NOTE: I did an interview with Jeremy Rothe-Kushel for his podcast. It was devoted to the murder of Shireen Abu Aqleh and the Yossi Cohen scandal.
UPDATE: In the aftermath of the Jerusalem Day “festivities” throughout East Jerusalem, Palestinian have decided they’re “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” Mass violence has erupted in the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. Bouts of stone-throwing between Jews and Palestinians have raged, accompanied by the latter shooting fireworks. Palestinians have also thrown Molotov cocktails, which have torched an Israeli bus entering Issawiya.
This is the point where it gets really scary. The tipping point. Has the Bennett government played a game of chicken with Palestinians to see how far it can provoke them until they erupt in mass violence? And have they lost, thereby throwing the nation in mass violence and conflagration? Will Hamas feel compelled to respond in defense of its fellow Palestinians under siege in Jerusalem? Or will Egyptian pressure backed by Saudi cash (for the Egyptians, not the Israelis), tempt Hamas to stand down?
At this point, it is not looking good. For that, Bennett has no one but himself to blame. Certainly, the Raam Party and its four votes are lost to the governing coalition for the foreseeable future. It’s even possible that Party leader, Mansour Abbas will find it impossible to vote for the government when facing a no-confidence motion, thereby toppling the government. As I said, we are entering dangerous territory.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 29, 2022
The translation of the tweet accompanying this shocking video is:
Kol Israel’s Arab service reporter, Iyad Harb, was brutally attacked by Jews opposite MK Itamar Ben Gvir’s headquarters [in Sheikh Jarrah] after he attempted to fil the masked men who were there. He says “three men attacked me, stole my phone, broke my glasses. I told them I was a journalist but they could care less. The police stood aside and did nothing.”
כתב קול ישראל בערבית, איאד חרב הותקף בצורה ברוטלית על ידי מספר יהודים מול הלשכה של בן גביר לאחר שניסה לצלם את רעולי הפנים שהיו שם. איאד מספר שלושה תקפו אותי, גנבו לי את הטלפון, שברו לי את המשקפיים. אמרתי שאני עיתונאי לא עניים אותם. המשטרה עמדה ליד ולא עשתה כלום״. pic.twitter.com/Yf6QmPVtrE
— Haim Goldich | חיים גולדיטש (@HGoldich) May 29, 2022
* * *
Today was what’s known as Jerusalem Day among Israeli Jews. If it’s known as anything among Palestinians, it’s a curse. It is the day 10,000 rabid Judeo-fascists parade like Brownshirts through the streets of Palestinian Jerusalem asserting their dominance over Palestinians, like silverback gorillas in the rainforest. Nominally, the Day commemorates the “unification” of Jerusalem during the 1967 War. But it has morphed into a truly ugly phenomenon which strikes terror into the hearts of the Palestinian residents. Israeli police put virtually the entire Old City on lockdown. Only Jews may traverse the streets. Palestinian pedestrians are prohibited. Stores in Palestinian neighborhoods must be shuttered. This is the Day of the Jews.
“שישרף לכם הכפר”. pic.twitter.com/z0WVn0F6hR
— نير حسون Nir Hasson ניר חסון (@nirhasson) May 29, 2022
1. Marchers chanting (in rhyming Hebrew): “A Jew is a soul, an Arab is a son of a whore”
2. May they burn your [Palestinian] village to the ground”
I deliberately chose a title that may be provocative to some. But not to me. This Day is nothing less than a Judeo-supremacist triumphal march akin to Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies. You have the arms upraised, chants of defiance to enemies, glorification of State and religion, even a braying leader in Itamar Ben Gvir. The only thing lacking from this Judeo-Nuremberg pageant is Bibi Netanyahu thundering from a platform in front of the Dome of the Rock ( as he did from a Jerusalem balcony three weeks before Rabin’s assassination). This is a national movement of the Jewish people transformed into a monstrous perversion, just as 19th-century German nationalism reached its apogee under Adolf Hitler.
There may be a few readers who will protest: but Israel is a democracy. And the marchers are a minority. This is all beside the point. Whether Israel has a full-on fascist government led by Likud, or whether it has a fascist-lite government led by Naftali Bennett’s horse-with-three-heads governing coalition, the result is the same. After all, last year Netanyahu canceled the parade for fear of inciting a war with Hamas, which happened anyway. It is the supposedly softer, milder Bennett who puffed out his chest and declared: we will have the march. And all the rioting and pogroms today and in past weeks by Israeli police at Haram al-Sharif were overseen by Labor Party veteran and police minister, Omer Bar Lev.
You see, Israeli fascism has rooted itself deep within the national psyche. You can change the names and the faces: you can appoint a Likud minister or a Labor minister. The results will be virtually the same. They all share a mission of perpetuating Jewish dominance and control.
As for the argument that the “extremists” don’t represent all of Israel: don’t make me laugh. These settler extremists and terrorists have usurped the Israeli political system. They ARE the government. Itamar Ben Gvir is an MK (but never served in the IDF), as have been almost all of his allies including Betzalel Smotrich, Michael Ben Ari, Baruch Marzel (who only lost out by 11,000 votes), and scores of others. Israel is a willing captive of Judeo-fascism. Some may argue: well what do you expect, Israel is surrounded by enemies, it cannot afford the niceties of western democracies. To which I reply: OK, then let’s stop comparing Israel to France and instead compare it to North Korea or Russia (or Nazi Germany).
Further, this argument blames Israel’s purported enemies for its turn toward authoritarianism. It’s part of the victimhood syndrome prevalent in Israel: it’s not our fault that we are what we are. Our violent, primitive neighbors forced us to make these choices. That’s not the way modern nations work. While decisions of rivals or enemies impact strategic thinking, only fascist states are in a state of perpetual mobilization on behalf of combating a designated enemy. A fascist state deliberately conflates aggression with survival. In Israel’s case, it has not just one, but many such enemies: Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah. It even treats the Palestinian Authority as a bogeyman worth treating as a punching bag periodically.
Recently, when I published posts here about the police-induced riots at the Al Aqsa mosque, pro-Israel readers were quick to point out that only a few odd Israelis flew flags or said prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple on what they call the “Temple Mount.” Pictures from today’s incursion show thousands of Israeli settlers proudly flying the flag in the sacred Muslim space. Not a single one of the 3,000 Israeli police who are supposedly maintaining order are visible.
These would-be terrorists want “Arabs” out. They want Muslims out. They want what Hindutva rioters wanted when they tore down the Babri Masjid mosque brick by brick to eradicate it as an insult to all Hindus. In that case, Hindus destroyed the mosque because it sat atop a former Hindu shrine. The parallels to the Temple-Haram al Sharif conflict are unnerving and give Jewish Temple devotees a clear road map.
The caption for these images is from the far-right online portal, Rotter, says:
The status quo [religious agreement with the Muslim Waqf] has been broken, including waving flags. After the first [Jewish] worshippers danced, they bowed and prayed on the Temple Mount [sic]. Shortly after, the worshippers unfurled Israeli flags, which flew for a long time on the Temple Mount
In fact, if we gave Ben Gvir a pick and shovel, he’d start tearing it down right now. But he realizes this is a long-term goal. He won’t win over all of Israel yet to his perverted mission. But he sees the “arc of Israeli history,” and it definitely does not bend toward justice. Unless it’s justice for Jews. As far as Palestinians are concerned, there is none. That arc bends toward fascism. The seed was planted decades ago even before the founding of the State. It was watered and fertilized by Israel’s massive expulsion of 1-million indigenous Palestinians in the Naka. And it came into full flower with Meir Kahane, the “visionary” prophet of Judeo-fascism, whose ideas and platform have been almost wholly adopted by the State and its citizens.
Judeo-fascism exploits all the trappings of Judaism. Of course, its disciples are devout Jews, or so they believe. But if it is any religion at all, it is the religion of State power. The worship of ruins and land (what I call “stones and bones”) is alien to Judaism. After all, we have thrived as a people without a Temple or territory for two millennia. If veneration of such alien relics turns Judaism into such pagan idolatry, then we Jews must separate ourselves from it. Just as rabbis once declared Frankists and Sabbateans to be heretics, we must absolutely and definitively sever any connection with these thugs.
They have forged an ideology that shares much in common with neo-Nazism and white separatism. For the latter, a national homeland exclusively for the Jewish people sounds an awful lot like a national homeland for white people. Evangelical Christianity is also the religion of choice for many supremacists. Theirs is a vision of America as a white, Christian nation. Sound familiar?
Finally, do not allow yourselves to be tricked by the religious trappings of Judeo-fascism. It does not exist on behalf of religion. It exploits religion for political power. It is naked nationalism with religious trappings. The outer wrapping is Jewish but inside is the naked beating heart of fascism.
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.