Sunday, September 8

The Upcoming Elections on 17th September 2019

The Israeli General Elections are just around the corner.  It is shocking that millions of shekels are being wasted because Netanyahu could not form a coalition. It is also President Reuven Rivlin’s fault as it was incumbent on him to give another Knesset member the chance to form a coalition government. Under the pressure of Netanyahu, in his determination not to lose the elections, the president succumbed to Netanyahu’s desire and new elections, only 5 months after April 9th election, was declared for 17th September. This did go against protocol:
After an election, the President, following consultations with the elected party leaders, chooses the Knesset member most likely to have the ability to form a viable (coalition) government. While this typically is the leader of the party receiving the most seats, it is not required to be so. In the event a party wins 61 or more seats in an election, it can form a viable government without having to form a coalition. However, no party has ever won more than 56 seats in an election; thus, a coalition has always been required.[3] That member has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his or her government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. If the Knesset approves the proposed government (by a vote of at least 61 members), he or she becomes Prime Minister.

As the coalitions often prove highly unstable - given the number and diverse views of the political parties involved - parties (or portions thereof) quite commonly leave them. However, so long as the coalition has at least 61 members (and it is free to recruit from parties not originally in the coalition) it is entitled to remain in power. Such a case occurred with the 19th Knesset: Ehud Barak and four other members left the Labor in 2011 to form the Independence Party, and continued their alignment with Likud, while the remaining eight Labor members remained with the party, but left the coalition; after all the changes, the Likud coalition retained the support of the minimum 61 members, and so, it remained in power. If a coalition fails a motion of no confidence, it ceases to be in power, but only if the motion names a specific replacement to be the prime minister. That individual then has a prescribed amount of time to form a new coalition, and new elections are called if this attempt is not successful (known as a constructive vote of no confidence).[11]   (Wikipedia)
Netanyahu knows that he has the chance of being granted immunity from prosecution in 3 criminal cases of which he is a criminal suspect should he be reelected as PM.


This is the most shallow election campaign since Israel’s establishment and is mostly involved in various character assassination of opposition candidates by the right-wing Netanyahu coalition. Netanyahu, during his long rule, must go down in history as the most polarizing prime minister that Israel ever had. The electorate is tired of elections and many are apathetic as a result. His credibility and that of his shenanigans are questionable. 


PM Netanyahu is a criminal suspect and within a week or two after the elections, he will be granted a hearing by the attorney-general on his suspected crimes. Netanyahu is behaving like a megalomanic cornered rat. He is on the warpath blaming the attorney-general, the press media, the law courts, the police, and, of course, the left. He believes that these institutions and the left are conspiring against him and his beloved wife, Sarah and that twitter “genius” his son, Yair, who tweets such a lot of rubbish without being scolded by his parents for it. 


There are so many important issues at stake and not much mention was made of that by any of the parties standing for election. 


PM Netanyahu is not interested in Israel. He is interested in one personal issue only and that is not to stand trial and being elected as PM is his only chance to gain immunity from prosecution and standing trial. He is dishing out jobs to pals in the Knesset, who are his yes-men/women, including the State-Comptroller. He is also not telling the truth to the Israeli electorate and is a purveyor of “fake news” to increase his support and that of his party. 


There are so many reports in the Israeli media over the elections and there is no point in regurgitating them here. 


We should all bear in mind that a leader of a country who lies to the citizens of whom he is the leader has no respect for the citizens of the country that he leads. Apart from that, it is not in the public’s interest that a candidate to lead the country is a crime suspect. He should have his name cleared from all suspicions before he can be allowed to stand as a candidate for prime minister. Some of Netanyahu's famous lies are accusations of opposition parties, including Israel Beitenu and Kahol/Lavan as "left" who are prepared to sit with Arab parties in a coalition despite their strong denials.


This is an appeal to all citizens of Israel to vote for sanity, democracy, and the end of the Netanyahu regime of neo-fascists, who are destroying Israel’s democracy and replacing it with a regime that polarises the nation and creates divisions in our society that Israel does not need. We must vote for a government that will abolish the racist Nation-State Law 1. and work towards the equality of all Israel’s citizens, irrespective of race, colour or religion. The present government is eroding the laws of the land for their own benefit and not for the benefit of its citizens. We have an opportunity to vote for a change of government for the better of Israel and all its citizens and this also includes moving to end the occupation and moving towards a true peace between Israel and the Palestinians as difficult as it is to achieve. We must also bear in mind that if we vote for a party that may after the elections be part of a Likud Coalition then we have not achieved anything for a change of government.

Reference:
1.  "BASIC LAW: ISRAEL - THE NATION STATE OF THE JEWISH ...." https://knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/BasicLawNationState.pdf. Accessed 8 Sep. 2019.


Sunday, August 4

Is Israel Becoming an Apartheid State?


How history repeats itself in different circumstances. According to a Jpost report of July 21st, 2019 "Labor chairman Amir Peretz 1 said on Sunday in an interview with Army Radio that there is no way for the Labor party to run for the upcoming September 17 elections with Meretz or Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Israel Democratic Party. Peretz's words were made after the Labor party merged with Orly Levy-Abucassis' Gesher, which sparked waves of criticism among the leftist parties" 2. This means that Amir Peretz and Orly Levy-Abekasis have an agenda of joining a Likud right-wing coalition. Under these conditions, we must understand that a vote for Labour is a vote for a right-wing coalition. Meretz leader, Nitzan Horowitz, has stated this. It will be a fatal blow to the left. Labour and Likud have been in coalition numerous times since Israel's establishment and after these elections, it may occur again.

If Labour under Amir Peretz and Orly Levy-Abukasis join the Likud, it will not be surprising. Orly Levy-Abukasis grew up in the Likud and still holds much of its ideology. She is the perfect pathway for Labour to enter a Likud coalition after the elections even if Netanyahu is not indicted. They have kept that option open. If this occurs, most Labour supporters will have very red faces. After all, the upcoming elections give the voter a chance to oppose the Likud and company. Voting for Labour is taking a gamble and may favour Netanyahu. This will be a happy day for Netanyahu if this happens.

As things stand at the moment in this rather sleepy election campaign, the left-wing is in danger of being written off as a viable legislative force in the Knesset. Instead of forming a united front against the right-wing coalition government, they are splintered. As mentioned earlier, Amir Peretz, with his latest partner, Orly Levy-Abukassis of Gesher, who is apolitical on state issues and is involved in social issues exclusively with a tendency towards her Likud upbringing is a massive gamble that could add another nail in the coffin of the dying Labour Party.  

A vote for the right-wing is a vote for an apartheid state as Rabbi Rafi Peretz, head of the Jewish Home Party supports, will be part of this despicable coalition. Not only is Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Minister of Education, the centre of controversy over re-educating the LGBT community to be heterosexual. He later softened his views on this issue because of the strong opposition to his support of “conversion treatment”3 He is really an Orthodox religious extremist and all that goes with it. This bigot must be forced to resign from being Minister of Education. He is a racist and wishes to turn Israel into an apartheid state by denying Palestinians in the occupied territories the right to vote. His agenda is to declare the occupied areas as part of Israel and the Palestinians will be denied representation. He waltzes with Kahanist fascists of the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power Party)4 to include them in an extreme, racist right-wing Zionist religious party - Jewish Home Party and United Right Alliance, which he heads. He will be negotiating with these Kahanists as the heat of the upcoming elections increases. This racist demagogue is a dangerous wolf in sheep's’ clothing. He had failed to include these Kahanists. 

The cat that has been struggling in the bag of Israel's bigoted leaders has now been let out of the bag by Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Minister of Education, who clearly stated his desire that the occupied territories (West Bank) will be part of Israel and that the Palestinians living there will have no right to vote. He admitted this in his interview when asked if this is not apartheid. Peretz didn’t rule out the option that it is. So there you have it straight from one of the horse's mouth. This bigot will be in charge of educating the next generation - so it appears if the right-wing under the suspected felon Bibi Netanyahu forms the next government after the elections. This will give those who oppose the Israeli right-wing government justification of equating their rule with apartheid South Africa. This will eventually extend to the rights of non-Jewish minorities, who are Israeli citizens, being eroded and they will be second class citizens. The handwriting is on the wall. The recently passed Nation-State Law will assure that.

For those, who are still thinking of supporting Labour under Amir Peretz, will also get the right-wing extremists such as Bezalel Smotrich, Minister of Transport and maybe Otzma Yehudit, (if they pass the threshold into the Knesset) the Kahanist fascist party as part of the coalition they do not want 5, assuming he forms a coalition with the Likud. 

Perhaps if the left of centre are prepared to drop their egos and that, of course, includes members of the Arab Parties, then they could form a strong opposition to Netanyahu and his right-wing shenanigans and even have a possibility of forming a new centre-left government. The Arab Parties must drop their strong nationalist tendencies and work with the left to form a party that represents the interests of all Israel's citizens irrespective of race, colour or religion. A true Jewish Arab Party coalition including, the Democratic Camp and Hadash-Ta-al. This means that a common platform free of over-bloated egos and past individual gripes can be accepted by all the parties concerned. If this unity of the left is not accepted the alternative will be a fragmented left opposition.  Many of these parties will not get sufficient votes to be elected to the Knesset and the right with its religious orthodox and ultra-orthodox parties will be the next government including Kahol-Lavan. This is the choice. Kahol-Lavan is sitting on the fence and will sway towards the coalition that has the best chance of forming a government. Avigdor Lieberman leader of Israel Beiteinu will be the trump card that decides which coalition group will be given the go-ahead by President Rubi Rivlin to form the next government.

This week Ehud Barak (Democratic Israel), Meretz and Stav Shafir (who left the Labor-Gesher Union) have decided to form a united list known as the Democratic Camp. It will be left of centre 6. Tactically, this is a good move but it might spell the end of the Arab vote that won Meretz representation in the Knesset after April 9th Elections. It remains to be seen if Ehud Barak, despite his apology for the loss of life of 13 Arab Israeli demonstrators in 2000 during the Um el Fahm unrest, will not lose the Arab Israeli vote. 

Surely if the new Arab Joint List (an agreement on 27th July 2019 has been reached by Hadash-Ta-al and United Arab List. Balad will probably join at a later stage.) would join up with the Democratic Camp, it would strengthen the opposition to a Netanyahu led coalition. After all, their principles of democracy, abolishing the Nation-State Law, fighting against racism and fascism as well as equal rights for all Israel's citizens irrespective of race, colour and religion coincide with the Democratic Camp agenda. Economic improvements and a peace agreement with the Palestinians that will herald the end to the occupation and a Two-State Solution is also an essential part of the new Democratic Camp ideology. The differences between the Joint List and Democratic Camp can be ironed out. After all, unity is the strength to get the Netanyahu led coalition out is a goal of both party lists. Unfortunately, the Democratic Camp and the Joint Arab List will not be running together and this weakens the left-wing opposition to Netanyahu. 

 The Arab vote must not be overlooked. Only a true Jewish-Arab Party on the left will gain more seats than if they run on their own. This Jewish-Arab Party would be concerned with fighting for true equality between all Israel's citizens, women rights and freedom of pluralism that we so desperately need in this country and of course a renewal of meaningful peace negotiations with our Palestinian neighbours, which appears to be absent in all party platforms.

We must also bear in mind that a vote for the Likud and its right-wing future partners in a right-wing coalition also is a vote for including the right-wing extremist party, Otzma Yehudit that is Kahanist racist party that was banned from standing for election in the Knesset by previous Israeli Governments. Under Netanyahu, this Kahanist party is gaining legitimacy in order to save Netanyahu from standing trial for suspected crimes.  

Well, the dye is now cast and the deadline for registration of parties standing in the elections has been decided on 1st August. The Arab Joint List has reincarnated, the right-wing of the Likud parties have formed a unity party leaving the Kahanist, racist extremist Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit Party and Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut running on their own. This means that these two right-wing racist parties may not even pass the threshold to enter the Knesset, which will be a small blessing. 

Labour-Gesher Party will not unite with the Democratic Camp in order to keep its option open of joining a Likud led Coalition after the elections. This is probably the reason why Amir Peretz and Orly Levy-Abukasis leader of the Gesher Party have formed a unity party. Avigdor Lieberman, the holder of the trump card in a possible coalition government of Likud-Kahol\Lavan including Israel Beitenu(Lieberman’s party). Lieberman has made it clear that he supports this move, excluding the ultra-Orthodox and Messianic religious parties. If Netanyahu fails to form a government, Lieberman supports the idea that another Likud elected Knesset member will be given the chance of forming the next government after the elections. 

My guess is that the results of the 17th Sept General Elections will not be much different from the results of the 9th April Elections. If we follow trends of Israeli citizens' voting patterns there is a definite trend towards the right with messianic religious fundamentalism on the rise. 

References:   

  1.  "Amir Peretz | The Times of Israel." https://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/amir-peretz/. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019.
  2. "Amir Peretz: No way to run with Ehud Barak ... - The Jerusalem Post." 22 Jul. 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Amir-Peretz-No-way-to-run-with-Ehud-Barak-Meretz-596329. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019.
  3.  "Israel's education minister now says he opposes gay 'conversion ...." 16 Jul. 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-education-minister-now-says-he-opposes-gay-conversion-therapy-1.7532713. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019. 
  4. "Otzma Yehudit - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otzma_Yehudit. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019.
  5.  "Otzma Yehudit breaks away from Jewish Home in spat over Knesset ...." 25 Jun. 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/otzma-yehudit-breaks-away-from-jewish-home-in-spat-over-knesset-seat/. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019.
  6.  "Meretz, former PM Barak, Labor defector Shaffir announce joint ...." 25 Jul. 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/meretz-former-pm-barak-labor-defector-shaffir-announce-joint-knesset-run/. Accessed 26 Jul. 2019.

September 2019 Israeli legislative election:  An explanation of the Israeli September 2019 Elections


Saturday, June 1

The Decision of Holding New Elections is Absurd and Lacking in Logic



This decision to hold new general elections because Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition government is so absurd and lacking in logic. The deadline for presenting President Ruby Rivlin with a coalition government had passed and Netanyahu’s failure to form a coalition because of Avigdor Lieberman’s refusal to be part of the coalition. Lieberman and Netanyahu dislike each other – the draft law that Lieberman insisted for compulsory conscription of the ultra-Orthodox to the IDF was the so-called excuse. This draft law was unacceptable by the Likud and the ultra-Orthodox parties. The rift between the two men goes deeper than that. There is much speculation in the press as to why the hatred between these two men is so intense.

As expected, Netanyahu has labelled Lieberman as a “leftist” who has joined the Arab opposition. This is such balderdash and typical of Netanyahu, who in his desperation views all his opponents as leftists, traitors, including the media, police force, law courts and the attorney-general, who are out on a witch hunt against him. As has been mentioned many times in the media, Netanyahu is interested in one thing only – not to stand trial for his alleged accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Calling for new elections is his way of achieving that goal with a little help paradoxically from the Arab Parties as well. Netanyahu is a genius and he knows how to manipulate his supporters with his lies and deceit.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu
There was a rare unity between Hadash-Taal and the opposition parties at the largely successful demonstration on Saturday night 25th May 2019. What happened? They did not join the opposition and voted with the right-wing to dissolve the Knesset. They are not aware that this move will only strengthen Netanyahu and his right-wing toadies even more.

The mindset of many voters, especially in the periphery, is right-wing and they will not change their allegiance to the Likud and its right-wing parties, including the ultra-Orthodox parties. They have swallowed all Netanyahu’s lies with great enthusiasm and many believe every word of Netanyahu’s mantras. The fact that Netanyahu is accused of breaking the law does not affect their support of Netanyahu, it just strengthens it. These people believe that the witch hunt against Netanyahu is real and they must support him as in their view “Netanyahu is the best prime minister since Israel’s establishment”.

Netanyahu, his right-wing toadies and the ultra-Orthodox Parties will stick by his side once again. He and his party with its macabre mix have incredible support from "Talisman toters and those prostrating themselves in supplication on the tombs of the saints,” to use a quote from the famous Israeli artist, Yair Gabuz, in a speech he made at Rabin Square on the eve of Elections in 2015. In the speech, which took place a mere ten days before the elections, Garbuz spoke of "the handful" and said: "We were told that the despicable man who murdered the prime minister came from a handful of delusional people ... We were told that the yellow-shirted, black symbol-ed ‘Kahane was right’ people, and the 'Death to Arabs!' hurlers, were no more than a handful—a mere handful! ... That the wicked price taggers are certainly a handful ... and they told us that the threatening, disparaging racists do not represent Israeli society at all, that they are only a handful!” Unfortunately, these right-wing purveyors of racial hatred have grown immensely since then and this is Netanyahu’s powerhouse of support. Most of these people that he described are very much alive in the religious extreme right-wing parties - neo-fascist fanatics such as Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Benzie Gopstein and the list goes on not to exclude the parasitic ultra-Orthodox parties who contribute nothing to the country but “religious bullshit” and religious extortion, as well as eternal poverty-stricken Torah students, who do not work or serve in the IDF. The last elections on 9th April, they were very much alive with their poisonous pseudo-religious, hateful rhetoric. They will try to be “Netanyahu’s saviours”. They all share one mantra called “denial” of Netanyahu’s suspected criminality. The peripheral towns are where these types are found and they are enough to get Netanyahu in. Their mentors are racist rabbis that bless and curse at will.
Avigdor Lieberman
The time is now more than ripe for the parties that are left of centre to unite. The last elections have proved that. The Arab Parties are thinking of resuscitating the Joint List in order to win more seats. Perhaps it is time for Meretz to negotiate with the Arab Parties to form an alternative Jewish-Arab List. After all, it was the Arab voters that saved Meretz from losing their Knesset representation. If this is not achieved, Meretz will not be in the next Knesset. An Arab-Jewish Party should be open to all. This new Arab-Jewish Party will gain more support from the Arab communities who show disillusionment with their own representatives resulting in a low voter turnout. Many Arab citizens of Israel with whom I spoke had expressed support for such a move. The emphasis on common Israeli citizenship that embraces all Israel’s citizens irrespective of race, colour or creed will go a long way to achieve a better Israel for its entire people.



Wednesday, May 8

Israel's Independence Day Celebrations

Israel has only one day annually that is celebrated without any religious constraints or “mitzvot”. This is a day that secular and religious Israelis celebrate as well as those who identify with Israel and its people. 

Israeli Arab Citizens do not celebrate. There are no flags or symbols of celebration in their villages. It is a great pity that the two peoples - Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens are divided in their respective narratives causing the Israeli Arab sector not to celebrate Israel’s independence. Here in Israel, we have failed to achieve a common loyalty in Israel for all its citizens - Jew and Arab alike. It could have been achieved but Israel has failed to be the state of all its citizens for a number of reasons. The most striking, perhaps, is the non-inclusive character of Israel’s Jewish majority. An example of this is the non-inclusive wording of Israel’s National Anthem “Hatikva” - The Hope. 
Hatikva - Israel's National Anthem

The wording of Hatikva could be modified to include Israel’s non-Jewish minority symbols of culture without changing the wording of Jewish desires and hopes. 

Apart from the national anthem, there are other symbols of Arab Israeli culture that could be included and thus make them feel part of Israel's people rather than estranging them with all kinds of declarative laws that estranges them from Israel. This could go a long way in promoting a common patriotism that is all-inclusive. This could also be done through education from an early age as well as encouraging the establishment of integrated Jewish-Arab schools, where education in unity among all Israel’s peoples could be achieved.

 Arab and Jewish Israelis could learn each other's languages as well as secular subjects to equip them for their future. Arabic and Hebrew should both have equal status. Both Arab and Jewish Israelis should have the same standard of education and go to the same schools from kindergarten age until matric. In most western democracies, pupils of all faiths attend the same schools. When it comes to religious instruction, religious leaders of different faiths instruct the pupils in their respective faiths. 


Israel’s 71 years of independence should be a nation-wide non-political affair that is inclusive of all Israel's citizens. However, with the passing of the racist Nation-State Law last year, resulting in the grading of Israel's Arab Citizens as second class citizens that will estrange 20% of Israel's citizens even more. 

Another upsetting development is the attempt to politicise the law courts that have been impartial since Israel's establishment. The outgoing Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, had her agenda in interfering with the court system 


It is a great pity that this year’s Independence Day celebrations will have a right-wing political slant to it which will, unfortunately, spoil its non-political nature. Ayelet Shaked will be replaced by Yariv Levin - a Netanyahu appointee, who intends to weaken the courts and make them subservient to the incoming right-wing coalition. Legislation will be passed to ensure that the court cannot overrule government decisions even if their legality is in question.  

Independence of the law courts will be compromised. Israel is going down a path that threatens democracy if the Netanyahu Government succeeds in appointing conservative judges to the bench. The opposition is weak and will whimper impotently against the incoming ruling government anti-democratic bills.

Thursday, May 2

Holocaust Remembrance Day has been Defiled!

Holocaust Remembrance Day has been defiled by our present leadership. Have we forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust and trivialised it?


For starters, the opening ceremony addressed by President Reuven Rivlin was the beginning of the hint of the direction in which Israel is moving. It is a direction of realpolitik played out by PM Netanyahu towards the far-right, neo-fascist leaders that are ruling Austria, Hungary, Brazil, Poland and the Interior Minister of Italy 1. The list will continue to grow as many European countries move towards the neo-fascist right. It appears that Netanyahu is cultivating friendships with these far right, neo-fascist leaders, whose record of anti-Semitism is a blemish on their respective characters 2. This is what President Reuben Rivlin had hinted in his speech. It was obvious that this remark was directed at Netanyahu."Today, Europe is once again pursued by the ghosts of the past. Ideas of superiority, national purity, xenophobia, blatant anti-Semitism from left and right are hovering over Europe," Rivlin said.  He spoke of rising anti-Semitism in conjunction with the anti-Israel sentiment, Rivlin said one cannot hate Israel and love Jews nor hate Jews and love Israel. Rivlin went on to warn of warming ties between Israel and right-wing leaders who have not recognized their nation's responsibility in "the crimes of the Holocaust."  


After having heard and viewed President Rivlin delivering his speech, which was a good speech denouncing racism in all its forms, my feeling was that Netanyahu is the total antithesis of President Rivlin. Rivlin spoke as a true statesman. I just felt that I could not watch Netanyahu deliver his speech and left my armchair in disgust! Words! Words and more words of the same re-hashed stuff that Netanyahu is so expert in delivering! This is King Bibi - the heartthrob of most of the Israeli Electorate today. A racist has no place speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony.


There is no difference between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, President Reuven Rivlin said at a previous occasion in an apparent rebuke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying that Israel is “the national state only of the Jewish people. 3


If we view the various right-wing neo-fascist leaders that Netanyahu has been courting over the past few years it is quite disgusting. It is finding a consensus on re-writing the history of the Holocaust to suit the views of the neo-fascist leaders, whose friendship Netanyahu has been cultivating 4.


Another subject that is really painful concerning the observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day is the pitiful conditions under which many aged Holocaust survivors live in Israel. Many are caught up in crippling bureaucracy Israel-style in order to get reparations. Many have not received anything or very little and are living their last few years in poverty without getting any financial assistance 5. This painful subject is largely overlooked and the time has come for the government to give a hand to these survivors who have suffered so much so that at least in their last years they have a decent quality of life which to date they do not have 6.



References:
  1. "Israel's Netanyahu Embraces European Leaders With Controversial ...." 17 Dec. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/12/17/676017667/israels-netanyahu-embraces-european-leaders-with-controversial-views-on-holocaus. Accessed 2 May. 2019.
  2. "Israel's Netanyahu Embraces European Leaders With Controversial ...." 17 Dec. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/12/17/676017667/israels-netanyahu-embraces-european-leaders-with-controversial-views-on-holocaus. Accessed 2 May. 2019.
  3. 11 Mar. 2019, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5476970,00.html. Accessed 2 May. 2019.
  4. "Netanyahu's flirtation with the far right, by Dominique Vidal (Le Monde ...." 12 Oct. 2018, https://mondediplo.com/outsidein/netanyahu-s-flirtation-with-the-far-right. Accessed 2 May. 2019.
  5. "70 Years After WWII, Israeli Holocaust Survivors Suffer - Breaking ...." 11 Apr. 2018, https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/105691/70-years-after-wwii-israeli-holocaust-survivors-suffer/. Accessed 2 May. 2019.
  6. "Tens of thousands of Israeli Holocaust survivors are living in abject ...." 27 Jan. 2016, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/12122754/Tens-of-thousands-of-Israeli-Holocaust-survivors-are-living-in-abject-poverty.html. Accessed 2 May. 2019.




Saturday, April 13

Is Israel on the Road to a Fascism?

It is a sad day for Israel with these electoral results! The road has now been paved for fascism to take root. The independent law courts will be packed with conservative judges, the media will probably be censured as we will be told what journalists may or may not publish. More schmoozing with right-wing regimes in the world. Democracy and human rights will be compromised. The majority of Israel's electorate has chosen the fascist path.
The parties on the left of the Gantz-Lapid Kahol/Lavan Party have been severely trounced and will be very weak in the opposition. The only way to strengthen the left in Israel is to find a formula that will unite the Labour Party, Meretz and the moderates in the Arab Parties into one party, whose members are Arab and Jewish Israelis. This is a link to a post that I wrote on 30th July 2015 and is still relevant today even though the Joint List and the Zionist Camp has disintegrated and Zahava Galon is no longer the leader of Meretz:
This new party could be a true Left Alliance with more influence and potential to gain support from all Israel’s people.


In the not too distant past, the analogy of apartheid South Africa and Israel was certainly wrong and showed ignorance on the part of those who viewed Israel as an apartheid state. However, with the reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu and a strong move towards the extreme right in March 2015 when Netanyahu stated that the Arabs are "coming in droves to vote" thus using Islamophobia tactics to encourage the apathetic, potential Likud faithful to vote “en masse” to prevent this disaster from occurring. This tactic worked and Netanyahu ceased to sweat.


The passing of the racist Nation-State Law 1 in the Knesset in June 2018, whereby Israel is declared the nation-state of "the Jewish People only," shows signs of some similarities to the cruel apartheid system, which was tailored for “whites only”. The blacks were not included. They had their Bantustans where they had “full rights” to vote for black government stooges of the apartheid regime. The racist Nation-State Law will be amended to make it more extreme and exclusive as the incoming coalition government has received a mandate to do what it wishes.

Non-Jewish citizens of Israel are viewed as second class citizens and the status of Arabic has been defined as a "special status" and nobody knows what that means.

Netanyahu's Likud Party volunteers placed cameras in strategic points in polling booths 2, where Arabs voted in the latest election on 9th April 2019 was another sign of an attempt to intimidate Arab Israelis by discouraging them to vote. It is an unfortunate development in Israel that it has moved far to the right that threatens its already faulty democracy.

The left-wing, as in apartheid South Africa, is viewed as treacherous. In apartheid South Africa they were arrested under the 90-day and 180-day detention laws without recourse to lawyers and their newspapers were banned. When they were released from detention, they were placed under house arrest or received banning orders forbidding them to leave the district where they reside. Between 1948 and 1991, the apartheid government banned more than 1,600 men and women. Banned persons endured severe restrictions on their movement, political activities, and associations intended to silence their opposition to the government's apartheid policies and stop their political activity. They also had to report to the nearest police station twice a day.

In Israel, however, they do have administrative detention which is similar. Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offence. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time. While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defence against undisclosed allegations. Nevertheless, courts uphold the vast majority of orders 3.

In Israel, Netanyahu blames the media, the Law Courts, the left, the Attorney-General and the law enforcement authorities for the legal problems of his own making. Despite that, the majority of the Israeli Electorate voted for Netanyahu and the right-wing parties, including the ultra-Orthodox parties destined to be his coalition partners. Israel's democracy is destined to be compromised.

Netanyahu is a genius. He knows how to manipulate and tell lies in an incredible way as to be convincing to his potential supporters with tremendous success. He maligns his opponents' characters with great success and spreads untruths casting doubts on the so-called "left" that has a very wide definition in his view, which he hates with a vengeance. Any political party, who disagrees with him is "left" and treacherous. We saw this in his campaign. He instils fear of the "Arab Threat" (in South Africa it was “die Swart Gevaar”4 or “Black Threat”) if he were to lose and the "treacherous left" wins. He is an expert on the Israeli racist psyche, which afflicts many Israelis and this is what winning elections in Israel is all about. Only a genius can serve five terms as a prime minister. This is one of the reasons why the Arab parties will never be part of any coalition deal.

If Israel becomes “a non-democratic Jewish apartheid state” then those who support a democratic Israel, according to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, would be justified to carry out a selective BDS programme to prevent this from happening. This BDS programme should be directed at the incoming Netanyahu  Government Coalition and its right-wing institutions including the illegal settlements in the occupied territories, the parasitic ultra-Orthodox and right-wing religious parties. The tactics should be similar to the BDS applied to apartheid South Africa. While the fascist takeover becomes consolidated even though the majority of Israel’s electorate voted for it, it will be a disaster, racist and totalitarian. In this case, the majority is not always right (excuse the pun). Those who wish to donate to Israel should donate to NGOs devoted to maintaining Israel’s democracy and human rights programmes such as Peace Now 5, B’tzelem 6, Breaking the Silence 7 and New Israel Fund 8.

The justification of Likud and the right-wing supporters is based on xenophobia in which Netanyahu proved his adeptness at exploiting for his own political and personal gains to achieve immunity from his impending prosecution as prime minister.

It is a tragedy for the Jewish people that Israel is losing its Jewish heart and soul. This is certainly true of “welcoming the stranger in our midst” and the hatred for refugees from Eritrea and Sudan. We have forgotten as Jews that we were also refugees and strangers and not welcome in many countries 9 10., Now with Pesach - the festival of freedom - is upon us, it has become meaningless and hypocritical when we give no thought of freedom to others which is becoming trendy today in Israel.

The Orthodox Rabbinical establishment does not recognize Reform and Conservative Jews, who are in the majority in the US. These non-Orthodox Jews have greater freedom in the Diaspora than they ever will have in Israel. The present elected government will ensure that more now than ever before with the nature of its ultra-Orthodox partners, who wield great power, the move towards a bigoted theocracy is a possibility.

References:


  1. "Israel's 'racist' Nation-State Law condemned in Westminster – Middle ...." 27 Feb. 2019, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190227-israels-racist-nation-state-law-condemned-in-westminster/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  2. "Minority Arabs in Israel object to cameras at polling centres - Reuters." 9 Apr. 2019, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-israel-election-cameras/minority-arabs-in-israel-object-to-cameras-at-polling-centres-idUKKCN1RL1LH. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  3. "Statistics on Administrative Detention | B'Tselem." 3 Apr. 2019, https://www.btselem.org/administrative_detention/statistics. Accessed 13 Apr. 2019.
  4. "What is swart gevaar - Definition of swart gevaar Word finder." https://findwords.info/term/swart%20gevaar. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  5. "Peace Now: Home Page." http://peacenow.org.il/en. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  6. "B'Tselem." https://www.btselem.org/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  7. "Breaking the Silence." https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2019.
  8. "Home - New Israel Fund (NIF)." https://www.nif.org/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  9. "Embrace the stranger in our midst | The Times of Israel." 28 Mar. 2012, https://www.timesofisrael.com/accept-the-strangers-in-our-midst/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
  10. "The Moral Imperative of the Stranger | ReformJudaism.org." 25 Feb. 2017, https://reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study/mishpatim/moral-imperative-stranger. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.