Two different election campaign videos released by major right-wing candidates have one major thing in common: they are very clear about what and who they are against, yet indicate next to nothing about what they stand for.
In a highly incendiary video, Likud Knesset member Danny Danon, who was fired from his position as deputy defense minister for publicly slamming Netanyahu’s “restraint” during this past summer’s assault on Gaza, has released a campaign video in which he brands himself as “the real Likud.”
In the video Danon fashions himself as a no-nonsense sheriff in the Wild Wild West (Bank), whose first order of duty is to kick Haneen Zoabi out of the Knesset (which he has been gunning for since she took part in the Gaza flotilla in 2010). Zoabi is demonized as an Arab terrorist and murderer, seen in a room with posters of Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh and former Balad leader Azmi Bishara (Bishara fled Israel after being accused of providing aid to Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon War). Even the song, a take on the American classic “Oh! Susanna,” is replaced by the words “Oh! Zoabi.” His entire video is based on his vendetta against a fellow Knesset member, which he manages to liken to the entire Palestinian people – who are all enemy terrorists. His message is one of hate, vengeance and intolerance.
“There are limits for any traitor,” he sings, and then presents himself as the “real Likud,” with former Prime Minister Menachem Begin (the one who signed a peace accord with Egypt) and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of revisionist Zionism and the Likud’s spiritual leader, giving a thumbs up in the background.
Proving how patriotic he is, Danon then indicates that the “infiltrators” – referring to African refugees – will be kicked out, Israel will build many more settlements and he will take care of the Hamas tunnels “at any price.” And if some people don’t agree with his approach, well that’s too bad.
Naftali Bennett, the chairman of the Jewish Home party, also released a video this week. In it he is mockingly dressed as a hipster in central Tel Aviv, seen profusely apologizing to everyone around him even though he is the one being wronged. He apologizes to the waitress who spills his coffee, to the aggressive driver (who looks Arab – whether Jewish or not) who hits his car, and then reads an article in Haaretz, which is in fact a New York Times editorial translated into Hebrew, calling on Israel to apologize (managing to knock two liberal media outlets in one go).
The moral of the story is: Israel should never apologize for anything it does – not for the hundreds of kids it killed in Gaza, not for the Palestinian demonstrators it shoots and kills at unarmed protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem, not for the countless other human rights violations it commits for which it is occasionally reprimanded by the international community, not for the settlements it builds on occupied land. And apparently not for the lost lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians.
There is no vision or platform presented in the video except for a smug attitude that tells Israelis to never second guess themselves. And the not so subtle subtext is that the residents of central Tel Aviv are disconnected, unpatriotic assholes.
From these two videos, it is unclear what Israel should be, but it is crystal clear what it shouldn’t be: apologetic, Arab or accepting of dissenting opinions. Call it the three A’s.