The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

‘The Gatekeepers’ Director: Jewish extremists ‘not far away’ from destroying Israel

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
January 30, 2013

In a Q & A with The Jewish Week, the Israeli film director who has just released “The Gatekeepers,” a documentary that consists of interviews with six men who formerly directed Israel’s Shin Bet, suggests that before long Jewish extremists could bring about the destruction of the self-defined “Jewish state.” According to Dror Moreh:

In Jewish history there is always the fight between the pragmatists and extremists. During the fall of the Second Temple in Jerusalem there were the pragmatists who said we should understand what the Romans want, and we should understand where we are geopolitically and what needs to be done. The extremists said, “No, we have to act.” At the end of the day the extremist point of view won and the result was 2,000 years of annihilation of almost all the Jewish society in Israel. We are, in my point of view, not far away from that now.

How so?

The ultra-Orthodox, ultra-religious, ultra-extreme right wing are controlling the government, are dictating to the government what needs to be done and not seeing the pragmatic view of what needs to be done in order to save the Jewish state as a Jewish state. If this continues, we will end up regrettably the way we did 2,000 years ago. I know that you cannot deduce from what happened in history to the future, but this is what I feel and this is what I feel also the heads of the Shin Bet are telling us.

Do you actually foresee the destruction of the Jewish state?

I cannot say those words openly. It’s hard for me to say that Israel would be destroyed — almost unbearable to say those words — but it is not going to go to a good place.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

January 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. The problem with this movie is that it is really about the preservation and concerns of the usurping Zionist entity than it is about the restoration of Palestine. We typically get this perspective from the Left-wing Zionist that comes off as “critiques” when in fact they fail to repudiate Zionism itself. This position is at best “amoral” to being downright immoral as it fails to speak to the injustices of the Palestinians but rather speaks to the failure of Zionist “pragmatism” in carrying out its policies of Zionist hegemony and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.


    January 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm

  2. See Lawrence Davidson’s critique here:

    – Moreh says that “if there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s these guys” (the Shin Bet leaders). Actually, this not necessarily true. One might more accurately claim that these men, who led Israel’s most secretive government institution, were and are so deeply buried inside their country’s security dilemma that they see it in a distorted fashion (with only occasional glimmers of clarity). For instance:

    – Avraham Shalom (head of the Shin Bet from 1981-1986), tells us that “Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967….When the country started doubling down on terrorism.” But is this really the case? One might more accurately assert that Israel had no touch to lose. Most of its Jewish population and leadership has never had any interest in coexistence with Palestinians in any equalitarian and humane sense of the term. The interviewed security chiefs focus on the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza because they are the ones who offered the most resistance to conquest. But what of the 20% of the population of Israel who are also Palestinian and who actually lived under martial law until 1966? You may call the discriminatory regime under which these people live “coexistence,” but it is the coexistence of superior over the inferior secured largely by intimidation.

    –Moreh also insists that it is the “Jewish extremists inside Israel” who have been the “major impediment” to resolving issues between Israel and the Palestinians. The film looks at the cabal of religious fanatics, who in 1980, planned to blow up the sacred Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, as well as the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995. Yet, as dangerous as are Israel’s right-wing extremists and settler fanatics, focusing exclusively on them obscures the full history of the occupation.

    By the time Menachem Begin and Israel’s right-wing fanatics took power in 1977, the process of occupation and ethnic cleansing was well under way. It had been initiated, both against the Arab Israelis from 1948 onward, and against the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza after 1967, by the so-called Israeli Left: the Labor Party and such people as David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and Yitzak Rabin himself. Amongst the Israeli leadership, there are no clean hands.
    See Lawrence Davidson’s critique here:

    – Finally, Dror Moreh repeatedly pushes another message: “a central theme of the documentary is the idea that Israel has incredible tactics, but it lacks long-term strategy…if [security] operations do not support a move toward a peace settlement, then they are meaningless.”

    Again, this erroneous assessment is a function of being so deeply situated inside of a problem that you cannot perceive it clearly. Moreh assumes that achieving peace with the Palestinians is the only “long-term strategy” Israel ought to have and, in its absence, Israel pursues no strategy at all. However, an objective assessment of Israeli history tells us that there has been another strategy in place. The Zionist leaders have in fact always had a long-term strategy to avoid any meaningful peace settlement, so as to allow: 1. occupation of all “Eretz Israel,” 2. the ethnic cleansing or cantonization of the native population, and 3. settlement of the cleansed territory with Jews.

    It is because of this same naivete that Moreh confesses himself “shocked” when Shalom compares the occupation of the Palestinian territories to “Germany’s occupation of Europe” which, of course, had its own goal of ethnic cleansing. It is to Shalom’s credit that he made the statement on camera, and to Morah’s credit that he kept the statement in the final version of the film. But then Morah spoils this act of bravery when he tells Amanpour, “Only Jews can say these kind of words. And only they can have the justification to speak as they spoke in the film.” Well, I can think of one other group who has every right to make the same comparison Shalom makes– the Palestinians.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail

    February 5, 2013 at 8:19 am

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