Global communication has allowed us to increase our knowledge of remote facts, but state propaganda facilitated by that very same global communication increasingly twists those facts. It is astonishing that most Westerners imagine Israel as a liberal democratic state, friendly to Jews and militant toward Arabs. The first was never true; the other two have been false for the last thirty years. Let’s set things straight.

Israel was never a liberal state. It was developed by die-hard communists—so die-hard that they emigrated from the socialist Soviet Union to found even-more-socialist kibbutzim. The kibbutzim embodied communism even more than the Soviet state farms: property was communalized, the income of individuals was lumped together and then distributed arbitrarily, children were often raised by the commune more than by their parents, and some kibbutzim even tried the arch-communist idea of communal sexual relations. Until the late 1970s, Israeli secret services and the IDF’s higher echelons were stuffed exclusively by leftist members of MAPAI (the Worker’s Party). Israel was so clearly going in a socialist direction that Stalin supported it both politically in the UN and militarily by arms sales through Czechoslovakia. The Israeli economy is typically communist: heavily state-owned, heavily trade-unionized, susceptible to periodic bursts of inflation, highly protective in terms of customs tariffs, tightly regulated to the point where common citizens find it nearly impossible to establish productive businesses, and with huge redistribution of wealth via heavy taxes. Israeli public expenditures as a ratio of GDP are by far the highest in the Western world. Israel today is a typical post-communist country.

Zionism was never associated with Jewish ideas. All the founding fathers of Zionism were secular, assimilated Jews. Their ideology was exactly the same as that of “civilized” nineteenth-century German anti-Semites: Jews are bizarre and should be made like other peoples. Thus the Jewishness was explicitly rejected. Zionists were building a new state, rather than returning to the ancient Jewish state. Following Hertzl, many Zionists accepted Uganda, rather than the Land of Israel, as the site of the Jewish state, and only incidentally settled in Palestine—mostly to garner support for a Jewish state among the Christian powers. Zionists tried to make German the official language of Israel. Failing to do that, they transposed Russian-based slang onto ancient Hebrew letters, which now passes for beautiful biblical Hebrew in Israel. Zionists advocated parting with Jewish history and abandoning traditional Jewish intellectualism and entrepreneurship; their ideal Jew was a rootless proletarian. Zionism expunged Judaism to the point of attacks on religious Jews by young socialists. Zionist anti-religious propaganda copied the efforts of Soviet atheists. To this day Israeli schools subject Jewish children to anti-religious brainwashing. Peculiarly, Israeli schools teach young Jews Islam, ostensibly for the sake of coexistence with Muslims, but in fact to undermine the standing of Jewish religion. To the same end, the schools teach children a history of religion rather than the religion itself. This is done in order to breed cynicism through the primitive, spiritless, seemingly scientific dissection of Judaism. The much-touted government subsidies to religious Jews are minuscule compared to government subsidies to Arabs. Moshe Katsav was forced out of the office with incredible, demonstrably untrue criminal allegations after he, a Sephardi Jew, refused to honor the leader of the UK Reformists as a rabbi. Katsav honestly acted on what every Jew knows: Reformism is not a version of Judaism, but a Jewish social venue dressed in religious garb. Though superficially paying respect to Judaism, Israel actually undermines it.

In conjunction with the Diaspora organizations, Israel undermines Jewish values. In order to set a moral example to the world, the Jews have to be different; if we’re not different, then what is the example? But the assimilated leadership wants the Jews to likewise assimilate. If Jews assimilate, then their unelected leaders would be left without a flock. So the Jewish establishment attempts to strike a non-existent balance between cultural assimilation and national perseveration. That is impossible. If Jews are people like everyone else, why resist inter-marriage? If Judaism is ethics, are Gentiles less ethical? Surely Gentiles are perfectly ethical, and their ethics are indistinguishable from Jewish ethics. The atheist leaders who abandoned Judaism and the struggle for moral purity cannot offer the Jews a reason to be different, to avoid intermarriage—a reason to be Jewish. The leaders replace Judaism with Hanukah parties at Reformist temples. Their rabbis don’t tell the flock the real story of Hanukkah, which was not an independence war (Judea simply changed imperial masters, from the Greeks to the Romans), but a brutal civil war between Orthodox Jews and liberals who sought to Hellenize the country. Tolerant modern Jews emphasize the freedom of worship that Israel offers to all religions in Jerusalem. That’s exactly the ultimate religious offense that the prophets lambasted and the kings of Judea were punished for. It is so politically incorrect to be Jewish.

Israel lacks freedom of speech. There is military censorship, but more important impediments to the freedom of expression are Israeli laws against defamation. Whereas civilized countries allow defamation of public figures, which serves the public interest by uncovering their wrongdoings, in Israel (as in Russia) public figures enjoy better legal protection against defamation than commoners. Journalists writing about Israeli public figures must be ready to prove their every word in court. Civilized countries adopt the opposite doctrine: the defamed public figures have to prove malicious intent on the offender’s part. Israeli public figures have sued numerous journalists for unproved accusations, conjectures, and even mere insults, often obtaining bankrupting judgments. Israel licenses the media, and no conservative media receives broadcasting licenses. There are no right-wing journalists in Israel because no news outlet would publish them. The Jerusalem Post is the single centrist newspaper. The Israeli media are owned entirely by oligarchs who depend on the government for profits and take no interest in criticizing it. There is no independent media in Israel.

Freedom of expression is legally curtailed in Israel. Sharon’s government criminalized mere opposition to the disengagement from Gaza—and many people were sentenced to jail for expressing their opposition. In a recent case, conservative activist Ben Gvir was convicted of abetting a terrorist organization for simply holding a poster that read, “Kahane was right.” The Israeli High Court recently overruled as too lenient a lower court’s sentence of two teenagers who burned tires in 2005 during protests against the disengagement from Gaza. The court ruled—literally—that the teenagers’ actions constituted political protest, and as such should be severely punished. The very reason for absolving from prosecution—freedom of political expression—is turned into the pretext for punishment and aggravating circumstance.

Police violently disperse peaceful demonstrations, routinely break the bones of the demonstrators, beat them mercilessly, and even tear their nostrils. Police perpetrated Cossack-style pogroms in religious neighborhoods to discourage peaceful religious protests against deliberately provocative actions such as gay parades in Jerusalem. The police entered the Mea Shearim neighborhood at night, broke windows with water cannons, broke the doors down and beat religious Jews, from children to elderly rabbis. Police routinely detain conservative activists engaged in peaceful protests for months without charges, or they cynically invent absurd charges such as elderly women attacking the police. There are many cases of police arresting and beating Jewish women with babies at their breast. Police commonly detain and beat teenagers, both boys and girls, even twelve-year-olds, for simply participating in anti-government demonstrations. Such cases of extreme police brutality—including reported attempts at rape and sexual abuse, broken bones, and torn livers—always go unpunished. Police often act against Jews in conjunction with the army, though every civilized country forbids using the army against its own people. Almost every demonstration by any right-of-center group is accompanied by police violence. The police’s treatment of leftist groups is extremely lenient: Israeli and foreign anarchists routinely break the separation barrier before the eyes of policemen, and even attack the police. Such violent behavior is unimaginable at demonstrations by conservatives, who are thrown into jail in numbers for false misdemeanors. Israeli police act specifically against the conservative opponents of the regime. It is critical for the Israeli establishment to suppress any conservative expression because their defeatist anti-Jewish policies are so absurd that even the least dissent would crack the system.

Israeli security forces hunt political opponents of the regime. Conservative Jewish activists are routinely sentenced under the anti-guerrilla provisions of the British Mandate Administration, which is still operational in Israel. That means Jews are tried secretly before military courts. The defendants are not allowed to hear the evidence against them—which is allegedly secret. Afghan terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and Palestinian terrorists in the same Israeli courts enjoy much wider due process than Jews. Police search the houses of conservative activists at whim; there is no freedom from unreasonable search and seizure in Israel. The policemen who deliberately tore the nostrils of a peaceful protester against the withdrawal from Gaza (Vitkin) were sentenced to three-to-six months’ community work. Israel’s practice of judicial harassment evolved from frightening precedents: from the pre-state period when Haganah forces assassinated Ben Gurion’s political opponents such as Arlozoroff, to the “Season” operation against the independent Jewish fighters who targeted the occupying British forces, to the routine wiretaps of political opponents. Israeli police commonly pursue unfounded investigations of political figures to either blackmail or smear them. Sharon initially attempted a tough and largely effective policy in the Hamas-ridden Gaza, but the leftist Attorney General besieged his family with multiple investigations, forcing Sharon to follow the peace camp’s policy of evacuation from Gaza. Olmert and other politicians were similarly threatened with criminal prosecution unless they cooperated with the peace camp. No of these charges resulted in meaningful convictions, but they remain a powerful tool of political blackmail.

Western legal practitioners commonly regard the Israeli High Court as the most activist court in the world. The ultra-leftist court changes and amends laws, hands down judgments based exclusively on its own sense of fairness without even referencing a relevant precedent, and micro-manages everything from military efforts to construction. The High Court routinely commands the IDF to make particular moves, such as moving the separation barrier a few meters. The court hears an immense number of trivial cases, and effectively usurps executive power. The High Court appoints its own judges.

There was a judge in Israel named Yiftah. A Robin Hood in his youth, he was knowledgeable neither in Torah nor in the law. He just led Israel against her enemies. And in doing so, he was a thousand times more just than any law-enforcement official today.