The conspiracy theorist
Netanyahu seeks to distract us from a problem of his own making by picking low-hanging fruit and telling us to blame it and not him
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as writing on his Facebook page that the New Israel Fund wanted to “erase the Jewish nature of Israel and turn it into a state of all its citizens – alongside a Palestine state free of Jews along the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as its capital.”
He let us in on this appalling news when informing us it had been the NIF that convinced Rwanda to renege on its agreement to accept African migrants deported from Israel.
I don’t know about you, but I was shocked. Shocked!
TO LEARN a bit more about this nefarious group, I turned to my Deep State sources. They called back, telling me that one of the NIF’s major donors had agreed to speak with me.
I was given instructions to wait at midnight at a prominent Jerusalem intersection for a large, black Mercedes. When it showed up, someone in back cracked the blacked-out window a centimeter or two and, with a gruff voice, told me to get into the front passenger seat without looking at the driver. I complied.
“Keep staring straight ahead,” said the voice, now directly behind me. “I’m going to blindfold you. We’re going to ride around a bit.”
We drove for about 45 minutes, making left turns, right turns and U-turns. When we stopped, it was quiet. A residential neighborhood? An industrial area closed down for the night? I had no way of knowing.
I was helped from the car and led through a ground-level door, which slammed behind us with a metallic, echoing thud. According to the sound, we were in a large building made of stone or concrete.
We descended what seemed to be three flights of stairs and then walked straight down a long hallway, perhaps 100 steps, before turning left into a room. A door behind us closed. I was ushered to what felt like a flimsy folding chair and sat down. The blindfold was removed.
The lights were off, but across a table, in gray shadows created by a small backlight, I could make out a short, heavyset man with slicked-back hair.
“So you want to know about the New Israel Fund.” His voice was smooth and low. “Ask away.”
I started: “Who are you?”
“Let’s say I’m an interested bystander. I make people dance or do other things they might not ordinarily do. I’m a Svengali, I guess,” he said, letting the s’es out slowly.
“Netanyahu,” I began, “says you want to do away with Israel as a Jewish state, make it one for all its citizens. You know, just like BDS.”
“BDS!” The man in the shadows nearly spit out the letters before releasing a long, deep laugh.
“They protest against college cafeterias that serve Israeli hummus. They try to talk pension funds into selling off shares of Caterpillar. They tell Pussy Riot not to perform in Israel. They’re amateurs!”
He let go a howl of wild laughter that would have given Boris Karloff the creeps. It trailed off into dead silence.
“Bibi doesn’t know the half of it,” he finally continued. “We’re into bigger things. Much bigger. Ever hear of the Kennedy assassination? 9/11? Roseanne’s reboot?”
THE MEETING, of course, never happened. But you’d think it possible, judging by the accusations of our prime minister. Serious stuff. Scary to some, even to many. To people always feeling besieged and sure that the whole world is against us, such claims make us even more unsettled and ready to believe anything from someone in a position of authority.
But even scarier is a leader who, when his back is against the wall over failed policies and a growing number of corruption scandals, throws us a bogeyman. He thinks it will frighten us and make us forget about his failings, hoping that ultimately we’ll turn back to him for reassurance and safety.
With the NIF, Bibi has descended to trading in conspiracy theories.
Truth be told, the NIF bucks the company line that Israel is perfect and can do no wrong. It holds a mirror up to our faces and shows us what we do to each other in the name of a Zionism that’s turning ultra-nationalistic and messianic.
The organization sometimes supports controversial groups, which makes it a kind of low-hanging fruit. But for the record, it insists it “supports two states for two peoples and strongly advocates for efforts to realize that goal.” It works to create societies that are more amenable to peace and coexistence.
I, for one, believe it.
The NIF also says it strives toward “an Israel where the Jewish people achieve self-determination in their homeland and where everyone participates in a shared and just society, predicated on the best values of Judaism, humanism and liberal democracy.” It describes its ideals as “equality, tolerance and social justice.”
These are things that we and our neighbors need a lot more of, yet Netanyahu says this “threatens the future and the security of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.” Because of this, he wants to set up a “parliamentary investigative commission.” Yet we must remember that his modus operandi has always been to bathe us in a sense of dread that makes us want to lean in toward the status quo – for Bibi is nothing without the status quo.
YES, THE NIF, like anyone with a conscience, is against forced and potentially dangerous deportations for the Africans Bibi’s own government allowed to pour in. Like anyone with a conscience, it is outraged when populist politicians in his orbit race to south Tel Aviv to play on the residents’ worst fears and instincts by talking of a “cancer” that must be excised from the nation’s body.
The NIF is not the problem, Mr. Prime Minister. Nor is George Soros or anyone else you might throw at us in hopes of making us take our eye off the ball. The problem is you. You lead by instilling a sense of chilling fear and confusion instead of offering a vision of what’s possible and attainable.
Yes, these Africans – the refugees, the migrants, the asylum-seekers, the infiltrators; call them what you want – are an issue that needs to be solved. But your inaction helped create this problem, and if you can’t address it in a serious yet compassionate way, don’t blame someone else.
And ditch the conspiracy theories. They’re highly unbecoming. Someone might think you’ve been reading David Duke or Stormfront.
His modus operandi has always been to bathe us in a sense of dread that makes us want to lean in toward the status quo – for Bibi is nothing without the status quo
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem last week.