Our collective moral compass has become so fundamentally twisted that even the most decent of people, those who are not considered extremists, believe that there is nothing wrong with shooting a man as he lies dying on the ground.
One of the more dangerous and frustrating aspects of the fascism taking over the Jewish-Israeli public, led by its elected officials, is the way it is fed by every single thing that happens here. Nearly every piece of news pushes this process forward — even events that should serve as a warning sign.
Take, for example, Netanyahu’s comments on the Mufti. On paper, it seemed like a crazy slip of the tongue by a leader who can no longer tell between reality and imagination and is willing to twist one of the darkest chapters in his people’s history for political gain. But Netanyahu knew exactly what he was doing: in the Israeli reality, comparing Palestinians to Nazis (and putting the blame for the Holocaust on the Palestinians rather than the Nazis) works. Netanyahu knows that once the noise dies down, he will have convinced a good portion of the population that the Palestinians were the ones responsible for the Holocaust — that they were the ones who incited Hitler to massacre the Jews. He knows that in the current climate, of all the dirt thrown at the Palestinians — no matter how baseless — something is bound to stick. The public could rise up against the lies, but instead it internalizes it.
A similar thing happens every time the public deals with another horrifying piece of news from the occupied territories. The effect is almost always the opposite: instead of being shocked, the public gives its stamp of approval — sometimes even an official one. The public was not horrified when it found out the extent of the killing of Palestinian civilians who were uninvolved in the last Gaza war. Instead, it led to a change in the IDF’s “ethical code” as formulated by Israeli philosopher and linguist Asa Kasher. Rather than shaking us to our core, we have come to accept that our soldiers’ lives come before the lives of Palestinian civilians — a notion that goes against international humanitarian law, not to mention most basic morality.
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This is exactly what is taking place in the wake of the video of the execution of a Palestinian man in Hebron. The number of people who are willing to justify the murder without batting an eyelash is stunning. Our collective moral compass has become so fundamentally twisted that even the most decent of people, those who are not considered extremists, believe that there is nothing wrong with shooting a man as he lies dying on the ground, while finding any way to excuse the act — including claiming claim that the Palestinian may have been armed with a suicide belt.
The violent reality of occupation creates a consciousness that justifies that very violence. Every single day. That is the horrible meaning underlying our reality: even exposing the inhumane face of military rule does not cause the Israeli public to wake up from our coma — it only causes us to come up with more ways to justify it.
This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.