How are things here, you ask. Things here are past insane.
Over the border in Gaza, families are farming out their children, separately, to other families, so that if one of our highly explosive “smart” bombs demolishes a house they happen to be in, not all of their children will be killed.
On our side of the border, where Hamas has rained rockets on communities Benjamin Netanyahu cannot be bothered to care about, and hasn’t cared about for the eternity in which he has held office, some families have begun doing the same thing.
The whole nation of Israel knew we’d lost the war the night it started. When the rockets reached Tel Aviv, something very powerful shattered to shards. It was Israel itself.
Everyone knew it at once. Some Israelis hated the idea, others saw it as a blessing in disguise. After all, even if Israel had already lost the war, even if parallel lynch mobs of Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews were out for rival blood; even if in Israel synagogues were torched and a Muslim cemetery desecrated and sacred texts firebombed to ash, Netanyahu’s death grip on power had been rescued. By Hamas. And by the Jewish scumbag fascist supporters of terror whom Netanyahu had spent recent months coddling and courting and campaigning for.
And not for the first time.
After all, it was the toxic cocktail of Jewish terror and Hamas violence that first brought Netanyahu to power more than a quarter of a century ago. The fervently right-wing Israeli who gunned down Yitzhak Rabin, followed by a shocking spate of Hamas suicide bombings of public buses in major Israeli cities, paved Bibi’s come-from-far-behind electoral path to Balfour Street.
- This is Israel’s most failed and pointless Gaza operation ever. It must end now
- Gaza lives erased: Israel is wiping out entire Palestinian families on purpose
- In Israel, nobody opposes the war
That’s how Netanyahu likes his public. Shattered. Furious. Fearful. Paralyzed.
I don’t want to live one more day in Netanyahu’s Israel.
He just came on television, standing there with his campaign smirk and his smug, self-adoring bellow, a warplane furnishing his background prop. “They’ve sustained blows they did not expect,” he crowed. “And I have no doubt that we’ve sent them backward a good many years!”
The Big Fool says to push on.
For years and years and years, all that Netanyahu wanted us to hear was Iran, Iran, Iran.
Now we know why.
The only thing he was really good at was taking Israel apart from the inside. It wasn’t just starving the health care system, the schools, the social nets. It wasn’t just acquiescing to every whim of his vital-vote ultra-Orthodox supporters, even to the point of calling off the police and turning a blind eye to abjectly dangerous actions that resulted in Haredi deaths.
He had other plans, more pressing concerns. He was grooming us, all of us – including those of us who hate him – to keep him in charge.
Along the way, he’s been terrifying and privatizing and molding Israel’s news media into submission, into exactly what he needs. So that people here wouldn’t, couldn’t, see what he’s actually gotten away with. Any more than people here can see what we’re actually doing in Gaza. To Gaza. To human beings. To children.
What we do know is that he’s done to the shaky, defective constructs of democracy in Israel precisely what he has done, yet again, to Gaza. He knocked on the roof with a brief warning, then he brought it all down.
The minority that votes for him – at this point a minority is all he needs to stay in power forever – sees all this as a good thing.
He raises up vicious, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Kahanist gang leaders to the status of partners in government? Grants them immunity from the law? Sure, why not. Israel loses, but what counts is that Bibi wins.
Denigrate and delegitimize non-Jewish Israelis and treat them as steerage-class citizens? Undermine all nonviolent Palestinian activism in the West Bank, while finding inventive ways to shore up and bribe the Hamas regime in Gaza? Promise security but leave millions of Israelis without access to bomb shelters? All in a day’s work.
Pulverize a building housing foreign media outlets? A masterstroke. A Bibist fantasy realized. Bibi has groomed us well. The media is the enemy, treacherous, leftist, anti-Zionist. Bring it all down.
One more thing. Turn Likud into an increasingly dictatorial political force, in some ways a version and, yes, a partner of Hamas? I don’t want one more day of it. Not it and not him.
Those first days of this war, when I saw the images of children killed in this war that Netanyahu could have avoided altogether, I had no words. But now I do. Five.
Fuck Hamas. And fuck Bibi.