Israel’s Racist Election – The main debate is ‘Who Has Killed the Most Palestinians?’
Israel’s Racist Election – The main debate is ‘Who Has Killed the Most Palestinians?’
Israel’s Racist Election – The
main debate is ‘Who Has Killed the Most Palestinians?’
As the Zionist ‘Left’ Disappear will the Generals’ Blue & White Party Replace Netanyahu?
Western countries, parties compete over issues such as taxation,
nationalisation/privatisation, poverty, Brexit, refugees, global warming in
general elections. Political parties in most European countries, with the
exception of avowedly racist parties of the far-Right, are inclusive of ethnic
minorities and supporters of different religions and faiths. It is unknown in
Europe, with the exception of fascist parties, for parties to frame their
arguments in terms of maintaining a demographic majority of a certain section
of the population.
Israel, the self-styled ‘only democracy in the Middle East’,
politics are entirely different. You have Jewish parties and Arab parties. Only
the Communist Party, Hadash, and to a less extent the left-Zionist party
Meretz, has a mixed membership.
other feature of Israeli politics is its political instability. Parties
come and go virtually every election. So Tzipi Livni’sHatnuah, which
was the offshoot of Kadimah and in 2009 the largest party in the Knesset,
latterly in alliance with the Israeli Labour Party, will disappear.
have been a plethora of ‘centrist’ parties in Israel, from the old General
Zionists, to Shinui to Yesh Atid, each more right-wing than its predecessor.
Springing up out of nowhere is the Blue and White Party an
alliance of the right-centrist (though in the Israeli context labels like left,
right and centre are largely meaningless)Yesh Atid and Resilience,
a new party formed by former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz together with two other
former Chiefs of Staff Moshe Yalon and Gabi Ashkenzi. Not for nothing is it
known as the General’s Party.
Elizabeth Tsurkov of the liberal Zionist Forwardobserved‘Campaign ads seem to be competing
over which candidate has killed the most Palestinians.’ This is what
British politicians such as Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner calla
‘beacon of democracy’. Presumably Jews getting to have a vote on which
party can kill most Arabs is an example of democracy at its best!
Avi Dichter, a former Director of Shin Bet, Israel’s
equivalent of MI5, put out a video which ends with “A thousand mothers
of terrorists will cry and my mother won’t.” In the minds of most
Israelis every Palestinian is a terrorist. Gantz put out an ad boasting of how
many Palestinian militants had been killed in Gaza in 2014. Tsurkov wrote that
these campaign ads ‘demonize, ridicule and belittle Palestinians, who are
presented as a people without history, pathological liars and terrorists.’ This
is Israel today.
A primaries campaign video put
out by Likud’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli shows her speaking in the
Knesset where she presented a book filled with empty pages. According to
Hotovely, that book represents the history of the Palestinian people. She proclaimed
that: “You have no Kings, no heritage sites” in Israel. An ad produced by Culture Minister Miri
Regev, a self-proclaimed fascist, refers to Palestinian citizens of Israel as a
“trojan horse,” and the Joint List uniting several Arab parties as a “fifth
column.” Those with a sense of history will remember that accusations of
being a fifth column were a favourite in the days of McCarthyism. It
is a rerun of the Nazi theme of the ‘stab in the back’.
boasted of sending Gaza back into ‘the stone age’ during Operation
Protective Edge in 2014. A boast not without
foundation. Netanyahu who is playing the Arab card for all its worth
accused Gantz and his party of being ‘leftists’ which in Israel today is
week Jewish Home’s Central Committee agreed to an electoral pact with Otzma
Yehudit which will receive the 5thand 8th seats
on the list making it all but certain that one of their members will be elected.
Yehudit is led by an open supporter of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane,
former MK Michael ben Ari. The actions of Netanyahu in seeking to unify the
ultra-Right with Otzma Yehudit has led to an unprecedented
backlash amongst diaspora Zionist organisations. Even the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee has condemned this alliance ashas the American Jewish Committee though
this hasn’t stopped AIPAC from inviting Netanyahu to its conference in
March. Netanyahu’s opportunism however may backfire on him judging by the
reaction amongst even loyal Zionists abroad. As Phillip Weiss and Yossi
outrage at Netanyahu over the move has been unprecedented, for rehabilitating
the “David Dukes” of the Israeli political scene, heirs to Meir Kahane who
advocate for transfer of Palestinians to other countries.’
Hayom, an Israeli free-sheet which is owned
by Sheldon Adelson, one of the largest donors to Trump’s election
campaign, had a screaming headline calling
AIPAC‘irresponsible’ for getting involved in domestic politics.
rationale was that Otzma Yehudit might, as in the 2013 and
2015 elections ‘waste’ votes by standing and thus imperil the election of a
Likud government. His solution was for Jewish Home to form an
electoral pact with Otzma Yehudit because a party now needs
3.25% to enter the Knesset.
Home Party is already in an electoral alliance with Bezalel
Smotrich MK’s Tkuma party. Smotrich describes
himself as a ‘proud homophobe’ and openly supports the
segregation of Israel’s Arab citizens. He has defended the practice of Israeli
hospitals which separate Jewish and Arab women in maternity wards.
General Election is impossible to call at the moment because there are a number
of variables, not least the impact if Netanyahu is indicted for corruption. In
most countries this would be a death sentence for a candidate but Israel is not
According to polling from Israel’s
Channel 12 in Israel (tweeted by Lahav Harkov) the following is how the parties
and White 36
UTJ (religious party) 7
New Right 6 (Shaked/Bennett)
Ta’al Hadash (Tibi/Odeh) 6
Joint List 6
Shas (religious Mizrahi party) 5
Yisrael Beytenu 4
Bayit Yehudi (including Jewish Power) 4
clear that the Israeli Labour Party is heading for
disaster. The ILP formed every single government from 1948 to 1977
as well as the 1992 and 1999 governments. It was last in a coalition government
in 2011. Since then Netanyahu has formed every government. In 2015 under Isaac
Herzog the ILP ran on a joint electoral list with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah and
gained 24 seats.
the ILP elected a new leader, Avi Gabbay, a formerMinister in Netanyahu’s
government, who immediately decided to move the ILP several degrees
further to the Right. Among his policy innovations were to supportNetanyahu’s attempt to deport Israel’s
40,000 Black African refugees on the grounds that they were neither White nor
Jewish. He also supported the retention of the
settlements. Gabbay, who was Chief Executive of Israel’s largest company, Bezeq
International, a telecommunications giant, from 2007-2014 echoed Netanyahu when
he declared that:
1997, Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] said that ‘the left has forgotten what
it means to be Jewish.’ Do you know what the left did in response? Forgot [how]
to be Jews,”
the pathetic level of the ideology of the Israeli Labour Party. It is a sign of
desperation of a party which has no purpose and it would seem no social base in
Gabbay at the beginning of the election campaign, in front of the TV cameras,
publicly humiliated Tzipi Livni by announcing that their electoral pact was
over. Livni, although a horrendous racist and a war criminal in her own right,
is nonetheless seen as on the left in Israel, which is an indication of just
how far right-wing Israeli politics are today. But if Gabbay thought that he
would receive an electoral boost from this he was soon to be disappointed. The
ILP ‘strategy’ of moving further and further to the Right simply alienates
those Israelis still on the Left without appeasing those on the Right. Gabbay
is yet to learn that however fast and far he moves to the Right Netanyahu can
move even faster, even to the extent of taking genuine neo-Nazis on board.
At the moment although Blue and White is
estimated to gain 36 seats to the Likud’s 30, Netanyahu still has the greatest
chance of forming a government coalition. Gantz’s B&W, even if it receives
the support of Meretz, the ILP and Kulanu will still only have 52 seats. Given
their refusal to contemplate a coalition with Arabs, Netanyahu is likely to be
able to form a coalition with the religious parties (12) and the far-Right
parties (15) making a total of 57.
If current projections are correct then the Jewish Orthodox
parties will go down from 13 to 12 seats, Kulanu – a Likud offshoot – will
decline from 10 to four – and the far-Right will increase from 11 to 14.
this is to miss out one factor. The Police long ago recommended that Netanyahu
should be indicted for corruption and it is likely that before the election campaign
finishes Attorney General Avichai Mendelbit will charge
Netanyahu. In most states purporting to be democratic and a few
which are not, that would spell the death knell of a
candidate. However in Israel nothing is guaranteed. There
has been a systematic campaign of intimidation against Mendelbit including the
desecration of his father’s grave. Such is the nature of Israeli politics.
which originates in Ratz, the Civil Rights Party and Mapam, the United Workers
Party, had 12 seats in 1992. Today they have five seats and are hovering
on the brink of extinction with a predicted 4 seats. If Meretz do fail to get
candidates elected to the Knesset it will be the end of a long tradition of
left-Zionism, the most hypocritical face of Zionism. They talked socialism but
practised segregation. Mapam talked about co-existence but their Kibbutzim were
not only Jewish only but were established on the ruins of destroyed Arab
March 2018 Tamar Zandberg replaced Zehava Gal On as leader of Meretz. Tamar
Zandberg was elected after havinghired a right-wing election fixer Moshe
Klughaft as an adviser to her campaign. Klughaft was previously a strategist
for Jewish Home and had targeted left-wing activists and
Under Zandberg Meretz has focussed mainly on peripheral
topics such as the environment, cannabis legalisation, civil and gay marriage
to the exclusion of the major issue in Israel which is the Occupation of the
Territories and the racism and discrimination against Israel’s Palestinian
Zandberg is on record as stating that she would join a
government coalition with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beteinu. Lieberman
is an open advocate of the transfer of Israel’s Arab population out of Israel
and the imposition of a loyalty oath on Israel’s non-Jewish population. Galon
called this ‘flushing ideology down the toilet” though to be fair Meretz
has long ago dispensed with anything in the way of ideology.
Zandberg also called on the Israeli Labour Party to form a
joint party or electoral pact, which would save Meretz from extinction but
Gabbay rejected this out of hand.
The other major development is the splitting of the Joint
Arab-Jewish List into two. Previously the Arab parties have run separately but
in 2014, on the proposal of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s fascist Defence
Minister, the threshold for election to the Knesset was raised from 2% to
3.25%. The purpose was to eliminate the Arab parties from the Knesset but what
happened was that they unified in one Joint List. Ironically
Lieberman’s Yisrael Beteinu nearly didn’t qualify!
However this time around the Joint list has split into two separate electoral alliances. Ahmad Tibi’s Ta’al has combined with Haddash (Communist) and Balad (National Democratic Union) has united with the United Arab List (Ra’am). Tibi, a veteran member of the Knesset, believedthat his group, was underrepresented in the Knesset.
According to the Channel 12 poll above both alliances are
scheduled to get 6 seats each though according to Channel 13’s poll, as
reported in The Times of Israel, the Hadash-Ta’al group
will get 10 seats and Balad and Ra’am will get 4 seats, which if true would be
an improvement of one over the present situation.
I hesitate from this distance to make any predictions about
Israel’s General Election. My hunch is that Likud will be rocked by
Netanyahu’s indictment and that this may propel the General’s party into power.
What isn’t in much doubt is that the Zionist ‘left’, if it can be called that,
is going to be heavily defeated. It is quite possible that Meretz, whoseraison
d’être has long since vanished will disappear and the Israeli Labour
Party will pay a heavy price for trying to imitated Likud.
On the Israeli Palestinian front it is regrettable that the
Joint Arab List split. It is entirely possible that Balad and Ra’am will also
fail to make the minimum of 4 seats and thus be eliminated from the Knesset. It
is a great pity that firstly Ahmad Tibi put the interests of his own party
above Arab unity and secondly that Hadash and the more nationalist parties were
unable to unite.
Hadash has always had a Jewish member of the Knesset even
though it receives very few Jewish votes. The days have long since gone when
Israel’s Jewish voters would elect communists to the
Knesset. However the replacement for Dov Kheinin, Dr Ofer Cassif, a
lecturer at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University is a far more dynamic character. He
has had no hesitation in describing Israel today as politically similar to Nazi
Germany in the 1930’s.
In a lecture to his students, which was secretly recorded
‘”those who refuse to see the similarities between
what is happening in Israel, specifically in the past two years, and Germany in
the 1930s, has a problem and will be responsible for the potential situation of
Cassif also called Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s ‘Justice
Minister’ and a member of Jewish Home (now the United Right) Party a ‘filthy
neo-Nazi’ Which is about right. Shaked has previously declared that
Israel should abandon universal values of human rights in favour of ‘Jewish
values’ and that the Torah and halachah should form part of
the jurisprudence of the Israeli legal system. Shaked also calledfor the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza
in a (now deleted) Facebook post where she wrote, quoting Uri Elitzur, a
settler leader, speechwriter and close advisor to Netanyahu, who had died
a few months previously that:
‘What’s so horrifying about understanding
that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two
peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is
They are all enemy combatants, and their
blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the
martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow
their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical
homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be
There is nothing more just, and probably
nothing more efficient. Every suicide attacker should know that he takes with
him also his parents and his house and some of the neighbors. Every brave
Um-Jihad who sends her son to hell should know she’s going with him, along with
the house and everything inside it.”
No doubt if Dr Casif was a member of the Labour Party he
would have been suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’ for having dared to compare
Israel to Nazi Germany!