A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute at Tel Aviv University has found that just 4% of Jewish Israelis believe excessive force has been used on Gaza, while more then 50% argue not enough.
Before we move on, it is worth a brief reminder of the devastating results of the attacks on Gaza. Here are the losses from the UN’s latest report:
Yet according to Strategist Roni Rimon, who sponsored the poll, Netanyahu would pay a political price at home if he pushed for peace:
All the compliments Netanyahu has received for running the operation, his restraint, thinking things through, and obtaining international support will be lost and will be replaced with criticism. But this is the test of a leader. If he believes that the greater good of Israel requires a cease-fire because of relations with the United States and the international community, he will put ratings aside and do what he thinks is right. We shall wait and see.
Another poll released Monday showed similar results. The poll showcased that less than 10% of Israeli Jews supported a ceasefire with Hamas, while 86.5% opposed ceasefire.
Something truly toxic is spreading across Israel. It’s called fascism, and it manifests itself in the words and deeds of lawmakers, troops and ordinary citizens.
In recent weeks, Israel’s Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin has called for the ‘elimination’ of Palestinian life in Gaza, while fellow Likud party lawmaker Ayelet Shaked demanded the murder of Palestinian mothers and children – and got thousands of Facebook likes from doing so. Days later, renowned Israeli academic Mordechai Kedar proposed the use of rape against female relatives of Palestinian armed resistance fighters as a ‘preventative’ measure.
Meanwhile, mobs have taken to the streets of Jerusalem to chant “Death to all Arabs”, and “School’s out in Gaza tomorrow, There are no children left!” in the style of a football cheer.
A quick glance to the social media activity of young Israelis provides an insight into this growing dehumanisation of Palestinians.
A Facebook page has been set up this week called “Standing With the IDF”, where women are encouraged to post revealing images of themselves covered in pro-IDF graffiti.
A Facebook page titled “The People of Israel Demand Vengeance!” set up in the wake of the murder of three Israeli teens is the same bizarre mix of sex and incitement. Teens post sun-drenched selfies, no different to so many others filling instagram…except for the fact they are holding placards calling for ‘Death to All Arabs’, or the one below, which reads: Hating Arabs is Not Racism, It’s Moral Values’.
And on the same page, this reaction to the kidnap and murder of teenage Palestinian Mohammed Khadir, in a so-called ‘revenge’ attack that saw the boy forced to drink petrol and burned alive.
All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp – all these have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake. The word “fascism,” which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its deserved place in the Israeli political discourse.
This observer is Israeli. This observer is Gideon Levy, writer and editorial board member of Haaretz newspaper, whose Grandparents fled to Israel in the 30′s as Nazi Germany annexed Czechoslovakia. A man who dare not use the word fascism lightly, uses it now – despite receiving threats of death and violence from his fellow citizens for so doing.
Gideon is joined by those 56 Israeli reservists who refused call up as a protest against the assault on Gaza, by the five thousand that attended the anti-war protest this week in Tel Aviv, by the likes of former IDF pilot Yonatan Shapiro who continue to speak out against Israel’s illegal occupation and war crimes. But it is a brave Israeli indeed who steps up for peace today.
Below is an example of one such young man. Udi Segal, who is facing jail for refusing to serve in the military occupation of Palestine.