Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Gideon Levy: The patriot

20 June 2010

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz – 20 June 2010

What does the Israeli patriot want? What state exactly does he dream of before falling asleep at night? What society does he hope for while immersed in his morning routine?

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy

What does the Israeli patriot want? What state exactly does he dream of before falling asleep at night? What society does he hope for while immersed in his morning routine? Incitement, slander and boycott campaigns have recently been launched here against Turkey, Sweden, the High Court of Justice, B’Tselem, the New Israel Fund, the media, Richard Goldstone, Noam Chomsky, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Ahmed Tibi, Hanin Zuabi, Tali Fahima, Barack Obama, Anat Kamm and the rest of the world, and also a bit against yours truly. A hypocritical, fallacious and depressing worldview emerges from these campaigns.

No, he is not a villain, the Israeli patriot – he is merely brainwashed and blind.

He would like to live in a democracy – of course he wants democracy; after all, he was taught in school that it is a good thing, and he boasts to the world that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But it’s a democracy without most of its mechanisms. He is satisfied with elections and majority rule: The majority will make the decisions, and to hell with the minority.

The Israeli patriot wants to open a newspaper and turn on the television and see what’s going on in the world – but only a world in which everything is good. Well, if not the entire world, then at least Israel, as long as it’s all good. He wants to take in lots of World Cup soccer, entertainment programs, loads of gossip, and most importantly – only good news. He wants only commentators who “smash” the Arabs and “bash” the left-wingers and other Israel haters, and who call for strikes on Gaza, Hezbollah, Iran and Istanbul again and again.

He is a man of peace, the patriot, but he also wants a war once every two to three years and he wants the media to say so, too. He doesn’t really want to know what happened during Operation Cast Lead, or what the world – which hates us – thinks of us and why. He doesn’t want to know what is going on in the territories or among the poor, screwed, underprivileged people.

But wonder of wonders, if he feels deprived, where does he run? To the newspapers and the TV, which he loves to hate. He also loves to hate those left-wingers from the High Court of Justice, but the moment he’s in any kind of trouble, where does he turn? To the court, of course.

The Israeli patriot wants the world to love us unconditionally and without limits. Yet at the same time, he wants to ignore the whole world and spit contemptuously on its institutions, conventions and laws. He wants a package deal with Turkey, all-inclusive, but not including listening to what the Turks have to say. He wants to spread white phosphorus in Gaza and have the world recite, like himself, that it’s white rain. He wants the United Nations to impose sanctions on Iran, but to disregard its own resolutions related to Israel. He wants a half-Iranian regime here, but portrayed as liberal in all the tourist guidebooks.

The world according to the Israeli patriot consists, in fact, only of the United States – but even then only to a certain extent. Obama’s America is also starting to get suspicious. The patriot wants America to foot the bill and shut up. He wants the Jewish world to contribute money, to embrace us, to come here in masses with the Taglit-Birthright program. But if J Street, JCall, Goldstone or Chomsky arise from among the Jews, he will hasten to brand them anti-Semites. They’re either with us or against us – even the Jews.

He wants a Knesset that represents the people, meaning his kind of people – without Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zuabi, preferably without any Arabs at all, and if we must then only Ayoob Kara. Let them travel overseas to stretch out on tzadiks’ graves, but only in Jewish communities, not in Libya. Let them fight to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, but not the myriad prisoners of their own people.

Shalit? The Israeli patriot wants his release, as all Israelis do, but not, under any circumstances, in exchange for freeing terrorists. He also wants NGOs around and donations coming in from abroad, but only to synagogues and hospitals. And above all, he wants to protect Israeli soldiers and their commanders, unconditionally. They must remain immune from any criticism. They killed two women waving a white flag in Gaza? They shot a Jerusalem driver at close range? They killed – perhaps unnecessarily – Turks on a flotilla? Anyone who mentions such things is a traitor.

This is the patriot’s impossible country. It is doubtful whether even he actually enjoys living in it. So when will he criticize his beloved country? In the never-ending traffic jam, in the endless queue, and of course, when the IDF isn’t killing enough. Any other criticism? No thank you, I’m a patriot.

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