Israel's Self-victimizing Right Is Misleading the People

The savage attack of the extreme, self-victimizing right is misleading the whole system, causing it to think that maybe it really does represent the majority, and apologize for not adhering to its ideology.

Merav Michaeli
Merav Michaeli
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Merav Michaeli
Merav Michaeli

"Finally, the right is beginning to rule," said MK Uri Ariel (National Union ) after the vote to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee.

The entire paradox is embodied in one man. Ariel is a declared rightist, a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee from the beginning of the term, while at the same time in the opposition, which is supposed to be non-right. He has served as head of the settlers' council, head of the Defense Ministry's settlement division, a board member of the Jewish National Fund and the first council head of the settlement Beit El. Yet he feels that only now "finally the right is beginning to rule.

Ariel's resume alone exemplifies exactly to what extent the right has been ruling here for a very long time, including when the "left" was supposedly in power. And yet we hear that cry of the assailant posing as victim.

The Supreme Court and the media, which according to MK Yariv Levin (Likud ) must also be conquered in order to rule, have never been leftist. The Supreme Court and the media, in different ways, are mainly liberal. The good old patriarchal liberalism, advocating equality and freedom, but without renouncing the hegemony and supremacy of the white, secular, but very Jewish man.

The Supreme Court permitted practically all the settlements, the roads to them and the perks they get, and legitimized the separation wall and the extrajudicial executions. It enables ultra-Orthodox men's exemption from military service and Orthodoxy's exclusive control over conversion, marriage and divorce. It allows segregation between men and women and permits state laws based on halakha, like forbidding public transportation on the Sabbath. In fact, the Supreme Court has preserved all the right's interests and strengthened them.

The media are pro-establishment by nature. They identify with the ruling power, until they don't, according to their own need for drama. The media glorified Menachem Begin as it glorified Yitzhak Rabin, protected Ariel Sharon as it abused Shimon Peres and supported both the Oslo Accords and Operation Defensive Shield. They employ a large number of women and display them frequently, but in inferior positions and as sexual objects and they support anything Jewish and patriotic (like the Tzohar rabbis' marriage ceremonies, for example ).

The right and its positions have been abundantly represented in the media, which have effectively disseminated these positions and strengthened them.

But the right did not invent this paradox. This is exactly the paradox in which Israel has always conducted itself as a state, increasingly so since 1967. A strong, thriving, flourishing Israel is occupying the West Bank and Gaza in one format or another, oppressing the Palestinian people in these territories on a daily basis, and at the same time, entertains a victim's self-image and awareness and portrays itself to the world as such. Both Israel and the right use the victim's position to justify their aggression against Israelis, non-Israelis, institutions and other states.

This is why Israelis have trouble discerning that the right, now running amuck in a frenzied bid to take over all the authorities - especially those that aren't supposed to be under the government's power - isn't really a victim. The performance of a victim attacking indiscriminately evokes a familiar feeling in most people, one they recognize immediately, and identify with regardless of the performance's content. In the habit of presenting ourselves, the strong ones, as victims, the right wing's violent, bullying victimization performance bypasses the public's rational common sense, landing straight in the heart, which is used to that feeling of self-righteousness.

In this emotional sense, and only in this sense, the right really does represent the majority. This is how the Israeli public misses the fact that the extreme right does not represent the majority and has no concern for the majority's interests. This is how the public fails to see that what the extreme right wants to accomplish with the latest onslaught of legislation is not good for most people, not even in its practical everyday meanings, regardless of the Palestinians.

The savage attack of the extreme, self-victimizing right is misleading the whole system, causing it to think that maybe it really does represent the majority, and apologize for not adhering to its ideology. Well, for the record, the extreme right already knows very well it is no victim. But it also knows how much it can benefit from playing that card. Just like Israel does.

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