If you listened to the statements coming from the right – which has ruled the country almost continuously for the past 35 years – Israel is a radical leftist state, a sort of Venezuela of Hugo Chavez.
According to the right, everyone is a leftist: President Shimon Peres is, of course, the (leftist) elder statesman. The media is a leftist mafia; the Supreme Court, in the spirit of Che Guevara; the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet security service are former members of the Matzpen (Compass) revolutionary socialist movement; at least a few Israel Defense Forces generals were born as members of Breaking the Silence (the veteran combatants’ organization against an Israeli presence in the West Bank); Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is Rosa Luxemburg and Finance Minister Yair Lapid Leon Trotsky; the Labor Party and Meretz are Maoists; and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been marked as a suspect.
The latest outcry is the freshly appointed – and newborn leftist – State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan. Everyone is a leftist, everyone is guilty.
In a country in which there is no curse more poisonous than “leftist,” there is no fabrication more baseless than branding these people and institutions as such. Every suspect has become persecuted, every “leftist” has become a synonym for traitor, at the same time that being right wing or even extremist and violent has become a badge of honor in Israeli society.
This is the way of the right: To falsely tag people, to extort, threaten, intimidate and afterward to reap the harvest. And it works – wow, how it works.
Take the media, for example. There is no greater collaborator with the occupation in Israel, but the hypocritical rightist Cossacks still continue to cry they have been robbed. The media happily adopts the language of the occupation and all the false versions of its instigators. It represses, deceives, hides, evades and denies – and this is still not enough for the right. It provides mostly nonsense and entertainment, abuses its position, dumbs things down and blinds – and the right is still discriminated against. A media debate between “right” and “left” has already become just a discussion between the extreme right and the “moderate” right – and the right is still alarmed.
Journalist Amnon Abramovich, who reviles the prosecution in the Avigdor Lieberman affair, is a leftist, and there is certainly no point in even mentioning Channel 2’s Arad Nir. Even Yedioth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea is under suspicion. The populist Yedioth Ahronoth and Channel 2 are also under suspicion.
The same goes for the Supreme Court. The institution that never dared express its opinion on the legality of the settlements, which bows its head in face of almost every whim of the defense establishment, which for many years has purified quite a few impurities and crimes in the occupied territories, which cowardly evaded, for years, ruling on such fateful issues as targeted killings and torture – is considered left wing.
Even the commanders of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division – those who are directly responsible for the maintenance of the occupation and its strengthening, such as major generals Noam Tibon and Nitzan Alon – were attacked by the right and branded leftist extremists. The first dared to evacuate some small illegal outpost and was harassed for months near his home; a “settlers’ intifada” was declared against the second, who dared to set a policy of “containment” for minor terrorist events.
And even the heads of the Shin Bet, those responsible directly and personally for the crimes of the occupation, who only came out against it outrageously late in the documentary “The Gatekeepers,” were branded for eternity.
And the latest one is Nitzan, who, despite steadfastly defending the positions of the occupying state, has been declared the “most extreme of the extreme leftists,” as MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) has called him.
This McCarthyism works: Maj. Gen. Alon and Shai Nitzan will be very careful what they do from now on, if they are not endowed with extraordinary courage and honesty.
The end result is simple: The enterprises of the occupation and settlements continue to prosper, as they have never flourished before; the cracks in Israeli democracy are widening; nationalist and racist laws are being legislated serially and without interference.
Israeli society is becoming more and more right wing and nationalistic. The true left is disappearing, converging into a handful of groups and organizations – determined but tiny – and it is only they who truly (and proudly) deserve the title “radical left.” The chance for a peace agreement is also vanishing in front of our eyes.
This is how an extreme left-wing state looks. And with such an “extreme left,” who even needs the right?
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