Sunday, February 05, 2023

The Sheer Evil of Extremism in Defense of Ideals

New MK, Zvi Sukkot (Jewish Press)
Is it possible to be an idealist without being an extremist? I would certainly hope so. That is how I consider myself. I have my ideals and principles but am very far from being an extremist.  

But I am beginning to feel that my views about idealism without extremism are archaic. Much the same as my views on feminism. We live in a new world where it seems only uncompromising extremists rule the day. Both on the right and the left. If you compromise, you are not living your ideals.

The insurrectionists that stormed the Capital on the fateful day in January of 2021 were all uncompromising idealists. Their goal was to implement their ‘ideals’ (some of which were racist and antisemitic) by any means necessary. Even if it included violence. Uncompromising Idealism is also responsible for polarization that exists today.

This is as true in Israel as it is here. The left is so disturbed by the right wing government that  successful hi-tech businesses have threatened to leave the country. What’s worse is that there is now talk among the left to do to Netanyahu what the right did to Rabin as reported by the Jewish Press:

...retired Major General Zeev Raz, who, as a fighter pilot, participated in the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, posted on Facebook (where boomers go to make their deadly threats): “I am surprised by the moderation of Hodak’s wording (the lawyer who said he would use live fire – sic.). Only defending ourselves with weapons? Passivity? It’s cupping therapy for the dead. If a prime minister stands up and assumes dictatorial powers, that prime minister is dead, that simple, along with his ministers and his followers. We too should adopt the law of Rodef (in Jewish law, a pursuer, chasing his victim, can be killed to be stopped – DI). My pursuer law says: if my country is taken over by a person, foreign or Israeli, who leads it in an undemocratic manner, it is obligatory to kill him.” 

Unbelievable! What in the world is going on with my people?! 

And yet the current government has becomes so right wing, that I can’t really blame the left for being so upset. The latest indication of how far to the right this new government is - is demonstrated by  Bezalel Smotrich’s resignation from the Knesset. Smotrich is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, a  member of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. 

On the surface that might seem like a move toward moderation. One less far right extremist to worry about. But the exact opposite is true. If I understand how the Israeli government works, Smotrich will remain in all of his ministerial positions.  Apparently one does not have to be a member of the Knesset to do so.

His reason for resigning? It opens up his seat in the Knesset for the next ranking member of his party. In this case it will be Zvi Sukkot. Who is Zvi Sukkot? From the Jewish Press: 

Zvi Sukkot lives in the Yitzhar outpost in Samaria, he is married, with three children. He comes from a Haredi family in Beitar Illit, but after the Gush Katif expulsion gravitated to religious Zionism and became a Hills Youth. He was arrested in 2010 and released for lack of evidence after being accused of setting fire to a mosque. In January 2012, he was removed from Judea and Samaria for nine months by an administrative order aimed at “maintaining the security of the residents.”  

This is unconscionable. How you can have as a member of Israel’s legislative body someone who believes in harassing (to the point of extreme violence) his Palestinian neighbors?! …for the purpose ridding Israel of these people so that all of the holy land will be settled by Jews. 

Members of the hilltop youth have been involved in carrying out violent revenge attacks (which they call price tags) against government polices they don’t like and against their neighbors - innocent Palestinian families who did nothing to them or anyone else. In some cases resulting in violent deaths to those neighbors.                            

That this misguided fellow was radicalized for a good reason does not excuse the way he and his fellow ‘idealists’ operate. And certainly it is not the way a civilized goverment should function.

That kind of idealisim is immoral - and unconscionable. It should not be tolerated. It is a short distance from Mr. Sukkot becoming a member of the Knesset to Israel becoming the embodiment of an Apartheid state not seen since the days of pre Mandella South Africa.

That will justify all those making those accusations as well as justify calls for honoring BDS. Israel will become a pariah nation to the delight of people like Omar and Tlaib. And who is to say that they will be wrong if the current trajectory towards  far right - even deadly extremism continues?

I get the idealism and religious fervor behind settling all the land. But not when implementing it means torturing and killing innocent Palestinians. Not when doing so means national suicide. This is not to say that Mr. Sukkot will be able to implement that kind of policy. But it is to say that it might be an ideal of his to do it if he could.

This man does not belong in the Knesset. To say that I am disappointed by these developments is an understatement.