Haaretz names the top 10 pro-settlement Knesset members

Uri Ariel, you’re #1. (Photo: Haaretz)

A report from Mattot Harim, a West Bank settlers’ advocacy group in Israel (“Peace through Peace” is their slogan), was leaked to the press. The document is for internal distribution only, Haaretz reports. The bill lists MKs in order of legislation they have advanced that benefits the settlements (the top ten are all Likud or National Union, of course).

Nevertheless, it is really odd, from an American perspective at least, that this list constitutes “breaking news,” and that it was composed in secret by an advocacy group. U.S. civil society groups (and lobbyists) compile similar lists all the time on elected officials, from gun control to farm subsidization. Doesn’t Israel have groups like Project Vote Smart or Club for Growth, which compile “report cards” for Members of Congress based on their voting records? Every election cycle, a doorstop of a book called “The Almanac of American Politics” comes out that has issue rankings in them. And the secrecy aspect is also strange: the Club for Growth is fiscally conservative, but does not hide it’s rankings because it uses them for its lobbying efforts. Lobbyists in the U.S. make their preferences and ratings known all the time, from environmental protection to gun control (relaxed gun control was actually one of the key items discussed by Mattot Harim’s report). But, there is no Knesset version of GovTrack.us, which tracks all bills introduced to Congress. And most KM webpages only consist of a few sentences and a picture, in contrast to the webpages of U.S. legislators, which are studded with statements and links to prospective legislation.

Anyway, here are the top ten. Readers will recognize some names from our past coverage. That Zeev [also spelled "Ze'ev"] Elkin is so near the top is no surprise, given that he’s had his hand in most of the illiberal legislation of the past year. Danny Danon needs no introduction. Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon goes stumping in the West Bank to demand faster settlement construction:

1. Uri Ariel (National Union, 46)
2. Zeev Elkin (Likud, 34)
3. Yariv Levin (Likud, 27)
4. Aryeh Eldad (National Union, 24)
5. Moshe Ya’alon (Likud, 18)
6. Danny Danon (Likud, 15)
7. Moshe Kahlon (Likud 14)
8. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union, 13)
9. Benny Begin (Likud, 13)
10. Tzipi Hotovely (Likud, 13)

Avigdor Lieberman is ranked low on the entire list, though this is mainly because it is based on specific legislation, and the Foreign Minister is not exactly lobbying for infrastructure projects or gun rights on a regular basis.

One wonders if Haaretz will be able to run a story like this again next Thanksgiving should the new libel laws pass (probably: what KMs would consider reporting on their sterling pro-settlement record to be “scandalous”?)

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists, US Politics

{ 6 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    “One wonders if Haaretz will be able to run a story like this again next Thanksgiving ”

    Will Ha’aretz be around next Thanksgiving ?

  2. Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s ONLY meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.

    “The Palestinians should ALL be deported.
    The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”

  3. Chaos4700 says:

    Are there any anti-settlement Knesset members? I mean besides the non-Jews who are routinely removed from Knesset sessions.

    • es1982 says:

      Are there any anti-settlement Knesset members? I mean besides the non-Jews who are routinely removed from Knesset sessions.

      Of course there are. The three Meretz MKs are the most vocal about it, especially Zehava Galon. There’s also Dov Khanin of Chadash and the Labor Party MKs. There are also Kadima MKs (Kadima is quite a hodge-podge on this – Ze’ev Elkin, the number 2 pro-settlment MK, was a member of Kadima in the previous Knesset).

      • Chaos4700 says:

        So where are they when millions of dollars gets poured into the settlement enterprise? Is this just a minor plank in their platform? Because outside of Israel we never see any anti-settlement politics at work.

        • es1982 says:

          They voice their opposition in the Knesset and elsewhere, but since they’re currently the minority, they aren’t able to block funding of the settlements. The Israeli media sometimes shows left-wing and right-wing politicians exchanging barbs over settlement construction, but I don’t think foreign media is especially interested in that.