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Netanyahu and the far right regain power

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Benjamin NetanyahuPhotographer: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg

The settler movement and its Ultra racist supporters have been jubilant about the outcome of the election. But is their hubris misplaced? Could the outcome of this election actually undermine the future of the Zionist colony?

Benjamin Netanyahu, the war criminal mired in corruption allegations is back at the helm of the temporary entity. The last time he was Prime Minister over 3500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces, including 799 children and 342 women. His role led to the destruction of over 8000 Palestinian homes, leaving over 12,000 homeless.

This time though, he has some new allies with him. The Alliance includes parties like Jewish Power, Noah and Jewish Home. But let's take a look at some of the figures belonging to these parties who are likely to have a prominent position in Neytanyahu's cabinet.

Bezalel Smotrich lives in an illegal settlement on the lands of the village Kafr Qaddoum near Nablus. He has previously called for Palestinians to either live as servants to Israelis or be killed. Smotrich is a co-founder of the Regavim organisation which descended alongside armed groups onto the Palestinian city of Lydd in the temporary entity to squash the Unity Intifada in May 2021.

Ofir Sofer is another figure tipped for big things in the Netanyahu government. He has previously a part of Likud and pushes to increase the military budget and Judaize Palestine. He was previously an infantry major in the Israeli military and will play a key role in the coalition.

Almog Cohen is a member of parliament for the Jewish Power Party. He went from the Israeli military to the SWAT team in the police of the Zionist entity. He founded an armed militia to stalk the Palestinians in the Naqab jn May of this year. Previously he published a photo of himself in the military kneeling over a Palestinian father and his two sons, with the caption "Those down there remember what I did in the army."The sadistic caption was accompanied by a winking emoji.

Another key ally to the Netanyahu regime is Simcha Rothman. from the National Union Party. He has lived in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion and is a part of the Temple Mount Movement which explicitly calls for the destruction of Al-Aqsa.

Perhaps the most well-known ally to the Netanyahu regime is Itamar Ben-Gvir. The militant Israeli settler, who was spotted recently wielding his gun in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied al-Quds, who is known to have had a picture of Baruch Goldstein in his home enjoying pride of place.

Baruch Goldstein of course is famous for his attack killing 29 Palestinian worshipers in the Ibrahimi mosque of al-Khalil in 1994.

Ben-Gvir is known to have campaigned as a Kahanist, the movement founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose organization the Jewish Defense League is a designated terrorist group in the United States. He was also a member of the fascist Kach party, which was designated a terror organization by the Zionist entity and even outlawed in 1994.

 He is now likely to be appointed as Public Security Minister where he will take charge of the Israeli military, despite being disqualified from enlistment in it because of his political affiliations.

Ben-Gvir has even been charged over 50 times in the courts of the temporary entity, so much so, that he became a lawyer to defend himself. He has called for the mass deportation of Palestinians and even politicians who he believes have demonstrated disloyalty to Israel. So as Zionist fascism escalates in occupied Palestine, so too must the resistance.

David Miller is a former professor at Bristol University and a leading British scholarly critic of Israel. He  is also co founder and co director of a lobbying watchdog SpinWatch.

Dan Cohen is the founder of Uncaptured News, which is a multimedia investigative journalism operation. Along with the Gray Zone founder Max Blumenthal, Daniel was responsible for the 2018 film "Killing Gaza". The film documented Israel's 2014 assault on Gaza during the war, and chronicled its horrific aftermath.

Could you provide some context on how these far right tendencies relate to the Kahanist movement?

The Kahanist movement can't be seen as some sort of aberration or separate ideological current than (sic) Zionism, it is the completely predictable and logical outcome of Zionism, of a settler colonial movement predicated on ethnic cleansing, predicated on exploitation of religious symbols for European nationalism.

And so the kind of brutish face of Kahanism that we see coming into the fore of the Israeli political process today is something that has long been there and is simply follows the logic of Zionism.

Dan Cohen, Investigative Journalist

How does the Habad movement it intersect the thing with the settler movement?

Well, the home of the settler movement, the kind of the cockpit of the system, is Hebron. Hebron was a place which was settled initially by the Habad movement some centuries ago, a long time ago; and they have been there ever since. Even though many, many of the Jews were pushed out of Hebron after a massacre in 1929.

So Habad has been very important to the settler movement, in Hebron. And indeed, it's also important to what's called the Hilltop Youth Settler Movement. It is said by, for example, Shin Bet, the Zionist intelligence agency, that the Habad followers are responsible for most, maybe up to 80%, of the price tag revenge attacks on Palestinians, which are common in the West Bank?

David Miller, Academic

Could you tell us a bit about Simcha Rothman from the National Union Party who is said to be part of the movement that wants to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque?

Simcha Rothman is one of the Israeli politicians who represent the ... most modern current of religious Zionism and its melding with the Kahanist Movement; what used to be the most extreme fringe of that movement.

He's one of several politicians that now embody the spearhead of Zionism today. You can look at Simcha Rothman of course, you can look at Itamar Ben-Gvir.

All of these are figures who have risen from the fringes of the most extreme right wing of Israeli society and Israeli politics, and are now prominent politically and are unabashed in their goals, their stated goals, to destroy the Al Aqsa compound, expel all Palestinians and build a so called "Third Jewish Temple" in its place,

Dan Cohen, Investigative Journalist

What is the significance of Ben-Gvir's activities in the occupied Palestine neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah?

Well, he lives near Hebron. So not near Sheikh Jarrah, it's 30 miles or so away. But he's been trying to provoke confrontations in Sheikh Jarrah so he'd been trying to set up an office.

He's appeared there on a number of occasions, most recently, brandishing a gun, but it's not that it's not the first time he's been brandishing a gun in the neighborhood. So the idea is to heighten the contradictions, to create provocation, which then leads to conflicts in which the police or the IDF are then involved.

David Miller, Academic

How should we understand Ben-Gvir and his supporters?

Itamar Ben-Gvir is a man who celebrated the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, he is on video saying that they stole the emblem off of his vehicle, and that they would eventually get to Rabin as well, which, of course, was done, Rabin was assassinated.

Itamar Ben-Gvir venerates the mass murder of (sic) Barack Goldstein who assassinated, who murdered, 29 men and boys and injured many others when he opened fire in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron. So he's a man who venerates mass murderers.

But what is the fundamental difference between venerating that mass murderer and what mainstream Israeli society does, where you have monuments and street named after the terrorist groups, the pre-state Zionist terror groups, that paved the way for the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing in 1948.

Those figures committed ethnic cleansing and crimes that were much more severe, frankly, in terms of quantity, than even Barack Goldstein did in the Ibrahimi mosque.

So, again, Itamar Ben-Gvir cannot be separated from Israeli society and Zionist ideology that he comes from.

Dan Cohen, Investigative Journalist

What do we know about Ben-Gvir's actions around the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin?

Well, mere days before Rabin was assassinated, he wasn't even 20 at the time, he (Ben-Gvir) was involved in stealing a part of the Prime Minister's car and brandishing it on television and saying "we got to his car, we can get close to him". It's a deliberate, definite death threat, effectively, against the Prime Minister.

So you can see the kind of waters in which this politician is swimming, he is there to provoke, there to outrage, and he's been in many of the court cases, he's been involved in defending people who have been involved in really vile ethnic cleansing attacks.

So a key example is the Duma attack, where a Palestinian family was burnt to death, including an 18 month old child, and he, of course, defended the people involved in that and he's defended many other people who are involved in terrorism, ethnic cleansing, deliberate attacks against Palestinians. So that's his politics.

David Miller, Academic

The decline of the left in the Zionist entity and what it means for the future of the Zionist colony

The election, bringing Benjamin Netanyahu back to power highlights the rightward drift of politics of the entity. As a result the Zionist so called left has been totally marginalized, probably terminally.

Labor, the party of first Prime Minister, David Green, later known as Ben Gurion, the Polish settler colonists gained only four seats and the party of the secular kibbutzim didn't even make it into parliament.

Labor and Meretz won a combined 44% of the vote back in 1992, the year Yitzhak Rabin was elected and launched the so called Peace process with the Palestinians, it hit 13% in 2009. Now it's down to just seven percent.

Of course, the term left is meaningless in the Zionist entity. The leftist Zionists were at the forefront of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948, and provided the cutting edge of the kibbutz system.

Many in the West have wrongly seen the kibbutzim as socialist experiments, but they were always racist endeavors, admitting only Jews and built on stolen Palestinian land.

The idea of right versus left blocks in the Knesset is misleading. In fact, when it comes to the Palestinians and the occupation, it is difficult to distinguish the right from the left.

It was, after all, David Ben Gurion who argued directly for the Nakba. "We must expel the Arabs and take their places; drive them out. We must do everything to ensure they, the Palestinians, never do return".

Today, justification for ethnic cleansing and genocide are rife across the Zionist political spectrum, from the left to the right, and the far right.

Here are some examples given by the journalist Ben White:

I do not think that Arabs want peace. What I want is to be rid of them and to maintain a Jewish majority in the land of Israel.

Only the strong wins. Parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age.

I'm happy to be a fascist.

Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and them alone.

None of these statements were made by the fascist right associated with Ben-Gvir and the other newly elected parties. As the politics of the temporary Zionist entity surges to the right, the end of the Zionist dream is increasingly in sight. Zionism is crumbling from within, as it moves ever closer to a new fascism.

The Zionists are not a trustworthy or reasonable partner for peace. Even collaborator Abbass of the Palestinian Authority has come to this conclusion. The only option for the Palestinians is liberation. The power of organized Zionism must be broken. The resistance is poised to play its role in destroying Zionism from the outside.

Could you tell us a bit about the Kibbutzim movement, which many in the UK left think, is a genuine experiment in socialism?

… the Kibbutzim thing, well, it was the left which started up the whole state (sic)of Israel really, I mean, the main military force, the Haganah, was from the left, the right wing revisionist side, the terror groups, were minorities at that stage.

The kibbutzim was the cutting edge. The right were kept out of the Kibbutzim because they believed in private property. And it was the left who believed in communal living, who were the cutting edge of that because then it could seem like they all had a stake in this and they could expel Arab labor.

So from the very, very, beginning, the kibbutzim was Jews only and the purpose was, the purpose of the being leftist, in inverted commas, was so that they wouldn't have to employ Palestinians.

And there we have apartheid from the very, very beginning. Coming through the left, not from the right, not from the revisionist but from the left and that's the key mistake people made.

Of course, Tony Benn, we saw in the film doing an introduction, a foreword, to that book on the kibbutz.

And that was one of the most left wing kibbutzim that existed; run by a group called Hashomer Hatzair, which still exists, and of course, Tony Benn later, in later life became very critical of Israel. But back in the day, he was one of the people who were signed up to the idea that this is a socialist experiment; it never was.

David Miller, Academic

What is the difference between the notionally left of center political parties in Israel, like Labor and Meretz, compared to self styled centrist Likud and far right political parties?

There is no fundamental difference between the so called left wing, the so called centrist, and the so called right wing, parties in Israel. They are all Zionist, meaning, they believe in colonizing the land of Palestine and maintaining its indigenous residents as, at best, second class citizens, or people to be expelled and killed. The only difference is in terms of how they see fit to carry out this project.

The so called Zionist left wants to maintain a more gentle, softer, occupation of the West Bank, with Palestinians remaining docile in their sort of enclaves separate from Jewish society and for the Israeli military to be as soft as possible, while still maintaining a program of total conquest.

The centrists are basically, I would say, there is none; the center in Israel is essentially right wing in that it is hyper nationalist. It believes that there is no compromise with Palestinians.

And the center has now been joined by the far right, it has been sucked into the far right because of the so called left's hypocrisy. The left in Israel has long said let us just maintain this project. Let's be in conflict with the Palestinians and we'll just use the military when we need to. But that reeks of hypocrisy for the Israeli right, for the Israeli masses; why should we be in conflict forever? Why should we deal with suicide bombings? Or whatever kind of attacks on soldiers and citizens alike, Let's end this.

And so they have come to basically agree with the hardcore Israeli right wing that says full ethnic cleansing, full conquest, and dismantle the Palestinian Authority, which collaborates with Israel to repress Palestinian resistance, and let's not be hypocrites.

Dan Cohen, Investigative Journalist

What is the background to the radical settler movement centered in Hebron?

The radical settler movement is dedicated to taking more and more territory from the Palestinians. In Hebron, in particular, there's been a historical dispute going back almost a century now over the Ibrahimi mosque which is also known to the Zionist’s as “the Cave of the Patriarchs”. And this is supposed to be where Abraham and his relatives are buried.

So this used to be simply a mosque for Muslims but it's been, for some years now, It's been a joint use facility, if you like, so it's half a synagogue and half a mosque and there's a massive conflict there over that. Of course, they just like in Al Quds, they want to take over Al Aghsa, they want to take over the Ibrahimi mosque.

Now there are about twenty or thirty thousand Palestinians in Hebron, and only a much smaller number of settlers. So it's like it's a really focused conflict and it's been a focus conflict for a very long time, in particular starting in 67, when some of the Zionist settlers came back to Hebron after they had been expelled in 1929.

David Miller, Academic

Where is Zionism headed, in your estimation?.

Zionism is reaching its logical conclusion. The hypocrisy of the establishment, of wanting to live a sort of European bourgeois lifestyle, while the masses are sent to fight in the army and then to come back and live in a kind of neoliberal hellscape, where they have no possibility of advancing economically, where they are in a permanent underclass, that has created a gigantic opportunity for the Israeli right to come in and say no, let's end this.

Let's end the conflict with the Palestinians, not by making a genuine peace, which is, of course what any genuine left would do, but the Israeli right's program, is to finish the job, is to finish 1948, is to finish 1967, and expel all Palestinians from the land and even the Kahanists, the real ideological force of Israeli society today, not only wants to conquer, not only wants to ethnic cleanse all of Palestine, but even beyond its borders into Lebanon, and Syria, beyond the Golan Heights even, into Jordan, into Egypt.

Dan Cohen, Investigative Journalist

What is the future of the Zionist entity given this continuing move to the right?

Well, I think the structural answer to that question is that it's the same future as every settler colony, settler colonies either have to, first of all, exterminate the natives, or they have to be broken and defeated.

And that's, that's the history of every settler colony, you know, in the US, in Australia, in New Zealand, and indeed, in the north of Ireland.

So the tendency has to be for them, this is why we see the radical settler movement, they've got to destroy the natives. They've either got to expel the Arabs or kill them. And if they can't do that, that will only be because they're defeated.

There are no alternatives. There's no meaningful peace process that can come in between those two alternatives, because, as we've seen, the whole of the movement, political movement, in occupied Palestine is to one of those two alternatives, either finally the defeat of Palestinians, and they have to be expelled from the territory altogether, or liberation (of Palestine).

David Miller, Academic

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