Former IDF Soldier Criticizes Netanyahu, Neglects to Mention Israeli Apartheid
Far too many Israelis ignore the crimes of a corrupt, violent, and racist government.
Israelis and Americans shared delusional thinking. In America, the government has a free hand to start wars with the potential of ending life on the planet. The people, brainwashed and indoctrinated by state media (that claims to be a “free press”), support this insanity. Far too many Americans are intellectually lazy and prefer to have stenographic corporate media formulate their political opinions.
While the USG is an ultra-violent predator abroad, killing and laying waste to foreign lands in the name of sociopathic neoliberalism, at home, unlike Israel, the state is not actively murdering a native population. It did so in the past, of course, with so-called “Indians,” ethnic cleansing millions of hapless victims over a couple of centuries, but now focuses its destructive power on foreign nations.
This morning I read “I Took Up Arms to Defend Israel. Now I March Against Its Government,” an article posted in The Free Press by Matti Friedman.
Friedman rightly argues Israel is in the clutches of a “rightwing” government led by longtime fixture Bibi Netanyahu. Friedman is alarmed by the consolidation of power by the Likud party and its effort to render Israel’s judiciary irrelevant. “I’ve never been a Netanyahu voter,” he writes. “But I always assumed that when it came to matters of national security, he could be trusted.”
National security? Israel’s national security encompasses attacking neighboring countries and brutally subjugating millions of Arabs within its self-declared borders and “occupied territories.”
As part of his screed denouncing the authoritarian instinct of the Israeli “right,” Mr. Friedman mentions the Palestinians once in the context of Israeli settler violence and ethnic cleansing.
I believe Friedman, along with the vast majority of Israelis, is unable or unwilling to admit Israel’s “rightwing” Likud is a product of a racist and supremacist ideology. Likud was founded by Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon.
In 1942, Begin joined Irgun (Etzel), a paramilitary terror organization that conducted attacks against the British in what was then Mandate Palestine, a British colonial project initiated after the Ottoman Empire lost control over much of the Middle East following the Turkish defeat in WWI. British, French, and Italian troops occupied Istanbul in 1918.
Many Israelis consider Ariel Sharon to be a national hero. He was a commander of the Israel army, beginning with the 1948 “Palestine war” (viz., murder, razing Palestinian villages, concerted acts of ethnic cleansing). He went on to become the eleventh prime minister of Israel. Sharon was a bona fide war criminal, and yet Israelis decided to make him prime minister.
Sharon was responsible for allowing Lebanese fascists to enter the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps and murder hundreds (some sources say thousands) of Palestinian men, women, and children. The massacre occurred during Israel’s illegal invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Sharon was never held to account.
According to Human Rights Watch:
Sharon also escaped accountability for other alleged abuses, such as his role expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, prosecutable as a war crime. Sharon ordered the removal of all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and from four West Bank settlements in 2005, but the overall number of settlers in occupied territory increased significantly during his term as prime minister.
The diaries of Moshe Sharett, the second prime minister of Israel after Ben-Gurion, reveal the ethnic cleansing and war policies of the Israeli state following its establishment in 1948.
Livia Rokach conducted a study of Sharett’s diaries, subsequently published as “Israel's Sacred Terrorism: A Study Based on Moshe Sharett's Personal Diary and Other Documents.” According to a writeup on Roach’s book, Sharett’s diary
reveals how in the early 1950's Israeli leaders deliberately provoked Arab states by military operations and covert terrorist actions, stirred up mass hysteria in Israel, and began plotting the takeover of southern Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
In his article, Friedman mentions “the libel campaign waged by our enemies to demonize this country and make it easier to abandon and destroy.” He avoids all mention of the (largely sanitized) history of Israel and its deliberate campaign to turn neighboring Arab states into enemies. All efforts at coexistence were ignored in favor of establishing Israeli primacy in the Middle East.
Ralph Schoenman, in his book “The Hidden History of Zionism,” writes that from its inception, “the Zionist movement sought the ‘Armenianization’ of the Palestinian people. Like the Native Americans, the Palestinians were regarded as ‘a people too many.’ The logic was elimination; the record was to be one of genocide.”
As for “liberals” such as Friedman, Schoenman writes (in regard to “Labor Zionism”), they “sought to provide a ‘socialist’ patina for the colonial enterprise… the ‘Labor Zionists’ employed the methods of the workers’ movement to prevent the use of Arab labor; their objective was not exploitation but usurpation.”
The genocidal instinct of “rightwing” Zionism “has recently intensified its assault on Palestinian life,” writes Saree Makdisi.
It has stepped up its demolition of Palestinian homes, its deliberately terrifying midnight raids on Palestinian families, and its brutalization of Palestinians at checkpoints, in schoolyards, in olive groves, and on pastoral hillsides. And the soldiers of its occupation army have been shooting to kill Palestinian men, women, and children at a rate of more than one every single day so far this year.
The word “Palestinian” appears twice in Friedman’s article. First, in relation to “Palestinian terror attacks, and wars,” and secondly, “the murder by Palestinians of two Israelis in a West Bank town and a deadly mob attack by settlers in retaliation.”
Friedman does not mention Israeli apartheid, the daily murder of Palestinians by the IDF (where Friedman served), and decades of racist indignities piled upon Palestinians, who are portrayed as terrorists for attempting to resist occupation, apartheid, degradation, and ethnic cleansing.
I believe it is fair to say a large percentage of the Israeli people support this brutality. Far too many ignore the crimes of a corrupt and violent government that claims to represent them, while others actively support shooting children and journalists.
In America, a similar process of ignorance and knee-jerk patriotism guarantees consensus for the murder of well over a million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, and Libya.
It is unfortunate articulate and intelligent people like Mr. Friedman are incapable of understanding how “rightwing” (and, indeed, “leftwing”) Israelis are responsible for their own existential crisis. Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett (of the “New Right” party), and other racists and ethnic cleansers, fully in support of murderous and terroristic settlers, are routinely put into office by the Israeli electorate.
There is a tide rising against Israeli apartheid and the nation’s foreign policy (for instance, the routine bombing of Syria, occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights, and continually threatening to bomb Iran under the false pretense it has, or soon will have, nuclear weapons, while also assassinating scientists inside Iran).
Israel needs to accept a Palestinian state, as originally proposed under the 1947 Partition Plan, and make amends with the Palestinians (and address their grievances). Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen.
Israel will eventually confront an existential crisis as much of the world (minus the USG and its European satraps) begin to seriously demand justice for Palestinians, a people characterized by Lieut-Gen Rafael Eitan (who led the illegal invasion of Lebanon) as “drugged cockroaches scurrying in a bottle.”
Zionist revolutionary Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky was the founder of the Irgun, and his racist Betar movement was the spawning ground for Begin and the Likud. Netanyahu's father Benzion was Jabotinsky's personal secretary. modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=ZionTimeline
"Zionist colonization...must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population... As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes... A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left." -- Vladimir Jabotinsky, "The Iron Wall", 1923