• Lebanon
  • September 22, 2006
  • 6 minutes read

More Israeli Jews choose fascism

An Israeli  Arab Knesset member last week described  growing fascist trends among Israeli Jews, especially with regard to Palestinians and Israel’s own non-Jewish citizens, as “strikingly similar” to the anti-Jewish atmosphere in Germany prior to the Second World War.

“There is similarity in the epithets and terms being used in reference to the Arabs, things like calling Israel’s Arab citizens ‘fifth column,’” said  the lawmaker, who asked for anonymity, apparently fearing harassment by the Jewish military-political establishment.

“Hitler wrote one Mein Kampf, but here there are thousands of ‘Mein kampfs’ here in Israel. It is very similar to the situation in Germany in the mid and late 1930s.”

Observers believe that overt expressions of Islamophobia and calls for the expulsion and, in some cases, extermination of Palestinians, have increased markedly since the recent war between Israel and Hizbullah.

This week,  Knesset member Effie Eitam of the National-Union-National Religious Party (NPR) told Israeli Army Radio (Gal Tzahal) that Israel’s Arab citizens (nearly 25% of the population) were a fifth column, saying that the state ought to “encourage” Arabs to leave.

“Look, in the wake of this war, the people of Israel need to begin to say the truth. The deceptive myths must end. The myth that we can abandon territory without it becoming a launching ground for attacks on us and the myth that this struggle is over the outcome of the 1967 war.

“we therefore must be honest with ourselves-if we can’t give the land away and we can’t keep the land with this hostile nation upon it, we must encourage them to leave.”

Eitam said he discussed his ideas with US Attorney General John Ashcroft who, Eitam said, was very receptive to the idea.

“The assertion that the world will not allow transfer to occur is another deception.”

Former Israeli politician Yossi Sarid, quoted by settler website, Aruts Sheva (www.israelnationalnews.com)  compared Eitam’s statements to shoes of neo-Nazis and fascists politicians in Europe.

“If they would say these things we would object, so we must object when Eitam says them.”

Many Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals believe that the term “transfer” is merely a euphemism of genocide since expelling an entire people from its ancestral homeland can’t really re effected without a series of massacres and mass killings.

Eitam is not a black sheep Israel and his ideas in no way represent a marginal minority among the Jewish population or, indeed, among the political class, as Israeli hasbara (propaganda) apologists  would claim especially when talking to western media.

According to an opinion poll published in the Ha’aretz newspaper’s English website www.haaretz.com on 21 September, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of right-wing, including fascist-minded, parties and groups in Israel especially since the recent war in Lebanon.

The poll showed that Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu, who is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, had a an approval rate of 58%. 

Netanyahu had suggested on several occasions that Israel should take every conceivable measure to lower the birth rate of non-Jews in Israel.

Last year, he boasted that cuts in social benefits to Israel’s Arab citizens were forcing Arab families to have fewer children.

Netanyahu has also been trying to lump the Palestinian plight and the decades-old Israeli occupation of the Palestinian homeland with the so-called “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West. 

Indeed, Netanyahu, in a series of high-pitched  interviews with western media during and after the Israeli war on Lebanon, claimed that Israel was at the forefront of the western war against Islam, utterly ignoring the Nazi-like Israeli occupation of Palestine and brutal persecution of its native Muslim and Christian inhabitants.

Another rising star among the Israeli Jewish public  is the fascist minded Avigdor Lieberman who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our home) party.  The poll showed that if elections were to  held today, Liebermann’s party would capture 18 Knesset seats.

Lieberman had called for a war of extermination against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the purpose of pushing them to abandon their homeland.

A few years ago, Lieberman, who could become Israel’s next Defense Minister, suggested during a cabinet session that the Israeli air force ought to bomb Palestinian banks, malls, streets and mosques while keeping the border crossings open in order to force them to leave as Israel did in 1948.

Lieberman had also suggested that Israel should bomb Tehran and the Aswan Dam in Egypt, even using nuclear bombs if necessary.

Another poll conducted on the eve of the Jewish New Year and reported by the right-wing English Language newspaper, the  Jerusalem Post www.jpost.com on 22 September showed that a vast majority of 78% of Israeli Jews were “extremely suspicious of the Israeli Arab population.”

The same number said they believed Israel’s  Arabs were not loyal to the state, while only 15% said they believed they were loyal.

According to the poll, 56% of Israeli Jews said they felt Israel was less secure now than it was a decade ago, compared to 18% who felt it was more secure.