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Another Israeli terrorist vies to be Prime Minister

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Israeli history is filled with terrorists who became Prime Minister. While pre-state Jewish terror leaders of the Irgun and Stern Gang, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, are often noted as the obvious examples, master-ethnic-cleanser David Ben-Gurion should also be remembered as such, and there are those who have created their own terrorist legacy in state-terror, such as Ariel Sharon.

Now comes another candidate: Benjamin (‘Benny’) Gantz.

Gantz, former Israeli army Chief of Staff (2011-2015), is challenging Benjamin Netanyahu for the Prime Minister post in the upcoming April elections, and doing it from the supposed ‘left’.

Gantz commanded two of Israel’s large-scale onslaughts on Gaza after Hamas was elected in 2006: the 2012 “Operation Pillar of Defense” (“Pillar of Cloud” in Hebrew), and the biggest and most murderous onslaught to date, the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” (“Mighty Cliff” in Hebrew), which according to the UN killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, among them 551 children.

Israel basically exonerated itself from any wrongdoing in Protective Edge, but Gantz is being sued for war crimes (together with then Israeli Air Force chief Amir Eshel) in The Netherlands, by Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada, who lost his 70-year-old mother Muftia Ziada, three brothers, a sister-in-law and a 12-year-old nephew, in the 2014 bombing of his family house in Al-Bureij refugee camp. 

The 2014 onslaught was more murderous than the one in 2008-9, “Cast Lead,” which the UN ‘Goldstone’ report regarded as a “deliberately disproportionate attack, designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”. 

In Israel, those who punish, humiliate and terrorize, also brag about doing so.

Hence, Gantz launched his campaign under the party “Hosen L’Israel” (“Israel’s Resilience”), with a series of unbelievably violent and bellicose videos. One of them features aerial footage of pulverized neighborhoods in Gaza at the end of the 2014 onslaught (in black and white), with a headline saying that “parts of Gaza were returned to the stone age”. It boasts of “1364 terrorists killed” (when the UN count for combatants was less than 800; thus Gantz counts close to 600 civilians as “terrorists”) and says that the result is “3.5 years of quiet”. The video contains the repeated slogan “only the strong wins” and ends like all of the clips with the slogan “Gantz – Israel before everything”. As Ali Abunimah notes, the latter could just as well be translated as the Trumpian “Israel first.” 

Another video uses real-time aerial footage of the November 14, 2012 extrajudicial assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari . Gantz calls Jabari an “arch-terrorist”, but Aluf Benn, chief editor of Haaretz, called him “Israel’s subcontractor in Gaza”. Benn writes on the day of the assassination in 2012:

Israel Killed Its Subcontractor in Gaza’ – 

The political outcome of the operation will become clear on January 22 [elections], but the strategic ramifications are more complex: Israel will have to find a new subcontractor to replace Ahmed Jabari as its border guard in the south. Ahmed Jabari was a subcontractor, in charge of maintaining Israel’s security in Gaza. This title will no doubt sound absurd to anyone who in the past several hours has heard Jabari described as “an arch-terrorist,” “the terror chief of staff” or “our Bin Laden.” But that was the reality for the past five and a half years. Israel demanded of Hamas that it observe the truce in the south and enforce it on the multiplicity of armed organizations in the Gaza Strip. The man responsible for carrying out this policy was Ahmed Jabari.

In fact, according to Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release captured soldier Gilad Shalit,

[H]ours before Hamas strongman Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip.

Coming at the heels of various and systematic extrajudicial executions by Israel in Gaza, the Jabari killing was a high-level political assassination that definitively shattered an earlier truce and the chances of a renewed one, and launched operation “Pillar of Defense.”

But in Israeli Newspeak, those who murder are men of peace. Thus, another video presents Gantz the ‘peacenik’:

“It is not a shame, that there would be yearning for peace,” he says.

That’s really something. How revolutionary! Don’t be ashamed if you want peace – come out of the closet! The speech continues:

Do we want to send our children to fight in another 25 years? No! But we might have to do it? Probably yes. In another 50 years? Probably yes. What will we tell them? That we did nothing? That we didn’t try? That we didn’t strive? That we didn’t examine? I’m not prepared to have a generation without hope that things could be different here.

This is a kind of Netanyahu-Benny Morris cocktail. Netanyahu said in 2015 that “we will forever live by the sword”. But Benny Morris, the ‘leftist’ (and genocidal) Israeli historian, has recently posited that peace talks would provide a useful façade for this belligerency, since it would “retain the West’s sympathy”:

Even if territorial compromise with the Palestinians is not realistic in this generation, as was also the case earlier, you have to play the diplomatic game – even if you know it won’t lead anywhere – in order to retain the West’s sympathy. You have to look like you’re pursuing peace, even if you’re not. 

Gantz’s version amounts to “Let’s show the soldiers we’re trying, while we assassinate right and left, massacre and pulverize neighborhoods back to the stone age, and talk peace.”

Gantz’s “Only the strong wins” is a rather obvious echoing of Netanayhu’s recent fascistic advocacy made at the Dimona nuclear plant (newly-dubbed Shimon Peres Nuclear Research Center):

“The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive… the strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”

Netanyahu was obviously cited as echoing Hitler. So what if Netanyahu said “peace”? It’s quite clear that in the end, it’s about a Spartan, eternal ‘living by the sword’.

Will Gantz now get a pass for being a supposed peacenik because he challenges Netanyahu from the left?

Gantz’s boast about killing many “terrorists” (most of the killed actually being civilians) is akin to Education Minister Naftali Bennet’s boast of having “killed lots of Arabs and there’s no problem with that”. For Gantz, Not only is there no problem with that, it’s even an honor.

So that’s Israel. Two options. Fascist and fascist. Good-cop-bad-cop, and even the good one is just awful. Although Gantz’s party is currently polling at some 13 seats of 120 (compared to Netanyahu’s Likud polling at over 30), it is expected that his party would serve as a basis for the formation of some kind of left-center challenge. And the two leaders are racing against each other: 31 percent of Israelis now believe Gantz is more suitable than Netanyahu for the prime minister post, compared with 42 percent who favor Netanyahu. Maybe more bellicose videos will enhance Gantz’s chances, for those Israelis who will forever live by the sword. 

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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27 Responses

  1. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield on January 22, 2019, 12:57 pm

    Netanyahu was echoing Hitler. And Stalin. He too said that the weak get beaten and the strong are respected (http://academic.shu.edu/russianhistory/index.php/Stalin_on_Rapid_Industrialization).

    • catalan
      catalan on January 22, 2019, 1:08 pm

      “Netanyahu was echoing Hitler. And Stalin. He too said that the weak get beaten and the strong are respected”
      I also echo all three of them. The weak get beaten (I was a small kid and got horribly bullied).

      • bcg
        bcg on January 22, 2019, 2:17 pm

        @Catalan: So what exactly do you want with respect to the I/P ‘conflict’? What’s your vision of the endgame?

      • catalan
        catalan on January 22, 2019, 3:04 pm

        “What’s your vision of the endgame?”
        Borders based on 1967 with agreeed upon modifications. Financial arrangements for the descendants of Palestinian refugees including the right to citizenship in the countries where they are. Basically something along the lines of the Olmert or Barak’s negotiations. But I am pessimistic that will happen. My prediction is that the situation stays more or less the same for the foreseeable future. There is too much stupidity and anger for compromise to form. Crazy is the norm now – so much nonesense gets said and written daily that common sense is out of the picture.

    • eljay
      eljay on January 22, 2019, 1:24 pm

      “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive… the strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”

      If I were Israeli, I would not want as my leader an immoral, supremacist lunatic whose message to the world essentially is: To destroy Israel is to earn respect.

  2. Ossinev
    Ossinev on January 22, 2019, 1:49 pm

    Forget the cherry tomatoes. What is not in dispute is that Zioland has developed some of the “finest” Fascist war criminals in the last 60 years.
    https://trialinternational.org/latest-post/benjamin-gantz/

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 22, 2019, 2:21 pm

    “Hence, Gantz launched his campaign under the party “Hosen L’Israel” (“Israel’s Resilience”), with a series of unbelievably violent and bellicose videos. One of them features aerial footage of pulverized neighborhoods in Gaza at the end of the 2014 onslaught (in black and white), with a headline saying that “parts of Gaza were returned to the stone age”

    The videos may indeed be “unbelievably violent and bellicose” but they have been chosen as electioneering tools for a reason. Surveys showed that the vast majority of Israelis approved of the above ‘war’. Less than 5% disapproved. About a third felt it was not brutal enough. This is the reality of Israel. Has been for some time – probably always. There is no silent majority of ‘liberal’ Israelis just waiting to speak up if only we’re nice enough to them. This is it. This is Israel. They’re not even trying to pretend anymore.

  4. bcg
    bcg on January 22, 2019, 3:45 pm

    @Catalan: “What’s your vision of the endgame?” Borders based on 1967 with agreed upon modifications.

    Ok, I could go along with that. Have you noticed that Netanyahu has announced that Israel isn’t going back to the 67 borders? Noticed the ever expanding settlements and the declarations by various members of the Israeli government that they won’t allow a Palestinian state under ANY circumstances?

    What is it you think will ACTUALLY happen? What’s actually happening looks like apartheid to me.

    • catalan
      catalan on January 22, 2019, 4:01 pm

      “What is it you think will ACTUALLY happen?”
      I think the conflict will continue for the foreseeable future in the same state. I suppose at some very distant point either there will be a compromise or one side will win. Given population trends the world population might be 15 billion in 50 years with half or more Muslims. It’s probably going to be very tough for Israel to withstand an attack of that magnitude. Or we may run out of oil and that may cause drastic decline in the strength of the Arabs and Iran. I don’t know – I do know that the Palestinian dream – partition borders or more, full repatriation of millions of refugees, and control over the future laws of what little remains in Israel will not be something Israel ever agrees to, no matter how much Starbucks is boycotted.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 22, 2019, 8:16 pm

        catalan: “I do know that the Palestinian dream – partition borders or more, full repatriation of millions of refugees, and control over the future laws of what little remains in Israel …”

        This is not the Palestinian position in negotiations. See:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Papers

        But we see the Zionists dreams that have been realized on the grounds.

      • Nathan
        Nathan on January 22, 2019, 8:40 pm

        catalan – It’s quite true that Israel will never agree to the Palestinian dream of “partition borders or more, full repatriation of millions of refugees…”, etc. However, it should be added that the Palestinians themselves will never agree to the Palestinian dream of “partition borders or more, full repatriation of millions of refugees…”, etc. There is no proposal that that the Palestinians will accept, even if it’s their own proposal. It should be noted out of fairness to the Palestinians that they have never revealed the full list of grievances the rectification of which would mean that the conflict has been resolved to their satisfaction and that they would be willing to accept the existence of Israel. In the case of the grievances that you mentioned (partition borders, return of refugees), these are NOT the issues that brought about the birth of the conflict – so, obviously, from the Palestinian point of view, the conflict with Israel wouldn’t be one inch closer to being resolved even if there were an acceptance of the partition borders and a right of return. There are still another infinite number of grievances, so it’s quite impossible for the Palestinians to outline the end-game scenario that they themselves could accept.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 23, 2019, 8:50 am

        Nathan: “There is no proposal that that the Palestinians will accept, even if it’s their own proposal.”

        In truth that’s exactly the Israeli game. They made a bad proposal, the Palestinians accepted and the next day the Israelis made a worse proposal. See the Palestine Papers:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Papers

        Nathan: “In the case of the grievances that you mentioned (partition borders, return of refugees), these are NOT the issues that brought about the birth of the conflict …”

        So what humanity calls international and human rights someone like you calls “grievances”. Is Zionism nothing else than a Jewish “grievance”?

        And you are right, PARTITION borders and RETURN of the refugees are not the issues that brought about the birth of the conflict. The birth of the conflict is settler colonialism and the belligerent take over of Palestine and the expulsion of the majority of the native population.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso on January 23, 2019, 10:04 am

        @catalan

        To be brief:

        Inevitably, the entity known as “Israel” will suffer the same fate as all colonialist settler states, i.e., abandonment by the country supporting them financially and militarily.

        As Britain dumped Rhodesia, France cast Algeria adrift and Belgium said goodbye to the Congo, so will the U.S. have no option other than to gradually abandon “Israel.”

        “Israel “serves no useful purpose for the U.S. whose taxpayers have paid its bills to the tune of $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in aid since 1948 while the standard of living for average Americans has plummeted. (The U.S. is now spending more money on annual interest for its ever growing monstrous debt than it is on its entire annual military budget.)

        Furthermore, “Israel’s” brutal occupation, dispossession and expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs and its wars of expansion against neighboring countries have created nothing but justified enemies of America.

        Time, demographics and 21st century geopolitics are with the Palestinians and their fellow Arabs, not “Israel,” especially given its rapidly increasing emigration of Jews and ever shrinking number of immigrants. More and more Jews everywhere, especially youth are seeing “Israel” and Zionism for the racist horrors they are.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 23, 2019, 1:06 pm

        “More and more Jews everywhere, especially youth are seeing “Israel” and Zionism for the racist horrors they are.”

        And have no wish to be impressed into the conflict and bigotry of Israel (with no moderating input possible) and which will avail them nothing.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on January 23, 2019, 5:43 pm

        A candid admission from the Zionist spox in office here:

        § “It’s quite true that Israel will never agree to the Palestinian dream of ‘partition borders or more, full repatriation of millions of refugees…’, etc.”

        § Well, there you have it, and he is not even quoting half of what is required by law. Liberaloids, tribals and Zio-puppets prefer to ignore Zionist statements and make proposals as if there was a chance of their being met halfway by the Zionist criminals. Continuing to believe this, or pretending to do so, may well be complicity,

        § Thanks to “Nathan” for the clear statement. This only means that “Israel”, as he calls it, must be destroyed and all consequences of the invasion fully remedied.

        § Of course, he’s totally wrong on the Palestinian side, i.e. the Zio-puppets in charge of Palestinian occupation police have already accepted all this and way more in advance. And of course no one knows if and what the entire Palestinian people agrees to, short of the legal requirement.

      • Nathan
        Nathan on January 23, 2019, 10:39 pm

        Misterioso – Quite a few times you have published a comment in which you bring to our attention some interesting prophecies that supposedly came true. For example, you quote Sigmund Freud’s prophesy that there will never be a Jewish state. I always find it strange that you would think that such a prediction came true when it’s so obvious that you are spending so much of your time participating in the propaganda war against Israel. Anyway, I think it’s wonderful that this time you are making the prophecies. Although it’s really difficult to make predictions (especially about the future), at least no one can conclude that you’re obviously wrong.

        You might find it interesting to learn that not all colonial projects ended up in utter failure. You chose as examples Rhodesia and Algeria, but these are not necessarily the most outstanding chapters in the history of settler communities. If I had to come up with some examples of colonial projects, probably Australia and New Zealand would come to mind. They are very successful societies, as I’m certain you would agree. And there are other very successful colonies that you might have heard of. Canada is also quite nice. So, Rhodesia didn’t work out so well, but the 13 colonies that became the USA seem to be managing okay despite their having been abandoned by the government that supported them for well over a century and a half.

        Since you don’t understand what is a prophesy that has come true, nor do you have a clear understanding of what is a failed settler project, I now wonder if you understand the issue of demographics. You seem to believe that Israel is emptying out, but apparently you have been reading too much slanted “wishful-thinking” of the anti-Israel world. Here’s the reality which you’ll have to live with: Israel is having a population explosion. Actually, it’s the only Jewish community in the world that is growing. When I was a kid, they would tell us in Hebrew school that “there are more Jews in NYC than in the entire Land of Israel…” There was a joke that “the last one out of the Tel-Aviv airport is kindly requested to turn off the lights…” Everyone has been leaving the country for well over a century, but the traffic jams only worsen.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 24, 2019, 11:06 am

        ” If I had to come up with some examples of colonial projects, probably Australia and New Zealand would come to mind. ”

        Not a good comparison. Australia and NZ a large islands where the native populations were tiny so could easily be more or less wiped out/confined to small reservations. Very different from a small, relatively densely populated area where the population was too large to succesfully exterminate, and instead remain either in situ or in neighbouring countries.

        And I’m not sure that the native populations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand would share your rosy eyed view of these colonial enterprises.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 24, 2019, 2:05 pm

        Nathan: “If I had to come up with some examples of colonial projects, probably Australia and New Zealand would come to mind.”

        How about coming up with some example of colonial projects that turned into Apartheid and how that played out for them?

        Nathan: “… it’s so obvious that you are spending so much of your time participating in the propaganda war against Israel.”

        ROFL. “propaganda war against Israel”. As if someone needs to resort to propaganda to make the Jewish apartheid state look like a racist and anachronistic abomination. It’s actually Israel that is fighting a propaganda war to distract from its ugly existence.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 24, 2019, 3:54 pm

        “You might find it interesting to learn that not all colonial projects ended up in utter failure.” “Nathan”

        ROTFLMSJAO!! How true, how true. All you’ve got to do is discover, or open for exploitation, a huge chunk of the world, chock full of every prized narural resource, and thinly people by primitive indigenous people already decimated by disease from the first contacts, and you can do whatever the heck you want, and the world won’t say much. As long as you started at least a few hundred years ago. Just in time for the industrial revolution would be ideal.

        And if we Jews want to start colonizing new territories, we’re going to need a bit more internal population pressure, if you get my drift.

      • gamal
        gamal on January 24, 2019, 4:21 pm

        “a bit more internal population pressure”

        well Shmuley i am sure has some exercises you could do to pump that up, also recall that the Arabs, when they were the Muslims comprised between 1-2% of the population of the Muslim Empire and look how that has turned out.

  5. Kay24
    Kay24 on January 22, 2019, 5:45 pm

    Looks like Israel is full of war criminals and extremists. There seems to be a lack of moderate and decent leaders, who genuinely wants peace, and human rights for their neighbors, and to set those they have held against their will, free. Someone who also disagrees with stealing lands. I guess you have better chances to be Prime Minister in Israel, if you show you can be brutal and ready to kill unarmed civilians, and keep stealing lands without hesitation. Basic zionist qualifications.

  6. Mayhem
    Mayhem on January 22, 2019, 5:47 pm

    Ofir claims that of the many “terrorists” that Benny Gantz has killed that “most of the killed actually being civilians”.
    How can he substantiate that? Does he prefer to believe what Hamas or other one-eyed pro-Palestinian activists say?
    Opiniated claims like this only help to highlight Ofir deep-seated prejudice on this subject.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on January 22, 2019, 8:12 pm

      Mayhem: “How can he substantiate that?”

      For example according to BTselem statistics about 2012 and 2014 62% of those who were killed were civilians.

      Mayhem “Does he prefer to believe what Hamas or other one-eyed pro-Palestinian activists say?”

      Just read the Dahiya Doctrine and watch the large scale distruction in the video. Someone that only a war criminal with a Nazi mindset would brag about.

      Mayhem: “Opiniated claims like this only help to highlight Ofir deep-seated prejudice on this subject.”

      You just made an opiniated claim without knowing the number that highlight your deep-seated prejudice on this subject AND the huge plank in your eye.

      • Jonathan Ofir
        Jonathan Ofir on January 23, 2019, 10:27 am

        Thanks for answering Mayhem, Talkback. The claim is substantiated in the article itself, where one wonders whether Mayhem actually read it. It speaks of the ‘2014 “Operation Protective Edge” (“Mighty Cliff” in Hebrew), which according to the UN killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, among them 551 children’. Then there’s also your citing of B’tselem.
        You know, it’s funny – Haaretz did a fact-check on Gantz’s numbers two days ago:

        “Fact-check: Did Netanyahu Challenger Benny Gantz Really Kill 1,364 ‘Terrorists’ in Gaza?
        Gantz’s new election campaign video, featuring footage of Gaza’s destruction, cites official Israeli government statistics. But even the Israeli Foreign Ministry and IDF admit that there were less militants and more civilians… On the backdrop of images of destruction in Gaza accompanied by dramatic music, Gantz claimed that during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, under his command, 1,364 “terrorists” were killed.
        The video claims that the figure is based on a Foreign Ministry report, but according to a Foreign Ministry report released on June 15, 2016, the number of Palestinians involved in fighting who were killed was actually 936.
        According to Israeli government breakdown, the Israel Defense Forces and Foreign Ministry admit that “military activists” constituted just 44 percent of all those killed during Operation Protective Edge. The army says that of the 2,125 Palestinians killed, 936 were “terrorists” and at least 761 were civilians – of them, 369 children younger than 15 and 284 women. The identities of the remaining 428 were not categorized.
        In his video, Gantz appears to have taken the number of “terrorists” and added to it all 428 unrecognized victims to have reached the total number of 1,364 “terrorists” he boasts of having killed.”

        So even with those high official Israeli counts of “terrorists” (and counting children only from age 15 and down…), still, the official Israeli count still confirms my claim, that most of the killed were actually civilians.

        But Gantz lumped all the rest that were not categorized into being “terrorists” – which seems to suggest that he thought Palestinians are terrorists by default.

        So that’s how I substantiate it. It would appear that the deep-seated prejudice is rather with Mr. Gantz, whom Mayhem seems inclined to believe.

        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-fact-check-did-benny-gantz-kill-1-364-terrorists-in-gaza-not-exactly-1.6865939

    • zaid
      zaid on January 23, 2019, 1:03 pm

      “Gantz’s new election campaign video, featuring footage of Gaza’s destruction, cites official Israeli government statistics. But even the Israeli Foreign Ministry and IDF admit that there were less militants and more civilians”

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-fact-check-did-benny-gantz-kill-1-364-terrorists-in-gaza-not-exactly-1.6865939

  7. RoHa
    RoHa on January 22, 2019, 10:19 pm

    “Israeli history is filled with terrorists who became Prime Minister. ”

    Is it possible for Israelis to find a PM who isn’t a terrorist?

    • John O
      John O on January 23, 2019, 11:59 am

      Even if they find one who wasn’t before they became PM, they’ll soon become one. It goes with the territory.

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