Israeli leaders have been making downright genocidal claims against Palestinians, and the rhetoric finally seems to be backfiring. The government’s line on “defending itself from terrorists” is not being swallowed by the world as easily as it used to be. Especially because those genocidal statements betray other than “defensive” intentions to the actions in Gaza. And the process is accelerating Israel’s delegitimization as a supposed liberal democracy.
Take for example Likud spokesman Eli Hazan’s claim that “all 30,000 [Gazan protesters] are legitimate targets.”
Or Defense Minister Lieberman’s claim that “there are no innocent people in Gaza”.
How is this different from the genocidal claim of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who posted a genocidal commentary by another writer in 2014:
“Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started” [….] Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. 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.”
It doesn’t help that Israeli leaders are now speaking with two tongues. Asked about the IDF killing of journalist Yasser Murtaja in Gaza, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara responded:
“innocent people die in war”.
But the former leaders just said that none of them are “innocent”.
So are they really just ‘collateral’, or are they really targeted because they are considered ‘terrorists’?
Israel can’t continue forever with these games. It has to have a backlash.
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now calls Israel an “apartheid, rogue, terrorist state”:
“Whatever you thought of Israel in the past, believing that it was some kind of bastion of liberal democracy in the Middle East, that it was surrounded by primitive brutal enemies, all the propaganda, what’s clear now is that Israel is something quite different than all of that. And even people who once believed that are now starting to come and see that Israel is an apartheid, rogue, terrorist state. The conduct that it engages in, continually and without apology, proudly, and the comments that it makes, including the one you just referenced from the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who said there are no innocent people in Gaza, which is basically the mentality of a genocidal maniac, is reflective of what Israel is.”
Recently, Defense Minister Lieberman sought to paint the murdered journalist Yaser Murtaja as a “Hamas terrorist”, without evidence. But mainstream media is not buying it. The Washington Post for example:
“Israeli defense minister claims journalist shot in Gaza had been on the payroll for Hamas military wing since 2011. If so, seems odd his production company wasn’t flagged when US approved it for funding last month, following a vetting process.”
British Daily Mail cites International Federation of Journalists who have documented that Murtaja was even detained and beaten by Hamas in 2015. IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger is quoted:
“It is clear that having murdered a journalist the Israeli defence minister is more interested in spouting propaganda and engaging in a cover-up than in carrying out a thorough and transparent investigation and bringing Yasser´s killers to justice”.
Israeli reflexive accusations of Palestinian “terrorism” are thus ricocheting back at it, from within and without.
Recently, Israeli leftist activists filmed a clip near Gaza, in what the army deemed a closed military zone. The activists called the soldiers “terrorists”. The video went viral in Israel on Monday, per the Times of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu also noticed the video and mentioned it in the Wednesday cabinet meeting. He opined that those words were an “outrageous absurdity” and that the soldiers have the full backing of all cabinet ministers, in order to continue “to do their holy work.”
Defense Minister Lieberman is now reported to be taking this further: He is promoting new legislation, making it a crime punishable by 5 years prison to film soldiers with the purpose of “destabilizing IDF morale and the morale of Israeli citizens”. The penalty becomes 10 years if the intent is to “harm the security of the state”.
Here is the reportage on Israeli television with subtitles, shared by BDS From Within activist Ronnie Barkan.
Israel seems unable to rescue itself from this spiral. Every step it takes to suppress protest against its policies becomes yet another proof of its own terrorist, fascist and genocidal impulses.