Ha’aretz’s Gideon Levy: Israel is Crueler Than Syria, Libya

A few months after Amira Hass justified Palestinian stone-throwing as their “birthright and duty,” fellow Ha’aretz writer Gideon Levy calls for organized violence against Israel (“One day, Ramallah will rise up,” July 4, 2013 .)

“One day the Palestinian people will rise up against their occupiers,” he begins. “I hope this day comes soon.” The veteran Israeli journalist writes wistfully:

Yes, it will happen one day. The masses will rise up against the settlements and checkpoints, against the army barracks and the prisons. And at that point, the Israeli Arabs will no longer stand idly by. They are also watching what’s happening at Tahrir Square and also realize they deserve a different regime and a different country. . . . It would be best that this day come soon.

Not only does Levy impatiently wait for them to “rise up against the settlements” (how, exactly?), but he also urges Israeli Arabs to revolt against their country because they “realize they deserve a different regime.” What kind? Like that of Syria? Egypt? Saudi Arabia?

No less outlandish is Levy’s argument concerning why a violent revolt is inevitable. In another indication of just how far his claims are removed from reality, Levy claims that the revolt must happen because the Israeli “regime” is more corrupt and more brutal that the regimes which are now facing rebellions in the Arab world. He writes:

The regimes against which most of the Arab nations are rebelling were generally less brutal than the regime of the Israeli occupation. They were also less corrupt, in the broad sense of the word. Most did not take over the lives of their subjects day and night, did not so drastically restrict their movement and freedom, did not systematically abuse and humiliate them in the manner of the Israeli regime.

It is unclear how Levy defines the terms “abuse” and “humiliate.” In recent years, five Arab nations rose up against their regimes: Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia. Are they really less corrupt and less brutal than the Israeli occupation? The answer to this question follows, but be warned: it is not for the faint of heart.


of the Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya was unparalleled in its cruelty. Qadaffy forced young girls to become his sex slaves http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2358036/Blair-met-teenage-sex-slaves-outside-Gaddafis-tent-Schoolgirl-reveals-greeted-PM-following-talks.html, imprisoning and humiliating them, and subjecting them to indescribable cruelty,

Another pet project of the regime against which the Libyan people revolted – the regime, according to Levy, which is less cruel than the Israeli occupation – was the gang rape of citizens, in front of their husbands and children, by dozens of soldiers. For Gaddafi, “rape was a weapon . . . a way of dominating others,”  reported Le Monde journalist Annick Cojean, author of the book Prey: In Gaddafi’s Harem. http://www.france24.com/en/20120920-muammar-gaddafi-rape-weapon-libya-annick-cojean-le-monde-sexual-slavery-harem-abuse-women

In this respect, and in many others, the Syrian regime resembles the Libyan regime. In Syria, too, the regime’s soldiers gang rape both men and women as a means to sow fear, as reported in The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/the-ultimate-assault-charting-syrias-use-of-rape-to-terrorize-its-people/259669/ Likewise, the Assad regime, as reported by Human Rights Watch, regularly uses torture as a routine police tool. According to the report, there are more than 27 torture facilities across Syria, in which prisoners are electrocuted.
In Tunisia, the nation rose up against the cruel despot President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled for 23 years. Was his regime less cruel and less corrupt than the Israeli “regime”?
What about Yemen? According to Amnesty International’s 2012 Annual Report, the regime of  President Ali Abdullah Saleh “used live ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and other excessive and lethal force against peaceful demonstrations and during clashes when opponents,” killing over 200. About the “largely peaceful demonstrations” in Yemen, Human Rights Watch  writes in its 2012 World Report, “State security forces, often acting together with armed plainclothes assailants, responded to anti-government protests with excessive and deadly force, killing at least 250 people and wounding more than 1,000.” In a separate document, HRW reports on the execution of Yemenite minors for their alleged crimes, including the that of 15-year-old Hind al-Barti, killed by a government firing squad after being convicted for murder.

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