Israel's Right Has Run the Truth Out of Town

The brainwashing within Israeli society has been so effective that those who seek truth and justice or any adherence to international law have no choice but to rely on Israel’s friends abroad, Jews and non-Jews alike

Mordechai Kremnitzer.
Mordechai Kremnitzer
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Illustration. Credit: Amos Biderman
Mordechai Kremnitzer.
Mordechai Kremnitzer

The ideology of the right, which seeks to perpetuate the country’s hold on Judea and Samaria, expand Jewish control in the territories and, of course, remain in power, requires it to create and portray a reality whose connection with the truth is weak to nonexistent.

In this picture, the Palestinians in the West Bank’s Area A and Area B have already reached their desired objective. They control their fate and have nothing else to aspire to. In Area C, which is under Israeli control, an impeccable rule of law prevails. Israel Defense Forces soldiers fulfill their policing duties properly, and these have no corrupting influence on them. The Palestinians are Israel’s eternal enemies; their enmity is their essence. This refers both to the Palestinians who live outside Israel’s sovereign territory and the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, who are seeking to destroy Israel with their political parties.

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This misrepresentation is very popular among Israeli Jews. The reasons are clear: People tend to believe what they feel comfortable with, what makes them feel justified, what allows them to take pride in what is done in their name and to unequivocally identify with the IDF in which our children and grandchildren serve. That’s why many people in the center and on the left are also captivated by this great lie.

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Haaretz Weekly Episode 18Credit: Haaretz

Unfortunately, many of Israel’s judges, perhaps most of them, are also part of this captive audience. One of the clearest proofs of this was the willingness of the Supreme Court at the time to accept the state’s/defense establishment’s baseless claim that the route of the separation barrier was determined solely by security considerations, until unmistakable contradictory evidence was presented. The assumption of the courts that the planning and building system in Judea and Samaria operates in an egalitarian, businesslike and fair manner toward the Palestinians – which clearly contradicts reality – is another example.

Since this picture is a lie, those who market it must delegitimize those who reveal it as such, first and foremost human rights organizations such as Breaking the Silence, foreign human rights NGOs and activists outside Israel, and countries that recognize the lies, like Germany and France – essentially anyone who questions this so-called truth, like broadcaster Oshrat Kotler.

This is also why it is impossible to hold a discussion in Israel on the legitimate question of whether Palestinian attacks on military targets are acts of terrorism. This is why it was necessary to remove the international observers in Hebron by not extending their mandate, and thus send an encouraging message to those who harass the Palestinians there, even though the observers’ reports were never even published. The decision was based, in part, on a negative evaluation of the observers by the Judea and Samaria police. This is also how we can rebuff criticism by the state comptroller; we will ask the targets of the criticism what they think about it, and if they don’t like it, we’ll get rid of it.

The need to defend the lie at any price is so great that the state encourages the planting of agents in civil society organizations, hoping they can collect incriminating information. When this doesn’t work, as happened in the case of Breaking the Silence, they make false allegations against the organization, accusing it of treason and revealing state secrets. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his ministers and other minions pounced on these allegations as if they’d found a great treasure. The fact that the organization publishes only what the military censor allows didn’t help it. It took three years for the prosecution to discover there was no basis to the allegations, but no one apologized for making them and it’s doubtful the damage done to Breaking the Silence can be repaired. The slander’s purpose was thus achieved almost in full.

The false narrative includes another element that guarantees its success. Even those who don’t buy the lie are afraid to come out against it, fearing that their patriotism will be questioned. That’s enough to ensure the right’s domination, as was seen recently in the Central Elections Committee when Kahanism defeated democracy.

The incredible success of the right-wing narrative demonstrates that contrary to the right’s claims, the overwhelming majority of the Israeli media is very far from holding leftist views. If that were the case, this narrative would never pass. This triumph by the right has increased its appetite and the desire to create other false narratives. For a while now they’ve been selling us the notion of how to relate to elected officials who haven’t yet been finally convicted of an offense of moral turpitude. Under this narrative, any elected official’s act that doesn’t fit into this narrow definition is perforce as white as snow.

In this matter, too, the right’s success in corrupting our norms of public morality has been phenomenal. One could say that the right has succeeded in running truth out of town. It’s hard to shake off the impression that the brainwashing within Israeli society has been so effective that those who seek truth and justice or any adherence to international law have no choice but to rely on Israel’s friends abroad, Jews and non-Jews alike. We apparently needed AIPAC to point out the severity of the prime minister’s so-far successful moves to insert Meir Kahane’s disciples and Baruch Goldstein’s admirers into Israeli politics.

But even the shake-up delivered by AIPAC hasn’t stopped the Israeli political system from embracing racist Kahanists who support the murder of Arabs. It’s doubtful that under existing conditions it’s possible to truly understand the full force of the situation Israel has created in the territories without the exacting eye of international legal experts from abroad.

But there’s no need for an external eye to understand that what the prime minister has said about Arab parties in general working to destroy the state is both false and racist. Because of his status and influence, Netanyahu’s remarks, together with his move to whitewash the extreme-right party Otzma Yehudit and integrate it into Israeli politics, are far more destructive than things Michael Ben-Ari and his ilk have said.