Now we all know — progress in the Holy Land will only come with pressure from the outside, not inside Israel.
For months, if not years, I’ve been warning my Jewish American friends and family “Netanyahu isn’t sincere about the so-called ‘peace talks’ with the Palestinians. You can’t trust what he says about the Palestinians, Iranians or anyone else for that matter. Bibi governs by fear-mongering and he’s a racist to boot!” Some friends pushed back, others just dropped away quietly, and a few shed tears.
On Monday, Netanyahu dropped his mask and revealed what I’ve been saying all along. He explicitly disavowed any support for a Palestinian state and he warned Jewish Israelis that Arabs were out voting in “droves” (alleging, in a conspiratorial manner reminiscent of white supremacists in the US Jim Crow South, that “Left-wing organizations are busing them out”). Even the New York Times, which always regurgitates AIPAC’s framing of the issues, published an editorial on Tuesday announcing that Netanyahu has forfeited any claim to representing all Israelis because of his “racist rants.”
There’s no pleasure in my “I told you so” moment. I only hope this election prompts Americans of every stripe to reconsider their knee-jerk adulation for this Yahoo. Members of Congress who earlier this month gave him multiple standing ovations (they applauded 39 times of which 23 were standing ovations) should be re-evaluating their unquestioning allegiance to AIPAC and this man who says the “U.S. has no greater ally than Israel.”
The Mask Has Fallen
The U.S. needs to break Israel’s chains, and not let this rogue state wag U.S. policy in the Middle East. Ravit Hecht writes in this Haaretz article
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won. The man whose closest colleagues tell horror stories about him won. The man most hated by the U.S. administration won. The man who even disgusts many right-wing voters won. The man, a serving prime minister, who said on Election Day that “the Arabs are going out in droves to vote” won. The man who never flinched during a crisis from inciting, dividing and frightening people won.”
In the age of rigged elections, was there any independent monitoring of Israel’s election? Hecht continues:
“Israel will sink into international, academic and economic isolation. Its intellectual and economic elites will leave; young people will seek a life with hope. Only those who prefer the land’s holy stones over life itself, and the poor who can’t afford otherwise, will stay. The Zionist dream, which has already suffered an indecent act committed against it, will be mortgaged completely to messianism and violence.”
Mahmoud Nawajaa from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the global BDS movement, said:
“Netanyahu race baiting and fear mongering among Jewish Israelis have revealed how deeply seated and prevalent racism has become in Israel. More than any previous Israeli leader, Netanyahu has clearly shown that he only represents Jewish Israelis, considering the indigenous Palestinian citizens an enemy that must be feared, hated and combated.”
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and a co-founder of the BDS movement, added:
“Israel, a belligerent nuclear power that completely disregards international law and basic human rights, will soon have its most fanatical government ever, with grave consequences for Palestinians as well as for world peace. Israel has dropped the mask.”
“The UN and world governments must take part of the blame for this victory by the far right. They have failed to hold Israel accountable to international law by imposing sanctions on it as was done against apartheid South Africa. They rejected pressure from world public opinion to stop Israel’s latest massacre in the besieged Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 and its ongoing feverish colonization of the West Bank, especially in and around East Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley. They were apathetic when Israel adopted even more extreme, racist laws that have further entrenched its regime of legalized and institutionalized racism which meets the UN definition of apartheid.”
“The biggest losers in the Israeli election are the Israeli right parties that wear left masks, like Labor and Tzipi Livni’s party. Both are guilty of cementing the occupation, the settlements and the apartheid regime, and both are guilty of grave war crimes against the Palestinian people. While rejecting the basic right to equality for Palestinians, both have managed to maintain a false façade of ‘moderateness’ and even ‘left’ tendencies. The mask has fallen. There is a Zionist consensus, with no exceptions, against equality for Palestinians in Israel, against the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and homes from which they were ethnically cleansed, and against a real end to Israel’s unique system of occupation, colonization and apartheid.”
This election changes the status quo (Obama and Kerry can’t continue with their Orwellian posturing that has characterized the past 6 years) and Lora Lucero, their pseudo adviser on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, makes the following recommendations:
- Signal to your counterparts on the U.N. Security Council that you will support any resolution addressing long-term justice and sovereignty for Palestinians. The U.S. will not use its veto power on measures that criticize Israel, a major departure from the past 40 years.
- Withdraw your open door policy to AIPAC lobbyists, and require AIPAC to register pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
- Reclaim U.S. sovereignty and control in foreign policy-making by setting firm RED LINES which Israel cannot cross without consequences. Then clearly set out the consequences and dispatch Secretary Kerry to Jerusalem to tell Knesset leaders (not just Netanyahu) where the RED LINES have been drawn and the consequences for their failure to comply.
- Initiate front-door channels of diplomacy with Hamas, and direct Secretary Kerry to remove Hamas from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
- Do not obstruct Palestinians’ efforts to seek justice in the International Criminal Court.
- Send the Sixth Fleet to Gaza with badly-needed building supplies and medical equipment/supplies.
- Support private attempts to build a fully-functioning seaport for the Gaza Strip.
This could be Obama’s legacy – his Berlin Wall moment — if he seizes it. Israel’s intransigence to any efforts to end the occupation and build a sustainable future for Palestinians will surely fall just as the Berlin Wall fell, if the U.S. aligns its foreign policy with its principles of justice, compassion and security for all.