22 February 2019

Netanyahu Invites the neo-Nazi Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) to help him form a new Coalition government

As Labour MPs indulge in attacks on fake ‘anti-Semitism’ Israel moves to the ultra-Right

In 1984 Rabbi Meir Kahane of Kach (Thus) entered the Knesset with over 25,000 votes.  Kach stood on a programme which, as The Times of Israel’s Michael Aarenau noted even members of Likud likened to the Nazis’ 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws.
Smotrich, Netanyahu and Itamar Gvir - the difference between them is one of semantics
In 1988, when polls suggested that Kach could get between 4 and 12 seats, Kahane was banned from standing by the Supreme Court. The reason that Kach was banned had nothing to do with opposition to racism but a fear that the image of Israel would be damaged. In the four years that Kahane was a Knesset member, when he spoke all the other 119 members would walk out.
But yesterday what was trefa (unclean) has now become kosher. What used to be Zionism’s forbidden fruits have now become its delicacies. But even in 1984, what Kahane said openly the other Zionist parties muttered behind closed doors.
Fearing defeat by the Centrist Right bloc of Benny Gantz’s Resilience and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parties Netanyahu openly pressurized the far-Right Jewish Home-National Union religious settlers’ parties to unite with Otzma Yehudit, the direct descendants of Kahane’s Kach.
One can get an idea of Otzma Yehudit’s politics from its leader Michael Ben Ari, who was a member of the 18th Knesset for the National Union between 2009 and 2013. Apart from instigating a pogrom against Black African refugees in South Tel Aviv Ari is famous for tearing up a copy of the New Testament that a missionary sent him and putting it in a trash bin.
In September 2010 in response to being told that for every Israeli killed, six Palestinians had died, he remarked that "For every one dead on our side, we need to kill 500 and not six." This was five times the number of hostages that the Nazis murdered in Yugoslavia for every German soldier killed. Ben-Ari holds left-wing Jews and human rights organisations in particular contempt, referring to them as “germs” that need to be eradicated. During the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defence he stated that “there are no innocents in Gaza…mow them down! Kill the Gazans without thought or mercy!” This is who Netanyahu has gone out of his way to ensure will be a member of the next Knesset.
Netanyahu - it would seem there is no one on the Right with whom he won't get into bed with
It would be wrong however to simply concentrate on Otzma Yehudit. Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), which had 6 members, including the Education and Justice Ministers in the last government, is no slouch when it comes to racism and bigotry.  Bezalel Smotrich, who described himself as a ‘proud homophobe’ distinguished himself by advocating separate maternity wards for Jewish and Arab women on the grounds that his wife didn’t want to give birth next to a woman whose child might become a ‘terrorist’. However, despite the outrage these comments provoked, it is a fact that 5 of Israel’s 7 major hospitals allow Jewish women to give birth in Arab free wards.
Habayit Hayehudi members vote to unite with Otzma Yehudit
In 2013, the Deputy Defence Minister Rabbi Eli Dahan openly stated of Palestinians that ‘To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.’ Despite considering gays an abomination he held that “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.”
Whereas Menachem Begin, the first Likud Prime Minister would have nothing to do with Kahane and his brand of Jewish messianic fascism, there are no waters too polluted for Netanyahu to fish in.
The reasons for Netanyahu’s decision to invited Otzma Yehudit into the Knesset and the governing coalition were that the far-Right in Israel today commands at least 250,000 votes. The problem is that they are split between at least 4 parties meaning that these votes could be wasted. When Kahane was elected in 1984 Israel’s proportional representation system meant a party which gained 25,000 votes (1%) was guaranteed a seat but in the 2013 Knesset the threshold was increased from 2% to 3.25%.  The idea behind this was to exclude the Arab parties but instead the Arabs parties united to form the Joint List, becoming the third largest party in the Knesset with 13 seats.
In the words of YNet ‘A dynasty of racism and provocation is on its way to the Israeli parliament’. Yet Israel’s Arab population will ask what is new? Whether it was Labour or Likud governments they suffered ongoing violence and institutional discrimination. What we are seeing today is Zionist ideology and practice catching up with each other.  Whereas Israeli Labour governments spoke the language of collectivism and social democracy, they practised ethnic cleansing and exclusion. The new, openly fascist Right has taken the hypocrisy out of Zionism and in the process left Labour Zionism high and dry.
When Meir Kahane preached that Israel could be a Jewish state or a Democratic state he was stating a truth that generations of ‘left’ Zionists preferred to ignore. Labour Zionism spoke of a Jewish democratic state which was always an oxymoron. What happens if the Arabs’ higher birth-rate meant they become the majority?  Would the Zionist parties acquiesce in a non-Jewish state or would there be a new round of ethnic cleansing like in 1948?
In other words which is more important, a democratic or a Jewish state? For Zionism a Jewish state was always the most important goal. which was why a majority was gerrymandered by the new Israeli state in 1948 through the expulsion of 90% of the Arabs. In the words of one of the key organisations of Israeli Apartheid, the Jewish National Fund, over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than as the state of all its citizens.’
Members of Otzma Yehudit Baruch Marzel and Michael Ben Ari in a protest in Jerusalem, July 22, 20018. טס שפלן / ג'יני
Successive Zionist governments, beginning with the Israeli Labour governments of 1949-1977 were opposed to mixed marriages and sexual/ personal relationships between Jews and Arabs. That was why marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew was made impossible. As Hannah Arendt noted at the time of the Eichmann trial in 1961:
‘Israeli citizens, religious and non-religious seem agreed upon the desirability of having a law which prohibits intermarriage… there certainly was something breathtaking in the naiveté with which the prosecution denounced the infamous Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which had prohibited intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and Germans.
But what Labour and Likud whispered under their breath Kahane and the thugs of Lehava openly practiced. During his four year stint in the Knesset Kahane proposed a series of laws which outlined what a Jewish theocratic state would look like: As Bradley Burston noted in Ha'aretz this included:
- Revocation of non-Jewish citizenship.
- Expulsion of non-Jews from Jerusalem and eventually Israel.
- The eventual imposition of slavery on Arabs and other non-Jews.
- Prohibition of contact between Jews and Arabs, including sexual relations.
- Segregated beaches.
- Prohibition of non-Jews living in Jewish neighborhoods.
- Forced dissolution of all intermarriages.

Not only did much of this come straight from the 1935 Nazi Nuremburg Law but much of it merely codified existing practice.
For example the prohibition of non-Jews living in Jewish neighbourhoods is already existing practice.  Hundreds of Jewish communities in Israel are Jewish only. That was the purpose of the 2011 Admissions Committees Law, to keep out Arabs (and also Black and Sephardi Jews). This was reinforced by the Jewish Nation State Law 2018 which advocated Jewish Settlement as a ‘national value’. The JNF has been practicing Jewish only settlement since the early 20th century but Israel’s far-Right wishes to make explicit that which was always implicit. What was previously normal but not written down in law is now becoming codified and rigid.
If the idea of Arabs as slaves seems far-fetched we should remember that the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef ruled that non-Jews would be expelled from Israel apart from a few who will be allowed to remain in the land and fulfil roles reserved for gentiles in the service of Jews.’ That role was made clear in a sermon in 2010.  Goyim (non-Jews) were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,”
What Kahane represented was the face that Zionism itself could not bear to see.  However even though Kahane died at the hands of an assassin in 1990 his ideas have lived on. The present Israeli elections are likely to see the demise of Labour Zionism.  Meretz, which as the ‘Marxist’ Zionist Mapam was the second largest party in the 1949 Knesset, may be wiped out entirely. The Israeli Labour Party which until 1977 formed every single government is presently forecast to gain less than 10 seats (down from 24 in the present Knesset).
Otzma Yehudit Marzel and Michael ben Ari
Naturally this is causing apoplexy among Zionism’s liberal supporters. Batya Ungar-SargonThe Forward wrote that Netanyahu Just Invited Israel’s Equivalent Of The KKK To Join The Government. Ungar-Sargon, who has just finished targeting Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for tweeting that AIPAC is in the business of buying political support for Israel wrote that:
‘These are the David Dukes and the Richard Spencers of the Jewish State, people who believe that Jewish sovereignty depends on the oppression, ethnic cleansing and even murder of Israel’s Arab population.’

To listen to Ungar-Sargon you would imagine that ethnic cleansing, murder and oppression are novelties for the Palestinians.

American Jews, who have been shaken by the recent murder of 11 of their compatriots at Pittsburgh, are the most liberal part of America’s white population. They are especially sensitive since the Trump Administration combines white supremacy, demonisation of refugees and a not-too-hidden anti-Semitism with ardent support for Israel and Zionism. They are looking aghast as Israel moves off the political radar.

The American Jewish establishment is also shaken, not by the open association of with fascists and racists but by Netanyahu’s brazenness. For decades these leaders have turned a blind eye to all sorts of racist atrocities and provided cover for Israel’s repeated massacres. But what they cannot stand is that Israel no longer seems to care what others think of it. They know Trump will support them regardless. As Susie Gelman, a major Zionist philanthropist asksIs there any line of decency and morality that he (Netanyahu) will not cross?” complaining that “Netanyahu’s actions are feeding the estrangement of young American Jews from Israel’ which is her real concern before assuring her interlocutors that ‘I still feel committed to the Israeli people’ making a fatuous distinction ‘between the Israeli government and the people of Israel.” Perhaps it has not occurred to Ms Gelman that the reason why Netanyahu can get away with what he does is that the Israeli people support and vote for him?
As Ha'aretz notes the main concern of America’s Jewish Establishment is not the fact of Israeli racism and ethnic cleansing but that ‘Netanyahu's move will hurt Israel's image and create rift with Jewish Americans.’
It is hard to stifle a smile when the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt whines that "There should be no room for racism & no accommodation for intolerance in Israel or any democracy," Where, one wonders, was Jonathan when the Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Elihayu issued an edict in 2011 that Jews were forbidden to rent rooms and apartments to Arabs? When criticized Eliyahu was backed by hundreds of Israeli rabbis. To this day Eliyahu is a paid Israeli state official.
Zionism is coming full circle. The old hypocrisies have become redundant. Ideology and practice are coming into line. The logic of a Jewish state, like all ethno-nationalist states is that non-Jews do not belong. Just as Jews were not welcome in similar states in the Europe of the 1930’s.
Today there are large elements in Israel, in particular amongst the religious Zionists for whom the Palestinians represent the ancient foe of the Hebrews, the Amalekites. In Exodus 17:14, God told Moses that ‘I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ Yeah every man, woman, child and infant was to die. For those who are aware of the biblical story of Esther, Netanyahu is indeed the Jewish Haman.
Tony Greenstein  
Meir Kahane addresses a gathering at the Silver Springs Jewish Center in Maryland, October 27, 1988. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
"Without unity the left will win." Page 4 and 5 of Israel Haiom newspaper, on Tuesday 19, 019.Israel Haiom screengrab
Meir Kahane in 1984Daniel Rosenblum
See below for articles about Netanyahu’s invitation to Kahane’s students:

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