How the settler vote is driving Israeli politics more and more rightward

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

Yousef Munayyer has done a very shrewd analysis of the settler vote in Israeli elections to demonstrate that while the Israeli public is largely divided between right and center, the settler vote is not; it is overwhelmingly rightwing. And it a large enough bloc, at about 10 percent of the vote, that politicians’ desire to win the bloc is driving the entire polity to the right– destroying the two-state solution.

“The settlers don’t necessarily have enough influence to dominate a government alone yet (though they are trending in that direction),” Munayyer says, “but effectively exercise a veto over any coalition that won’t further their interests.”

Munayyer points out that the “centrist” Kadima party, which has supported a two-state solution, took the largest percent of the overall Israeli vote, but a very small percentage of the settler vote; and it’s been left out in the cold.

You could see Munayyer’s observation alive before your eyes at the Saban Forum last weekend, where rightwing settler-politician Avigdor Lieberman didn’t even pay lip service to a Palestinian state, even as Israel’s American supporters Martin Indyk and Haim Saban fulminated at Lieberman about what this was doing to Israel.

Munayyer’s analysis:

To be clear, the 650,000 Israelis living beyond the green line make up less than 10% of the Israeli voting population. That being said, in a parliamentary system with multiple parties (34 ran in 2009) a significant edge among even this size segment of a population can tip the scales. Especially when there was near-parity between the Likud (the traditional right-wing powerhouse) and Kadima (what is today referred to in Israel as “centrist” opposition) in the non-settlement vote. The definition of  ”Centrist” in Israel today is significantly detached from the political/ideological spectrum and seems to mean “biggest party not called Likud”. Thus, while the settler population is a small segment of the voting population overall, it is significant enough to change political trends and the stances of parties who must evolve to maintain political viable in an increasingly right-leaning state.

… [A]lmost every party in the government that was formed took a larger percentage of the settler vote than the non-settler vote. It should come as no surprise then that the Israeli Prime Minister and head of this coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared, “There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.”

Munayyer’s analysis is a good reminder of the apartheid policy of Israeli suffrage:  Jews who live on the West Bank can vote in Israeli elections, their Palestinian neighbors can’t. And the Jews who live there are rightwingers who are driving state policy; i.e., they’re beneficiaries of apartheid who are going to vote in favor of apartheid. The only way to reverse this trend, I believe, is to give everyone the vote; that way Jewish moderates and Palestinian moderates can find one another and form a major party and begin to counter the right wing.

Munayyer suggests the same thing:

Not only did Israeli settlements in the West Bank create a geographic obstacle to a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, they also created a political obstacle as well. Both at this point have rendered the two-state outcome dead; given Israeli political dynamics, the Israeli government is not going to be willing to equally power-share in a one-state outcome until they face serious costs. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, Israel will continue to be isolated in a world that rejects this system but ultimately the system of Apartheid will collapse. But the incentives Israeli political leaders continue to face domestically have them flying full-speed ahead toward this collapse.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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35 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    December 6, 2012, 10:47 am

    the settlers are front and center in this election. not sure if anyone recalls how netanyahu called for early elections last spring and then called them off the same day the high court ruled against the state in the ulpana decision. the settlers said they would ‘bring down the government’ if netanyahu tore down the settlements.

    link to mondoweiss.net

    here’s more:

    Barak says ‘Feiglinism’ has taken over the Likud.

    ‘Gov’t will fall if Ulpana outpost is destroyed’

    link to jpost.com

    they are annexation freaks:
    link to mondoweiss.net

    • seanmcbride
      December 6, 2012, 11:21 am

      Chain of command

      1. Jewish religious Zionists dominate the settler movement.

      2. The settler movement dominates the Israeli government, including political parties on both the left and right.

      3. The worldwide Jewish establishment, including the worldwide Jewish religious establishment (Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders) strongly supports the current Israeli government and Zionism in general.

      4. The worldwide Jewish establishment dominates the worldwide Israel lobby, and especially the American branch of the worldwide Israel lobby.

      5. The Israel lobby dominates the American political system in both the Republican and Democratic Parties and largely controls American Mideast policy.

      From which one must conclude that Jewish religious Zionists are substantially dominating and running the settlements movement, the Israeli government and the American government.

      But some supposed anti-Zionists (see some recent comments here) don’t want to have a discussion about the role of the Jewish religious establishment (and contemporary Judaism) in Mideast and Israeli politics.

      Hmm…

      No wonder this problem remains stuck — one can’t state outright what is really going on — the discussion is being heavily censored in American political culture.

      Let’s graph this situation and social network:

      Jewish religious Zionists > settler movement > Israeli government > worldwide Jewish establishment > worldwide Jewish religious establishment > Israel lobby > Democratic Party/Republican Party > American government > American Mideast policy

      Many “liberal Zionists” in the Democratic Party are providing aid, comfort and material support for the most extreme religious fundamentalists on the planet. They make no effort to explain their behavior — they can’t.

      How can one begin to change American Mideast policy without addressing the belief systems and ideologies of religious Zionists in a forthright and forceful way?

      Perhaps Mooser has some thoughts.

      Jewish religious settlers in the illegally occupied territories (“Judea and Samaria”) are dragging the entire world towards a possible world-class conflagration.

      • Hostage
        December 6, 2012, 3:04 pm

        But some supposed anti-Zionists (see some recent comments here) don’t want to have a discussion about the role of the Jewish religious establishment (and contemporary Judaism) in Mideast and Israeli politics.

        No, some of us anti-Zionists talk about the conflict between universalists and segregationists in the Jewish religious communities all the time without conveying the false impression that there are no universalists in “the Establishment”. I’m secular, so I don’t have an axe to grind. I recall explaining that Henry Seigman at the CFR and LSE was ordained as an Orthodox Rabbi and that he and Reform Rabbi Elmer Berger had headed-up major American Jewish Organizations in their heyday. Both men are widely known as critics opposed Israel’s treatment of Palestinians inside and outside the Green Line. But the are hardly alone.

        So far as I know, all of the “Chief Rabbis” that participate in the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace or the Center for Religious Tolerance CRT “Abrahamic Reunion PeaceMakers” are Orthodox leaders of entire countries or communities – and members of the establishment. Many of them, like Rabbi Menachem Froman, Rabbi Yosef Hadane, Rabbi Zion Cohen, and Rabbi Ari Abraham Smadja are Israelis (and a few of those even serve as the spiritual leaders of settler communities). Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are not responsible for the conflict in the Middle East. It is caused by bigots and racists who employ religion – or any other convenient excuse – to incite against, oppress and dominate others.

        There are plenty of Jewish religious leaders who speak about that problem; complain about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians; who call for equal human rights for everyone; and a final settlement based on international law and legitimacy. Here are a just a few:
        *The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace;
        link to imamsrabbisforpeace.org
        *The members of JVP’s Rabbinical Council;
        link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org
        *Rabbis for Human rights;
        link to rhr.org.il

        • seanmcbride
          December 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

          Hostage,

          I greatly appreciate you bringing this information to our attention — and I applaud the efforts of these rabbis — but from my perspective they have had little impact on the Jewish religious establishment and the Israel lobby as defined by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Certainly their voices are never heard in the American mainstream media — not a whisper.

        • Hostage
          December 6, 2012, 6:07 pm

          but from my perspective they have had little impact on the Jewish religious establishment

          You’re claiming that people like, the Chief Rabbi of France, the Chief Rabbi of Geneva, or the Chief Rabbi of Ramat Shlomo have no impact on the Jewish establishment. I appreciate that you are not speaking from a vast background of experience, but those individuals didn’t get selected for their positions by Gentiles. So you are basically commenting on what you imagine is going on and overlooking the fact that many members of the Jewish establishment and their congregants support universalism, equal human rights, and peace.

          Many people also forget, intentionally or not, that there are lots of old farts, like Rabbi Froman, who were born and raised Palestine. Like everyone else, he has the right to leave and return to his country of origin, and expect to exercise a number of basic human rights – without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, & etc.

        • seanmcbride
          December 7, 2012, 11:01 am

          Hostage,

          You’re claiming that people like, the Chief Rabbi of France, the Chief Rabbi of Geneva, or the Chief Rabbi of Ramat Shlomo have no impact on the Jewish establishment. I appreciate that you are not speaking from a vast background of experience, but those individuals didn’t get selected for their positions by Gentiles. So you are basically commenting on what you imagine is going on and overlooking the fact that many members of the Jewish establishment and their congregants support universalism, equal human rights, and peace.

          You are misrepresenting my claims.

          I am stating that these rabbis, who lean towards universalism and humanism, have had little influence on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby, and the Jewish establishment as it pertains to policies on Israel and Zionism. I am not denying that they exist. What I am denying is that they have had any significant impact on Israeli policies.

          During the last decade Israel and the Zionist establishment have moved ever farther to the extreme right, dragging along the worldwide Jewish establishment, including the American Jewish religious establishment, with them.

          You haven’t provided any facts or arguments to rebut this claim of mine.

          In the minds of most people around the world now, Judaism and “the Jews” = Likud Zionism. The worldwide Jewish establishment itself — especially the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — bears primary responsibility for propagandizing this belief. This establishment will be in no position to complain when the full bill for pursuing these policies comes due.

          Early Jewish opponents of Zionism foresaw the day in which this crisis would develop — they were prophets — or, what is better, rational thinkers with superior analytical skills.

        • Hostage
          December 7, 2012, 7:13 pm

          You are misrepresenting my claims.

          Not as badly as you misrepresent the diversity of the views held by the so-called Jewish establishment and their communities.

        • seanmcbride
          December 7, 2012, 9:56 pm

          Hostage,

          Not as badly as you misrepresent the diversity of the views held by the so-called Jewish establishment and their communities.

          What, in your opinion, are the ten most influential organizations within the American Jewish establishment? And which of them have strongly challenged the basic premises of Zionism?

          And why did you use the term “so-called” to describe the Jewish establishment? Are you suggesting that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations doesn’t really exist?

        • Hostage
          December 8, 2012, 2:15 am

          why did you use the term “so-called” to describe the Jewish establishment?

          If you don’t include Orthodox Chief Rabbis of entire countries or major cities as opinion makers who have challenged Israel’s policies, or think they are members of the mainstream Jewish religious establishment, then you really aren’t talking about important players who define the term Judaism. I’ve given you some examples of Rabbis who’ve done that.

        • seanmcbride
          December 8, 2012, 9:13 am

          Hostage,

          If you don’t include Orthodox Chief Rabbis of entire countries or major cities as opinion makers who have challenged Israel’s policies, or think they are members of the mainstream Jewish religious establishment, then you really aren’t talking about important players who define the term Judaism. I’ve given you some examples of Rabbis who’ve done that.

          They have had no impact on the policies of the Israeli government or of AIPAC and its network of dozens of organizations within the American Israel lobby.

          They have been completely ineffectual. Their voices are never heard within the American mainstream media. Israel continues to migrate politically and culturally ever farther towards the racist, fascist and religious fundamentalist extreme right.

          It is not enough for groups and individuals to express good intentions — they need to achieve results.

          I think it is important for the leaders of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism in the United States to clearly enunciate the differences between Judaism and Zionism in a way that the American people (and people worldwide) can understand and to emphasize that Israeli and Zionist leaders do not in fact speak for Judaism or “the Jewish people.”

          But I will try to gain a better understanding of the players within the worldwide Jewish religious establishment that you have mentioned. Perhaps their influence will grow in the future. I don’t permanently discount them.

        • seanmcbride
          December 8, 2012, 9:38 am

          Hostage,

          I am still interested in this issue:

          What, in your opinion, are the ten most influential organizations within the American Jewish establishment? And which of them have strongly challenged the basic premises of Zionism?

        • Hostage
          December 8, 2012, 7:01 pm

          They have had no impact on the policies of the Israeli government or of AIPAC and its network of dozens of organizations within the American Israel lobby.

          Yeah, but that in no way supports the use of the generalizations about Judaism. I would also add that Jewish opinion makers are among the key targets of groups like the JDL, CAMERA, Campus Watch, and StandWithUS. So they probably do have an important impact on the policy of the government of Israel and AIPAC.

        • Hostage
          December 8, 2012, 9:16 pm

          I am still interested in this issue:

          What, in your opinion, are the ten most influential organizations within the American Jewish establishment?

          My opinion is that the Zionist establishment has many organizations, like StandWithUS, Campus Watch, and CAMERA that have been established for the sole purpose of exploiting herd mentality using primitive techniques of social psychology à la Bernard Baruch. When the members of a Jewish community ignore those organizations and select Chief Rabbis who oppose Israel’s policies; demand equal human rights for Palestinians; and a final settlement based upon international law and legitimacy, the proper question is not whether they have influenced the Zionist propaganda organs, but rather why have the Zionist propaganda organs failed to influence them?

      • AhVee
        December 6, 2012, 3:14 pm

        “From which one must conclude that Jewish religious Zionists are substantially dominating and running the settlements movement, the Israeli government and the American government.”

        You forgot step 6.) The American political system has a large impact on European decision making, too. Bizarre how in a way, someone who immigrated to Israel from some Eastern European ghetto may well have a larger impact on European politics through their Israeli vote than they ever had back home in Europe.

        Ever noticed how Jews theoretically get more voting power over gentiles? Technically, I could vote in my home country, then immigrate to Israel, getting automatic citizenship, vote there, thereafter apply for and be automatically granted citizenship in the U.S. (wielding a dual citizenship Israel & U.S., though I’d have to drop my first one) on counts of being a Jewish Israeli citizen, and vote in the States too. Watch out world, here I come… Green parties all over are surely tingling in anticipation, now.

        • seanmcbride
          December 6, 2012, 3:29 pm

          AhVee,

          You forgot step 6.) The American political system has a large impact on European decision making, too. Bizarre how in a way, someone who immigrated to Israel from some Eastern European ghetto may well have a larger impact on European politics through their Israeli vote than they ever had back home in Europe.

          Incredibly important point — and a key factor in the strategic calculus. The Israel lobby has been largely successful in “Zionizing” Europe through the application of heavy American pressure.

          So we’ve got a train, with Jewish religious settlers performing as the engine, dragging a long line of cars passively behind it, including Europe.

          But my impression is that the European natives are growing restless and may start pushing back hard. They are fast reaching their limit on serving as a tool of militant Jewish ethnic and religious nationalists. They have their own fish to fry. They have their own economic interests. They have their own cultural agenda. And they don’t as a rule display sustained passivity in world affairs — particularly when they are being verbally abused on a regular basis by people who presume that they are their masters.

        • AhVee
          December 6, 2012, 5:46 pm

          “But my impression is that the European natives are growing restless and may start pushing back hard. … And they don’t as a rule display sustained passivity in world affairs — particularly when they are being verbally abused on a regular basis by people who presume that they are their masters.”

          Maybe I don’t understand just what in particular you’re referring to, but I’m not seeing it at all. I’m seeing the european right-wing (From Belgium over Germany to Poland and beyond) resembling the tea party more by the year, and gaining popularity. America has been more than successful at exporting Islamophobia, and Europeans are continuously ignoring any real discussion on Israel. Far right demagogues such as Thilo Sarrazin, Geert Wilders and consorts are not only gaining popularity, but indeed every European government I know of are – far as I can see it – under the thumb of various Zionist lobbies. Politically, the EU is a joke, a union of banks which naturally, are all looking over to America to tell them which step to take next. I haven’t seen any meaningful discussion on independence from America, in fact, I’ve seen no such discussion at all taking place on a meaningful level. Every single european left-wing newspaper that I’ve read thusfar will censor you for so much as using the word “Jew” in your comment, if your comment is even only vaguely critical, it’s a complete joke. Local newspapers titled the recent event of a Palestinian being shot by Israelis as “Arab attacker killed”, and blatant Zionists like Paul Lendvai are given regular columns in popular left-wing papers. Merkel takes a pro-Israel stance in her speeches which rivals Mrs. Clintons, and I don’t think I have to say much about France. (Only reason they’re quieter than other countries is because they have a considerable Arab population).
          There was recent outrage over an allegedly anti-semitic cartoon published by our right-wing party, which promptly blew up to epic proportions and involved heavy protests by our local Zio lobby, while the same party has previously, and for years, published far more offensive stuff targeting Muslims (one such incident was a game they coded, your task was to shoot Muezzins from their mosques – though in all fairness, this was a scandal too) in their ‘comics’ with far less outcry.
          Even our prominent feminists seem to have turned solely to examining the ‘many ways in which Arabs abuse their wives’.
          Politically, from what I know the EU is certainly moving closer to America, and there’s a lot of “in it together” stuff going on.
          No, I’m just not seeing it.

        • AhVee
          December 6, 2012, 5:57 pm

          Some pictures of the aforementioned “game”, it’s quite revolting.

          link to cdn2.austria.com

          Translation: “bye-bye mosque”
          link to bilder.t-online.de

          There was some kind of introductory text to it I no longer find, perhaps it’s for the best. I’ve just eaten.

        • piotr
          December 7, 2012, 11:47 am

          Concerning European extreme right, I did not detect any equivalent of “Christian Zionists” that are characteristic of Tea Party. Mostly there are anti-Semitic. Some anti-Semites think that Jews control NWO and thus it is a patriotic thing to be nice to them (of course those who matter and not the leftist riff-raff). Some do not like Semites period, but Arabs are not only Semites but culturally inferior to boot. And some cannot stand the arrogance of Israel.

          Mostly the extreme right has some local enemies that are their chief pre-occupation.

          I think that EU popular opinion moves away from USA on a number of issues, including unconditional support for Israel. There is also a larger deference to elite on some matters, like foreign policy, this is the chief reason why American influence still works.

        • AhVee
          December 7, 2012, 12:48 pm

          No… To go back to seanmcbride’s statement, I don’t see how the EU is in any way, shape or form moving away from the US line. That would essentially involve Sarkozy and Merkel, and that’s not happening. (As mentioned earlier, Merkel is Europe’s Clinton and Sarko’s a right-wing nut)
          As for Scandinavia, they don’t influence EU policy enough to have much if any effect, and as progressive as a lot of their citizens may be, they’re certainly not politically outspoken to any relevant degree. The third dominant force is the UK, and we all know their official stance on the matter (definitely Zionist).

          Ergo, no European force that actually matters are considering either a move away from the States (in fact, the UK is likely moving closer to the States, due to recent contemplation concerning the exit out of the EU, which signalizes further distancing from EU policy.) Most of those who don’t matter aren’t either, btw.

        • Hostage
          December 7, 2012, 8:15 pm

          No… To go back to seanmcbride’s statement, I don’t see how the EU is in any way, shape or form moving away from the US line. That would essentially involve Sarkozy and Merkel, and that’s not happening. (As mentioned earlier, Merkel is Europe’s Clinton and Sarko’s a right-wing nut)

          Sarkozy no longer has the burden of high public office. He was replaced by a Socialist.

        • AhVee
          December 7, 2012, 11:33 pm

          Damn, you’re right of course, totally forgot that, sorry. However,

          “Throughout his presidential campaign, Hollande never criticized Israel and overall presented a balanced stance, while his goal was to avoid upsetting anyone. (…) I intend on visiting Israel soon after I win the elections,” said Hollande in an interview with a French Jewish news website about a week ago. He promised to fight an all out war against anti-Semitism in France, made it clear that he opposed any form of boycotting Israel, avoided repetitive remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and focused on the Iranian issue instead. “We must be intransigent when it comes to Iran, whose nuclear program is a danger to Israel…”

          Haaretz
          link to haaretz.com

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2012, 5:50 pm

        “Perhaps Mooser has some thoughts.”

        Sean, the numbered lists are tough, and I thought maybe I had a chance. But now you’ve brought out the “>” and the “/” and quite frankly, I got nothing can top that combo. I bow to your superior theosophistication.

        • seanmcbride
          December 7, 2012, 6:14 pm

          Mooser,

          Sean, the numbered lists are tough, and I thought maybe I had a chance. But now you’ve brought out the “>” and the “/” and quite frankly, I got nothing can top that combo. I bow to your superior theosophistication.

          There are some projects out there working with interactive lists of literally trillions of items, in quest of interesting hidden patterns. Just so you know.

          If you want to get a better idea of where I’m coming from, check out my Twylah profile:

          link to twylah.com

          Do you tweet at all? Do you have a Twylah profile?

          Twylah is the best way I know of at the moment to get a handle on someone’s mind at a glance.

          I notice that Mondoweiss doesn’t seem to have signed up with Twylah yet — it should.

  2. pabelmont
    December 6, 2012, 10:58 am

    One method to reduce the horrible apartheid system would be to allow everyone who lives under Israeli military rule the vote (and, quite important, the right to run as a candidate or on a “list”).

    Another, and not inconsistent method, would be for the world’s nations to force Israel to remove the settlers for the duration of the occupation (that is, until a peace treaty is signed or until Israel pulls out unilaterally and completely — not as in Gaza).

  3. AhVee
    December 6, 2012, 11:18 am

    I’m starting to like Bibi and the settler crowd, mostly for setting the ‘Jewish State’ on a destruction course that 20 moderate / left-wing governments couldn’t have achieved in ten times the time. I truly believe he – and any subsequent right-wing crackpot – accelerates the inevitable – the deconstruction of whatever moderate facade Israel has paid billions to uphold, and eventually, the deconstruction of its viability as a Jewish state. Thank G-d. And now that the 2SS is all but dead, the only viable option for peace is also the most just one – a bi-national state with equal rights for all, something I hope the west is going to start seriously pushing in the medium-term. It’s also the most natural outcome considering Palestinian vs. Jewish population growth.
    I don’t dare to think what a further shift to the right would mean for the Palestinians and any grassroots peace efforts over the short term (I really didn’t think that this was still possible, thought the fascism express was already chugging along at full-steam…), but however painful it is, I hope the wheels that Bibi and the increasing political power of the settlers have set in motion will eventually block their own machine, to the extent of blowing up and showing the world their true foul substance once and for all. I believe that the West is going to start seriously considering a bi-national solution, and I believe that Israel will be put under increasing pressure the longer it refuses to consider this – pressing – subject. Why is it becoming pressing? We have nobody but Bibi to thank for that. Without him, people would still be flirting with the 2SS, and expecting the Palestinians to settle for a fraction of the land they once called their own, as well as forcing many of them to live displaced from their initial region of origin. Also, I have a feeling Israel would have gotten away turning the 2SS Palestinian enclaves into little Gaza 2.0′s, anyway.

  4. Henry Norr
    December 6, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I don’t question Munayyer’s analysis, as far as it goes, but it strikes me that in a way, implicitly, it lets the non-settler Israeli public off the hook. The two-state solution is dead not just because the settlers are now a crucial swing bloc and “politicians’ desire to win the bloc is driving the entire polity to the right,” but also because the Israeli public as a whole – non-settler as well as settler – and all the Jewish parties have moved dramatically to the right since at least the year 2000. That includes even those parties, such as Labor and Meretz, that have little hope of winning significant support from settlers.

    (A very prescient book on this rightward drift, still worth reading IMO, is Michel Warschawski’s Toward an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society, which was written shortly after the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations and the outbreak of the second intifada. What he argues, as I recall, is that the Israeli center and most of the “left” never really had any grasp of the Palestinian perspective. They were for peace as long as they thought they could have it on their terms. When the Palestinians refused to accept those terms and instead renewed the intifada, virtually all elements of the Jewish polity bought Barak’s line that “there is no partner for peace” and said, in effect, “to hell with them.”)

    As for the assertion – apparently from Phil rather than Munayyer – that Kadima “has supported a two-state solution,” well, yes – the kind of two-state “solution” I wrote about here – i.e., a Palestinian statelet that’s little more than an archipelago of bantustans hemmed in all around by Israeli settlements, military bases, Jewish-only roads, etc. Let’s not forget that Kadima was created by the butcher Ariel Sharon!

    • Donald
      December 6, 2012, 3:38 pm

      “What he argues, as I recall, is that the Israeli center and most of the “left” never really had any grasp of the Palestinian perspective. They were for peace as long as they thought they could have it on their terms. When the Palestinians refused to accept those terms and instead renewed the intifada, virtually all elements of the Jewish polity bought Barak’s line that “there is no partner for peace” and said, in effect, “to hell with them.”)”

      I think that attitude is very very common, also in Americans. Glenn Greenwald recently criticized Charles Pierce, a smart liberal commenter, who took a “plague on both their houses” stance towards the latest Gaza slaughter. Americans enable Israel for decades, so we’re in no position to adopt a lordly tone, but that’s the privilege of being a citizen of a superpower. What we do to the rabble overseas doesn’t even register on us.

      But it’s more acute in those people who say they favor a two state solution, but only as a preface before they begin to tell you just how awful and nasty those Palestinians are and how the reason there’s no 2SS is because of them. They are in practice no different from the settlers.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      December 6, 2012, 4:21 pm

      ”What he argues, as I recall, is that the Israeli center and most of the “left” never really had any grasp of the Palestinian perspective. They were for peace as long as they thought they could have it on their terms. When the Palestinians refused to accept those terms and instead renewed the intifada, virtually all elements of the Jewish polity bought Barak’s line that “there is no partner for peace” and said, in effect, “to hell with them.”)”

      Indeed. I said something similar on another thread. Even so-called ‘liberal’ Israelis aren’t liberal at all. They may not support the ‘settlements’ ideologically, and they may be somewhat critical of some of Israel’s more flagrant crimes, but at heart, their only priority is for Jewish Israelis and their ‘security’. As you say, they are completely unable-unwilling to see things from a palestinian pov, and are only happy to consider ‘peace’ if it means they don’t have to sacrifice anything. And the worst thing is, they expect the Palestinians to be eternally grateful for how liberal, moderate and generous they are!

      • Donald
        December 6, 2012, 7:37 pm

        “As you say, they are completely unable-unwilling to see things from a palestinian pov, and are only happy to consider ‘peace’ if it means they don’t have to sacrifice anything. And the worst thing is, they expect the Palestinians to be eternally grateful for how liberal, moderate and generous they are!”

        That’s it exactly. I noticed that years ago, online, back in the days when I would have still have been too nervous to come right out and say “Racist” to someone who acted like that. That sort of “liberal” thinks he or she has done something amazingly openminded just to say that Palestinians should have their own state. Apparently in their circles that puts them far out on a limb. Having done that much, they expect to bask in applause and they also think it frees them to say “I’m someone who supports a two state solution, but…” And then comes a long litany of reasons why Israel is the victim and the Palestinians are in the wrong. They really don’t see Israel as a perpetrator of any serious wrongdoing, certainly nothing to compare with what Palestinians have done.

  5. radii
    December 6, 2012, 12:09 pm

    settlers are terrorists and should be described as such

  6. Avi_G.
    December 6, 2012, 1:15 pm

    And it a large enough bloc, at about 10 percent of the vote, that politicians’ desire to win the bloc is driving the entire polity to the right– destroying the two-state solution.

    Well, it was the Labor government that approved the very first colonies in the 1960s.

    Here’s Shimon Peres:

    Note that he places the colonies in the context of “security” and “defending ourselves”.

    The bottom line is that the two-state solution was already dead when Israel launched the offensive war of 1967.

    And those who have been paying attention here at Mondoweiss already know that the war of 1967 wasn’t a defensive war.

  7. seafoid
    December 6, 2012, 11:45 pm

    It is more than just the settlers . It’s partly the DNA of Zionism, partly neoliberal economics, geopolitics, the effect of Israeli government spending over time and so on. They think it is their right, they think they can grow their economy endlessly and profit from the cruelty of the occupation, think it is cost free. The education system also plays a role via indoctrination.

    The Zionist Left* was destroyed over the last 10 years and that has deeper roots than how the settlers vote.

    What is happening now is the functioning of a system that hs been iterating for over 100 years. It is not as if there is any one person or event that defines it.

    *Yes, it was never really really left

  8. piotr
    December 7, 2012, 6:14 am

    It is a bit hard for me to figure out what is going on in Europe. “Zionisation” is nowhere as complete as in United States or Canada, and without persistently applied American influence it can go away quite quickly.

    And American influence is far from what it was. US “defends Europe” , but now even Estonia is not particularly afraid of external threats. Concerning the market, EU is good at one thing, which is regulating the market, and USA cannot easily reward favorites and punish the others (like Ireland or Norway? that would actually turn quite humorous). Pro-American foreign policy used to be a badge of “moderation and responsibility”, but the reputation of USA is quite depleted by nonsensical wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. USA as a beacon of human rights is a sad joke at best.

    However as a matter of action, a few governments would have to be replaced before anything may happen. But this may well happen.

    • Shmuel
      December 7, 2012, 7:17 am

      Pro-American foreign policy used to be a badge of “moderation and responsibility”

      It still is, in the vast political area spanning both centre-left and centre-right — tarnished reputations (let he who is without sin …) notwithstanding. The same goes for neo-liberal economics. The “markets” wouldn’t have it any other way. Attitudes to Israel and the “peace process” are an integral part of that.

  9. amigo
    December 7, 2012, 8:07 am

    It seems to me that those being driven to the right are not unwilling victims.

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