Opinion

Find the Leftist

The Israeli left is aware of its own impending extinction and the preponderant reaction is to assimilate into another life form until the worst is over, but it's self-defeating

Avi Gabbay, chairman of Israel's Labour Party, leaves after voting during the primaries of the party in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on February 11, 2019.
AFP

If someone tells you “it’s not a matter of right and left,” you can be sure he’s a leftist. Why? First, right-wingers are not idiotic enough to give up their identity to please others; second, right-wingers aren’t shy about their opinions – even now, when the election deal includes the attorneys of people suspected of burning babies; and third, let’s say it out loud because soon we won’t be allowed to: Right-wingers aren’t afraid a left-winger will shoot them. They’re more likely to get run over by a hippopotamus in the Ikea parking lot.

Leftists might be the only life form aware of its own impending extinction, and their way of dealing with it is to assimilate into another life form until the worst is over. Camouflage has many forms. Some, like Lihi Lapid, pretend to be “traditional” by setting aside a portion of the challah before baking, some, like her husband Yair, spread lies about Breaking the Silence. But the easiest way for a leftist to disguise himself is to draw an imaginary line, stand behind it and shout: “No Arabs beyond this point!” With such a public disavowal, the leftist in denial hopes, the cloud of suspicion over him will dissipate and he will be accepted into the human race.

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Spoiler: This won’t happen. A person can tell herself that she’s “center” or “moderate left,” but three minutes on Facebook will remind her that in Israel 2019 there are two possibilities: right-wing, or traitor who deserves to die. Zionist left? Don’t make newscaster Amit Segal and his convicted terrorist father laugh. If to be called an “extreme right-winger” a person has to hang a picture of Baruch Goldstein in his living room – “extreme left-winger” is something that you can catch just like that, in the dentist’s waiting room. You go home without knowing you’ve been infected, and a few days later they call you from the clinic and tell you to come in right away.

On the left, people delude themselves that if they’d only stop talking about the occupation and start cursing Arabs, they’d be forgiven and all would be well. They think that there are issues and subjects that cross the boundaries of ethnicity and social tribe, and they’re wrong. Every issue, no matter how basic and universal, is thrown into the basket of “leftist fake news.” Corruption, education, public transportation, a year and a half wait to see a specialist, the murder of women, senior citizens’ pensions that haven’t been updated for 10 years – all of these stop the right-wing from maintaining the lie of normalcy and success. It stops them from hiding the fact that the only system that works here is the drying up of the State of Israel and the putting it into service for the huge national irrigation project, one that never reaches the saturation point, of the settlements.

“It’s not a matter of right or left”? At what point exactly will the leftist’s sweet illusion evaporate? In prison? In the hospital? “Center” is a luxury, something for people who still have options. For people whose old age, and their children’s future, are completely assured.

In any case, nobody on the right is buying it. Even in the era of the personalization of Likud down to a single person (and his wife), No right-winger will consider voting for Gantz and Lapid because he’s sick and tired of the news. No right-winger will vote for them because there’s nothing sadder than somebody trying make nice with everyone. In this way, right-wingers see leftists as being worse than the Arabs. After all, the Arabs have no problem saying that this is what they are; the slippery left is always trying to be something else.

The left is the outcast kid who finds a weaker child and instead of striking an alliance with him and growing stronger, beats him up like everybody else. The next day he comes to school and feels like one of the guys, until the first slap reminds him he’ll never be one of them, no matter who he beats up.