Israeli lawmaker Oren Hazan of the Likud Party was interviewed by the BBC on Wednesday, in a news report about Ahed Tamimi titled “Is a slap an act of terror?”. Hazan opined that “a slap is terrorism” and described his response:
“If I was there, she would finish in the hospital. For sure. Nobody could stop me. I would kick, kick her face, believe me”.
Hazan is known for outrageous statements. For example he recently called Gazan families visiting relatives in Israeli prison “dogs”, “human scum” and “beasts”.
But Israel apologists hurried to contain the damage, as this was aired on one of the biggest mainstream channels. It would be hard for many people to accept this as ‘self-defence’, even if Oren Hazan says it is. Israel apologia outlet ‘Honest Reporting’ went on the offensive against the BBC, in a piece titled “BBC News Kicks Israel in the Face”. It was supposedly BBC who was the aggressor, since they could have interviewed someone else than Hazan; and they should have known that he was an enfant terrible. Editor Simon Plosker tweeted:
“Appalling that @oren_haz was given airtime on BBC 2 embarrass Israel. Whatever you think about Ahed Tamimi, stating that you’d kick a 16yr old girl’s face in and land her in hospital is terrible PR and shame on @BowenBBC 4 selecting him in the first place”.
Well Hazan is a member of the governing coalition. Before the BBC selected him, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party faithful did.
Plosker was deservedly countered by Israeli activist Ofer Neiman, who retweeted:
“From an Israeli citizen, Simon, YOU are in cahoots with this Israeli #apartheid political elite. Don’t like what you see in BBC mirror?”
Indeed, Hazan might be an extreme example, so maybe we should look at some more from the ‘center.’ Did Plosker or anyone else notice how close Hazan’s words were to those of the ‘centrist liberal’ journalist Ben Caspit, who wrote, “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.” And he added: “I, for example, if I were to encounter that situation, I would have long ago been in detention until end of procedures” (presumably because he would go amok on Ahed Tamimi)?
Is Ben Caspit also an enfant terrible?
And what about former Defense Minister Yaalon who in 2015 promised to keep hurting “Lebanese civilians, to include kids of the family.”
What about Centrist lawmaker Tzipi Livni, who after the 2008-2009 onslaught on Gaza killed hundreds of civilians congratulated Israel for showing “real hooliganism” and for “going wild” in Gaza?
And what about New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman who endorses the ‘going crazy’ doctrine against civilians in Lebanon?
Are all of them bad apples?
See, this is Israel’s problem. It goes crazy, because it’s part of a doctrine, a culture of violence, that is rationalized as ‘deterrence’. And it needs to show that face, so that those who are under its control know that no-one can ‘out-crazy’ Israel, as Friedman puts it.
But then, when some people forget to put the mask on for the liberals, suddenly it’s too crazy, and it needs to be contained as an aberration. When it happens, Israel’s apologists are in a hurry to turn your gaze the other way. It’s not Hazan or Israel kicking Ahed – it is the BBC kicking Israel!