FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Purging Israel of Dissent

I have received a lot of curses in my lifetime, and here and there some compliments, too. But I have never received a compliment like this one: an important party, represented in the Knesset, has mentioned my name in its official election platform.

Under the heading “Legislation and strict supervision of organizations and activists of the extreme left”, the National Union party’s program says:

“We shall anchor in legislation more severe measures, including the cancellation of citizenship, against people like URI AVNERY, Leah Tsemel and refuseniks of all kinds, who are defaming the country abroad.”

I don’t know whether to be proud, laugh or be angry.

To be proud, because my name is used to symbolize the whole peace camp. And also because I appear side by side with Leah Tsemel, the valiant lawyer who defends Palestinian prisoners, and the refuseniks, who represent the conscience of Israel.

To laugh, considering the abysmal chutzpa of this sentence. The leader of the National Union party is Avigdor (Ivette) Liberman, a person brought up in the Bolshevik education system of Stalin and who has absorbed–as we can see–the racist and power-hungry attitudes of the red tyrant. He has come here when everything was ready, to a state that we have created (literally) with our blood, and now demands, no more no less, to cancel our citizenship.

To be angry, because Liberman, together with National Religious leader Effi Eytam and some of the Likud leaders, is in the vanguard of the dirty column that is besieging Israeli democracy. Last week they succeeded in inducing the majority of the politicians in the General Election Committee to disqualify two Arab Knesset-members (Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara) and an Arab election list (Balad) from participating in the elections, expelling in practice 20% of Israel’s citizens from the political arena.

If some people still entertain the illusion that this attack is directed solely against the Arab citizens (a totally unacceptable act by itself), they should be reminded of one of the most important sayings of the 20th century, the murderous century of Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.

The saying belongs to Martin Niemoeller, a German U-Boat commander in WWI who later became a Protestant pastor and pacifist. The Nazis threw him into a concentration camp. After miraculously surviving, he coined the following unforgettable sentences:

“When the Nazis took the communists away, I was silent; after all, I was no communist.

“When they put the social-democrats in prison, I was silent; after all, I was no social-democrat.

“When they took the trade-unionists away, I did not protest; after all, I was no trade-unionist.

“When they took me away, there was nobody left to protest.”

Liberman’s program shows clearly that something similar is happening now in our country. They started with the incitement against the Arab citizens and their expulsion from the political system. Now they speak of eliminating the “extreme left”. Is there any doubt, that in the next stage they will demand the elimination of all the left, “moderate” and “patriotic” as they may be? And then, following the historic precedents, it will be the turn of the “liberal” Likud members.

An apocalyptic vision? Not really. The President of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, this week compared our situation with Nazi Germany. In the presence of the President of Israel, the Chief Justice, himself a Holocaust survivor, said that “if it has happened in the country of Kant and Beethoven, it can happen everywhere. If we do not defend democracy, democracy will not defend us!” (It will be interesting to see how he will conduct himself next week, when he will have to decide on the Tibi-Beshara expulsion case.)

In Israel, we don’t like to make comparisons with the dark regimes. The memories are too fresh, and nobody in Israel advocates genocide. But undoubtedly, parties and leaders who openly advocate “transfer”, would have been called anywhere else in the world Neo-Fascists (even if the term “Neo-Bolsheviks” would be more appropriate, since it was Stalin who used to transfer whole peoples in the Soviet Union.)

Joerg Haider does not propose to cancel the Austrian citizenship of people who disagree with his obnoxious views, nor does Jean-Marie Le-Pen propose to expel from the National Assembly every deputy who is not of pure French blood.

For 54 years, the State of Israel has prided itself of being “the only democracy in the Middle East”. All Israeli propaganda abroad, and especially in the United States, is based on this slogan. Now Liberman and the Libermen come and try to destroy Israeli democracy, our creation, and to set up a kind of Fascistan, somewhere between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

If somebody is “defaming our country abroad”, it is surely this person.

 

More articles by:

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail