Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity From Israel

I first learned of Gideon Levy many years ago, during a casual conversation with an Israeli human rights activist. He told me that he had asked Levy why was he such a serious critic of Israel’s government and its policies with the Palestinians. Levy, whose own father was a German Jewish refugee who had settled in Israel, responded, "I don’t want Israelis to say that they didn’t know."

Levy frequently travels to and writes about the Occupied Territories. As a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Levy wants to show the evils of the occupation and how it hurts not only the Palestinians but also the Israel that he loves so much. "I am an Israeli patriot. I want to be proud of my country. I want us to do the right thing," he declared. His writing has gained him several prestigious awards, but also the hatred of many Israelis and several personal attacks.

Last March, on the eve of the official AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) summit, he gave a talk entitled, "The Zionist Tango: Step Left, Step Right" in the National Press Club in Washington, DC. In that talk, he touched upon many critical topics having to do with the occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

He spoke about the possibility of change within Israeli society. "Maybe you are holding the key for any kind of change, for any kind of hope because, as I’ll try to claim later on, the hope for change within Israeli society is so limited. It’s nonexistent. When the United States is so still, so crucial, people like you can make the difference.

People like you can really be a game changer, and I mean it. It was never before that Israel and the United States shared the same values like in those days. The only place on earth that Donald Trump is beloved, admired, adored, and appreciated is Israel. The only place that Benjamin Netanyahu is admired, adored and beloved is the United States. If this is not shared values, what is shared values?"

Levy doesn’t hide his contempt for the Jewish lobby in the United States, of which AIPAC is the most notorious organization. "I can tell you in the United States, as an Israeli, we don’t have a bigger enemy for justice, for peace, for equality than those who think that if you supply the drug addict with more drugs you are his friend; that if you support him blindly and automatically whatever he does, you are a friend. No, my friend, those are not friends. Those are enemies."

Levy calls the recent actions of Israeli soldiers in Gaza crimes against civilians, hardly covered by the media. Ahed Tamimi is a 17-year-old Palestinian girl whose family demonstrated their opposition to the expansion of the Israeli settlements and the detention of Palestinian activists. When she was 11 years-old, AHED was commended for her courage by the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas for attempting to prevent her mother’s detention in August 2012.

In 2015, she was filmed while she was biting a masked Israeli soldier who was trying to apprehend her brother for throwing stones against the soldiers. On December 15, 2017, AHED took part in a demonstration opposing the expansion of Israeli settlements near her village. During the protest, AHED’s 15-year-old cousin Mohammed Tamimi was shot in the head and severely wounded. AHED, along with mother and a cousin slapped, kicked and shoved the soldiers.

Four days later, AHED was arrested with her mother and her cousin and charged with assault and incitement to violence. She instantly became a symbol of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. Major rallies in her support took place in several major cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Levy is unsparing in his criticism of the Israeli soldiers’ actions. "The crimes [by the Israeli soldiers] are on a daily basis, but really daily basis. The media hardly covers them. If they cover them, it will be always according to the Zionist narrative. A terrorist of 12, a girl of 14 with scissors in her hands is an existential threat to the State of Israel. A girl who is slapping a soldier is someone who deserves life in prison, not less than this."

I remember my surprise, several years ago, when I found out that an Israeli professional acquaintance of mine had never, aside from his gardener, had a conversation with any other Palestinian, although he was living in Jerusalem. Levy explains, "…Everyone will deny it. But if you scratch under the skin of almost every Israeli, you’ll find it there. The Palestinians are not equal human beings like us. They are not like us. They don’t love their children like us. They don’t love life like us…

So you have a society with a deep conviction in its justice, in its right way with very, very few question marks. Anyone who dares to raise a question mark in a systematic way is immediately erased, demolished. It’s unbelievable how this machinery works for Israel."

In spite of a systemic policy of demonization against him, Gideon Levy continues denouncing the Israeli government crimes against the Palestinians, who have been unable to counteract this onslaught against their basic rights. Gideon Levy is their defender, and Israel’s voice of sanity.

Dr. César Chelala is a New York writer and winner of several journalism awards.

44 thoughts on “Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity From Israel”

  1. Sanity is a relative term. The fully sane understand that the Israel that Levy “loves so much” has been an unmitigated evil since its inception.

    1. No one is hated everywhere. Globally speaking Jews are as most people. The problem is unchecked evil. Justice is justice and G-d is Just, what is just for you has to be just for someone else in the identical situation or circumstance.

    2. The everyday Jewish people suffer from the same entrenched deep state that is one of the same here in America. They are hated everywhere because of the Zionist agenda which controls their government, which is counter to original Judaism. The new world order has chosen the state of Israel to further their objectives and the people of Israel are asleep to the fact that their government is the cause of why they are reviled throughout the majority of the world.

  2. You can’t claim to want justice and “love Israel”.
    Just another phony leftist who wants his cake and eat it too.

    1. Gideon Levy shines a light on the crimes of the Israeli government. He is a true fighter for justice at considerable risk to himself. He is from Israel and lives in Israel and he naturally loves the country he is from. You from your lofty armchair calling him a phony leftist is just so much crap. Stuff that in your cake hole.

      1. The country Levy’s people are from is Czechoslovakia.. The country he occupies is Palestine.
        Being born there makes him no more Palestinian than John McCain is Panamanian.
        If he was interested in justice all he has to do is leave the land that doesn’t belong to him.

          1. We bought our island fair and square, cash on the barrel head and displaced nobody.
            Try again, cue ball.

          2. Guess you missed the part about not displacing anyone.
            Another key difference is the Zionist bought what land they did buy from absentee landlords in Turkey as the Arabs were casting off the yoke of Ottoman oppression.
            If your point is the treatment of Palestinians by the occupying Zionists is comparable to Americas treatment of its own indigenous population, I agree and no more damning of an admission could be made.

          3. “Guess you missed the part about not displacing anyone.”

            No, I didn’t. The displaced Sand Hill Indians, the Delawares, etc. are suing to get the areas they were displaced from by a fraudulent “sale” (e.g. Manhattan) back.

            My point was not so much that the treatment of Palestinians by Israelis is the same as that of my ancestors by yours as that you spend a lot of time obsessing about the one that’s taking place halfway around the world while showing no inclination whatsoever to do anything about the other that you’re benefiting from.

          4. “my ancestors”

            I had no idea there was a tribe of Weirdos prior to our arrival.. Now I begin to see how you all lost so decisively.

            Good luck with your lawsuit – but caveat emptor – we’re going to countersuit. You may just end up $24 poorer.

          5. What, you’re an actual immigrant, not just a descendant of immigrants?

            I’m part Cherokee and part Blackfoot, among other things. In fact, my brother did the DNA thing and it says that he is (and therefore likely I am) 5% Spanish, 3% Finnish or northwest Russian, and 2% Ashkenazi, but mostly of British Isles extraction (based on names and records it looks some Irish, some English, and some Ulster Scot like you). Pretty much a mutt.

          6. I don’t need a rug — at least not yet. Somewhat receding hairline, but no male pattern baldness. The reason I usually wear my head shaved is that it bugs me when it grows out. When I was growing up, my dad insisted on short hair. Then the Marine Corps did too. Any time I grow it out longer than a few inches it just bothers me and is more trouble than it’s worth.

          7. You should consider a Mohawk, given your ancestry. The beard thingy would have to go.. It would be a bit much.

          8. One difference between the Palestinians and the Native Americans is that the Palestinians outnumber the Jewish settlers. There are about 2 million surviving Native Americans and 300 million settlers in the USA.

            The second difference is that unfortunately, the Native Americans have been defeated and the Palestinians have not. There is a difference between suing for justice in the settler’s courts and denying legitimacy to the settler’s regime and resisting oppression by all methods, from individual and collective acts of civil disobedience up to and including armed struggle.

            The third difference is strategic. The Palestinian nation is part of the larger surrounding Arab Nation of several hundred million people. While the despotic comprador Arab regimes are subservient to US imperialism and Western capital, the people of those countries strongly identify with the Palestinian resistance to the vestiges of post-Ottoman colonial rule. The long term Arab struggle against Zionism is reminiscent of Saladin’s Jihad that eventually defeated the Crusader kingdoms and threatens the stability of the Arab regimes that have accommodated Western imperialism. In the long run five or six million Jewish settlers can never successfully ethnically clense Palestine when they are surrounded by 250 million Arabs who identify with the Palestinian struggle that is also supported by 1.5 billion Muslims in Africa and Asia.

            Fourth, the indigenous Native Americans in the USA were mostly organized into pre-literate hunter gatherer societies that lacked the capacity to resist invaders from industrial societies with advanced weapons technology. The Palestinians are part of Arab and Islamic cultural traditions involving over 1.5 billion people mostly in Africa, Asia and the Mid East. The Islamic world has tradition, experience and expertise in successfully resisting Western imperialism. And the Islamic world supports the Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonialism.

            Last, but not least, the Native American struggle against the European settlers was fatally weakened by the catastrophic spread of European diseases to which the indigenous Americans had no resistance. There is no doubt that the Native population of the USA was reduced by at least 50% by smallpox and other diseases introduced by the Europeans. Some scholars estimate that the depopulation might have been as great as 90%. Whatever the actual figures, the result of these epidemics undermined the ability and the will of the Native Americans to resist.

            I support the efforts of the Native Americans to gain self determination and reparations. But the Palestinians have a number of advantages that the Native Americans unfortunately don’t have.

          9. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/saddam-s-regime-may-have-killed-61-000-survey-1.513521

            Saddam’s regime may have killed 61,000 – survey
            Mon, Dec 8, 2003, 00:00

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            Saddam Hussein’s government may have executed 61,000 Baghdad residents, a number significantly higher than previously believed, according to a survey today.

            The bloodiest massacres of Saddam’s 23-year presidency occurred in Iraq’s Kurdish north and Shiite Muslim south, but the Gallup Baghdad Survey data indicates the brutality extended strongly into the capital as well.

            The survey, obtained by The Associated Press and which the polling firm planned to release tomorrow, asked 1,178 Baghdad residents in August and September whether a member of their household had been executed by Saddam’s regime. According to Gallup, 6.6 per cent said yes. The polling firm took metropolitan Baghdad’s population of 6.39 million and average household size – 6.9 people – to calculate that 61,000 people were executed during Saddam’s rule.

            Most are believed to have been buried in mass graves.

            The United States-led occupation authority in Iraq has said that at least 300,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq.

            Human rights officials put the number closer to 500,000 and some Iraqi political parties estimate more than one million were executed.

          10. Short version: It’s possible that in more than 30 years as official ruler of Iraq and about 40 as de facto ruler of Iraq, Saddam may have killed as many Iraqis as the US did in a fraction of that time.

          11. Where are you getting the numbers from?

            Most of the with big numbers studies pin anyone killed by the insurgents on the US plus knocking out Saddam saved the lives of anyone he intended to kill on the future. That why the Kurds support the US.

            ( i wanted to spend on alternative energy cause it was the only way to bust the M E)

          12. “Most of the with big numbers studies pin anyone killed by the insurgents on the US”

            Yes, that’s as it should be. In the US, if someone dies during the commission of a felony, the felon is considered responsible. If you’re robbing a bank and one of the cashiers keels over and dies of a heart attack, you’re guilty of murder.

            Similarly, when the US launched its criminal war of aggression against Iraq, it assumed responsibility for the resulting casualties.

          13. Studies that pin those killed by insurgents on the U S are a sham and a trick

            Many/ several critics of the Iraq war have said the same thing

          14. Not taking responsibility for what the insurgents did. Or Al Qaida Bathists or Khimeni foloiwers killed by the US.

            That is fraudulent accounting

            Also that sort of accounting uses a differnt standard for those killed by Saddam and those killed in the war

            As i said i wanted alternative energy instead of ivading Iraq. I thought it was a better way to bust the middle east

            I thought the Iraq war was justified in principal but a bad idea in practice

            Again pinning feaths caused insurgents on the US is fake accounting. Any study that does that is a sham and a trick

            And Bathists Khomeni followers or Al Qadist if they are not killed then oppress and murder. Zero sympathy for them. They are like the Ku zklux Klan only worse.

            Trick accounting to make the US seem far worse does not persude me , the studies that use it are politically motivated an intentionally deceptive and i dont accept them or it

          15. Havent changed my view . Saddam deserved to be destroyed.

            However as i said i wanted alternative energy instead because it would have dealt with the entire mid east and Chavez too as a bonus.

            At any rate this conversation got started because posters eere implying that Isreal is ( far)a greater killer than Saddam.. Which is objectively false.

            Had they not started with the Israel is the greatest killer in the world stuff this entire conversation would have never started.

            As far as i am concerned the Iraq war was one of the major causes of the 2008 recession/ depression.

            And it still affects the US economy to this day

          16. Yes, Saddam deserved to be destroyed. But it wasn’t the business of the US to do that.

            “At any rate this conversation got started because posters eere implying that Isreal is ( far)a greater killer than Saddam.. Which is objectively false.”

            You’re correct on that.

            Cue some nob claiming that every war the US has ever fought was actually a war for Israel and therefore all the casualties in all those wars were Israel’s fault in 3, 2, 1 …

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