!New Trends in Israel’s Fascism

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

Extremist nationalism is known to stoke the fire of fascism. The Zionist State stands as one of the world’s last strongholds of fascism, as some Israeli leaders and officials have been recently tending to say, a view also confirmed by polls tracking opinions in Israel’s political society.

Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, warned lately of attempts by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expel the 1948 Palestinian politicians outside the Zionist States’ ‘democratic system’ on racist grounds. Plans were revealed recently designed to enable thousands of Jewish Israelis living abroad to vote in the general election in a bid to lay a siege on the 1948 Palestinians’ election power. On a more revealing level, a later editorial in Haaretz quoted David Bitan, Likud lawmaker and coalition chairman at the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) as saying he does not wish to see Arab citizens taking part in the election because “95% of them would vote for the Arab Joint List that does not represent them!!!, but represents the Palestinian (Authority) interest”! The newspaper also noted that Bitan’s statement may not be a passing comment, but could have practical connotations considering that his wish does not only denote his ignorance of the democracy laws, but also his racist position which reveals an ambition to carry out a political transfer of the 1948 Palestinians. Recently, the Israeli “defence minister” Avigdor Lieberman previously suggested land exchange involving expulsion of the 1948 Palestinians to the 1967 lands as a precondition for negotiations. Now Bitan seeks to expel them outside the walls of democracy!

For his part, Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennett plans recommendations for a “code of conduct” in the higher education institutes in a bid to minimize the political influence of the Israeli left in the universities. Israeli journalists Zohar Shavit and Yaacov Shavit jointly wrote a satirical article suggesting the recommendations proposed by Bennett be added to forbidden terminology along with a similar list that may be applied during lectures or debates and chats in the hallways or in the University cafe!! The two writers continued to say that as expected, the minister will soon find that his document will not be enough and will then move to send in his undercover men “armed with knowledge and disguised as university students in classes listening to every word that may go out of line”!!!

Israeli writer Sami Michael (an Iraqi Jew who migrated to Israel) spoke about a “filthy trinity” in Israel “represented in a corrupt regime, a greedy capital system that swallows everything and a violent metaphysical religion”. He said the Israeli society “stands paralyzed and confused before such a trinity, while Israel slips into the dark third world, moving far away from the enlightened democratic world”. He added that Israel is swarmed with armies of rabbis in the form of spiritual guides “whispering in our ears since circumcision until grave, many with immunity to criticism even if they were thieves, rapists, racist inciters protected by politicians who smell of fascism”. Michael concluded by admitting that in the reality of the occupation, “the violent settlement in a land that is not ours coupled with theft initiatives, makes the image of the violent occupier in the Israeli culture a source of admiration”!!! Within the same picture, Israeli writer Aviad Kleinberg said that “the Israeli prime minister really believes that when Jews steal Arab land, even in disregard of the law, they do an ethical Jewish act; stealing from the Arabs is always for the heaven and the pride and glory of Israel!” Thus, views expressed by Israeli writers and politicians are not isolated from the situation on the ground, in fact they do expose the fascist thinking of Netanyahu’s government.

The fascist mentality trends in Israel is not restricted to its influential leaders. It is perceived along the lines of the various sectors of its society which has shifted to the right and extreme right since the beginning of the past decade. Israeli opinion polls have shown a majority of Israelis supporting suppression of Palestinians. In the most recent poll conducted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) revealed a massive majority of Jews who believe that their state’s practices against the Palestinians do not represent a violation of human rights. Another result of the poll found that a little more than half of the Jews believe that similar practices carried out against the Jewish “settlers”/ colonizers represent a violation of human rights!! Furthermore, the poll showed the public’s position in regards to human rights presents a challenging and compounded image; Most of them show respect to rights and a desire to foster equality, but that the application of the value of rights in the eyes of many is limited to certain groups in a way that becomes oblivious to the rights of the Israeli Palestinians. Similar encroachment applies to civil societies in Israel. A poll conducted by Israel Democracy Institute found that 71% of the Israeli public believes that the Israeli civil and human rights organizations cause harm to the State and that 76% of those who consider themselves in the political centre, also view such groups as harmful since their phenomenon is not restricted to a sole political camp. Indeed, the encroachment of the right and extreme right wings in Israel now touch the boundaries of fascism with no deterrent in sight under, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “the most fiercely uncompromising rightist government in the history of the Zionist State”.