Justice minister Ayelet Shaked, March 2017. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Israel Justice Minister Shaked said the truth loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps racist movement
Gideon Levy, Haaretz Opinion
September 01, 2017
Thank you, Ayelet Shaked, for telling the truth. Thank you for speaking honestly. The justice minister has proved once again that Israel’s extreme right is better than the deceivers of the center-left: It speaks honestly.
If in 1975, Chaim Herzog dramatically tore up a copy of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, equating Zionism with racism, the justice minister has now admitted the truthfulness of the resolution (which was later revoked). Shaked said, loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps even racist movement, as proponents of justice worldwide maintain.
Shaked prefers Zionism to human rights, the ultimate universal justice. She believes that we have a different kind of justice, superior to universal justice. Zionism above all. It’s been said before, in other languages and other nationalist movements.*
Had Shaked not pitted these two principles against each other, we would have continued to believe what has been drilled into us since childhood: Zionism is a just, morally unflawed movement. It sanctifies equality and justice: Just look at our Declaration of Independence. We memorized “the only democracy in the Middle East,” “a land without a people for a people without a land,” “everyone is equal in the Jewish state”; we learned about the Arab Supreme Court justice and the Druze cabinet minister. What more could we ask? It’s so just, so equal, you could cry.
If this were all true, Shaked would have no reason to come to the defence of Zionism in the face of human rights. For Shaked and the right, the debate on human and civil rights is anti-Zionist, even antisemitic. It seeks to undermine and destroy the Jewish state.
Thus Shaked believes, as do so many around the world, that Israel is built on foundations of injustice and therefore must be defended from the hostile talk of justice. How else can the repulsion to discussing rights be explained? Individual rights are important, she said, but not when they are disconnected from “the Zionist challenges.” Right again: The Zionist challenges indeed stand in contradiction to human rights.
What are today’s Zionist challenges? To “Judaize” the Negev and Galilee, remove the “infiltrators,” cultivate Israel’s Jewish character and preserve its Jewish majority. The occupation, the settlements, the cult of security, the army — which is primarily an occupation army — that is Zionism circa 2017. All its components are contrary to justice. After we were told that Zionism and justice were identical twins, that no national movement is more just than Zionism, Shaked came to say: just the opposite. Zionism is not just, it contradicts justice, but we shall cleave to it and prefer it to justice, because it’s our identity, our history and our national mission.
“Non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist” aren’t insults, they are social expulsion orders
No activist for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement would say it more sharply. But no nation has the right to spurn universal principles and invent its principles that call day night, the occupation just and discrimination equality.
Zionism is Israel’s fundamentalist religion, and as in any religion, its denial is prohibited. In Israel, “non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist” aren’t insults, they are social expulsion orders. There’s nothing like it in any free society. But now that Shaked has exposed Zionism, put her hand to the flame and admitted the truth, we can finally think about Zionism more freely. We can admit that the Jews’ right to a state contradicted the Palestinians’ right to their land, and that righteous Zionism gave birth to a terrible national wrong that has never been righted; that there are ways to resolve and atone for this contradiction, but the Zionist Israelis won’t agree to them.
Now, then, is the time for a new division, braver and more honest, between those Israelis who agree with Shaked’s statement and those disagree. Between supporters of Zionism and supporters of justice. Between Zionists and the just. Shaked did not provide for a third option.
Jewish Home MKs, Bezalel Smotrich and Ayelet Shaked, exchange secrets and truths, March 2017. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
My colleague Gideon Levy prefers hard-line rightists to the left because they tell the truth; that is, they sincerely express dangerous sentiments popular among the people
By Ravit Hecht, Haaretz Opinion
September 01, 2017
In his piece the other day, Gideon Levy thanked Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for telling the truth; Shaked had said Zionism would no longer bow to the Supreme Court. The minister is thus continuing her incitement campaign against the court, a campaign that is flourishing throughout the right wing.
A fragrance of true love exudes from Levy’s text to his honest, brave princess. His op-ed conveys a message of admiration among radicals who tell it straight on their way to wreaking havoc.
And havoc has been wreaked. What a riot. Apocalypse now. The court is being aggressively worn down, and soon the media will finally be tamed and fall silent. Racism is soaring to new heights with the leadership’s encouragement and corruption runs rampant, with no need for camouflage, for the simple reason that nobody is ashamed anymore.
It’s not Zionism. It’s a sadistic distortion
All this joins the calamity of the occupation – indeed, a great calamity – which is the only thing Levy sees. Without solving this disaster, everything else can and should be destroyed, as far as he’s concerned. This includes, for example, his basic right to speak his mind about Israel, or just live here without being sent to a re-education camp if he refuses to swear allegiance to Coalition Chairman David Bitan.
The damage in Levy’s alliance with people like Shaked is his view that what Shaked, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and their ilk are offering is Zionism. It’s not. It’s a sadistic distortion that interprets the justified defence of the Jews by establishing a national home as savage aggression outwardly (against the Palestinians) and inwardly (against the government’s critics). Chaim Herzog was right to rip up the UN resolution stating that Zionism was a form of racism, because Zionism was the answer to racism, to the persecution of Jews worldwide and the very real danger to their existence.
Without playing down the Palestinian people’s tragedy in 1948, without excusing the Mapai party, Labour’s predecessor, for its historic mistakes, and without detracting from Likud’s role in nurturing the settlements and widening the Israeli divide, the disgraceful right wing that has grown in recent years is an entirely different matter. It isn’t a necessary evolution of Zionism or an honest demonstration of it, as Levy argues, but an expression of evil and dangerous impulses – part of a toxic global climate – that normal, decent leaders are obliged to restrain.
Levy prefers the leadership of Shaked, Miki Zohar and Bezalel Smotrich to the liberal Likudniks, certainly to the abominable Mapainiks, because they tell the truth; that is, they sincerely express sentiments popular among the people. Not to make a direct comparison, but Hitler also told the truth, expressing the secret desires of many Germans and non-Germans. Nor did he have any qualms about carrying these desires out. Was he better, in the test of history, than leaders of his time who showed restraint?
It’s hard to ignore the perfect tango performed by Shaked and Levy. She wants a greater Israel as part of the Jewish dominance fantasy enshrined in the Bible, and he wants a binational state as part of an exotic stroll in the fields of wild radicalism. She sees Jews as a master race with privileges and the Arabs as a thorn in our side, while he sees Jews as evil villains and Arabs as cute Tamagotchis with no historic responsibility for their predicament.
“Now, then, is the time for a new division, braver and more honest, between those Israelis who agree with Shaked’s statement and those who object to it. Between supporters of Zionism and supporters of justice. Between Zionists and the just. Shaked did not provide for a third option,” Levy sums up.
There are still a few seekers of justice in Israel who believe in the basic Zionist principle of Jews’ right to a national homeland in Israel while deeply abhorring Shaked’s statement. Neither she nor Gideon Levy will make them disappear.
Why the racist honesty of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is preferable to the fake views of the Israeli left
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz premium
September 03, 2017
Ravit Hecht attributes a “fragrance of true love” for my “honest, brave princess,” Justice Minister Shaked, in her op-ed “When Gideon Levy fell in love with Ayelet Shaked.” Hecht knows my taste in women is slightly different than that, and that, despite what she writes, I don’t know how to dance the tango. But my appreciation for Shaked and her ilk is that they do not deceive: they openly acknowledge their nationalism and racism.
They don’t hide their belief that the Palestinians are an inferior people, indigenous inhabitants who will never gain the rights Jews have in the Land of Israel-Palestine; that no Palestinian state will ever be established here; that Israel will ultimately annex all of the occupied territories, as it already has done in practice; that the Jews are the Chosen People; that Zionism is in contradiction to human rights and superior to them; that dispossession is redemption; that biblical property rights are eternal; that there is no Palestinian people and no occupation; and that the current reality will last forever.
The Left’s Zionist Camp for the last election. Gideon Levy’s greatest anger is for the feeble and fearful left.
Many of these views are also held among the Zionist left, Hecht’s ideological camp. The only difference is that the Zionist left has never admitted it. It envelops its views in the glittering wrapping paper of peace talks, separation and hollow rhetoric about two states, words it has never really meant and has done precious little to realize.
That’s why I prefer Shaked. With her, what you see is what you get – racism. In its actions and deeds, the Zionist left has done everything to implement Shaked’s views, only in polished words and without acknowledgement. The Zionist left is embarrassed by things Shaked and her colleagues are not ashamed of. That doesn’t make the left any more moral or just. It has merely been quasi-Shaked in its actions.
The occupation was no less cruel under left-wing Israeli governments, which was the founding father of the settlement enterprise. Those princes of peace Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin established more settlements than Shaked and caused the deaths of more Arabs. The left has enthusiastically defended every military action Israel has carried out and every brutal act committed by the Israel Defence Forces. It hasn’t just sat silent in the face of such acts; it has been supportive. Always.
Operations Cast Lead and Protective Edge in Gaza (in 2008-09 and 2014, respectively) involved thousands of senseless deaths, and most of the Zionist left supported them. The majority of those on the left supported the siege on Gaza, the checkpoint executions, the nighttime abductions, the administrative detentions, the abuse, dispossession and oppression – the left remained silent throughout.
But the truth is that it’s not Shaked and it’s not the left. It’s Zionism. Havoc has been wreaked, as Hecht herself wrote. But instead of trying to repair the unstable foundations, all of Israel – and not only the right wing – has done everything to undermine them even further.
Yes, this involves the 1948 War of Independence, which has to be discussed even though it’s uncomfortable. The spirit of 1948 has never stopped blowing here and, in this respect, Shaked and Hecht are in the same boat. According to this view, there is only one people here that needs to be considered, only one victim, and it is entitled to do as much harm as it wishes to the other people. That is the essential evolution of Zionism.
It could and should have been rectified, without derogating the Jews’ right to a state. But the Zionist left has never done this. It has never acknowledged the Nakba suffered by the Palestinians, and never did anything to atone for its crimes. This never happened because the Zionist left believes in exactly what Shaked believes in.
It is true there are many other issues in which the right causes national disasters the left never would have created. But on the other side of the line lives a people that for the past 50 years – the past 100, actually – has been suffering and oppressed. Not a day goes by without horrible crimes being committed against it. We can’t say, “Be patient. We’re busy at the moment with the status of the Supreme Court.”
And on the truly crucial issue that overshadows all others, Shaked and Hecht are performing a perfect tango together, with a fragrance of true love exuding from them both – a Zionist tango.
See also: *Horrifying path of New Zionism