Usually I don’t like to use the concept "fascism" to describe the Israeli regime. First of all and above all, the State of Israel is a colonial State, and its institutions, policies and strategies belong to the broad family of colonialism. The basic relationship with the indigenous Arab population has been from the very beginning of the Zionist enterprise and still is today a colonial relationship. In that colonial framework, one can identify some specificities: civil rights for the Indigenous minority that were not pushed to exile in 1947-1949 and democratic institutions and mechanisms inside Israel, in its pre-67 borders. One must mention, however, the long series of discriminative laws and practices towards the Palestinian minority in the framework of the so-called "Jewish and Democratic State" of Israel.
But, for several years, there have been important legislative and political developments that should raise the issue of the "fascization" of Israel. The old "democratic framework" is gradually changing into a new kind of system that recalls Italy in the twenties and even Germany at the beginning of the Nazi regime. Let’s point out three of these changes.
First, the privatization of violence: the far-right government is using (and financing) private organizations to harass, spy, and infiltrate progressive groups. Recently, Israeli TV gave publicity to one of these groups, "Ad Kann.” Ad Kann admits that its mission is to infiltrate anti-occupation and human rights organizations, like B’tselem or Braking the Silence, and monitor their activities. If we stick to fascist precedents, the next step will be to initiate provocations on behalf of these infiltrated groups.
The second change: the initiation of a long series of new laws that reduce the civil liberties of individuals and organizations. The new NGO law (not yet voted on) is the last example of this attack on civil liberties: NGOs receiving financial support of foreign countries (like the European Union) will have to publicly identify themselves as such. Palestinian organizations from Israel have already been seriously targeted, and the next step, recently announced by leaders of the right-wing coalition, will be to reduce the rights of Arab members of Parliament. If we stick to the fascist precedents, the next step may be to forbid Arabs to be elected or even to vote.
Third, the creation of an atmosphere of fear: even targeted attacks (such as on Ezra Nawi) have a deterrent affect on the broader progressive public that thinks twice before taking political initiatives, assuming that the State or private gangs may react violently. Terrorizing the population is one of the most efficient ways of fascism to impose its domination on the minds and then on society and the State.
Like in previous cases in modern history, the majority of people are not fascist, and even despise fascism. The problem is the lack of a sense of urgency that we need to mobilize and unite, now. In few years, it may be too late.
Michel Warschawski (Mikado) is an Israeli anti-Zionist activist. He led the Marxist Revolutionary Communist League until its demise in the 1990s, and co-founded the Alternative Information Center.