Opinion |

Racist Knesset Candidates Borrow Ideology From Labor's Occupation Pioneers

When Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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File photo: Ayelet Shaked and Bezalel Smotrich speak during a Habayit Hayehudi meeting, Jerusalem, October 15, 2019.
File photo: Ayelet Shaked and Bezalel Smotrich speak during a Habayit Hayehudi meeting, Jerusalem, October 15, 2019.Credit: Emil Salman
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

A twisted but single line stretches between Israel Galili and Bezalel Smotrich, between Yigal Allon and Levi Eshkol and Moshe Feiglin, and between Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin and Ayelet Shaked.

We, the Arabs and the leftists, were right when we warned during the 1960s and 1970s that the settlement enterprise was a disaster. We erred in believing that the world would intervene in time and preempt the Lebensraum impulses, the urge to create “living space.” We thought that in the end, the heads of the Labor movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum. But we were wrong. So now we’ll have Feiglin, the latest hot name in the gallery of those preaching to expel the Palestinians, sitting in the next Knesset.

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Racism is an ideology that evolves in order to justify and protect the excessive material and social rights that a certain group of people has acquired, due to years of historical circumstances. Like men, conquering nations find it hard to give up their accumulated spoils and profits and will do anything to hold onto them.

Immediately after June 1967, the Labor Alignment government cynically manipulated international law, ravaged the occupied Palestinian lands to Judaize them, and developed bureaucratic methods to reduce the number of Palestinians living in the country. One can trace the cynicism and the line that stretches from Galili to settler-leader-turned-minister Uri Ariel in a new study by the Kerem Navot organization, titled “Seize the Moral High Ground,” which researches the history of orders to seize land for “temporary military purposes.” Seizing Palestinian land for military purposes and then transferring it to the settlements was not invented by Likud, but by the Alignment. The Alignment holds the copyright on steadily gnawing at Palestinian land while abusing its owners to give an established settlement another road, another water pipe, another security buffer zone.

When the Labor governments worked hard to steal land on the grounds of security while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who are now going to vote for parties promoting the ideology of a superior Jewish race – and these are many and varied, praise God. Eshkol allowed the destruction of the Mughrabi Quarter and dispersed its Palestinian residents to the winds to make way for the Western Wall Plaza, and Allon was the first minister to move to Jerusalem’s Old City.

The occupation bureaucracy they developed prevented the return home of tens of thousands of Palestinians who found themselves outside the West Bank in the summer of 1967, and restricted Palestinian construction in Jerusalem with the help of planning laws. These governments laid the attitudinal foundations for the Third Temple, whose construction is being planned by some people with the utmost seriousness. The spirit of the mass expulsions of 1948, the desire to empty the land of Arabs, infused them.

The racist-messianic justifications have persuaded an increasing number of Jewish Israelis, because the spoils acquired have grown tremendously over the years. It’s hard to give them up, and they want more. That’s why Benjamin Netanyahu hastened to explain that the State of Israel is not a state of all its citizens. He fears that votes might go from him to Feiglin and Kahanist candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir.

When the world proved it could not block either the Alignment or Likud governments, the land gluttons proceeded to gorge themselves with redoubled enthusiasm. The armed, aggressive, murderous racism of the settlement messiahs and their servants is intensifying, because the inferior nation is not inferior. It is resisting. It is educated, eloquent and refuses to disappear. It is rooted in its land.

Emboldened, the Feiglins and the Smotriches will try to expel masses of Palestinians. They will fail only if all the descendents of the Alignment – not just Ta’ayush activists and a handful of anarchists – prevent it with their bodies.

Why is it hard for me to imagine the leaders of Kahol Lavan halting the trucks?

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