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Award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy is such a scathing critic of Israel’s policies and outspoken defender of Palestinian human rights that he’s only narrowly escaped physical attacks, even needing to have a bodyguard. But the Haaretz columnist and author wasn’t always like this.
He describes his former self as “a full member of the nationalistic religious orgy [of Israel]. We were all under the feeling that the whole project of Israel is in existential danger. We all felt that another Holocaust is around the corner.”
So when Israel won its 1967 war on Palestine, he didn’t think of killed Palestinians and Israel’s occupation: “We felt that victory in 1967 was like a messianic miracle, and we were so grateful for this. We didn’t ask any questions. We didn’t see any Palestinians.”
Levy was 14 at the time. And, as he realized years later, “totally brainwashed.”
He is now one of a very small number of prominent Israeli voices speaking out against Israel’s assault on Gaza and its brutal occupation. Joining Useful Idiots from Tel Aviv, Israel, he shares what he sees happening in his country.
“There are three things that let Israelis live in peace with the occupation,” he says. “The belief that they’re the chosen people. The belief that they’re victims. And the dehumanization of Palestinians.”
He discusses how Israeli media spreads these three beliefs, and how Netanyahu and his far-right government exploit them to bomb hospitals and humiliate Palestinians on a daily basis without pushback.
Levy sees the two state occupation as no longer possible. A one state of apartheid is the status quo and a one state with equal rights as the ideal, but an unlikely one for now: “I don’t see any hope from any direction. Israelis will not wake up one morning and say ‘oh this occupation, this apartheid, we don’t like it so much. Let’s put an end to it.’ This will never happen. It will only happen when Israel is punished for it. And this is not going to happen because the international community basically supports the occupation. The United States supports the occupation.”
Subscribe for the full interview with Gideon Levy where he explains how young people in both the US and Israel view the war, the horrors he’s witnessed in the West Bank, Israel’s “Nazi proposals” and why the two-state solution is dead.
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Watch the full interview here: