Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz (Opinion)
December 20, 2012 - 1:00am


The extremist right wing in Israel can be amazingly flexible in its use of imagery. Take, for example, the former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. On the one hand, he would have a Palestinian policeman who slapped an Israeli soldier sentenced to death. On the other hand, that same Lieberman, who purged his party in a manner that wouldn't shame the greatest dictators in history, is bemoaning Israel's situation, opining that the Jewish state is suffering at the hands of the Europeans the same policies Jews incurred during the Holocaust. Lieberman has to decide - is he a gladiator or a helpless victim?

The one who tops them all in this respect is Israel Harel who, in his opinion piece ("The IDF's legacy of flight," December 13 ) writes that "fleeing from stone-throwers is a Jewish nightmare" - no less. It isn't important whether those fleeing are soldiers armed to the teeth who are trying, laudably, not to kill demonstrators, or whether those fleeing are Jews without protection in anti-Semitic Europe. The industry of analogies between then and there, and now and here,is flourishing.

Every stone thrown at an Israel Defense Forces soldier upholding the occupation is a machine of annihilation, a slap to a soldier is ethnic cleansing, recognition of a Palestinian state is an existential threat, a peace initiative is a wicked plot, a demonstration against the occupation is a pogrom, and a petition against products from the settlements is the terror of a boycott.

To be honest, I refuse to pull out of the attic of dark history images of Nazi crimes and use them in the discourse about the Middle East conflict. Because the crimes of the Nazis are the embodiment of evil which has no equal in human history. But if those who are at the head of the ruling and intellectual pyramids in Israel draw comparisons between then and there and here and now, it is worthwhile for them to know that images easily change places, especially in a reality of occupier and occupied.

Moreover when a Palestinian youth goes out to demonstrate it is not because an anti-Jewish devil has appeared in his dreams. He does so because he is being strangled, by the roadblocks and the separation fence and the closed horizon. On the other hand, anyone having sleepless nights over the international court at The Hague should stop moaning as if he were a victim.

Lieberman complains that Europe is ignoring the scandalous declarations of Hamas head Khaled Meshal about the existence of the State of Israel. However it transpires that the European Union as well as all those who support peace do condemn these remarks. However, without Hamas, the self-pity of the extreme right in Israel would crumble.

Meshal's statements are a heaven-sent gift for Israel's policy of intransigence. Hamas is the king of two-facedness - just like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. On the one hand, Hamas conducts negotiations with Israel and agrees to a cease-fire, which it imposes on the other factions. In effect, it proposes a "hudna" (truce ) for 20 years, and unlike Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas makes no demands of Israel, neither about the refugees nor about ending the occupation. On the other hand, it states publicly just what the right wing in Israel wants to hear. What a wonderful service Hamas provides for Lieberman.


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