Anti-Zionists in Israel's Government

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked represents a political stream in Israel for which the Third Reich was just a navigational error, a mistaken address

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Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaking at Israel Bar Association conference, Tel Aviv, August 29, 2017.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaking at Israel Bar Association conference, Tel Aviv, August 29, 2017.Credit: David Bachar
Uri Misgav

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked represents a political stream in Israel for which the Third Reich was just a navigational error, a mistaken address. These are people who essentially have no problem with the racial doctrine, as long as it serves the Jews and isn’t directed against them. Instead of the superiority of the Aryan race, they talk about the “sublime people” and the “chosen people.” Instead of purity of blood, they talk about a “Jewish majority” and “preventing assimilation.” For them, Lebensraum has become “Judaization of the Galilee” and the “Promised Land.” Individual rights are for the superior race; the inferior races (Arabs, blacks) can make do with the crumbs. At the very least, “bowing down” to their rights would be inconceivable.

These are the core values upon which Shaked re-formulated Zionism in her speech this week to the Israel Bar Association, thereby giving new life to the notorious UN resolution that Ambassador Chaim Herzog famously tore to pieces at the podium of the General Assembly – the one equating Zionism with racism.

Any normal democratic country, and certainly the country of the Jewish people, would rightly denounce Shaked and her ilk. Label them, isolate them, disavow and boycott them. In today’s Israel, they are distinguished members of the government. The first to put them there, after forging a “alliance of brothers” with them, was the prince of “the sane center,” Yair Lapid. In the current government, they’ve got their hands on key portfolios.

Thus has Israel placed its educational and legal-constitutional future in the hands of the Jewish Brotherhood party. This party is not just racist and backward, it is anti-Zionist by definition. Zionism aspired to build a national home for the Jews within safe and recognized borders and to build a model liberal democratic society. Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Nordau, A.D. Gordon, Weizmann and Ben-Gurion are surely turning over in their graves at the sound of this grotesque caricature that purports to speak in their name.

To some extent, Shaked is even worse than her party cohorts, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. At least they find justification for their ideological lunacy in religious-messianic faith. Shaked has lately made a point of wearing long sleeves for public appearances, lest she evoke the ire of the arbiters of Jewish fundamentalism, but she is thoroughly secular. In the absence of religion, she has to force Zionism into service of her racist nationalism. Shaked studied computer science, not law, and she does not have a degree in history either. So she would seem to lack the theoretical basis to understand that constitutional law and human rights are not things that can be twisted and distorted on the basis of a racial doctrine. To be sure, there were regimes that did so, and some took this very far.

The irony is that Shaked keeps talking about a “Jewish majority” while her party seeks to annex the territories, which would ensure that there is no Jewish majority within Israel’s borders. It’s not the 50,000 wretched Africans that she wishes to incarcerate and expel who will prevent a Jewish majority, but the millions of Palestinians – who will eternally denied full citizenship, the right to vote, freedom of movement and other basic freedoms.

Hence Shaked and her colleagues represent the epitome of anti-Zionism: They aspire to bring to ruin the Jewish national home and the model society. A darkness unto the nations. And instead of confronting her with this obvious truth, she is feted as the subject of a prime time “television profile” in which she shows off her shakshuka-making skills and gets a brave hug from Independence Day torch-lighter Lucy Aharish.

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