Posts Tagged ‘Israeli political parties’

 

Pundits have asked Palestinians of every persuasion what they think of Israeli elections over the past several weeks. Opinions are varied and thoughtful; yet the truth is that to prefer one of the leading groups over another is an exercise in futility. Asking for a choice is akin to opting hypothetically for France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen (Lieberman), Dutch parliamentarian Geet Wilders (Livni), or Russia’s Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Netanyahu), with South Africa’s Pieter W. Botha (Peres) playing the presidential role of whom to ask for the formation of a national unity government.

 

 

 Israeli democracy is an oxymoron, a reality underscored by the abuse of any non-Jewish party vying for equal representation. Palestinian parties entering elections in 2006 were represented by Muslims, Christians and even atheists, with no obligation or pre-condition other than those recognized by international law. The Israeli State, however, routinely purges or inhibits Arab political movement, such as those of Azmi Bishara, with unsubstantiated claims of treason or treachery. And the political neutering of indigenous Arabs is negligible compared with the dismissive approach to any popular presence across the 1967 border.

 

 Israelis in this year’s elections claimed there were no Palestinian partners for peace. Ironic, since regardless of label, all Israeli politicians play the same game under a different name: settlements are built; borders are open and shut on a whim; buildings are destroyed; banks are stifled; cities are bombed; and so on. How can Palestinians, let alone the democratically elected Hamas, believe any Israeli politician can be spoken to, let alone trusted, when terrorism and/or racism runs through the veins of every political party?

 

 The roots of Labour and Likud are in organizations that terrorized innocent civilians and murdered randomly; before Likud there was Gahal and before that Herut, which was borne of Irgun—a proven terrorist group. Likud’s supposed peacemaker who became Prime Minister in 1977, Menachim Begin, was a key figure in the Irgun and even had a 2,000-British-pound reward for his capture. The Haganah was the militant precursor to the Labour party. Yitzhak Shamir was a leader of the Stern Gang, accused of atrocities against civilians; yet still became PM in 1983.

 

 The mainstream Zionist groups are rooted in Judaism but secular when convenient. The religious parties—those that sell their seats for power in coalition governments—are more numerous, therefore more likely to gain influence in one form or another. Although there are a few anti-Zionists such as Edah Ha Chareidis, Satmar and Neurei Karta International, right-wing Zionists dominate, such as Tsomet, Shas, Morasha, Shinui Ometz, Gush Emunim (Ne’emanei Eretz Yisrael), the Jewish National Front (Hayil), and the National Movement (Herut) among others. Some are defunct, such as Kach, Kahane Chai and Tehiya (Banai), though their members often form other groups, with the usual aim of building Greater Israel.

 

 The emergence of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu as the “kingmaker” party is no surprise, given that their dependence on the public’s xenophobia is as deep as the religious groups. They play the chords of racism, nationalism, Zionism and Judaism perfectly. Their manifesto includes statements like the group’s “clear vision” to pursue “the three cardinal principles of Zionism: Aliyah (immigration), settlement, and defense of our homeland,” further declaring: “The responsibility for primarily Arab areas such as Umm al-Fahm and the ‘triangle’ will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority. In parallel, Israel will officially annex Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria.”

 

 

At their core, most Israeli political parties are the same when it comes to their neighbours. They dispute among themselves only in terms of controlling budgets and ministries, but as far as contributing meaningfully to regional stability or economic growth, they are satisfied to be parasites off the American taxpayer while bullying the occupied. That is why they have invested so much in lobbying groups, partisan think tanks, and other organizations in the U.S. but made no effort to honour international law.