There’s no need to inform the Israelis about the sins of the occupation. They already know. And it’s pointless to force them to know what they know. It only annoys them. But there’s a very good reason for bringing our abominations to the knowledge of the nations of the world.
Im Tirtzu and Yesh Atid activists protest against Breaking the Silence, Oct 11, 2016 Photo Eliyahu Hershkovitz
The Dean Issacharoff story is over, and Breaking the Silence critics have but one angry complaint left: “Why are you telling the world? Why are you washing the dirty laundry in public? Talk to us! Here in Israel. To the Israeli public.”
It takes quite a bit of naivete, or sanctimoniousness, to demand of Breaking the Silence members to stop washing our soiled briefs abroad and tell only the Israeli audience about their deeds in the colonial territories.
The grim truth is that there’s no need for that. The Israelis know. They know everything. Sometimes they know even more than Breaking the Silence members themselves. From their experiences, from reserve duty, from friends’ stories, from the grapevine, from the gleeful passion with which they (or the people around them) exchange tales of thuggery, from the sights they see traveling the occupied expanses.
They know. They just don’t want to know. They virtually jump out of their skin not to know. Drops of sweat break out on their foreheads from the intense effort not to know. To ignore, to suppress, to deny, to justify. The Israelis haven’t invented the system. That’s exactly how it was with colonial France, with Belgium and its colonies, with The Netherlands and its conquests, with England and its empire and yes, also with Germany and its stolen Lebensraum. Everybody knew, but tried really hard not to know.
Nothing infuriates and outrages all these voluntary ignoramuses more than an obsessive nudnik who wants to force them to know. Who presents them with testimonies, facts, documents, photographs, films; insists on violating the peace of their purifying ignorance and shining a spotlight on the darkness of their blessed blindness. For them, he’s the worst of their enemies.
The Elor Azaria case, the mob dancing around him and the flock of sycophantic functionaries licking his backside attest to this. More than all these people want to redeem their hero, they yearn to obscure the irksome bit of reality that has been forced into their view.
I’ve seen with my own eyes, countless times, what happens when you try to inform an “uninformed” Israeli. At once his gaze becomes glassy, his pupils seek refuge, and you can actually hear the whistle of the words penetrating one ear and fleeing out the other. A voice, as everybody knows, is supposed to travel at the speed of sound. Between the two ears of an information-dodger, sound moves at the speed of light.
So there’s no need to inform the Israelis. They already know. And it’s pointless to force them to know what they know. It only annoys them.
On the other hand, there’s a very good reason for bringing our abominations to the knowledge of the nations of the world. For in them, in those nations, lies the only (faint) hope of extracting Israel from its own claws. Our deliverance will come from somewhere else – only from a world that finally grips Israel by the hair and pulls it out of the quicksand it is sinking in.
To awaken the world from its indifference to the Jews’ fate, it’s very important that it knows exactly and in detail what is happening here in its absence. That’s why it’s precisely the international community that Breaking the Silence should address. So should B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and all the others who engage in this holy labor. Maybe thanks to them, and thanks to those who listen to them, salvation will arrive to redeem us from the West Bank.
Would that more and more people join them in breaking the silence – people from the Civil Administration, military courts, Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry, Shin Bet, Prison Service and all the other authorities of occupation, forces of thuggery and keepers of racial purity.
And perhaps a few more breakers of silence will join them from the State Prosecutor’s Office and Israel Police, a few who will dare to break the “Maintaining the Silence” law that the vandals and scoundrels in power here brought down on their heads this week.