The campaign slogan that brought Benjamin Netanyahu to power in 1996, “Netanyahu is good for the Jews,” was chosen after a poll was conducted by his adviser Arthur Finkelstein, who asked Israelis: “What are you first, Israeli or Jewish?” Since then the prevailing paradigm has been that those who describe themselves as Jewish first are rightists, while those who identify as Israeli first are leftists.
When Shimon Peres managed to lose to Netanyahu five minutes after the murder of the Israeli prototype, Yitzhak Rabin, he refused to consider his defeat a personal matter. In an interview with Daniel Ben Simon, he said he wasn’t the one who lost, it was the Israelis, and the Jews defeated the Israelis.
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“The Jews won” – that’s what I thought when I looked at the pictures of the Israeli-American delegation in Abu Dhabi. Netanyahu and Jared Kushner did it. The Jewish son-in-law of the U.S. president closed the deal. With F-35s, without F-35s, let’s not be childish, the Jews from both delegations are winking at us. Israel isn’t really sovereign, it’s an American protectorate in every way. The Americans are the guarantors of our security, so let them do business quietly.
Netanyahu and the right detect resentment on the left concerning the peace agreement; they ask: Why aren’t you happy like you were for the previous peace deals? For years you’ve been going on about peace and a new Middle East, and now we’re bringing you peace. And just because of the Bibi hatred and because we’re not handing over territory, you’re finding it hard to say something nice?
It’s driving the right crazy: Why are the leftist suckers insisting on paying for peace if Netanyahu gets it for us for free?
This feeling of resentment should be understood in the context of Netanyahu’s rise and the intra-Israeli significance of the victory of the Jews over the Israelis – it’s connected to the giving up on sovereignty and a withdrawal back to the pre-Israeli identity; that is, to the Jewish identity. Otherwise you get a distorted picture of self-hatred – why should the Jews be upset that “the Jews won”?
When you replace Jews with right-wingers and Israelis with leftists, you realize that it’s not only the Palestinians who were left out of the party; the Israelis were left out too. It’s no coincidence that Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi were compartmentalized and left out.
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The resentment from the Jews winning must be placed in the context of the situation of the left, which has reached an unprecedented low at a time when it’s headed by three former heads of the military. The ethos of the army as responsible for Israel’s security has been trampled. The ethos of the army as the melting pot of “the Israelis” is over.
The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were made by Israel. On the White House lawn in Washington, Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands. It was a peace of the brave. Courage isn’t necessary for the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates, what’s needed is money. It’s not a peace of the courageous, it’s a peace of the rich.
Of course, a peace of the rich is possible only after the brave Israelis have paid the price, because we can’t let Netanyahu and the right make people forget that this peace was made possible only because of the breakthrough made by the peace with Egypt and the Oslo Accords – in which a price in blood really was paid to obtain them, not just a price in money.
The peace agreement with the UAE isn’t with the Israelis, it’s with the Jews. And the Netanyahu Doctrine is that peace is made with the rich. And as everybody knows, the rich can allow themselves to rewrite their biographies, both personal and historical, and remove from them the true heroes to whom we all owe our real wealth.