Sunday, February 15

“Post Mortem” on the Israeli Elections

The Israeli Electorate spoke and the results are most disappointing. They did not give any party an absolute majority as predicted. However, a trend can be observed and this trend is a very dangerous one. It is a threat for any form of compromise towards peace.

The trend is towards the right wing and an increase of anti-Arab hate in the guise of the fascist Yisrael Beitenu Party which holds the balance of power in coalition wheeling and dealing. The handwriting is on the wall and the peace that we need so much has receded into the mists. No matter who forms the coalition whether Benjamin Netanyahu or Tzipi Livne whose party won the most votes will be unable to form a coalition without Yisrael Beitenu. The various wheeling and dealing for coalition formation is about to begin and no matter how one views it, it is a disaster for peace and future coexistence with our Palestinian neighbours and the neighbouring Arab World.

The left wing Zionist Parties has been trounced. Labour can barely be called left wing these days as its ideology of social democracy has lost its way as it moves more towards the centre. They cannot bear the idea of being in the opposition and return to its original platform of socialism and workers’ rights not to mention equality of the various population groups living in Israel. It had even tried to dance tango with the right in adopting an expedient attitude towards the enlargement of settlements in the occupied West Bank. Meretz, the left of centre party had a very fuzzy message and their campaign was not convincing. It is not the party of Shulamit Aloni or Yossi Sarid. The party lost its direction.

What has happened in these elections is that the so-called Zionist left has lost its direction. Zionism is now the monopoly of the right wing camp. According to Gideon Levy of Haaretz, Zionism is an archaic and outdated concept born in a different reality, a vague and delusive concept marking the difference between the permitted and the proscribed. Does Zionism mean settlement in the territories? Occupation? The legitimization of every act of violence and injustice? The left stammered. Any statement critical of Zionism, even the Zionism of the occupation, was considered a taboo that the left did not dare break. The right grabbed a monopoly on Zionism, leaving the left with its self-righteousness.” This includes the settler movements in the occupied territories. We all remember the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution of November 1975 and the late Israeli ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog’s reply. However, the results of these elections have given credence to the “Zionism is racism” resolution. It would not be surprising if a resolution stating that “Zionism is racism” will be reconsidered in the General Assembly of the UN for debate. If not, it will certainly come up for discussion in the Durban 2 anti-racism conference to be held later this year. Avigdor Lieberman-style Zionism with its racist approach is sufficient to redefine the Zionism of Israel today. Lieberman’s Beitenu Party holds the key to coalition building. It would not be surprising if the spineless Labour Party will be in the new coalition sitting next to Lieberman against their better judgment maybe.

Left wing Zionism is undergoing rigor mortis. Eventually there will hardly be any vestiges left of the tolerant, humane Zionism of the past. The moment a political party loses its ideology and its message is not clear, it will not attract votes. This is what occurred to both the Labour and Meretz parties. The people seek a clear message and this was provided by the right wing Likud and its allies as well as Kadima. The people voted for these two blocs and abandoned the left wing parties. The Likud and its occupation policies won the day and it seems that Benjamin Netanyahu has a better chance of becoming Israel’s prime minister.

The only left wing party that did gain was Hadash – the non-Zionist Democratic Front for Peace and Equality. It is the only party that stands by its ideals. Many disgruntled left wing voters decided to support it this time round. Today it holds four seats in the Knesset. They gained an extra seat.

Now, it is curtains down for left-of-centre Zionism. Maybe it will be the end of moderate Zionism only to be replaced with the occupation Zionism of the right and the racist overtones of Avigdor Lieberman and his ilk. Naturally the right wing religious parties will find a way to adapt themselves to accept Lieberman in a Likud led coalition which will arise under Benjamin Netanyahu. This is an ill omen for the future.

1 comment:

conefor4200 said...

The election is depressing.
We need the restoration of the ruling class in Israel and Palestine.
No more apologizing for settlements, terrorism, racism.
All decent upper class people must make an effort for civility.