Israel has, for the first time, elected a fascist government. Yes, there have right wing coalitions in the past. But none like this one. One might even call it, per Yeshaya Leibowitz’s term, Judeo-Nazi. I won’t argue the point. Netanyahu has won a sweeping and shocking victory. 65 seats out of 120. He has entirely swept the field. There is hardly even an Opposition remaining. Both the Zionist left and the Palestinian left have been decimated. It is simply fascism triumphant.
I vacillate between shock, dismay, and a perverse realization: the only silver lining in this disaster is that Israel will be fully exposed as the racist, violent, homicidal, genocidal state it is. Gone are the sophistries and niceties that decent liberals once used, calling Israel a “Jewish and democratic state;” or a “liberal humane state;” “the only democracy in the Middle East, etc. It is nothing of the sort. And anyone who attempts to smooth the edges of fascism is either a fool or a willing co-conspirator in this offense against humanity.
Social media platforms collaborate in this retreat from the unpalatable. Twitter slapped on the video below of Judeo-thug violence, a screen restricting you from seeing Ben Gvir’s Brownshirts rampaging through Oaiestinian Sheikh Jarrah. It warns of “potentially sensitive content.” Instead, it should say: watch this despite the fact that it contains offensive content. Apparently such images are just too troubling to see. Which of course shields the world from seeing what Israel really is.
Western states continue their somnolence regarding Israel’s true nature. They continue to sleep-walk through the hasbara miasma that Israel, and its various foreign lobbies, have devised. For example, all the US State Department could muster was a congratulatory message praising Israel for its unprecented election turnout:
A National Security spokesperson said on the election, “We are pleased to see such strong voter turnout for the Knesset election. It is too early to speculate on the exact composition of the next governing coalition until all the votes are counted. We look forward to continuing to work with the Israeli government on our shared interests and values.”
Not a word about the actual outcome of the election. Not a word about the rampant fascism of the new government; not even a whimper of discomfort. Not-a-word.
As for the US Israel Lobby, the cat’s got their tongue:
U.S. Jewish-organizations, by and large, remained silent against Ben-Gvir’s potential inclusion, undoubtedly partially motivated by his growing popularity that was validated by Tuesday’s election results. None of the key U.S. Jewish establishment organizations have yet to comment on the results.
What do we stand for as Jews? Is blood more imporant than values? Have we been reduced to apologists for apartheid and looming Jewish-Muslim holy war? What will it take to utter even a word?
Leader of the British Opposition, Keir Starmer, even waxed rhapsodic about how a mere election couldn’t diminish the “shared values” between the UK and Israel. What shared values? Genocide? Mass murder? Stolen lands? Trampled rights? Is this what he means? I suppose if you want to go back to the era of Empire, Britain did represent many of these odious values. But haven’t we learned any lesson from that?
Here is his spokesperson:
”I would make a broader point that we would say about any country, and that is there will always be disagreements one can have around policy and politics and the rhetoric that individual politicians might use.
“But that doesn’t change the fundamental nature of the relationship between the two countries.
“We continue to believe in a strong relationship between Britain and Israel, and that transcends party politics.”
Politics are at the heart of national relationships. You cannot, or at least should not, have a relationship with a country that is devoid of politics. And certainly in this case, the problem is inherently political. There comes a time when nations must decide that the tide of fascism should be resisted rather than coddled. Do we not remember Neville Chamberlain’s deal with the devil? What must we wait for? Another Srebrenica (which was a similar mass murder of Muslims by Serbian fascists)?
Some other comments from UK pro-Israel figures:
One senior Labour figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the JC: “If Smotrich and Ben Gvir do end up as ministers, that is going to make life for those of us who count ourselves as Israel’s friends more difficult. It will strengthen the hand of those who claim that Israel is not upholding the inclusive values we support.”
…Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge said: “The return of Benjamin Netanyahu to front-line politics in Israel is concerning for Israeli democracy…
“He has promised to bring into government far-right ideologues from the Religious Zionism party, whose extremism poses significant concerns for pluralism in Israel and working towards a two-state solution. In my view this could well exacerbate tensions rather than ensure the security and peace that Israeli citizens want.”
And Jewish Labour Movement national chair Mike Katz said: “Netanyahu’s coalition with extremists, in his bid to avoid justice, is damaging the foundations of Israel’s democracy. #”The values of Ben Gvir, Smotrich and their ilk are an utter betrayal of the principles upon which Israel was founded.”
No Mike, their religio-fascist views are the (implict) principles on which Israel was founded. One might argue that originally someone might have been deceived into thinking it was otherwise. But over time, it has become clear that these extremist values were embedded in Israel’s founding and eventually became explicit, as they are now.
US progressive Democrats seem to have been struck dumb as well. Where are Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Pramila Jayapal? Are they too shell-shocked to speak? If they don’t, what do they expect from BIden, Blinken and their lot? Without a strong voice, the administration will feel no pressure to do anything.
What should happen? All western nations should immediately ban Smotrich and Ben Gvir and anyone associated with their Jewish Power party. Anyone accused of committing an act of terrorism. Anyone remotely connected to the ideology of Meir Kahane should be considered persona non grata. It is a shame that the US removed Kahane from the Treasury Department terror list, because his disciples now own the levers of state power. It is a dream their rebbe could hardly have imagined.
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) November 2, 2022
Above is an example of the thuggish violence we have in store. Apologists may say: these are random thugs. They don’t mean anything. Any country has such thugs. That’s not the point. Yes, nations have thugs. But only fascist nations have thugs organized in gangs and under the auspices of the state. And if you think these Judeo-Nazis don’t represent the state and what the new government believes, you have a shock in store. Wait till you see the vicious K-9-like violence Judeo-Nazis like Bezalel Smotirch and Itamar Ben Gvir will unleash. It will be like Bull Connor’s dogs and firehoses, except on a national scale.
Under the current so-called center-right government (I laugh when journalists call it “center-left”), the army has murdered150 Palestinians, with massive invasions of towns and villages nightly, breaking down doors, ransacking homes, the stench of tear gas everywhere. Not to mention the dead. If this is what happens under a centrist government, what do you think will happen now? If rivers of blood are flowing now, it will become a raging torrent.
Netanyahu and Israel now join a long line of Euro-fascist governments including Italy, Hungary and Poland. Not to mention India and Russia. It’s no accident that the Israeli leader has deliberately cultivated close relations with all of them. Some of them, like Poland and Hungary, are explictly anti-Semitic. In their case, they can hate Jews, but love Israel. Why? Because Israel hates Muslims and foreigners. Because like them, Israel is dominated by a nostalgia for an ancient national past. Like them, the country is dominated by religious fundamentalism. Israel is one of them. But Jews (meaning Diaspora Jews)? Not so much. They are liberal. They are secular. They support democracy. They live in, and embrace multi-ethnic societies. Our enemy, the fascists say. And Israel joins with them. It too hates the liberal Jews of America who disdain it for its violence and hate.
Israel’s ideological partners are not liberal democracies. Netanyahu knows or suspects that eventually the US, as a traditional liberal democracy, will turn on him. Already, opinion polls show marked declines in support for Israel. Even among American Jews. Progressive Democrats are beginning to raise their voices in opposition. They are proposing that the US condition aid on adherence to international law. All this will eventually become a torrent of disgust. That’s why he’s cultivating relationships with ideological soulmates. He will need them when he’s thrown out in the cold by western democracies.
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.