tv U.S.- Israel Relations Middle East Policy - Gideon Levy CSPAN March 2, 2018 5:51pm-6:47pm EST
latino immigrant in the country. on sunday at noon, our special series is live with best-selling author and journalist joanneauthor jef. watch all weekend. newspapersraeli columnist gideon levy on the middle east peace process. he spoke during a daylong policy conference on u.s. relations with israel. this is close to one hour. pleased to welcome levy.olumnist gideon his column, he's called for empathy towards
the suffering of palestinians. he's an extremely well-known commentator because of his willingness to take on tough issues. consequently, he is no stranger to very intense opposition. politics,s about money, how israel's military occupation is changing israeli society, and about u.s.-israel relationship are very widely read, reposted and discussed around the world. who does not get in their inbox a levy column once in a while? his vocal opposition to israel's last major invasion and bombing place against an enormous backdrop of widespread support for the military operation within the israeli public. voice to those who
were secretly against the war, but cautious about voicing such opinions openly. place against an he was a recipient with a palestinian pastor for their fight against occupation and violence. the peace through media award at the 2012 international media awards. the euromed journalist prize for 2008. the freedom prize in 2001. the israeli journalist union prize in 1997. and the association of human rights in israel war in 1996. i would like to encourage everybody to send in your comment cards. we have a number of students and interns who arehe circulating ad taking those up so that we can ranging set ofe questions for gideon when he
finishes. his book, "the punishment of gaza," was published in 2012 in london and new york. signsl be available to and copies of that book during the reception. now, please welcome gideon levy. [applause] gideon: thank you. thank you. who youndering about were talking about. [laughter] who you were talking about. [laughter] gideon: can i stay here and not go back home? [laughter] >> [indiscernible] gideon: it is my third time here with these wonderful people. i feel so much at home. i know so many bases. you all get younger, i get older. you all get more energized and
motivated and i get more desperation. it puts me in a challenge because already in my second time here, i started my speech -- i will repeat myself because by the end of the day, i'm a singer of one song, and you up hurting already -- have heard it already. we are sophisticated enough this time and gave a very strange title to my speech. which doesn't enable me to sing my song. i have to sing a new song. best but i am really grateful for all the wonderful people who brought me here and my partner. this day was so interesting for us. in hebrew, we have this expression we came to strength
and came out strengthened. this is how i feel after a conference like this. this may be -- maybe you were holding the key for any kind of change, for any kind of hope. because as i will try to claim within ae whole change society is so limited. it is not existing. when the united states is so still, so crucial, people like you can really make the difference. people like you can really be a game changer and i mean it. it was never before that israel and united states shared the same values in those days. the only place on earth that donald trump is beloved, admired and appreciated is israel. the only place that benjamin
beloved iss admired, the united states. [laughter] shared if this is not values, what is shared values? [laughter] [applause] my ex-best frf iends are on their way now to the apec conference which will start this weekend. .oliticians, journalists to what i call as the annual drug dealers conference. they will discuss how many more drugs will they send to the israel occupation addicted state. how much more friendship will they express and how much more money and weapons will they supply.
i can tell you in the united states -- as an israeli, we don't have a bigger enemy than the jewish lobby. we don't have a bigger enemy for justice, for peace, for equality think that if you supply the drug addicted with drugs, you are his friend. that if you support him blindly and automatically whenever he does, you are his friend. no, my friends, those are not friends, those are enemies. i can't tell you how happy and proud i am to be here today and there tomorrow. [applause] gideon: thank you. abouttle of my speech zionism.
zionism is one of the two religions of israel. as any religion, you can't question it. obviously religion is the religion of security. so, between zionism and security, anyone in israel who dares to raise any question is immediately perceived as a traitor. whatimpossible to describe it means to say you have some questions about zionism. yourself, you question today the other religion. if you claim the israeli defense forces are not the most moral say saythe world, let's they are the second moral army in the world -- how dare you? even though my mother was not
such a zealot, i think. it is very hard to understand from the outside how an ideology became a part of the dna. how an ideology became something which must be taken for granted and there is no room for any question. i note this about myself. i know how i grew up. i know what i thought about those very, very -- who claimed they are not zionists. they were the satans, even though they were the jews and israelis. i don't recall one example in the ideology that is so holy thatan, is so you have no right to put any kind of doubt, question mark, nothing -- not about the past, the future, the present --
nothing. it is unbelievable when you live in a state in which you declare that you don't accept this ideology, you are not part of the place. you are not part of society. you have to know place -- no pl ace. go to gaza, go to damascus. don't stay here. this leads me to the title, because when it comes to zionism and friends, we have to face reality. zionism,omes design ito there is no difference in israel between left and right. ,hen it comes to the occupation there is no meaningful difference between left and right in israel. right, ian left and mean the so-called zionist thic left, labour and others, and the
right-wingers. those of you -- i know some of my israeli friends who bought some champagne bottles, ready to open them the moment benjamin netanyahu will be impeached, will go to jail, and they will celebrate how israel is coming from darkness to light. how freedom and peace is around the corner because we got rid of the tyrant. the right-winger, the fastest. after this, the light is around the corner and usually i have bad news for you. day,se by the end of the when you judge the real politics, not -- yes, labour and sympatheticing more rhetoric. between other sins i committed,
-- he did not stop talking about putting an end to the occupation. he did not stop talking about not democratic and not just ice, one people governs another people. beautiful ideas that benjamin netanyahu and those right-wingers would have never said. by the end of the day, nobel prize winner is the founding father of the project. what do we get out of this rhetoric except showing a nice face of israel and doing the very same crime? spread here not to optimism, as you might know me by now. but, when it comes to the basics, israel israel united. which themember in
joke was -- sorry, i spoiled it. israelis share three views. today, three israelis hardly view and it will be not only preoccupation. view and it willoccupation is n israel. nobody talks about it, nobody discusses it. nobody is concerned about occupation. it is one of those things like the rain, the sun. some like it, some like it less, but nobody thinks anybody can be done about it. it does not bother us so much, that is the truth. it is only a half-hour away from our homes but who cares about it? are on a dailyimes
basis. the media hardly covers them. them, it willer be according to the zionist narrative. a girl of 14 with scissors in her hands as an existential threat to the state of israel. soldierho is slapping a is someone who deserves life sentence, not less than this. a girl that one hour before, he r cousin was shot in his head 60 meters away from her home so now the israeli army claims this was fabricated. i mean, even the israeli propaganda lost its shame. to claim -- he
lost half of his brain. that he fabricated his injuries. then, you see that israel is really desperate. if israel needs this kind of level of propaganda, if israel denyingng so low in shooting in the head of a child of 15 and claiming that he feel ll off a bicycle, then you know things are getting worse. maybe it is a hope for a new beginning, but right now, look how low does it get there. passing israeli society as if nothing is happening. no question marks. very little moral doubt. a cover up. living in denial like never
before. society think about one which lives in such denial like the israeli society. again, it includes left and right, exc society which lives in such denial like the israeliept of the very devoted, extreme left. let's remember this. small andeally figures and totally delegitimized. i mean labour, the new promise of israeli politics and maybe the next prime minister, and all the rest. in many ways, they are worse than the right-wingers because they feel so good about themselves. because they are so sure they are so human and universal and moral. don'tthe right-wingers cover up, they say yes, we are fascist. we are jews and have the right to be fascist because we are the
chosen people. no one is going to tell us what to do. when it comes to the center left, i can hardly pronounce it. what do those people have to do with left? when it comes to the central combinationa rare which you feel so good about yourself. you are not one of those fascists. you are not one of those nationalist racists. you are a combination which you feel so good about yourself. liberal. but the occupation must go on must stay in jail forever. the crimes must continue because we have no other choice. which brings me to the set of values which i see as the core of israeli society. value thatr four sets of explains everything in my view.
-- let's facee it, it is the value that we are the chosen people. secular's and religious will claim so. even if they don't admit it, they feel so. the implementation is very simple. if we are the chosen people, who are you to tell us what to do? who is -- let's face it, it is the international community to telell israel what to do? it applies on any other place on earth, not israel because we are the chosen people, don't you understand it? asylum-seekers, 88% are recognized as refugees in europe. you know how many of them in israel? less than 1%, less than 1%. why so? because we are a special case.
you don't expect us to absolve 40,000 asylum-seekers. we are the chosen people. we don't need to prove it. the second deep-rooted value is obviously the value of we, the victims. not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around. i know many occupations which were longer than israeli occupation -- some were even more brutal even though it is harder to be more brutal than the israeli occupation. i don't recall one occupation where you can operate yourself as the victim. not only the victim, the only victim. who i quoted, last time, but it is so
unforgettable, i have to use it again. she said "we will never forgive the arabs for forcing us to kill their children." we are the victims. we are forced to kill their children. poor us. as the victim and the only victim in history, again, it enables us the rights to do whatever we wanted. nobody was going to tell us what to do because we are the only victims. a third verye is deep-rooted value and this is the very deep belief -- everyone will deny it, but it scratches under the skin of every israeli. 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. they were born to kill.
they are cruel. they are sadists. they have no values, no manners. look how they kill us. this is very, very deep-rooted in israeli society and maybe that is the key issue because as long as this continues, nothing will move. as long as most of israelis don't perceive the palestinians is equal human beings, we are so much better than them, we are so much developed than them, so much more human than them. as long as this is the case, all of our dreams -- i will get to them -- all of our dreams will never become true as long as this court issue will not change -- core issue will not change. you have a society with a deep conviction in its justice, right way with very few question marks.
anyone who dares to raise a question is immediately in a very systematic way erased, demolished. it is unbelievable how this machinery works in israel. we are talking here about how efficient is the jewish lobby here. look at the jewish lobby, so-called, in israel. breaking the silence. for years, we were dreaming about the day that soldiers will stand up and say the truth. gideon levy, the liar, the trader who tells us so many stories. no, soldiers permitted those crimes. just come and testify about what they have been doing. here it came. over 1000 testimonies of soldiers who in a very brave way gave their testimonies about what they have been doing in the
occupied territories throughout the years. this should have been an earthquake in any healthy society. occupiedbut, what happened? nothing. breaking the silence was immediately delegitimized by the establishment with the typical cooperation with the israeli media. i'm afraid to say that breaking today.ence is crushed this is just one example. israeli society, especially in the last few years, has a very clear intention to crush any kind of criticism from within and from outside. this is going through legislation, campaigns, through the media, and it is just in its beginning. in this way, i must say there might be a slight difference
between so-called left and right in israel because the israeli left has some kind of commitment , at least for the democracy for the jews. because as you might know, israelis may be the only place on earth with three regimes. we are having three regimes. one is a so-called liberal democracy for its jewish citizens which has many now, but it is still functioning. i have total freedom in israel, this must be mentioned. i write whatever i want. i appear on tv. i cannot claim that someone is shutting my mouth except the people in the street who would like to spit at me or threatening me. but by the end of the day, this freedom which i don't take for granted and might not last for long, this freedom is there. then comes the second regime, a
the discriminating regime, israeli-palestinians. the israeli citizens who are palestinians, 20% of the population. they are discriminated in any possible aspect of life, but they gave equal rights. they can vote, they can be elected. that is the second regime. the third regime, which is real is hiding, is the military occupation. here i allow myself to say with no doubt that this isoccupation. here today one of the most brutal, cruel, tyrannies on earth. i repeat it. the military occupation in the occupied territories is one of the brutal, cruel tyrannies on
earth. israele can someone call the only democracy in the middle backyard, there is one of the most cruel, brutal tyrannies in the world? how could you do it? can you be half pregnant, half democratic? can you be a democracy in the front and a cheery in your back -- a tyranny in your backyard? here comes the next fight. the claim that it is all temporary. no, my friends, it was never meant to be temporary. it is not temporary and it will not be temporary if it depends on israel. israeli --ever the important position, prime minister, who really meant to
put an end to the occupation. none of them. some of them wanted to gain time and strengthen the occupation. some others wanted to gain time by getting interim agreements, just for gaining time. some others wanted to the perceived by the world as people of peace, but none of them had the intention to put an end to the occupation. how do i know it? i don't know what is in their hearts. i know only one thing. israel has never stopped building settlements. and anyone who builds one house in the occupied territories have no intention whatsoever to put an end to the occupation. [applause] gideon: and those bluffs should
be called. here i come to you all. skeptical about change within the israeli society, because life in israel the systemgood and is far too efficient, to have a dialogue today with most of the israelis even for me is almost an impossible job. many times, i find myself together where we meet, ordinary israelis, good people. they will volunteer anywhere but you started talk to them about the occupation, after two your s, you want to tear hairs. you don't know what to do. brainwashing is so deep and the denial is so deep. the ignorance, they know nothing. anyone in this hall knows so
much more about the occupation, including those who served. they know nothing. what they know is wrong. so to expect a change from within the society, when restaurants are packed, when beautiful, when there is hardly terror in israel -- even what they call terror, beautifus hardly the exploding buses and all those violent ishe only mainly in the occupied territories. not in tel aviv. tel aviv is living a very peaceful, secure life. to expect this society to stand , what to say no more incentive? balance is that
israelis have been gaining out of the occupation or not paying anything for it, as long as any israeli does not feel that he, that the occupation is something he should be think about, why should he be bothered? he is not paid, punished. he does not make the linkage. even if they remember the years, which were really bloody with exploding buses and suicide bombers, nobody made the linkage to the occupation. if you dare to make the linkage, you will be mediately deemed as a traitor. how dare you, you justify terror. they were born to kill. it has nothing to do with the occupation. change,s no progress or even after the violence. if life is so good, there is really no reason to go for a change, and therefore, the hope
for change from within the israeli society is very minimal. with all respect to those groups who are fighting, who are not giving up, who are going to demonstrate every friday against the occupation, against all those things, wonderful people, including many young people, but finally, it is a small group. therefore, people like me, my only hope is for people like you. that is right now the only hope. we are hearing here today, all veryincluding from grant, knowledgeable lecture. figures that are depressing even me. strong,sh lobby is so but by the end of the day, let's see it in a more realistic way.
they are moving now the american embassy to jerusalem. big victory for israel. big victory for the occupation. by the end of the day, what does it mean? it means the united states has declared officially the death of the two state solution. it means that the united states has declared officially what we knew for many years, that the united states is not and cannot be the fair mediator. it declared that the united states is officially the front of the occupation and only of the occupation. that theed officially funeral of the two state solution and the funeral of america as a mediator in the middle east went to its priority. for the long run, i see it as an
achievement. end of the masquerade, end of the lip services. m very grateful. you will be surprised for donald trump who brought us there. now, i just feel sorry for one person. this is not so much. i really feel so much sympathy, empathy and sorrow for friedman. david he will have to move from the sea, this lovely villa to jerusalem. believe me, he deserves it. [laughter] [applause] the ambassador of the settlement was the costume of the american ambassador, even though the ambassador of israel is the ambassador of the settlement. just the extreme ones, if there is a difference, will have to
move to jerusalem. what is a bigger gift than to see among the tensions, the border police in every corner, with all the violence and the tension, the occupation every step you step in jerusalem, what will be more of a gift for us to see him there rather than in front of the sea? so, we should not give up. may, with all my modesty, my ideas for what you should do, who am i to tell you? i hardly know what to tell do.lf what to i saw it in three main issues right now. one must be to fight do. i saw it in three main issues right this unbelievable process of criminalization of criticizing
israel. this must stop and we shouldn't give up. now it isoday that about any critic of israel. the fact that someone who raises his voice for justice is criminalized is, first of all, a domestic problem. what kind of society is this? what kind of society is this, criminalizing those who support justice? and praises those who support the violations of international law, the crime. this should be one of our goals not to give up,. ,hen they call you anti-semites they get paralyzed. if you call someone an anti-semi in europe, he is paralyzed.
and they take advantage of it in the very manipulative way. don't let them. you should be proud in raising your voice. the only game in town. [applause] a legitimates tool. callings using it by hamas,ld to boycott boycott iran. you have the full right not to buy products from sweatshops in south asia. you have the full hamas, boycott iran. you have the full right not to buy products from a shop which sells meat. and you have the full right not to buy products from a country or an area that you feel that something is wrong there. what does it mean that you should apologize for boycotting
-- thatg that is deserves boycott? yet one can claim had not reported about real success, economic success maybe, but we have one truth why bds is the right thing to do. nervous.israel gets if they get so nervous, you can know that is the right way. [applause] gideon: grant, if you will invite me next year again or two years, i am not sure if i will be able to say those sentences because those insensible very soon become a violation of israeli law. you are not allowed to call for
boycotting israel, but let's show them. the second challenge that i see to tear theo try lie that israel is the only democracy in the middle east. we need it desperately. it is all about the truth. it is all about telling the people the truth. a state whichre, possesses one of the most brutal tyrannys on earth cannot be called a democracy, period. lie that you have to allow myself is a just you fight, is the lie that all of this is temporary. after 50 years of occupation, why would you say after 50
years? after 100 years of occupation or 70 years? because 48 never stopped. it is the same policy the same lies among the same brainwashed, the same excuses, and and as long as this continues, this isan claim that temporary. the occupation is there to stay, and we should call the bluff and achehis colonialist project -- colonialistic project has no intention to come to an end. there are those who claim no, you never had an intention to
put an end to its come and you do not have it. 0, 0, 0 in myay timer, is it an appreciation of zeros?, 3 in any case, my last sentence should be what is the solution, and it was mentioned here, and i am not going to elaborate, but i feel committed to say so. for many years, i was the supporter of the two-state solution, a reasonable and achievable solution. total justice will never be achieved in this part of the world. but i saw this would be a solution, fair, just even though i lot of injustice is about. we are dealing about 22% of the
palestinians and 78 percent of the jews. i do not know how many of you are familiar, the dramatic sect that already today between the jordan river and the mediterranean, there are exactly 50, 6 million israelis and 6 million palestinians rate there are six -- palestinians. there are 6 million jews, but it is roughly half and half, two peoples, equal right now. so if someone thinks that one people can dominate another people, and let's get back to zionism and the title of this zionism isasic of
that there is one people, which is privileged over the other. that is the core. and this cannot go. and if it goes, it has only one name -- and here we call it apartheid. so i totally join your analysts today which i learned a lot of, and others, even if it's towns like a utopia, even if it sounds like something unthinkable, it is time for us to change the discourse, it is time for us to talk about equal rights, about one person, one vote, and let's challenge israel. israel will say no. then we can officially declare israel as an apartheid country, because there is no other way. if you deny equal rights, you
are not a democracy officially. there is no question of points of view or opinion. it is a matter of fact. and israel obviously will say no. but we should not give up because by the end of the day, i truly believe the palestinians andisraelis, palestinians jews can live together. we tried it in the past. it is being tried today in all kinds of small frameworks. .ou can really live together believe me, i would rather have a palestinian prime minister than benjamin netanyahu. [applause] mr. levy: so by the end of the about theuld be clear vision. we should understand that the road is still very long to go. we are just in the beginning.
likely, these are the last years in which i continue to say sleep,out of my two-state solution, knowing it will never happen, knowing that no one is going to evacuate 700,000 settlers, knowing that nobody -- will not solve the basic problems. so we have a vision. we have mean wise some goals. there is so much of work to do for you and us, so let's not waste more time on talking this. -- talkings. thank you very much. [applause] [cheers] we have time for a couple questions. and he managed to outpace a lot
of these questions, so it is rather easy. i will let him take his sip of one of the, but questions is, could the occupation continue to exist ,ithout united states supports please elaborate. [laughter] mr. levy: could the occupation continue? yes. could it continue without the united states? even not for a few months. and this must be clear. if it would not have been an american president who would really like to put an end to the occupation, he occupation would have ended a long time ago. it was never an american president who wanted it so. i stand here so i see everyone. >> thank you. mr. levy: because then you do not know who is talking.
the other question is extremely interesting. esteemed scholar made this argument to me last night. who he is, but his first name starts with an n and his lasting starts with an f. what do you say to those who say bdf furthers the narrative about israel needing victims and security? mr. levy: it is a very good question, and we know that many times pressure from the outside united israel, but only for the first while, for the first period of time. by the end of the day, we have to confront the israelis with their reality, because they are totally disconnected from reality. evivianant to see the tel
who realize what he wants to go to europe, he wants a visa, that he wants to export some of his goods, he is going to work very hard to do so if at all. and then he will ask himself, was it worth it? was it really worth it?' and i can ensure you that after rhetoric thatt -- we are always against the world who hates us, and rationality will come into the picture. austrianought that airlines can bring p street it was on the last attack in gaza on 2030. some airlines stopped flying to israel, and austrian was the first one. i do it lasted like 20 hours. but in those 20 hours from
israel went mad. israelis lost their temper. it was crazy. and then i thought, imagine yourself that austrian airlines was just a dream line -- a daydream. austrian airlines declares as long as the occupation continues, austrian airlines will not fly to israel. the israel -- the occupation comes to its end without -- when israelis will be prevented to get to macy's for the shopping or to get to the galleria in paris for the shopping, this will be the day the occupation will be over. >> thank you. [applause] so this question says it seems many israelis have become fully disillusioned, simply leave israel.
is there any hope of israel changing from within when you have so many people with somewhat similar views do yours leaving? mr. levy: unfortunately, we cannot count on this. israelis whoe good cannot take it anymore, and some of them are leaving. i hear more and more israeli parents, jen never heard before, who wish that their children would stay there. this i never heard before, because for parents it was always a catastrophe if some of the children would leave. you hear it more and more. but by the end of the day when we look at the figures, those are not meaningful figures. yes, there are some good ones who leave. yes, many more are talking about it, but by the end of the day, this will not be a game changer, not for the time being.
>> ok, last question then. --s as you have many readers it says you have many readers abroad, and you can say journalists -- you can say many things that journalists in the u.s. to not find a way to do. why is it that you get to be giddy and leave the -- gideon levy and nobody else does? [laughter] [applause] as if it is such a leavy -- to be gideon levy. i wish it was not. i wish i was a restaurant critic, going to one from another, writing about the truth about the food that i have had, and nobody would raise this question. it is not for me to answer.
as i said here last time, and i always say, i was a really good boy in tel aviv. i was really raised to be something else. and something went wrong. [laughter] mr. levy: but now it is too late to correct it. i am trying, but i really do not have any other choice but to continue. many times people say keep up your good work and so forth and so on. i do not have any other choice. it is not a question of choice. it. attuned to >> sears -- seriously speaking, the fact that i can raise my voice should not be taken for granted. if this regime, government, or a similar government would continue with the same way, they will get to us as well. aretz is an island
in israel. retz is an island in a stormy ocean, and they do everything possible to close haaretz down, i do think i have -- ia wonderful home with do not think there is one publisher in the world, when he gets a protest of a reader if subscriber who is very angry at me, do you know what he tells them? z is not aaret newspaper for you to read it. do not read it. the publisher. we are really struggling on each reader and each subscriber, and he says it is not for you, it is not for you. se are very little hopes, but it is good to conclude with some kind of hope and optimism. as long as haaretz is there, i
will be there hopefully. hope is still be created, a b there hope, i do not know, but thank you so much for coming today. [applause] >> monday morning we will have more on u.s. relations with israel when the american-israel public affairs committee holds its conference in washington. and tomby amy klobuchar cotton. to watch comments live at 8:30 eastern on c-span2. later in the day, or from the apac conference with comments from mike pence and nikki haley
live at 5:00 p.m. on c-span3. >> tonight, a supreme court case dealing with the issue of public sector employees and union fees. use case argued this week, jan v. afscme. we will show that tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. after that, the service for billy graham who died last week. guests today included family, friends, and dignitaries, trump andpresident the first lady and the vice president and his wife. the service was held today at the billy graham library in charlotte. see the event at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, valerie wilson
of the economic policy institute discusses the economic inequality gap for african-americans. then mary beth griggs on popular science talks about the future in the unitedrgy states. and mac hardy of the national association of school resource officers on the role of those officers and school safety. and be sure to watch "washington journal" each sunday for a special series on 1968, america in turmoil. we look back 50 years to that time in 1968, including the vietnam war and a fractious presidential election. unfoldsn, where history daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white e,