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Netanyahu’s Message to Us: ‘In Your Face’

Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 24, 2020
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 24, 2020Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann

When Sara Netanyahu made that icebox cake during the height of the pandemic, she didn’t miss the allusion to Marie Antoinette. She knew exactly what she was referring to with her take of the iconic “Let them eat cake” attributed to the French queen. Like saying: In your face. I can make a cake when there’s no bread, and you will still vote for my husband.

When Benjamin Netanyahu, the millionaire prime minister, dares, at the height of an economic tsunami, to masquerade as an “economic cripple,” to impersonate an unemployed person, claim that he can’t make ends meet and demand that the state “gross up” his debt of around 1 million shekels ($292,000) to the Income Tax Authority, he is saying, right to your face: F**k you, and you’ll only worship me even more.

The “clickbait” culture is spreading from social media into politics, while reality TV is seeping into reality. Political reality stars know their popularity rises the more they snub the audience. That’s how you “win” elections. It seems the public gets a thrill when someone shows no shame. It gets people to click again and again on their TV remote, at the polls, on their so-called smartphone. In effect, the public encourages the leader to steal, to curse, to turn racist, to lie during a live broadcast, to rape sacred cows.

What Netanyahu is daring to do now is comparable to Donald Trump actually shooting somebody in the middle of New York’s Fifth Avenue. There’s no longer a difference between image and reality. To what is it similar? To itself. To what is it like? Like what is happening now. Where do we go from here? All that remains now is to stampede to Rabin Square, where Netanyahu himself will urinate on the memorial to Yitzhak Rabin and, with his own revolutionary hands, topple the adjacent bust of Rabin – “the traitor,” “the drunk,” “the Oslo criminal” – the bust that has been hidden beneath the stairs at the foot of which Rabin was murdered.

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What is happening is not the treachery of images, it’s the orgy of images. It’s maximalism on speed. It’s a bulimic episode of pornographic “explicitness.” It’s “let’s burn Amnon Abramovich” (a journalist who was badly burned in the Yom Kippur War). Let’s rejoice over the murder of an autistic Palestinian man. Of course, the frenzied chase after the sacred cows grazing in the pasture of the liberal left did not come out of nowhere. How many more millionaire socialists, left-wing Israeli academics living in Arab stone houses, people who fly in their own private planes to the World Economic Forum (Davos) to discuss climate change and inequality do we have to tolerate?

The annexation is similar. The whole world is against it? Then we’ll annex the hell out of the territories. We’ll sack the place. Together with the sleazy Trump. It goes beyond Bibi. It’s more his son Yair, the hero of the extreme right throughout the world. Yair isn’t an auto-antisemite, a self-hating Jew. Oh no, he is no leftist. Yair is a new generation of Jew that has succeeded in getting rid of the “auto” hump on its back. Why settle for a Jewish thief and a Jewish prostitute and a Jewish murderer as a symbol of our becoming like any other nation, as David Ben-Gurion dreamed. Are we loser Polish Jews who do headstands?

We want there to be a Jewish Ku Klux Klan member. We want to kill Palestinian Indians, to import slaves, Jewish apartheid, to conquer and occupy now and apologize 200 years from now, and come on, get outta my face. After all, who could have imagined that five minutes, historically speaking, after fascism nearly eliminated her people, a legislator from Habayit Hayehudi would dare to dress up as Charlotte Rampling from the erotic-pornographic “The Night Porter,” for an election TV ad featuring a perfume called “Fascism”? How much more provocation can the god of history withstand?

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