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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Israel: election « Previous | |Next »
February 11, 2009

Israel votes today for a new government in elections in which the Palestinian issue dominated. A coalition of the Right formed around Likud and Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Our Homeland party (Yisrael Beiteinu), which could well overtake the Labour party by coming third in the polls, is a real possibility.

Will Tzipi Livni's Kadima be able to muster the 61-seat coalition needed to lead the country--they need to win the most seats, so as to be given the first opportunity to form a coalition? Unfortunately, Labour is now no longer of sufficient size for Kadima to put together a coalition with it.

The Right talks about security and opposes the evacuation of even the smallest settlement. A governing triumvirate of the Right would reject the two-state solution which is based on the liberal notion that the other side has the right to a normal life, to an independent state, in which life is free, liberated from the chains of occupation. Lieberman as minister of defense in a right/religious government would represent a nightmare scenario.

Lieberman's campaign slogan is "No citizenship without loyalty" and he promises a new bill requiring all Palestinians with Israeli passports to swear loyalty to the Jewish state or lose their citizenship. When they did not do this, Lieberman would carve out the Arab villages of Northern Galilee and hand them over to the Palestinian Authority, an idea that has caused outrage among Israeli Arabs. Israel is a Jewish state and Lieberman's message is thinly veiled one of racism and xenophobia.

This neo-Zionist political program aims to strengthen the “Jewish state”, strengthen “Jewish connections” to Zionism , strengthen “Jewish education” and thus cohesiveness around the political program. Its agenda includes strengthening “Jewish” institutions to defend “Jewish” values/interests (does Zionism represent Jews or Jewish interests?).

To sustain a Jewish state requires an endless effort to fend off the majority of the population in that area who are not Jewish, since Israel as a state was founded by expelling and killing the indigenous native inhabitants of the land; the Palestinian people. The objective is the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the occupied Palestinian Territories.That is the end of the two state solution.

As Andrew Sullivan has realized US neo-neoconservatism has in large part, been about supporting and enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. It has also been about squashing Iran's challenge to US hegemony in the region.

The possibility is an Israeli government that is in favour of more aggression--- Israel's destruction of huge parts of Gaza "did not go far enough"----and more internal repression of its own ethnic and religious minorities.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:36 AM | | Comments (9)


The elections results are in. With 99% of the votes counted, the Kadima party continues to occupy the first place after winning 28 out of 120 Knesset seats.The rival Likud party is only one seat behind, while the Labor party’s representation dropped to 13 seats.The right wing party of Avigdor Lieberman is expected to garner 15 Knesset seats and thus is expected to have a bigger influence of coalitions.

The right-wing bloc as a whole could form a majority of at least 64 seats in the next Knesset, without turning either to Labour or Kadima. The left-wing bloc, on the other hand, would struggle to come up with more than 56 seats. So under the right wing governance we have expanding the settlements, Israel clashing with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, a confrontational approach to blocking Iran's cloaked nuclear program, and an embrace with the racist ideas of Avigdor Lieberman--eg.,the Arab population of the occupied territories and even Arab citizens of Israel should be transferred elsewhere and world opinion be damned.

Is this a Yugoslav type ethnic cleansing over the next 5 years aimed at driving away as many Arabs as possible from greater Israel?

Far and away the most thoughtful and interesting discussion I've seen on Israel and its future follows this post from Ingolf at Club Troppo

There's a bit of the usual tit for tat stuff at the front end of comments, but if you read around and past that it raises some interesting thoughts on the continuing viability of Israel.

It's getting more common to see people suggesting that a right wing win will hasten Israel's downfall, while a left wing win would just prolong the misery. The comments at Club Troppo play around the edges of that, but suggest that there are plenty of internal social and cultural reasons the state can't last.

Something I didn't know is that large numbers of Israelis don't expect their children to stay in the country as adults. It's a defensive state under constant threat, but also the society has stagnated. It can't recreate itself as a willing negotiating partner.

At the more immediate end of things, given the current economic climate and changing attitudes, how long will the US continue to carry such a big burden?

the Labour party looks dead and the peace process comatose.

Tom Segev on Lateline was suggesting that nobody in Israel, people or parties, believe in the peace process any more.

The country seems divided between those who still believe they can forcibly subdue the Arabs and those who don't. The choice, then, is either more of the same or somebody gets annihilated.

Neither is Jewish in the intellectual/cultural sense, so what is being preserved?

The most politically realistic scenario will ratchet up the pressure on the Obama administration to keep Israel in line. Will they, when Israeli's talk in terms of Israel's existence being on the line and Iran constituting a mounting "existential threat"?

Like the Palestinians Israel is divided. Bernard Avishai in Prospect says:

There is a slim secular majority, a Hebrew-speaking republic centred in Tel Aviv that profits increasingly from links with the outside world. This Israel is hawkish about security, but opposed to annexing occupied territory. It is comparatively highly educated and cosmopolitan, vaguely committed to democratic norms and therefore to a peace process. It can imagine a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one.

Set against this, you have Israel's second state:
This is not the one-fifth Arab minority who might never accept a Jewish state. Instead, since 1967 Israel's Zionist settlement policies and laws privileging orthodoxy have engendered a huge Judean state-within-a-state: anchored in Jerusalem, largely theocratic, and deeply implicated in the ongoing West Bank settlements. Judea is less educated than its Hebrew cousin and instinctively more tribalist. Judeans are largely wards of the state. Most see peace—that is, a return of two million Palestinian refugees to Greater Jerusalem—as the end of their way of life.

Thus a fundamental divide.

It does seem as if Israel is moving into a bunker mentality. The election campaign was primarily based on the expression and mobilisation of fear with Israel today primarily driven by annihilation anxiety.

oops. I posted this is in earlier thred, where it is better posted here.


The suggestion of giving Hamastan "nation state" status is insane. The Hamastanians are nowhere near reaching the level of robust polity, let alone economic viability.

For 80 years, they have totally ignored any attempt at responsible nation building. Instead all they have cared about is medieval jihading. Compare what this has delivered them compared to the nation-building focus of the Jews.

In fact, the Hamastanians should be arrested. How the "world community" can give any recognition to such a bunch of pigs who would be governed by that rancid Charter of theirs is just disgusting and shows how much credibility we should accord the "international community".

Precisely zip!

Does Zimbabwe count as a nation state? Iran? Afghanistan under the Taliban?

I wasn't trying to argue that any particular group, party or individual should or should not represent Gaza, although if we're going to make out democracy is so fab it's hard to argue Hamas don't have a right to represent Gaza.

Rather, I was trying to point out that you can't have state-to-state negotiations if only one of you is recognised as a state. If it's not a state on its own, and not part of a Palestinian state, what then, is Gaza? Does it even make sense for the state of Israel to be in negotiations with an entity it doesn't recognise?

I think I've said it before, but Israel has rights and responsibilities owing to its existence as a recognised nation state. One of those is to negotiate agreements with other states. Another is its responsibility to protect citizens.

The people of Gaza exist. Are they stateless?