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Israel's Public Security Minister Serves as the Wake-up Call

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Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, also minister of strategic affairs.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Gilad Erdan will continue to act so that “those who want to bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish state will pay the price for their actions. ... And whoever turns up their nose, you already know what will happen to them.” This is the threat the public security minister of Israel posted on his Facebook page this week, in response to a Haaretz editorial.

He also added a visual – because what is hate propaganda without a graphic? – of a no-entry sign on the background of the Israeli flag, with the slogan “Haaretz – both fake news and supporting the BDS activists.”

Minister Erdan plays a key role in the historical farce we are forced to live in. Sometimes, it seems that we’re in the middle of a history lesson, trying to answer the fundamental question of the second half of the 20th century: “How did it happen?” Well, at least we won’t die without learning the answer. How do societies fall? Because of people like Gilad Erdan.

When Erdan writes “those who want to bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish state,” it makes us rethink the words. If what we’re living now is the realization of Theodor Herzl’s dream, then we must ask: Do we still want a Jewish state? If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gilad Erdan are Jews, do we still want to be Jews?

When you look at Erdan and his ugliness – which peaked last month when he slandered an innocent civilian, who was shot to death by policemen in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, and accused him of carrying out a terror attack – it must be seen as an invitation to reexamine the Zionist project. After all, it’s unbelievable that a national movement whose official founding moment is the Dreyfus affair can stand idly by in view of such an incident.

It’s unbelievable that this liar, inciter, racist and nationalist still serves as a minister in Israel.

It’s unbelievable that even two Jewish Knesset members haven’t teamed up to demand that this political criminal be sent packing, if not to Siberia.

But Erdan probably doesn’t forgive himself. Even criminals have a conscience, even if they refuse to obey it. His subconscious seems to cry out on Facebook: you have to pay for your actions.

In his foolishness, Erdan does a great job of framing the rationale for an economic boycott of Israel. For 50 years, Israelis have been driving everyone crazy, harnessing all of Jewish intelligentsia at the price of completely destroying it, to justify the continued occupation and military control of another people.

Something in the world’s message to the most brazen of nations seemingly doesn’t work. It’s time to explain the objection to the occupation with action – even, heaven forbid, if it offends our notorious sensitivity to money.

Erdan should be commended for reminding us just how despicable he truly is. Perhaps an espresso isn’t enough to wake up a society in a coma. Perhaps the sane public in Israel needs an electric shock in order to jolt it into action and shake off the racist regime that is staining the name of the Jewish people for generations to come. To shake off those who are casting us as heroes in the most ignoble moment in the history of the Jews.

There’s a certain moment in which explanations must come to an end. There’s a moment when words have to bow their heads to action, if only to recharge themselves with meaning.

The violent behavior of an Israeli police officer toward a Palestinian truck driver, in video footage aired in the media yesterday, is Nazi behavior. This is exactly what Nazism is. That’s what it looks like.

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t mean the officer’s act itself is like sending millions to the gas chambers. It just means that in a reality where there are gas chambers, this is the energy that harnesses society to take an active part in it.

Reality isn’t “there” yet, and perhaps it never will be. But the energy that enables it is already here. And the criminals conducting it – like every man – have a name.

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