[Marxism] Fwd: The Moral Siege | Boston Review

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 8 06:06:24 MDT 2014

Two decades later, Kahane’s disciple and professed follower, Michael 
Ben-Ari, would become a member of Knesset (2009–2013). Though he openly 
propagated Kahanist views, advocating the forced expulsion of Arabs and 
inciting hatred toward African refugees, Ben-Ari was never censored. 
Like Kahane, he organized marches in Arab towns to incite conflict . 
Unlike his mentor, however, Ben-Ari met no resistance, in parliament or 
in the street. It was he who led an effort to restrict Arab Knesset 
member Haneen Zoabi for participating in a flotilla protesting the siege 
on Gaza. His motion succeeded when members of Likud and the centrist 
Kadima party lent their support. In stark contrast to the Kahane 
walkouts, in the current Knesset, Arab lawmakers are regularly abused. 
One was even physically assaulted. Ben-Ari is no longer in the Knesset, 
but his influence has not diminished.

The festering chauvinism cultivated by Ben-Ari and his like exploded 
with the triple kidnapping and murder last month and the Gaza offensive 
that followed. Infused with righteous indignation exacerbated by 
sentimentalist media, inflated patriotism washed over the country, 
crushing any critical discussion, not to mention dissent. The few 
pundits and celebrities who expressed criticism, or even mere sympathy 
to Gazans, came under vicious attack not only from trolls on social 
media, but also from high-ranking officials. One cabinet minister called 
for boycotting Arab businesses whose owners protested the operation, and 
another encouraged people to cancel subscriptions to the one newspaper 
still publishing dissenting opinions. Spontaneous initiatives dedicated 
to monitoring and persecuting individuals who stray from the “national 
spirit” started popping up. Employers received dozens of complaints, 
encouraging them to fire employees who expressed support or sympathy for 
Gazans. Even prominent institutions were bullied into accommodating this 
privatized McCarthyism. A few municipal council employees and at least 
one physician have been terminated or suspended on account of comments 
they made on social media. University presidents warned that “offensive 
comments” expressed on social media will be treated harshly; some 
students have been disciplined. Ben Gurion University informed its 
employees and students that it would monitor their online activity, and 
at Bar Ilan University, a law professor was harshly reprimanded by his 
dean for expressing sympathy toward Gaza victims in an email to 
students. I am not aware of a single instance in which individuals 
advocating death to Arabs have received similar treatment. Religious 
leaders and educators who called for boycotting Arab businesses or 
refusing to rent apartments to Arabs continue to be employed by the state.


More information about the Marxism mailing list