The days when right-wing terror by Israelis was directed exclusively against Palestinian Arabs ended as early as 1983. That year, “Peace Now” activist Emil Grunzweig was murdered by Yona Avrushmi, a supporter of Meir Kahane. Since then, terror and vandalism against liberal Jews has been on the rise. In 2008, 73-year-old Zeev Sternhell, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jersualem and a supporter of “Peace Now,” was wounded by the explosion of a pipe bomb placed at the front door of his home by a Jewish terrorist.
Last Saturday night, right-wing vandals set ablaze the Max Rayne Hand-in-Hand School, Israel’s largest Jewish-Arab bilingual school located in Jerusalem. On the walls of the school they used their fingers to fashion graffiti hate-messages: “Kahane was right!” and “There’s no coexistence with cancer.”
This act of vandalism could not have taken place were it not for the arrogant self confidence of these terrorists who see themselves as the shock troops for the dreamed-of Zionist state from the river to the sea, the very state which Israel has been pushing for since 1967.
In a statement to the press, the Executive Director of the school, Shuli Dichter, who until 2009 was a writer for the office of the Prime Minister said: “In addition to denouncing [these actions] … we invite the entire Israeli public to join us in the building of Jewish-Arab civil partnership in Israel. We will continue to develop our educational and social project, where every day 1,200 students come to study, some 200 teachers come to teach, and in which thousands of family members are involved.” (1) What was missing from this statement was a call to smash the fascists. But making such a call is not in the political nature of liberals or social reformists.
Israel’s Ruling Class shields Jewish fascists
These fascist vandals belong to the same camp as that of which members critically wounded, buried alive, and burned to death Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2 of this year. The Israeli police force claims that it conducting an investigation to find the vandals who perpetrated Saturday night’s arson of the Hand-in-Hand School. But even if the police finds those responsible and an Israeli court sentences them to jail, the question is how long will they spend behind bars? This racist group has a long history of vandalism which it calls “the price tag policy.” In spite of various empty declarations and hypocritical condemnations by the government, they continue their policy of burning fields, uprooting olive trees, and killing Palestinians. Only this year, from January to May, the Israeli police unit which handles hate-crimes against Arabs has opened 78 new files, arrested 102 suspects, and served 37 indictments. (2) Yet, there have not been 37 convictions.
“There are several dozen activists from Judea and Samaria [the West Bank for the rest of the world – Editor], mostly from the settlement of Yitzhar and the surrounding hill country who are perpetrating these serious incidents,” says a senior police official. “We know who they are, more or less.” (3)
Really, only a few extremists? If this were the case, how is it possible that they are permitted to continue to carry out their racist crimes? Surely, they must be under surveillance. However, in reality, there is a strong movement to the extreme right led by the Israeli government and the Knesset which shields these Jewish fascists. They are protected precisely because they are so useful to the Israeli government doing what the government thinks should be done, but which it cannot itself do openly. In July, under pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the inner cabinet refrained from defining the perpetrators of price-tag incidents as members of a terror organization, settling for the lesser offense of “unauthorized assembly.” (4)
On February 15 2012, Israel’s Channel 2 broadcast a recording of right-wing activists who consulted with former Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman on how to secure the release of 12 Jewish terrorists. The recorded conversation took place around October 2011. (5)
Long History of Jewish Terrorism
In fact, there is a long history of Jewish terrorism by the Israeli state and by right-wing groups and individuals from before, during and after 1948. Between 1948 and 2008 “more than 250 acts of Jewish terrorism and several thousand more minor acts of political violence have been conducted by Jews, in Israel.” (6)
“The leniency with which the Israeli government treated organized Jewish terror groups like TNT in the years preceding and during the Intifada sent a signal to both Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian opposition to military occupation, even legitimate nonviolent political acts, was swiftly and often violently crushed. Militants from Israeli groups like TNT, by contrast, served light sentences for aggressive and violent acts against innocent Palestinians, if they were brought to trial at all.” (7) Some of the Zionist terrorists were sent to jail but were released after only a few years. Following are a few examples.
After the massacre at Kafr Qasim in 1956 was revealed, despite official censorship, the commander of Division 17 Shadmi who gave the order was fined 10 prutot (a coin equal to 1/100 of an old Israeli pound). The commander of the border police regiment, Major Maliniki, which conducted the massacre of 49 Palestinians (including 6 women and 23 children aged 8-17) who unwittingly had violated a curfew set to coincide with Israel’s attack against Nasser’s Egypt (in collusion with imperialist Britain and France) was first sentenced to 17 years, but was subsequently released after only three years and then received a promotion.
In June of 1980, “Gush Emonim” underground terrorists murdered three Arab students in cold blood and gravely injured, among others, two Palestinian West Bank mayors, Bassam Shakaa, the mayor of Nablus who lost both of his legs, and Karim Khalaf, the mayor of Ramallah, who lost one leg. Three of the terrorists, Menachem Livni, Shaul Nir, and Uzi Sharbav, were sentenced to life in prison but were released after only seven years.
Alan H Goodman, an American Jewish Zionist, was convicted of murder and assault with intent to murder charges in an April 11, 1982, shooting in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa mosque .He was sentenced to life and released after 15 years. (8)
State Discrimination against Palestinians and the “Jewish Nation Bill”
There are more than 50 Israeli laws which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budgetary resources, and criminal procedures. For example the “Nakba Law” authorizes the Finance Minister to reduce state funding or support for an institution if it holds an activity which rejects the existence of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” or commemorates Israel’s “Independence Day” or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning.” (9)
Currently the Knesset is debating whether to pass a new “Jewish Nation Bill” which will enshrine preference to the Jewish nature of the state instead of its Jewish and democratic nature, as if a democratic and Jewish state were not bad enough. Legislation trails reality, and Israel has been a Jewish anti-democratic state from its founding in 1948 when it expelled 700,000 – 900,000 Palestinians and imposed military rule on those who were not expelled. Following the 1967 occupation, the myth that Israel is a democratic state was shattered by the steady movement to the right which has revealed its true political nature as an apartheid state. Even the apartheid regime in South Africa did not dare to declare that country a white, Christian state.
While the Israeli cabinet approved the “Jewish Nation Bill” on November 22 (in a vote of 14 for to 6 against), there is some opposition among Israel’s ruling class to the new legislation. Such opposition is expressed by Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin, a right-wing liberal who by opposing this bill which gives national rights only to Jews. As a result he is perceived as a traitor by the right wing. A doctored photograph showing Rivlin in an Arab keffiyeh has been circulating on right-wing websites and social media following his visit to Kfar Qasim to attend a memorial ceremony marking the 58th anniversary of the Kfar Qasem massacre (see above). During his visit he said that Arab population in Israel is an integral part of the Jewish state and will always be a fundamental component of Israeli society. What he “forgot” to mention is that the Arab population in Israel are part of the Palestinian nation.
Growing international Isolation of the Zionist State
Unlike Netanyahu, Rivlin understands that Israel’s growing isolation is dangerous for the Zionist state and this isolation can only grow with such racist laws like the one now being proposed, which is opposed even by conservative American Jews who feel the heat in United State. “The Conservative/Masorti movement has joined the growing list of Jewish groups calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from legislating the new Jewish nation-state law. Current versions of the law, conservative leaders assert, “will erode the democratic character of Israel.” (10)
This growing isolation is furthermore reflected by growing number of imperialist states that are recognizing a Palestinian state in spite of protests by the Israeli government. These dynamics bring to mind the case of South Africa. Until the 1980s, the imperialist Western states supported the apartheid regime but they were ultimately forced to distance themselves and trusted the ANC to save South Africa as a capitalist state.
As Israel continues to decline, we can expect more racist laws, massacres, and fascist attacks on Palestinians and even on liberal Jews. Israeli liberals feel threatened by the continuous movement to the extreme right, but their opposition cannot stop this movement towards fascism, as they are Zionists who put the existence of the Israeli state above everything else. Make no mistake: the fascists must be smashed. But the liberals are counting on the state to protect them from the fascists, a pipe-dream as history has often shown.
Democratic Rights can only be won by a Working Class, mostly-Palestinian Socialist Revolution
Needless to say, Palestinians also have committed acts of terrorism; for example the killing of five Israelis in a synagogue in the western Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof on November 18. We oppose such actions as they only give Israel an excuse to murder more Palestinians. We absolutely differentiate between the killing of Israeli soldiers, police, and armed settlers by the oppressed Palestinians and the killing of civilian Jews at prayer. The first kind of killing is guerilla warfare; the second kind is terror. However, as we have seen time and again, the Israeli victims of Palestinian terror are only a fraction of the Palestinian victims of Israeli state terror.
The only road open for Jews who oppose Israeli apartheid is to break with the racist Zionist ideology and state and struggle for a different kind of state. While the struggle for democratic rights is essential, it can only be won by a working class, mostly-Palestinian socialist revolution. However, such a revolution must take a vital lesson from the Arab spring in Egypt. There, a great mass movement demanding bread and democracy was blocked because of the lack of a socialist revolutionary perspective and, for now at least, a military dictatorship is in power. Only a working class struggle and state will guarantee the political and social rights of the Palestinians and save the Jews from the death trap that Israel has become.
(1) Nir Hasson, Jonathan Lis and Yarden Skop: Suspected arson attack damages Jerusalem's Jewish-Arab school, Haaretz, 30.11.2014, http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.629147
(2) Tova Tsimuki: Israel intensifies campaign against 'price tag' attackers, Ynet, 11.5.2014, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4518337,00.html
(4) In Israel, Jewish terror exists, Haaretz editorial 11.5.2014, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.589900
(5) Tomer Zarchin: Israel's justice minister advises rightists on how to seek pardons for Jewish terrorists, Haaretz 15.2.2012, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-s-justice-minister-advises-rightists-on-how-to-seek-pardons-for-jewish-terrorists-1.412913
(6) Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger: The Fourth Wave: Comparison of Jewish and other manifestations of religious terrorism, in: Jean E. Rosenfeld: Terrorism, Identity and Legitimacy: The Four Waves theory and political violence, Routledge 2010, p. 103, http://www.academia.edu/2250320/The_Fourth_Wave_Comparison_of_Jewish_and_other_Manifestations_of_Religious_Terrorism
(7) Steve Sosebee: Jewish Settler Terror Groups Have a Long History in Hebron, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1994, http://www.wrmea.org/1994-june/terrorism-jewish-settler-terror-groups-have-a-long-history-in-hebron.html
(8) Ann LoLordo: Israel releases Baltimorean who killed at mosque Goodman received life term in attack at Jerusalem shrine, The Baltimore Sun, 27.10.1997, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1997-10-27/news/1997300005_1_temple-mount-goodman-jerusalem
(9) Adam Horowitz: Adalah launches comprehensive online ‘Discriminatory Laws Database’ to monitor racist Israeli legislation, Mondoweiss 19.3.2013, http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/comprehensive-discriminatory-legislation
(10) Chemi Shalev: Conservative movement: Jewish nation-state law will 'erode Israeli democracy, Haaretz, 1.12.2014, http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/.premium-1.629446