Question No. 12: Are you optimistic about the peace and justice movements in Israel?
GIDEON LEVY: Yes, there are indeed groups like Breaking the Silence, B’tselem, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and Physicians for Human Rights. But they face a fatal problem: delegitimization by the government and the media. The government is fighting Breaking the Silence like hell. When it began, I thought Breaking the Silence would be a game-changer. These were Israeli soldiers witnessing and testifying about what they had done in the Occupied Territories and Gaza. There were more than one thousand testimonies. I thought that Israeli society would not be able to continue to deny. But immediately the political establishment and the media collaborated to crush them. Their influence and credibility in Israel is zero. They have been made into criminals in public opinion. The machinery of the Israeli state crushed them. Most young Israelis are much more nationalistic and right wing than their parents. And social media has made the most extreme racism socially acceptable.
In Israel there is a broad coalition of opinion, which says “We don’t want to know.” No other society anywhere lives in such willed ignorance, abetted and amplified by the Israeli media and the Jewish establishment in New Zealand and Australia. Israel is becoming increasingly militaristic, nationalistic, and religious.