I’m sorry. I don’t believe one word in Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy’s article, in which he says that it’s okay to detest IDF soldiers. I don’t believe he himself believes that soldiers “behave in an imperious manner, thuggishly and viciously, employing a great deal of violence.."

I think that his claim that “The IDF doesn’t deserve any more slack in the way it is viewed by the public. If its soldiers and commanders look like the ones documented last weekend in Hebron, it’s not only allowed but obligatory to oppose them and tell the truth: They are brutes.” is nothing more than a cry for attention. It's no different than right-wing Israeli influencers doing anything for another like on social media. The web traffic giveth, and the web traffic taketh away; blessed be the web traffic.

It's no different than right-wing Israeli influencers doing anything for another like on social media.

If Gideon Levy believed half a word he wrote, he wouldn’t have visited his friend, Haaretz editor and fellow Benjamin Netanyahu fanboy, Benny Ziffer in November 2021 and taken a photo, smiling defiantly, with the former Prime Minister and his wife Sara, who was celebrating her birthday.

Further reading >>> Gideon Levy: Detesting Israeli Soldiers Is Allowed

If he abided by his own truth, in which he is the standard-bearer for despising soldiers, he would have gotten up, pushed Netanyahu's face into the birthday cake, told him he was a detestable brute and stormed off. If this proposition sounds too violent, he could have at least written a horrified column on how he had dinner with a war criminal; how Netanyahu sipped his wine while Palestinian blood was being shed; how those present sat around, enjoying this country’s bounty, while in Gaza there is no electricity, food or access to the sea. He should have taken his truth all the way, shouldn’t he?

If Gideon Levy wasn’t desperate for attention, clicks and likes and instead remained loyal to his self-defined values, he wouldn’t have written that about Netanyahu

If Gideon Levy wasn’t desperate for attention, clicks and likes and instead remained loyal to his self-defined values, he wouldn’t have written after that party that Netanyahu "fills the space around him" and that "he is more intriguing than any current Israeli politician… It is easier to comprehend the blind admiration toward him than the elemental hatred he inspires." He described the evening as a warm one, interesting and occasionally moving.

After all, if the soldier in Hebron punching the face of a human rights activist, or the pilots who bombed Gaza were totally evil, as Levy described them during the 2014 Gaza war, what would one call the person who sent those soldiers and pilots on their deadly missions? The evil pilots would not be evil if the root of all malevolence had not given them the order.

What does it matter if he’s warm, cold, wise, foolish, educated, nice to his wife, sweet, admired or intolerable? This is a murderer, a brute, a war criminal, a spearhead of apartheid, to name but a few of his attributes. Those aren’t my words – it’s what Gideon Levy has written over the years about the occupation and its corollaries. Or does he think that the people responsible for the situation are the emissaries, the foot soldiers, the lowly guards at the entrance?

Imagine if Gideon Levy were to meet that bearded soldier from Hebron for lunch at his friend Benny Ziffer’s house. Imagine if he described, in beautiful language, what an art lover that soldier is, how they read poetry together, how they looked in wonder at the works hanging in Ziffer’s living room, what an educated person he is. At the end, he would add a comment on the incident. What do you expect, for him to be worse than IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi?

Levy waxed lyrical in that column: "When you spend an evening with Netanyahu, you can’t help but wonder once again at the incredible gap between his level and breadth of knowledge and the milieu in which he operates." This moved me. The executioner who, a moment before he injects his victim with poison, sits down for dinner with him and listens to his troubles. It's almost like Mohammed Bin Salman, who murdered Jamal Khashoggi and then invited the victim’s son to come for a condolence visit.

Netanyahu was prime minister for most of the last decade, in which we saw a worsening in apartheid, discrimination, exclusion and the racist enterprise embodied in the occupation, opposition to which is almost Gideon Levy’s raison d’etre. Netanyahu may not have initiated all of this, but he certainly did nothing to stop it.

On the contrary, he was the one to finally terminate the idea of a Palestinian state; as prime minister, he bore ultimate responsibility for three military operations in Gaza; he continued the siege on the Strip, imprisoning its population in a state of abject hunger. Netanyahu was the one who dispatched the army to kill 180 "helpless babies and toddlers… In their sleep, in their play, as they fled; in their beds or in their parents’ arms," in Levy's own words. "The figures that should have haunted Israeli society and keep it awake at night – that should have sparked a stormy public debate and shaken it – are of no interest at all," Levy wrote.

It seems that his interest wasn’t aroused either. He wrote his column and proceeded to rub shoulders with the person who had mobilized the pilots. I would have wondered not about the gap between the breadth of his knowledge and that of his milieu, but about the gap between Netanyahu as a human being and the Netanyahu who was responsible for all the crimes Levy documents each week in his Twilight Zone column.

Levy will say in his defense that he only wanted to point out the hypocrisy. How the left distinguishes between the “good” Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Isaac Herzog and Benny Gantz and the “bad” Netanyahu. Both sides are equally bad, argues Levy. I agree with him completely. The difference between Peres and Netanyahu is just a matter of public relations. Now that we've gone over this, let's get down to brass tacks: What about this argument justifies Levy becoming the mouthpiece of someone he views as a war criminal?

Can you imagine an anti-apartheid journalist during the darkest days of discrimination writing in the morning about the indiscriminate shooting of blacks by the police, then in the evening, going to a birthday party for Pieter Botha’s wife while praising and extolling the leader? The problem with Netanyahu or Herzog is not their I.Q. This is not a TV quiz show. The problem is in the policies they are implementing. How is the soldier at the bottom of the heap a brute while poor Netanyahu is persecuted by the system? Let it persecute him, who cares? What’s next, complaining about Slobodan Milosevic getting an undeserved traffic ticket?

The answer to this contradiction is that there is no contradiction. There are no values, just ratings, web traffic, attention, the desire to stay in the limelight (as well as a touch of admiration for power). Sometimes, getting hooked on trolling and contrarianism makes you miss the bigger picture. We’ll annoy the left by writing favorably about Bibi and annoy the right by writing negatively about soldiers; it doesn't matter whether it makes sense. You’re just being hypocritical! Levy, obviously, is not.

QOSHE - Gideon Levy, if Israeli Soldiers Are So Deplorable, Then Why Are You Hanging With Bibi? - Chaim Levinson
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Gideon Levy, if Israeli Soldiers Are So Deplorable, Then Why Are You Hanging With Bibi?

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30.11.2022

I’m sorry. I don’t believe one word in Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy’s article, in which he says that it’s okay to detest IDF soldiers. I don’t believe he himself believes that soldiers “behave in an imperious manner, thuggishly and viciously, employing a great deal of violence.."

I think that his claim that “The IDF doesn’t deserve any more slack in the way it is viewed by the public. If its soldiers and commanders look like the ones documented last weekend in Hebron, it’s not only allowed but obligatory to oppose them and tell the truth: They are brutes.” is nothing more than a cry for attention. It's no different than right-wing Israeli influencers doing anything for another like on social media. The web traffic giveth, and the web traffic taketh away; blessed be the web traffic.

It's no different than right-wing Israeli influencers doing anything for another like on social media.

If Gideon Levy believed half a word he wrote, he wouldn’t have visited his friend, Haaretz editor and fellow Benjamin Netanyahu fanboy, Benny Ziffer in November 2021 and taken a photo, smiling defiantly, with the former Prime Minister and his wife Sara, who was celebrating her birthday.

Further reading >>> Gideon Levy: Detesting Israeli Soldiers Is Allowed

If he abided by his own truth, in which he is the standard-bearer for despising soldiers, he would have gotten up, pushed Netanyahu's face into the birthday cake, told him he was a detestable brute and stormed off. If this proposition sounds too violent, he could have at least written a horrified column on how he had dinner with a war criminal; how Netanyahu sipped his wine while Palestinian blood was being shed; how those present sat around, enjoying this country’s bounty, while in Gaza there is no electricity, food........

© Haaretz


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