Shooting Inside the Humvee

Too often Israelis in criticizing one another play right into the hands of the nation’s worst enemies

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The downward spiral of newly resigned Minister of Defense Moshe (Boogie) Ya’alon began with his premature conviction of Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot dead a wounded terrorist, and ended with what seemed to be his approval of the IDF’s deputy chief-of-staff’s comparison of some right-wing Israelis to Nazi Germany.

Insinuating that Israel’s right-wing constituency is verging on a slippery-slope fall leading to Nazism is now being supported by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who said on Channel 10 during the Friday night news show that “the government of Israel was infected by shoots of fascism … life-seeking Zionism and shoots of fascism can’t coexist.” 

Barak pointed to the situation of pre-World War II Europe to make the point that Western democracies are vulnerable to fascism.

As in other instances, this is another case where an important Israeli figure is making liberal democracy a moral issue, rather than just letting it be a political system. This is a transparent attempt to create a moral divide between the liberal sons of light and the conservatives, who alone allow the shadows of darkness to lurk in their midst. 

More disturbing is the failure to realize that the fascist-based argument against a major Zionist faction is a double-edge sword for, it must be remembered, one of fascism’s distinctive traits is ethnic superiority. Given that Israel is a Jewish state, once fascism is brought into the ideological fray there is no way to shut the mouths of those labeling all Zionists as fascists.

In the hope that Barak didn’t intend such a conclusion, given George Orwell’s observation – “I have heard [the word fascist] applied to farmers, shopkeepers … fox-hunting, bull-fighting … women [and] dogs” – Barak may have just used the “F” word to defame his political opponents. 

This, too, however, can’t be a conciliation since once out of the bottle, the fascist demon can’t be contained. Sadly, therefore, Barak is the latest example of how people of common interest can mortally wound one another. Israelis have a vivid expression for this kind of behavior: “Shooting inside the Humvee.”


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