Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1248, (28 May - 3 June 2015)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1248, (28 May - 3 June 2015)

Ahram Weekly

The truth about Israel

While many Israelis claim they do not know what is being done to the Palestinians in their name, the truth is they do not want to know, writes Alan Hart

Al-Ahram Weekly

It was written by Gideon Levy, the conscience of Israeli journalism, in an article for the newspaper Ha’aretz, and here it is: “The two-state solution is dead (it was never born); the Palestinian state will not arise; international law does not apply to Israel; the occupation will continue to crawl quickly to annexation; annexation will continue to crawl quickly toward an apartheid state; ‘Jewish’ supersedes ‘democracy’ and nationalism and racism will get the stamp of government approval, but they’re already here and have been for a long time.”

The somewhat satirical headline over Levy’s article was “Stop whining. Long live Israel’s new and honest government.” He set the scene for his one-sentence statement of the truth with these words: “The 34th government will deserve Israel; Israel will deserve the 34th government.

“This is an authentic and representative government, the true manifestation of the spirit of the times and the deepest feelings of most Israelis. It will be a true government, without pretense, without make-up and without self-justification. What we’ll see is what we’ll get. Welcome to the fourth Benjamin Netanyahu government.

“They won’t talk haughtily and they won’t spout hollow slogans. Not about peace and not about human rights; not about two states and not about negotiations; not about international law, justice or equality. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis and the world,” Levy wrote.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1953 to Czech parents who fled the Nazi Holocaust, Levy started life as a normal Israeli, brainwashed by Zionist propaganda. He has described his political views as a teenager as typically mainstream: “I was a full member of the nationalistic religious orgy. We were all under the feeling that the whole project [of Israel] is in existentialistic danger. We all felt that another Holocaust is around the corner.”

Today, Levy describes himself as a “patriotic Israeli,” and the target he constantly fires at is what he sees as Israel’s “moral failure.” In 2007, he wrote that the plight of the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip made him “ashamed to be an Israeli.”

After Israel’s last war on the Strip, he wrote: “The conclusion is that Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, while not giving a hoot about international law.”

Levy describes his “modest mission” as being “to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say ‘We didn’t know.’”

In my view, this is not a modest mission. It’s an awesome one and perhaps a mission impossible. Why? Another part of the truth which Levy does not mention is not only that most Israelis don’t know what is being done to the Palestinians in their name, but they also don’t want to know.

To say that Levy is courageous is an understatement. His truth-telling has provoked calls for him to be put on trial for treason and he frequently receives death threats.

The question arising from his one-sentence statement of the truth is something like this: Is there any real sign of an end to what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has described as “the continued apathy and indifference of the Western political elite and media to the plight of the Palestinians?”

The answer is no and that makes the Western political elite and media complicit, partly by design in the past but mainly by default today, in Israel’s crimes.


The writer is a former BBC foreign correspondent who has reported on conflicts throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.

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