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In campaign ad, Israeli Justice Minister rebuts criticisms of fascism by saying her policies ‘smell like democracy’

on 16 Comments

Last night, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid tweeted:

Bizarre indeed. Here’s a more detailed translation of her parody-video, including its subtitles:

“Fascism – By Ayelet Shaked. A judiciary revolution. Reducing activism. Appointment of judges. Governance. Separation of authorities. Reigning in the Supreme Court. FASCISM. To me it smells like democracy”.

Shaked is mocking her leftist detractors, who are pointing to her fascist traits. Indeed, it has been argued that Shaked is literally, not just metaphorically, a fascist. An example is Rogel Alpher in Haaretz, who in 2017 was referring to a speech where Shaked said: “Zionism should not continue, and I say here, it will not continue to bow down to the system of individual rights interpreted in a universal way.” The minister’s announcement of a “moral and political revolution” aimed at strengthening national principles at the expense of universal individual rights was comparable to Mussolini’s “doctrine of fascism,” the columnist said. He cited Mussolini’s “revolutionary negation” of individualism and liberalism, wherein the nation ‘was a superior, super-personal reality … a moral law, a tradition, a mission binding together generations past, present and future, and all the individuals'” (quoting from Jacob Talmon’s “The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution”).

Shaked has become known to many as the politician who advocated for the genocide of “little snakes” (Palestinian children) during the Gaza 2014 onslaught. Since her appointment to Justice Minister in 2015, her focus seemed to be an ice-cold attack on what she perceived to be representations of liberal activism. Shaked’s reference to “activism” in the parody ad can be traced to her war against left-wing NGO’s. In 2016, Shaked passed her flagship “Transparency bill”, which forced organizations who receive more than half their funding from institutions abroad (including from European governments), to disclose it prominently in official reports. The law does not specifically refer to leftwing organizations, but applies to about 25 NGOs. Rightwing NGOs, such as those supporting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, tend to rely on private donations, which the law does not cover. A clause in the original bill suggested requiring these organizational representatives wear a badge in the Knesset, but this was dropped. The value of this law is regarded to be highly symbolic, as Israeli NGO’s are anyway required to report their public funding – now this funding would be listed as a supposed mark of shame, on all NGO public documentations. This was a populist law meant as part of a campaign of incitement against the ‘left-wing NGO’s’, which Israel’s right has been conducting heavily these past years. The incitement against liberal NGO’s also has a less official, more populist aspect to it, as with the campaigns of organizations such as ‘Im Tirzu‘, positing that left-wing organizations and activists are ‘foreign agents’. 

Ironically, the Justice Ministry has itself been very obscure, and not “transparent” at all, when it comes to its direct involvement in international activities to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign taking Israel to task for its violations.

Most of Shaked’s references in the parody video are directly addressed at the judiciary and the supreme court: “A judiciary revolution”, “appointment of judges, “reigning in the Supreme Court”.

Shaked was furious two days ago, when the High Court ruled in favor of Palestinian-Israeli parties Balad-UAL, as well as Ofer Cassif of the Hadash-Ta’al, allowing them to run despite ban from Elections Committee, while barring Jewish Power leader Michael Ben Ari from running due to racism. Shaked responded:

“The judges of the High Court have turned themselves into a political factor. Their decision to disqualify Ben Ari and authorize parties that support terror is a blatant and erroneous intervention in Israeli democracy. Tomorrow I will publish my plan for the completion of a judicial revolution in my next term.”

This was a light version of the Kahanist Michael Ben Ari himself, who said that “there is a legal junta that seeks to take over our lives. It’s not a democracy.” 

Well, I don’t know about you, but it smells like fascism to me. And I’m not an expert on perfume. But for Shaked, it’s all just a joke.

Jonathan Ofir

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

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16 Responses

  1. Stephen Shenfield on March 19, 2019, 10:38 am

    A term commonly used by political scientists for this sort of philosophy is ‘organic nationalism’. The nation is perceived as a sort of living being whose rights supersede those of individual human beings. In itself it does not suffice to label someone a fascist, but it comes uncomfortably close.

  2. eljay on March 19, 2019, 11:03 am

    Ayelet Shaked is the pretty face of an ugly ideology.

  3. Marnie on March 19, 2019, 11:15 am

    What a horror all wrapped up in a supposedly pretty package. Smells like death to me.

  4. JLewisDickerson on March 19, 2019, 11:40 am

    RE: “Fascism – By Ayelet Shaked. A judiciary revolution. Reducing activism. Appointment of judges. Governance. Separation of authorities. Reigning in the Supreme Court. FASCISM.”

    “Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you”

    ■ Lynyrd Skynyrd “That Smell” (Original Extended Version) Music Video -Rare Footage –

  5. Talkback on March 19, 2019, 2:04 pm

    (“judicial junta” instead of “legal junta”)

  6. bcg on March 19, 2019, 2:53 pm

    Looks like blood and soil nationalism to me:

    Reading this you’d almost believe it was about Zionism.

  7. echinococcus on March 19, 2019, 5:15 pm

    “Smells like democracy to me”
    So democracy stinks to heaven.

    • RoHa on March 20, 2019, 1:11 am

      Well Huzzah and Hurrah for Democracy!

      Those revolutions ceertainly proved their worth. Democracy is so much better than rule by those wicked old kings. The Blackadder test proves it.

      ‘These are volatile times, Your Highness. The American Revolution lost your father the colonies, the French Revolution murdered brave King Louis, and there are tremendous rumblings in Prussia – although that might have something to do with the sausages. The whole world cries out, “Peace, freedom, and a few less fat bastards eating all the pie!”

      And using those criteria, look at the benefits:


      The kings used to spend huge sums of money, and quite a few of their subjects’ lives, making war on each other. This would never happen in a democracy.

      In a democracy you have much greater personal freedom.
      (As long as you don’t smoke and remember to fill in forms HZX42/3/Jr5, HZY18/7/Kp3, and the application for waiver.)

      Freedom of speech.
      You can say just about anything you like about the king.
      (But not about Israel.)
      (And don’t say that dangly bits are the difference between men and women.)
      (Actually, best not to suggest that men and women are different at all. But don’t say they are the same, either.)

      A few less fat bastards eating all the pie.
      Lots of fat people in the democracies nowadays. Positive obesity epidemic. This proves that the economic pie is fairly shared out, rather than most of it going to a tiny, elite, percentage. Doesn’t it?

      There’s a good two cheers’ worth there, isn’t there?

  8. echinococcus on March 19, 2019, 5:18 pm

    Who’s that Ravid character?
    “Viktor Orban on steroids”: stupid and slanderous to compare a conservative or reactionary politician to a Zionist monster .

    • RoHa on March 20, 2019, 8:04 pm

      Echi, bear with me for a moment while I put on this oddly shaped progressive’s hat.

      O.K., now as a progressive, I’ll try to explain the Orban issue.

      We progressives support the Palestinians and condemn Orban.

      In the 1920s and 30s, the people of Palestine wanted to run their own country their way. But they faced a wave of foreign immigrants who did not share their values and showed no interest in assimilating into Palestinian society. The Palestinians did not want them and wanted to stop more immigrants from coming in.

      We progressives say the Palestinian position was right and good.

      Recently, the people of Hungary wanted to run their own country their way. But they faced a wave of foreign immigrants who did not share their values and showed no interest in assimilating into Hungarian society. The Hungarians did not want them and wanted to stop more immigrants from coming in.

      We progressives say the Hungarian position is wrong and bad.

      The Hungarians elected Victor Orban to do what the Hungarian people wanted.

      We progressives say that this makes Orban a Very Bad Man.

      Is that clear?

      • echinococcus on March 21, 2019, 7:45 am


        Agreed with every single word of your message. Words of infinite wisdom. But.
        I never defended “the Hungarian position” or Mr. Orban. He is clearly included in what my msg calls ” a conservative or reactionary politician”, and “reactionary” is more than very bad in my mouth, while “politician” is even worse.
        What I am stridently protesting against is the fact that a gallows bait, blood-dripping horrendous Zionist mass murderer and monster was being compared to a politician.

  9. ritzl on March 19, 2019, 11:25 pm

    I’d sure like to know what the thought process was that drove this phrasing. What was she thinking??

    Facism is what everyone else thinks of us but “we” see it otherwise? “Us against the world!”?? I am pretty so (implied/mocking rhetorical question) how can *I* be facist? (subtext being, proof of unwarranted isolation/anti-semitism in the reaction…)? What?

    I don’t get it.

  10. just on March 20, 2019, 6:52 am

    Let it all hang out, Shaked! Funny thing is~ it may have been ‘meant’ as mockery, but it stinks like your truth(s).

    Here’s another ad for your pleasure at the link:

    “Jewish Lawmaker Shoots Dead Arab Colleague in Campaign Video; Complaint Filed …

    MK Jamal Zahalka, the chairman of the Arab-majority Balad party, filed a complaint with the police on Tuesday against MK Oren Hazan (Likud) for incitement to murder.

    Zahalka, who is currently still a member of the Joint List, will also file a separate complaint with the Central Elections Committee, requesting a ban on a video clip posted on Facebook by Hazan’s Tzomet, the new party he launched ahead of the general election on April 9.

    The clip features a scene from the Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” with Hazan and Zahalka’s heads replacing those of two of the movie’s characters, in which Hazan shoots and kills Zahalka. Zahalka also asked Facebook to remove the clip, citing its racist, violent and inciteful content.

    “In Hazan’s video clip, he is seen playing the role of the ‘Ugly,’ and that is truly the description he deserves,” said Zahalka. “But this is not a movie, instead it is a call for murder. In an atmosphere which fuels incitement against the Arab public and its representatives, this is dangerous – very dangerous,” said Zahalka.

    “Oren Hazan, in addition to his being a terrifying racist, has proven to us time after time how low he is ready to go in order to win a few votes while fueling hatred of Arabs,” said a spokesman for Zahalka. He described the video as the latest one in a long series of incidents of anti-Arab racism: “This disgusting video is just one example of many,” he said.

    The complaints were filed with “the hope that maybe, finally, the law enforcement authorities will find it appropriate to bring to justice [Hazan’s] clear and unequivocal incitement to murder a public figure,” he concluded.

    Hazan swiftly reacted to the accusations and denied the clip was racist or anti-Arab. “The terrorist Zahalka’s chutzpah and cynicism has no limits. He makes cynical use of Israeli democracy, like the rest of his terrorist colleagues,” he said.

    Hazan added that “Zahalka was convicted of terrorism and exploited, along with his comrades, the helpers of Arafat, the Knesset stage to incite to murder IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, incitement whose results we see daily.”

    When Zahalka was in 12th grade, he was convicted of being a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which at the time was an illegal organization in Israel, and he was sentenced to two years in prison. ”

    “He makes cynical use of Israeli democracy…” There is NO democracy, Hazan! Just apartheid and fascism. Ask Shaked.

  11. Talkback on March 20, 2019, 10:08 am

    Smells like democracy, too:
    “Jewish lawmaker shoots dead Arab colleague in campaign video; complaint filed
    Oren Hazan, notorious for his inflammatory rhetoric, is seen shooting and killing Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka in a campaign video intended as satirical”

  12. Miriam on March 20, 2019, 3:00 pm

    Poor pretty lil Ayelet has olfactory problems — thus, to her rotting organic matter/and feces smell like “democracy”.
    Her settler friends/constituents dump raw sewage atop ‘next door’ Palestinian orchards often.

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