Monday, January 21, 2013

Israelis Vote


Israelis Vote

by Stephen Lendman

Twenty-four hours and counting. On Tuesday, January 22, Israelis vote. They're as mindless and out of touch as Americans.

Odds favor hardline extremism. Netanyahu will remain prime minister. Knesset members and cabinet officials will reflect the worst of right-wing government.

Palestinians, regional states, and others have cause for concern. 

Latest poll number show 63% right-wing coalition support. It's comprised of Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, and Unted Torah Judaism.

Pollsters asked respondents what issues matter most. Socio-economic concerns by far ranked highest. Nearly half said they determine their choice.

Likud and other right-wing parties force-feed austerity. Neoliberal extremism affects Israel like Western states. Voters perhaps don't understand. They have themselves to blame. They favor parties harming their own self-interest.

On January 18, Haaretz headlined "Garbage time: The Likud-right-religious bloc ahead by a large margin," saying:

It's "a foregone conclusion."

"It didn't have to be this way."

"The bottom line remains unchanged."

"Likud-right-Haredi bloc is" way ahead. "Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu (looks) set to win" about double "as many seats as the next-largest party."

Netanyahu will get four more years. Imagine what's likely after all the harm he caused. He'll get public affirmation to inflict it. He'll take full advantage. Jews will be harmed like others. 

State terror will remain policy. So will neoliberal harshness. Hard times will get harder. Regional war perhaps looms. 

Military strength will be prioritized. Iran is targeted. It's falsely called an existential threat. Syria boils across the border. Occupation harshness continues. Gaza remains isolated under siege.

Most Israelis turn a blind eye to what matters most. They'll vote opposite their interests.

A January 18 Haaretz editorial headlined "Weaken the right."

Do it "to halt Israel's slide into political isolation, fascism and apartheid."

Netanyahu caused "serious damage." Belligerence, occupation harshness, expanding settlements, and spurning peace reflect official policy.

"The result (is) intense international isolation, a rift in the relationship with (America), and a terrifying vision of Israel's future."

Domestic policies reflect "pure nationalism, harassment of (Israeli Arabs), politicization," militarized education, initiatives to weaken Supreme Court authority, and efforts to destroy press freedom and other civil rights.

Israel's dominant right-wing represents the "most radical lists of candidates ever." They threaten fundamental freedoms. 

Reject them, said Haaretz. Marginalized left of center small parties deserve support. Meretz stresses ending occupation harshness. It endorses Palestinian self-determination. It's for strengthening civil rights.

Israel will "be better off if (Israeli Arabs) vote in high numbers and strengthen Hadash, Balad and the United Arab List-Ta'al against right-wing persecution."

Ordinary Israelis and Arab citizens have common interests. Undecided voters must choose wisely. What matters most is clear.

Reject right-wing extremism. "(H)alt Israel's slide into political isolation, fascism and apartheid."

Israelis are as mindless as Americans. Don't bet they'll do the right thing. Polls confirm it. Political rhetoric beguiles them. 

Reason and rational thinking aren't their long suits. Family and other daily priorities matter more than who wins or loses.

Socio-economic concerns don't reflect voter choices. Slogans and cliches distract them.

"Sharing the burden" is stressed. Doing so belies its one-sidedness. Super-rich elites grow richer. Dominant corporations get whatever they want.

Ordinary Israelis suffer at their expense. Among developed countries, Israel, America and Britain are the most unequal. Conditions are getting worse, not better.

Social justice is eroding. It's on the chopping block for elimination. Sink or swim is policy. Israelis are too out of touch to realize how much they're harmed.

Israel has no enemies except ones it invents. Dominant parties stress "security threats." Fear mongering is policy. Doing so distracts. 

At issue is focusing away from lost social benefits, militarism, the rage to privatize, neglected infrastructure needs, eroding labor rights, corruption, and growing despair approaching epidemic levels.

On January 19, the Economist headlined "Which way for Binyamin Netanyahu?"

It's an "open question whether (he) thinks he can get away with continually cocking a snook at" Western governments, "in particular America's, that have become increasingly frustrated by" peace process failures.

Can Netanyahu shift course, or is "his chief mission….stop(ping) Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?"

Don't bet on it, said the Economist. Peace prospects with Palestinians "look remote. Israel's coming election may make it even more so."

The London Guardian agrees. On January 15, it headlined "Peace process dead if Netanyahu wins Israeli election, academics warn."

It doesn't matter whether he chooses ultra-nationalists or centrists as partners. Peace process hypocrisy is official policy. Palestinians never had a legitimate partner.

Amnon Aran is City University of London senior lecturer. Important factors subvert peace, he said.

"Netanyahu has stated very clearly that he is adopting a wait-and-see policy." He won't make concessions. He prioritizes other concerns.

"By and large….there isn't much hope."

Oxford University's Eugene Rogan said hardliners want land, not peace.

University of Leeds Professor Clive Jones said he's "not at all hopeful." Right-wing extremists way outnumber moderates.

"I think that the way that Israeli politics is construed it makes it very difficult for parties in opposition to have any real effect anyway," he said. 

"And as much as you may see some coalescing around what they're calling the centre-left bloc….I think it's going to be extremely difficult for them to put forward any kind of meaningful opposition."

It shows "how moribund much of the political process in Israel is."

Peace is a four-letter word. Conflict takes precedence.

On January 14, the Financial Times headlined "Netanyahu: tactical genius, strategic idiot," saying:

He's Israel's second longest serving prime minister. Winning a third term looks sure. He prioritized small conflicts over major ones.

He defied Obama so far "without any real cost." 

There's "a strong chance that future generations will (regard him) as a man who fatally undermined" Israel's future.

Palestinian rights are a major unaddressed issue. Occupation harshness has been policy for almost five decades.

"It must be tempting for Israelis to believe (it) can last forever. It cannot."

Israelis face a "deteriorating" international environment. It's losing Western and regional support. It spurns Palestinian rights. "(A)nnexationists" want them denied.

Netanyahu's rage to expand settlements reflects it. He has "no strategic vision." He'll likely stay prime minister. "(H)e risks leading Israel to disaster."

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches at three Palestinian universities (Bethlehem, Birzeit, and Al-Quds). He previously taught at Yale, Duke and the University of Tennessee.

He's chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. His books and other writing focus on Israel/Palestine.

On January 16, he headlined "A Choice Between Right-Wing Politicians and Extreme Right Wingers," saying:

Israelis have little choice. Small Arab and moderate Israeli parties are marginalized and denied. Colonial apartheid is policy.

In February 2009, Qumsiyeh headlined "Solidifying Fascism," saying:

The political landscape looks grim. It's "poised to finally fulfill its destiny of fascism. Israelis will….continue to be lulled into supporting the unthinkable."

"The inevitable result" is denying millions of Palestinians their rights. They're occupied, displaced, and isolated. Endless wars and persecution afflict them.

Nothing ahead looks promising. Conditions today look worse. Netanyahu spurns peace. He's involved in Washington's war on Syria. 

He threatens to attack Iran. He risks embroiling the entire region in conflict. He prioritizes land theft and settlement expansions. He thumbs his nose at world opinion.

Odds favor him to remain prime minister. He'll get another four years. Worse than ever times loom. Israelis will have themselves to blame. 

They'll have to explain why they voted against their own self-interest. It won't be for the first time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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