Although Uri Avnery has been a long-standing critic of Israel and has been one of the first to promote dialogue with the Palestinians, he is still a Zionist. Because of that I have a lot of reservations about the things he writes. His piece from the 30th of October, ‘Is the Israeli Prime Minister Insane? Adolf, Amin and Bibi’ is a good example of why I feel this way. It is a perfect illustration of how someone who can be such a clear thinker in some ways, is also so blinkered by his innate and almost unconscious support of Zionism. This tendency to be so blinkered and so unconsciously so, serves to support the smokescreen that surrounds Zionism and its real purpose. It indirectly helps Israel and Zionism by distancing us from the real conversation we are supposed to have about Israel and Palestine, namely a conversation about settler-colonialism and its effects on the colonised.
Of course Netanyahu has a personality disorder (as a psychotherapist I can see all the signs of it), but insane in the way that Avnery means, he is not! Netanyahu’s policies have been 100% consistent with Israel’s goal of taking all the land without the people. To complete the Zionist project of creating an exclusively Jewish safe haven for all Jews in the land of Palestine, Jews will need to be an absolute majority in Israel-Palestine. A few Palestinians can probably be allowed to remain but with all the spirit of resistance knocked out of them, so they are no longer a ‘problem’ for Israel. Israel has good role models of ’successful’ settler-colonial projects in the US and Australia, countries that are also staunch and fanatic supporters of Israel. Netanyahu can see that it worked there. They got away with it, so why not in Israel?
Everything Netanyahu has ever done has been designed to advance Israel towards this ultimate goal. Notice that Netanyahu’s statement about how the Mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler the idea for the extermination of the Jews came a short time after relaxing the gun laws in Israel. I do not think that these two facts are unconnected. Frankly I am amazed by how effective the smokescreen is. So effective, that no one sees what he is doing, and in the meantime the project is reaching a slow and horrific crescendo right under everyone’s noses, and with full complicity of the world’s community.
Netanyahu has been watching Israeli state policies fail at driving out the majority of the Palestinians. So he is now busying himself recruiting an informal army in Israel to assist the official military, law-enforcement and security forces, an army made out of lynching mobs. He gives ordinary people the firearms and then the ideology that says that the Palestinians are responsible for the extermination of the Jews. Now, his logic goes, it is justified to do the same to them. Even non-psychopaths can be recruited to kill under this kind of ideology simply because the Holocaust is such a sensitive issue in Israel, and since every Jewish citizen is thoroughly, profoundly and emotively indoctrinated on Holocaust history.
People have been emphasizing the criticism from within Israel of Netanyahu’s comment, but the right kind of people on the streets of Israel and the colonies in the Occupied West Bank will believe what he said. This is all they need in order to go completely wild. It’s when governments condone extremism and mob mentality, and when they provide fuel to already escalating extremist fire, that we really need to start worrying.
It’s been happening in the colonies anyway, where colonists have for a very long time been getting away with doing whatever they wish to the Palestinians, under military protection and immunity from prosecution. Now Netanyahu is attempting to widen the extremism we see in the colonies into Israeli cities, right into the heart of Tel Aviv. This is his attempt to unite a country that has been a bit split between the cities, where ‘ordinary’ Israelis are often seen as ‘latte-sipping, apathetic, non-patriotic Lefties’ who are critical of the colonies, and those in the colonies in the Occupied West Bank. Netanyahu knows that if Israel is to complete its project, all Israelis have to be on board, or at least that the chasm between the colonies and the cities has to be somehow closed.
Netanyahu is in the process of mobilising and radicalising the entire society in Israel to escalate the murder of the Palestinians in order to push the Palestinians to leave once and for all. You don’t need everyone to go berserk, only enough to instil such fear that will lead to masses of people fleeing. Where they will go, Israel does not care. They didn’t care in 1948 or 1967, and they don’t care now. They just want them out. We are witnessing a repetition of the policies of 1948 and 1967 where Palestinians were driven out by every means possible calculated to spread panic.
There is no reason for the latest escalation we see, except Israel’s impatience that the Palestinians are still there and are still resisting. Israel was hoping a war with Iran would create a smokescreen for the final solution to the ‘Palestinian problem’. If this isn’t going to happen, they will do it anyway. The world has already proven repeatedly that Israel can get away with anything, and Israel is counting on it. By the time everyone wakes up from their stupor, it’ll be too late. Just as it was in 1948 and then in 1967. But who will care about the Palestinians then? They will just become another ‘refugee problem’, numbers, a burden, a problem that requires ‘border protection’, as the poor refugees from Syria are now finding out.
Why people don’t see this and prefer to just dismiss Netanyahu as ‘insane’ is beyond me. These are very dangerous times, and he is laughing all the way to ‘all the land without the people’. He thinks everyone else is stupid, and frankly, it appears we are.
Yes, this is insane of course. Settler-colonialism is fundamentally insane and psychopathic. Only compassion and cooperation between people are truly sane. But settler-colonialism is what Israel is about, and Netanyahu is a great facilitator of that. He will preside over the completion of this project unless someone stops Israel before it’s too late.