Anti-Zionists need a Zionist bogeyman, an archetypal greedy evil and bloodthirsty Israeli villain who combines the worst features of Attila the Hun, Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. A Jewish Hassan Nasrallah or Ahmadinejad. If none is available, they invent one, or they work with the available materials. At the same time, they are busy explaining that the actual Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad are not really as bad as they seem, or are in reality the fault of the Zionists.
The previous candidate for Zionist bogeyman was Ariel Sharon. His controversial and erratic military record and policies, and his outspoken and demagogic rhetoric, made Sharon an ideal candidate for the office of bogeyman. Add to that a faked interview with Amos Oz, and fabricated quotes from interviews with non-existent people like "General Ouzi Merham" and we have the quintessential Zionist Bogeyman myth. Sharon's apogee as Zionist bogeyman undoubtedly came in 2002, when Israel at length responded to a wave of lethal suicide bombings that took the lives of over a hundred civilians by invading Jenin and killing about 56 people, of whom perhaps half were civilians. The forces of darkness worked overtime. The UN condemned the imaginary Jenin massacre, scarcely paying any attention to the actual massacre of Jews by suicide bombers. The Independent, a bastion of progressive anti-Semitism, published an award winning cartoon of Sharon eating babies, which has now become a classic pillar of racist rhetoric, along with Mein Kampf and the Eternal Jew.
Sharon's bogeyman career was not terminated by his adoption of the unilateral disengagement policy. Disengagement was converted, somehow, into another villainous Zionist genocidal plot, because facts don't matter for anti-Zionist propaganda. Whatever Israel does, it is evil Zionist expansionism. If Israel retreats, it is reverse expansionism. If Israel offers a Palestinian state, it is apartheid and bantustans.
Unfortunately for the Independent, and the Guardian, and for the imaginative Robert Fisk and others, Sharon had a couple of strokes and was removed from political life. It is really difficult to convince people that a man who is all but clinically dead is the leader of the conspiracy of the Elders of Zion and the source of all evil in the Middle East.
Fortunately for anti-Zionists, a new villain quickly emerged. Avigdor Lieberman, whose demagogic rhetoric has included threats to bomb the Aswan Dam and plans to turn over Israeli Arabs to a Palestinian state, could be painted in the role of the Jewish Devil. The context of Lieberman's remarks about bombing Aswan, which was an equally alarming Egyptian threat, was ignored. Having a big mouth is not always an asset to politicians, but for Israeli politicians it is an unforgivable liability. The other side is always watching. Lieberman is not my favorite person, but I do not have the imagination required to paint him as the archfiend and source of all evil. That is why I cannot be considered a great journalist or analyst like Mr. Fisk of the Independent, or Mr. Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, I suppose.
When Lieberman joined the Israeli government, the joy of Electronic Intifada knew no bounds. "World silent as fascists join Israel government" wrote Mr Abunimah (electronicintifada.net/v2/article5874.shtml). The real fascists in the Iranian government and those leading the Palestinians are of less concern than the imaginary ones in Israel. With somewhat less imagination, the Nation could still quote Lieberman selectively to conclude that he is an enemy of democracy, "Like Hamas, which swept the Palestinian elections last January, Lieberman, though striving for power through the ballot box, believes democracy is at best a secondary value." (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070101/lynfield).
Unfortunately for the anti-Zionist, the Lieberman straw bogeyman may be collapsing. Ha'aretz newspaper
quotes Lieberman as saying that Israel must move directly into negotiations for a political settlement with Palestinians. The silver lining for anti-Zionists, is that Lieberman, also said that Israel should not give up efforts at achieving security. Security is undoubtedly an unreasonable and undemocratic Zionist demand.
The bogeyman will no doubt live on. Long live the bogeyman. Ami Isseroff
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