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Feminist Studies 45, no. 2/3. © 2019 by Feminist Studies, Inc.  rabab abdulhadi IsraeliSettler ColonialisminContext: Celebrating (Palestinian) Death and Normalizing Gender and Sexual Violence the fifty-one-day israeli military assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014 resulted in the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children , as well as 11,231 injured and at least 500,000 displaced. This event destroyed infrastructure and the livelihoods of an already impoverished and vulnerable Palestinian population.1 As the Israeli military intensified its aerial and artillery bombardment, rhetoric employing sexualized , racist, Orientalist and Islamophobic tropes also intensified in Israeli public discourse. This included images on social media such as the portrayal of Gaza as a half-naked woman in a niqab with a caption calling on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to rape her. Public banners sponsored by the City Council of Or Yehuda declared, “Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Or Yehuda’s residents are with you! Pound ‘their mothers ’ and return safely to your own mother!” At the completion of their two-year military service, Israeli men printed T-shirts that depicted a bullseye pointing at a pregnant Palestinian munaqqaba (a woman wearing a niqab) with the caption, “1 shot, 2 kills,” implying that the Israeli soldier can kill both the woman and her unborn child. Such violent 1. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ocHa), Occupied Palestinian Territory, “Key Figures on the 2014 Hostilities: Data Featured in the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict,” June 23, 2015, https://www.ochaopt.org/content /key-figures-2014-hostilities. 542 Rabab Abdulhadi Islamophobic discourse was not new to Israel nor exceptional among settler colonial regimes. However, the overt, public, and unapologetic audacity was new, especially when examined against Israel’s historically careful management of its public image, especially on the international stage.2 In this essay, I analyze this new climate of casually violent rhetoric , which includes Facebook and Twitter posts. This emerging discourse signals that the public space for oppositional expression in Israel has shrunk, turning it into even more of a police state—a reality that Indigenous Palestinians have experienced in both the past and present, but of which the majority of Ashkenazi Jewish Israelis are only recently becoming more aware.3 Since its inception in 1948, Israel has made the promotion of its image as an egalitarian and inclusive society a top national security priority . This task was historically assigned to the Israeli cabinet, Israel’s intelligence agencies—the Mossad and Shin Beit—as well as the Israeli military.4 More recently, Israel created the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and assigned experienced Mossad officials to the task.5 Furthermore, Israel’s Zionist supporters among US Republicans, Democrats, and the Christian right have raised tens of millions of dollars specifically to 2. David Reibstein, “Ido Aharoni: Why Brand Capital Is Part of National Security ,” Knowledge@Wharton Podcast, May 1, 2015, https://knowledge.wharton .upenn.edu/article/why-brand-capital-is-part-of-national-security. 3. By Indigenous, I refer to the totality of the Palestinian people, whether they became refugees after being expelled from their land by Zionist militias when Israel was founded in 1948 or they live under Israel’s colonial rule in the areas defined as such in 1948 and 1967. 4. Ali Abunimah, “Israel Using ‘Black Ops’ Against bDS, Says Veteran Analyst,” Electronic Intifada, September 5, 2016, https://electronicintifada.net/blogs /ali-abunimah/israel-using-black-ops-against-bds-says-veteran-analyst; Asa Winstanley, “Israel Reveals ‘Delegitimization Department’ to Spy on Boycott Activists,” Electronic Intifada, August 27, 2015, https://electronicin tifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israel-reveals-delegitimization-department -spy-boycott-activists; Asa Winstanley, “Mossad Proxy Faked Violent Facebook Anti-Semitism,” Electronic Intifada, January 16, 2016, https://electronicintifada .net/blogs/asa-winstanley/mossad-proxy-faked-violent-facebook -anti-semitism; Jonathan Cook, “Did Banned Media Report Foretell of Gaza War Crimes?” Electronic Intifada, April 15, 2010, https://electronicintifada .net/content/did-banned-media-report-foretell-gaza-war-crimes/8788. 5. Itamar Eichner, “Government Creates Joint Program for Rapid bDS Response,” Ynetnews, December 29, 2017, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L5063599 ,00.html. Rabab Abdulhadi 543 salvage Israel’s...

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