- MY FIRST thought was: Good God, this man was responsible
for the lives of our soldiers!
- The second thought was: What's the big surprise? You
always knew what kind of person he was! After all, during his years as
the army's Chief of Staff he quietly supported the setting up of "illegal"
settlement outposts all over the West Bank!
- The third thought: And this person is now Vice Prime
Minister and a member of the "Sextet" the six ministers
who constitute the real government of Israel.
- THE OCCASION for these frightening thoughts was the participation
of Moshe ("Bogie") Ya'alon in a gathering of the Jewish Leadership
Faction. "Peace Now is a virus," he said there. And not only
they. "All the media" are also a virus. They influence the public
discourse "in a distorted manner, a lying manner". The virus
also includes "the elite" in general.
- In addition, the "politicians" are to blame.
"Every time the politicians bring in the dove of peace, we, the army,
have to clean up after it."
- His summing up: "The Jews have a right to settle
in any place throughout Eretz Israel." And if this upsets the Americans,
Ya'alon has a ready answer: "I am not afraid of the Americans!"
- All this was said a few days after Ya'alon paid a well
publicized visit to the occupied territories, accompanied by Shas leader
Eli Yishai and several other ministers of the extreme Right. This band
visited the settlement outposts, which the Israeli government long ago
promised the Americans to dismantle, and expressed total opposition to
their evacuation. They concluded their visit in Homesh, the West Bank settlement
evacuated by Ariel Sharon in the course of the "disengagement".
Ya'alon demanded the resettlement of the place.
- THESE TONES come together in a frightening melody, a
tune we know all too well. It is anthem of fascism.
- /First/: the term "elite". In the jargon of
the Israeli extreme Right, this includes everybody they hate: the intellectuals,
the universities, the liberal politicians, the Supreme Court, the media.
- The term is rooted in the Latin verb "eligere",
to pick out, meaning the best, the select. Since this is an undefined body,
the term can be applied to different targets. When the demagogues address
the Oriental Jewish masses, "the elite" clearly consists of the
Ashkenazis who rule the country. When addressing the religious community,
"the elite" consist of the secular, the atheist, who are strangers
to Jewish Tradition. When addressing the Russian immigrants, "the
elite" consists of the old established Israelis, the native born,
who obstruct the path of the new immigrants.
- When one bundles all these together, there emerges a
picture of "them" and "us". "Them"
the handful of arrogant old-timers, who occupy all the key positions in
the state, and "us" the simple, honest people, the patriots,
the keepers of tradition, the discriminated against, the oppressed.
- Every fascist group in the world entertains such a view
of "the elite".
- (Never mind that Ya'alon, like most of the other demagogues,
himself belongs to the elite. He was born in the country, an Ashkenazi
of Ukrainian descent. His original name was Smilansky. He is still officially
a member of an "elitist" kibbutz and belongs to the super-privileged
senior officers' corps.)
- /Second/: The traitors. There is an enemy within. This
is no less dangerous than the foreign enemy, indeed, much more dangerous.
When Ya'alon speaks about Peace Now, he means all the peace camp, the liberal
and secular section of society. That is the Fifth Column, the Trojan horse
within the walls. They have to be eliminated, before one can turn to fight
the foreign foe.
- /Third/: The "politicians". The demagogues
are, of course, themselves politicians, but they exclude themselves here.
Ya'alon paints a picture of "the politicians" who bring in a
disgusting peace dove, whose excrement the army has to clean up.
- The knavish, scheming, cowardly politicians on the one
side, the clean-cut, heroic, loyal army on the other that is a very
familiar picture. The best known example was current in Germany after World
War I. The "knife in the back" legend was a stepping stone to
power for Adolf Hitler: the German army stood up to the enemy and had victory
in its sights, when "the politicians", the Jews, the socialists
and the other "November criminals" stuck a knife in the back
of the heroic fighters.
- The peace dove leaves its droppings and the soldiers
are compelled to clean up the filth of peace.
- /And also/: "All the media". That is one of
the marks of fascism in Israel and throughout the world. The media are
always "leftist", "anti-national", they are the "hostile
media". The journalists and broadcasters are a secret league of Israel-bashers,
who spread lies and distort reality in order to undermine national morale,
defame the army, besmirch our national values and give comfort to the enemy.
- Reality is, of course, very, very different. The Israeli
media slavishly repeat the official propaganda in all national and security
matters. They are conformist to a high degree and mobilized from wall to
wall. There is not a single leftist newspaper in the country. Most political
correspondents repeat like parrots the statements of "official sources";
almost all the correspondents for Arab affairs are former army intelligence
officers; and almost all military correspondents serve as unofficial army
spokesmen. In the news pages and news programs, right-wing terminology
reigns supreme. But because in less important matters the media criticize
the government, as they are duty-bound to do in a democratic society, it
is easy to portray them as "leftist" and subversive. The same
is true for academia.
- /And finally/: The "virus". The description
of political opponents as infectious agents or disgusting vermin is one
of the most distinguishing features of the extreme Right. It is sufficient
to remember Dr. Joseph Goebbels' film "The Eternal Jew", in which
the Jews were shown as rats spreading disease.
- If one puts all these features together - the hatred
of "the elite", the glorification of the army, the contempt for
"the politicians", the demonization of the peace camp, the incitement
against the media it's the ugly face of fascism that emerges. Here
in Israel and all over the world.
- NO LESS important are the location and the company.
- Ya'alon spoke at a gathering of the "Jewish Leadership
Faction". This is a group of ultra-ultra rightists, who entered the
Likud with the declared objective of conquering it from within. It is headed
by one Moshe Feiglin, hence its followers are usually called "the
- On the eve of the last elections, Binyamin Netanyahu
made an all-out effort, using kosher and not-so-kosher means, to remove
Feiglin from the Likud's list of candidates. He was determined to avoid
the Likud being presented as an extreme-Right party. The Likud's main competitor,
Kadima, defined itself as a center or moderate-rightist party and tried
very hard to push Netanyahu to the right. Netanyahu thought that by driving
the Feiglins out he could blunt this attack.
- The question is whether this was his only aim. If so,
why did he raise Benny Begin, a person who personifies the far-right, into
a conspicuous place on the list? And why did he enlist and embrace Moshe
Ya'alon, who was already known as a person of extreme rightist views? That
embrace was very costly, since in the end Kadima, against all expectations,
won one seat more than the Likud.
- But Netanyahu, a born politician, had more than one objective
in mind. He was afraid that Feiglin would one day threaten his hold on
the Likud leadership. To forestall this possibility, he denied Feiglin
a seat in the Knesset.
- And here comes Ya'alon, Netanyahu's pampered protégé,
and joins Feiglin of all people. As the Hebrew saying goes, the swallow
went to visit the crow. But it is not quite clear who is the swallow and
who the crow. Is Feiglin using Ya'alon or is Ya'alon intending to
use Feiglin in order to position himself as the leader of a big extreme-Right
- ONE SHOULD also pay attention to Ya'alon's declaration
that "I am not afraid of the Americans". The Americans demand
the freezing of the settlements? To hell with them! Who do they think they
are? What, these Goyim are ordering us around? Barack Obama wants to tell
us where we can settle and where we can't?
- That is another feature of the emerging Israeli fascism:
the readiness to engage in an open confrontation with the United States,
and especially with President Obama. Already an Israeli campaign against
"Barack Saddam Hussein", the New Hitler, is in full swing. The
American Right and the Israeli Right easily find a common language. An
Israeli woman in the US is heading the well publicized effort to prove
that Obama was not born in the US, that his father never was a US citizen,
and that he should therefore be driven out of the White House.
- The whole thing borders on madness. Israel is dependent
on the US for practically everything: economic assistance, arms, intelligence
cooperation, diplomatic support like the veto in the Security Council.
Netanyahu is trying to avoid a confrontation by using every trick of deceit
and diversion. And here come Ya'alon & Co. and call for an open revolt
against the USA!
- There is method in this madness. The Israeli education
system glorifies the Zealots, who some 1940 years ago declared war on the
Roman Empire. The Zealots became the leaders of the Jewish community in
Palestine and launched a revolt that had no chance at all of succeeding.
The rebels were defeated, Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple was burned
to the ground.
- THE BOGIE HORROR SHOW has wider ramifications.
- It presents a picture of a mad group of extremists challenging
the moderate, responsible Netanyahu. Netanyahu signals to Obama and his
people: Help! If you pressure me on the freezing of the settlements and
the dismantling of the outposts, it will be the end of me! My government
will fall, and you will have to deal with the crazies!
- That would be more convincing, if Netanyahu had used
his legal prerogative and dismissed Ya'alon from the government, even though
that represents a political risk. Instead, "Bibi" summoned "Bogie",
like a headmaster who summons a boy and orders him to write a hundred times
"I shall be a good boy". So Ya'alon remains Vice Prime Minister,
Minister in Charge of Strategic Affairs and a member of the governing Sextet
of Ministers (the others being Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Begin, Eli Yishai,
Dan Meridor and Binyamin Netanyahu himself.)
- This being so, Netanyahu cannot evade responsibility
for everything Ya'alon does and says.