Never Have So Many Cheered Such a Vile Murderer

It’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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A demonstration in support of the detained soldier outside the court where his hearing was taking place, March 29, 2016.
A demonstration in support of the detained soldier outside the court where his hearing was taking place, March 29, 2016.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

The rabble demonstrating and writing in support of the soldier-executioner in Hebron sees him as a hero. Not just a victim, like the convicted murderer Roman Zadorov, for example, but a hero. E.A. — his full name remains under a gag order — is a folk hero because he murdered a dying Palestinian. Because, not despite.

This must be stated clearly. Perhaps for the first time in the history of the state, an abhorrent murder whose only obvious justification seems to be a hatred of Arabs and contempt for their lives, has become a heroic act. A murder that required no courage, a cowardly act of the highest order, has become heroic in the eyes of the masses, simply because it ended with a dead Palestinian bleeding on the road to the sound of their rejoicing.

Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer. In the history of the Israel Defense Forces there have been quite a few obscene acts disguised as heroism — the reprisal raids of the 1950s, the Gaza Strip activities of the Sayeret Rimon special operations unit, operations Cast Lead Protective Edge — but never was an obscure murderer lauded as a hero. Shimon Bar Kochba, Meir Har-Zion, Yoni Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and E.A. Who can retell the mighty feats of Israel?

Israeli racism has reached a new peak. The murder in Tel Rumeida and the ensuing response are no less than seminal events. Israeli racism had previously been based on the arrogance of the Chosen People, to which everything is permitted, which is the very best and knows better than anyone else; on manipulating the perception of endless victimhood and persecution; on demonizing the Arabs, who only want to destroy us; on dehumanizing them, as if their lives are worth nothing; on incitement, denial, repression and lies and on Israel’s formidable military might. On these foundations we built a racist society, probably the most racist in the world today.

Now all this has been taken up a notch, or perhaps down. To all the above we can now openly add bloodlust — unadulterated, uninhibited and undisguised.

This combination of racism and thirst for blood is not only repulsive, it’s also volatile and dangerous. There is racism in many societies, generally hidden and marginal. In Israel it has become standard, perhaps the height of contemporary political correctness, and fighting it is seen as treason.

Moreover, it’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust. Whites hate blacks in the United States and South Africa, Europeans hate refugees, Christians hate Muslims, but not with such bloodlust and murderousness. The cry “Death to the Arabs” has taken on shocking practical significance. E.A. is its executor. That’s why he’s being applauded.

These are deep currents that are difficult to stop. They have settled deep in people’s hearts, the result of decades of incitement and brainwashing. Neither a severe punishment for E.A., which he deserves, nor the chief of staff’s letter to soldiers reminding them of the army’s ethics can suffice.

Few have dared to confront these currents; most of our systems support or have capitulated to them. It’s enough to see the military prosecution grovel before the mobs outside, dropping the allegations from murder to negligent homicide, and even that is in doubt. The media outlets, which know what their audiences want, have of course joined in spreading the incitement. It sells well. Suddenly what happened is “unclear,” “not definitive.” The video incriminates as much as a thousand witnesses and myriads of evidence, and the picture is still “unclear.” What’s not clear?

And the politicians, who as usual support the masses, are either silent or paralyzed with fear. The thuggish Avigdor Lieberman, with Sharon Gal tagging along, and the mobs at the military court in Kastina are the most Israeli things there are now. There’s nothing to stop them. It’s doubtful if it even pays to try.

But they won’t stop at Kastina. After the Arabs will come the leftists, the journalists, the judges and who knows who else. Prepare for the next Israeli hero; he’s already polishing his gun.

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