NOTE: Due to website technical difficulties my host had to restore this site to its latest backup. This meant that I had to republish my last two posts. Any comments published about these posts were unfortunately lost. I apologize for this and am working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Despite strong statements of opposition from US rabbis, leaders of major Jewish organizations and progressive groups, the US State Department announced it would grant Bezalel Smotrich a diplomatic visa to speak before an Israel Bonds conference on March 12th. American Jews overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli fascist government. They are also shocked at the pogroms in the West Bank and specifically the horrific violence in Huwara, which has continued for over a week, with residents still largely sealed in their homes by the IDF and marauding settlers.
Smotrich has been the leading cheerleader for these vigilante attacks. Because a Palestinian who killed two Israelis did so near Huwara, the Israeli minister and his settler disciples have singled the village out an imposed a reign of terror. Shortly after the pogrom began, Smotrich said that Huwara should be “wiped out.” Israelis immediately seized on this as advocacy of genocide. That, in turn, what aroused the ire of the US Jews who demanded that he be excluded from the US.
Later, Smotrich released a new statement in which he said that he spoke in the heat of emotions and that he didn’t mean, God forbid, that settlers should eradicate Huwara. But rather than the army and police should do so. The radical right, burned by their explicit endorsement of genocide has adopted created a (false) distinction between civilian vigilante justice: bad. And state-sanctioned genocide: good, or at least acceptable.
The State Department’s Barbara Leaf has latched on to this distinction with no difference and claimed Smotrich had “walked back” his original comment. Believe me, he hasn’t. Anyone who says otherwise either doesn’t have a clue what these fascist genocidaires stand for; or desperately needs to find something to justify a rancid US decision.
The State Department released this statement justifying its complicity with terrorists:
A senior U.S. official said that during the internal consultations at the State Department, the overall understanding was that there is a very high bar both politically and legally for denying a diplomatic visa for a minister of a U.S. ally.
Nonsense, the US could have told him not to come at all. They could have warned him that if he did they would detain him at the airport and shipped him back on the next flight out. Believe me, he wouldn’t have left Ben Gurion airport, let alone tried to speak to Israel Bonds. There is absolutely no reason for the US to admit a terrorist caught with 700 liters of gasoline intended to explode on Israel’s major highway to protest the Gaza withdrawal.
By admitting him to the US, we become complicit in his foul, racist, genocidal rhetoric and his terrorist past. The Biden administration has not only made a grave policy error; it has discredited itself entirely regarding its entire Israel-Palestine policy (it wasn’t terribly persuasive to begin with).
Smotrich also posted to Facebook a 1600-word “explanation” of his behavior. It was an attempt to appear self-reflective and sensitive to the ire his statements aroused. He woke up “in shock,” he begins, at the furor his words caused. And he had a heart-felt need to explain himself. He began by recounting an encounter he had with an old friend in the IAF. The friend told Smotrich that his fellow pilots were angry at him for his statements:
He explained to me that some of the pilots had understood my remark as a call for the IAF to ‘wipe out’ Huwara and its residents from the air. Such an intent, on the part of a senior minister and member of the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet, in combination with what they perceive to be the granting of unchecked power to the government as a result of judicial reform, had caused them real anxiety,” he wrote.
“In their view, this could result in the IAF being given such an absolutely illegal order, which of course they were not prepared to carry out,” he added.
This, he continued, cast in a different light the recent announcement by a group of Israel Air Force reserve fighter pilots that they would skip a day of combat training in protest against the proposed judicial reforms.
“It wasn’t a matter of cynical campaign excuse by the pilots in the context of the opposition to the reforms, but rather real and deep concern that had led them to do what they had,” he said.
“It is important for me to first apologize to the IDF and its commanders, with an emphasis on the IAF, if I had a part in breaking the trust so important between the IDF, as the people’s army, to the elected [government]” Smotrich wrote.
This is utter nonsense. Self-interested puerile puffery. It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. Smotrich, who never served in the IDF because of his terrorist background, now manages to appropriate the heroes of the air forces as foils for his political rehabilitation.
It’s the height of chutzpah that Israel Bonds invited Biden administration officials to address their conference. Imagine Barbara Leaf and Tony Blinken sitting on the dais with an Israeli ex-terrorist.
There will be two protests by Jewish groups in DC on the 12th. The first will be outside the Grand Hyatt, the location of the Bonds event. It is sponsored by the DC chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. The second will be outside the White House. The White House group will march to the Grand Hyatt and join the JVP members there.
It is absolutely critical that everyone join these rallies. And please do not be put off by the language appearing to recruit Jews to the rallies. Everyone must oppose this disastrous Israeli government and its mafiosi officials.