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He’s back! Netanyahu wins fifth term as prime minister of Israel, Gantz concedes

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Update: Israeli voters appear to have given Benjamin Netanyahu a fifth term as prime minister, as challenger Benny Gantz conceded Wednesday. “We respect the decision of the people, of the president. We will serve them from any position that we will be in the future,” Gantz said in a televised statement

With about 97 percent of the vote counted, Israeli media said that Netanyahu’s party had won 35 seats in the parliament to the opposition’s 35. And overall rightwing parties won such a clear majority of the parliament, that Netanyahu has a open path to forming the next governing coalition. Discussions to build a coalition will officially begin next week.

“[T]he left is left with hardly a prayer. It is an extraordinary triumph for Bibi [Netanyahu] and a crushing, deflating moment for his critics and opponents,” writes Chemi Shalev of Haaretz.

The reality is that Israel is a “right-of-center country,” and the world should recognize this, Rabbi Yotav Eliach said on i24 news.

“This is a night of a tremendous victory,” Netanyahu said in an emotional speech at 2 a.m. “This is a great mission that guides me, day and night.”

Original post: 

Voting closed in Israel at 10 p.m. local time and the first exit polls place the race too close to call, yet both incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu and challenger Benny Gantz have declared victory. Netanyahu is seeking a historic fifth term heading a right-religious coalition, which could be capsized by the center-left coalition led by Gantz, a political newcomer and army officer.

Gantz led in the polls and gave a speech after midnight, declaring, “I am the next prime minister of Israel,” and thanking Netanyahu for his service.

“They said I wouldn’t go into politics, but I did,” Gantz said. “They said we wouldn’t win, yet we did.”

Exit polling for i24 news put Gantz’s Blue and White at 33 seats to 27 for Netanyahu’s Likud. But Channel 13 later gave a far different read, 35 to 34 for Likud.

Tight results in Israel can be cumbersome as parties vie for up to 120 seats in Knesset that are up for grabs each election cycle. The head of the faction that wins the most seats is not guaranteed to lead the government, as it needs to form a governing coalition with a minimum of 61 seats backing them. In a close race, it is possible for one party to win a simple majority of votes but fail to form a ruling coalition, in which case the opposition will be granted an opportunity to form a government.

Even with the results still unclear, Netanyahu announced over social media a “definite victory” and claimed he will begin forming a ruling coalition overnight. In his victory speech, he said he had already secured the votes he needs.

Channel 13 reported an even split between Blue and White, but gave Likud’s religious-right coalition 66 seats, meaning Netanyahu would keep his position as prime minister, which he has held for 10 years. Jonathan Tobin, editor of the Jewish News Syndicate, said on i24 that while the rise of Gantz’s party in two months has been impressive, he has no path to becoming prime minister, there are not enough seats in the center and left. Owen Alterman of i24 said the opposition in Israel is “exuberant” tonight feeling that it has finally outpolled Netanyahu, but that the jubilation may well be fleeting.

Channel 2 also reported a 60-60 split between leading coalitions, but projected 37 seats for Blue and White and only 33 for Likud, the biggest upset yet. Reporting from campaign headquarters for Gantz, i24’s Eylon Levy said when the results came in there were “gasps here in the room,” adding a split government “would be a constitutional nightmare.”

If one party fails to gain the 61 seat threshold, one possibility is that Israel could form a united government ruled by both major parties. That would require Netanyahu to share power, which analysts are citing as an unlikely outcome.

At 8 p.m. local time the Israel Elections Committee reported voter turnout at ​61.3 percent, slightly down from last election’s 62.4 percent at that same time.

Head of the Hadash party, Ayman Odeh, casts his ballot on Tuesday morning. (Photo: Twitter)

Head of the Hadash party, Ayman Odeh, casts his ballot on Tuesday morning. (Photo: Twitter)

Exit polls showed turnout for Palestinian citizens of Israel was down significantly from the 2015 elections. That year Netanyahu’s Likud won 30 seats and the short lived centrist camp, the Zionist Union, won 24 seats. A coalition of Arab parties and Hadash, a joint Arab-Jewish group won 13 seats for the Joint List, making party head Ayman Odeh the leader of Israel’s third largest party, a first for a Palestinian-Arab parliamentarian.

This year the Joint List split into two lists, Hadash-Ta’al headed by Odeh and Ra’am-Balad. The combined tally for both parties were originally projected to slightly increase their total number of seats. In February the Times of Israel reported a Channel 13 poll predicted Hadash-Ta’al would cinch 10 seats and Ra’am-Balad four.

However in the lead up to the elections and indeed by Tuesday afternoon voter turnout among Palestinians was reportedly low. During the day Odeh urged Palestinians to turn out to vote, yet news broke that Likud had dispatched 1,200 cameras to monitor Arab polling places, including body cameras on Likud activists. While ballots were still being cast, Hadash filed a complaint with the the elections board over violations against filming voting and police removed cameras secretly lodged inside of polling stations.

By day’s end Hadash-Ta’al said there was a 44 percent turnout for Palestinian citizens, reported i24, down from 2015’s historic 64 percent, which slightly trailed the national average of 72 percent.

In the evening hours Hadash posted to social media an image of a campaign poster graffiti’ed with the words “death to Arabs.”

In another astonishment, Channel 2 also predicted the New Right party helmed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would not make it back into Knesset. The party failed to meet the three seat minimum to get into government.

Haaretz reported Bennett said from campaign headquarters, “Don’t let your spirits fall,” adding that he is waiting on the return of soldier ballots that come in a few days after election day. “We take care of the soldiers, and you’ll see that the soldiers will take care of us.”

In the last election the military voted slightly to the left of the country.

A coalition of right-wing parties, Jewish Home, Tkuma, and Otzma Yehudit, which formed the United Right, are expected to back Likud if Netanyahu attempts to form a government.

The voting block was marred with controversy in the lead up to the election because of Otzma Yehudit, an ideological heir of the banned Kach party, which had lobbied for violence against Arabs. The party’s head, Michael Ben-Ari, was barred from running in March by Israel’s high court due to incitement against Arabs and Palestinians.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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22 Responses

  1. Kay24 on April 9, 2019, 7:11 pm

    While I have no faith that the Israeli people will reject a corrupt man like Netanyahu, and vote for someone else, I would not take Netanyahu at his word when he declares himself a winner, until the official results are in. He is a detestable liar, among other things.

  2. Mikesailor on April 9, 2019, 7:41 pm

    Does it matter? This is picking between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.

    • echinococcus on April 9, 2019, 10:08 pm

      “This is picking between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber”

      Make that Tweedledee –exactly as dumb. Or better, make it picking between top-monster criminals against humanity Bush, Obama and Trump.

      I dunno why all those Empire people have a thing with corruption, by the way. Corruption among the enemy is a Good Thing, to be encouraged.

    • Kay24 on April 10, 2019, 8:37 am

      This Tweedledumber is aligned with Jewish terrorists, which does not bode well for the poor Palestinians.

  3. Peter in SF on April 9, 2019, 10:37 pm

    In a close race, it is possible for one party to win a simple majority of votes but fail to form a ruling coalition

    Not true. Seats in the Knesset are allocated to parties strictly by their proportion of the popular vote — with the exception of parties that don’t get enough votes to meet the threshold. So any party that wins a simple majority of votes is guaranteed to win a majority of seats in the Knesset all by itself, and doesn’t even need to reach out to other parties to form a coalition with them.

    Channel 2 also reported a 60-60 split between leading coalitions

    The Knesset has 120 members, so “a 60-60 split between leading coalitions” would mean that every single member belonged to one of two leading coalitions. I get that there’s the outgoing governing coalition led by Netanyahu, and a rival coalition led by Gantz. Are Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad seriously being considered as part of Gantz’s coalition, as you imply? If so, that story is worthy of more attention than is being given here.

    While ballots were still being cast, Hadash filed a complaint with the the elections board over violations against filming voting and police removed cameras secretly lodged inside of polling stations.

    It wasn’t the police that installed those cameras, so how were the police even able to find them, given that they were lodged secretly? Did the police demand that Likud tell them where they were? Or did they do a search and found a few? Your linked article from JTA says that “Police confiscated dozens of cameras during the morning and afternoon” but says nothing about any of the confiscated cameras being “secretly lodged”. Also, “dozens” is a much smaller number than 1,200.

    • Misterioso on April 10, 2019, 9:53 am

      http://www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/12280/April-10,-2019—Dr-Hanan-Ashrawi-Israel-has-chosen-racism-and-permanent-conflict

      The Palestine Liberation Organization – Press Release, April 10, 2019

      Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: “Israel has chosen racism and permanent conflict.”

      “Israeli voters have chosen their representatives. Regrettably, Israelis overwhelmingly voted for candidates who are unequivocally committed to entrenching the status quo of oppression, occupation, annexation and dispossession in Palestine and escalating the assault on Palestinian national and human rights. They have chosen an overwhelmingly right wing, Xenophobic and anti-Palestinian parliament to represent them. Israelis chose to entrench and expand apartheid.

      “The extremist and militaristic agenda, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has been emboldened by the Trump administration’s reckless policies and blind support. This cynical alliance against Palestinian rights and the standing of the rules-based international order remains unchallenged by the rest of the international community, thereby reinforcing the rightist and populist agendas.

      “The Palestinian people will overcome this dark and highly dangerous chapter and remain deeply rooted in our homeland. We are a resilient people and we will persist and forge alliances with like-minded and responsible international actors to create a counterbalance to the dangerous and reckless agenda and its adherence among other racist and fundamentalist governments, particularly in Israel.”

  4. Maghlawatan on April 10, 2019, 12:02 am

    The ´left’ would need a huge swing to unseat Milikovsky since no Zionist Government is ever going to have Palestinian ministers. They need an absolute majority of Zionist votes.

    Israel is very comfortable with apartheid. Sometimes societies act against their own long term interest.

    ´Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.´ Flannery O’Connor

    « 
    The conventional wisdom gives way not so much to new ideas as to the massive onslaught of circumstances with which it cannot contend »

    JK Galbraith

  5. JWalters on April 10, 2019, 12:10 am

    “This is a great mission that guides me, day and night.” – Bibi Netanyahu

    “That sacred goal, the return of Israel to its ancestral homeland.” – Jacob Rothschild, 2017, explaining the reason his family’s bank financed the establishment of Israel, buying the weapons, etc. (and now profiting from Israel’s takeover of the oil in the Golan Heights).

    These leaders of the Zionist community, 100% of the time, setting the example, omit entirely from their story the indigenous people of Palestine, the people who were already living there, the vast majority of whom were not Jewish, and who have been literally human sacrifices in service to this self-proclaimed “holy” mission.

    How can any AMERICAN politician, of all countries on this planet, say “I love what Israel is doing, but now Netanyahu has gone a bit too far for me.”?

    • Kay24 on April 10, 2019, 8:36 am

      Now watch all those AIPAC bought Congresspeople, embrace Netanyahu’s extremist government, and kiss up to terrorists condemned by the US State Department. Then we will also see the zionist media justify, and support these extremist’s, as they continue their on going occupation, and kill civilians at the slightest excuse, and not utter a word of condemnation, or criticism. Bari Weiss and Brett Stephen will also tune up their undying support for that poor “victim” Israel, and somehow be able to make even the Netanyahu terrorists group look like victims.
      Things in Israel are going from bad to worse, and the Trump/Kusher/Netanyahu axis of evil will make things worse for the US too, since they operate from the dark side.

      Iran had better be prepared, the US/Israeli/Saudi war criminals are making all the wrong moves, trying to shock and awe them too. It will be once again TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET.

  6. Marnie on April 10, 2019, 1:38 am

    The right wing shit show continues – israeli’s choose to give nebuchadnezer another go. It seems this is the time of a perfect storm with many heads of state competing for the title of biggest asshole.

  7. Kay24 on April 10, 2019, 5:59 am

    The Israelis have spoken. They want a corrupt, war monger, who will kill Palestinians, keep the occupation going, and steal more lands for them. They also don’t care he has aligned himself with Jewish extremists, and will take the country to that direction. They will get what they deserve, unfortunately just like we have got here in the US.
    It is frightening to think what is ahead for the Palestinians, and for that region.

  8. Ossinev on April 10, 2019, 8:04 am

    Time to hand back the keys then Messrs Abbas and Erekat:
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189514

    Ideally before the Yahoo`s Bantustanisation program kicks in. The PA/Oslo sham has definitiveley hit the buffers.

    South Africa Mark 2 here we go.

    • JohnSmith on April 10, 2019, 8:26 am

      Worse than South Africa. Far worse. I imagine you know this. –I suppose “South Africa Mark 2” might mean “Even worse than the original apartheid South Africa,” as opposed to “Apartheid South Africa all over again.”

      Israel and Israelis should be treated like the racist apartheidists they are. They should be shunned. Anyone who meets an Israeli should ask if that person served in the IDF, and then just turn their back on him or her if the answer is “yes.”

      • Marnie on April 10, 2019, 12:05 pm

        @JohnSmith

        Agreed.

      • eljay on April 10, 2019, 12:42 pm

        || JohnSmith: … Israel and Israelis should be treated like the racist apartheidists they are. They should be shunned. … ||

        Israel and Zionist Israelis (and non-Israeli Zionists), maybe. Non-Zionist Israelis shouldn’t be punished for the hateful and immoral beliefs and (war) crimes of their country(wo)men.

  9. Misterioso on April 10, 2019, 11:18 am

    Meanwhile:

    Desperate for a gig, Madonna, the long since irrelevant auto tuner addicted pop star of little talent, will perform at Eurovision in Israel.

    https://forward.com/schmooze/422214/she-made-it-through-the-wilderness-madonna-to-perform-at-eurovision-in/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter%20RSS&utm_maildate=04/09/2019

    THE SCHMOOZE
    “She Made It Through The Wilderness! Madonna To Perform At Eurovision In Israel”
    April 8, 2019 By Jenny Singer

    “Madonna and her 160-person entourage will descend on Eurovision in Israel this summer, with the pop icon slated to perform a new song during the broadcast, Haaretz reports.

    “The European Broadcasting Union told the Israeli paper that the performer will debut a new song, as well as a classic, at the 64th annual competition, which will begin on May 14 and last four days. A duet by last year’s winner Netta and the Queen of Pop herself has not yet been said to be in the works (but as long as in our hearts the Jewish soul sings, there is always hope, as they say.)

    “Securing the religiously ambiguous singer, Haaretz reports, cost to the tune of $1 million, paid for by Canadian-Israeli real estate titan Sylvan Adams. The competition will be hosted by a group including supermodel Bar Rafaeli and Arab-Israeli TV presenter Lucy Ayoub.

    “In honor of Madonna’s performance, the Schmooze presents a gentle re-write of Psalm 150:

    “Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the sanctuary-adjacent city of Tel Aviv, which is honestly more fun. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for the surpassing greatness of his pop divas. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the autotune and the synthesizer, Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the highest grossing solo touring artist of all time. Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with a lady who is associated with Jewish mysticism.

    “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

    “We’ll be following Madge’s journey ‘through the wilderness’ to the holy land — her fourth, as a performer. Our main hope is that her kosher-cooking personal chef will get to take this as a vacation.”

  10. Boris on April 10, 2019, 11:35 am

    And the dogs? They keep barking…

  11. DaveS on April 10, 2019, 12:02 pm

    It is awful to watch a man who should be spending the rest of his life in prison with photographs of his victims plastered to his cell walls celebrate his re-election. However, this probably is not a step in the wrong direction.

    As others have noted, his principal rival is also a blood-soaked war monger. The main difference between Netanyahu and Gantz is that the latter would be viewed with false hope for a resumption of the “peace process” leading to a two-state solution, and would buy Israel another indefinite period of acceptance of the status quo. With BN’s re-election, many will be forced to acknowledge that it ain’t gonna happen.

    Ultimately, this horrific situation will end not with negotiations and a two-state agreement but with reluctant acceptance of the principle of equality. I have thought this for a long time and hoped it would have been a reality by 2019. The sooner everyone realizes the 2ss is dead, the sooner we can shift focus to the real solution. Israel won’t budge at all without considerable international pressure and Gantz’s elevation surely would have reduced the impetus for such pressure. I’ve given up predicting any timetable for an end to this mess, but I do think Gantz’s election would have postponed rather than hastened it.

    Like Sharon, Netanyahu is likely to die in his sleep without ever spending a day in infamy (except possibly for unrelated personal corruption). It’s a tough pill to swallow but relieving millions from misery is far more important.

    Ali Abunimah had a good twitter thread about this and linked to his own 2015 article on the same theme the last time Netanyahu won – https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-im-relieved-netanyahu-won

  12. genesto on April 10, 2019, 1:06 pm

    Congrats, Bibi! Now you can form your far-right coalition and continue towards annexing the West Bank and creating a true apartheid state without pretense.

    For those of us who have long since abandoned the notion, let alone the feasibility, of a two-state solution, this should be relatively good news – that is, if you believe that a true apartheid state is unsustainable. In time, one of two things must happen: the completion of ethnic cleansing, either through forced expulsion, murder or both, or; the evolution to a single state with citizenship and equal rights for all (at least on paper). I want to believe that Israeli Jews, despite their growing racism against Palestinians, will not succumb to the evils of genocide (option 1), and, though it will probably take generations before option 2 is realized, Israel will eventually change and become the democracy it once claimed to be.

  13. echinococcus on April 10, 2019, 1:58 pm

    Genesto,

    Left and middle and halff-left and quarter-right coalitions are exactly as genocidal as the “far-right” ones in the Zionist entity hellhole. In fact, they are worse because they are used as a pretext for non-intervention.

  14. jrg on April 10, 2019, 10:05 pm

    From Tikkun magazine:

    Racism and Israel’s election: How did the Jewish state become an oppressive state?

    By Rabbi Michael Lerner

    Israel’s election on Tuesday came down to a battle between a prime minister who promised to annex part (or possibly all) of the West Bank and its several million Palestinians into Israel, but without giving them equal rights to Jews, and a former army general and chief of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who boasted about how many Palestinians he had killed, or had his army kill, in past invasions into Gaza.
    How did this happen?
    The answer given by the Israeli and American left give is clear enough: Israel is a racist society and most Israelis are racists. In his March 13 Ha’aretz column, Gideon Levy put it forcefully: “Netanyahu is not the problem. The Israeli people are. The apartheid did not start with him and will not end with his departure.”
    This kind of thinking is not new — it is precisely the same partially correct but self-defeating thinking that I heard from many on the left in the United States, after Donald Trump won a majority of the Electoral College in 2016. Blame the people.
    As a psychologist who has been studying social movements for the past 40 years, I have found these kinds of “explanations” merely repeating in different words the problem they claim to illuminate. Israelis did not always vote for right-wing candidates and most were enthusiastic about the hoped-for end of hostilities with Palestinians that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s Oslo Accords promised: two states living together in peace. Similarly, a majority of Americans had voted for Obama in 2008 and again in 2012, and a majority voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, undermining the claim that the best explanation for Trump’s victory is that a majority of Americans are racist or sexist.
    My research reveals that the very claim that all those who don’t support progressive politics are bad people (Clinton called them “a basket of deplorables”) reflects an underlying contempt for ordinary people on the part of many in the left, not only in the U.S. and Israel, but in many other struggling leftist parties around the world.
    I first got a hint of this when I did research with working people in Israel in 1984, research that was based in the Labor Studies program at Tel Aviv University. At that time, most Israeli working people still associated with the socialist-oriented Labor Party. Yet it didn’t take long for people I interviewed to tell me their feeling that their union leadership cared little about them, their lives and their struggles. Many were beginning to flirt with the idea of voting for Likud (the right-wing party now led by Benjamin Netanyahu), not because they agreed with Likud, but because they felt so disrespected by the leftists they met. They wanted to send a strong message of anger.
    When I asked my friends in Shalom Achshav (the secular Israeli peace movement at the time) and in Netivot Shalom (the religious peace movement at the time) why they were not doing door-to-door organizing and reaching out to the people who disagreed with them, I got the same answer from both movements: “These people are racist to the core and there is no point in trying to talk to them.” Sitting in the chic coffeehouses of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, they were in fact demeaning working-class Israelis, just as those workers had complained.
    It turns out that many people do not vote on the basis of whose political program they agree with most, but on the basis of who appears to respect and care about them, their families and their struggles. This continues to be the biggest fault line for the left almost everywhere in the world. The left not only disrespects and puts down ordinary people, it often shows the same disrespect to people who are supposed allies!
    That is not to excuse the racism. But since most people are not born racist, the question of what experiences led to racism becoming dominant among Israeli Jews deserves a fuller and more compassionate account. Racism has often been used by imperial powers, from ancient Greece and Rome to contemporary European and American colonial and imperialist regimes. Often the victims of racism either succumb to the oppressors’ vision and internalize feelings of inadequacy, or they develop stories of themselves as ethically better than their oppressors. (Jewish “chosen-ness” sometimes yields a demeaning attitude toward the “goyim,” “sisterhood is powerful” sometimes yields a blanket suspicion of all men, and “black lives matter” sometimes yields an insistence that all whites are racist.)
    Consider that one out of every three Jews alive in 1939 were murdered by 1945 in massive upsurge of Jew-hating, and further, that Palestinians used their influence with Britain to keep Jews in “displaced persons” camps and out of Palestine, and then rejected the UN vote to divide the land between a Jewish and Palestinian state. In this regard, it is understandable that deep resentments on the part of the survivors of the Holocaust and their allies in what became Israel would develop into a deep antipathy.
    Having suffered so great a trauma, they concluded that almost anything Jews would do in the name of security would be justified, no matter how oppressive that would be to others. Taking over the West Bank, and now considering incorporating it into Israel itself, seemed to many Israelis to be their entitlement given their past suffering, which still lingered in their psyches and is continually reinforced by national rituals and injunctions to “remember” what others have done to us.
    We can add to this :
    • Jews from former Communist countries who have developed an allergy to anything smelling of socialism or anything linked to a leftist internationalist perspective.
    • Jews from Arab countries who still carry with them the memories of how they were disrespected by Ashkenazi Jews (of European origin) and the supposedly socialist government when they or their parents or grandparents first came to Israel.
    • Israeli Palestinians who don’t vote after watching their elected representatives to the Knesset treated disrespectfully, and (possibly correctly) believing that their voices will never be taken seriously. In the past few years, progressive Israelis have reported that many of their former Palestinian allies have decided that working with Israelis “normalizes the occupation” and so have cut off relations with even the most pro-Palestinian Israeli activists. Right-wingers point out that this behavior once again proves that “there is nobody to talk to” among the Palestinians.
    • The virtual collapse of a progressive religious movement has made it easier for right-wingers to align their version of Judaism with their version of security, rejecting the notion that we at Tikkun magazine have promoted: that Israel’s security would be best ensured by a spirit of generosity and caring for the well-being of all the people Israel governs, rather than through repression. While the Reform movement of Judaism in Israel has fought for religious equality for women and LGBTQ, it has avoided activist opposition to the occupation, fearing that to do so would split the movement, many of whose members, like many American Jews, are “progressive on everything except Israel.”
    All these factors have contributed to the normalization of racism and repression of the Palestinian people.
    But trauma is also the experience of the Palestinian people. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were force-marched from their homes or fled in fear of Jewish terrorism in 1948 and developed a deep antipathy toward Jews.
    This catastrophe, the Nakba, remains the guiding trauma of the Palestinian people, often leading them to adopt futile gestures of violent resistance rather than an embrace of nonviolence in principle which, at least several decades ago, might have softened the hearts of many Israelis who feel so insecure that they are unable to acknowledge the vast difference in power between their well-trained armies and the militarily insignificant actions of a mostly unarmed Palestinian population.
    The periodic provocative launching of missiles toward Israel seems to suggest a kind of silent alliance between Hamas and the Israeli right — Hamas insisting that it while it would like a 20-year period of cease-fire it will never accept the right of the Israeli state to exist, and the Israeli Right using those periodic rocket attacks to reassert their position that only total subjugation of Palestinians will provide lasting security for Jews.
    The outrageous actions of the Jewish majority in becoming oppressors of the Palestinians will remain, for thousands of years into the future, one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. But it won’t be overturned until we can develop a new politics of compassion for both sides, and a renewed belief that people can be reached if we start from a perspective of respect and caring for them, even when we disagree with their current political proclivities. Challenge their policies, but affirm their humanity for all but the most extreme haters who now govern Israel and Gaza.
    Until a compassionate left emerges in Israel and reshapes the dominant culture, Israel’s descent into an apartheid state seems inevitable, even if it happens more gradually than many on the right would wish. These lessons apply equally to the coming decades of American politics as well.

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