הכרעת העם ברורה: 58 מנדטים למחנה הציוני-ימני ו-47 מנדטים למחנה הציוני-שמאלני. אזרחי ישראל נתנו לי קולות יותר מלכל מועמד אחר בתולדות המדינה. גנץ מנסה לגנוב את הבחירות – אנחנו לא ניתן לזה לקרות! pic.twitter.com/ocRzlOCFq6
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 4, 2020
UPDATE: My latest Middle East Eye piece, Israel election exposes a political system in disarray, has been published. Please give it a read and promote it via social media.
Bibi Netanyahu, tearing a page from Donald Trump’s 2016 playbook, declared before a post-election meeting of his right-wing bloc that Benny Gantz would try to “steal” the election from him by linking the Israeli Palestinian Joint List to his Blue and White Party in order to create a left-wing ruling coalition. Unfortunately, Gantz has already ruled this out. Bibi’s strategy here is to launch a shot across his bow to warn him of what might befall if he should waver on this commitment. If Gantz did include the Joint List and Avigdor Lieberman also joined him (Lieberman too bared his racist fangs and declared Gantz would create such a coalition of his dead Zionist body) the center-left would have a 62-seat majority. The other purpose of Netanyahu’s performance is to frighten his own bloc into remaining united in the fear that Gantz will take over the state and give it to the Arab ‘mongrels.’
This encapsulates perfectly the fatal flaw in Israel’s racist political system. The Palestinians are nearly 25% of the population. Yet they are emasculated by having all avenues to power shut off to them, since they are excluded from such coalitions and denied cabinet ministries, which is where power is truly wielded in the Israeli system.
I feature this passage from Bibi’s speech because it represents his racism exposed in all its viciousness and ugliness:
“Gantz is allying himself with the supporters of terror in the Joint List in an attempt to negate the decision of the people. The decision is clear: the Right-Zionist bloc has 58 seats. The Zionist-Left bloc together with Lieberman who is allied with it has 47 seats.
The Joint List–which opposes and slanders the IDF [a reference to efforts to hold the army accountable for war crimes], and opposes the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, the state of the Jewish people; and who certainly oppose me as as prime minister who promotes our sovereignty in all parts of our homeland, the state of the Jewish people–it is clearly not included in this equation.”
This is classic Netanyahu: he goes from telling Israeli Palestinians before the election, just as Trump told African-Americans, that the Joint List had done nothing for them. What did they have to lose in turning to him as their savior? Then after the election, he turns on them like Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll and declares they aren’t worthy of being considered a part of the nation.
First, it’s important to say clearly that if the Joint List were part of a governing coalition this would prove Israel was a functioning healthy democracy. Its exclusion marks Israel as a racist apartheid state. Second, Israeli Palestinians do not oppose the existence of their state. On the contrary, all polls show that they are exceedingly loyal to the state. Far more than the state has any right to expect considering how the Jewish majority mistreats them. They do not, however, accept that this state is exclusively Jewish or that it privileges Jews over them. And that is only natural.
American Blacks never accepted that they should be second class citizens in this country. For over a century they rebelled against Jim Crow, demanding their full rights. Israeli Palestinians have every right to expect the same. Those Israeli Jewish politicians who speak like Netanyahu, assume the mantle of the worst Southern white demagogues who celebrated their ‘white heritage’ with the slogan: “Segregation now, segregation forever!”
The most egregious element of this tirade is Netanyahu’s attempt to render the entire Israeli Palestinian vote treif. In essence, he’s performed a bit of electoral ethnic cleansing. It is a truly disgusting, but typical, performance.
You neglect to mention one little fact:
That the Arab parties themselves do not want to be part of a coalition
They stated this quite clearly when there was discussion about it after the last election, in the context of a center left coalition with Ganz.
Richard Silverstein says
@ DrS: First, Gantz rejected them first. Second, if Gantz had come to them and invited them instead of treating them like they had the plague, the answer would have been different. I cannot imagine Odeh would reject an invitation to be a senior minister in Gantz’s government. Nor can you.
Ariel Cohen says
A. There has been at least one Arab minister in israel.
B. Ethnically cleansing votes?? How far are you going to stretch the terminology? And why anti Semitism is stretched by far less you aren’t will to accept it?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Ariel Cohen:
This is the exception that proves the rule. First, in 70 years there has been one Palestinian minister? And that proves what? That Israel is a democratic state welcoming political participation and sharing power with its Palestinian minority? Second, that minister was Druze and the Druze have an entirely different history and relationship with Israeli Jews than Israeli Palestinians. Third, and most importantly, you left out the 2nd half of my statement: that no Israeli Palestinian has been a minister in which his/her Party has been part of a ruling coalition. In other words, no Palestinian Party has ever been in a ruling coalition. That is the standard way in which political power is apportioned and exercised in Israeli politics. So I’m afraid your claim is next to meaningless.
As for my term “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian vote: you don’t object to the term being false because it isn’t. You object to the term being dramatic and powerfully representing what Bibi actually said. Many Israeli Jewish politicians including Yair Lapid have couched criticism of Bibi’s statement in similar terms. They’ve called it racist and used other apt terms. When you label 25% of the Israeli electorate as traitors to their country and terrorists, and explicitly refuse to consider their votes kosher, that is ethnic cleansing. You don’t like the term? Tell your PM to stop being a racist and I’ll stop using it. But you know he can’t and won’t. So the term stands.
Hi Richard. On a seemingly, but perhaps not really, unrelated note, did you see this profile in Haaretz about the views of young Israelis? If their answers are indicative of their generation as a whole, then there is no way that the international community can leave it to them to negotiate peace with the Palestinians.
The answers across the board were abhorrent and totally ignorant of human rights law, history and moral decency. This is why the international community is going to have to force a settlement on them, even if it’s one they don’t want and they aggressively resist. They are incapable of making compromise and will never willingly make the sacrifices necessary for peace.
It’s just too bad that the US is delaying what needs to be done by denying Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination. Until congress starts pulling back the funds it gives and applies sanctions, things won’t change or get better.
Richard Silverstein says
@ liamofktn: Alas, I’ve read such profiles of Israeli youth. Max Blumenthal has also done videos of interviews with young Israelis and they’re almost universally scary and disgusting. Unlike in America where youth are the vanguard for change; in Israel they’re the vanguard of hate and intolerance. It’s deeply depressing.
So I agree with you that it’s almost impossible for change to rise from Israel itself. If there is ever peace it will have to be imposed as happened in Serbia and Kosovo. Not with NATO firepower. But rather through sanctions and other forms of pressure. I don’t see any international will to do this. So it will have to await some Israeli gross violation of international law like a Srebrenica-type massacre or perhaps getting the Middle East into a regional war no one wants. Then the world might get off its ass and act.