Home > Suppression of Dissent > Dorit Abramovitch: How we became enemies of the state

Dorit Abramovitch: How we became enemies of the state

Dorit Abramovitch is an Israeli feminist and LGBT campaigner, writer and lecturer.  A Hebrew version of this article appears on NRG, the Maariv website.

Other recent posts on the latest wave of suppression of dissent in Israel| Essays Hadas Ziv; Hagai El-Ad; Yariv Mohar; Aeyal Gross| News and analysis IDF joins assault on Israeli human rights community; Israeli media goes after New Israel Fund: “Responsible for Goldstone Report”; Hagee and CUFI fund anti-NIF campaign organizer; Two senior Maariv reporters attack the anti-NIF campaign sponsored by their newspaper |

How we became enemies of the state

The attack on the New Israel Fund, claiming it help the Goldstone report, is an attack on equality and freedom and an attempt to silence dissent

A year ago 23 women’s organizations came together to protest the attempt by the attorney general to investigate and erase the New Profile movement. Feminist organizations from a range of perspectives understood that trying to silence New Profile marked not only an attempt to discriminate against anyone who opposes government policy, but also was a sign of what was to come — persecution of any movement, man or woman who use words that are not taken from the dictionary of occupation and exclusion.

For decades those who were discriminated against by the dominant Jewish narrative have been claiming that the discrimination and oppression would not stop with the Palestinians, would not be stopped by the separation wall, would not stop with the exclusion of the Arab public in Israel, but would deteriorate down the sliding slope to encompass any group that does not follow the single nationalist line.

Ad from the anti-NIF campaign

Ad on page 3 of the January 31 edition of the Jerusalem Post.

In a country where freedom of expression and a life of dignity are reserved for only a specific segment of the population to begin with, it comes as no surprise that the campaign of silencing and intimidation is now continuing with the attempt to crush the New Israel Fund. And the attackers speak openly — their only predatory claim is that some people speak in a different language than them, and the only charge against them is that they dared to criticize the Israeli government’s acts of predation. This is what is happening today and what has been happening for a long time in this country that is said to be a democracy, but that name is merely a thin skin.

How long can we continue saying that systematic discrimination never stops with a single public? When government policy is chronically loaded with serial intimidation, when the government constantly uses intimidation from the enemy that is about to pounce and destroy at any moment, when ministers decide to bomb and shell during election campaigns to gain a few more votes and seats, when popular opposition to theft, killing and wars can end with arrests and investigations, it is no surprise that the silencing is spreading to more and more organizations. In a country where the freedom to resist hangs on a thread, in a country where obedience is a desirable value, in a country where it is frightening to demonstrate because any man and woman can find themselves beaten and locked in a cell for daring not to agree — it is no wonder that the governmental race to silence and deafen this week received another push to the bottom.

It is scary to live and it is scary to talk

The attack on the New Israel Fund and its president Prof. Naomi Chazan is supported by a long-standing policy of intimidation and silencing because the big enemy is long since anybody who is different from the one, big, well-fed Jew. The enemy is called “the Arabs,” “the woman,” “the mizrahi,” “the unemployed,” “the demonstrator against land appropriations and the separation wall,” “the draft refuser,” “the labor migrant,” “the organization that argues against war crimes,” “funds that support an active civil society,” “male and female immigrants from the former Soviet Union,” “Ethiopian men and women,” “mizrahi girl students,” “lesbians, trans-, bisexuals and homosexuals.” All pose a threat to the united, white, male, militant, obedient Jewish nationalism. And anyone who endangers unity, finds that his or her freedom is in danger, and maybe even his or her life.

In a country where obedience is a value and it is dangerous to criticize the actions and words of the government, in a country where the right to demonstrate is given only to a small and shrinking minority, and where it is scary to protest and cry out against increasing oppression, in a country that maintains countless separation walls and systematic discrimination against anyone who speaks not in the voice of the one — it is scary to live and it is scary to speak, because the silencing does not stop with a single political minority. It draws more and more populations into it. Very few can escape anymore from most of us being enemies of the state.

  1. February 3, 2010 at 16:59 | #1

    Very well said, Dorit. As always, you put your finger on the issue, and understand its relation with other issues.

  2. February 3, 2010 at 17:00 | #2

    We have become what we escaped from.The next step after taking away our computers,our rights to protest and free speech will be the ultimate act of fascisnm,disappearing those of us who do not spout the party line.It will not be long at this rate that the “self hating Jew” becomes the magical “disappearing Jew”.

  3. October 24, 2011 at 10:00 | #3

    I’m impressed by your writing. Are you a professional or just very knwoeldgeable?

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