way of life.

    Oh yeah, dont be surprised as the general consensus online is that you are acting like the same people who hurt you in the first place.
    “Dont be surprised when the abused becomes the abuser.”
    Thats the golden statement in all of this.

  2. DE Teodoru

    I knew Kahane well and was not evil; he only became so radical when he needed to be reasured that he’s a macho-mensch. But as in all Jews, there was a Jewish Ethic screaming in his skull with its voice at times silenced by the Holocaust Industry’s fear machine. As in Biblical days, Israeli go to war to massacre the other’s population, not just its armies, in fear of assimilation and absorption by the larger neighbors. Today’s Jews are not descendents of lost Biblical tribes but millions attracted over time to the Jewish Ethic. After every IDF massacre of Arabs the Holocaust fear gives way to the guilt and the “post-Zionist” search for peace becomes a desperate national desire. Rather than point in blame, let us help them in this moment of soul-searching desire to make amends and introspect by the people, if not by the leaders.

  3. WKTThem?

    I’m not going to assume that all of Israel’s actions are evil, but they’ve been acting evil and Kahane is not exactly inspiring trust with Arabs in these villages who do want to live in peace and won’t join Hamas.

    Hamas by the way is not the devil himself they are a political organization, trying to defend themselves from invasion like any political or cultural body. It’s just they take this to extremes unnecessary sometimes, just like Kahane does.

    This is counter-productive for the country to be behaving like Kahane….

    I’m concerned from the standpoint that not just a few Nazi atrocities in Israel, but because of extreme Israel hardliners in the USA and what they have done to the USA as far as making this a very unwelcome police state whom others see quite clearly (AIPAC) and other ideals which are….counter-productive to democracy.

    Israel needs to realize it is not always the victim. That is all. It’s all which everyone has ever been saying to them, it’s all God has told them when they strayed, it is all the first “tribes” have said.

    It is not the fault of the sword of Hamas. It is an over-reflexive action inside Israel/Zionist society which sees itself too much as always the victim, not recognizing the “need” to kill other jews/gentiles or rule over them, is what causes the victim issue.

  4. Schmice

    I’m so sorry that the Israeli government is backing these provocative actions against the Palestinians in this case. Does the government really believe that these actions are going to make the Palestinians want to deal with Israel ina peaceful and diplomatic way. As a Jew, I am ashamed by what I saw on the video clips. My father helped raise money for guns when the Israeli state was formed. I don’t believe that this is what he expected Israel to stoop to.

  5. Assaf

    “Rather than point in blame, let us help them in this moment of soul-searching desire to make amends and introspect by the people, if not by the leaders.”

    Sorry , Teodoru, I am Israeli and have been following events and commentaries closely since the Gaza war.

    There is no soul-searching to speak of. On the contrary, there is aggressive denial, a siege mentality, dehumanization of Palestinians, and a general
    “F**K off and let us get on with our way of doing business”
    attitude towards the outside world.

    Sorry to disappoint… but you’ll know better how to help if you understand the real situation there.

  6. DE Teodoru

    Assaf, you can’t disappoint me as I’ve seen this “New Jew” Israeli Zionazi of Jabotinsky in action since 1960s. But, in that “New Jew” there is the “old Jew” too, alive and well. Both obey the law of opponens: as one exausts the other rises….Who would have thought “post-Zionism” a reality seeking peace? Israel has stayed nasty since Begin because it kept getting its collosal welfare check from the US Congress. But if it now tries again it will find itself in the American popular opinion docket like the Citigroup bankers and the AIG execs. Netayhau knows that Israel cannot be born so long as tethered on a US $$$ umbelical cord. He is seeking economic ties with Arabs through Palestinians. He is not a Zionazi but a realist. Lastly, as an East European, I am well familiar with that kind of crooked and hard heads you meet in Israel. But these get awfully soft when the check is NOT in the mail.

Comments are closed.