Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support -- click here to help us keep going

Analysis News

Bibi can relax - the 'center-left' is really on the right

The actual right-wing bloc looks set to win over 100 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in Tuesday’s election. There’s only one reason to vote against it: the future. 

“Right-wing bloc’s majority slashed,” read the headline over today’s election poll in Haaretz. “The gap is closing,” according to the poll in today’s Yedioth Aharonoth. Both surveys showed the right-religious bloc getting 63 Knesset seats and the center-left-Arab bloc getting 57, and both showed the steadily weakening Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu down to 32.

Even if it is still clear to everyone that Netanyahu will lead the next government, many people will likely gather from these findings that maybe the next government isn’t going to be “the most extreme in Israel’s history,” as has been the expectation.

Forget it. This will be the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history, because what passes for the “center-left” is actually the right. There are two overriding questions in this country, two issues that define left and right: occupation and war. Occupation and war are the status quo, and there’s no center about it: You’re either trying to end it, which puts you on the left, or you’re not, which puts you on the right.

Under Shelly Yachimovich, the Labor Party has emphatically stopped trying to end the occupation, and continues in its support of any war any Israeli government wants to start. Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party follows the exact same line. Meanwhile, Hatnuah’s Tzipi Livni has focused her campaign on ending the conflict with the Palestinians, which would seem to put her on the left, but her positions are so vague – except her refusal to accept even one Palestinian refugee back into Israel – that it’s hard to take her seriously. Worse, she seems bent on joining the next government; if she’s not decisively on the right yet, that appears to be where she’s heading. And if Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima gets the two seats that the Haaretz and Yedioth polls give him, he’ll go into Bibi’s government like a freight train.

But the most obvious thing that makes the “center-left-Arab bloc” an illusion, that prevents it from being even a potential alternative, is that none of these so-called center-left parties would ever form a government with any of the three Arab parties. (The oldest of them, Hadash, has a Jewish Knesset member and many Jewish supporters, but remains predominantly Arab.)  No Israeli prime minister, no Zionist party, ever sought to include any Arab faction in its coalition. Yesterday, Livni said she wanted to form a “central, Zionist unity government,” which explicitly leaves out the Arabs and would seem to include the aforementioned status quo parties plus Shas, which is as right-wing as Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, just more religious.

This is an alternative? Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapid, who openly support the settlers and run from the label “leftist” like they would from the label “child molester” – they’re an alternative?

No, Tuesday’s election will indeed produce the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history, so long as Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud is joined in it by Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu and Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi, which is a virtual certainty. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a fascist leadership, but neither would I call it a democratic one; the term “authoritarian” sounds fair. The likely addition of a Haredi party would reinforce this identity,  and any so-called center-left party that supports the status quo even now would, in such a government, be a fig leaf that fooled no one.

As far as I’m concerned, today’s polls continue to show a right-wing bloc of just over 100 Knesset seats and a left-wing bloc, including Meretz and the Arab parties, of 17 or 18.

For anyone who considers the status quo untenable, the reason to vote for Meretz, Hadash, Balad, United Arab List-Ta’al or Da’am (a truly integrated party that won’t make it into the Knesset but which definitely belongs there), is not because there’s a chance to stop the country from sliding further towards hell next week; that’s going to happen. The reason, instead, to vote for one of the above-mentioned parties is because this country poses an acute, rising danger to itself and others around it, and it requires a fighting, principled opposition to keep it alive, to let the Palestinians and the rest of the world know that there’s something here to work with, something to build on in the future, because authoritarian Israel will not change the status quo on its own; it will have to be forced into it by the Palestinians and the rest of the world. Tuesday’s election will confirm this, and so will the next government.

Read more:
Father who lost daughter in suicide attack to Israelis: Vote for peace
Obama’s attack on Netanyahu could backfire at polls
A real alternative? Tzipi Livni is far worse than Netanyahu

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      Larry, Balad is an Arab nationalist party and is an Arab ideological twin of the right-wing Zionist parties. Raam is an Islamist party that is the Arab ideological twin of Shas or UTJ. Hadash is an anti-Western party that still expresses support for Assad. What kind of principled opposition do you really expect to arise from these parties? Based on what principles?

      Meretz is a decent party. Daam seems genuinely democratic. Tibi is a more or less reasonable man. But I don’t really understand the reason for grouping all the rest of the parties with them and painting them all with the same brush.

      Reply to Comment
      • K9, I also think most highly of Meretz, Da’am and Tibi out of this list, but Balad is fundamentally about Arab equality and ending the occupation. As for Hadash, I’d be pretty amazed if its taken an official position for Assad – there’s a division of opinion among supporters. Ra’am is the milder, “southern wing” of the Islamic movement in Israel. I would not vote for Balad or Ra’am because I’m not an Arab, and I’d prefer Meretz or Da’am to Hadash, but you know what – none of these parties is a threat to Israel – mainly what they want is Arab equality and an end to the occupation, which I, too, think are the two most important goals. They don’t support a Jewish state – and I don’t expect them to – and which is why I wouldn’t vote for them (and one of the reasons I prefer Meretz over Da’am), but again they’re not a threat because they’re not going to get their wish – unless the right wing inadvertently grants it to them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Larry, Balad as a party stands for pushing for Arab autonomy, recognition as a national minority and recasting the state as a binational state. So, it is pushing for Arab sectarian power rather than for a state of all its citizens. In terms of its political objectives it is identical to many early Zionist movements where they were guided by ethnic logic but didn’t think they could achieve a state.

          Hadash’s Dov Khenin a couple of days spoke about Syria and took the Russian approach – tacit support for the Assad government while hiding behind talks about an ‘internal’ solution instead of foreign plots and interventions. This is not an isolated position in Hadash and Noam Shezef likewise wrote to this effect a few months ago.

          Ra’am might the political wing of the ‘milder’ southern Islamic movement, and still it is the political wing of an Islamic movement.

          In other words, none of these parties should be considered as being egalitarian, secular or democratic by their nature. What kind of principled opposition do you expect from any combination of these forces? Again, based on what principles?

          Reply to Comment
          • On the principles of ending discrimination against Israeli Arabs and ending the occupation. I’m not talking about uniting as a party behind a platform, but rather seeing them as informal coalition partners regarding those two issues. If Hadash actively identified itself with Assad, that would be a deal-breaker – but if people inside Hadash support him as individuals, I wouldn’t like it but it wouldn’t put the party beyond the pale. Same w/Ra’am’s Islamic ideology – as long as it’s not jihadist, it’s not a problem. I don’t see anything Balad is doing now that’s a problem.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Larry, here is the official Hadash position on Syria:
            http://hadash.org.il/syria/

            They support the ‘people’ of Syria but reject the opposition as being tools of foreign imperialism. At the same time they express support for the loyal Assad ‘opposition’ that arose in Damascus and demand a full cease-fire and a transition to democracy within an internal political dialog. In other words, they support Assad and oppose the opposition that wants to overthrow him.

            The ideology of Zoabi and of Balad in general is Palestinian nationalist and rejects Israel. It wouldn’t even be capable of acting as an informal coalition partner to a left-wing Israeli government.

            Ra’am is an Islamist party. It might be ‘moderate’ but their principles reject Israel and demand the creation of an Islamic state in all this territory. It is the Islamic equivalent of the long-term demands of the Jewish Home party (Medina Halakha).

            Other than a general anti-Israel bend for all these parties I don’t really see what can united them and I don’t understand how you can group them into some kind of ‘englightened’ bloc given everything I point out above.

            Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        Balad advocates for equality and stands against the racist Zionist ideology which dominates the Jewish Israeli society.The ideologies of the Zionist parties (left/center/right) and Balad are incomparable.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Balad advocates for equality

          That’s a lie.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            It does advocate for equality .You cant always confront facts with “thats a lie” you need to grow up and prove it ,else remain silent .

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Balad denies Jews the right of self determination.

            Specifically – not to live in an Arab state with Muslim majority.

            “Equality with Muslims” is a greatest lie of modern time.

            Muslim can’t be equal to an infidel. Period.

            Balad want to get back what their fathers had declined nearly 90 years ago disregarding demographic realities. They might’ve succeeded on their path of lies and deception – but they won’t. It takes a bit more that a wicked brain and a loud mouth.

            Reply to Comment
          • palestinian

            Where did you get that from ? Your Zionist mind is obsessed with Aravim and Islam !
            Can you support your claims or is it just another baseless useless comment?!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            “Balad is agains Jewish state” = “Balad denies Jews the right of self determination”

            I’ve already noticed that you are not capable of even very simple logical conclusions.

            As of my other claims – you are free to prove me wrong by bringing up 3 examples of tolerant and equal societies with Muslim majorities, or a Sura which states that Infidels are 100% equal to Muslims.

            Or that women are 100% equal to men.

            Whichever you’ll find first.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Those arent conclusions , those are your false claims which I’ve asked you to prove.

            As of your Islam-related claims we arent discussing Islam nor Halakha,our topic is Balad ,the Palestinian Arab nationalist political party in racist Israel.Stick to the subject and stop trying to change it.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            And again, for the most gifted:

            “Balad agains Jewish state” equals “Balad denies Jews right of self determination”

            >the Palestinian Arab nationalist political party in racist Israel

            Yes, our topic is Nazis from Balad who exercise their right to be Nazis in “racist” Israel.

            So?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Balad is against a Jewish state in Palestine 48 ,they arent Jewish.Jewish Israelis came to them not the opposite.

            You call them Nazis because they refuse to be inferior and unequal to Jews in their homeland ? Who is the Nazi in this case ?

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Balad advocates for Arab power. It is a Arab and Palestinian nationalist party operating within the context of a state it can not directly challenge for the moment but it does everything in its power to demonize and delegitimize including siding with its enemies in all conflicts.

          It advocates for recognized minority status, autonomous Arab institutions within Israel and advocates against Israel in international settings. The ideology is not equality, but one that promotes sectarian power for Arabs within Israel and anti-Israel movements from without. That it’s objectives are currently packaged by those like you and Larry as being for equal rights is entirely tactical when they are pronounced and does not derive from the party’s ideological underpinnings.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Balad struggles against Jewish supremacy and discrimination against the indigenous population (themselves).They are against Israel as a Jewish state .They have the full right to ask for their rights in their homeland.You are judging them based on your own false assumptions.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >They are against Israel as a Jewish state … they have the full right to ask for their rights in their homeland.

            As a matter of fact they have no right to demand dismantlement of a state.

            Anyone who claims that Jews can’t have own state to exercise the right of self-determination is an enemy of Jewish people and the Jewish state and should be treat as such.

            In years 1922, 1948, 1964, 2000, 2002 and 2006 Palestinian Arab leaders clearly stated that they are not interested in equal coexistence or peaceful solution.
            Changed your mind?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            How does equality threaten the existence of Israel (assuming Israel has the right to exist in Palestine)?

            If the so-called “Jewish people” are determined to live in a Jewish state , they can have it somewhere else.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >How does equality threaten the existence of Israel (assuming Israel has the right to exist in Palestine)?

            Assuming all Arabs recognize that Jews are equal to Arabs, have a right to live in remainders of historical Jewish state, freely worship Jewish g-d in Jewish holy places and freely travel to all any any Arab lands – equality can’t hurt.

            But since Arabs won’t ever recognize anything of said above, the so-called “equality” is nothing but a lie. You can’t overcome this enemy in a direct fight, so you resort to the time-tested and well-practiced art of deceit.

            >If the so-called “Jewish people” …

            ROFL

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            We are discussing equality in whats called “Israel” not equality around the Middle East ,stick to the subject.
            So again how does equality in your state threaten its existence?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Because the Israeli Arab parties do not demand equality. They demand that the state remove all symbols that the majority supports and to replace it with a state in which Jews would not have any capacity to defend themselves. They also demand that once this change is carried out that millions more Arab Muslims be allowed into the state, because why not, right? It is already not a Jewish state, what could be the problem with several million more Arab citiens? And then the Jews turn into a minority and lose any ability to defend their interests. In the rest of the Middle East whenever a minority is defenseless it is persecuted, exiled or massacred. This is why the context of the region is relevant. If you can point me to a country in the region where Arab Muslims have been capable of developing a tolerant democratic system at least you can argue that there is no threat to the state from stopping to represent and defend the Jewish population. But you can’t. And this sequence of events is why those that claim to demand equality actually demand that the Jews sacrifice their state and capacity to defend themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Balad demands equality,can you prove me wrong ?

            Within few years ,Jews will become a minority in historic Palestine ,and do I have to remind you how the Jewish immigrants became a majority in Palestine ? Massacres,terrorism,land theft and more “chosen” exports .

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Read anything by Zoabi. She doesn’t speak in the name of equality. She speaks in the name of promoting Arab power at the expense of the Jews who she, like you, consider foreigners whose rights are secondary.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Richard Witty

      What happened to

      http://972mag.com/finally-israel-has-an-opposition-tzipi-livnis-hatnuah-party/61628/

      that you posted two weeks ago?

      Please wait until after the elections to get despondent, and then don’t.

      “There’s no hope” reduces even the predicted 57 seats, which could even improve with some good reason.

      My own observation stimulated from your comments is that Netanyahu’s leadership is potentially threatened, that he would find some way to lose the confidence of the further right parties than likud.

      Of his likely coalition Israel Beitanhu would be the center party.

      The consequence to Israel of the far right coalition with Netanyahu as premier or as someone else on the further right, would be isolation.

      It is very plausible that Obama and Europeans would lose any pretense of hope that Netanyahu can either pursue peace, even temporary and partial, or even maintain order.

      So, even if they condemn some of Israel’s Jim Crowish policies, the argument that Israel is stable would diminish, and the US might abstain from security council veto for example, on something critical but not physically threatening.

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard, see the post I wrote Dec. 27 – bye Livni, hello Meretz.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Aaron Gross

      These claims about who’s “really” right and “really” left are misleading. The Likud supports negotiating with the PLO and establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. This is the Israeli left’s platform, circa 1992.

      What’s happened is that the left-Zionist ideology of land-for-peace and a Jewish nation-state inside the Green Line has triumphed. Those who now subscribe to it range from Meretz supporters on the left, through Labor, Kadima, and Yesh Atid in the center, to the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu on the center-right. The differences between those parties are not ideological; all are what used to be called the left.

      What used to be called the right is now represented by Jewish Home, a minority party despite its recent growth.

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Witty

        Aaron,
        Do you really think that is true, that likud and Israeli Beitanhu can ignore their charter (to coin an accusation) and actually endorse and pursue two states?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Richard, Bibi and Lieberman both support partition and two states. This is what Aaron means when he says that all parties other than Jewish Home have taken on the positions of what used to be classified as ‘left’.

          Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Of course I know that they have accepted some description of Palestinian self-governance.

            But, both have acted to expand Israel and Israeli (though exclusively Jewish) settlement on land defined internationally as the site of the prospective Palestinian state.

            It’s still occupied land and therefore inadmissable to intentional settle with Israeli nationals. It’s just not clear what jurisdiction will ultimately be sovereign.

            The majority of Israel Beitanhu and Likud reject the prospect of a Palestinian state.

            And, it is explicitly rejected in both their charters.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            The perception of the ‘traditional’ borders of a future Palestinian state is rather modern within Israel. Outside of the extreme left the idea of a Palestinian state at all was foreign to the political parties until the early 1990s. Even Rabin would not have accepted your perception of ‘tradition’.

            Israel Beiteinu’s charter does not reject a Palestinian state and accepts the principle of partition and Lieberman himself has gone on to suggest partition to include territory within the green line. Bibi too has accepted a Palestinian state in principle.

            The support for settlement and the acceptance of a future Palestinian state are only contradictory if one perceives that no Palestinian state can arise except on the 1967 lines or that settlers can not be evacuated from territory handed over to the Palestinians. Both of these assumptions are problematic. The Palestinians could have sovereignty within a smaller Palestinian state and isolated settlements could be evacuated as they have been in the past from Gaza and the Sinai and *gasp* even from Samaria. The future sovereignty in the West Bank is precisely what is in dispute and Israeli claims to parts of the West Bank are reinforced by settlement activity.

            Reply to Comment
    4. How can we help?

      Reply to Comment
    5. michael livingston

      I think 972 is a bit too pessimistic about Israeli politics. If you look at the pie chart, close to half of voters support something other than the hard right–perhaps more than half if everyone voted. The problem is that the various left and center groups have little in common with one another and have not successfully reached out to Russians, haredim and other “ethnic” voters including in many cases the Arabs themselves. People on the Israeli left need to work on overcoming these barriers, as Obama did in the USA, rather than complaining that the electorate is too “conservative.”

      Reply to Comment
      • I think the pie chart may indicate a continuing, growing, dislodge between the governing elite and electorate; and I think worry over this may be one reason why the “founder” of J14 is awaiting trial for incitement to riot (translate: activating the alienated).

        But there is as yet no real indication that this dislodged electorate has much autonomous opinion(s), as though more feel something inadeqate without articualtion. Foreign policy and occupation in outcome prevent articulation of any alternatives. At best, one can argue against Larry that MK’s not in the governing coalition are waiting for something to happen, without their own game plan.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Yaron

      If Israel does not do anything to help end the occupation, others will do it by further isolating Israel. There are so many threats: US cutting the defense budget, leaving the Middle East by itself all the way, cutting their dependency on ME-oil. EU getting fed up. Etc.
      Bey bey, startup nation…
      In the end of the day, it is not so important who will be in office dealing with the occupation. Even Bibi and Bennett can do it, when the outside pressure rises to concerning levels. The longer the waiting, the more important question will become: HOW to end the occupation instead of between staying or leaving. This will be the concern of every future government and I think this is also what the voters feel. I think a huge majority choses to end the occupation. Their primary concern is how much Israel will lose. Their line of thought is: the more conservative a government, the bigger the limit of loss of soil and safety will be. The voters are right: there should be a definite solution. This is something the ‘right’ should consider too: dragging your feet is NOT the solution.

      Reply to Comment
      • The right has the solution of Greater Israel. I don’t think on can just “end” the occupation. Israel is going to be tied to the Bank even upon (most) military withdrawal; and I think the preponderate Israeli elite sees the IDF at Jordan’s border. What is missing is any sense of engagement with Bank Palestinians. I think the nonviolent movement is actually trying to create engagement, but the ruling elite sees everything as a war strategy. That is, I think the nonviolence movement in the Bank understands that contact with Israel is a prior given, so is trying to shape that contact. This is, in my view, a great thing.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >If Israel does not do anything to help end the occupation

        By the letter of law there is no occupation.
        >others will do it by further isolating Israel

        First that “others” will have to isolate countries like Russia or China. Good luck ROFL

        >US cutting the defense budget

        Not a problem at all. Israel is severely limited in it’s military relations with other countries – like Russia, China or India – due to US interference.

        >leaving the Middle East by itself all the way

        Nonsense.

        >cutting their dependency on ME-oil

        Nonsense as well.

        >EU getting fed up

        What EU exactly? UK? Germany? Greece?

        >HOW to end the occupation

        You can’t answer this question until you have a clear definition of what “end of occupation” means by the “occupied”

        Since in this case there is no singular legitimate representative of so-to-be-called “occupied” party, which would define what “end of occupation” means, one can’t end the “occupation”. Technically.

        Reply to Comment
        • Yaron

          All these threats have been commented before. The world is changing; Israel cannot sit and wait.
          The occupation is a word that only some Israelis don’t want to use. The thing needs a name and this is what comes closest to it: the most important part is that the people don’t have rights and they don’t have the chance to change that themselves because control was taken from them. Ignoring this situation is ignoring a big wrong.
          We don’t need to define ‘occupation’. Better spend time on finding a sustainable solution. I am sick and tired of having to defend Israel to my friends and family abroad. I know, they are being brainwashed too by anti-Israel press, but some things are simply unexplainable. I just want to be able to explain to them that this is a happy, democratic, equality-loving society, and even though it is not there yet, that we are on the right track.
          I don’t think we should make that goal dependent on the Pals, the rest of the ME or even Obama. But if Israel waits any longer, it is going to lose control.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >The occupation is a word that only some Israelis don’t want to use.

            The “occupation” in terms of international law has very specific meaning, and what’s going here simply does not fit the description.

            >the most important part is that the people don’t have rights and they don’t have the chance to change that themselves because control was taken from them.

            No. Because their leaders had denied peaceful coexistence with Jews in 1922, 1948 and on few other occasions.

            >Ignoring this situation is ignoring a big wrong.

            What exactly is wrong if people are not given what they do not want?

            >Better spend time on finding a sustainable solution.

            For now there seem to be only one such solution – 2 two separate states. One – Jewish state for all it’s citizens, and another – Arab state for it’s Arab citizens.

            >I don’t think we should make that goal dependent on the Pals

            We can’t be dependent on Pals, because their goals are completely different.

            >But if Israel waits any longer, it is going to lose control.

            So what exactly is your proposed solution which would suit ALL Palestinians?

            2SS is not suitable – Jews can’t have even a tiniest peace of Arab land.

            1SS in a Jewish state is not suitable as well – Arabs can’t live as a second-class citizens in a Jewish state.

            1SS in an Arab state?
            ROFL

            Reply to Comment
    7. Mikesailor

      Reading the article and the comments reinforces the position that most of you are merely ‘shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic’. Larry’s won’t vote for any party whose platform does not advocate a ‘Jewish’ state, never mind his objection to the occupation. Yet, why should an ‘Arab’ or other supposed non-Jewish ‘citizen’ vote for such a state rather than a state ensuring equal rights for all its citizens? Wouldn’t such a vote merely reinforce their present status as ‘lesser’ citizens? Of course, such a state is fine for K-9, Aaron G., Trsspass or even Yaron: none will question the viability or even the desirability of maintaining and ‘legalizing’ ethnocratic dominance. Of course, Yaron despairs of trying to ‘defend’ the indefensible and falls back on the usual Zionist excuse that detractors and critics are ‘brainwashed’ or somehow ‘don’t understand’. Forget any semblance of meritocracy or even equal protection of the laws, all that matters is how you emerged from the womb to determine your status in Israeli society. A Jewish womb is all that matters.
      I find it strange that anyone ‘educated’ or even moderately aware of social developments within the past fifty years would hold onto the idea that a state based upon religion or ethnicity does not contain the seeds of its own destruction within it. I often hear defenders of Israel whine that the ..’world doesn’t understand them..”. My reply is that perhaps the world understands only too well.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mike, I support a Jewish state not because I believe in Jewish supremacy, but because a state depends on a defense establishment, and I don’t see Jews and Arabs sharing it in this country, not with the potential enemies being all Arabs and other Muslims. I’m not sure that a Jewish state can work – I know the present version of it can’t – but I’m positive a binational state can’t. Whenever people propose a binational state, I ask – who’s going to guard the borders, remembering who’s on the other side – Jews, Arabs or both? Who’s going to be in the Mossad, who’s going to run Dimona, etc.? But maybe you disagree – do you think it’s possible for Israel to have a defense establishment in which Arabs and Jews served equally and loyally like different ethnic groups do in Western militaries?

        Reply to Comment
        • Mikesailor

          Larry: As that poliyicla philosopher Roseanne Rosannadanna would say: “Either you try or you don’t.” You are going to have to go toward a bi national state sooner or later, especially with the Israeli (Jewish) right-wing making an independent, contiguous, viable Palestinian state an impossibility. So, the question is: where do you go from here? Mossad is a waste of time and money, much as the CIA. Dimona will last only as long as those surrounding it have a stake in the matter. And there’s the rub. By not giving the ‘Arabs’ a stake in Israel ie. offering a state for all of its citizens with equal protection of the law and a complete divorce between government and religion/ethnicity, you ensure that they will respond in kind. Why should they support a state which considers them “children of a lesser god?” So you will build higher walls, spend more on bloated defense and ‘security’ without accepting that by denying non-Jews equal rights and responsibilities, you ensure the cycle of mistrust and detestation will never end.

          In the US, for decades after the Civil War, many white Americans were terrified of black people. Somehow, they feared, black Anmericans would drive them ‘into the sea’ as revenge for the treatment they had received during slavery. Therefore, the whites brutalized them, disenfranchised them and even lynched a few. Yet, with each action against the blacks, the white fear was not assuaged, it only grew. Not until the modern civil rights struggles did the fear ease to the point where now we have a president of mixed race. Israel is trading down a well-worn path, with no evidence of changing except for the worse. And the mere idea of a ‘Jewish’ state; like a Muslim state, a Christian state, a white state, etc. should be anathema and rightly consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’. All of your excuses for not moving toward a different state only reflect your fears. Have fun.

          Reply to Comment
          • Mike, so your answer is that if Israel becomes a state of all its citizens, it won’t need a Mossad, nor a Dimona – it seems you’re saying Israel won’t really need an army at all. This state of all its citizens you’re talking about is Camelot. The one I’ve got in mind is a Jewish state that doesn’t occupy the Palestinians and doesn’t attack its neighbors, and whose Arab minority has absolute equal rights – but is not drafted or expected to man the defense establishment with the Jews because it’s just untenable to make them willing to fight for Israel against Arabs. That’s the inherent limitation here on a state of all its citizens. Again, I don’t know if my way will ever come about, but there is at least a theoretical possibility, which I don’t think exists for your way.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mikesailor

            That defeatist attitude consigns you to great disappointment for it will always lead to Jewish domination of all non-Jews. Here is what I mean. In the US, blacks have fought in every military conflict with the idea that, sooner or later, they would receive their just due from the government and equal rights. Yet, you would basically eliminate all ‘Arabs’ from consideration because, in fact, if they proved willing and able to guard ALL Israelis, your pipe dream of a ‘Jewish’ state would prove just that: a racist fantasy. If they don’t carry equal responsibilities, the Jews will never allow them equality. Therefore,the easiest way to ensure equality never happens is your way. Congratulations on a circular argument. Either you do, or you don’t. The choice is yours. But don’t whine if you opt for the easiest tribal route and prepare for the worst.

            Reply to Comment
          • Larry, I am too distant to have a sense of Arab Israelis effectively in the military. I would say, however, that true equal protection in the law might shift the nonloyalty you fear. I think that if one’s family and friends are doing fairly well, especially as measured by the immediate non-Israel outside, Arab Israelis might well feel a loyalty to continuing that condition. Since a bantu Two State solution is no solution, and since the IDF must control the Jordanian border, at the level of coercion a Palestinian State will be quite subordinate, effectively federated to Israel. Two States is not actually two states. Economic transactions will create something of a One State naturally. One might argue, however, that this seperation phase in security apparatus is necessary. Perhaps equal protection of the laws in Israel would help mould the inevitable Two State federation. Alas, I doubt such a positive path will unfold now.

            Reply to Comment
          • GREG: I’m in favor of a Palestinian state that is absolutely free of Israeli interference – no Israeli presence or control anywhere within Palestinian borders, or coast or airspace – the same complete sovereignty that Israel and its neighboring Arab countries enjoy. I think it’s absolutely doable – and while few Israelis agree today, that could change later. MIKE/GREG: If Israeli Arabs were willing to defend this country alongside Jews against all possible enemies, I would be very, very happy to replace the Jewish state with a state of all its citizens. I don’t have a positive preference for a Jewish state, I think it’s the least of all possible evils – but if a state of all its citizens were proved possible by Arabs’ willingness to defend it together with Jews, then that’s something I would definitely have a positive preference for. But I don’t think it can happen – I see no evidence that Israeli Arabs would ever be prepared to fight for Israel against Arab or Muslim enemies – so in the meantime, I’m going to support a TRUE two-state solution as the closest one to being fair that could be realized.

            Reply to Comment
          • The problem in implementing your logic, Larry, is that a plurality of the country will not give up IDF security of the Jordanian border, marching everyone towards “One State.” As you will not deeply trust Arab Israelis with security, other Israelis won’t trust the Jordanian border to foreign Arab oversight. One State is the path all fears lead to.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Yaron

      Why keep comparing Israel to the US? Because it is such a prime example of equality and democracy? Nevertheless, Israel is different and its setting even more: surrounded by hostile neighbors and a population which potentially can be equally hostile. And don’t even bother ask Pals/Arabs to join the IDF.
      Equality can be achieved, but the process through which it will take place will be different. Blacks and whites in the US were never eachothers enemies as Jews and Arabs were. But the process of becoming a society based on equality is inevitable, seen from an international perspective, despite the overwhelming religious factor in Israeli politics. Some things need time: healing the wounds left after war and occupation can take tenths of years after which there is still a long road towards mutual understanding which demands willingness from both sides. There is a long road ahead and we haven’t even started walking yet.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        That’s a nice bunch of nonsense xD

        >Equality can be achieved

        Palestinian Arabs denied equality in 1922, 1948 and all other occasions. What makes you think that the situation has changed?

        >Blacks and whites in the US were never eachothers enemies as Jews and Arabs were.

        Jews and Arabs weren’t enemies until Arabs denied Jews the right to have own state.

        Reply to Comment
      • Your Declaration of Independence, actualized incrementally, could start that walk.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Israeli Declaration of Independence is not accepted by Arabs.

          Where exactly you gonna walk with that?

          Reply to Comment
    9. Palestinian

      Equality for all doesnt mean dismantlement of the state.

      You want to have a “Jewish” state ,have it somewhere else .

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Arabs denied Jews equality in 1922. Since nothing had changed since, your demands are nothing but a tactic of deceit.

        Besides, a great most of Israeli Arabs are not supporting Balad – otherwise it would get more than 2 seats.

        I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you – the Jewish state is here to stay, and the best favor you could do to a human kind is die trying to remove it.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        It does when ‘all’ want to bring in millions of their brethren and vote the state out of existence.

        Reply to Comment
    10. [...] Palestijnse staat komt er geen twee-statenoplossing. Als food-for-thought wil ik u het artikel Bibi can relax – the ‘center-left’ is really on the rightaanbevelen, geschreven door Larry Derfner, voormalig columnist van de Jerusalem Post. Over de [...]

      Reply to Comment
    11. Click here to load previous comments

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Name (Required)
    Mail (Required)
    Website
    Free text

© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel