On Tuesday, while the elections were going on, Jonathan Chait wrote, Netanyahu Clarifies His Chilling Vision for Post-Democratic Israel. The title refers to Netanyahu’s statement that he is against a two state solution — which he followed with a blatantly racist speech about the scary Arabs who were being brought in to vote in buses. So Netanyahu is an imperialist bigot. Everyone has always known that, but now it is explicit. And more to the point, now that is pretty much official Israeli policy.
Had the center-left Zionist Union managed to put together a coalition, it wouldn’t have changed much from an international standpoint. It would have been far better for the Israeli people. The Likud Party is basically libertarian. And domestically, they have overseen a huge increase in inequality. We know how this works from our experience here in the United States: people vote based upon their fears and while they are cowering in their homes, the power elite rob them blind. At least in Israel, there are actual things to fear. Americans are just pathetic.
But Chait wrote something that I am very skeptical about, “If Netanyahu prevails, the nature of Israel’s diplomatic alliance with the United States will have to change — the US cannot continue to extend its UN veto to a country whose government has formally disavowed negotiations.” I seriously doubt that. Chait seems to think our support of Israel is contingent on its good behavior. That isn’t true. I discussed the fundamental issue just last week, Ever More Anti-Venezuela Media Coverage. What our government thinks of other countries is not based upon them being good democracies; it is based on them allowing foreign investment and generally being positive toward the interests of our power elite. Israel could become an official apartheid state and we would claim it was fine just because. The mainstream media, of course, would follow along as it always does.
Interestingly, advocates for Palestine don’t seem to be upset about the election. Abir Kopty wrote, Knesset Elections Prove Again and Again That a Change From Within Is not Possible. Ali Abunimah at The Electronic Intifada wrote, Why I’m Relieved Netanyahu Won. He provided the take away line that seems to be shared among Palestine advocates, “Netanyahu’s re-election is like the ‘Nutrition Facts’ label on a box of junk food: it tells you about the toxic ingredients inside.”
It must be the case that Netanyahu knows that the United States will never abandon Israel. If he isn’t, he’s playing a very dangerous game. If Israel didn’t have the United States to back it, I’m afraid it would have been destroyed a long time ago. But even with US support, this is a questionable way to move. The explicit repudiation of a two state solution is likely to alienate a lot of countries. Of course, from Netanyahu’s standpoint, that may be great. The more external pressure there is on Israel, the more he and Likud can use it to push their elitist agenda to impoverish the poor and enrich the rich.
H/T: Max Blumenthal