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

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - OBSERVATIO­NS - LAWRENCE RIFKIN

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

(Deb­bie Hill/Reuters)

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu at­tends a cer­e­mony mark­ing Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Day at the Yad Vashem Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Cen­ter in Jerusalem last week.

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