Remarks by the most outlandish Republican candidates represent, in the best case scenario, the more moderate positions of Israel’s prime ministers since the state’s founding.
By Abed Abu Shehada
Let’s imagine for a second that Donald Trump gets up on stage at a rally and demands that maternity wards across the U.S. begin segregating black and white women, justifying his demand through stereotypes: blacks love throwing loud post-birth parties, whereas white women are more simply more cultured prefer to rest after giving birth. His remarks would surely be widely condemned. In fact, I doubt that Trump himself is stupid or racist enough to say such things.
But in Israeli politics, racism espoused by members of the government are part of the view, and pro-democracy activists find ourselves writing opinion pieces on why remarks like those by Betzalel Smotrich (“It is natural for my wife to not want to lie next to somebody who just gave birth to a baby that might want to murder her baby in 20 years. That’s the most natural, normal thing in the world”) are unacceptable, explaining why they are so problematic to the Israeli public.
When looking at the election campaign in the United States, it is not a stretch to say that remarks by the most outlandish Republican candidates represent, in the best case scenario, the more moderate positions of Israel’s prime ministers since the state’s founding.
Two weeks ago I met with activists from the Black Lives Matter movement. I expressed my positions as an activist with the Balad party about solutions to the situation in Israel and our struggle for a society based on civic equality — a state that respects its citizens and sees them as equals. I told them that Balad is widely hated and viewed as a radical group in Israel. They looked at me in shock, grasping to understand what could be possibly be radical about what I had just said. In their eyes, equality was obvious. Anyone who goes against this worldview goes against the liberal worldview. It...Read More