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:
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail