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At the Presidential Residence We Were Exposed to a Hidden Truth About Israel’s Regime

Ofer Cassif
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MK Limor Son Har Hamelech with MKs Ben-Gvir and Cohen
MK Limor Son Har Hamelech with MKs Ben-Gvir and CohenCredit: Noam Rivkin Panton
Ofer Cassif

In the course of the round of recommendations for the role of prime minister made to Israel’s president, we met, my colleagues from Hadash-Ta’al and myself, President Isaac Herzog. Even though the election results made our visit more of a symbolic act, and perhaps because of that, our visit exposed a “hidden” truth about the operation of government in Israel. The President did emphasize our “important voice” and expressed his wonder at our excellent parliamentary abilities in the opposition, but he also took care to echo the right-wing propaganda of Bibi-supporters, accusing us of “supporting and encouraging terror.”

After a few days, when he tasked Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a government, I was again reminded of his baseless accusations. The same day, the demands of the chairman of Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, a follower of racist doctrine and a past Shin Bet detainee, were accepted with chilling ease. They included the hookup of illegal outposts to utilities at the expense of the state. This was followed a few days later by Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, who received a promise from Netanyahu to legitimize these outposts within 60 days of the formation of a government.

President Herzog with Hadash–Ta'al leaders, earlier this month.Credit: Amit Shabi

All the settlements are illegal according to international law and their expansion contravenes UN Security Council resolutions, but the “outposts” are illegal even according to Israeli law. They were built on private land, sometimes on public land, both of those belonging to the Palestinian people. They serve as a focus of systematic violence against Palestinian residents in the area. The outposts are no less than nests of settler terrorism. According to Peace Now, thousands of violent assaults by settlers against Palestinians took place in 2020-2021. Of these, 63 percent took place close to illegal outposts. Many incidents go unreported out of fear of intensified attacks.

From these outposts come assailants who attack Palestinian farmers and people picking their olives, driving shepherds away with threats, as well as Jewish activists who come to help them. This is what happened to Hagar Gefen, a 70-year-old leftist activist who was hospitalized with broken ribs and torn lungs. Terror squads come from these terror nests in order to throw incendiary devices, to destroy property, to poison and uproot olive trees.

Violent criminal activity, terror for all intents and purposes, will now be materially supported directly by the state, and the pogromniks will be able to wash and clean their hands of the blood of their victims with warm flowing water provided under the auspices of the Kahanist coalition. This support is not just material, it’s personal as well, with direct access to the regime’s resources and to parliamentary and government power centers.

Haaretz revealed that Elisha Yered, who lives in the outpost of Ramat Migron, will be the new spokesman of MK . He was suspected of destroying Palestinian property for racist motives. This of course was not the only incident. Last April, a 60-year-old Palestinian who arrived at his plot near Migron was attacked. Using planks and sticks, the Jewish terrorists broke his body and posted their deeds on social media. The police are not investigating the complaints of Palestinians seriously and the vast majority of files are closed under the claim of “unknown perpetrator,” until the next attack.

The President certainly strongly opposes this violence, but there is a big gap between what is in his heart and his public declarations. Settler terrorism is frequently concealed by the power centers of the only democracy in the Middle East, as well as by the media. Instead, attention is drawn to us, the opponents of the occupation, who are accused of supporting terror. As if we are responsible for the rise to power of the Kahanist fascism, not the colonialism and its racist appendages.

In the 1980s, an “apologetic school” thrived among conservative historians. This school claimed that fascism in Europe arose as a response to communism. In other words, the communists were to blame for the rise of fascism and Nazism, with the latter not as bad as they were made out to be.

One of the prominent members of this school, Prof. Ernst Nolte, wrote that “without Marxism there is no fascism,” adding that mass murder, including the Holocaust, was a pre-emptive reaction of the Germans to the Soviet danger. People in Israel rightly assailed these apologetics, which diminished the Holocaust as far as to deny it. And now? We, communists in Israel, are blamed for the rise of Kahanist fascism. Marx was right: History repeats itself twice, once as tragedy and once as farce, sometimes a presidential one.

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