Today, MK Merav Michaeli posted a powerful message to Israel’s right-wing and current political leadership: “We told you so.”
In her message, Michaeli points out that the backlash against Netanyahu and his leadership from the far-right is the consequence of their own incitement against Arabs, leftists, and human rights NGOs. Having painted humanitarian and democratic values as “disloyal” and “treacherous,” Michaeli says that they cannot be surprised that those same words are being thrown back at them.
Violence undermines democracy, she says. And though previously aimed at “us,” the violent vitriol from the right camp is now coming to roost on their own leaders’ heads.
The full translation of her statement is below, courtesy New Israel Fund of Australia.
Hello my friends.
It’s been a week since the Hebron shooting video was published. A week that began with the denunciation of the solider who shot a dying Palestinian attacker in the head, and ended with denunciations and demonstrations against the IDF Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister.
So at the end of this week I want to tell you, Netanyahu and his coalition partners, one thing: We told you so.
You are the ones who constantly say: “We told you so.” You say it all the time to Europe and the US: “We told you so. You are pro-Palestinian, pro-Muslims, pro-refugees, pro-human rights, pro-humane and anti-militaristic behavior. When we explain to you, Europe, that you can have this attitude because Palestinians and Muslims only mean terror and murder and evil. So now, when you are the recipients of these terrible attacks and have hundreds of casualties, and you are scared to walk the streets, now you see how it feels. We told you so, right?”
This is Netanyahu’s and his partners’ message to Europe and to us.
I hate to say “I told you so,” but now I say to Netanyahu and his partners: “We told you so.”
When you referred to combat soldiers who testified to Breaking the Silence as “planted foreign agents” and basically placed a target on their foreheads, when you referred to those who defended the importance of their testimonies as “traitors,” when you turned the New Israel Fund, specifically MK Naomi Hazan, into enemies of the state, and described MK Yossi Yona as a Hamas member.
When you threatened to level the Supreme Court with a D9 bulldozer, when you put Nazi uniforms on Rabin, when you said, Mr. Netanyahu, that leftists have forgotten what it means to be Jewish.
Each time you incited, we told you that incitement can’t be controlled, that today it’s directed at us but one day it’ll reach you. We told you that violence erodes the basis of democracy, and that without democracy we’ll have nothing left to defend. We told you that weeds reproduce quickly and eat away at everything if you don’t uproot them.
But you kept thinking it won’t happen to you, that you will always remain protected, that the violence you groom will protect you. You kept on inciting, protecting the weeds, funding them and grooming them. And now all of them are inciting against you. All the extreme right organizations.
Now you are the ones being put in a Nazi uniform when you don’t meet their incitement standards. Now when Bibi and Bogi tried to do the right thing, and after the initial investigation denounced the soldier, who executed a neutralized attacker, the mob takes to the streets against the Minister of Defense and the IDF Chief of Staff, because you taught them that whoever doesn’t hate Arabs and shoots them in the head without a trial hates Israel and compromises their security.
Now you incite against each other, blaming yourselves for hating Israel and not defending the IDF. Israel Katz against the Chief of Staff, Ardan against the head of army intelligence, Bennett against Netanyahu, Netanyahu — you incite against yourself.
Last Friday you said that “what happened in Hebron does not represent the spirit of the IDF. The IDF expects that its soldiers will act with self-restraint, according to the IDF’s rules of engagement.”
But on Saturday, when you saw that the public you worked so hard and for so long to incite, doesn’t like it, you were quick to issue a statement that will keep them calm so they won’t eat you alive.
We told you so.
The same will happen with the incitement of Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazi Jews, with the incitement of the periphery against Tel Aviv, with the incitement of the Orthodox against Reform Jews and against the Women of the Wall, and against women in general. The exact same thing will happen to you with violence you spread everywhere around here.
We told you so and we are still telling you so.
But we just don’t talk, we offer a completely different reality. We offer unity, progressiveness, education, health care and we work for the good of everyone and mutual social empowerment, and solidarity. We offer security: personal, economic, professional. We strive to protect freedom and the rights of every citizen. Because we offer all of these things, we offer democracy and we offer hope.
We also know it won’t be long before we’ll be in power to do all of that. And you won’t be able to say we didn’t tell you so.