A journalist friend of mine attended a recent lecture by Bogie Yaalon, former IDF chief of staff and Likud minister in the current Israeli government. Nothing unusual in that. He was introduced by Moshe Feiglin, one of the most extreme pro-settler leaders and a fellow Likudnik. That’s a bit odd but still nothing terribly out of the ordinary.
In order to attend this Likudnik soiree my friend had to call a local activist to RSVP (for all I know he may’ve had to provide the password: “Never again!”), who happened to be Nitza Kahane, Meir Kahane’s daughter-in-law. When he called, the phone was answered by Meir Kahane–no not THAT Meir Kahane, the great man’s grandson. Now that IS interesting.
Here’s what my friend had to say:
I met Nitza, and Meir jr. – respectable looking, very determined people.
In other words, not a bearded right-wing prophet with a messianic zeal in his eyes like grandpa Meir. Nice people. The kind you could bring home to meet bubbe and zeideh. Imagine what all this means: that had Meir Kahane lived he would not be in herem, he would be a minister in the current government. It means the Likud has been willingly taken over by the pro-settler extreme right.
One of Feiglin’s most interesting comments of the night was: Ani lo rotzeh shalom (“I don’t want peace”). This means that the Israeli wingnut right doesn’t even want the status quo, they want a war to the death with the Arabs. Nuclear Armageddon if necessary I imagine. It is therefore no accident that Mike Huckabee is palling around today with his settler buddies like Irving Moskowitz at the Shepherd Hotel. The evangelicals and settlers want the same thing: a war to the death against evil which will lead to some kind of messianic age.
We should rememeber that one of Feiglin’s partners in crime is Baruch Marzel, another devout Kahanist. Here is an image of Marzel at a demonstration at the Shepherd Hotel today. The banner’s text tells you all you need to know. For the Israeli extreme right this is a war to the death. They will take no prisoners. They will lie, cheat, steal in order to preserve the status quo. If they could get away with assassinating Barack Hussein Obama, “anti-Semite Jew-hater,” or any Israeli politician who stood in their way they would do so (as they have done in the past). Accordingly, we must recognize that we are not dealing with rational human beings who can be reasoned with. They are no different than the anti-abortionists prepared to murder the Dr. George Tillers of this world. They are on a holy crusade and need no approbation but for God’s. And God is definitely on their side.
But do we want to ride the bomb down to the target as Slim Pickens’ character does in Dr. Strangelove?? Will we go along for this wild, insane in fact, ride?
If Barack Obama doesn’t maintain the same iron resolve and determination in pursuing his Middle East agenda, then all will be lost. We must win against these evil people. If we don’t, then Israel will eventually cease to exist as it currently does. The first image above illustrates this point. I love Bibi’s maniacal smile as he talks on his cell phone. The caption gives you the impression that all of his wild-eyed machinations will end with Israel becoming the very thing he most detests: a bi-national state. Thanks to Sol Salbe for pointing out the sly bit of historical Zionist irony in it. The caption twists the original quotation from Theodore Herzl who, on returning from the first World Zionist Congress in 1897, wrote in his diary: In Basel, I founded the Jewish state.” What delicious irony!
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.