Going Against The Grain

Al Jazeera World on the great Gideon Levy.

Gideon Levy is someone who evokes strong emotions from fellow Israelis. The writer and journalist has made weekly visits, over the past three decades, to the occupied Palestinian territories, describing what he sees – plainly and without propaganda. For some Israelis, he is seen as a brave disseminator of the truth. But many others condemn him as a propagandist for Hamas. And his columns for the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper have made him, arguably, one of the most hated men in Israel. Going Against The Grain follows Gideon Levy on one of his assignments in Hebron, and meets some of the ordinary Palestinians whose lives he has described in his regular column for Haaretz.

Gaza, remember?

Gideon Levy writes that “it’s exactly three months since the much-talked-about war, and Gaza is once again forgotten. Israel has never taken an interest in the welfare of its victims. Now the world has forgotten, too.”

Alyan Abu-Aun is lying in his tent, his crutches beside him. He smokes cigarettes and stares into the tiny tent’s empty space. His young son sits on his lap. Ten people are crammed into the tent, about the size of a small room. It has been their home for three months. Nothing remains of their previous home, which the Israel Defense Forces shelled during Operation Cast Lead. They are refugees for a second time; Abu-Aun’s mother still remembers her home in Sumsum, a town that once stood near Ashkelon.
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Everyone agrees: War in Gaza was a failure

Gideon Levy examines the Israeli media in the wake of the Gaza massacre and warns us to “get ready for the next treat. They’ve already begun to clamor for a new war in Gaza or Lebanon, whichever comes first.

Suddenly we’re all in consensus: The recent war in Gaza was a failure. The bon ton now is to list its flaws. Flip-floppers say its “achievements” were squandered; leftists say the war “should never have started” and rightists will say the war “should have lasted longer.” But on this they all agree: It was a blunder.

Because we consider the war to have been almost cost-free, with just 13 Israeli dead, it will be the first in 36 years without a Commission of Inquiry formed in its wake.


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Kahane won

Gideon Levy in the Haaretz:

Rabbi Meir Kahane can rest in peace: His doctrine has won. Twenty years after his Knesset list was disqualified and 18 years after he was murdered, Kahanism has become legitimate in public discourse. If there is something that typifies Israel’s current murky, hollow election campaign, which ends the day after tomorrow, it is the transformation of racism and nationalism into accepted values.
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The silence of the jurists

An excellent article by Gideon Levy, condemning the complicity of Israeli lawyers in the war crimes of their own government. Most lawyers, Levy argues, are complicit simply through their silence, as “there is only one group now preoccupied with the war: the members of the Israel Defense Forces international law division, who continue to serve their bosses with piercing obedience, legitimizing every criminal act.” There are some who are even rewarded for their noble efforts, like Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who has been offered to “to join the staff of lecturers at Tel Aviv University’s law faculty, where she will present her doctrine of ‘devious jurisprudence that permits mass killing,’ in the words of the jurist Professor Haim Ganz.”

Incidentally, these lawyers were joined in their efforts to legitimize war crimes by the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos who vowed to “amend legislation that granted a Spanish judge the authority to launch a much-publicized war crimes investigation against senior Israeli officials” after pressure from Israeli leaders [preliminary court investigations were launched by a judge at the national court in Madrid on Thursday, 30 January 2009].

One silence, of all the shameful silences, has thus far roared especially loud – the silence of the jurists. The 41,000 attorneys in the State of Israel are entrusted with protecting its image as a lawful state, and this large and grand army has once again strayed from its function. There is a deep suspicion throughout the world that Israel carried out a series of war crimes, and the jurists of our country are holding their peace.

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