Benjy the menace
On the Israeli leader's Faustian bargain with the Central European far right.
Benjamin Netanyahu is the head of a state that was just accused by the United Nations Human Rights Council of possible “crimes against humanity” for purposefully shooting unarmed Palestinian journalists and children who were protesting in Gaza.
Then there’s this: He’s cozying up to right-wing governments in Central Europe and indulging their national myths about the Holocaust. It’s the subject of my latest article, up at Jewish Currents.
TLDR: Netanyahu’s alliance with the European right is already paying geopolitical dividends for Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli prime minister has proved all too willing to legitimize Holocaust revisionism in exchange.
Key quote: “The dominant factor behind this [Netanyahu-European right] alignment is nationalism, including opposition or fear of refugees and immigrants, fear of Islam. For a lot of nationalist-minded leaders and people across the region, Netanyahu’s Israel is like a wet dream of what they would ideally be capable of, to be strong nationalist countries that don’t let others push them around.”—Martin Konečný, director of the European Middle East Project.
If you’ve been wanting to understand why Netanyahu is literally whitewashing the history of the Holocaust in Europe, I’d recommend you read my piece. And if you didn’t know that he was doing that, well, also read my piece.
Other things I’m keeping an eye on:
The New Yorker’s Adam Entous published yesterday an extraordinary report on how Psy-Group, an Israeli intelligence firms staffed by Israeli intelligence veterans, undertook a project, funded by Jewish-American pro-Israel donors, to “destabilize and disrupt” the Palestinian rights movement in the United States. They targeted activists and scholars who support BDS campaigns. This is what they did, according to Entous:
Its operatives drew up lists of individuals and organizations to target. The operatives then gathered derogatory information on them from social media and the “deep” Web, areas of the Internet that are not indexed by search engines such as Google. In some cases, Psy-Group operatives conducted on-the-ground covert human-intelligence, or HUMINT, operations against their targets
And for a deeper dive on the Psy-Group, which also sought to sell their manipulation services to the Trump campaign in 2016, read this earlier report, also in The New Yorker.
My colleague and friend Mairav Zonszein has a hell of a report up at The Nation on how U.S. non-profits are funneling money to Israeli groups run by extremist followers of Meir Kahane. She presents evidence indicating that one U.S. non-profit is giving money to an organization on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list, which if true would be a clear violation of U.S. law.
And a follow-up to my previous newsletter, where I mentioned the push on Capitol Hill to get the U.S. to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights: The GOP introduced a resolution to get the U.S. to do just that. So far, only Republicans have signed on, but there’s a chance some Democrats will do so as well.