From the top, Knesset member Moshe Feiglin, Israeli students, Gaza, Knesset member Ayalet Shaked. Photos, in the same order: Wikipedia, Press TV. The Independent (UK). The Independent (UK).
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Reading the news that pours in from Gaza and Israel, I am struck by one glaring fact: more and more, Israel has come to resemble Germany during Hitler’s mad days. In its attacks on Gaza and the West Bank, Israel is clearly engaging in a plan of ethnic cleansing. Within Israel itself, attacks against Palestinian citizens have increased, as have attacks on peace advocates, with violent gangs of Right-wing haters attacking as the police stand by and do nothing. I remember these same ugly images and the same ugly words from the Civil Rights days of the 1950s and 60s. Though this is nothing new in Israel, its open, focused hatred is now spouted by people in positions of power.
Well-known Knesset member Ayalet Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party recently called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.” On Monday, July 7, she posted these hateful words on her Facebook page: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their bloom shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there” (source: Press TV).
Mira Bar Hillel, Property and Planning correspondent of the Evening Standard wrote this about Ms. Shaked in The Independent on 11 July, 2014: “She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian – and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.”
Another member of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, who hopes one day to be Prime Minister, blatantly talks of cleansing Gaza of its Palestinian residents, who, except for its defenders, will be “permitted to leave.” He makes no distinction between able-bodied adults and children, the elderly, or the disabled. “Gaza will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel” (Manhigut Yehudit, July 15, 2014). On his Facebook page, he says this: “The momentum toward citizenship for all residents of Israel, is part of the Zionist ideology based on Western culture. If not checked, it will effectively transform Israel from a Jewish state to a state with some Jewish citizens” (emphasis mine).
His proposal for Gaza? “To give them ‘one warning’ that Israel is about to attack. If Gazans want to avoid death they must leave ‘immediately.’ They can go to the Sinai Desert in Egypt: ‘This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts’.” (Source: Richard Forer’s blog: “Knesset Member’s Solution for Gaza”)
In his “The Torah Peace Plan,” published in Manhigut Yehudit, Mr. Feiglin quotes from Numbers 33:53-55, which reads “You shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land and you shall dwell in it. And if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you and it will come to pass that those that you leave behind will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and they will harass you in the Land in which you dwell.” Verse 56 reads “If you do not drive them out, I will destroy you as I planned to destroy them” (source: Good News Bible). There is no good news anywhere in those words if you are Palestinian.
Mr. Feiglin goes on to say: “If you were looking for a peace plan, here it is. Israel must move forward toward the reality in which all the Land is in our hands. No foreign nation should have a foothold in our Land. If they do, we will lose our own hold on the Land and evaporate. Any peace plan that does not take this into account is pure deception.” Life under Moshe Feiglin’s rule would not be pleasant for a single Palestinian or other non-Jewish resident. It would be like living as a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, knowing that, one way or another, you will have to leave.
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If what Ms. Ayalet and Mr. Feiglin say and believe seem evil to you, they are. Welcome to reality, the world that, from the beginning, has been the dream of Israel’s founders and leaders. Everything else is propaganda and lies.
The one glaring problem with this formula for building a haven for the Jewish people is that its foundation is an ideology made up of resentment, hatred of the “Other,” and “chosenness,” the belief that Jews are special and have a right to do what they want in a land in which they maintain a tribal purity, even if they have to erase everyone else to do it.
Where resentment, fear, hatred and chosenness are common, peace, compassion and tranquility are not. The result is a dystopian place in which no sane person would want to live. On the other hand, angry, resentful and vengeful people like Ms. Shaked and Mr. Feiglin and their kin thrive there. Interesting to note that there are more Israeli citizens living elsewhere than in Israel, as it is perceived as too dangerous a place to live. Given the current situation there, it is.
No really rational person advocates the kind of things Ms. Shaked and Mr. Feiglin advocate. In my experience, only dangerous people do. In positions of power such people are very dangerous indeed.
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What about the future? Will Israel be willing to change its identity from a Jewish State to a state of all its citizens? That seems very doubtful, given the mindset of most of its citizens and political leaders. Israel has literally painted itself into a corner in which it will be forced to relinquish all the stolen land in the Occupied Territories, its dreams for gaining control of a Gaza stripped of its Palestinian citizens, and its stolen property in East Jerusalem and return them to their rightful owners.
Will Israel give full citizenship rights to its Palestinian citizens, or has it painted itself into a corner here as well? Good question. If it does eventually agree, it will take a lengthy oversight by UN monitors to make certain such a reform is carried out and maintained. Taking into account Mr. Feiglin’s comment that “No foreign nation should have a foothold in our Land. If they do, we will lose our own hold on the Land and evaporate,” it will not be an easy task. Fearful, resentful people don’t give these things up easily.
My hope is that saner heads will win out, and soon. In the meantime, the rest of us need to focus on protecting and advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people, demanding that Israel recognize these rights, stop treating the Palestinian people with contempt, and begin treating them with respect as human beings. From there peace might actually have a chance to grow.