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

Gideon Levy: Time to stick it again to the Arabs

15 October 2010

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz – 15 Oct 2010

[IOA Editor: The original Hebrew article is entitled "Only Hate and Contempt Remain."]

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy

Underneath everything is hatred – hatred and contempt for Arabs. The ideology of the right has been dead for some time, nothing of its former glory remains; primeval emotions are now its true driving force. This is what is behind the right wing’s nationalist laws and its so-called “peace.” Lurking beneath all the unpretty words are not just political considerations, but a lack of any systematic ideas – only dark and dangerous instincts.

Hate crimes “occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity or political affiliation” (according to Wikipedia, quoting Rebecca Stotzer ). Most hate crimes are aimed at members of minority groups, and it’s the same with Israel’s latest proposed legislation.

Don’t be led astray by pseudo ideas. True, they do not lack loathing, racism and nationalism, but at bottom lies hatred for Arabs. From Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to MK Danny Danon, from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to MK Anastassia Michaeli, from MK Michael Ben Ari to MK Yaakov Katz – all of them are Arab haters, whether openly or not. Most of them have never even met an Arab, but they know everything about them. Not one of them has even begun to think of Arabs as being equal to Jews.

Netanyahu cloaks his hatred and condescension with cloying love of the nation, Katz with hollow love of the land. But love has nothing to do with it. The only thing they are trying to do is obscure its opposite. Behind their initiatives, wrapped in the flags of the Jewish nation, their hatred and perceived lordship seethes. They know, to their chagrin, that the Arabs will remain here for all time, despite all the measures being taken against them. The only explanation for these lawmakers’ actions is that they are giving vent to their heart’s desire.

Do they think their hate laws will alter the Arab people’s consciousness? That the Arabs will declare “loyalty” to Israel and then be loyal? That this will prevent them from marking the Nakba and transform them into Zionists? Their homes will be demolished and they will be bond servants? They will recognize the state as Jewish and forgo their aspirations?

The newly installed Border Police checkpoints in Lod (and not in crime-ridden Netanya, for example ) and the demolition of homes in the Bedouin village of al-Arakib (and not in the settler outposts ) are only two examples of this approach. Instead of addressing the problems that gave rise to the Bedouin housing crunch and to the crime in Lod, we see only the use of force – the proper way to treat Arabs.

No one would express such abhorrence for MK Hanin Zuabi (who was aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla ) if she were not an Arab. The only reason for setting forth the loyalty law – and on the memorial day for those killed by the police during the October 2000 disturbances – and for the MKS provocative tours through Silwan, the Arab village adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City, is to stick it again to the Arabs. We will embitter their lives, make things bad for them, and the worse off they are the better off we will be. Sounds simplistic? It is, but all the rest is meaningless.

Repressive force is the primary means used by the government against the Arabs in Israel and the Palestinians in the territories. The police, the army, the Shin Bet security service and the Border Police are the government’s principal agents in these sectors. The right wing believes force will preserve the occupation and prevent the Arabs of Israel from rising up; but above all, it will hurt them. And that is a pathological approach. It is not only generated by hatred, it also fuels hatred among its victims. In the end, it will be self-fulfilling and the Arabs of Israel really will rise up in revolt. So besides being amoral, this ethnic hatred is also not very smart.

All that remains from the doctrine set forth by Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, which contains liberal and democratic elements, is hatred. Begin has morphed into MK Miri Regev. There is no agenda, no vision. Try to find out what the right expects to see in another decade; all that remains is their loathing of the Arabs. That is the right’s problem. The problem of the other camp, if it still exists, is that it has no one who can stop the right.

Manifestations of hatred are received with sympathy or indifference, even by those who should be standing in the breach: the opposition, the media and the education and judicial systems.

The damage the right wing is inflicting upon us will linger for many years after it leaves office. It’s hard to uproot hatred that has been planted so deeply. The right may not be leading us anywhere, but the garbage it is spreading in the meantime is piling up higher and higher.

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