The American Jewish community has long been known for temporizing when it comes to the excesses of Israel. No sin was ever too great, no massacre too bloody to be excused or forgiven by the grey white male eminences of the Jewish élite, and their wealthy 1% donors.
Israel is to the Diaspora what notorious mobster, Whitey Bulger, was to his distinguished brother. Though William Bulger climbed the highest ranks of legitimate society, becoming Speaker of the Massachusetts House and president of the University of Massachusetts, he never turned on his murderous brother; despite the fact that it cost him a career he had nurtured for decades.
I’m sad and ashamed to say that Israel under Bibi Netanyahu has become that unspeakable family secret. The one you won’t acknowledge in polite society. It’s a moral stain that causes a strange combination of shame and anger whenever it threatens to rear its ugly head.
If you noticed that I’m in even higher than normal moral dudgeon, it’s because of Bibi’s latest game of Three-card Monte. Whenever his political career faces severe jeopardy, he turns to ever more desperate and scurrilous tactics. His latest is to instigate a political merger between two of Israel’s more thuggish parties: Bayit Yehudi and the outright Kahanist, Otzma Yehudit. Without Bibi’s intervention and bribes, this ménage made in Gehinom, would never have happened. The Bayit Yehudi faction was promised two ministerial positions in the new government and a slot on the far more popular Likud list.
כמה יודעים על הכתיבה ההגותית של מו״ר הרב כהנא הי״ד. הרב שהיה פעיל ציבור מגיל צעיר במאבקו למען יהודי ברה״מ, כתב עשרות ספרים. כל אלו שמחרפים אותו, מעולם לא פתחו ספר שלו. צילמתי היום בספריית הכנסת. pic.twitter.com/igGKXV8xbm
— מיכאל בן ארי🇮🇱 (@drmichaelbenari) February 21, 2019
Among the most repugnant of the leaders of these parties are the following:
Michael Ben Ari, a devout disciple of Meir Kahane (in this video, he offers a tour of the 30 volumes in the Knesset library by and about Meir Kahane: h/t Ira Glunts). To make a suitable comparison, imagine David Duke elected to Congress and leading a video tour of the Library of Congress, which featured in its collection the entire oeuvre of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Father Coughlin, and George Lincoln Rockwell.
Betzalel Smotrich has the distinction of having led a Beast Parade of pigs on Gay Pride Day some years ago. Benzy Gopstein made his reputation by inciting arson attacks against Christian holy sites like the Church of Loaves and Fishes and a Jewish-Palestinian school. In America, these men would have long-since been arrested and convicted under RICO or other statutes as terrorist conspirators. In Israel, they become ministers.
For an American comparison, imagine that Donald Trump welcomed Gavin Innes’ Proud Boys and David Duke as GOP Congressional candidates, campaigned for them, and offered them seats in his next cabinet. That’s the equivalent of what Bibi’s done.
It’s all about the Benjamins, babyyy! 🎶
— Crap Detectr (@CrapDetectr) February 24, 2019
American Jewish groups have rightly condemned the new merger. But almost all have refused to name or condemn the author of this atrocity, Netanyahu. Nor has a single one threatened or announced a herem against Netanyahu. As Jews, we must demand our supposed leaders declare Netanyahu persona non grata. We must turn our backs on him. Refuse to offer him a place of honor in our community.
Did you hear that AIPAC? Which just proudly announced that Netanyahu would be its keynote speaker two weeks before the next Israeli election. Such a koved is a chilul hashem, a desecration of God’s Name.
If our leaders don’t have the balls (and yes, they’re almost all men) to do it, then let’s let the young people show them the way. Let’s have a massive protest in DC to declare that neither Bibi nor Aipac represent us. We should declare ourselves free of Judeo-Nazism and its enablers.
In case anyone needs any further proof of Netanyahu’s fascist proclivities, look no further than Europe, where he’s cultivated not just the worst of the far-right parties, but outright anti-Semites like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Poland’s Law and Justice Party. These are parties which unabashedly worship a national past in which fascism and Jew-hating were rampant. Even worse, the modern successors have developed a bad case of historical amnesia about these proclivities.
They are parties which rationalize their alliances with Israel by creating a separation between Israelis and Jews. Israelis are the ones who serve as a bulwark against the Muslim immigrant hordes. Jews like George Soros, on the other hand, are the ones who want to sabotage our Christian traditions and way of life.
Netanyahu wants to have it both ways: on the one hand he hates most American Jews and predicts our demise in a generation or two; on the other hand, when it’s in his political interest (such as the Iran issue), he claims to speak on behalf of all Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora (whether we like it or not). That has to stop.
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.