“I strongly oppose any comparison between Israeli organizations and people – from the entire political spectrum – and Nazi Germany, and condemn any such use for election purposes.” That was the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the “Eternal Jew?” video clip by the Samaria Residents Council. It is always heartwarming to hear Netanyahu object to the comparison of Israelis to Nazis, but the problem in the clip is not the comparison to Nazis, but the comparison of left-wing Israelis to the object of the Nazis’ hatred – in other words, Jews.
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A feeling of disgust for the left-wing Israeli character, the greedy, ugly Jew, who betrays his people is provoked for the viewer by the clip. This emotion has a name: anti-Semitism.
The extreme right took another step beyond the overused comparison to the Nazis. The left, in its view, is not even Judeo-Nazi, that is, it underwent some kind of metamorphosis or even psycho-historical disruption, and adopted the position of the attacker in place of the position of victim. Even worse: He was and remains a Jew – in the Nazi sense of the word.
At the end of the clip the creators attribute the anti-Semitic look to the Europeans, but it is too late, since throughout the video they adopt the anti-Semitic view on the Israeli left, and in doing so they – in practice – compare themselves, out of choice, to the Nazis. In a world that is divided between Jews and Nazis, the extreme right prefers to be in the Nazi position.
Leftists were often accused of “auto-anti-Semitism.” For their part, they defend themselves by using the distinction between Israeli and Jew. It is possible to criticize Israel, they say, without being anti-Semitic. This accusation on the part of the right has preserved the distinction between Israeli and Jew. The right says pay attention: When you criticize Israel you are playing into the hands of anti-Semitic forces who are interested in the destruction of the State of Israel because it is the Jewish state, without any connection to its political/military actions.
This distinction between Israeli and Jew is at the very heart of Zionism, which believed that the State of Israel would solve the tension between the multiple identities that Diaspora Jews suffered from. The entire idea was that in Israel the Jew was reborn as an Israeli. The video clip expresses the ideological position of the extreme right, which is trying to undermine this distinction. The Jew is a Jew is a Jew.
“The Jew is here,” says the Nazi narrator in the clip. By rejecting the distinction between the two identities the right-wing exposes itself as a force undermining the Zionist project. This is the first auto-anti-Semitic appearance since the founding of the state that is not a metaphorical use of the term.
The extreme right has shifted gears in its war against the left. “We are fighting the new anti-Semitism” is the battle cry of Ronen Shoval of Habayit Hayehudi, who founded the Im Tirtzu movement for that purpose. Recently, Shoval explained that the Jews concentrated themselves in one place, and now all that remains for the anti-Semitic enemy to do is to attack this place and eliminate all the Jews. In his feverish mind, the organizations of the left are supplying the ideological weapons for the new anti-Semites in their battle to eliminate the largest concentration camp in history, which of course is the State of Israel.
Shoval’s reactionism is unconscious, after all, what can be understood from his world view is that Zionism, and even more the Return to Zion, is the most dangerous plan for the fate of the Jews. In this way, Shoval, at least in his subconscious, is an anti-Zionist in the most real and nonmetaphorical sense that can be imagined.