In the last years (and in fact for many decades), the Israeli government has become increasingly close with the global far-right. Why? They often share “values”, dislike/hate Muslims, nations want Israeli defence equipment and the Jewish state needs international support for its never-ending occupation of Palestine.
“I think Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes friends with people who share the Israeli government’s values. Those values are deeply slickened to hatred of Islam and Muslims,” said Antony Loewenstein, a Jerusalem-based, independent journalist and author, who has recently penned Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe.
According to Loewenstein, both Israel and far-right movements, which have been fomented by recent migration waves mostly from Muslim-majority countries, have been meeting on a common Islamophobic agenda.
“They have no problem treating Palestinians or Muslims as second-class citizens because they themselves view Muslims as second-class citizens in their own countries like Brazil, Poland, Hungary,” Loewenstein told TRT World, referring to the attitudes of anti-migrant far-right movements across the world.
The Israeli love affair with the new far-right does not only have ideological roots but also political aims.
“Israel wants to get international recognition or legitimacy for its occupation of the Palestinian lands and these countries [where the far-right is on the rise] provide legitimacy,” Loewenstein observed.
“I believe mainstream left-wing groups in the West have either abandoned Israel or pretty much expressed a lot of contempt how Israel treats Palestinians and other minorities,” Loewenstein said, arguing that this abandonment could be one of the leading causes of the recent far-right-Israeli alliance.
“For many people around the world including myself, who is Jewish, I find it very disturbing and offensive,” Loewenstein said.
Loewenstein thinks Netanyahu feels free to pursue such a policy because his first concern is not anti-Semitism, which has recently increased in significant proportions in Europe, forcing 40 percent of Jews to think about leaving Europe, according to a recent study.
“They believe and view that all the Jews around the world should move in Israel and be in safe. No way in the world is safe for the Jews unless you live in Israel, they say,” Loewenstein said.
“But the truth is because Israel has been occupying Palestinian lands more than 50 years, in fact, Israel is in some way a very unsafe place for the Jews,” he says.
At the same time, the Israeli government stays silent against the rise of anti-Semitism and Trump-supported white nationalism in the US, he added.
According to Loewenstein, Netanyahu’s Israel believes that “anti-Semitism is not very destructive.”
At the same time, the current far-right agenda is more about Islamophobia than anti-Semitism despite both trends being on the rise, overlapping with Netanyahu’s political agenda.
Furthermore, strangely, the rise of anti-Semitism forces Jews to move to Israel, helping to implement Israel’s political agenda that the country is the only place Jews can feel safe.
But Loewenstein and others still think differently.
“Israel claims to speak for all Jews around the world. Israel claims to be the Jewish state. For me, as a Jew, Israel does not speak for me. Israel is a country that regularly assaults Palestinians and occupies for over 50 years,” he said.
“For me what Jewish values should be is believing in all people are equal,” he concluded.