No, an Israeli Politician Didn’t Praise Fascism

As usual in the weeks before a national election, colorful campaign ads are proliferating in Israel. One that has managed to generate some attention, even outside the Jewish state, was produced by the campaign of the current justice minister Ayelet Shaked. Spoofing an advertisement for high-end perfume, the short video mocks those who have branded as fascist both her and her platform, which focuses mainly on reforms of the judiciary. Vivian Bercovici notes that many have failed to get the joke, and are now wringing their hands over an Israeli politician’s supposed disregard for democracy:

Timed to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Purim, on which it is customary to get all silly (as Jews celebrate their triumph over the ancient Persian attempt to destroy them), Shaked presented the ad spot as a wickedly funny and ironic jab at her critics. The problem was that people outside Israel who do not understand Hebrew, or Jewish culture, used it as proof of the wicked ways of the right—and Israel in general. . . .

What Shaked disparages as excessive judicial activism her nemeses see as evidence that the judiciary is doing its job; ensuring that elected officials do not run amok. Democracy needs tending, and the role of the judiciary is to pen in overly-zealous legislators. It is an evergreen debate that persists in most democracies, but it has been particularly sharp in Israel in recent years. . . .

In response to the hue and cry Shaked’s political ad inspired in Israel and abroad, she says that the left can’t take a joke. “It is a nice clip aimed at the liberal left that has for years called me a fascist but keeps losing the elections.” . . .

If nothing else, Israeli election campaigns are endlessly entertaining. A pox on the sourpusses who can’t take a joke.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Ayelet Shaked, Fascism, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas