The Gideon Levy Travelling Hate Show

kaffiyehI attended a talk given by Gideon Levy, a reporter for Ha’aretz in Israel.

Now if you follow me on social media at all, you know I am no fan of Ha’aretz. I caught them lying about “settlers” burning an olive grove. I was pretty angry at the time because the story they ran not only was completely false, but was extremely inflammatory, if you will pardon the pun. I called them out, and even posted pictures from the event that showed their assertions to be false, yet all they did was change the title and a couple of lines in the story. So my experience with Ha’aretz is not pleasant. Levy is a huge part of the campaign run by Ha’aretz to delegitimize Israel.

So from the start, if you are paying attention you realize that these people are not people who want peace or better lives for Palestinian arabs. These people organizing this talk don’t care about the elections in Israel. They are “true believers” who want the destruction of Israel. From the hallway entering the talk you see the table covered with literature expounding the BDS movement, but more importantly covered in keffiyehs, one of which has a picture of the state of Israel only labelled as “Palestine”. The stupid student behind the desk said to me “It shows Palestine before it was called Israel” and she looked at me with stupid cow eyes when I said “Umm then shouldn’t it also show Jordan as part of mandatory Palestine?” I just shook my head and walked in.

They were playing a video made by CJPME, and it would have been hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. They bragged about bringing actual terrorists to different places to speak, and at one point the video shows Haneen Zoabi the Arab MK with the caption “Haneen Zoabi, PALESTINIAN member of Israeli Parliament” which sort of blows up their argument that Israel is an apartheid state. I am not aware of any Black African members of South African Parliament during apartheid. One of the pamphlets they were giving out stated very clearly that Israel is an apartheid state because the Palestinians have no government representation. Yet more mental gymnastics was their claim that CJPME fought censorship in the Pride parade when they demanded the right to co-opt the Gay rights event by claiming Israel was apartheid during a march for gay rights (they were also encouraging censorship by encouraging people to boycott the event because a Jewish Israeli group was marching as well).

I pretty much knew what to expect from Levy, especially given the group who are taking part in his tour, a “charity” called CJPME, which somehow manages to maintain charity status despite the fact they are an overtly political group that supports the destruction of the state of Israel. Alaa Hamdan, the Calgary coordinator for CJPME, has written “poetry” glorifying suicide bombing and the killing of Israeli civilians. She is also the student president of SPHR. Then we have Adam, from the Calgary Islamic Council, who said in his intro that his group believed in achieving peace through “ business and commerce,” yet is supporting a talk with groups that advocate BDS against Israel? He is also the rep for the Muslim association of Calgary, oddly enough a group that often posts extremely anti-Israel posts on its Facebook forums. Then Fuad from a “grassroots” group called Justice for Palestinians invited everyone to come watch movies at communitywise YMCA. I somehow doubt those are movies worth watching.

Now to Levy’s talk. Right off the bat, he was ridiculous, thanking CJPME and calling them a “wonderful organisation”. He went on to say it’s not about peace, it’s about justice, making Israel a more just place and that he is not proud of Israel. He railed about Israel’s lack of support for a 2-state solution, making no mention of the fact that a 2-statesolution is impossible with a neighbor who refuses to acknowledge your right to exist.

Then he made a ridiculous claim that Israel blames terrorism for no peace, but that for years there was no terrorism, which leads me to wonder where Levy lives. Clearly not Israel. His post office box must say lala land. He then went on to say Israel lives in denial and that it has lost connection to reality and has become dangerous. I think he is projecting, but then he says Israel has so many issues to solve, like no borders and no identity, which is somewhat ridiculous. He appealed to the asshats in the audience by using language like “brutal attack on Gaza”, saying “second attack on Gaza was brutal and 10 times more cruel than the first.” He said it was Israel’s fault and that he needed a bodyguard because of an article he wrote.

Then he showed anyone with critical thinking ability he is clueless, when he stated that 5 weeks would be enough to create a peace, if only Israel was committed to it, that Israel wouldn’t be able to create it in 5 years because Israel is racist and antidemocratic. He said “For people like me, nothing is as important as ending the occupation.” Then he named groups such as Breaking the Silence, B’tselem, and Anarchists Against the Wall as “brave Israeli organisations.” He used the phase “people like me” several times, but I hope to the creator that there are not many “people like him” because frankly, he was ridiculous. He continuously referred to peace groups being delegitimized in the Israeli media. Then he said that Israelis don’t see Palestinians as human beings, that he chooses his words carefully, that the Jews believe as “chosen people” that they do not have to respect anyone else’s human rights, which seems odd to me given the involvement of Jews in EVERY SINGLE SIGNIFICANT HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE WORLD. I could go on – I could tell you about how he said he doesn’t care if Israel is a Jewish state, and that the Jews who are frightened should blame themselves for not supporting a 2-state solution. I could tell you that he said “Do you ever hear Israelis talking about palestinians’ security” as though Jews were randomly sneaking into Arab villages and beheading babies. But the crowning moment was when he said he looked at South Africa as an example – that the change in South Africa happened without bloodshed. I wonder if he really is in another world.

I believe that the only reason people like Levy are dangerous is because a majority of people are ignorant and prefer that blissful ignorance to actually learning. His entire raison d’etre is to travel around attacking Israel. Let me be clear, he is not a self hater. He clearly is in love with himself, to the point where he tries to glorify himself at the cost of his people. It’s all about Gideon and his moral clarity. I have no doubt he thinks the money he is given to sell out his people is his just due as “speaking the truth,” even when his truth is obviously not anything of the sort.

Levy appeals to the Jews who want to believe that they should sell out their people for security. I have no doubt he would be welcome at any JVP or JStreet meeting. But to anyone who is even slightly knowledgeable, he is laughable. The issue is making sure people hear the ridiculousness of what he spreads. After all, groups like CJPME and SPHR do not want peace for two peoples – they are all about the destruction of Israel, and if they brought him here, why do you think that is?


Ryan Bellerose

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football, reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

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