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Why Israel Is Struggling to Find a Way Out of Its Political Deadlock
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It would be a grave mistake to assume that the continuing political deadlock in Israel – with neither incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his main rival Benny Gantz seemingly able to cobble together a coalition government – is evidence of a deep ideological divide.

In political terms, there is nothing divided about Israel. In this month’s general election, 90 per cent of Israeli Jews voted for parties that identify as being either on the militaristic, anti-Arab right or on the religious, anti-Arab far-right.

The two parties claiming to represent the centre-left – the rebranded versions of Labour and Meretz – won only 11 seats in the 120-member parliament.

Stranger still, the three parties that say they want to form a “broad unity government” won about 60 per cent of the vote.

Netanyahu’s Likud, Gantz’s Blue and White party led by former generals, and ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu secured between them 73 seats – well over the 61 seats needed for a majority.

All three support the entrenchment of the occupation and annexation of parts of the West Bank; all three think the settlements are justified and necessary; all demand that the siege of Gaza continue; all view the Palestinian leadership as untrustworthy; and all want neighbouring Arab states cowering in fear.

Moshe Yaalon, Gantz’s fellow general in the Blue and White party, was formerly a pivotal figure in Likud alongside Netanyahu. And Lieberman, before he created his own party, was the director of Netanyahu’s office. These are not political enemies; they are ideological bedfellows.

There is one significant but hardly insurmountable difference. Gantz thinks it is important to maintain bipartisan US support for Israel’s belligerent occupation while Netanyahu has preferred to throw Israel’s hand in with Donald Trump and the Christian religious right.

Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, has pressed the three parties to work together. He has suggested that Netanyahu and Gantz rotate the role of prime minister between them, a mechanism used in Israel’s past.

But after Gantz refused last week, the president assigned Netanyahu the task of trying to form a government, although most observers think the effort will prove futile. After indecisive elections in April and September, Israel therefore looks to be heading for a third round of elections.

But if the deadlock is not ideological, what is causing it?

In truth, the paralysis has been caused by two fears – one in Likud, the other in Blue and White.

Gantz is happy to sit in a unity government with the Likud party. His objection is to allying with Netanyahu, whose lawyers this week began hearings with the attorney general on multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu wants to be in power to force through a law guaranteeing himself immunity from prosecution.

Blue and White was created to oust Netayahu on the basis that he is corrupt and actively destroying what is left of Israel’s democratic institutions, including by trying to vilify state prosecutors investigating him.

For Blue and White to now prop Netanyahu up in a unity government would be a betrayal of its voters.

The solution for Likud, then, should be obvious: remove Netanyahu and share power with Blue and White.

But the problem is that Likud’s members are in absolute thrall to their leader. The thought of losing him terrifies them. Likud now looks more like a one-man cult than a political party.

Gantz, meanwhile, is gripped by fear of a different kind.

Without Likud, the only solution for Gantz is to turn elsewhere for support. But that would make him reliant on the 13 seats of the Joint List, a coalition of parties representing Israel’s large minority of Palestinian citizens.

And there’s the rub. Blue and White is a deeply Arab-phobic party, just like Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. Its only civilian leader, Yair Lapid, notoriously refused to work with Palestinian parties after the 2013 election – before Netanyahu had made racist incitement his campaign trademark.

Lapid said: “I’ll never sit with the Zoabis” – a reference to the most prominent of the Palestinian legislators at the time, Haneen Zoabi.

Similarly, Gantz has repeatedly stressed his opposition to sitting with the Joint List.

Nonetheless, the Joint List’s leader Ayman Odeh made an unprecedented gesture last week, throwing the weight of most of his faction behind Gantz.

That was no easy concession, given Gantz’s positions and his role as army chief in 2014 overseeing the destruction of Gaza. The move angered many Palestinians in the occupied territories.

But Odeh saw the Palestinian minority’s turn-out in September leap by 10 percentage points compared to April’s election, so desperate were his voters to see the back of Netanyahu.

Surveys also indicate a growing frustration among Palestinian citizens at their lack of political influence. Although peace talks are off Israel’s agenda, some in the minority hope it might be possible to win a little relief for their communities after decades of harsh, institutional discrimination.

In a New York Times op-ed last week, Odeh justified his support for Gantz. It was intended to send “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens”.

Gantz seems unimpressed. According to an investigation by the Israeli media, Netahyahu only got first crack at forming a government because Gantz blanched at the prospect.

He was worried Netanyahu would again smear him – and damage him in the eyes of voters – if he was seen to be negotiating with the Joint List.

Netanyahu has already painted the alternatives in stark terms: either a unity government with him at its heart, or a Blue and White government backed by those who “praise terrorists”.

ORDER IT NOW

The Likud leader might yet pull a rabbit out of his battered hat. Gantz or Lieberman could cave, faced with taunts that otherwise “the Arabs” will get a foot in the door. Or Netanyahu could trigger a national emergency, even a war, to bully his rivals into backing him.

But should it come to a third election, Netanyahu will have a pressing reason to ensure he succeeds this time. And that will doubtless require stepping up incitement another dangerous gear against the Palestinian minority.

The reality is that there is strong unity in Israel – over shared, deeply ugly attitudes towards Palestinians, whether citizens or those under occupation. Paradoxically, the only obstacle to realising that unity is Netanyahu’s efforts to cling to power.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

 
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  1. A123 says:

    Joint List’s leader Ayman Odeh made an unprecedented gesture last week, throwing the weight of most of his faction behind Gantz.

    The author probably should have used the term ineffective instead of unprecedented.

    The Muslim Joint List provided a very limited gesture last week. It attempted to provide a recommendation to the Israeli President that B&W should be allowed first attempt to form a coalition. This tepid recommendation did not commit the Muslim Joint List to joining a B&W lead government.

    Even though this gesture was more form than function, it effectively split the Muslim Joint List. The Balad party refused to go along with the Muslim Joint List leaders attempt to influence sequencing: (1)

    Balad officials said Blue and White have repeatedly ignored the Joint List’s demands and have consistently refused to discuss them or commit to them publicly and officially. “Any one of these reasons is enough to not recommend him, especially when all of them are combined,” Balad officials said.

    As the dis-jointed Muslim List cannot even deliver a recommendation, there seems little opportunity for them to back a successful coalition.

    ______

    The largest issue is the investigation of Netanyahu. This should have been televised, but in an act of monumental weakness the prosecutors instead are presenting to legal authorities in secret. Documents are being dumped on the public in mass quantity, and at least some of them appear to vindicate Netanyahu. (2)

    It will take days for the prosecution to complete their document dump. And, most likely several weeks for independent sources to review the material. However, if Day 1 is indicative, things look good for Netanyahu.

    As the author points out:

    Blue and White was created to oust Netanyahu …. For Blue and White to now prop Netanyahu up in a unity government would be a betrayal of its voters.

    If there is no smoking gun in the prosecution documents, Gantz attempted ouster of Netanyahu will almost certainly fail. Given that some members of B&W want to be in government the question becomes, “How many B&W seats will break ranks and join Likud over Gantz objections?”

    PEACE 😇

    ______

    (1) https://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/Gantz-on-verge-of-getting-more-recommendations-602441

    (2) https://www.timesofisrael.com/on-hearings-1st-day-pms-defense-presents-hundreds-of-pages-of-new-evidence/

  2. THE JEWISH CULTS OF GOOGLE, YAHOO, FACEBOOK, YOU TUBE etc.
    Because of the Internet, Judaism is being exposed for its racism and hate of non-Jews!
    Their Bible is the Jewish Mein Kampf & the Jewish Communist Manifesto.
    Because millions of people were active on the Internet putting up videos and blogs, Jews were being exposed for what they have been for 3000 years – TERMITES.
    They have undermined every civilization they came in contact with!
    The Byzantium Empire lasted the longest, because they refused to allow Jews to enter their Empire!

    RUSSIAN HOLOCAUST: 66,000,000 RUSSIAN SLAUGHTERED BY JEWISH BOLSHEVIKS

    [MORE]

    “You must understand, the leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured and slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. It cannot be overstated. Bolshevism committed the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the world is ignorant and uncaring about this enormous crime is proof that the global media is in the hands of the perpetrators”.

    “We cannot state that all Jews are Bolsheviks. But – Without Jews there would never have been Bolshevism. For a Jew nothing is more insulting than the Truth. The Blood Maddened Jewish terrorists had murdered 66,000,000 in Russia from 1918 – 1957.”

    “Between the years 1917 and 1991 preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is estimated that Communist Jews murdered somewhere between 60 and 135 million innocent people.”

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    YOU TUBE: The Communist Holocaust in Eastern Europe (Master-minded By Atheistic Jews)

    JEWRY IS THE MOTHER OF MARXISM
    “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.”
    Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23

    This list suggests there was nothing ‘Russian’ about the ‘Russian Revolution’, yet this fact is mostly obscured by contemporary historians.
    1. “Some call it Marxism, I call it Judaism.” – Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, in the American Bulletin of May 15, 1935.
    2. “The revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution” – The Maccabean (New York), Nov. 1905, p, 250.
    3. “Jewry is the mother of Marxism.” – Le Droit de Vivre, May 12, 1936.“Judaism is Marxism, communism” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 64.
    4. “The communist soul is the soul of Judaism.” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 143.
    5. “We Jews cannot be called upon to denounce Communism.” -The American Hebrew (New York), February 3, 1939, p. 11“The picture which the Soviet Union presents today is one that should bring rejoicing to world Jewry.” – The Youngstown Jewish Times, Sept. 18, 1936, page 51.
    6. “It would be absurd to deny the intensity of the Jewish participation in the Russian revolutionary movement.” – Leon Dennen, in The Menorah Journal (New York) July-September 1932, p. 106.
    7. “That achievement – the Russian-Jewish revolution – destined to figure in history as the overshadowing result of World War, was largely the outcome of Jewish thinking, of Jewish discontent, of Jewish effort to reconstruct.” – The American Hebrew, September 10, 1920.
    8. “The Bolshevik Government of Russia is the key-stone of the arch of the proof of the Jewish conspiracy for radicalism and world-domination.” – William Hard, The Great Jewish Conspiracy (New York: American Jewish Book Company, 1920), p. 31.
    9. “The Jewish elements provide the driving forces for communism” – Dr. Oscar Levy, in George Pitt-Rivers, The World Significance of the Russian Revolution (Oxford, 1920), p. ix.
    10. “The Jews have been furnishing for the Bolsheviks the majority of their leaders” – The Jewish World (London), April 16, 1919, p. 11.
    11. “Russian Jews have taken a prominent part in the Bolshevist movement” – The American Hebrew (New York), November 18, 1927, p. 20.
    12. “Jewry has come to wield a considerable power in the Communist Party.” – Dr. Avrahm Yarmolinsky, in The Menorah Journal (New York), July 1928, p. 37.
    13. “The East-Side Jew [Trotsky] that Conquered Europe” – The Liberator (New York), March 1920, pp. 26-27.
    14. “The real East Sider [New York Jew Trotsky] is at the head of things in Russia.” – M. L. Larkin, in The Public (New York), November 23, 1918, p. 1433.
    15. “It is not an accident that Judaism gave birth to Marxism, and it is not an accident that the Jews readily took up Marxism; all this is in perfect accord with the progress of Judaism and the Jews.” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 148
    16. “Karl Marx, who came from an old family of rabbis and brilliant Talmudic scholars, was to point the path of victory for the proletariat.” – L. Rennap, Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Question (London, 1942), p. 31.
    17. “Among his [Karl Marx’s] ancestors were Rabbis and Talmudists, men of learning and keen intellect.” – Henry Wickham Steed, in The American Hebrew (New York), December 9, 1927, p. 206 “The peculiarly Jewish logic of his [Karl Marx’s] mind” – Henry Wickham Steed, in The American Hebrew (New York), December 9, 1927, p. 206.
    18. “Mr. Wickham Steed lays the rise of Bolshevism at the doors of Jewry.” – The Jewish Guardian (London), November 28, 1924, p. 4.“The Bolshevik Revolution has emancipated the Jews as individuals” – Dr. Avrahm Yarmolinsky, in The Menorah Journal (New York), July 1928, p. 33.
    19. “There are many Bolshevik leaders of Jewish extraction” – D. L. Sandelsan, in The Jewish Chronicle (London), February 20, 1920, p. 22.
    20. “There is no Jew who does not hope with all his heart that the Soviet Union will survive and be victorious” – Zionist Review (London: Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland), September 26, 1941, p. 7.
    21. “Communism and internationalism are in truth and in fact great virtues. Judaism may be justly proud of these virtues” – Harry Watan, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 80.
    22. “If the tide of history does not turn toward Communist internationalism … then the Jewish race is doomed.” – George Marlen, Stalin, Trotsky, or Lenin (New York, 1937), p. 414 “The [Jewish] Commissaries were formerly political exiles. They had been dreaming of revolution for years in their exile in Paris, in London, in New York, in Berlin, everywhere and anywhere. They saw in the Bolshevist Movement an opportunity of realizing the extreme ideas of Communism and internationalism to which their fate had compelled them.” – Dr. D. S. Pazmanik, in The Jewish Chronicle (London), September 5, 1919, p. 14.
    23. “The Jewish people will never forget that the Soviet Union was the first country – and as yet the only country in the world – in which anti-Semitism is a crime.” – Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), January 1942, p. 16.
    24. “Anti-Semitism was classed [by the Soviet Government] as counter-revolution and the severe punishments meted out for acts of anti-Semitism were the means by which the existing order protected its own safety” – The Congress Bulletin, (New York: American Jewish Congress), January 5, 1940, p. 2.
    25. “There is no official anti-Semitism in Russia; anti-Semitism in Russia is a crime against the State.” – Dr. Chalm Weizmann, The Jewish People and Palestine (London: Zionist Organization, 1939), p. 7.
    26. “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.” – Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23.“The part which Jews play in the [Communist] Government of the country [Russia] does not appear to be declining” – Harry Sacher, in The Jewish Review (London), June-August 1932, p. 43.
    27. “The Jews have a right to subordinate to themselves the rest of mankind and to be the masters over the whole earth. This is the historic destiny of the Jews” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), pp. 99-100.
    28. “We Jews, we the destroyers, will remain the destroyers forever. Nothing that you will do, will meet our needs and demands. We will destroy because we need a world of our own.” – Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, page 155.
    29. “The Russian intelligentsia . . . saw in the philosophy of Judaism the germs of Bolshevism – the struggle of … Judaism versus Christianity.” – Leon Dennen, in The Menorah Journal (New York, July-September 1932, p. 105.
    30. “Soviet Russia has declared war on Christianity, and on those who profess this faith. In the Russian villages today Bolsheviks and Herbert H. Lehman . . . were called the ‘secret government of the United States’ and were linked with ‘world communism.’” – Dr. Louis Harap, in Jewish Life (New York), June 1951, p. 20.

    “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.”
    Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23
    STALIN AND ANTISEMITISM

    J. Stalin
    January 12, 1931

    Reply to an Inquiry of the Jewish News Agency in the United States

    In answer to your inquiry:

    National and racial chauvinism is a vestige of the misanthropic customs characteristic of the period of cannibalism. Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.

    Anti-Semitism is of advantage to the exploiters as a lightning conductor that deflects the blows aimed by the working people at capitalism. Anti-Semitism is dangerous for the working people as being a false path that leads them off the right road and lands them in the jungle. Hence Communists, as consistent internationalists, cannot but be irreconcilable, sworn enemies of anti-Semitism.

    In the U.S.S.R. anti-Semitism is punishable with the utmost severity of the law as a phenomenon deeply hostile to the Soviet system. Under U.S.S.R. law active anti-Semites are liable to the death penalty. [*]

    J. Stalin
    January 12, 1931

    First published in the newspaper Pravda, No. 329, November 30, 1936

    SOURCE:
    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1931/01/12.htm

    THE JEWISH BANKER WHO FINANCED THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION, & BOTH WORLD WARS
    THE JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF OVER 200,000,000 PEOPLE.
    Jacob Schiff proposed that the First World War be the war to end all wars, which became an international mantra after the war. The absolute end of all war heralded the Jewish Messianic Era in which the Jews would be “restored” to Palestine, where they would rule the world from Jerusalem. Jewish bankers deliberately created the First World War in order to artificially fulfill Jewish Messianic prophecy by staging the “Battle of Armageddon”, by creating a World government run by Jews known as “The League of Nations”, by “restoring” the Jews to Palestine, by destroying the Empires and Monarchies, by enslaving the Gentiles with Bolshevism, by placing the wealth of the World in Jewish hands, etc. etc. etc.

    Schiff believed that the First World War fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-4, which states,

    “1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

    THE JEWISH PARASITE & THE WHITE HOST

    The Jewish parasites maintain their power in White societies through their relentless efforts to disingenuously call their luxurious and privileged lifestyles victimhood. The holohoax fraud and the mendacious claims to have survived it are the preposterous grounds for exempting “g*d’s chosen people” from any criticism of their innumerable crimes. The fantasies of persecution are the idiotic and baseless justification for Jewish rootlessness, conniving, and treachery. The consequence of allowing the Jews to be the world’s most powerful victims is that their victims are blamed for the exploitation, degeneracy, and decline perpetrated upon them by the Jews. By the twisted rabbinical logic of the Jews, it is the fault of the Whites for allowing Jewish pornography, Jewish usury, Jewish equalitarian lies, and the Jewish promotion of miscegenation to take place in White societies; but the omission of duty that the Jews use to assign White culpability for our racial decline cannot be resolved by actually naming the Jews behind it. The Jews can and will cry out ever so accusingly as they strike down healthy White communities and individuals, as the endless amounts of nauseating kosher propaganda illustrate. We must expose the Jewish lies that protect the nation-wrecking parasites, while at the same time convince Whites to apathetically accept their racial eradication so long in the planning by our Jewish racial enemies. We must reawaken our people’s pride in the long and extraordinary history of the White race, and the glory of White accomplishments, to counter the degrading, degenerate Jewish drivel that is poisoning our people. We must re-establish our White homelands free from Jewish influence; it is the only way to stop White genocide.

    RIGHT OF RETURN:
    We must make it mandatory that all Jews return to Israel!
    They claim that ALL Jews have a right to citizenship in Israel. We must help them on their Exodus.

  3. If a country is to judged by its leaders, Israel is a deplorable entity. It’s also interesting to see Jews in their own state (finally!) but they never stop quarrelling with one another. Is this a national trait?

    Incredibly, after 5o years of occupation and state-imposed cruelty on their conquered subjects, Israelis typically express little or no guilt for their ongoing beat-down of the native gentiles.

    How did America’s ‘special relationship’ with the Jewish State come to be? It is certainly not organic. Most Americans have very little in common with the average Israeli. It’s a contrivance, an arranged marriage.

    In this arrangement, Jews benefit. Gentiles lose. We have even lost our autonomy.

    Politically, Israel reminds me of the worst aspects of modern America. Sneaky, greedy, aggressive.

    • Replies: @alexander
  4. alexander says:
    @mark green

    Mark,

    It has become clear, especially over the last six years, that Israel has abandoned the Internationally mandated “two state” solution…and gone for broke on it’s “greater Israel” project.

    This project seems designed to capture nearly all of what was/ is supposed to be a Palestinian state east of the 1967 armistice line.

    In the US, everybody and their uncle, who have been advocating ,tirelessly, for a “two state solution” have gone silent in a rather strange and abrupt way .

    It’s fascinating.

    The Trump administration is the first US administration, in 50 years, to abandon the 2SS (as formal US policy) for some new phantom “deal of the century” which has yet to really materialize.

    The whole problem for Israel, now, is what to do with the six million Palestinians currently residing within the West Bank and Gaza ?

    Since they will not permit them to create and have a state of their own, which is what the internationally mandated solution required, what, pray tell, are they going to do with all these people ?

    Are they going to kill them ?

    Are they going to push them out ?

    Are they going to absorb them into the greater state of Israel, as citizens with equal rights ?

    Israel has never provided the world with its own “road map to Peace” so it is hard to say……

    Israel , as far as I know, simply has no” Plan for Peace” .

    It certainly does not escape my view ,( although ,thus far, it seems to have escaped everyone else’s) that of all the nations in the world, the two who have been (perhaps) the most vehement champions of Palestine, just so happen to be on the latest US “hit” list ….

    Iran and Venezuela .

  5. TGD says:

    Who the hell cares about what goes on in Israeli political circles. Politics in the Zionist Entity are as corrupt as in a 3rd world country. The former president, Moshe Katsav, is in jail for multiple rapes and the former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was convicted of accepting bribes and obstruction of justice. If “nitwit yahoo” loses out as prime minister, he’ll find himself in jail, too.

  6. Isn’t it amazing watching the only ‘democracy’ in the Middle East? Clearly the Jews are a very special chosen people.
    Chosen by whom and for what is becoming clearer and clearer, day by passing day.

    What happens when the head bobbers constitute a majority but won’t fight? Do they hire Pakistani or African mercenaries to protect the ‘Chosen’ from their cousins, the Canaanites?

  7. Paul says:

    To go far in Israeli politics, one must be sufficiently racist to capture enough of the Jewish vote.

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