[News] Israel's genocidal political culture
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 3 11:29:01 EDT 2017
Israel's genocidal political culture
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 2
On 11 October 1994, Israeli lawmaker Rehavam Ze’evi
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/rehavam-zeevi> and his wife Yael
sent a brief letter to Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara
congratulating the couple on the birth of their son Avner.
Netanyahu was at the time the head of the Likud Party and the leader of
Israel’s official opposition.
“Dear Sara and Bibi,” the letter begins. “Many Jewish children and the
transfer of the Arabs are the answer to the demographic problem. Mazel tov!”
The Tel Aviv newspaper /Haaretz/ found
<https://www.haaretz.co.il/news/untouched/1.4564576> the letter in the
archives of Ze’evi, who was also known as “Gandhi.”
But the late general espoused anything but the peaceful politics with
which his namesake is associated.
Lived and died by the sword
Ze’evi was a founder of Moledet
an Israeli party espousing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians –
euphemistically known as transfer – in order to maintain Israel as a
It also emerged last year that Ze’evi was a serial rapist, a
cold-blooded killer and an associate of organized crime
Ze’evi died as he lived. He was assassinated by members of the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 2001, while serving as tourism
minister, in order to avenge Israel’s killing of that group’s leader,
Abu Ali Mustafa, 40 days earlier.
Ayman Odeh <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ayman-odeh>, the head of
the Joint List, a group of lawmakers representing Palestinian citizens
of Israel in Israel’s parliament, commented on the letter, noting that
Ze’evi is “the man whose legacy Netanyahu does not want you to forget.”
Odeh might have been referring to the fact that Netanyahu, along with
much of Israel’s ruling establishment, still honors Ze’evi as a national
Since 2010, Israel’s education ministry has required public schools to
dedicate one day a year to honor Ze’evi. But the adulation is not
universal. This year, the principals of Tel Aviv’s schools defied the
/Haaretz/ notes that while it found Ze’evi’s letter in his estate
archives, “unfortunately the collection does not contain Netanyahu’s
But there’s little reason to think Netanyahu would have objected to
Ze’evi’s violent anti-Palestinian views.
This week marks the anniversary of the 4 November 1995 assassination of
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/yitzhak-rabin> by Yigal Amir, an
Israeli Jewish extremist who opposed the 1993 Oslo accords between
Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Rabin’s widow Leah blamed Netanyahu
his role in inciting the murder of her husband.
This week Peace Now tweeted out notorious video footage of the hate
rallies preceding Rabin’s murder, in which the prime minister is called
a Nazi and a traitor.
Netanyahu can be seen in glimpses of the video.
Rabin’s killing paved the way for Netanyahu to win power, becoming prime
minister in an election the following year.
In a tweet, Eli Valley, the American Jewish cartoonist
suggested <https://twitter.com/elivalley/status/925373849339916295> that
the video of “Netanyahu at rallies comparing Rabin to a Nazi/calling for
his murder should be shown in every Hebrew/Jewish day school on earth.”
Valley might have meant that as a challenge to how normalized the
culture of violence and ethno-racial hatred embodied by the likes of
Ze’evi and Netanyahu has become in Israel and among its supporters
around the world.
Myth of peace
Today, Israeli politicians and public figures who espouse expulsion of
the Palestinians to deal with the so-called “demographic threat
increasingly confident and their ideas enjoy considerable public support
The kinds of rallies inciting Rabin’s murder are commonplace in Israel,
though the cry is more typically “death to the Arabs
As for Rabin, he is still lionized as a man who gave his life for peace
by the so-called international community and what still passes for an
The myth has taken hold that had Rabin not died, the “peace process”
would have stayed on the rails and ended in a two-state solution.
But as Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister and negotiator,
told /Democracy Now/ more than a decade ago
this is wishful thinking.
Ben-Ami called Oslo “an exercise in make-believe” whose ambiguities
allowed the parties to clinch a deal in the short term, but only stored
up for the future the irreconcilable differences that would and did
bring the whole thing apart.
For one thing, the Oslo accords failed to make any mention of
Palestinian self-determination. This suited Rabin, who according to
Ben-Ami was only willing to consider granting the Palestinians a
“He never thought this will end in a full-fledged Palestinian state,”
In other words, Rabin’s ultimate goal was little different from that of
Netanyahu, the current prime minister still accused
of helping put his predecessor in his grave: to unload the political
burden of ruling over the Palestinians, while maintaining real,
permanent control of their land and their lives.
“Force, might and beatings” … and ethnic cleansing
For Palestinians, Rabin will always be remembered as the officer who
the 1948 ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of people from Lydda and
And he will be remembered as the defense minister who tried to put down
the first intifada, which began 30 years ago next month, with “force,
might and beatings.”
The video images
of Israeli soldiers deliberately breaking the bones of young
Palestinians on Rabin’s orders are an indelible reminder of that time.
There are no heroes in Israel’s genocidal political culture.
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