It hurts me to write what I’m about to. But it also hurts me to live in this place today.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand where much of this comes from. Jews of all ethnicities bear the scars and the genetic memory of every manner of heinous racism, up to and including genocide.
It’s all too true, at the same time, that in a tragic given of human nature, the abused is at great risk of becoming an abuser.
This is Zionism as racism. This is Israel at 70.
This is a country which so demeans and dismisses and conflates Palestinian lives, that after a horrendous casualty rate in massive demonstrations at the Gaza border over the weekend, Eli Hazan, a spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, referred to the men, women, children and elderly protesters camped hundreds of meters from the border fence, and told i24 News Monday without flinching:
“All 30,000 are legitimate targets.”
This is a country whose ruling officials go to great lengths to proudly trumpet their insensitivity and capacity to bully, steamroll, silence and marginalize those whose opinions or ethnicities or religious affiliations don’t dovetail with the government’s smug, narrow, boilerplate conception of what is acceptable as Israeli.
This is a country where, immediately after the prime minister’s surprise announcement of a landmark humanitarian deal to resolve an impasse over 37,000 African asylum seekers, Netanyahu’s own right wing rose up in mutiny.