FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Netanyahu: Rabin’s Murderer?

by

shutterstock_145246417

Political murder is a special case of homicide, often collective, as in crimes against humanity, rather than individual, although assassination comes under this heading. I am not referring to acts of violence associated with robbery, heated disputes, or revenge, but something systemic, regularized, ideally, from the culprit’s standpoint, bureaucratized, to hide specific responsibility and involvement. The one who gives the orders is as much implicated as the one who pulls the trigger, possibly more so when command incites to execution, the latter less likely otherwise. Example: Obama has murdered countless individuals through drone assassination, even had he not pored over candidate-lists in the Situation Room. Approval is given, all systems go (!), as his orders are transmitted to operators, like him, thousands of miles from the scene, themselves in comfortable surroundings, playing God to unsuspecting victims. (Today’s NYT, 1-7-15, reports these remote-control assassins are receiving full military honors for their work.) War crimes are best perpetrated when hidden from view; ditto, the murder of individual political leaders.

Enter Netanyahu into the discussion. PBS’s “Frontline” this week traced his rise and political career, and notwithstanding the usual gaggle of apologists for Israeli policies, e.g., Dennis Ross and Martin Indyck, as well as Netanyahu’s own advisers, one sees a compelling narrative of the Rightward drift of Israel’s politics, including scenes of outright fanaticism in which a tumultuous crowd is gathered protesting the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu is not haranguing the crowd from the speakers’ balcony looking down; rather, he is one more face in the crowd, quite relaxed and evidently pleased at the furor created. What do I make of the scene? Quite simply, Netanyahu did nothing to stop the demonstration. Why should he, he was entirely in agreement with it. Here is a leader who uncorks the bottle, the vitriol pouring out; the leader whose consistent hardline agitation over at least two decades shapes the political-ideological environment for extremism, and, no surprise, much of the Israeli public responds favorably.

This is the context for Rabin’s murder. To rephrase, one who pulls the trigger is of secondary importance; even giving the command is not point-specific to culpability when, as here, political hysteria is whipped up so as to become integral to the Israeli political structure, so that a lone gunman no more than identifies and personifies the collective murderous intent to be directed against internal critics and dissenters as themselves somehow transvalued into terrorists and assassins. This hardly lets Netanyahu off the hook: his methodical coldness in discrediting all opposition, matched by an equal coldness in the arbitrary shelling of population-dense Gaza and summary put-down of rock-throwing youth facing colossal military force, is at one with the fate of Rabin, himself no Liberator of the Palestinian people, yet portrayed as, if this were the Christian equivalent, the arch anti-Christ, an Enemy of the People, thus fair game for execution via mob psychology by an enraged public.

Netanyahu did not pull the trigger; Israel did. But history will not absolve him, his actions both before and since making clear, corresponding to his ability to turn out massive demonstrations, control Knesset policy (as in making representatives of peace groups wear identifying marks), and rejection of elementary civil liberties, that the very concept of “extremism” is a misnomer in Israeli society. There are not extremists when in fact at least two-thirds of Israeli citizens are extreme in their dedication to ethnic cleansing, one Jerusalem, xenophobic dimensions attached to the notion of the Jewish State itself—the society is extremist, not the ultra-Orthodox on whom the label is bestowed. Gradations are arbitrary, designed to exonerate the established leadership and its militaristic foundations. This may seem a long way from MIT and Netanyahu’s sojourn in America, yet his carefully planned rise to power does not miss a beat—and his acceptance by the Israeli electorate, a damning indictment of its war-proclivities and national cult of superiority. Rabin was a soldier, but he showed softness when he sought peace (to be equated with weakness and wholly unacceptable to an Israeli public, peace undermining the prototypic ego-structure on display without let-up.)

Is criticism such as the foregoing anti-Semitic? Judaism unnecessarily recapitulates the horrors of the Holocaust, demonstrating to itself the psychological security that comes from blaring to the world an ethos of strength, power, violence—all reprehensible to a Jewish faith in humanity that I admire and try to live by. Let the goyim engage in assassination, what happened to Rabin a quadruple affront to Jehovah. Netanyahu is the anti-Moses, Israeli Jews the Philistines who defy the Mosaic law at every turn. And American Jews slavishly go along, ignoring their long history in this country, until recently, of devotion to progressive and radical causes, reaching out the arm of friendship, indeed solidarity, to blacks, industrial workers, union membership of all kinds, and to the dispossessed in need of representation. This was always a proud heritage of dissent, bearing, like the Rosenbergs, the brunt of anticommunism, and like Schwerner and Goodman, along with their friend Cheney, the brunt of racial injustice and hatred. Perhaps Israelis should rethink their Jewishness, and discover the beauties of justice and peace and respect for the human soul. Fat chance, however, in the present state of affairs.

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

More articles by:
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
Richard Pithouse
We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture
Binoy Kampmark
Trump and the Polls of Loathing
Manuel E. Yepe
A Cruise Ship Without Tourists Arrives in Havana
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
Ajamu Nangwaya
Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Finding Missing Pan-Africanist Women
Howard Lisnoff
Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail