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Benjamin Netanyahu

  • The Israeli right is now openly saying it wants to keep Hamas in power

    As the latest round of fighting in Gaza and southern Israel died down, it became clear that keeping Hamas in power has become a central tenet of the Israeli right. By Meron Rapoport The idea that Hamas is an Israeli creation is nearly as old as Hamas itself. Researchers, journalists, high-ranking Israeli military and government officials — even Americans — have found substantial evidence to that effect. And yet the Israeli narrative presents Hamas as a zealous, murderous terrorist group — the sworn enemy of every Israeli and Jew around the world. [tmwinpost] Official Israel has never admitted to supporting Hamas and…

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  • Netanyahu wants you to think Israeli-Palestinian mourning is seditious

    The prime minister pulls out all the stops in his failed attempt at preventing the annual Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony from taking place. Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have lied to Israel's highest court this week in an attempt to shut down and delegitimize one of Israel-Palestine’s only successful fora for shattering the exclusive nature of national mourning. [tmwinpost] For the past 14 years, Israelis and Palestinians who have lost family members to the conflict have come together on Israel’s Memorial Day to hold an alternative, joint ceremony. The ceremony marks the deaths of both Israelis as well as Palestinians who have been killed over the years. Israeli…

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  • No, escalations do not begin with rockets on Israel

    Israel might have the power to tell itself and the rest of the world a story of victimhood. In reality, it has been abusing two million besieged Gazans for over a decade. As the number of casualties on both sides of the Gaza border continues to climb, Israeli politicians are busy having their age-old argument: should we destroy Gaza? Erase it? Or should we send it back to the Stone Age? I propose we draw a different lesson from the horrific violence that, as of this time, has already taken the life of 16 Palestinians and four Israelis: we Israelis need to learn Arabic.…

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  • The biggest myth about Israeli politics

    It’s tempting to believe that non-politicians are the antidote to bad politicians, but it's also wrong. In 2011, the Israeli pop singer Roni Superstar released a song called “Adoni” — literally “my lord,” or colloquially, “sir.” For sarcastic overtones, “His highness” will also do. Here is my free translation: “His Highness will tell me what he knows/ His Highness will make sense of what I ought to think… His Highness wishes to be Prime Minister… His Highness thinks he is so smart…” The otherwise banal song kept surfacing in my mind during the last election cycle. Something about it seemed apposite.…

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  • Annexation is more than just a declaration

    By drawing a line at formal annexation, the international community is hobbling its ability to respond to Israeli changes on the ground. Benjamin Netanyahu declared on the eve of Israel’s April 9 elections that if reelected he would begin annexing the West Bank. Only, if we’re being precise, he didn’t. Israeli leaders have almost never used the word annexation, yet the absence of that terminology has never prevented the country from permanently acquiring territory by force. [tmwinpost] Netanyahu did not say that he will formally annex the West Bank but what he did say is that he will gradually extend…

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  • Five reasons why voting for Netanyahu was a rational choice for Jewish Israelis

    Yes, Netanyahu is facing corruption probes and is practically annexing the West Bank. But for many Jewish Israelis, he has also provided relative security, a better economy, and growing international legitimacy — which makes the unknown alternative much worse. Benjamin Netanyahu won his fifth election campaign Tuesday, making him Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. Most Israeli citizens, and an overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis, prefer to continue with the exact same policies that the Likud has put forward over the past decade. These voters rejected most of the far-right, fundamentalist parties that call for formal annexation, turned the Zionist left into an insignificant…

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  • There is no good vote in a paralyzed society

    For years, Israelis have allowed values of equality, justice, and peace, to go by the wayside. Tuesday's vote reflects not only the impotence and absence of a left, but just how paralyzed Israeli society is. In some ways, Tuesday's election is predictable. Netanyahu and his right-wing camp are expected, according to most polls, to secure the 61-seat majority needed to form a governing coalition. And yet the results remain impossible to predict, especially because the smaller parties hovering around the election threshold could determine the outcome. [tmwinpost] While polls may give us a sense of where the wind is blowing, people are still undecided and,…

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  • The best outcome of these elections is if things don't get worse

    These elections have turned into a referendum on the annexation of the West Bank — but that's not something for Israel to decide. Five thoughts on Israel's upcoming elections. 1. In many ways Tuesday’s general elections in Israel seem fixed if you’re among the ranks of people hoping to see Benjamin Netanyahu end his decade-long reign as prime minister. Even if his challenger, Benny Gantz, wins a plurality of Knesset seats, besting Netanyahu’s Likud, he still doesn’t have the numbers to form a government. [tmwinpost] As Dahlia Scheindlin has written here on numerous occasions, there is simply little chance that the…

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  • Left-wingers are busing Arabs to the polls in droves — for real this time

    Playing on Netanyahu's warning about Arab citizens of Israel voting in the last elections, a grassroots campaign raises tens of thousands of shekels to bring Bedouin from unrecognized villages to the polls — not quite in droves, but mini-bus by mini-bus. On Election Day in 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu sent a video to his supporters warning that “Arabs are heading to the polls in droves, and left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses.” This Tuesday, his then-baseless exhortation will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. More than 1,400 Israelis have donated tens of thousands of shekels to a crowdfunded initiative to bus to…

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  • Annexation is happening whether Netanyahu is reelected or not

    Netanyahu's declaration that he will annex parts of the West Bank is alarming, but it only names a process that was long ago put into action, and which is now part of the mainstream Israeli discourse. Four years ago, on the eve of Israeli elections, Benjamin Netanyahu promised in a television interview that there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch. He retracted the statement a few days after winning, but only those who wanted to believe him actually did. Opposing Palestinian statehood has always been Netanyahu’s policy. He has diverged from it on rare occasions, when he…

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  • No Bolsonaro, visiting Yad Vashem doesn't make you a 'friend of the Jews'

    Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro's visit to Israel this week is just the latest step in Netanyahu's warming relations with a new cadre of authoritarian leaders.  By Sergio Storch Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s four-day visit to Israel demonstrates just how important the South American country has become to Netanyahu over the past few years. [tmwinpost] The trip includes a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s renowned Holocaust museum, which commemorates one of the worst tragedies in history and sets out to ensure that genocide remains a thing of the past. For many, Yad Vashem serves as an inspiring example of how crucial collective…

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  • Win or lose, Netanyahu has already cemented his legacy

    In his 10 years in power, Netanyahu has engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, declared the occupation a permanent feature of Israeli reality, and shifted both the national and international conversation on Palestine. It is time to acknowledge that these are no mere trends — but his very legacy. Ten years after he was elected prime minister, it is nearly impossible to imagine an Israel without Benjamin Netanyahu at its helm. An entire generation of Israelis has come of age in the Netanyahu era, and much of what young Israelis have internalized about politics, about their identity, and about Israel is the result of…

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  • Why these Israeli elections actually matter

    Netanyahu looms so large that he has become a symbol of everything that’s right and wrong with Israel. But behind the symbol stand two very substantive visions of where Israel is headed. Like most weeks over the last decade, this was a week of Netanyahu. It began on Saturday evening when the prime minister gave a rare, surprise live television interview on Channel 2. The interview was his first to a mainstream Israeli media outlet in four years, guaranteed to make news for that reason alone. From there he flew to Washington to receive a prize from President Trump: American…

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