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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Video Emerges of Netanyahu Praising Israeli Fascist Group Im Tirtzu

In this article from Electronic Intifada we learn of death threats to the Swedish Foreign Minister from Zvi Zameret, a former official of Israel’s education ministry.  In his article Zameret recounts the fate of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat who was murdered by the Stern Gang/Lehi in Jerusalem in September 1948.  Bernadotte had been mediating on behalf of the United Nations over the question of the position of Jerusalem in a settlement.
Previous Im Tirtzu poster denouncing Naomi Hazan of the NIF, a Zionist group, for funding Israeli human rights groups
Margot Walstrom - Swedish Foreign Minister - Subject to Netanyahu's vitriolic outbursts and threats of death
Zameret in his article links what happened to Bernadotte to what might happen to Margot Walstrom, the Swedish Foreign Minister.  Walstrom had previously condemned Israel’s use of extra-judicial execution of Palestinians only to be denounced by Netanyahu. See In 2016 one doesn’thave to be Adolf Eichmann to be executed in Israel – it’s enough to be a teenage Palestinian girl with scissors  She was met by the normal hysterical denunciation by Netanyahu.  She was ‘stupid and outrageous’ for condemning Israel’s death squads even though it is advocated by Israeli government ministers that someone possessing a knife or even a pair of scissors, regardless of whether they pose a threat or not, should be killed.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Walstrom
Contrast this with a certain Yishai Schlissel, a religious madmen who had already served 10 years for stabbing people at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride march.  Ten years later, having only just been released 3 weeks before, he was allowed to wander into the Gay Pride march by the Police unhindered.  Given he was dressed as an ultra-orthodox Haredi Jew, who are uniformly hostile to gay rights, this was in itself a strange decision.  When he started going on a rampage with a knife Israeli police chased after him and wrestled him to the ground.  They did not shoot him in the back because he wasn’t a Palestinian.  The result was that several people were stabbed and one, Shira Banki was murdered.
Palestinian school girl with back pack executed by Israeli army
It is also interesting that a video has emerged of Benjamin Netanyahu approving of and urging support for a fascist organisation Im Tirzu.  In 2013 Im Tirzu brought a legal action against a group that called them fascist.  The Jerusalem District Court, which heard the petition, rejected the action because ‘certain lines of resemblance’ to fascism inthe ideology or activities of the right-wing movement can be seen as‘truthful.’ 
Im Tirtzu's McCarthyist Campaign Poster Against Israel's Cultural Figures 

Although the Supreme Court reversed this decision, on nakedly political grounds viz. sympathy for its politics, Im Tirtzu has just this past week been accused of being a fascist organisation.  This time even right-wing politicians denounced it.  Im Tirtzu decided to launch a campaign against ‘moles in culture’ demonising even left-Zionist poets, actresses and novellists like Amos Oz and David Grossman.  They were undermining the nationalist fabric by daring to criticise the Israeli Defence Forces.  There is a long and good pedigree for this.  The Nazis denounced 'degenerate art' and when they were in power they burned books and art they considered undermined the nationalist and Volkish spirit.
Even Benny Begin, a former Likud MK and son of the Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin ‘accused Im Tirtzu of fascism and called the new campaign “a new level of ugly.”

Even the far-right racist, Education Minister Naftali Bennett denounced Im Tirtzu’s campaign as “embarrassing and unnecessary.”  Right-wing MKs flog ‘fascist’ group for ‘outing’ lefty artists 
None of this has stopped Netanyahu from praising the group.

Tony Greenstein

Ali Abunimah 29 January 2016
Palestinian children executed by Israeli military death squads
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Ryan Brown UN Women

Swedish security officials are investigating Israeli death threats directed at their foreign minister Margot Wallström.

Last week, Zvi Zameret, a former official of Israel’s education ministry, published an article in Hebrew implying that Wallström deserved the same fate as Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish UN diplomat murdered by a Zionist militia in 1948.

“There are security people looking at this issue and we have no more comment than that,” Wallström’s spokesperson Kristian Brangenfeldt told the Swedish publication Etc.

“But I know which article you mean,” Brangenfeldt added in reference to Zameret’s op-ed, “and it felt very strange.”

The Swedish foreign ministry did not respond to a request for additional comment from The Electronic Intifada.

Persona non grata
Wallström has raised the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for suggesting that there should be an investigation into Israel’s frequent killings of Palestinian youths that human rights groups term extrajudicial executions.

The Israeli leader recently denounced Wallström’s comments as “outrageous and stupid.”

Wallström also angered the Israelis by connecting the kind of radicalization behind the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people to the situation in the Middle East, “where not least, the Palestinians see that there is not a future.”

Sweden was already in Israel’s bad books for announcing in 2014 that it would recognize the “State of Palestine” (I strongly criticized this action, but for other reasons).

Earlier this month, Wallström cancelled a visit to Israel after officials said they would refuse to meet her.


The article by Zvi Zameret, headlined “Margot Wallström’s source of inspiration,” was published in Makor Rishon, a paper owned by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major financier of the Republican Party and anti-Palestinian organizations.

Folke Bernadotte was a Swedish aristocrat and diplomat who helped rescue thousands of Jews and others from Nazi death camps during the Second World War.

Later, he became the UN mediator for Palestine. He was assassinated in Jerusalem on 17 September 1948 by the Stern Gang, the Zionist armed group among whose leaders was Yitzhak Shamir, a future prime minister of Israel.

In the article, translated for Mondoweiss by Jonathan Ofir, Zameret lists Bernadotte’s supposed transgressions in the eyes of the Zionist movement and then turns his fire on Wallström: “The Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, with her characteristic covert anti-Semitism, with her arrogance, ignorance, and her interest-bound speculation regarding her future Muslim voters – she too seeks to fight the foundations of the State of Israel. I am convinced and certain that her intentions will smoulder, just as all of the undignified count’s [Bernadotte] intentions did.”

Zameret has denied that his article was an implicit endorsement of violence against Wallström, but Swedish officials will be concerned because of high profile assassinations of the country’s political leaders in recent decades.

In 2003, Wallström’s predecessor Anna Lindh was murdered while out shopping in Stockholm. Her killer, Swedish citizen Mijailo Mijailović, is serving a life sentence.

In February 1986, the country’s Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot dead while walking home with his wife from a cinema in the Swedish capital.

His murder has never been solved, but among the many theories pursued by investigators over the years is that it was linked to South Africa’s apartheid regime, of which Palme was an outspoken international critic at the time.


Zameret’s article came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had turned his anger on Wallström.

It also comes amid an atmosphere of incitement against domestic and international critics of Israel’s violent repression against Palestinians.

Last month, the Israeli right-wing group Im Tirzu released a report calling on the Israeli government to shut down human rights organizations that receive foreign funding and criticize Israeli policies.
Im Tirzu also released a video that labels the heads of four major Israeli human rights groups as traitors who aid terrorists at the behest of their foreign bankrollers.

It should be recalled that rising incitement preceded the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Jewish militant Yigal Amir. This included Rabin frequently being called a traitor for signing the 1993 Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Many in Israel still feel Netanyahu himself played a direct role in this incitement.

Now, a 2012 video has come to light titled “PM Netanyahu’s message to ‘Im Tirtzu’ supporters.” It features the Israeli prime minister praising the group and urging donations to support it.

Chemi Shalev, the US editor of the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, tweeted the video on Friday with this comment: “Making the rounds (and turning stomachs) 2012 Netanyahu appeal in English to support proto-fascist Im Tirzu.”

It is one more indicator that incitement and extremism in Israel are not marginal phenomena but are nurtured at the very top.

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