[News] Israel's genocidal political culture

Anti-Imperialist News 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 
November 2017


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 
Jewish state.

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 
order <https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.817992>.

    Netanyahu’s incitement

/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 
<http://articles.latimes.com/1995-11-14/news/mn-3058_1_leah-rabin> for 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/demographic-threat>” are 
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 
Israeli left.

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,” 
Ben-Ami said.

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 
oversaw <http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/26/opinion/oe-morris26> 
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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