The Gleaner

Zionism, settler colonialism and Netanyahu the Pied Piper of Tel Aviv

Norris McDonald is an economic journalist, political analyst, and respiratory therapist. Send feedback to and

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is in a grave political crisis that he may not be able to escape. The Hamas attack of October 7, 2023 has reopened deep fissures that the Israeli prime minister was dodging up to this point.

I think Mr Netanyahu miscalculated this time.

Mr Netanyahu is once again in a deep political mess, commanding only four per cent support, according to the latest opinion polls.

Mass demonstrations are once again breaking out against the very unpopular Mr Netanyahu. These were taking place before the shocking October events, but are now on the rise.


Israeli public anger is focusing on all his political failings. Having sold himself as a ‘security strongman’, he miserably failed to keep Israel safe on October 7, 2023.

On top of this, Jewish people worldwide and in Israel – including survivors of the German holocaust – are outrage by Israel’s wanton destruction of Gaza.

The mass deaths, 70 per cent of which were women and children, have triggered global revulsion. This has been revealed in the widespread, huge demonstrations in many countries as we see in international public outcry.

“How much is enough?” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley asked in shock and dismay.

“This is the first time in history we are witnessing a genocide being broadcast on live TV,” Mottley said.

It is not just Prime Minister Mottley that is shocked. Bolivia and South Africa have closed the Israeli embassies. They, along with several international lawyers, have formally filed war crimes charges against Benjamin Netanyahu and his military leaders.


Meanwhile, fractures have opened up within Netanyahu’s own family.

“I cannot remain silent anymore,” Professor Ruth Ben-Artiz, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s niece, said.

“I am ashamed, sad, and angry. Ashamed that my relatives have no shame.”

Finally Israel is getting a critical family member’s views of the deep political crisis.

Netanyahu’s niece accused him of “promoting and encouraging violence, racism, nationalism, and fascism”.

Her bombshell comments were made in an interview she gave on November 9, 2023, to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Dr Ben-Artiz called the Israeli attack on Gaza “ethnic cleansing”.

It must have been very traumatic to her to be making such startling condemnation of Benjamin Netanyahu, I am sure, and we ought to be too, but, perhaps, it gave spiritual release.

As if offering an apology for not taking a strong moral position before, she blamed “the Israeli government’s lies and propaganda” for creating a distorted view of reality.


Let us be honest. Beyond the issues sold to the public by a compliant Western press and politicians, are the big moneymaking games.

Palestine is one big investment project for American, Israeli and European banks and other businesses.

Israel has built over 150 illegal settlements and 125 outposts in occupied Palestine. Over 700,000 people live in these illegal settlements. They have therefore become the basis for an influx of Western money aimed at profiting from this settler colonialism.

The essence of this settler colonialism is not just the illegal expansion of homes. Tied to this is the usually big money game of international capitalism.

There has been huge money flow, to profit from Israel’s illegal settlement activity, that has been tracked by the website bankttrack. org. According to their calculations, over 725 European financial firms have invested US$115 billion in illegal settlement activity.

Banks such as BNP Paribas, HSBC, Deutshe Bank and Barclays Bank (the American banks have covered the money tracks well), and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund have invested US$50 billion in making money from Israel settlement expansion.

Tourism to the settlement is also a big money earner. Airbnb, Expedia, Trip Advisor and booking. com are making big bucks from travel and tourism activity.

Many of Israel’s settlement activities are being subsidised by American tax payers in the form of the US$3 billion given to Israel each year.

Why is America supporting such activity in breach of international law?

“There is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There is a brutal Israeli occupation

Which must come to its end One way or the other.”

- Gideon Levy, Member, Editorial Board, Haaretz, Israeli Newspaper

It is, therefore, great that conscientious members of Israeli society are speaking out against Israel’s occupation and settlement activity. But it appears hard to go against the grain of American and European shameless hypocrisy.

Still, the struggle goes on for human rights, truth and justice.

Gideon Levy is another vehement critic of the Netanyahu government. He is a 40-year veteran Israeli j ournalist and Haaretz Editorial board member.

Mr Levy drew historical parallels to the Israel occupation of Palestine with that of the French occupation of Algeria, refuting the idea that the occupier has intrinsic political, legal, military or moral rights.

“Was there a French-Algerian conflict?” He asked rhetorically in a speech he gave to the Oxford Union UK. Answering, he said: “There was a brutal French Occupation in Algeria which came to its end.”

In the same way, he emphasised, “there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is a brutal Israeli occupation, which must come to its end, one way or the other.”


Gideon Levy and Ruth BenArtiz are many of the leading Israeli voices speaking out. But the Netanyahu government is not going without a fight. The Netanyahu government has accused Haaretz newspaper of being “unpatriotic” to air such views and is threatening to close them down.

Meanwhile, where does this leave the Palestinians?

They are still angry, hungry, homeless, and suffering under the yoke of Israeli occupation and American and Western supported settlement colonialism.

Young Palestinians such as M.C. Adbul have had enough and, therefore, he has become a strong anguished voice of Palestinian pain.

M.C. Adbul is a freestyle rapper who threw down hip-hop lyrical bars in Shouting at the Wall amid Gaza ruins…

“I want freedom for the population,

Two million prisoners living in (Gaza) this location

Shouting at the wall but nothing is ever-changing

That’s life under an occupation.”


Yah man! Yu got dat right! Frustration, frustration, pain, sadness, anger and more frustration.

It may be 75 years too late, but no more setting up of committees and negotiations.

United Nations Security Council resolutions 267 and 331 mandate the creation of a Palestine State within Israel’s 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

Let’s stop the “blame the victims game” – blaming those who are under settlement colonialism, while absolving the occupying state, Israel, of her actions!

Israel must be mandated by the United Nations to withdraw her military and stop all incursions and arbitrary detentions which have been a key underlying trigger of the political crisis.

That is just the ‘bitta’ truth.





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