WeeklyWorker

25.06.2020
She has divided liberal Zionists such as Simon Schama, Malcolm Rifkind and Luciana Berger from the Board of Deputies ... and the Israeli government

Weapon of first resort

The appointment of an overt anti-Arab racist as Israeli ambassador to the UK has created big problems for Zionists in Britain. Moshé Machover gives his take

A morally malodorous product of Israel’s political putrefaction is about to be catapulted to these shores in the form of that country’s next ambassador to the Court of St James, Ms Tzipi Hotovely. This has caused a split in Britain’s Zionist circles, as many members panic at the thought of how much more difficult it will make their obligatory task of Israel advocacy. I will come to that later; but first let me explain the link between Israel’s political corruption and Tzipi Hotovely’s prospective appointment. Please bear with me, as the tale is somewhat tangled.

A new party, patriotically named Blue and White - the colours of the Israeli flag - was formed in February 2019 by three retired generals and a more experienced civilian politician, with the sole declared purpose of unseating Binyamin Netanyahu, who had been investigated, and more recently indicted, on several charges of bribery and corruption. The criminal suspect called, in close succession, three general elections in the hope of being able to form a coalition government that would keep him out of jail by some legislative trick. B&W fought these three elections on a platform that differed little from that of Netanyahu’s Likud - except for one plank: keep Netanyahu out of office and let him face the criminal court. All three elections - April and September 2019, and March 2020 - produced inconclusive results. Netanyahu and his natural allies did not secure a majority of Knesset seats; but neither did B&W with its Zionist potential allies. (The mainly Arab Joint List, with its 15 seats, is not considered by Israel’s racist politicians as a possible coalition partner or even external supporter of a minority government.)

But then, in late March, the great anti-corruption hero, general Benny Gantz, leader of B&W, capitulated to Netanyahu and joined the latter’s coalition, along with some B&W members and the pitiful remnants of the Israeli Labor Party. His excuse was that the Covid-19 crisis demanded an emergency government, even if it is to be led by a criminal suspect. In the event, the government Netanyahu formed did not manage the Covid-19 crisis all that brilliantly, but it saved Netanyahu’s skin - for the time being. As part of the sordid deal, Gantz and his co-defectors had to be paid off by prestigious cabinet positions. This led to the formation of the most inflated cabinet in Israel’s history. But even its 36 ministerial posts - some of them invented ad hoc - did not suffice to reward Netanyahu’s own loyal political allies. In lieu of cabinet chairs they had to be rewarded by other cushy jobs.

One of these allies is Ms Hotovely, who held ministerial jobs in Netanyahu’s previous governments and had great expectations for a prestigious position this time round. One of the most prestigious cushy jobs in Netanyahu’s gift was the London embassy. So this is how Israel’s political corruption led to the appointment of a notorious political nasty as ambassador to this country.

Her repulsive political profile is indeed a matter of record. She combines religious orthodoxy with nationalist-colonialist fanaticism. Publicly displayed vulgar anti-Arab racism is second nature to her. She has been described by the Nazareth-based anti-establishment British journalist, Jonathan Cook, as “a Jewish supremacist and Islamophobe, [who] supports Israel’s annexation of the entire West Bank and the takeover of Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem”. Just when Israel’s image is losing its lustre - not only in wider public opinion, but even among growing sections of British Jews - Israel’s dedicated advocates need her here like they need a thorn in their arse. With her overt fanaticism and open rejection of the two-state deception - she is a frank and extreme annexationist - she is no substitute for the outgoing ambassador, Mark Regev, whose defence of Israel’s indefensible colonisation has been spin-doctored with PR professionalism. As ambassador, Hotovely will provide a more realistic representation of Israel’s ugly nature.

The alarm among the Zionist section of Britain’s Jewish communities is palpable, and has been widely reported in the press. Of course, the Zionist hard-line establishment put on a brave face. Thus, the Jerusalem Post reported on June 16:

Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland chairman Paul Charney said that “Hotovely is a talented diplomat and, should she take up the offer, we will wholeheartedly support her in her role as representative in order to help her succeed.”

But this may well be whistling in the wind. Some groups, such as the relatively ‘soft’ Zionist Na’amod (Hebrew for ‘We shall stand’) are worried because they cannot help getting critical of Israeli realities. On June 20, The Guardian reported that a spokesperson for Na’amod had said: “There is clearly growing unrest in our community about Israel’s blatant disregard for human rights, and people increasingly realise that it is time to take a stand.”

More hard-line pro-Israel apologists are upset, because with Hotovely here it will be harder to go on lying to the British public.

All this does not mean that, if Hotovely’s accreditation goes through (which at the time of writing is not entirely certain), the public campaign against opponents of the Zionist project of colonisation will recede, and besmirching us as ‘anti-Semites’ will cease. On the contrary, as selling Israel to public opinion gets harder, as doubts among supporters of Zionism increase, and as the split in Jewish communities grows wider - so will the forces of Israel’s advocates and Britain’s imperialist establishment redouble their efforts. Mendacity is their weapon of first resort.