Avnery on Netanyahu in Paris

The Editors

Uri Avnery on Binyamin Netanyahu's marching in Paris:

I have been in many demonstrations in my time, maybe more than 500, but always against the powers that be. I have never participated in a demonstration called by the government, even when the purpose was good. They remind me too much of the late Soviet Union, Fascist Italy and worse. Not for me, thank you.

But this particular demonstration was also counterproductive. Not only did it prove that terrorism is effective, not only did it invite copycat attacks, but it also hurt the real fight against the fanatics.

To conduct an effective fight, one has to put oneself first into the shoes of the fanatics and try to understand the dynamic that pushes young local-born Muslims to commit such acts. Who are they? What do they think? What are their feelings? In what circumstances did they grow up? What can be done to change them?

After decades of neglect, that is hard work. It takes time and effort, with results uncertain. Much easier for politicians to march in the street in front of the cameras.

And who marched in the first row, beaming like a victor?

Our own and only Bibi... with two extreme rightist ministers in tow.

Placed in the second row, he did what Israelis do: he shoved aside a black African president in front of him and placed himself in the front row.

Once there, he began waving to the people on the balconies along the way. He was beaming, like a Roman general in his triumphal parade...

Netanyahu went to Paris as part of his election campaign. As a veteran campaigner, he knew that three days in Paris, visiting synagogues and making proud Jewish speeches, were worth more than three weeks at home, slinging mud.

The blood of the four Jews murdered in the kosher supermarket was not yet dry, when Israeli leaders called upon the Jews in France to pack up and come to Israel. Israel, as everybody knows, is the safest place on earth.


  • 19 January 2015 at 9:12pm
    ander says:
    Only small thieves, it is said, go to prison. Similarly, small terrorists get shot, while the big ones, such as Bibi, march in anti-terrorist parades.

  • 20 January 2015 at 3:36pm
    Esther says:
    You should be ashamed to post this section of a larger article- It is taken totally out of context from the intention of the author's original piece. Reading this on its own it paints Netanyahu in a terrifically negative and slanted light and is quite telling of the editors' sentiments (or is it anti-semitism?) in doing so.

    See Uri Avnery's piece here to see what I mean.

    While he is cynical in his treatment of Netanyahu's appearance, and this writer does not agree with that cynicism, Avnery was making a completely different point about terrorism and the tone of his cynicism can be attributed to a tired and jaded jew who understands the scope of Jewish history and its details and nuances. It is not an article intended to skewer Netanyahu.

    • 21 January 2015 at 9:44am
      Alan Benfield says: @ Esther
      I think you are being a little Jesuitical here: while I agree that the passage about Netanyahu is merely an aside in a much wider-ranging article about the history of conflict between North African Muslims and Jews in France and the history of Zionism and the State of Israel, I think Avnery fully intended to skewer Netanyahu for his cynical exploitation of the march and he did so very nicely. By the way, as I have remarked elsewhere on these blogs, Netanyahu was not the only exploiter of the said march by any means: a number of the politicos involved have a less than pristine record when it comes to freedom of the press and their presence raised my eyebrows, at least.

      I would also point out that you did not need to post the link to the full article, as the editors of the LRB had already included it at the head of the extract.

      But the real disappointments of your contribution lie in the following sentence: "Reading this on its own it paints Netanyahu in a terrifically negative and slanted light and is quite telling of the editors’ sentiments (or is it anti-Semitism?) in doing so."

      1. I don't think that the quotation is "slanted" at all: Avnery describes Netanyahu as he was, no more and no less; his criticisms stand alone, even taken out of the wider context;

      2. when will it ever be possible to criticise a Jewish politician on any grounds without the knee-jerk accusation of anti-Semitism creeping in?

    • 21 January 2015 at 12:08pm
      ander says: @ Esther
      “You should be ashamed to post this section of a larger article-‘

      What makes you think this section had been extracted without Avnery’s approval?

  • 22 January 2015 at 4:41pm
    Pennywhistler says:
    I read the original article and can firmly assert that the LRB-excerpted part is the least interesting part of it.

    And that the excerpt is part of a larger point ... which makes no sense outside of it. I have to wonder what LRB was thinking. And yes ... it looks like anti-Israel anti-semitism.

    Prove me wrong.

    • 22 January 2015 at 5:25pm
      ander says: @ Pennywhistler
      It would be impossible to prove you wrong.

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