Israel’s Ambassador: Aren’t You Ashamed?
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, November 12
Last week, the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, was rushed out of the London School of Economics (LSE) amid tense protest over her appearance. Footage that emerged on social media depicted student protesters standing outside the building in which the ambassador appeared booing and yelling “shame on you” as she rushed to her car. One voice stands out in the video, of a student standing next to the door from which the ambassador emerged and asking her: “Aren’t you ashamed?” Hotovely has long been known for her racism and her denial of the Palestinian people. Her appointment as ambassador to the UK was only fitting, given Britain’s historic involvement in the formation of a Jewish homeland that erased the native Arab population of Palestine. Hotovely is a perfect representation of her country, which has become increasingly fascist in recent years. The long years of former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s rule allowed Israel’s colonial settler policy to trickle into all parts of government and all state institutions. Today, the Israeli parliament is dominated by right-wing parties that oppose Palestinian statehood, if not outright deny the existence of the Palestinian people. The rising fascism in Israel, over a long march, dominated the joints of the state from the wealthy settler associations in the West Bank that were relentlessly nourished by the long years of Netanyahu’s rule to the Israeli parliament, which is dominated by extreme right-wing groups. This includes the current prime minister, Naftali Bennett, who is no less of a bigot than his predecessor. During former President Donald Trump’s term in office, Israel enjoyed strong tailwinds to its racist agenda thanks to the likes of Nikki Haley, Trump’s representative to the United Nations; David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel; Jason Greenblatt, his representative in the Middle East; and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state. And while the rhetoric coming out of the White House thankfully changed with President Joe Biden’s election to office, things in Israel only got worse. Netanyahu’s absence didn’t change the racist language that has become the official language spoken in Israel. Prime Minister Bennett doesn’t represent a real change, but rather reinforces the discourse and gives it a new impetus by trying to portray himself as a reformer. Israel suffers from an excess of power and a lack of self-awareness. While it could previously contain these issues internally, they are now visible to the entire world. The world is no longer amused by Israel and its tolerance for racism. Israel played all of the tricks it had up its sleeves and is now finding itself with its back against the wall. There’s only so much it can do to hide the blood it has on its hands, and the time has finally come for it to be held accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people. The scene at the London School of Economics was just the opening shot. – Ghassan Zaqtan (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)
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