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How the settlers took over Israel

Over the past 13 years the settler Right succeeded in establishing itself as a hegemonic force in Israeli politics, education,  judiciary, culture, and society. If the Left has any chance of pushing back, instead of moderating itself it must radicalize.

By Rami Kaplan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv on March 15, 2015, ahead of Israel’'s March 17 elections. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv on March 15, 2015, ahead of Israel’’s March 17 elections. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

A sense of doom has overcome the left-wing camp in Israel these days. The prospect of replacing the right-wing government appears more out of reach than ever, and even the term “left wing” has become a slur. The Left’s despondency could be because its flagship issue of the past 30 years, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is either too complex or even outright impossible. It could also be that the country is simply moving further and further to the right, in line with broader global trends.

There is truth to all these explanations, but the feeling of despair — following a protracted period in which the Left has been unable to have an impact — has made these factors appear more decisive than they actually are. I argue that the downfall of the Israeli Left is largely a result of strategic steps implemented by the Right, which have defeated the former in the struggle for hegemony and leadership in Israeli society. These are steps that can be overturned.

In the last decade, right-wing organizations and parties have adopted new methods, which have been described as “incitement,” “anti-democratic,” “fascist,” “populist” and a “changing of elites.” There are parallel patterns around the world, but in Israel they appeared in the context of a strategic shift, set in motion by the settler movement over a decade ago, toward a “war over hegemony.” The goal of this persistent, calculated initiative is to destroy the Left’s sources of influence and install a right-wing hegemony instead. Since the Left has indeed lost this war, it is expected to continue and expand; the Left has to increase its awareness of this war and find a way to fight back. Its downfall should be understood not as inevitable, but rather as a misstep that can and should be fixed by reorganizing itself and taking strategic steps that can have an impact.

The spark that lit the flame of the Right’s hegemony war was the 2005 Gaza Disengagement. It raised the question: how is it possible that the Likud, led by Ariel Sharon, is withdrawing from occupied lands and evacuating settlements? Right-wing thinkers posited that although the Left had lost the trust of voters, it continued to enjoy a disproportionate level of impact in the realm of ideas and values.

Israeli soldiers wait as Jewish settlers in Neve Dekalim are escorted from their houses in the Gaza Strip on 18 August 2005. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers wait as Jewish settlers in Neve Dekalim are escorted from their houses in the Gaza Strip on 18 August 2005. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Gramsci – but in reverse

Take, for example, an article from the compendium “In the Shadow of the Disengagement” from 2008, which stated the following:

“The centers of power in Israeli society have been left entirely in the hands of the ruling class in Israel (the Jewish-secular-liberal elite). This is true when it comes to the economy, judiciary, courts, media, cinema, theater and television. From time to time … there are elections, but … those who determine what is permitted and prohibited are not elected representatives but legal entities and the ruling groups.”

The development of a critical perspective vis-à-vis the extra-governmental sources of influence on the Left led to the conclusion that in addition to an electoral struggle, the settlers have an interest in focusing on the deep structural levels of public influence.

In fact, the Right borrowed the radical left’s line of thinking. Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci’s doctrine on hegemony is especially relevant. According to Gramsci, hidden powers are at work behind formal politics, defining what is deemed “right” or “appropriate” in every society. In other words, they determine the framework for the political game. The power to control the definitions of “right” and “appropriate” – what Gramsci calls “intellectual, moral and political hegemony” – tends to be concentrated in the hands of the hegemonic elite. This is a leadership group whose sources of influence are located both within and outside state mechanisms, and in civil society (in his case, Gramsci, a communist, was disturbed by the bourgeoise hegemony).

As such, in order to guarantee the continuation of the settlement enterprise, the settlers need to take the intellectual and moral hegemonic order in Israel into their own hands. For that, it’s not enough for the Likud to win the elections; the settler Right has to wage a long and tedious battle to take control of the nodes of influence in the fields of law, education, media, and culture – thereby weakening the Left’s influence.

The war to assume hegemonic power has been waged on the battleground of civil society. Since the early 2000s, the right has established a slew of organizations that specialize in this: NGO Monitor (founded in 2001), Israel Academic Monitor (2004), Institute for Zionist Strategies (2005), Im Tirtzu (2006), The Jewish Statesmanship Center (2007), My Israel (2010), Mida (2012), Kahelet Policy Forum (2012), The Movement for Governability and Democracy (2013), Ad Kan (2015) and others. These organization have played a pivotal role in fomenting the consciousness of the hegemony war, distributing it within the Right and leading the battle through activism, research and media.

The hegemony war truly took off in 2009 after Likud re-assumed power under Netanyahu. At the time, right-wing civil society organizations introduced arguments that would become legitimate and mainstream. For example, following Im Tirtzu’s “Syllabus Report,” which sought to discredit academics who criticize Israeli policy, the Ministry of Education held a meeting in 2010 under the banner “The Exclusion of Zionist Positions in Academia” where representatives of the organization met with university presidents from across the country.

Knesset members and the government – in cooperation with right-wing organizations (which started integrating into government jobs, education, and hasbara) – became the spokespeople of this hegemony war. They helped expand it into the realm of policy — what the Left has called “anti-democratic legislation,” and the right calls “defensive democracy,” or simply “democracy.” Since then, the messaging of this battle over hegemony has spread from the Right and to the Center and Left – to the point where it has become a daily component of the political discourse.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett poses for a selfie with Israeli students during a visit to Ariel University in the West Bank, March 10, 2015. (Flash90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett poses for a selfie with Israeli students during a visit to Ariel University in the West Bank, March 10, 2015. (Flash90)

Narrowing the Left’s wiggle room

The Right’s hegemony war has targeted the Left’s sources of intellectual and moral influence from two directions. One effort is to uproot the Left and its worldview from the judicial system, media, academia, education, and culture. By doing so, the Right seeks to diminish its structural influence on shaping both public discourse as well as policymakers.

On the negative side of this attack, NGOs, journalists, and ministers on the Right are working to narrow the Left’s room to maneuver – what Likud MK Yariv Levin calls “the same people who keep losing Knesset elections over and over, but operate to impose their values and world views through their control of systems that are not elected, such as academia, large swaths of the media and first and foremost, the judicial system.” For example, using the campaign against “anti-Zionist biases” and “political preaching” in the universities, organizations like Im Tirtzu and Israel Academia Monitor, together with successive education ministers, have managed to limit academic freedom, long considered a bastion of the Left.

Meanwhile, institutions like the Jewish Statesmanship Center in the settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank operated more positively to “cultivate a new leadership in Israel that can change the public discourse and establish a new national agenda based on its Jewish identity and the historical mission of the State of Israel.” It is hard to estimate the achievements of a project that intends to “swap the elites,” but it is clear that there is an open campaign being waged in various fields of hegemonic influence. For example, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Culture Minister Miri Regev are trying to enact – with some pushback and various degrees of success – changes to the procedures for appointing judges, restructuring the school curricula, ethical regulations in academia, and a re-evaluation of government funding for the arts.

This campaign could not have been as powerful and out in the open without the ethical backing of the Right, which, as part of a global trend, has flourished since the end of the last decade: the populist justification for a hegemony war.

According to this narrative, the “secular-liberal elite” is a small, self-absorbed group detached from the “nation.” It is allegedly pro-democracy, but in effect is cunning and power-hungry, holding on to its position of influence and privilege against the will of the majority, which elects right-wing parties. The attack on the Left comes off as an attempt – in the name of democracy – to reach some kind of “balance” in the allocation of resources of impact. The Right can portray itself as a group of noble patriots and frame, for example, Ariel University, located in the West Bank settlement of the same name, as a place that strengthens Israel’s periphery.

As such, in addition to the justification it provides for the hegemony war, the populist attacks help eternalize the right’s alliance with low-income communities against old elites, even when the latter are no longer in power – as has been the case for over a decade. Demonizing the Left as an exploitative and manipulative elite undermines its own moral hegemony and casts a deep shadow on its claims to lead the country.

Right-wing Israeli activists march in support of Elior Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian attacker, in Jerusalem, November 22, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Right-wing Israeli activists march in support of Elior Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian attacker, in Jerusalem, November 22, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Fascism lite’ in service of the right

The left-wing leadership is also attacked from another direction, which I will call “fascism lite.” This is the second part of the war over hegemony, and it stretches the democratic debate between doves and hawks to a point in which the latter accuse the former of borderline treason and aiding the enemy. This, the Right claims, is done by trying to hinder IDF conscription, limiting the actions of Israeli soldiers, undermining the Jewish character of the state, promoting boycotts, abetting terror, etc. The Left is portrayed as the enemy from within, which allies itself with Israel haters. It is blamed for receiving funding from foreign governments, for airing Israel’s dirty laundry abroad, and for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

This kind of rhetoric fans the flames of hatred against the Left as traitors, and severely damages its public standing. The 2013 slogan “stop apologizing,” coined by political strategist Moshe Klughaft and adopted by Bennett’s Jewish Home party, was an expression of the settler Right liberating itself from its moral inferiority in the eyes of those previously considered the “enlightened public,” which has now become the defeated, traitorous Left.

The “fascism lite” attack focuses on easy targets: extra-parliamentary organizations in the “extreme Left” such as the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, Peace Now, and others. These groups are distinguished from the “moderate, sane, Zionist” Left, as Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Ben Dror Yemini has defined it, or, in other words, those whose opposition to the occupation is moderate.

But the moderate Left, which the Right supposedly deems legitimate, is the actual target of this mechanism. While the “extremists” are demonized and attacked, the Centrists are pressured to moderate themselves further; to distinguish themselves from the extremists, justify themselves and declare their loyalty to the military, the state, Zionism, etc. Toeing the Right’s line – a consensus in which the occupation is identified with Zionism and the IDF, in which opposition to said consensus is equivalent to opposing the Right itself – projects a weakness and a loss of direction. As such, it stands in the way of an opportunity to cultivate a viable alternative to the right-wing government.

The wave of legislation that we have seen since 2010 — including the Nakba Law, the Boycott Law, the NGO Transparency Law, the Jewish Nation-State Law, among others — is the flagship offensive of the “fascism lite” campaign and the hegemony war in general. These legislative steps, based on fascist justifications with a heavy dose of populism, are designed to narrow the space for political expression and action by those who oppose the Right – Jews and Arabs alike – and the sobering authority of Israel’s judiciary. But while in Fascist Italy regime opponents like Gramsci were imprisoned, the defining characteristic in Israel is the sophisticated application of these laws.

The anti-democratic legislation is indeed alarming. Yet the change it has brought about in how the regime operates is surprisingly minimal. Most of the proposed bills did not ultimately pass, while the ones that became law were watered down and are barely enforced. Of course, it would be remiss to ignore the dangers of Israel becoming an authoritarian regime like Poland or even Turkey, and it would not be far off to argue that a gradual process of regime change toward fascism and authoritarianism is taking place.

It is important to add that it is the Left’s responsibility to search for these fascist tendencies under every rock and rail against them with all its might. With that said, how can one explain the dramatic gap between the Right’s incendiary rhetoric and its moderate actions, or the fact that the formal structure of the government in Israel has not changed since 2009? It is important to underscore this, since the automatic comparison with authoritarianism — like the regimes in Hungary or Russia, or the fascism of 20th century Europe — even if they play a necessary role as a form of opposition, could blur the logic of action in the hegemony war here and now.

These legislative initiatives should be understood as a symbolic mechanism whose role is to create a continual media storm. With every such initiative, right-wing speakers make severe allegations against the Left and Israel’s Arab citizens. They describe a supposedly insufferable reality that demands the intervention of the authorities. The debate then fades away after some time, but a month or two later, another storm begins to brew – and we go from one witch hunt to another. While the changes in the legal books are minor, the real achievements are on the image level: the Left falls victim to a systematic and protracted public hanging. The barrage of mudslinging and threats that accompany every initiative pummel the Left’s public image and puts it on the defensive. Every such incident damages its chances to assume leadership.

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The Left duplicates the Right’s attacks

The right deploys rhetoric regarding the “resilience of the nation” and “the enemy from within” in order to demonize, incite, police the Left on the one hand, while minimizing formal changes on the other. It’s a smart approach. The destruction of democracy in Israel (it is unclear whether most of the Right actually wants to do away with democracy) has a price when it comes to domestic and international legitimacy. A price there is no reason to pay as long as the “fascism lite” approach is working. That is why the Left viewed the Jewish Nation-State Law as the Right taking off its mask, revealing its true intentions to the world. But the truth is, even in this case, the law is prudent and very ambiguous. The Right is not quick to remove its masks.

As long as the masquerade — the gap between inflammatory rhetoric and deeds — continues, the Left will continue to prop up this mechanism. On one hand, it exerts critical pressure, which then waters down the language of the bills. In doing so, it actually helps the Right identify the red lines it should not cross in order to preserve its legitimacy (when criticism swells, the regime backs down), and gives the regime an excuse that enables it to come out on top, despite the gap between threats and their realization.

On the other hand, because many of the Right’s initiatives are blocked or watered down, the Left comes off as crying wolf over the dangers of the Right’s fascism and its fomenting of unnecessary panic. Thus, the left comes off as hypocritical: the supposedly deprived elite is decrying the restrictions on its excess privileges. In typical fascist-populist style, the Right champions itself as promoting the will of the people – “protecting our soldiers,” for example – while the liberal elite comes off as abandoning them.

The “fascist lite” offensive manages to make the Left look bad on all fronts: it crushes its image, uses its opposition to promote itself, and denies it credit for its role in protecting democracy.

At the end of nine consecutive years of Likud rule, the option of an election upset appears even more distant, with the hegemony war playing a significant role in preserving the Right’s hold on power.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a Rubik's Cube at the Hungary-Israel Business Forum in Budapest, Hungary, July 19, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a Rubik’s Cube at the Hungary-Israel Business Forum in Budapest, Hungary, July 19, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Pandering to the base

If the hegemony war is a methodical effort whose objective is to uproot the Left from all its extra-parliamentary sources of influence, while delegitimizing its values and positions, how can the Left ever get itself out of the crosshairs?

The Left was defeated because its two primary defense tactics were ineffective, or worse. Criticizing fascism is one defense that, while necessary, will not turn the tables in the hegemony war. The second defense, capitulating to the Right’s offensive, is defeatist. Instead of pushing back on the onslaught, it helps promote the Right’s moral intellectual revolution, through which it further entrenches itself as the hegemonic power and puts the Left on the defensive.

That is why the right way to disrupt this mechanism is by facing it head on. This means a principal rejection – similar to that of the settler Right during the days of Oslo – of the right-wing revolution, which sees no difference between the state and the values of occupation and Jewish supremacy. An unequivocal and uncompromising opposition, even if unpopular in the short term, is essential for rehabilitating the Left’s leadership potential in the long term.

The Left should “radicalize” itself, not moderate itself. A left-ward shift that moves closer to the “hard” left, rather than abandoning it, would be a late but much-needed response to the radicalization of the Right in the last decade. The Right should serve as a model. It embraces all corners of its base because it understands that rallying around an ideology and forming unity within the camp are essential for subverting the hegemony.

Is there reason to be concerned that the Right – in response to determined opposition from the Left – will deepen its fascism and remove its masks? Will the day come when the government will put its opponents in jail? In my opinion, despite the endless occupation, the culture of democracy in Israel is stronger than in Poland, Hungary, Russia or Turkey, and the identification with democratic and global values is stronger. In Israel, it will be harder to garner public support for full-blown fascism and ignore international criticism. That is why it is fair to assume that resolute opposition will burst the “fascist lite” bubble and will cause the Right to retreat from this strategy. This kind of retreat will distance the state from the dangers of fascism and re-open the political competition.

Over the last decade, the Israeli Right has demonstrated innovation, determination, and successful public outreach that led to impressive gains in the hegemony war. The result has been the tragic demise of the Left, which lost its public standing, along with the loss of hope, a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a solution to other national problems. As such, the prerequisite for solving the conflict is overcoming the despair and channeling one’s energy into renewing the hegemonic struggle: moving toward strategic actions that can put an end to the Right’s onslaught and restore the Left’s influence and leadership.

Dr. Rami Kaplan is a resident of Tel Aviv, sociologist with the Open University and a political activist. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call, read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Jaap Bosma

      The Left and the Right in Israel are both racist, only the Left is apologetic about it, while the Right is unapologetic. Maybe the Left should abandon its hypocrisy and go for full equality of Jews and all Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Firentis

      I look forward with bated breath to your “strategic actions”. A left-ward shift to the “hard” left? Bwahahahahaha. I can’t help myself. This is hilarious. Go ahead. Form some unity in your camp. This is going to be entertaining. What are you going to do? Have all the leftists resign so that their spots can be filled by the center/right? Embrace the Palestinian narrative so that it will be easy to consider you traitors to Zionism? Insist on full communism so that it is easy to portray you as wanting to destroy the economy? Call for intervention from abroad or try to sabotage the military so that you can be portrayed as traitors to the country?

      Whatever residual political power the Israeli Left has is from being part of the Zionist consensus, which by the way, the Right did not invent. You lose that and you are lost. You will have no legitimacy. You will have no voters. You will have a newspaper and three coffee shops in the Tzfon haYashan that you can gather around to discuss the revolution or whatever your next strategic actions are. Do your worst.

      Doctor, you have correctly discerned the disease, but your cure is to kill the patient.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Last time I checked B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and Peace Now were quite sane and sensible. And honest. In a sea of dishonesty.

      As for right wing apologists and whataboutery specialists and inveterate goal post movers like Mr. Ben Dror Yemini who yet try to complain that they are really not right wing, I think Yael Marom sizes him up correctly:
      https://972mag.com/high-court-on-bds-somewhere-between-terror-and-holocaust-denial/105656/

      Yemini is part of a cult dynamic. That brave, sane, honest, and rational groups such B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence are vilified as “extreme” and “traitors” only shows that the extremist mass rightist cult that Israel has become. And once we realize the true nature of this we realize that Israel cannot–contrary to its “leave us alone we can handle this” line (the line of gangsters actually)–and will not change from within, any more than the Branch Davidians at Waco were going to change from within. Outside force and inside force (from the inexorably increasing internal incoherence and internal pressure exerted by creeping annexation and apartheid forcibly controlling millions of Palestinians—no right winger has any real answer to this) will be needed. Fanatics cannot be reasoned with. (Firentis’ sneering cocky contempt on this page is only empirical evidence of this from inside the cult. That “leftist” has become a form of group-think mockery and contempt inside Israel is not different than dominating fascistic cult movements of the past. This is a sick situation and history gives us no confidence at all that this will end well.) Netanyahu likes to cite Churchill as the great non-appeaser all the while incessantly demanding the world appease Israel over its insatiable demands over West Bank Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Oh yes, lots of honesty and sensibility. Some examples:

        Some of the lies of B’Tselem:
        https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/BTselems-lies-468488

        Adalah rejects the legitimacy of the State of Israel:
        https://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/adalah_abusing_civil_rights_to_delegitimize_israel_/
        https://bit.ly/2DVN8rW

        The farce that is Breaking the Silence:
        https://en.mida.org.il/2017/11/28/farce-breaking-silence/

        ‘Peace Now’ apologizing before none other than the clown Naftali Bennet after they were caught lying:
        https://bit.ly/2OlChrn

        And continuing to lie about Apartheid is not going to somehow make it the truth, as I explained to you in detail backed by evidence you refused to touch, as usual.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          @Ido: Yes, honesty and integrity. B’telem and Breaking the Silence have unimpeachable integrity and on-the-ground authority. They are the great scandal, the schanda, the canaries in the coal mine that Canary Mission can’t exterminate. Which is why you just can’t stand them and you eagerly participate in the cottage industry referred to below, (btw, does anyone take Yair Lapid seriously? Seriously?):

          Jerusalem Post
          HOW MANY DEAD CHILDREN?
          You don’t have to be a legal scholar to be horrified, just a decent human who wants to know: How did this happen?
          BY HAGAI EL-AD SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
          https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/How-many-dead-children-468487
          The cottage industry of attacking human rights organizations in Israel used to be limited to the extreme Right. Gradually moving to the forefront of Israeli politics, it most recently gained “Center” stage with Yair Lapid’s populist choice to join Avigdor Liberman, Naftali Bennett and Benjamin Netanyahu in railing against a convenient common enemy: B’Tselem and our colleagues who advocate for human rights and an end to the occupation….

          ———-

          And then, you quote NGO Monitor. Yep, an eager and willing participant in Israel’s propaganda machine. The disreputable NGO Monitor even gets funds from the Israeli government and has to be seen as an arm of the GOI.

          BTW the word you want is “sensibleness” not “sensibility.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “honesty and integrity. B’telem and Breaking the Silence have unimpeachable integrity” – the evidence in the post you just ignored clearly show otherwise. Why did you just ignore it ? are you going to come up with hilarious pathetic excuses not to address the evidence now or 30 posts down ?
            “and on-the-ground authority” – authority on what ? rejecting and delegitimizing Israel ? lying through their teeth ?
            “Which is why you just can’t stand them” – I stand them just fine, I just pointed out they are not exactly the picture of honesty and sensibility you claim and I provided evidence for this, which you of course ignored. Why is that ?
            “does anyone take Yair Lapid seriously?” – which part of what he said is incorrect ? go ahead. B’Tselem took the word of Hamas as fact, even news sites like BBC, not generally fond of Israel, agreed Hamas lied about the death toll and civilians count.
            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28688179

            So which part of what he said is incorrect ?
            “You don’t have to be a legal scholar to be horrified” – true, I was horrified when you tried to justify the torture and murder of Palestinian land brokers.
            “HOW MANY DEAD CHILDREN?” – bringing an opinion piece by the executive director of B’Tselem ? seriously ? how about addressing the evidence about them and their lies ?
            “you quote NGO Monitor” – which part of what they said is incorrect ? address it. You of course ignored the second link, the one with the detailed list of facts. You ignored it before, remember ? why is that ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            None of it is “evidence.” It’s crafted lies, distortions and omissions, etc. Hagai El-Ad credibly answers Lapid. Lapid the empty posturing blow dried pretty face talk show host cum politician and college dropout, a lightweight if ever there was one, has zero credibility and zero claim to know the facts.
            One glaring, very obvious, telltale sign that your sites are bunk not “evidence” is that you link to people slandering Breaking the Silence. Simply not credible. The industry of lying about and deviously slandering Breaking the Silence, starting with Ayalet Shaked at the top and going on down to dregs like the site you plaster here, is well known and I consider it a completely settled issue and several articles in +972 Magazine, which you ignore, convincingly explain all this. You are not now and never have been a credible interlocutor.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “It’s crafted lies, distortions and omissions, etc” – why are you lying again ? how can I take you seriously when you in deep denial about the evidence I provide ? then go ahead, which are lies ? distortions and omissions ? go right ahead.
            Why are you behaving again like a child ?
            “Hagai El-Ad credibly answers Lapid” – you’re joking, right ? no he didn’t as I said he is basing his information on lies. I proved this to you, why are you again ignoring this ? which of what Lapid said is incorrect ? the BBC link as well. This is incredible, you can’t handle reality, you cling so strongly to your delusional clueless nonsense that you make up hilarious lies and pathetic excuses to avoid addressing it. Fascinating.
            “has zero credibility and zero claim to know the facts.” – what are you talking about ? Hamas lying about the Palestinian death toll is a fact. Easy to back up with proof.
            https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2014/08/12/hamas-lies-about-the-gaza-civilian-death-toll-and-the-media-bought-it
            Again: point to what he said and prove it wrong. Go ahead. See this is what we adults do when we want to refute an argument. Like I just did with your delusional lying nonsense.
            “people slandering Breaking the Silence” – by pointing facts, evidence, how can you ignore this and be taken seriously ? what they are doing is a farce, this is explained in detail in the link I provided. Something is wrong, incorrect ? address it. Prove it.
            Why can’t you do that ?
            “Simply not credible” – oh sure, because the delusional ‘Useful Idiot’ said so.
            “starting with Ayalet Shaked” – I didn’t post anything from Ayelet Shaked, she is not mentioned in my link. this is you again changing the subject.
            “consider it a completely settled issue” – well then that’s all settled. You owe me a new monitor, I spit coffee on it from laughing so hard. Thanks.
            “several articles in +972 Magazine, which you ignore” – really ? when did I ignore them ? do they address the lies stated in my link ?
            “not now and never have been a credible” – reality and evidence based facts are, which you again ignore, as usual.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @IDO: Weirdly, you seem to be basing all of this on the very odd idea that if Hamas distorts numbers and narratives in one direction, that the IDF does not habitually, routinely distort matters in the other direction. Where did you pick up the really strange idea that Israel tells the truth? Seriously? We are not JPost-pablum-fed toddlers and we can actually read. And where did you pick up the super strange idea that all Hagai El-Ad and B’tselem do is pick up the phone and call Hamas and write down what they are told?

            So you are stacking up Hagai El-AD against Yari Lapid? Yair Lapid? Seriously? In terms of integrity and hard won knowledge? And truth? Who do you think you’re kidding? Yair Lapid, who never let a hair on his blow dried pate stir when he “investigated” by gratefully swallowing whole, along with the entire rest of the Cabinet, the accounts of the IDF for his laughably “in depth” investigation? And has absolutely nothing but the disinformation served up for his purposes by the IDF and allied intelligence and “information ministry” branches courtesy of Gilad Erdan?

            You mean the IDF described here?:

            As a journalist, I learned not to believe anything the Israeli army says
            https://972mag.com/journalist-first-intifada-learned-believe-idf-says/138505/

            You mean the way the IDF said to Cohen that there were just three dead?

            You mean the Cohen observed that the IDF behaved here?:

            Years later, I spoke about the incident at an IDF Spokesperson’s college seminar, and said that I believe the car bomb was deliberately staged to show the American secretary of state how dangerous it is here. A man from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit got up and said, ‘You’re right.’” The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Cohen said, works in a sophisticated manner. It does not hold steadfast to any one version of a story; that way the army could always claim plausible deniability, and the public buys it.

            So, to you am I a “liar,” Ido Geller, in the same way, that “in the eyes of the public [Cohen] was a liar”? Yes? If so, I am proud to accept the honorific.

            From here on out, every time you call me a liar, and there will be many times as we know, we’ll take it as a badge of honor and we’ll remember Oren Cohen and salute him.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 1): Again: what the hell are you talking about ? it is known for a fact Hamas lied about the casualties and civilians numbers during Protective Edge, from sites like BBC and US News. This is old news, so you have no clue about this ? what a shocking surprise. The sites I posted are not exactly the IDF, minor detail you ignore for some reason. Why have you not addressed the evidence I provided ?

            “Where did you pick up the really strange idea that Israel tells the truth?” – when did you decide to change the subject again ? we were discussing the “lots of honesty and sensibility” of the organizations you mentioned. You to this moment refuse to touch the evidence I provided about their not so honesty and sensibility. Why is that ? you think I won’t notice ? oh I’m sure Israel’s government doesn’t always tell the truth, especially this government, but this has nothing to do with the evidence I provided which you to this moment avoid at all costs.
            “We are not JPost-pablum-fed toddlers and we can actually read” – how delusional are you ? for example the 4th link, of Peace Now apologizing for lying, is that fake ? is that not their official Twitter account lying very, very clearly ?
            The links about Adalah or ‘Breaking the Silence’ are wrong ? the exposed lies of B’Tselem in the link I provided ? then prove it, address it, point to it, act like an adult, not a lying child.
            “where did you pick up the super strange idea that all Hagai El-Ad and B’tselem do is pick up the phone and call Hamas” – the idea is based on the fact that they mirror the data Hamas published and not use basic common sense and rationality like it is explained in both the links I provided from BBC and US News, which you to this moment ignore. The details and links are right there, why are you acting like a mentally challenged individual ? I explained this already in detail backed by evidence, are you pretending to be delusional or you really have no clue ?
            “So you are stacking up Hagai El-AD against Yari Lapid?” – nope, I simply point out that Hagai El-AD is not telling the truth, as is the habit of his organization’s efforts to delegitimize Israel and Yair Lapid points the nonsense of their numbers, as repeated by the other 2 links I provided, not by Yair Lapid, which you to this moment ignore as if they don’t exist. Why is that ?
            “In terms of integrity and hard won knowledge? And truth?” – seriously ? um, the evidence is right there. Why are you lying ? who cares about the people, look at the hard data, look at the evidence.
            “Who do you think you’re kidding?” – Why are you behaving like a joke ? the evidence is right there, address it, don’t ignore it.
            “the accounts of the IDF for his laughably “in depth” investigation” – So Yair Lapid also wrote the BBC article ? the US News article ? please elaborate and explain, this is fascinating.

            more to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @IDO: As I think I already told you, weirdly, you seem to be basing all of this on the very odd idea that if Hamas distorts numbers and narratives in one direction, that the IDF does not habitually, routinely distort matters in the other direction. None of what you write is more than a non sequitur following on this. And you seem to have the very odd idea that IF Hamas numbers are inflated THEN the actual, absolute numbers of dead don’t matter, after all they’re just Palestinians. That is, lurking in your intractably confused reply is that you cannot make a distinction between percentages and absolute numbers, and that it never even occurred to you to realize that EVEN IF Hamas inflated numbers, the actual numbers are STILL horrific and constitute a war crime. You really don’t understand any of this do you? I feel like a high school teacher whose online regular class got switched out overnight to special ed students and no on told him and he’s assuming when he writes that people grasp really basic things but puzzlingly the students keep replying like mindless automatons with one monorail thought. Oh well, there is only so much time….

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 2): “courtesy..Gilad Erdan” – this has nothing to do with Gilad Erdan. This is about Hamas lying about the casualties numbers during the 2014 conflict in Gaza, how can I take you seriously when you not just ignored posts and evidence but also change the subject ?
            “I learned not to believe anything the Israeli army says” – that’s great, has nothing to do with what I was saying, but great. Bring more posts from this left-wing pro-Palestinian news blog about what I didn’t discuss. Good “tactic”.

            “You mean the way the IDF said to Cohen that there were just three dead?” – Again, 4th time: not the IDF, read the links I provided. Hamas lied about the casualties data during the 2014 conflict. This is a fact.
            And please provide evidence for 24 dead he mentioned during a demonstration about the assassination of the terrorist Abu Jihad and how they died.
            “mean the Cohen observed that the IDF behaved here” – oh yes I’ll definitely take his word for it and how an IDF Spokesperson representative agreed with him. Sounds legit. Which incident was it ? I recall a car bomb across from the Jerusalem Convention Center in 2011 which only killed one person, was it this one ? which one is he talking about ?

            “So, to you am I a liar” – to me ? oh no, to anyone who can read. And I provided many examples where you lie, in fact I am discussing your more recent blatant lies right now on a different page on this site, I’ll provide the link in the Facebook comments section.

            “in the same way, that “in the eyes of the public [Cohen] was a liar ?” – nope, it has nothing to do with this, your pathetic attempts to twist what I’m saying and change the subject are amusing.
            “f so, I am proud to accept the honorific” – you’re a clueless liar, a classic ‘Useful Idiot’ who has no idea what you’re talking about. I proved this so many times, I’ll add some examples in the Facebook comments section, some of your more classic lies and clueless nonsense.

            “every time you call me a liar… we’ll take it as a badge of honor and we’ll remember Oren Cohen” – This has got to be an even more pathetic hilarious idiotic “strategy” than your “where is the evidence?” lies.
            Every time I call you a liar I literally explain why that is backed by evidence. This has absolutely nothing to do with Oren Cohen, it has everything to do with your lying clueless nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “This has absolutely nothing to do with Oren Cohen”

            I am truly sorry that you cannot grasp something this basic. Or that you cannot grasp that you stacked up Yair Lapid’s lying-IDF-backed word against Hagai El-Ad’s word and I am going with El-Ad’s word by a mile, and why I am doing that. I am truly sorry you cannot grasp that. It is not my responsibility that you cannot grasp that.

            And oh, yes, the links about Adalah or Breaking the Silence and B’Ttselem are wrong, and we have been over this time and again. And I will not dignify Ayalet Shaked’s devious, sinister, slanderous bullshit about it and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for promoting it and slandering your fellow Israelis, the best Israelis there are. You won’t be ashamed, because it seems “everything is permitted.” But there it is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 1) “that if Hamas distorts numbers and narratives in one direction, that the IDF does not habitually, routinely distort” – and I addressed this specifically 3 times now which you again and again ignore, I’ll just copy/paste it again:
            The idea is based on the fact that they mirror the data Hamas published and not use basic common sense and rationality like it is explained in both the links I provided from BBC and US News, which you to this moment ignore. The details and links are right there, why are you acting like a mentally challenged individual ? I explained this already in detail backed by evidence, are you pretending to be delusional or you really have no clue ?
            Why are you twisting what I said and changing the subject ? my links and evidence was very specific. Address it, it’s right there. Why are you ignoring this over and over again ?
            “None of what you write is more than a non sequitur” – why are you lying again when the links and evidence are right there ? Again: not IDF. How is this so difficult for you to grasp ? unbelievable.
            “you seem to have the very odd idea that IF Hamas numbers are inflated THEN the actual, absolute numbers of dead don’t matter” – Liar. I never said this, you are again making up stuff about things I never said.
            “you cannot make a distinction between percentages and absolute numbers” – nope, you’re squirming and twisting again. What I said (and backed up) was very, very clear and specific. Hamas lied, B’Tselem based their data on Hamas info making them liars as well. That’s it.
            “confused reply” – how on earth is this confused ? are you that dense ? I only repeated this 4 times now.
            “EVEN IF Hamas inflated numbers, the actual numbers are STILL horrific and constitute a war crime” – Again: this has nothing to do with what I said, this has nothing to do with the links I provided.
            Again, 6th time: Hamas lied, it’s that simple. And as a result B’Tselem did as well. That it. Change the subject, lie some more, that is not going to change what I said, the post is right there.
            “You really don’t understand any of this do you?” – you really are choosing to ignore what I actually said and the evidence I provided proving you were wrong, are you. To lie and change the subject to avoid addressing my posts which you of course ignored again.
            “switched out overnight to special ed students” – do they like you repeatedly ignore posts showing how they were wrong ? do they also ignore evidence proving how they were wrong ?
            “keep replying like mindless automatons” – keep lying, twisting what I said and changing the subject as much as you want, it won’t change what I posted or the evidence I provided. It only cements what is already obvious: you’re a clueless ‘Useful Idiot’ who will cling to his delusional nonsense as if his life depends on it and avoid at all costs facts based evidence showing you very clearly how you’re wrong again.

            more to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 2): I am truly sorry that you cannot grasp something this basic” – I am truly amused that you again ignored my posts and ignored the evidence I posted, both in the Facebook comments section and in the posts themselves.
            For a 5th time now.
            As I said, saying you’re a liar and providing lots of evidence to back it up, evidence you refuse to touch as if your life depends on it, has absolutely nothing to do with Oren Cohen, it has everything to do with your lying clueless nonsense.
            Lying and changing the subject is not going to help you, as always.
            “you stacked up Yair Lapid’s lying-IDF-backed word against Hagai El-Ad” – I answered this, you again ignore my posts. I’ll just copy/paste again:
            Nope, I simply point out that Hagai El-AD is not telling the truth, as is the habit of his organization’s efforts to delegitimize Israel and Yair Lapid points the nonsense of their numbers, as repeated by the other 2 links I provided, not by Yair Lapid, which you to this moment ignore as if they don’t exist. Why is that ?
            “In terms of integrity and hard won knowledge? And truth?” – seriously ? um, the evidence is right there. Why are you lying ? who cares about the people, look at the hard data, look at the evidence.
            “I am going with El-Ad’s word by a mile” – proved he based his info on proven lies, provided 2 other links from the BBC and US News as evidence. You to this moment ignore this, why is that ?
            “I am truly sorry you cannot grasp that” – I am truly sorry for you that you’re a clueless liar who clings to his nonsense even when the evidence to the contrary is banged on his head repeatedly.
            “It is not my responsibility that you cannot grasp that.” – hilarious.. yes, go for the “projection technique” now. This should help. It’s me, not you refusing to admit I backed up my claim with proof you refuse to address.
            “the links about Adalah or Breaking the Silence and B’Ttselem are wrong” – great! how are they wrong ? in what way ? B’Ttselem was right about the number of casualties ? all the sections in my post about Adalah are fake ? Breaking the Silence never did what my post claimed they do ?
            back up your claim. Address the evidence, act like an adult. Why can’t you do this ? you made a claim, I explained why you’re wrong and provided evidence for it. Address it, it’s right there. saying “no! they are wrong!” is something a 5 year old child would do.
            ” And I will not dignify Ayalet Shaked” – Again with this lying nonsense ? I have never provided anything from Ayalet Shaked. Never mentioned her. How can I take you seriously when you can’t write one post without lying like this ?
            “slandering your fellow Israelis” – hilarious.. Again: their actions, what they said and did. All detailed very clearly in the evidence I provided which you to this moment ignore.
            “You won’t be ashamed” – Well I am ashamed that you as a grown human being (I assume) can’t deal with the uncomfortable reality even when the evidence (which you ignore) is posted right in your face. Ashamed for the human species.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            90% of this is more of your “I never said exactly that in those precise words” excuse making and shillyshallying, that song and dance while talking through one’s hat as he shuffles out the exit door at far right.

            “I have never provided anything from Ayalet Shaked. Never mentioned her.”

            Everything you have ever said about Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, and about +972 Magazine for that matter, is straight out of Ayalet Shaked’s playbook. You could be working for her press office for all practical purposes. You don’t have to mention her name any more than Trump has to mention Putin by name in order to get his message across. It is just another layer of dishonesty here that you are trying to dissociate yourself from her when in a plethora of posts you have promoted her attacks on Dean Issacharoff, Yehuda Shaul and their fellow soldiers. Where’s the beef? You are a poser.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “90% of this is more of your “I never said exactly that in those precise words” excuse” – why are you lying again when the posts are right there ? when the evidenced you refuse to touch is right there ? you made a claim, it is wrong, I explained why and provided evidence for it.
            Why are you again and again behaving like a child and pretend as if the posts and evidence don’t exist ? you claim it’s wrong ? out of context ? then address it, show it, point to it, how can you not realize your inability to do so is an answer all by itself ?
            “Everything you have ever said about Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, and about +972 Magazine for that matter, is straight out of Ayalet Shaked’s playbook” – Again: you lied. Plain and simple. I never provided anything from Ayelet Shaked, not a single quote or link or anything from her.
            Everything I said I backed with proof, which you to this moment refuse to touch. So now you’re backtracking to “it’s from Ayelet Shaked’s playbook” ? and I though you couldn’t be more pathetic. Again: I never brought anything from Ayelet Shaked, nothing. You’re a liar and your pathetic backtracking “strategy” is ridiculous.

            What’s extra hilarious is how many clueless idiotic things you claimed are directly from Islamic Jihadists terrorist organizations playbooks, literally. Lying Palestinian propaganda which you take for granted even when the evidence proving you wrong is shoved repeatedly in your clueless face.
            I think the more glaring example is your claim how the Jewish nation doesn’t exactly exist, I can’t believe you actually said that, this is nuclear grade stupid. Even when I brought you enough evidence to fill 3 libraries. Which you ignored of course. That’s textbook Hamas and Fatah propaganda.
            This is even worse than you attempting to justify the torture and murder of Palestinian land property brokers.
            “plethora of posts you have promoted her attacks on Dean Issacharoff, Yehuda Shaul and their fellow soldiers” – Again: 1367th time: I never mentioned her or used her in any of my links, everything I said I backed up with proof that you to this moment avoid as if your life depends on it.
            It’s not “her attack”, it’s basic facts and reality you again and again ignore even when they are banged on your head repeatedly. Why is that ? how can you not realize not being able to address the evidence is not exactly helping your “argument” ?
            Just like you again ignored my posts showing in detail how you’re a clueless liar who has no idea what he’s talking about.
            “Where’s the beef?” – you mean the multitude of posts and evidence you ignore repeatedly ?
            “You are a poser” – you’re a pathetic joke, a classic ‘Useful idiot’. Thank you for proving this once again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Honestly I’ve never met someone past the age of five who so childishly yells “liar,” when caught out and bested in arguments, as you do.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “I’ve never met someone past the age of five who so childishly yells “liar,” when caught out and bested in arguments” -> I’ve never laughed so hard from reading a post. Never. That has got to be the most hilarious pathetic thing you have ever said. Now that’s impressive. Not only did you again ignored my posts and evidence, you seem to be under the impression that if you say the most outrageous lie you can think of, this will somehow help your “argument” in some way. This has got to be trolling, not mental breakdown, nobody can be this ridiculous.

            “Bested in arguments”.. now that is delusional nonsense and denial par excellent. Yes, tell yourself that instead of addressing my posts and evidence, maybe it’ll all go away. And don’t forget to project what I’ve been saying on you back on me, it’ll definitely make the posts and evidence disappear. Any second now.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “I’ve never laughed so hard from reading a post.”

            You know, Ido, you say this almost every time. Is this a steadily climbing forcefulness of laughing you suffer? Are you in danger of a hernia soon? What’s the endpoint? You explode? Or are you just not a serious interlocutor, as always?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “You know, Ido, you say this almost every time” -> what a coincidence, you turn yourself into a joke almost every time. See the posts above.
            “Are you in danger of a hernia soon?” -> are you going to actually address the posts and evidence ?
            “Or are you just not a serious interlocutor, as always?” -> so which method do you use ? you bang your head on the monitor when you pass by my posts, blurring your vision ? you installed a Facebook blocker so you won’t see the evidence ? I’m honestly curious.
            I actually posted some in the comments section itself, which you to this moment ignore or lie about, as usual.
            Still can’t believe you said this: “caught out and bested in arguments”.. this is some very powerful self delusion and persuasion. I hope it’s not permanent brain damage.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “Did you forget to take your meds…permanent brain damage…blah blah blah.” The JPost-style reply of the impoverished and the desperate, and the not very bright.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Why are you again and again ignoring my posts and evidence ? why are you again and again refuse to address them ?
            And yes, someone who says incredible nonsense like you do even when the evidence refuting him is shoved in his face repeatedly suggest a not so firm connection to reality.
            “The JPost-style reply of the impoverished and the desperate” -> how can I take you seriously when you say such ridiculous nonsense ? the posts are right there above with the links, the evidence is right there.
            You pathetic “strategy” of projecting what you are doing on me is not going to make the many posts and evidence go away. Lying repeatedly and claiming they don’t exist won’t make it go away. Ignoring the posts and evidence won’t make it go away. It only shows how big of a joke you are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            For example from my evidence, so ‘Peace Now’ didn’t apologize for lying on their own official Twitter account ? just lie some more and claim the evidence don’t exist like you did here multiple times about links and posts:
            https://972mag.com/humanitarian-aid-palestinians-time-low/138332/

            Maybe it’ll make the evidence disappear.

            Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        Yes, give it up, Ben. Peace Now et al., represent a shrinking bunch of Losers. The only people who still believe in this “Land for Peace” vision are semi-senile whakos, self-haters and other Autistic degenerates.

        You really need to get this nonsense out of your head. You’d be better off fighting other SJW causes like anti-Global Warming, getting Bernie elected or supporting Corbyn in the UK.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Jaap Bosma

      The Left is just as racist as the Right, (but it is much more hypocritical about it), so why should people who support Palestinian rights care?

      Reply to Comment
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