No matter who wins elections, Israel’s victory image is clear

A billboard put up by the far-right Israel Victory Project in Tel Aviv shows blindfolded Palestinian leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas. The caption reads: 'Peace is made with defeated enemies.' (Oren Ziv)
A billboard put up by the far-right Israel Victory Project in Tel Aviv shows blindfolded Palestinian leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas. The caption reads: ‘Peace is made with defeated enemies.’ (photo: Oren Ziv)
A poster featuring Palestinian leaders defeated and humiliated is the epitome of Israel’s vision of absolute ‘victory’ over Palestinians.

By Hagai El-Ad  | +972 Magazine |  Mar 2, 2020

This victory image is the vulgar graphic representation of the political plan now being touted to fulfill the next phase of this very vision: U.S. President Donald Trump’s “peace” plan.

Both contenders for Israel’s premiership, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, are hoping to give the victory speech after today’s vote. Yet regardless of who – if any – emerges the winner, Israelis have already been presented with this election’s victory image: the humiliating poster featuring Palestinian leaders kneeling, blindfolded and defeated, against the backdrop of a destroyed city.

The campaign, advertised on billboards by the far-right group Israel Victory Project and quickly taken down by order of Tel Aviv’s mayor, is the epitome of Israel’s current phase of control over the Palestinians. Though they were in the public eye only for a short time, these billboards are already etched in the collective consciousness. After all, that is where the idea came from: the minds of a growing number of Jews in Israel who are publicly expressing their vision of absolute “victory” over the Palestinians — not only in the depths of their subconscious, but most openly and practically.

If one doubts this image represents the broad Jewish consensus in Israel, recall the message Gantz chose to launch his first election campaign: boasting about the 2014 death toll in a Gaza, and showing the destruction Israel rained there. Given the same iconography, the same collective consciousness, the same consensus, how different is the “extremist” billboard from the “moderate alternative?”

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