It was a moment to celebrate Israel’s partially democratic system when it finally was able to momentarily stop Benjamin Netanyahu’s twelve-year regime as prime minister.
Replaced after a 60 to 59 vote in the Knesset, we have already seen Netanyahu follow his ally, former President Trump, in denying the legitimacy of the last election and of the alliance between eight political parties that have little in common except their desire to replace him. Netanyahu should be tried by the ICC (International Criminal Court) for war crimes, not just for the relatively small thefts of public monies for personal purposes that he is being charged with inside Israel’s criminal justice system. Netanyahu has repeatedly used his power to order the IDF to attack civilian targets while expanding a system of terror against Palestinians both in Gaza and the West Bank. If there was any justice in the world, he’d spend the rest of his days in prison in the Hague.
The moment of hope: since the political parties include not only two progressive parties, Labor and Meretz, and the support of the Palestinian parties, it is possible that to remain in power they may not go ahead with the Netanyahu plan to annex Israel major parts of the West Bank where several million Palestinians live currently under Israeli occupation in an overt apartheid regime (special highways, economic and health care accessibility and full voting rights in the Knesset for Jewish settlers and none of this for the Palestinians living there and instead checkpoints, IDF harassment, and a pseudo-government of the Palestinian Authority which has been tolerated only to the extent that it acts as an ally with Israel in suppressing popular Palestinian challenges to the Occupation).
The upside of the new government is that it has included a leader of a Palestinian party in its intended government (albeit a party with ultra-extremist reactionary policies on issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights). And we might even see some weakening of the alliance between secular parties and the ultra-religious forces that have managed to receive huge amounts of financial support for their rabbis and students of Jewish texts while allowing them to not share the responsibility of serving in the army – though we’d prefer for the army to become totally voluntary as part of an agreement with the Palestinian people to end the struggle.
The downside of this government is that the rotation between two prime ministers, one now, one in two years, is between two militarists with little sympathy for the human rights of Palestinians while being totally aligned with the capitalist system and the rich while largely insensitive to the large section of Israelis who struggle to make ends meet. And it may be that fact which could give Netanyahu or his clones in the Likud party the opportunity to take power again, following the pseudo-populism of Trump that Netanyahu eagerly embraced, should the new government’s coalition not hold together in the coming months.
We at Tikkun will continue to advocate for Israel/Palestine to become a truly democratic state (one person, one vote) or alternatively for Israel to take the lead in helping create a politically and economically viable Palestinian state living in peace and cooperation with Israel. And we will continue to advocate for a Judaism that challenges Zionism, capitalism, chauvinist nationalism, while seeking an internationalist approach to repairing the damage done to the Earth by several hundred years of capitalist-inspired destruction of the life support system of our only home.
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