Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found a replacement for his Ambassador to the UK. This one is a Terminator – Tzipi Hotovely, who is bound to terminate any hope of a two-state solution, and extinguish any lip-tax requirement to it.
“This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that”, she said in her inaugural speech in 2015, as she stepped in to become Israel’s top diplomat – Deputy Foreign Minister, when Netanyahu was holding the main portfolio himself. She has taunted Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers, calling them “thieves of history”, waving an empty book in front of them and saying it’s their non-existent history, and that the real history is the Bible.
Hotovely is tapped to take the place of Mark Regev who has served since 2016, whose term ends in July. Regev was formerly Netanyahu’s spokesperson (notorious for his 2014 Gaza onslaught propaganda). Yet Tzipi Hotovely will likely prove even more obnoxious than Regev. Aged 41, Hotovely is a representative of the young cadre of Likud politicians, and is one of the most unapologetically right-wing of them.
Hotovely is a kind of Jewish Jihadist. Her claim to all of the ‘promised land’ is not bound in earthly concerns:
“Rashi says the Torah opens with the story of the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world come and tell you that you are occupiers, you must respond that all of the land belonged to the creator of the world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave to us”, she said in that 2015 speech.
How will such a figure harmonise with the UK? The UK is still generally and officially bound to the orthodoxy of the 2-state solution. Even the highly Israel-apologist Board of Deputies (BOD) supports it. BOD chair Marie van der Zyl, who stepped into her role in 2018 under the first slogan of “Fight antisemitism and defend Israel” has headed a massive scorched-earth campaign aimed at the non-existent “antisemitism crisis” in the UK, including “10 pledges” for public figures, including a demand to “accept the international definition of antisemitism without qualification.” That definition is the Israel-focused IHRA definition, meant to demonize critics of Israel. Indeed, the majority of its examples of supposed antisemitism refer to Israel, not Jews as such– saying that Israel is a “racist endeavor,” for instance.
Nonetheless, in its recent ‘Jewish Manifesto’ (which also introduced the 10 pledges), the BOD pointed out that “the UK Jewish community overwhelmingly supports a two-state solution, with 78% favouring this as the just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
James Zogby in the US calls this the “two-state absolution”. But Tzipi Hotovely does not need any absolution. Her forgiveness comes from the almighty. She has thus issued vehement critique against the BOD for even daring to mention it. The Jewish Chronicle has recently quoted Hotovely to this effect from a December interview:
“There was no prior consultation regarding this document [by the BOD] with the government of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor with our ambassador, nor with any other political authority… In every meeting between Jewish organisations around the world and politicians – the prime minister, foreign minister or myself – we emphasize that the idea of a Palestinian state is one that the State of Israel completely opposes. We have a rule regarding international election campaigns, and it’s that we do not take a stand on the domestic affairs of the Jewish community. But an organization that supports the establishment of a Palestinian state is clearly working against Israeli interests. It is important to say explicitly: A Palestinian state is a danger to the State of Israel.”
Did everyone take notes? Tzipi Hotovely doesn’t want the lip tax. It’s against Israeli interests. Long live Eretz Israel. And shame on the Board of Deputies!
And how will the BOD deal with such a diplomat, who threatens to tear off the last remains of the Israel-apologia veil, and leave the emperor completely naked? Marie van der Zyl produces a robotic polite British response to the prospect:
“We will be delighted to work with the next Israeli ambassador to sustain and advance the relationship between Israel and the UK Jewish community, and between Israel and the UK more broadly.”
Israel seems to be approaching a phase where it no longer apologizes, and the planned coming annexation is a symbol of that. Israel apologists such as Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy can feign bewilderment, as he did in a recent CNN piece, wondering what Israel has to gain from annexing large swaths of the West Bank:
“After searching long and hard, my hunt for a compelling rationale was unsuccessful”.
But don’t we know it? Israel is making a move to consolidate its expansionist gains and to mark a decisive end to a possibility of a Palestinian state, as well as shatter any possible hopes of its establishment. And everyone knows it, especially Palestinians – as Israeli Ynet journalist Alex Fishman said recently in an Israel Policy Forum webinar:
“[Palestinians] understand this is the end of the story of the two-state solution. They understand it. Everybody understands it…”
Tzipi Hotovely is apparently being sent to the UK to hammer that point in, as she said earlier: “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that”. She has come to terminate all hopes of Palestinian statehood, finally consigning them to become official rightless Bantustan dwellers under Israel’s full dominance and mercy.
Hotovely’s presence in the UK may come to serve the purpose of polarizing British Jews as well as non-Jews on the issue of Israel, perhaps even more than Mark Regev. Hotovely is apparently more crass than him, and she is bound to wave a bible or two at some point. Saying you support Palestinian rights as well as Israel at this stage will become an almost impossible task. Marie van der Zyl will no doubt do her very best.