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Deliberations of a first-time non-Zionist voter

Less than 48 hours to vote, and I still haven’t decided.

Ballot slips from 2009 Knesset elections (Photo: Michal Barel / Creative Commons licence)

The first time I voted I was a soldier in the Israeli Navy. It was 1992, and I remember being all excited about taking part in the democratic process. I walked over the plank of my missile boat towards a decaying building on shore, and in greasy hands proudly voted for Yitzhak Rabin.

So much has happened since that first vote of mine: to me, to Israelis, to Palestinians. But one thing hasn’t changed, the occupation. Back then, the occupation had a certain temporal feel to it, as if it was something that could be fixed if intentions were sincere. Now, after 45 years, there seems to be nothing temporary about the occupation. Quite the opposite.

I myself veered slightly more to the left as the years went on, voting for Meretz in each of the following elections.

But now even that has changed. These will be my first elections as a non-Zionist. Coming from a guy who as a teenager had a poster of Ehud Barak hanging in his room – one has to appreciate the fundamental changes I’ve been through.

As someone whose relatives were massacred in Europe, giving up on Zionism is frightening for me. But my becoming a non-Zionist is somewhat of an outcome, not exactly a choice. I compare it to the difference between the two-state solution to the one-state solution – the latter not a solution at all, yet an outcome. Especially an outcome of the most recent Israeli and American policies of the past four years, which have essentially killed off the two-state solution.

Therefore, as I now believe there will only be one state from the river to the sea – as there is now (only one entity truly rules this land currently), I no longer believe in fighting for “peace.” I believe in fighting for human rights, for civil rights, for equality, dignity and justice.

My colleague Noam Sheizaf recently articulated precisely how I feel about the upcoming vote:

Cooperation between Palestinian and Jews is by far the greatest, most important challenge in this country. Every element of Israeli life – from the education system to zoning plans – is constructed to promote ethnic separation, with politics being just the tip of the iceberg. But despite the fantasies of many people, both populations will continue to live here, side by side, for many years to come. Therefore, the ability to create joint structures and partnerships is the single most important element that would determine the chances of survival and the quality of life for the entire society.

The necessary conclusion for me is that it is simply forbidden to vote for parties which are not shared by Palestinians and Jews, or for ones that preserve the policy of separation between Palestinians and Jews. There are no perfect parties, but this should be the basic condition, just as an American shouldn’t vote for a party that doesn’t accept black people. Therefore, in the coming elections, the parties to consider are Hadash, Da’am and Balad.

Noam’s words will ring true for me even if I am proven wrong and the land eventually is divided (I still can’t see it happening, but never say never, right?). Jewish and Arab lives will continue to be intertwined no matter what happens here.

Less than 48 hours before I cast my vote and I have yet to decide. This is the situation for many Israelis, by the way, on both sides of the political map. Candidates abound, yet of poor quality. One would think that with a parliamentary system so diverse, it would be easy to find at least one politician to truly connect to…

I am debating between two options: The first is to vote for either Hadash or Da’am. As I write these words, I am leaning more towards Da’am. I know the chances are slim they will pass the necessary threshold, yet as one who took an active part in #J14, I feel this is the only party that truly represents the winds of change that the social protests brought, and is a breath of fresh air to the left wing. Also, I feel Hadash made a grave mistake when not positioning women on top of its list – a mistake that I’m sure they would criticize other parties for had they made a similar mistake.

There are many more issues to consider when debating between Da’am and Hadash. I had hoped to write about them earlier, but couldn’t find the time.

My second option is to do something I wrote about recently, and that is to give my vote to a Palestinian. It seems pretty obvious why, and I can’t actually find a reason not to do it. I think one of the reasons I haven’t decided on this yet is that it’s hard for the activist part in me, the one that really wants to have my own say in this process. I suppose that’s also selfish – as selfish as the occupation I am responsible for. And shouldn’t the activist part in me really do it to begin with?

I’ll probably decide in the last minute. And feel relief that the dilemma will finally be over.

Yet despair is probably what will follow that relief as the polls predict another four years of occupation, if not more.

I’m not a believer – but I’m praying for a miracle.

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    1. Rachel

      This is an extraordinary comment and I think it speaks clearly to how so many of us are changing.

      Reply to Comment
    2. ayla

      thank you, Ami. This is a felt piece, and everything you write is understandable, or the outcome of where things actually are, as you say. This is my first Israeli election, so I haven’t been through so much of the heartbreak that people here went through in the 90’s, nor the depressing decline since. Yet, I was feeling a similar kind of despair around voting, and probably would have just voted Hadash or, gulp, Meretz–just as a leftist: We Are Here–but it turns out that I’m actually excited about Asma Aghbarieh-Zahalka, and it’s such a relief to feel that way. Although I’m sympathetic to Balad voters and supportive of Zoabi, I believe that right wing palestinian nationalism is no better for our potential one state (or two if some miracle occurs) than Israeli right wing nationalism. And unlike Hadash or Meretz, Asma A-Z is offering something I can actually feel good about. I’m so grateful for that.

      Reply to Comment
      • JorgeG

        Ayla: I was sort of puzzled by your sentence: “And unlike Hadash or Meretz, Asma A-Z is offering something I can actually feel good about. I’m so grateful for that.” Puzzled because most of the points of the DWP platform are not at all “unlike” those of Hadash and Meretz platform. So I gather that what makes you “feel good about it” are the points by which they differ; these are mainly, (quote from said platform): “DWP believes that a “Palestinian Spring” is in the offing. It will overthrow the PA and face Israel with two choices.” But these two choices have been confronting us since 1967, what’s new? That Israel appears to have chosen one of the two (the binational State) is not due to lack of “Palestinian Springs”; two intifada’s and countless confrontations attest to that. I found suggestive that DWP’s main thrust is against the present PA leadership; why not also a Palestinian Spring in the Gaza Strip to overthrow Hamas’ oppressive regime? It looks to me that what the DWP seems to be promoting is a swift transition to a fundamentalist Islamic regime modeled on the new Egyptian one.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      @Ami – it’s not such a momentous and Earth-shattering decision that t should keep you awake at night. Yes, Bibi will be the PM, and his government will be even more despicable and obnoxious than the last one. But, as an anti-zionist myself, I say let the dog have its bone.
      At the end of the day, Bibi is nothing more than a mangy dog who can’t learn any new tricks, and who will get his nose swatted with a rolled-up newspaper time and again in the next 4 years by Obama, Hagel and Co. So what’s wrong with that?
      If I were you, I would give my vote to a Palestinian in a show of solidarity with a people, most of whom have never known any democratic rights (and very few human rights too).

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        If Netaniyahu is a dog than what animal are you, Danny?

        Skunk? Nah, skunks are too nice and friendly.

        Cockroach? Nope. Cockroaches are nearly perfect creatures.

        Oh, I know – a sea cucumber. Let’s check…
        Prolonged body – present
        Two holes on opposite ends – present
        Basic nervous system – present

        Yep. That’s it sir. From now on I shall call you Danny the Sea Cucumber.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          I’d rather be a cucumber than an asshole, which is what you clearly are.

          Reply to Comment
        • aristeides

          I’d say that from now on, Tresspasser ought to be banned from commenting, as his only contribution is to insult other posters and falsely call them liars.

          Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      I recall that when the slaughter began in Syria, some Israelis and Palestinians complained that HADASH was not condemning the massive human rights abuses the Assad regime was carrying out. I don’t know if things have changed, in fact I rather doubt it seeing and hearing the defeaning silence of the Left-Liberal-Progressives who claim to worry about civil rights of the Palestinians regarding the Syrian slaughter, so I wonder if the fact that HADASH doesn’t seem to care about the massive killings of Syrians, only confronting Israel, affects the decision of those who are considering those who vote for a non-Zionist party and claim they are worried about “human rights”.

      Another factor that may be considered is that a vote for BALAD is a vote for strengthening the Israeli Right, because every time Zoabi opens her mouth, she convinces more and more Israelis that that Palestinians are not interested in peace with Israel under any circumstances.

      Reply to Comment
      • ayla

        wow, XYZ, I actually agree with you here. I’m also uncomfortable with Hadash because of their support of Assad (and all that reveals, too), and I agree that right wing nationalism on either side creates the mirror image on the other (which is why I’m sympathetic to it on the Palestinian side, yet would never support it). All that is why I’d likely be a Meretz voter if I didn’t have an alternative I could actually get behind.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Zoabi is the most valuable asset Netaniyahu could ever dream of.

        An essence of “Arab foe”.

        The best part is that all other Arab parties are supporting her – silently or openly.

        Reply to Comment
    5. JorgeG

      Mr. Kaufman: since you are still undecided I’d like to try to influence your decision. You write:
      “Yet despair is probably what will follow that relief as the polls predict another four years of occupation, if not more.” Despairing is in a way giving up the struggle for one’s principles. True that we are in, as you say, for another four years of occupation; but those could be also four years to continue the struggle against a de facto binational state. True also that we are against powerful odds, so let us not weaken our position even more by fragmenting the left with yet another party. Whatever the good intentions on the part of Daam, in practice, by advocating the demise of the present Palestinian leadership and another chaotic Arab Spring in the West Bank, they are playing the hand of those for a binational state. If the outcomes that Daam advocates were to take place the possibility of establishing a Palestinian State would banish for the foreseeable future. Considering all the above, wouldn’t you agree that voting Hadash rather than Daam is the better option?

      Reply to Comment
      • ayla

        Jorge–I really respect the argument that the left shouldn’t splinter off into parties that won’t get seats and should therefore vote Hadash (or, some argue, Meretz). And yet, as Ami’s despair reveals, we are so, so stuck here, and nothing that exists presently, including Hadash, is going to get us anywhere. I believe that Asma Aghbarieh is the only true leader in the picture who has the potential to, possibly, lead us in a direction out of this mess. She’s offering us something new. Will she get seated this time around? Likely No. But she’ll gain a lot of momentum toward something that could actually work.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          People who write lies like “… Ariel is a settlement in occupied territory in every way; … to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.” or “The military operations in Gaza are a direct result of four years of time-wasting by Netanyahu’s right wing government, which persistently refused to negotiate an agreement to put an end to the conflict.”
          are not offering anything new neither are they capable of achieving anything but a nice job for the party leader.

          Reply to Comment
    6. JKNoReally

      More solipsistic floundering – a perfect example of moral expressivism trumping moral universalism. Someone who proclaims the death of two-states, then concedes that division may yet come to pass, who cites international law and then proclaims the existence of one state, is not a moral thinker. This piece, and Ami’s resignation, is not about working toward the establishment of a liberal Arab-Jewish society, its about the need for a personal mission worth fighting for. The problem, and this must be repeated again and again apparently, is that the Palestinian opposition to Israel is far too violent and hysterical and reactionary to cooperate with. Daam is a sideshow. For a while it wasn’t totally clear, but now its undeniable that +972 inhabitants the fantasy land of the denialists who wish they lived in America in the 1960’s. Naivety is not a strong enough word – delusion is becoming the more appropriate term for what is worming its way into the non-Zionist brain. Otherwise, Ami would simply move back to America, where everything he wants is actually possible.

      Reply to Comment
      • Carl

        JK have you got a different Internet where you live as your post is way, way through the looking glass from where I’m reading it.

        Reply to Comment
        • JKNoReally

          Carl – do you have anything substantive to say? I would enjoy a real argument, or even clever insults.

          Reply to Comment
    7. Carl

      Kudos to yourself Ami for stating this publicly.

      I’m not sure people who’ve never spent time in Israel understand how difficult a move it can be to openly state you’re Jewish but not Zionist.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Since in Israel no-one is operating with categories like “Jewish” or “Zionist” in daily life, it is quite problematic to actually state something like that.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Lisa K

      I continue to admire you, and others like you, who are trying to change things from the inside. I can’t (and shouldn’t) tell you what to do, but I think if I was an Israeli citizen, I would give my vote to a Palestinian living under Occupation. I love the symbolism of it, I love the public recognition of privilege, and I love the empowerment – even in such a small way – of those who are powerless.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Arieh

      Why do I get the feeling that Ami and all who agree with him are just reactionaries?

      The solution that they propose is not possible. It is not practical. Even if they could bring it about, the solution would not make things better, it would make things much worse. Not just for Jews but for Arabs too. Can one even contemplate the idea of peaceful productive coexistence between a people with significant support for Hamas on the one hand and Zionists (yes, the majority of Israelis still support the idea of an independent state for the Jewish people)? The whole idea conjurs up the image of what happened in Rwanda, the Balkans and Lebanon (maybe Syria too?). It is a daft idea.

      I can’t help but compare them to the Khmer Rouge (sorry but it is true). The Khmer Rouge too looked around. They did not like the world they saw around them so they tried to destroy it and rebuild it from the ground up.

      We all know what was the outcome of their attempt at a brave new world.

      Reply to Comment
      • JKNoReally

        Some people just can’t internalize that not every set of facts presents the opportunity to take a morally robust position, and aren’t comfortable living in the grey zone. They have to be sure that they’re doing the “right” thing, for personal reasons, and either can’t accept that they don’t have the answer or aren’t aware that they don’t. Reality and practicality do not enter the equation.

        Reply to Comment
      • Adrian Benveniste

        I am truly flabbergasted at how much of what used to be called Jewish self-loathing is expressed in this blog post. The writer and those who agree seem comfortable with Jews when they light their cute Hanukkah candles and dance the hora, but can’t deal with Jewish sovereignty. Yet, Israel is the most open society in the whole middle east for homosexuals, women, free thinkers, pork eaters, Christians, and even Arabs. It certainly is the only place that Jews can live openly and without anti-semitics fears… fears that are now creeping into Europe and even America through leftist hatred of all things Jewish. Ask yourselves why.

        Reply to Comment
    10. ‘I no longer believe in fighting for “peace.” I believe in fighting for human rights, for civil rights, for equality, dignity and justice.’ : “Solution” has just become a verbal delaying tactic for augmenting Israeli presence in the Bank. As far as I can see, the only place for “peace” right now is in specific events, employing exactly the principles you site. Any future transition of the Israeli State will employ its effective constitution; fighting for that now is important. I continue to see the Declaration of Independence as a means of preserving the Zionist principle of ingress into Israel with the very principles you uphold. Free ingress into Israel proper has nothing to do with the occupation; the right asserts otherwise for expansive goals, believed to be security goals. Israel is entering constiutional crisis. Considered choice of vote is important for that alone.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Free ingress can only be maintained by controlling the territory. No state, no free ingress. No security, no state, no free ingress. And we are back to arguing whether controlling parts or all of Judea and Samaria are security assets.

        Reply to Comment
        • If you equate occupation with security while enhancing settler presence you will be faced with a population dislodged from civil, political, and what much of the world sees as human rights (such as being able to use your land). What I am saying, not really to you, is that the inevitable transition to a binational state which this policy induces will rely in part on the Israeli constitution, and that free ingress, if absorbed through the Declaration of Independence, can preserve that. But the document also demands equal protection of the law.

          The settlers inflame matters, causing need for more “security.” Remove them and occupy the Bank–this follows from your own defintition of security.

          But this will not happen, for the issue is not security but absorption.

          Reply to Comment
    11. Arieh

      “Reality and practicality do not enter the equation.”

      It does. At least to some extent. In order for even the possibility of one state for two people to become a practical reality, the minimum requirement is that BOTH sets of people should move away from hatred and extremism.

      To it’s credit, on the Israeli side at least, publications like +972 are making a valiant (although misguided IMHO) attempt to push Israelis thinking into a different direction.

      But where oh where is the Palestinian equivalent of +972? And what are we to think of Palestinian intentions if they are not equally willing to reassess THEIR PAST and their mistakes, past and present?

      I can only speak for myself but the effect that it invokes in me is distrust. And I am sure I am not unique in thinking that if Israelis need to be more introspective then Palestinians need to do the same at least as much as Israelis.

      So, anyone? Can anyone point me to the Palestinian equivalent of +972? Or are they so innocent that they don’t need one?

      Reply to Comment
      • Shelly

        “Where oh where” – Yes, I too would like an answer to that question. An answer to “is there a Palestinian equivalent of +972”?
        If anyone can direct me to one, please do.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Richard Witty

      In a parliamentary system one has the option of voting their principles, rather than more pragmatic either/or choices.

      The likud/beintanhu merger was an attempt to move to a two-party system, but because of infighting among those that would otherwise be assumed to be loyal satellites, has somewhat gotten distracted if not fallen apart.

      If you subscribe to a Marxist view of the world, then vote for Da’am or Hadash. I don’t. I’ve been deceived more by Marxist parties, even by greens, than I have by liberal parties. And, specifically in a subsequent form of attraction to appealing sentiments, to be superceded by “ends justifying means” logic later. (The advocacy of Assad by Hadash a case in point. Acceptance of Assad 4 years ago, is not that horrendous compared to the retrospect judgment now. Even likud held a “quiet is almost treaty” view of Assad.

      If you subscribe to a Palestinian nationalist view of the world, then vote for Balad.

      I’m American, and can’t vote in the Israeli election. My personal view is that I am Jewish, part of Jewish community, and that the way to be a good Jew is to have good relations with my neighbors, not suppressive.

      Not denying that important basis of association, though not exclusive by ANY stretch. (Many more of my close friends are non-Jews than Jews.)

      If a Jewish state is important to me, then I would vote Meretz, that incorporates the view of Jewish identity and association, kindly and justly.

      Jewish #and# democratic, with an emphasis on the democratic. A good neighbor to a good neighbor.

      Not dissolved, and not at war.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Richard Witty

      I regard assimilation as a principle as impossible. By assimilation, I don’t mean Jewish into the Goyishke or Arab world.

      I mean the concept that I have a life, that I have boundaries to my body (ultimately) and to my associations.

      I daresay that you certainly value your family, the Kaufman’s. (You speak about your family, so I assume they are important to you, parents and children, that you regard their experience, their rights as more consequential than the Witty’s.)

      I’m also sure that you regard the Witty’s rights highly, that you adopt an #and# logic, a life of compassion an reason, noting that others’ health is a means to one’s own health.

      And, I assume that you are attracted to Da’am from that perspective, that of reasonable solidarity with your neighbor.

      I though distinguish between solidarity that is ultimately dissolution of what I am, and solidarity that ultimately preserves what I am.

      I would hope that Marxist parties in Israel would not seek to “accomplish” what largely Jewish-led Marxist parties in Russia sought to accomplish.

      I am liberal (an existential statement). I adopt the slogan of “live AND let live” at every scale. BOTH. (Individual, family, community, nation). I bear sympathy for my neighbor, ALL my neighbors.

      But, I care for more own through more knowledge of their/our history, experience, concerns, and through more identification/sympathy.

      Right wing Zionists are my own, as my Jewish neighbors, and alien to me as offending my view of live and let live, as well as their to damn often expressed willingness to abuse me somehow in the name of “loving my fellow” (accusing me of not loving my fellow because I consider my non-Jewish neighbor as my fellow).

      Reply to Comment
    14. Susan

      Will voting for a non-Zionist party bring an end to the occupation one day sooner? I personally don’t think so. To me that is the question that would affect my vote the most.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        The “occupation” is a product of Arab hostility.

        In 1922 Arabs refused to live in a multinational state with Jews as equals, in 1948 Arabs refused to live in an Arab state, and so on.

        Until Arabs realize that it is a war they can’t win there will always be “occupation” of some kind.

        Reply to Comment
        • Jews came to Palestine to steal the country and to genocide the native population.

          The native population had every right to oppose the invaders, to drive them out or to obliterate them.

          All decent people, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, have a categorical imperative to support the native Palestinian population against the criminal genocidal Zionist invaders in Palestine and against the Zionist subversion that threatens the USA.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser


            >Jews came to Palestine to steal the country and to genocide the native population.


            >The native population had every right to oppose the invaders, to drive them out or to obliterate them.

            Yes, exactly like invaders have every right to bring native population unto submission.

            >All decent people

            Decent? Hardly. Ignorant and Judophobic, that’s for sure.

            >…support the native Palestinian population against the criminal genocidal Zionist invaders in Palestine

            More lies.
            1 – “Native Palestinian population” also include Jews, and even Zionists
            2 – Jewish immigration to Palestine was legal at all stages
            3 – Pity that your family wasn’t subjected to a real genocide. Than you’d know better not to utter nonsense.

            >and against the Zionist subversion that threatens the USA.

            Oh. I thought that rise of China and India are threats to USA. But no, it’s all Zionists.

            Reply to Comment
          • How does one know that a racist Jewish Zionist or a lackey of racist Jewish Zionists is lying? Just check whether he is breathing.

            From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Aliyah#Settlement

            Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote:

            But the major cause of tension and violence throughout the period 1882-1914 was not accidents, misunderstandings or the attitudes and behaviors of either side, but objective historical conditions and the conflicting interests and goals of the two populations. The Arabs sought instinctively to retain the Arab and Muslim character of the region and to maintain their position as its rightful inhabitants; the Zionists sought radically to change the status quo, buy as much land as possible, settle on it, and eventually turn an Arab-populated country into a Jewish homeland.

            For decades the Zionists tried to camouflage their real aspirations, for fear of angering the authorities and the Arabs. They were, however, certain of their aims and of the means needed to achieve them. Internal correspondence amongst the olim from the very beginning of the Zionist enterprise leaves little room for doubt.[10]

            Morris provides excerpts from three letters written in 1882 by these first arrivals:

            Vladimir (Ze’ev) Dubnow, one of the Biluim wrote to his brother, the historian Simon Dubnow, in October 1882: “The ultimate goal … is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years …. The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.” (Dubnow himself shortly afterward returned to Russia.)[11]

            Ben-Yehuda, who settled in Jerusalem in September 1881, wrote in July 1882 to Peretz Smolenskin in Vienna: “The thing we must do now is to become as strong as we can, to conquer the country, covertly, bit by bit … We will not set up committees so that the Arabs will know what we are after, we shall act like silent spies, we shall buy, buy, buy.”[12]

            In October 1882 Ben-Yehuda and Yehiel Michael Pines, who had arrived in Palestine in 1878, wrote to Rashi Pin, in Vilna: “We have made it a rule not to say too much, except to those … we trust … the goal is to revive our nation on its land … if only we succeed in increasing our numbers here until we are the majority [Emphasis in original] …. There are now only five hundred [thousand] Arabs, who are not very strong, and from whom we shall easily take away the country if only we do it through stratagems [and] without drawing upon us their hostility before we become the strong and populous ones.”[13]

            Reply to Comment
          • Ethnic Ashkenazim constitute a Slavo-Turkic population relatively recently converted to Judaism. Their only connection to Palestine is completely fictional and mythological.


            The theft of Palestine by racist genocidal Zionist invaders is probably the most cold-blooded act of genocide in history. All decent human beings must hold Zionists in absolute and total scorn.

            No greater fraud has ever been committed in human history than Zionism.

            Members of the Zionist settler-invader population that aspire to achieve to a higher evolutionary state than that of pond scum should make efforts to leave the State of Israel immediately.

            To prove bona fides such emigrants should demand the arrest of the both the Israeli and international Zionist leadership.

            Reply to Comment
          • XYZ

            Anything to say about the above?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >… Slavo-Turkic population


            >The theft of Palestine by racist genocidal Zionist invaders

            Wow. I smell Mondoweiss.

            >is probably the most cold-blooded act of genocide in history.

            Yet another lie. Multiple lies on one short sentence to be exact. Neat.

            >All decent human beings must hold Zionists in absolute and total scorn.

            On what legal basis exactly? Because some sick individuals think so? Whatever.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Since in every letter Jews claim that they need to BUY BUY BUY, everyone who claims that Jews intended to STEAL something is a liar.

            Besides, until 1949 there was no law which would disallow any kind of “settler” activity.

            Claiming that Jews did something illegal is yet another lie.

            Reply to Comment
      • ayla

        Susan, it’s a good question, but what are you comparing Ami’s stated possibilities to? Not voting at all, or voting Meretz? Or? I personally don’t think that a Meretz vote does anything to end the occupation because even though they are anti-occupation (and therefore a respectable option), they’re part of the old, and the old is going no where. Asma Aghbarieh-Zahalka is offering something new. So is voting on behalf of a Palestinian. I’m choosing the former because I don’t feel personally compromised by that vote as I do by every other. I feel she has a vision, and leadership, and I’m voting FOR something. But the more I see the Real Democracy movement putting actual faces and stories to the people on behalf of whom Israelis are voting, the more moved I am by that choice. It’s a beautiful movement. I love it. I hope that any leftist who doesn’t feel strongly about how he/she is voting chooses Real Democracy. And I hope that anyone who feels strongly about a candidate votes according to who supports their vision and values.

        Reply to Comment
    15. TobyR

      “Why do I get the feeling that Ami and all who agree with him are just reactionaries?”

      A few possibilities:
      a) You don’t know what a ‘reactionary’ is.
      b) You do but think you can score some rhetorical points by using it as a far-fetched insult.
      c) Your perception of reality is warped by your own prejudices to the point of being incompatible with rational thought.

      “I can’t help but compare them to the Khmer Rouge (sorry but it is true).”
      Speaks for c)

      Reply to Comment
      • Arieh

        “a) You don’t know what a ‘reactionary’ is.”

        I do know how it has come to be used. But the term also has a literal meaning.

        “A reaction to something” whatever the something is.

        “b) You do but think you can score some rhetorical points by using it as a far-fetched insult.”


        “c) Your perception of reality is warped by your own prejudices to the point of being incompatible with rational thought.”

        My prejudices? Oh and I suppose you don’t have prejudices?

        At least I admit mine, do you admit yours?

        ““I can’t help but compare them to the Khmer Rouge (sorry but it is true).”
        Speaks for c)”

        Whats wrong Toby? The comparison was perfectly valid. And I justified what I meant by it. I’ll say it again:

        You people here in +972 hate and detest the Israel that exists NOW. So you propose solutions that would destroy the Israel that exists today and your aim is to rebuild something that you think would be better.

        That is exactly what the Khmer Rouge wanted to do to their world. The fact that it did not work out for them is besides the point. In fact, I think that what many here in +972 want is not likely to work out the way they imagine either.

        Reply to Comment
    16. ayla

      I just want to add that if my comments here seem inconsistent with each other, that’s because I’ve actually changed my mind since my first comment, yesterday. As of now, I’m still voting Asma Aghbarieh-Zahalka, but my second choice would be Real Democracy (giving my vote to a Palestinian). As of just 24 hours ago that didn’t sit right with me, both because of the potential vote I’d have to cast, and because I believe I have a right to have a stake in this place despite the injustice, and I do have a stake in this place. But there was something about seeing a woman from east jerusalem’s name attached to the vote that an Israeli will be making that was so moving to me. I have to admit, something in particular about her being a woman moved me. I felt the possibility of solidarity, giving my vote to a Palestinian woman. And I’ll admit: as an american who waltzes in and can vote, it seems only right… Still voting my heart, but that heart, too, has been changed.

      Reply to Comment
    17. judy abeles eliasov

      “praying for a miracle”
      I hope that the vote that you were thinking about giving to a Palestinian is praying for the same miracle…….

      Reply to Comment
    18. Yaron

      Basically, I think there is nothing wrong with Zionism. Longing for Zion, longing for return to a homeland, what can be wrong with that? In today’s modern world where people want to be free to live anywhere they want, this should not be something bad. Only keeping Jews from that, does not exactly feel good.
      But face it: some Zionism has gone bad. It should never have been used to allow for the deportation, persecution or discrimination of non-Jews.
      The fact that Israel is the Jewish homeland should not mean it a ‘Jewish-only’ land, and as we can see, it isn’t. But it has a sharp edge.
      On the other hand, the ‘Zionism gone bad’ finds its mirror image in the other side which also persecutes, discrminates and deports, in an even more severe way. As a result, we see only countries without Jews around Israel.
      Both sides are not only eachothers mirror image, their actions are also closely connected to one another. As a result we should conclude that giving up on discrimination, deportation and persecution is a two-way affair.

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