Thursday, March 19, 2015

Whither Israel Now?

Some, including some Palestinians, think that in light of Netanyahu's racist campaign, international pressure will force the Israelis to negotiate some rights for Palestinians.

IF anyone doubted where Benjamin Netanyahu stood on the question of peace, the Israeli prime minister made himself clear just before Tuesday’s election, proclaiming that there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch. Then he decided to engage in a bit of fear-mongering against Palestinian citizens of Israel in hopes of driving his supporters to the polls. “The right-wing government is in danger,” Mr. Netanyahu announced on Election Day. “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves.”

But Mr. Netanyahu’s victory is actually the best plausible outcome for those seeking to end Israel’s occupation. Indeed, I, as a Palestinian, breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear that his Likud Party had won the largest number of seats in the Knesset.

This might seem counterintuitive, but the political dynamics in Israel and internationally mean that another term with Mr. Netanyahu at the helm could actually hasten the end of Israel’s apartheid policies. The biggest losers in this election were those who made the argument that change could come from within Israel. It can’t and it won’t.

Well I don't think that kind of pressure is coming from the US. Check out Congress's welcoming ovation for Netanyahu's speech. It was vaguely reminiscent of those old style Soviet speeches where listeners would clap until their arms were aching for fear of being seen as unpatriotic. Jon Stewart called it "The longest blow job a Jewish man has ever received." Somehow, I doubt that that greeting was prompted by universal adulation for this man, an intensely controversial figure here and in Israel. Stewart also remarked on Obama's rather craven reaction to this speech by a foreign leader who had come here on the express mission of derailing US foreign policy.