As any street smart New Yorker knows, “you can say anything about me, but when you start talking trash about my momma, you got a problem.” Especially so in the context of genocide and race war.
Legal scholar and pundit Jonathan Turley has a great post on inflammatory comments by Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Israeli Parliament from the ultra-nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish Home Party whose leader, Naftali Bennett has been touted as a future Israeli Prime Minister. [Editor’s note: The translation of Shaked’s comments that Turley posted was first published by The Electronic Intifada. Dena Shunra translated it.]
Turley cites a recent Facebook posting by Shaked, which has been interpreted as a call for genocide. Turkish PM Recep Erdogan asked:”What is the difference between this mentality and Hitler’s?”
Shaked made her post the day before the Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive by six extremist Israeli Jewish youths. Her remarks are said to have contributed to the climate of revenge in Israel which led to this immolation murder and fed popular support, at least among Israeli Jews, for operations against Hamas in Gaza. These operations have been characterized as “collective punishment” against Palestinians living in Gaza and have triggered calls for a “war crimes” inquiry from top UN human rights official Navi Pilly.
Wrote Shaked on Facebook (italics, mine):
The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.
I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to define reality with the simple words that language puts at our disposal. Why do we have to make up a new name for the war every other week, just to avoid calling it by its name. What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.
Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Responding in the Independent (UK,) Israeli writer Mira Bar Hillel said Shaked’s remarks had brought her to the brink of burning her Israeli passport. Bar Hillel:
I can no longer stand by, while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children.
She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian – and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.
Shaked’s “snake” metaphor is interesting. She must not have gotten the memo circulated by Pro Israel Language Police in the US banning words like “snakes.” And let’s not even mention the Nazi “vermin” metaphor. I also found it interesting that she would reference the “morality of war” while spewing the kind of venom that shows she has no idea what that morality involves. In fact, the kind of venom which is that morality’s utter nullification.
Above is a shot of Ayelet Shaked with her Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett, who is close to Dan Senor, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy adviser and frequent talking head on American television. Those like Senor arguing “shared values” as the underpinning of the US-Israeli “special relationship” might take note. If I recall correctly, Rwandan political figures who made calls analogous to Shaked’s in the run up to, and during, the genocide there in the 1990’s, are barred from entering the US.
Postscript: Noted Zionist enthusiast Seth Lipsky, a former editor of the Forward and the New York Sun who paints portraits of Zionist historical figures like David Ben Gurion and Ze’ev Jabotinsky and has them hanging in the living room of his Brooklyn Heights townhouse, has a column in the New York Post today that might be read as a companion piece to Shaked’s provocative little genocidal screed. The headline of the digital version is “Hamas and Horoshima: The Grim Morality of Fighting Evil.” Lipsky, said by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to have “the most interesting mind in journalism,” likens Israel’s Gaza dilemma of 2014 to the situation the US found itself with Japan in 1945, implying the righteousness of a total onslaught against Hamas, hang the civilian casualties and talk of war crimes. I’ve read many deranged things since taking up the subject of the US-Israeli “special relationship” in the wake of the smearing of Chuck Hagel in early 2013. This is certainly going to be on my personal Top Ten List.
This post first appeared on William McGowan’s site, Coloring the News.