Imagine that on a United States election day the candidate for the presidency urges the white citizens of the country to get out and vote so as to outnumber the African American voters who are flocking to the polling station. It is almost a certainty that such a statement would result in the downfall of this candidate and the disgrace of his or her party.
In the aftermath of the killings at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, critical voices have largely been drowned in the general sea of undifferentiated outrage. But this statement by French colleagues, which recently appeared in Le Monde, is a major intervention and a welcome exception.
In contrast to the old image of the Jew who was led to his death in Europe without fighting back, the Israeli military has played a vital role in creating a new model, in which the Jewish soldier is a strong man who fights and kills for survival. From a practical point of view, the Army was important for the Zionist project for settling the land of Palestine because it was through the force, protection, and support of the military that the settlers were and are still able to settle Palestinian land.
For the Army to function properly — especially in the case of Israel, where military service is compulsory, meaning the Army is made up of the majority of the Israeli citizenship — there is a need to rally as much support as possible behind them. This is accomplished through state rhetoric that provides reasons for the necessity of partaking in a military offensive. …
Ethnic cleansing in the Negev
The Prawer-Begin Plan was shelved. But the idea that you can forcefully transfer an indigenous population and determine where it can legally reside – looks and smells like a plan pulled from the dusty drawer of Hendrik Verwoerd, architect of Apartheid South Africa. And that didn’t work out so well.
Sadly, it was too early to celebrate the downfall of the Prawer-Begin Plan. The victory of suspending the Knesset vote following the the “day of rage” protests on November 30 was short lived. The dark threatening cloud of ethnic cleansing still hovers over the Negev’s Bedouin population. Nevertheless, Prawer’s suspension was the culmination of a grassroots mobilization that took months, years actually, to climax and grab public attention. It was an historical achievement.
The good news is that for the first time, the Jewish Israeli public woke up to the sound of a clear, well articulated and well organized Bedouin-led resistance movement…