Netanyahu’s Victory did us the favor of ending the Charade

By Yigal Bronner | (Informed Comment) –

(Jerusalem) | The results of the Israeli elections are good for everybody. Good, because any remaining fog has cleared, and we now have a perfect view of where the country is heading. The elections were won on two straightforward and simple principles. First, as Netanyahu said very clearly, voting for him meant that there will never be a Palestinian state, only one Israel, in which the Palestinians will forever be occupied and governed by a separate set of laws. They will not have citizenship, will not vote, will have no basic rights, and remain a criminal caste to be dealt with by the army and military courts. This is Apartheid, and Israel embraced it last week willingly and with open eyes.


Second is the video Netanyahu released on election day (echoing many similar statements by him and his partners during the campaign), where he warned that “Arabs are heading to the polls in droves.” The racist premise on which Israel’s demand to be (and recognized as) a Jewish state came out of the hat in the clearest possible terms. The Jewish state, this can no longer be denied, is a place where minority vote is an imminent danger, just like black vote in George Wallace’s Alabama. The elections were by and large a referendum on this racist principle, and the voters affirmed it unequivocally.

The alternative outcome of the elections, the one predicted by the polls, was that some of Netanyahu’s voters would drift to his often more extremist partners, weakening him and allowing the centrist parties such as Herzog’s Zionist Union into some sort of coalition, most likely with Netanyahu himself. Such an outcome, we must now realize, would have only helped mask, wittingly or unwittingly, Israel’s Apartheid and its racist premise. This mask is now gone, and gone for good.

Yes, it is good to know where one stands. We still live in 1967. Selma 1967. Or Johannesburg. That much is now as clear as daylight. Of course, a lot is still unknown. What is the best path for a nonviolent popular resistance in the region? When will the world join the pressure for real? Will the Palestinians find their MLK or Mandela? And will there be an Israeli Johnson, or De Klerk, or even de Gaulle? The future, as always, remains uncertain. But it is no small thing that the present moment is crystal clear.

Yigal Bronner

8 Responses

  1. My country fought a great war (WWII) against the idea of ethnic based nation states. And today we enthusiastically support one in the Middle East. Ironic to say the least.

  2. What is the best path for a nonviolent popular resistance in the region?

    Successful nonviolent resolutions to war and seige go back to Mozi of ancient China, who called it a tragic betrayal of humanity, “Heaven attacking Heaven.” He was basically a human rights lobbyist going to each of the warring states and appealing to their humanity. Another example is the Liberian women’s antiwar sex strike which was incredibly brave and effective, staunchly humanist with a strong female role. But a fair nonviolent settlement is not only ethical because of its ethical means, but because even a small success in that direction would peel off support from these corrupted political forces. Today there is no shortage: the fundamentalist Al Qaeda and ISIS, zealous settlers and fevered Anglo emigrants who are being courted by Christian fundamentalists in living room talks in the Holy Land. A nearer and more recent example is Algeria. Though violent, scholars looking back on the indepdendence movement found its success was ultimately via diplomacy. The strength of international diplomacy is that it is not only an alternative to inhumane war, but also to dogmatism, whether it’s the dogma of assimilating into one state (which failed in Algeria), or the dogma of state power, or religious totalitarianism overall. It makes one question his responsibility, rather than attack the character of the enemy. It can be dizzying but these extreme forces must be taken together as complimentary, feeding each other. (I want to make clear it does us no good to denounce them all at once, a cheap handwashing tactic. One must try to denounce first the ones you have a responsiblity for).

    The Palestinians are finally challenging this beehive by going to the UN with a threat to go to the ICC. This is creating real concern in Washington.

    Supposedly the Washington opposes the extremist forces, at least in rhetoric. Yet it has been US policy as it is in most empires to find a nice excuse to suppress democracy that could shrink its domain of rule.

    This is why the Israeli criticisms of Hamas are so hypocritical, they’re a minature version of the much larger US/Israeli monopoly on force. The US maintains a huge distraction from this imbalance: an Israel continually under threat of extinction, to support the “family owned gas station” dictatorships. Because their citizens will forever try to resist this arrangement, those pro-US “moderate” dictatorships in turn keep democracy under control. And the US elites make this pretty clear this is why they undermine even Israeli interests, which we’re stupidly cheering right now in petty shadenfreude. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Golda Meir to expect what she complained was “the end of Israel” — before she talked up UN 242 to the Knesset. Kissinger being a student of Machieveli of course believed a “just and lasting peace” were a charade.

    Beyond Samantha Power’s selfie with Kissinger, a recent article in the New York Times on Amnesty International shows this conflicting posture is clearly still encouraged. It points out that Israel has attacked civillians, citing their report. Yet the Amnesty report also concluded that the US is implicated, which the Times left out. Why the omission? We aren’t supposed to question our war postrue as proud manly men dedicated to freedom. The US/Israeli elites fear being implicated on humanitarian grounds for war crimes, true, but also, a “Peace offensive” will show that military rule is not necessary, and this is the preferred controversey. Those in the world who might feel sympathy and a tinge of national resistence still must be kept in check. Indeed, the famed Washington insider Jeffrey Goldberg, with the help of YNet, has pre-emptively attacked the United Nation’s assessment of women under the occupation as being anti-Semitic. It is simply taken as a given that the US and Israel are entitled to govern by force.

    There’s always arguments about how You Can Only Trust Us and that’s more of an artifact of power plays within institutions, whether they’re movements or states. Most violence and brutality is done by ordinary people, who could choose other paths, which the Indian independence movement proved when they pulled many of their countrymen out of the British army (hint hint Israeli Jews). This is starting to be understood as a form of deterrence to crimes by international organizations, preferable to that of threatening punishment, which requires overhwelming violent force. A diplomatic solution takes away the credibility of force, and so is a threat to those who have the most guns. We already have Algeria and the Good Friday in Ireland to show, it’s our responsibility to prove it again, to Palestinians and future victims of power’s abuse.

    So Palestinian independence requires more than a Palestinian Nelson Mandela or recognition of racism. It requires confronting US imperial doctrine that created Hamas and yes Netanyahu in the first place. It requires creating alternative media. The US military and corporate media have obscured the betrayal even of its own resolutions holding Israel accountable. Unfortunately, there is little room for mistakes, and so harsh truths must be told. The peace movement has its work cut out for it. Somehow we must make a gesture of peace and resistance at the same time: inroads into the US government’s imperial Middle East policy while also gaining international recognition. It requires more than a civil rights movement. Martin Luther King was assassinated while trying to attempt this himself. US business interests, particularly oil and military interests must be challenged and disrupted.

  3. Netanyahu’s decisive win was depressing because it underscored how many Israelis support his racist and oppressive government.

    But I know now Bibi’s win was a good thing. Because Bibi’s hubris is making him a target, and he’s making Israel a target, and he’s succeeded in making truthful honest debate about the dysfunctional relationship between Israel and the US possible. It’s even happening at the NYT, where anti-Bibi sentiment is hitting new highs. That would have never happened if Hertzog won. Open your eyes folks: history is happening now.

  4. It was crystal clear what the Israelis wanted, and they wanted Netanyahu to do it. Polls have shown that Israelis want apartheid policies. I really cannot understand why it took this long for the US/UN/EU to realized this. It was evident, by the actions of Netanyahu that he wanted to keep the occupation going, and the illegal settlements too. Surely world leaders are not naive to realize this? The question is now what is Obama going to do? The ball is in his court, he has made it clear that there is no doubt Netanyahu means what he says, yet to a large extent his hands are tied, because within our nation, we have traitors who connive with this war criminal, against their own President, and will never stand with him. All Obama has to do is work with the EU leaders now, and make sure Israel gets it’s just desserts, and the Palestinians their Statehood and freedom.

    • Why do you think the White House has leaked that information about Israel handing Top Secret USA information to selected US Congressmen?

      Obama finally has the ammunition to move against those conniving bastards in Congress, and he is aiming for nothing less than to neuter the Israel Lobby.

      Think about it.
      Think about it.
      Think about it.

      If a Congressman took delivery of US Top Secret information that he is not authorized to see then that is a criminal offense. No question about it – he has committed a felony.

      It becomes doubly-criminal if that information came to him because ISRAELI spooks illegally procured it.

      There is a very real threat now that certain too-clever-by-half Congressmen could find themselves under arrest, and all because they were too stupid to show Ron Dermer the door the moment he said the magic words “We’ve intercepted some US communications, let me play it for you”.

      The White House is aiming to make it so that the mere sight of a Israeli-first lobbyist walking down the corridor sends Congressmen scuttling for the exits.

      This is how it will play out:

      Either some Congressmen will be too stupid to comprehend how much trouble they are in (in which case they’ll find themselves behind bars) or they will be told by their minders that the Administration has them by their hairy balls (in which case the Obama Administration will declare Dermer to be persona non grata, and everyone will be amazed that there is not a peep of protest from Congress).

      But either way, the Lobby’s power over Congress will be toast.

  5. “This is Apartheid, and Israel embraced it last week willingly and with open eyes.”

    as it has done for the last 20 years or so …. anyone who believes that now israel will become isolated and US / EU politicians are all going to publicly condemn this rogue state are naive beyond belief …. money talks and Israel first billionaires most of whom support this maniac will continue to control the agenda and destroying Iran will remain on the agenda as will the final expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel.

    • Sadly, I agree. But I remain hopeful.

      Palestine’s use of the International Criminal Court on April 1st and whether or not the US protects Israel with a veto in the next Security Council measure are the next two barometers of where this is going

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