Opinion

Gideon Levy and Benny Morris Support Netanyahu for the Wrong Reasons

If Israel has become a leper among the presumably enlightened circles in Europe and the United States, the credit goes to Levy, Morris and their ilk

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, January 14, 2019.
Ofer Vaknin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in big trouble if he has received the support of Gideon Levy and Benny Morris, both of whom have a tendency to sanctify the substandard, to distort the truth and to destroy everything that is good. Levy reached a peak of loathing of Israel Defense Forces soldiers when he wrote in Haaretz about “the lowest deeds from the loftiest heights,” referring to the Israel Air Force pilots in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza; and historian Morris, under the pretense of exposing historical truth, described the Israel War of Independence as a planned campaign of slaughter, rape and war crimes, whose purpose was the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Both have denigrated Israel on every international platform, Levy in the press and Morris in academe. Their articles and books are cited by Israel-bashers, who find in them evidence of the satanic nature of the Jewish state. If Israel has become a leper among the presumably enlightened circles in Europe and the United States, the credit goes to Levy, Morris and their ilk.

The New Historian and the self-righteous journalist are not ideologues with an ethical world view, they are prophets of lies, ruin and destruction, who have also caused damage at home: Levy’s description of IDF soldiers as storm troopers has a hypnotic influence on large numbers of young people, who complete their indoctrination by adopting Morris’ distorted narrative.

Under his influence they stop believing that the Jewish state, which was established on the stolen lands of the fictitious Palestine, and continues to maintain its occupation with the help of its army of storm troopers, has a right to exist.

Even when they repent, both men continue to echo a hollow and cruel world of values, and this time from the opposite direction: Levy supports Netanyahu for the wrong reasons: Instead of supporting his just battle against Iran’s nuclear program, he supports his unjust battle in favor of placing politicians above the law. And Morris, who repented already in 2004, said, referring to the Palestinians “there are wild animals there that must be caged one way or another,” and if not, he already predicts, “this place will sink and the Jews will remain a persecuted minority. Anyone who can will flee to America.”

There is a nihilist echo in Morris’ prophecies and Levy’s support for Netanyahu. As opposed to the culture of the hollow lie that they represent, we should once again mention the ancient truths: The Jewish people did not steal from other nations, but bought what was always theirs with a great deal of money. And there was no other exiled people like the Jews, who longed for their homeland in their songs and prayers; the vision of the ingathering of exiles woven by its poets and prophets is not a strange fantasy of isolated communities, but a vision shared by all members of the nation. They fulfilled it throughout the generations, with hard work, sweat, blood and tears. It was not destruction that their vision brought upon the nations of the East, but progress and prosperity, which they are willing to share with others.

That does not mean that the State of Israel doesn’t exaggerate somewhat in its use of force or that IDF soldiers are saints in every situation. Far from it: We are flesh and blood and sometimes act out of a pride or greed, are drunk with power or surrender to our weaknesses. That is the risk we took upon ourselves when we “returned to history,” as Gershom Scholem put it.

In other words, we took responsibility for our fate as a nation, and we are forced to make tough and sometimes painful decisions. In order to supervise ourselves we established a judicial system, which Levy omits in effect, and which Morris will ignore when he puts the Palestinians into cages before he escapes from here.