Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, March 2015
Why is it that no one is paying attention to Adolph Lieberman?
By Khalid Amayreh
in Occupied Palestine
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 17, 2015
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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been indulging in Nazi-like incitement against Palestinians, with a call for those objecting to Israeli policies, particularly the ongoing violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, to have their heads chopped off.
“Anyone who’s with us should be given everything – up to half the kingdom. Anyone who’s against us, there’s nothing to do – we should raise an axe and cut off his head; otherwise we won’t survive here,” Lieberman reportedly said at an election event this week, in reference to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
According to Israel’s Mako news website, Lieberman made his comments in an interview with journalist Udi Segal during the “Electing Democracy in 2015” conference at IDC Herzliya, an Israeli college.
Lieberman is no stranger to controversy. On numerous occasions, he made extremely virulent remarks against Palestinians, including calling for drowning Palestinian political-resistance prisoners in the Dead Sea and calling for a systematic aerial bombing of Palestinian population centers for the purpose of getting as many Palestinians as possible to flee their homes. His current election platform is centered on enacting a law whereby "Palestinian terrorists" (but not Jewish terrorists) would be executed.
Lieberman, who would be dumped behind bars if he were living in any Western country, is by no means a strange, exotic weed in an otherwise sane society.
To many outsiders, he may seem as representing a small minority of extremists. But in truth, Lieberman more or less represents the ideological and political mainstream in a country where racism is equated with religious piety and fascism with patriotism.
Some Israeli leaders and spokespersons do occasionally object to Lieberman's gung-ho discourse. But let us be honest. Their objection is not over the essence of his ideas, however criminal and evil these ideas might sound. They rather object to the manner in which these ideas as presented.
They would call him "a public relation disaster." They would say he is hurting Israel's PR image on the international arena and harming its hasbara efforts. But they would never call the spade a spade, e.g. call him fascist, racist and Nazi or demand his prosecution or dismissal. But Lieberman has not even been rebuked in Israel for his brash racism and fascism. On the contrary, he is constantly courted by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the point that he (Lieberman) has been voicing his desire to becoming Israel's next “Defense” minister.
The reason for this unrelenting orgy of fascism is simple: The bulk of the Israeli political and military establishment readily and deeply accepts Lieberman's criminal racism against the Palestinians. Indeed, virulent racism and violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians have always been and continue to be Israel's modus operandi towards the Palestinian people.
Imagine, just imagine the vitriolic reactions that would come from Jewish circles if a Palestinian or eminent Muslim leader were to call publicly for chopping the heads of Jews who are disloyal to Palestine!!!!!
Jewish leaders would immediately invoke Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and the holocaust, demanding a swift action against the Arab emulators of Hitler!!!!!
But we barely hear any moral Jewish voices distancing Jews and Judaism from the evil remarks of this thug. Are they acquiescing to his remarks? Do they support him in their hearts? Where is their moral consistency? Where is their intellectual honesty?
Don't say words are innocuous and don't kill. No, words can kill and do kill. A few months ago, a number of Jewish settlers, who had been brainwashed by this type of venomous incitement, burned alive Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian boy from the Jerusalem area.
This grisly crime was the inevitable result of the incessant virulent incitement by Israeli politicians and rabbis as well as the media.
The Western, especially American media, is also decidedly guilty for ignoring the fascist discourse in Israel. This is more, much more, than just lack of professionalism. It is actually an expression of a willful betrayal of the journalistic profession which is based on honesty first, honesty second and honesty last.
Khalid Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist and political commentator living in occupied Palestine
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