Max Weber, the father of modern sociology, defined the state as having a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence. The government of Israel can chalk up an achievement, which it did not invent: The privatization of violence. The occupation, with the continued expansion of the use of its conscripts and reservists against the Palestinians, has created a “shooting nation,” another phase in the death of politics: If they don’t kill, they curse the Arabs or the “left,” a kind of Arab tribe.
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And thus, before Arye Dery has settled his behind into his new chair in the Interior Ministry, he has already barred the heads of the Islamic Movement from leaving the country, as part of his colonial powers. And to enhance his pleasure, he posted the following: “I signed an order barring Raad Salah from the Islamic Movement’s northern branch from leaving the country, his deputy Kamel Khatib and other activists. You want to throw dirt at us? Stay in Israel! The security of the State of Israel is a little more important than your rights.” As the Talmud says: “Wait for me till I enter and do my needs, and return to you.” In other words, what a man, the honorable rabbi, even more than Gilad Erdan.
Some are up in arms over Dery’s appointment as interior minister. They fought it all the way to the High Court of Justice, in the name of morality. But the liberals were silent over this order of Dery’s. And that’s only one example of the vacuum in government, in which Bibism is expanding and taking more territories of arrogance every day, while his opponents play around with shit. This is the logic of the journalistic investigations on commercial TV. Throw a leftist to the dogs to deal fearlessly with “corruption.”
The watershed of democracy’s decline was the outlawing of the Islamic Movement – this, too, with the use of colonial regulations. The liberal camp kept silent, even supporting it. And the liberals were also silent when the police broke into a press conference given last week by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and forcibly broke it up, as if it were not a meeting of elected officials. Virtually no one reported it. With news media like this, Bibi really doesn’t need allies.
The key dispute that cut across political society – the occupation – has faded. It’s not important at all if we are paying dearly for it or avoiding the payment. The Jewish dead get huge headlines. The Arab dead get whitewashed language. Netanyahu crumpled his opponents in the electoral power of the settlers, in alliances with sectors that care nothing about the increasingly brutalized character of Israeli society. Even the campuses – once the bastion of opposition activity – are desolate. About organizations of politicized lecturers, there’s nothing to discuss. MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) believed that disengagement from the occupation would turn the debate between right and left into a debate between capitalists and proletarians. We’re still dining on the leftovers of her mistake. There is no opposition to Bibism. When Arabs get killed, it’s good for him. When Jews get killed, it’s even better.
So the debate over whether we are “already under fascism” or “not yet” sounds like a parody. There is no power that puts this government at risk. What does it need fascism for? After all, “the people” are behind it. It can maintain democracy that, like the Gay Pride Parade and veganism in Tel Aviv, serves as propaganda in the West: Israel, an island of progress in the human ruins that surround it, including the ruins it leaves behind. And Ezra Nawi? Who ever heard of him? Who cares?
What really is the nature of Israeli democracy? We watch the news, Kushmaro, Netanyahu, blood on the street, and everything’s ready for reality TV. We vote, or watch the judges vote. Tension! Excitement! The real crisis of democracy, and not only in Israel, is the disappearance of its subject, the people, and their transformation into a mass gawking at the screen. Tair Kaminer, who refuses to serve in the army, sits in military prison. May her cold nights there be warmed, our torch of hope.