In honor of the launch of the Hebrew translation of the book Aspects of the New Right-Wing Extremism by Theodor W. Adorno (translation from the German by Niv Sabriego), President of Zulat Zehava Galon was invited to a panel discussion on the relevance of the text, which as far back as 1967 predicted numerous political changes. The event took place at the Sipur Pashut bookstore, with the participation of the Van Leer Institute, the Heinrich Bell Foundation, and the United Kibbutz Movement’s Red Line publishing house.
The members of the panel, which was moderated by Anat Saragusti, included Prof. Amal Jamal, editor Assaf Sagiv, and author and activist Michal Sapir. Many guests attended, and dozens more joined by Zoom. You can click on this link to watch the full event.
Zehava Galon stated at the event:
“Adorno talks about how democracy allows non-democratic forces to take advantage of it in order to overthrow it. In Israel we talk about an extreme Right but this is slightly misleading, given that the conservative Right in Israel is revolutionary and wants to establish a Jewish state here, period – not a Jewish and democratic state, nor a state of the Jewish people and all its citizens but a Jewish state. The Interior Minister passed the Citizenship Law, which is a particularly abominable piece of legislation, in cooperation with the messianic Right in the Knesset. In its quest for Jewish superiority, the state sets quotas for family reunifications of Palestinians just as it sets quotas for accepting refugees from Ukraine. The book describes the gradual strategy that is used to this end, the way such a situation is built one law after another. This would not be possible without the collaboration of the Right, which is what I consider the so-called Center parties to be. They ratified the Citizenship Law and the Nationality Law and they downgraded the Arabic language, without giving a second thought to the Palestinian citizens of the state. During Netanyahu’s last decade in power, cultural figures, academia, civil society, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Peace Now were all marked as the enemy. And who allowed them to do so and offered their support? The Center parties, which due to their own opportunistic motives, rebuffed the leftists and backed this stigmatization.
“Two weeks ago, [Likud MK] Miri Regev said something to the effect that we don’t need a democratic state here, that there are enough democracies as it is, and that what we need is a Jewish state of our own. David Amsalem [another Likud MK] said: We are using democracy, but eventually you will see that it will be no more. And Bezalel Smotrich [Religious Zionist Party MK] has been talking about ethnic cleansing. All this brings to mind dark times. This is a revolutionary Right that wants to establish a different state here, a state for Jews only. They are not interested in the Palestinians and the occupation. When did they last see a Palestinian?
“An ecosystem has been built here in the last decade, made up of conservative right-wing research institutes, organizations that engage in overt and covert persecution, high-budget book publishers who work together to impose an agenda, to dictate a narrative of what the new Israeli is, how he should behave, and what he should be taught and pass on to future generations. The most talked about body in this respect is Kohelet Forum, which has been working to change the regime in Israel in order to create an impenetrable ethnocentric Jewish state, where men and women are segregated. This is the new Right.
“So, what do we do? I was a Knesset member for many years, and I learned two things during that time. One is that if they spit on you it is not rain, and the second is that you cannot wage a defensive war forever and that you don’t enter the boxing ring wearing ballet shoes. We need to shift from defense to offense and we need to put up a fight, which is why I set up Zulat: an activist think tank for equality and human rights. We publish research studies and policy and position papers aimed at putting up a fight against the organizations that influence the decision makers. We are on our way there.”