Israel is a Right Wing Nation. What is “center” in Israel is right in the rest of the world. What is “right” is extreme right is, well, you fill in that one. Even had Herzog evened the score with Netanyahu he would not have been able to create an alternative government. That has been clear from the beginning.
There is a progressive, liberal, civil rights movement in Israel; indeed the third largest list in the Knesset will be what journalist Haim Baram calls the “consistent left.” Congratulations to the Joint List; mabruk; this is the list I voted for. But because that left is predominantly Arab, it will never be invited by the Israeli Jewish parties to coalition negotiations. It appears that Meretz, the Jewish nationalist Left, will also be in the Knesset; good for them. But their numbers are small, and the soldiers’ votes might actually kick them out. They are also now part of a permanent opposition.
Whether there is a narrow right-wing government, or a centrist-right-wing unity government (I prefer the former), liberal and progressive Jews and non-Jews will have to continue to question their relationship to the State of Israel. This is not a state that is presided over by a unpopular tyrant. This is a state run by a very popular Jewish bigot, who gets elected by telling his supporters that there will be no Palestinian state, and that they must get out and vote in order to stop the Arab citizens of Israel “who are voting in droves.”
“This is your god, O Israel” Aaron said to the Israelites, as they worshiped the golden calf of bigotry, deceit, and self-centeredness.
Today it will be it a little easier for liberals to distance themselves further from a country with which they cannot identify. Tonight, it will be a little easier for them to identify with the Palestinian Israelis, who are fighting for their civil rights just as the Jews fought such for such rights in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Today, the big winner of this election are the Palestinian people, who will press ahead for statehood, who have shown how, even after ethnic cleansing, they are a force to be reckoned with. The global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement will take off, and more progressives and centrists will support.
As for the Jews, how does the Hebrew song go? We survived Pharoah; we will survive this as well.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on March 18, 2015, on The Magnes Zionist, a website featuring commentary by Jewish studies and philosophy professor, Jerry Haber (a nom de plume). It was reproduced here with the consent of Professor Haber.
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