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Benny Gantz likens Israeli racist party to Palestinian party calling for ‘state of all its citizens’

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“In our government there will be no Kahane and no BALAD,” said Israeli centrist contender Benny Gantz, in response to Netanyahu’s efforts to bring in the Jewish Power party (the ‘David Dukes’ of Israeli politics) to ensure a rightwing majority in parliament. 

Surely, Netanyahu’s attempt is despicable – but what of Gantz’s comparison? BALAD is a predominantly Palestinian-Israeli party which seeks equality in a secular state.

BALAD responded to Gantz officially (Hebrew):

The announcement by Benny Gantz’s “Israeli Resilience” party, wherein he compares between BALAD, a democratic party which represents a large part of the Arab public, and the Kahanist mentors of Jewish terror, shows that Gantz – who not long ago glorified and boasted about the destruction he inflicted on Gaza – is no different from Netanayhu who incites against the Arabs and warns about their coming to vote in droves.

Balad is a moral party which promotes the most democratic platform – a state of all its citizens. We will certainly not join a Gantz government and he is barging into an open door. A democratic party like BALAD opposes not only Netanyahu, but also Netanyahu 2 called Gantz. 

That’s a great statement. Benny Gantz is supposedly a rival of Netanyahu, but is really his alter-ego inside the Zionist spectrum. Not that there aren’t shades of gray in it, but here Gantz is clearly marking what he, and Zionism, consider completely out of discussion: a democratic, secular state of all its citizens. Such a suggestion is seen as akin to fascist exclusivist Jewish terrorism, because it will supposedly destroy the state from inside.

Such a view is mainstream in the Israeli left-center. The Labor leader Avi Gabbay said as much when he was elected to lead the party in summer 2017:

The Joint List’s current composition includes anti-Zionist elements like [Haneen] Zoabi and [Jamal] Zahalka, so we can’t cooperate with this composition.

(Gabbay was referring to the two BALAD leaders who won’t be running for parliament in coming elections).  

This is a sad reality, and it’s not about Benjamin Netanyahu or Benjamin Gantz, Netanyahu 1 or Netanyahu 2. It’s really like Gabbay says – it’s about Zionism. Because equality is simply anathema to Zionism, no matter how much Zionist apologists point out that there are Arab citizens in Israel.

So when the Zionist leaders compete on who is more Zionist, they are bound to incite against those few who dare to challenge the Zionist model. And that puts them in the center, serving as an insurance against claims that they are “Arab lovers” (as former Labor leader Isaac Herzog warned).

 

“Jewish power”

The Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) leaders are followers of Meir Kahane – former leader of ‘Kach’ party which was banned from running in the elections in 1988 and was designated as a terror organization in Israel, the U.S., Canada and the EU. The leader of ‘Kach’ Meir Kahane managed to get elected in 1984 and was boycotted by all the other parties in the Knesset. He tried to pass a law for stripping non-Jews from their citizenship, a law for separate beaches for Jews and Arabs and other racist laws.

These are the party leaders, as David Horovitz characterizes them in the Times of Israel: 

–        Former lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari. Interviewed on Army Radio on Wednesday afternoon, he was asked to disavow Kahane’s racist ideology. He ridiculed the notion. Kahane, he said, was his teacher, his rabbi.

–        Itamar Ben Gvir, made headlines in Israel in 1995 when he held up the Cadillac insignia ripped from prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s car and bragged to a TV camera, “Just as we got to this symbol, we can get to Rabin” – merely a few weeks before Rabin’s murder.

–        Baruch Marzel, a former top aide to Kahane known for organizing parties in celebration of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians at prayer in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.

–        Benzi Gopstein, an ex-Kahane student and Kach activist whose Lehava movement works to prevent relationships — romantic and otherwise — between Jews and Palestinians. 

These are the guys that Netanyahu was so bent on having alliance with, to secure his rightwing majority. The fear was that if Jewish Power didn’t make alliance with other right religious-nationalist parties, those parties might fall below the 3.25% Knesset threshold (the so-called blocking line of four seats in the parliament) and go to waste. Jewish Home had already made alliance last week with the National Union faction, but was still resisting pressure to merge with Jewish Power – until Netanyahu spearheaded a personal campaign for them to join forces. 

Netanyahu promised to give the Jewish Home party the 28th spot on Likud’s candidate list in return for election merger with Jewish Power. This move is expected to secure the needed 4 seats for this alliance.  

These are the sensibilities in the Israeli elections. Netanyahu will make these deals with the Israeli David Dukes, and Gantz will chide him for it, but in doing so incite against those who seek a liberal, democratic, state of all its citizens. In the end, Gantz’s party name “Israeli Resilience” really does translate to Jewish Power. Because that’s what Zionism is about – the “strong Jew”. 

For the ‘liberal-Zionists’, the only question remaining is how to make that palatable to everyone else, how to make it sound democratic, how to make it seem liberal, how to make it look moral. But when it comes down to it, Zionists view equality as their destruction.

H/t Ofer Neiman

About Jonathan Ofir

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

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34 Responses

  1. Talkback
    Talkback on February 21, 2019, 9:26 am

    Israel is a wonderful democracy. You can choose to be ruled by military war criminals who brag about killing Palestinians or terrorist Kahanists … who brag about killing Palestinians.

    What’s your kind of genocidal flavour? The telephone lines are now open.

  2. eljay
    eljay on February 21, 2019, 12:14 pm

    Zionists may care about justice, equality and human rights elsewhere in the world but – hateful and immoral hypocrites that they are – when it comes to I-P all that matters is Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

    Gantz’s function seems to be to make “liberal Zionists” feel that “kinder, gentler” rape isn’t really rape – it’s just imperfect self-determination.

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew on February 21, 2019, 2:08 pm

    Maybe I am not a Zionist, but the reason I oppose equality (which would entail an unlimited return of refugees) is because it will lead to an Arab majority in the new Palestine and I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic. I base this fear on the history of the region. Those who disregard this fear base their disregard on what? optimism? the human propensity towards democracy? the human propensity towards kindness? (It is conceivable to propose such equality despite the nondemocratic results that are probable. but at least admit that.)

    • eljay
      eljay on February 21, 2019, 3:25 pm

      || wondering jew: Maybe I am not a Zionist … ||

      Maybe you’re not, but your history on MW says you very much are.

      || … but the reason I oppose equality (which would entail an unlimited return of refugees)

      Equality doesn’t require “an unlimited return of refugees”.

      || … is because it will lead to an Arab majority in the new Palestine and I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic. … ||

      So don’t advocate for a “New Palestine”. Advocate instead for a 2SS:
      – comprising two secular and democratic states (Israel and Palestine, or whatever the latter is to be called);
      – based on Partition borders with adjustments negotiated in good faith;
      – with RoR (or compensation in lieu) negotiated in good faith; and
      – with full equality for all people living in and up to n-generations removed from their respective states.

      You could do this, but to date you haven’t and it’s unlikely that you will because maybe you aren’t a Zionist…but you are.

    • bcg
      bcg on February 21, 2019, 5:12 pm

      @WJ: Since 1967 at least 800,000 Palestinians (yes, that’s eight hundred thousand) have seen the inside of an Israeli jail. Concerned about democracy?

      • captADKer
        captADKer on February 22, 2019, 9:09 am

        [[Since 1967 at least 800,000 Palestinians (yes, that’s eight hundred thousand) have seen the inside of an Israeli jail.]]

        is ARAFAT IRFAIYA one of them?

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 22, 2019, 1:29 pm

        captADKer: “is ARAFAT IRFAIYA one of them?”

        You may be surprised, but sometimes the Israel actually imprisons a Nonjew who is actually guilty. (Of course I mean guilty of a crime that would be considered a crime in democracies and not only in Israel). Of course that doesn’t mean that he is allowed to consult with a lawyer or that a Jew commiting the same crime would get the same sentence. After all Israel is an Apartheid state.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on February 21, 2019, 5:49 pm

      wondering jew: “Maybe I am not a Zionist, but the reason I oppose equality (which would entail an unlimited return of refugees) is because it will lead to an Arab majority in the new Palestine and I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic.”

      So you oppose equality, because it may lead to something that isn’t based on equality.

      #Hasbara fail

      • johneill
        johneill on February 22, 2019, 12:06 am

        from an unequal state through equality to greater inequality and violence, given the colonial history of the region. maybe decolonizing is the first step, right?

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on February 22, 2019, 8:46 pm

        @WJ/Yonah
        “Maybe I am not a Zionist, but the reason I oppose equality…[snip] I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic. …[snip]

        Shorter Yonah
        General Response
        ===============
        We were victims
        We are victims
        Whatever happens in the future we will be victims

        Specific
        =======

        I am a zionist and therefore comfortable with ensuring supremacist rights for Israeli Jews. Equality for all is evil and should only exist where Jews don’t have supremacist rights.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 23, 2019, 8:37 am

        oldgeezer: “I am a zionist and therefore comfortable with ensuring supremacist rights for Israeli Jews. Equality for all is evil and should only exist where Jews don’t have supremacist rights.”

        Shorter: “Equality? Only if it’s good for Jews.” – Anonymous Zionist

    • amigo
      amigo on February 21, 2019, 7:14 pm

      “and I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic.” YF aka WJ

      Did you mean like the Jewish Majority so called democracy with a nation state law that states that only Jews in Israel have the right to self determination.

      Hopefully the Arab Majority will not take their cues from their former oppressors .

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on February 22, 2019, 9:15 am

      @wondering Jew

      “I fear that an Arab majority Palestine will not be democratic.”

      BULLCRAP!!!

      Apparently, you have no problem with the fact that the current entity known as “Israel” (i.e., west of the “green line”) is not and has never been “democratic” when it comes to its indigenous Muslim and Christian citizens.

      Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

      Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798.

      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

      Video: Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis: Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyyUvxHLYr4

      In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

      “Construction, Not Destruction”
      “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.” (Haaretz Editorial, April 4, 2017)

      One example of apartheid within Israel:
      “Jewish town won’t let Arab build home on his own land ”
      Excerpt: “Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ‘Don’t waste your time,’ he reportedly told Suad. ‘We’ll keep you waiting for 30 years.’” (Haaretz, 14 December 2009)

      Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy, Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

      Ilan Pappe, while professor of political science at Haifa University: “[Israel’s] political system [is] exclusionary, a pro forma democracy – going through the motions of democratic rule but essentially being akin to apartheid or Herenvolk (‘master race’) democracy.” (“Jerusalem Report,” Feb. 14/2000)

      Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

      Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

      Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 22, 2019, 12:45 pm

      Democracy you say?

      About half – perhaps a bit more – of the people living in the territories ruled by Israel are not Jews. Even those who have been grudgingly granted citizenship are systematically denied rights given to Jews, simply because they are Jews. Those who live in the occupied territories have basically no rights at all, while the Jews squatting illegally down the road have fullcitizenship rights, even though they do not live in Israel.

      And you worry about democracy? Pull the other one. It’s got bells on.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on February 22, 2019, 4:01 pm

        To summarize: Of course the future Palestine will not be democratic. But because Israel is not democratic this makes no difference.
        So please stop writing about the future Palestine in these glowing terms of equality. Odds are it would not turn out that way. Not one of you argued that it will. So things are clear.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 22, 2019, 4:12 pm

        Eh no. But nice try at a strawman argument.

        Your ‘concern’ isn’t about democracy, or lack thereof, in any putative one-state solution. It’s about the absence of Jewish supremacy. Zionism, however you dice and slice it, is always about Jewish supremacy. Inherently so.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 22, 2019, 4:16 pm

        “Odds are it would not turn out that way.”

        “wondering Jew”, I can see the basis for your distress. The Jews have no agency, no power, no way of determining events in Palestine.

        But if only the Palestinians would give us a teeny-weeny chance, we could show them what Jewish democracy is all about. Maybe someday, when Jews have some control over events in Palestine…

      • eljay
        eljay on February 22, 2019, 6:13 pm

        || wondering jew: To summarize … ||

        – Maybe you’re not a Zionist but – like every Zionist does – you support religion-based supremacism / oppose equality in Israel.
        – You could advocate for a 2SS that includes a secular and democratic Israel of and for people living in and up to n-generations removed from it, but you haven’t, you don’t and you likely won’t.

        || … So things are clear. ||

        Crystal.

  4. Kay24
    Kay24 on February 21, 2019, 8:30 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that a political party that WANTS EQUALITY FOR ALL is considered a negative force in the land of the zionists? It is hard to comprehend how this country that keeps bragging ad nauseam, that they are the only real “democracy” in the Middle East, could evolve into a hard right wing nation, and that a group once called “terrorists” by the US State Department, could be accepted, and included, in main stream politics. What does that say about the people of Israel?
    The candidates who run have shown nothing but having violent tendencies, and each one trying to outdo the other in just how brutal they can be, and how much force they are willing to use on unarmed civilians. Whoever wins the elections, will end up with the Palestinians losing even more, and I am afraid even more losing their lives. This is a no win situation for the Palestinians, and the world should be very concerned that Israel will be led by a brutal right wing regime, either way. Israel will be run by crooks, butchers, and vicious human beings. It seems the voters like that.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on February 22, 2019, 1:00 am

      “Israel will be run by crooks, butchers, and vicious human beings. ”

      Why the future tense?

      “It seems the voters like that.”

      But jrg would rather that we didn’t say so.

      • eljay
        eljay on February 22, 2019, 6:42 pm

        || RoHa: … jrg would rather that we didn’t say so. ||

        Sounds like he’s being adversarial. Huh.

    • Mayhem
      Mayhem on February 23, 2019, 4:52 pm

      From The Times of Israel:
      Shihadeh added that “Balad supports the establishment of a Palestinian state next to a state for all of its citizens,” before further clarifying that, “we don’t support two states for two peoples. We support the establishment of a Palestinian state next to a state for all of its citizens.”
      What is that supposed to mean?
      Israel is supposed to be a non-Jewish state with a Palestinian state right next door?
      They’ve got to be kidding.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 24, 2019, 6:02 am

        Mayhem: “Israel is supposed to be a non-Jewish state with a Palestinian state right next door?”

        It’s actually quite revealing how your supremacist understanding distorts the idea of “Israel as a state for all of its citizens” into the opposite racist extreme of a “Jewish state” which is a “non-Jewish state”.

        Keep up the good work, Mayhem!

      • eljay
        eljay on February 24, 2019, 8:57 am

        || Mayhem: … What is that supposed to mean?
        Israel is supposed to be a non-Jewish state with a Palestinian state right next door? … ||

        Israel is supposed to be an Israeli state with a non-Israeli state right next door. Nothing wrong with that…unless you’re a Jewish supremacist (Zionist) who insists on Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem on February 24, 2019, 5:50 pm

        A Palestinian state right next door to a dejudafied Israel as “friendly” to Jews as other Arab states in the Middle East are? Of course the pipe dream of all anti-Zionists.

      • eljay
        eljay on February 24, 2019, 7:18 pm

        || Mayhem: A Palestinian state right next door to a dejudafied Israel … ||

        If by “dejudafied Israel” you mean an Israel that…
        – is not an oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; but
        – is the secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally,
        …that is correct.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 25, 2019, 8:57 am

        Mayhem: “… dejudafied Israel …”

        You can’t help it, can you? A state for all its’s citizens is either “Jewish” or “dejudafied”.

        Best deligitimization, ever. Keep up the good work!

  5. Jejasalo
    Jejasalo on February 22, 2019, 4:40 pm

    “Liberal Zionism” has become an oxymoron. This is in part a result of the phases of historical Zionism. Hannah Arendt noted as early as 1946 that the Zionist State in the making had already abandoned its leftist heritage in favor of the Jabotinsky-ites whose views came increasingly to define the late pre-state period. Unless there is a way to reintroduce or re-define contemporary Zionism the current variant of Zionism has already proved that within itself lie the seeds of its own destruction.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 23, 2019, 8:21 am

      ““Liberal Zionism” has become an oxymoron.”

      Not become. It always has been.

      Zionism is built – quite explicitly – on the notion that Jews are just simply more important, precious and human than Arabs. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it is a Jewish supremacist ideology. The ‘leftist’ Zionism you speak of was built on lands stolen from the native people, and involved actively excluding them from any of their ‘leftist’ organisations, which were explicitly Jews only. As I said on another thread, this goes against any form of socialism I have ever known, since socialists believe all human beings are equal, regardless of race or religion.

      Zionists do not believe that. Zionists cannot believe that. The problem is not ‘variants’ of Zionist. The problem is Zionism.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on February 23, 2019, 8:58 pm

        “Zionism is built – quite explicitly – on the notion that Jews are just simply more important, precious and human than Arabs.”

        “We matter and you don’t” was Saleema’s five word summary.

  6. Jejasalo
    Jejasalo on February 23, 2019, 10:10 am

    Liberal Zionism has not always been an oxymoron.
    Nationalism was never pre-ordained to change into fascism. It is worth the time to read history before making broad generalizations. The early Zionists had widely divergent views. A Zionist *State* was not voted into the picture until the early 40s.

    There are many threads of contemporary, racist Zionism that can be traced back to some of the first Zionist settlers’ views. There are also, however, those people who found that brand of Zionism abhorrent, unacceptable, and dangerous; who understood that the long term ramifications of national chauvinism would be ethnic/religious exclusionism. — or worse.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 23, 2019, 1:17 pm

      OK then.

      Tell me how a movement which involved Europeans settling in a Middle Eastern land – without the consent of the natives and with zero regard for their well-being – is in any way ‘liberal’. Would you be happy for such a ‘liberal’ movement to take hold in your country? At your expense?

      “A Zionist *State* was not voted into the picture until the early 40s.”

      Odd, considering the Balfour declaration happened decades earlier.

      • Jejasalo
        Jejasalo on February 23, 2019, 7:48 pm

        I know it’s a complicated history, but it’s highly worth reading.

        As for the Balfour Declaration, find out where it mentions the word, “state.” It’s not insignificant.

        Additionally, check out the Biltmore Conference or Program from May 6-11, 1942. That’s when those wanting a Jewish State came out on top, to the chagrin of those who wanted a bi-national state.

        1. Rogan, Eugene; The Arabs. Basic Books; NY, latest edition, Nov. 7, 2017.

        2. Hourani, Albert; A History of the Arab Peoples; Belknap Press, 1991.

        3. Chomsky, Noam; The Fateful Triangle. Haymarket Books, Chicago. Latest edition 2014.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 24, 2019, 5:17 am

        You haven’t answered my questions.

        “Tell me how a movement which involved Europeans settling in a Middle Eastern land – without the consent of the natives and with zero regard for their well-being – is in any way ‘liberal’. Would you be happy for such a ‘liberal’ movement to take hold in your country? At your expense?”

        And thanks for the mostly out-of-date reading list, but I’ve read widely on the subject and know very well that Zionism always intended the explusion and/or subjugation of the native peoples. They were quite open about it actually. It was never ever ‘liberal’, unless you consider 19th century European ethno nationalism ‘liberal’. Do you?

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