Why Israeli fascists are more honest than liberal Zionists

Asa Winstanley

Middle East Monitor  /  October 15, 2021

The Palestinian citizens of Israel “are here by mistake—because Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and throw you out in 1948.”

That was the latest rant this week from fascist Israeli lawmaker, Bezalel Smotrich, in Israel’s parliament. Speaking from the Knesset podium, Smotrich was attacking Palestinian lawmakers from the Joint List.

He accused them of being “enemies” and “terror supporters.”

Speaking out on Twitter, Joint List lawmaker, Aida Touma-Sliman, explained how “we are putting up with this filthy fascism every day at the Knesset.”

She appealed in Hebrew for Israelis to “think about how every Arab citizen in Israel feels when such things are said offhandedly in parliament, how a young Arab feels when the right threatens to start a second Nakba.”

Touma-Sliman’s appeal to reason is unlikely to meet a receptive audience in Israel. All the Zionist parties are united in opposing Palestinian equality with Israeli Jews.

Israel is, after all, “the Jewish State”—in other words, it is a sectarian, ethno-nationalist settler-colony. In both law and in practice, it systematically discriminates against the Palestinians, the indigenous population of Palestine.

Since about 2010, Palestinians have, once again, constituted the majority of the population in historic Palestine—the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They now outnumber the Jewish Israeli settlers, those who were imported from Europe and elsewhere to replace indigenous people who were driven out of their land by the Zionist movement.

The only reason that Jewish settlers were able to briefly gerrymander a majority in historic Palestine was due to the fact that they organized a genocidal act of ethnic cleansing in 1948.

More than half of the Palestinian population was driven out of Palestine at the barrel of a gun. Some 800,000 Palestinians were forced to become refugees, either inside their own country or in camps in neighbouring countries.

They, and their descendants, still languish there till this day. They are denied their natural right to return to their homes—solely and exclusively because they are not Jewish.

That is why so many people the world over agree: Zionism is racism.

Smotrich’s words were hateful. But they, at least, had the benefit of a certain honesty and candor. I would take that over the lies of the so-called “liberal” and “socialist” Zionists any day.

Indeed, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, claimed to be a socialist. But his “socialism” had nothing to do with the brotherhood (or siblinghood) of mankind. Palestinian Arabs were not only excluded from his twisted version of socialism, but were actively boycotted, expelled, rounded up and murdered.

The Nakba (Arabic for Catastrophe) perpetrated by the Zionist movement beginning in 1947-49 was no mere accident of war. It was carefully planned for decades, and even envisioned by the movement’s founder, Theodor Herzl, when he promised that “we shall try to spirit the penniless [Palestinian] population across the border”.

Ben-Gurion, in a 1937 letter to his son insisted that “we must expel Arabs and take their place.”

Much like other sectarian apologists for war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide, Zionist fanatics alternate between denial that the crime took place, and justification of the crime.

The traditional Israeli line after 1948 was mostly denialism: either the Nakba never happened, it was an unfortunate accident of war or it was merely an “evacuation” ordered, not by the Zionist militias but by “Arab leaders”.

Eventually, these lies totally collapsed.

This was only possible, thanks—first of all—to the long, persistent work of Palestinian scholars, historians, journalists and activists, who later had their findings confirmed by several Israeli “New Historians.” They confirmed from the Hebrew archives that the Nakba had not only happened, but was a systemic and deliberate policy—something Palestinians themselves have always known.

However, some Zionist groups today still try to engage in Nakba denialism. The problem for them is that this is simply no longer believed in the West, the region upon which Israel relies for political support from governments.

That is probably part of the reason why we increasingly see in Israeli society the phenomenon of Nakba denialism morphing into Nakba justification.

Smotrich’s poisonous comments were just the latest and most public example of this.

Another example came early this year during a series of racist Israeli mob attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem. One of these Jewish Israeli pogromists promised—as you can see in the video above—”A second Nakba is coming! Just wait!”

This is also the logic of Smotrich’s comments. Threaten another expulsion.

Ben-Gurion did not “finish the job” for two reasons: firstly, Palestinians and other Arabs armed themselves and physically fought the Zionist militias in self-defence, meaning that the West Bank and Gaza were not lost to Israel in 1948, and many Palestinians were able to stay on their land for a time; and, secondly, the new State of Israel was not able to completely expel the Palestinians from the newly occupied sector of Palestine that they then dubbed “Israel”.

Although Israel had illegally expelled about 90 per cent of Palestinians from that territory between 1947 and 1949, this still left a few thousand Palestinians remaining inside the Jewish State. They were rendered third-class citizens in an apartheid regime, systematically discriminated against, their movement curtailed, closely watched by spy agencies and forced to live under a racist military dictatorship.

But, strangely enough: I would still take Smotrich’s openness about his racism any day, as opposed to the liberal Zionist lies about only wanting “peace” and a so-called two state “solution”.

The effects are the same, but the fascists are just more up front about it.

At least it has a clarifying effect. Zionism – of any variety – is racism.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist living in London who writes about Palestine and the Middle East