The Samaria Residents' Council launched a new viral campaign on social media Saturday night. A well-made animated video that was posted to YouTube and the organization's website shows a European man sitting in his office and leafing through a Haaretz-clone newspaper called Hasmol — a play on the Hebrew word for "left" as well as "small" that is common usage in Israeli right-wing circles to disparage the left — whose ever-changing top headline describes various false allegations against Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.
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The intercom on his desk rings, and in a scene that is repeated several times, a creaky voice announces, in English spoken with a cartoon-German accent, "Herr Sturmer, the Jew is here." In walks a Jewish character, carrying a saw or handcuffs, each time enthusiastically offering stories about Palestinian babies and children, the IDF and West Bank checkpoints. In exchange, the European — whose face is always hidden behind the newspaper — throws him a euro coin. The Jew rubs his hands together, the European laughs and shouts "Gut! Gut!" Classical music plays in the background, and both the volume and pace pick up.
The video, titled "The Eternal Jew?," reaches a peak when the image on the paper's front page is of the train tracks leading into a Holocaust-era death camp. The Jew asks "What now?" and the European tells him, "Go, take care of yourself." The Jew places his head in a noose and kicks away the stool he is standing on.
The last scene shows his body swinging from a tree, and we hear a voiceover of the text that appears on the screen: "The Europeans may seem different to you, but to them... you are exactly the same." Next to the Hebrew words (there are English subtitles) are the logos of the following organizations: The New Israel Fund, B'Tselem, Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, Rabbis for Human Rights, Peace Now, Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika) and Yesh Gvul.
The message is very clear. The Europeans were and remain Nazis. To them, Israeli left-wing organizations are carbon copies of the money-grubbing Yid who would sell his compatriots until he, too is no longer needed. The video shamelessly and bluntly uses classic anti-Semitic and Nazi tropes in the spirit of the blood libels, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and "Jew Suss."
The Jew has a long, grotesque nose, he is bent over and his black eyes shine when the coins are tossed at him. The master is called "Herr Sturmer," in a nod to the official paper of the Nazi party, Der Sturmer (and a common sobriquet for Haaretz in Internet comments by right-wing settler types).
There is nothing new about comparing leftists, peace activists, human rights organizations and journalists with Nazi collaborators. It reached its peak around the time of the Oslo Accords, together with using names like Yids or Jew-boys, Judenrat and quislings. One well-known visual expression of this sentiment came in the form of drawings or photoshopped images showing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a Gestapo uniform with a swastika armband.
Before today, however, this appeared to be the province of a relatively limited, marginal slice of what is considered the extreme right. The uploading of this video ups the ante in two ways. First, in that Europeans rather than Palestinians were cast in the role of the Nazis. Second, in that the video was produced and posted to the Internet by an organization that is solidly part of the establishment, the Samaria Residents' Council.
The council does specialize in provocations and blunt-edged campaigns, but it is an official representative of settlers in the Samaria region of the West Bank. Its chairman is Benny Katzover, a founding father of the settlements and a former chairman of the Samaria Regional Council. Just last week the committee held a large event in Jerusalem together with Lev Haolam, an organization founded for the purpose of marketing products from the settlements and undermining the boycott of such goods. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the event as part of his election campaign and even addressed the audience, saying, "I want to give my blessing to this important enterprise."
One of the questions that must be asked now is whether that blessing extends to the video. Is it acceptable to him and to other prominent politicians on the right, such as Habayit Hayehudi chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, or new Likud acquisition Benny Begin? It would be interesting to hear the opinions of right-wing leaders, intellectuals and activists about a video that compares the Europeans with eternal Nazis in disguise, and the peace and human rights organizations with those who collaborated with the Nazis out of greed. At the same time, it would be just as interesting to hear the reactions to the campaign in Europe in general and in Germany in particular.
"In recent years the support of foreign entities and governments for extreme left-wing organizations in Israel has been increasing. These are foreign governments whose entire purpose is to destroy the lives of the Jews in the Land of Israel in general and beyond the Green Line in particular, and which fund them to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros," the director of the Samaria Residents' Council, Sagi Keisler, said in a response. "The purpose of the video is to make it clear that in the best case, the Israeli leftist organizations are behaving as useful idiots in the service of modern anti-Semitism. In the worse case, they are consciously acting for the destruction of the State of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people."