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With Bibi Gone, neo-Zionists Are Peeping From Their Burrows

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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A prisoners-of-war camp in Ramle, in 1948.
A prisoners-of-war camp in Ramle, in 1948. Credit: David Eldan/GPO
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

Like mushrooms after a rainstorm they pop up, peeping from their burrows, tearing off their masks, shedding their disguises and coming out of the closet. After years of fearing to do so, lest they be branded as supporters of Satan, aka Benjamin Netanyahu, now they can go back to being the Archie Bunkers they are, the Yair Lapids from the wealthy Ramat Aviv Gimmel neighborhood.

The well-fed bourgeois, endlessly self-satisfied, who just want quiet, serenity, a good life and most of all to keep on knelling over themselves and their country, which their fathers created, without anyone disturbing their self-congratulatory feast.

Palestinian resistance rubs them the wrong way, as does Adam Raz with his exposés from 1948, as does Moiz Ben Harosh with his hatred of Ashkenazis. All this cracks their self-image, so handsome and enlightened in their own eyes. This is what’s stealing their country and taking it down the drain, as they sang in patriotic sessions with Saraleh Sharon.

They’re in their 40s and 50s, mostly Ashkenazi, some formerly on kibbutzim or moshavim, lords of the land. In their youth, in the 90s, they were the left. They were so glad for Oslo and so shocked by Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, which also murdered the peace that was just around the corner, if only Yigal Amir hadn’t existed.

They were the children of the candles and supporters of the Geneva Accords, went every year to Rabin rallies at the eponymous square and sang, “You promised peace.” An entire generation that demanded peace. Then Netanyahu came to power, and they poured into the streets to drive him away. Homegrown Che Guevaras and Nelson Mandelas.

Now they can finally recline in their lounge chairs and reveal their faces, be right-wing and nationalistic without being suspected as Bibi-ists, which is the worst thing ever. Now it can be told – they’re all actually Yair Lapid, hollow and middle-of-the-road like him, and the differences between them and Naftali Bennett or Ayelet Shaked are much smaller than they seem, if they exist at all. Even the difference between them and Bezalel Smotrich is smaller than that between them and Ayman Odeh. That is why the current government can exist in such comfort. There are no true ideological disputes within it.

See how Merav Michaeli responds to a terror attack. When Palestinians ambush a car coming down from one of the most violent and criminal of all settlements and kill one of the people in it, it’s “a vicious and appalling terror attack.” When the invaders of the same Homesh tortured a Palestinian boy, hung him on a tree and burned his feet, we didn’t hear from the Labor Party minister that it was vicious and appalling. And when soldiers shot a Palestinian protester in the head a week before, Michaeli was silent, just as she was when the Palestinian human rights NGOs were closed, and only protested “the way it was done.” Where is the ideological difference between her and Bennett? Or between him and Meretz, now too busy to talk about the occupation?

And look at what’s happening at Haaretz. Uri Misgav, the combat veteran kibbutznik in a series of penitent articles. As soon as Netanyahu fell, so did the mask and the bandana. Suddenly the Nakba is not at all just a Palestinian matter, the Golan will remain forever in Israel’s hands. “Developing the Golan is wrong now, too?” moans the robbed Cossack. And Ben Harosh mustn’t write songs against the Ashkenazis, because they gave him prizes. Uri Zaki, a Meretz mainstay, in his new Zionist job as chairman of the Herzl Center, writes that we must not compare the occupation of the Golan to that in the West Bank because the Golan is empty. First Israel chased away 100,000 people, and now we can claim the Golan is empty and so it isn’t occupation. He murders his parents and cries that he’s an orphan, then passes himself off as left-wing. Moran Sharir is also sorry he didn’t support “The People Are With the Golan”: “We’re lucky there was no partner for peace then.”

The neo-Zionists are back. Jewish supremacists and right-wingers alike. Just don’t touch their enlightenment. They’re wonderful, just like the right-wingers.

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