We are all being tested now. We can expect weekly exams of our moral courage and daily tests of our solidarity with others who are under attack. The principles of preserving our common humanity will be challenged, as will be our ability to reject sectorial bribery. The bad guys will try to force us to compromise our principles, they will try to divide us. And above all, every Israeli sector will be expected to abandon the Palestinians – the occupied millions stripped of civil rights, who are neither a sector nor a pressure group as they aren’t represented anywhere. Politically, they are not even a minority. They are nothing… But if we pass the test, if we do not betray the weak among us, if we do not care only of ourselves but fight for democracy for everyone, even a government united in its wickedness will not be able to defeat us.
I don’t usually post about Israel, but the left and moderate Israelis need all the support they can get. This is from Haaretz – the Israeli equivalent of the Guardian
Jan 2, 2023 11:51 pm IST
I am not worried about Itamar Ben-Gvir. I am not worried about Bezalel Smotrich. I am not worried about Benjamin Netanyahu or Yariv Levin. But, I am worried about university presidents. I am worried about artists and the cultural establishment. I am worried about labor unions, businesspeople and LGBTQ organizations. I am worried about judges, journalists and the media. I am worried about Education Ministry officials, school principals, and prosecutors and government legal advisers.
I don’t fear the professional villains, masters in the art of hatred, but I fear “decent” people who put up with evil, bend with it and are ready to compromise. Those who secure success for their own sector while turning a blind eye to those less fortunate in escaping persecution.
Bad times are coming, bringing with them mighty tests for all of us. These tests will offer a second chance to those many who failed the first time around.
The new government is “united” ideologically, as Netanyahu said during last week’s celebratory first meeting of his new cabinet (to which he childishly chose not to invite the attorney general, as is the custom). And it really is: united in its hatred for the Palestinians and asylum seekers, united in its loathing of the left and in rejecting democratic values, united in advancing Jewish supremacy, the stains of which on the history of this ancient people will be difficult to remove.
Hundreds of clauses in the coalition agreements add up to a fascist manifesto and a detailed road map toward a future of dispossession, oppression and discrimination. Not a single disadvantaged minority community has been spared in these agreements – all are targeted. These are documents that antisemites might exploit as a proof that even if “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are a blood libel, “The Protocols of Jewish Supremacy” are real, and are even signed by the leaders of the Jewish state.
We are all being tested now. We can expect weekly exams of our moral courage and daily tests of our solidarity with others who are under attack. The principles of preserving our common humanity will be challenged, as will be our ability to reject sectorial bribery. The bad guys will try to force us to compromise our principles, they will try to divide us. And above all, every Israeli sector will be expected to abandon the Palestinians – the occupied millions stripped of civil rights, who are neither a sector nor a pressure group as they aren’t represented anywhere. Politically, they are not even a minority. They are nothing.
The surrender of the university presidents’ committee to the government and the settlers by agreeing to accept Ariel University as a member and the film industry’s willingness to work with the Samaria Film Fund are just two examples of the kind of horrendous moral failure that characterized the previous exam period.
Check out the upcoming events at the Ariel Cultural Center and you will see names such as Beit Lessin, Gesher Theatre, Ivri Lider and Marina Maximilian. The best of Israeli theater and the country’s top musicians entertain Israelis living in a settlement, which, like all the other settlements, is predicated on disinheritance, discrimination and exclusion of its neighbors. The neighbors, of course, are barred from attending any of those cultural events.
In the weeks and months ahead, Israel will be engaged in a struggle. Those who oppose the new government will fill the streets and stand on bridges defending democratic values and human rights, trying to ensure that there’s a strong and independent judiciary, that we can go on enjoying freedom of expression and the right to protest, and that elected officials and civil servants are honest and uncorrupt.
The struggle will also be against attempts to anchor in law discrimination against anyone who isn’t a straight Jew, and to impose a conservative, religious and discriminatory lifestyle in the public sphere. The protesters will be fighting for their rights.
But there can be no fight for democratic values as long as putting the end to occupation is not a first priority in the list of demands. Because there is no democracy with a brutal and tyrannical occupation. A struggle against LGBTQ discrimination, for instance, that is not part of a broader effort to end all types of discrimination – including the effort at eradicating the security forces’ practice to extort LGBTQ Palestinians in exchange for collaboration – is a struggle without moral integrity.
As long as no attempt is made to end military rule over millions of people who spend their entire lives devoid of basic civil rights, a struggle against the dictatorship of a Knesset majority on the grounds that there are things even a majority has no right to do is not a fight for values but for interests.
Israel’s 37th government will offer bribes to different communities, one by one. Here it will offer to drop some crazy piece of legislation; there it will offer to reduce governmental involvement in admission of young people to universities. The idea is for one community to betray the other, so that everyone will keep quiet about the revolution the government wants to carry out in the occupied territories. This will be a revolution of which the override clause of the Supreme Court is just a timid harbinger. It will include massive land expropriation, the forced transfer of entire communities, the closing of loopholes accidentally left open in the regime of legal apartheid, and the completion of the annexation and settlement-normalization process (with the generous assistance of Ivri Lider, Beit Lessin and Co.).
But if we pass the test, if we do not betray the weak among us, if we do not care only of ourselves but fight for democracy for everyone, even a government united in its wickedness will not be able to defeat us.