For almost three months now we have had an extreme right-wing coalition government in Israel. It is headed by the ineffable Bibi Netanyahu, and its main allies are the religious orthodox and two local fascists, Itamar Ben Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich, who are part of the third party (alliance actually) with the most votes in the last elections.
By Daniel Mames
For those who do not know these characters and think I am exaggerating by calling them fascists, I will tell you who they are. Smotrich, today’s Minister of Economy, is the one who a little more than a year ago in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) shouted to the legislators of Arab parties that they are there “by mistake, because Ben Gurion did not finish his work” by doing an ethnic cleansing. This is the same Smotrich who two months ago, already in office, said “my voters don’t care if I am fascist or homophobic”, and that “homosexuality is not healthy for society”.
For his part, Ben Gvir, now Minister of National Security, is one who at every march harangued and chanted “death to the Arabs”, and who in the 1990s, when he was a militant with the extremist Kahane (one who was expelled from the Knesset by the Likud (right) and Avodah (left) at the same time) went to steal an ornament from Rabin’s car, declaring that “we got to his car, and we will get to him too”; A few days later Rabin was assassinated by a fellow activist of this now minister. Two little jewels.
From the moment they took office they will be backtracking on everything that was approved by the previous government, which was a broad coalition that included from the right to the left and also an Arab party.
The backtracking includes everything from erasing the reform in high school evaluations to eliminating exclusive public transport lanes; from erasing the law that restricts the use of disposable plates and cutlery by means of a tax to eliminating the scarce public transport on Saturdays. In fact, they want to go even further, and even prohibit driving on roads and highways on Saturdays for everyone, whether they are religious Jews or not.
About three years ago I posted something on this very wall about people who think this way. I quote myself:
“There were no light blue handkerchiefs until there were green handkerchiefs.
There was no “No one less” until “Not one less” appeared.
They never gave a fuck about sign language or Braille until inclusive language appeared.
And so on with thousands of examples.
They are not motivated by their own cause, but by fighting against other people’s causes.
They like to think of themselves as “PRO” but in reality, they are “ANTI”.
They are happy to oppose the happiness of others.
They are not action: they are reaction.,
That’s why they are called reactionaries.”
But the big fight today, and what is causing massive protests in every corner of the country, is the judicial and political reform they want to pass. A reform which, identical to the one that Macri wanted to impose in Argentina together with the fugitive “Pepin” Rodriguez Simón, will be to eliminate all judges who are “leftists” (that is, all those who do not rule as they like) and to control the judiciary at will. On top of that, an open criminal law, which considers as “terrorists” those who are decided to be terrorists (!), in the best style of the Nazi Penal Code.
Of course, one of the objectives is (as when in Argentina in 2016, as soon as he took office, they magically erased the 214 cases of Macri) to eliminate the cases and convictions of Netanyahu and his ministers (or those who could not be ministers because they were convicted, such as Arye Deri).
(Unfortunately, many of those demonstrating against this aberration in Israel do not understand that in Argentina they support those who did and – if they won – would do again exactly what Bibi and his cronies are doing now).
It’s not just judicial reform, of course. There is also in this government a strong content of declared homophobia, racism, violence.
Many of those who voted for Netanyahu (he removed it with 24% of the vote) say they didn’t think he would do this; they didn’t vote for him for this atrocity.
Several of his congressmen threaten to break the coalition, but no one has yet dared to remove it.
In the marches, even if for the McCarthyite minister Ben Gvir the protesters are “anarchists” (i.e., the “terrorists” I spoke of above), there are leftists and rightists, secular and religious, Jews and non-Jews, whites and blacks, gays and straights.
There is no distinction in the struggle against the fascist, theocratic, racist and homophobic dictatorship they want to impose.
The protest (in Hebrew, “hafganá”, hence the title of the article) is spreading all over the country, with tens of thousands of demonstrators, including strikes and highway blockades, with the typical repression of a fascist government, such as many would like to have again in Argentina.
Some people say that the struggle is already lost.
The only lost struggle is the one that is abandoned, I say, and as an Argentinean I have a couple of these on my back (from my insignificant position, of course, but we must have marched against barbarities such as coups d’état, pardons, 2×1 for genocides, and so many others).
You should never give up when they come for you, for me, for everything and for everyone.
I remember something they shouted yesterday at the rally: “Lo nitén”, which could be translated as that old anti-fascist cry: “No pasarán”.
No, they will not pass.