Friday, March 20, 2015
Benjamin Netanyahu and the Apartheid State
Benjamin Netanyahu may have won the Israeli election, by using fear and racism to get people to vote for him.
Like his good buddy Stephen Harper is trying to do in Canada.
But it is tuning out to be a pyrrhic victory.
For while he may deny he is a racist.
On election day in Israel, Netanyahu raised eyebrows by warning voters that his government was “in danger” because “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls.” When asked to respond to allegations that he is racist, Netanyahu said only, “I’m not.”
The facts speak for themselves. And even some strong supporters of Israel are now accusing him of creating an apartheid state.
In my quarter century as Washington correspondent for Jewish newspapers, I frequently defended Israel against charges that it had created an apartheid system in the West Bank. But this week's election, with Benjamin Netanyahu poised to serve another term with an even more hardline coalition, means that apartheid is the path Israeli voters have chosen.
With all that designation means:
The inevitable results will include even greater international isolation for the Jewish state, a boost to efforts to apply boycotts and sanctions, diminished support from American Jews and endlessly intensifying cycles of violence.
For he can lie like a thief, or in his case a war criminal, but nothing can change this depressing fact:
In the absence of any willingness to work toward a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the future is clear: continuing occupation with no effort to find a way to end it, accelerating settlement construction and a hardening of policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank. In other words, apartheid.
Once, it was possible to argue that Israel's policies were not the same as apartheid because their stated goal, however imperfectly pursued, was to end the occupation. No more: Bibi's reelection makes it clear that Israeli voters, more clearly aware of Netanyahu's intent than ever, have chosen the apartheid path, and will now have to live with the consequences.
I say depressing, because I have no axe to grind in that region. All I want is for Israelis and Palestinians to live together, each in their own nation, in peace and security.
And for that gaping wound in the side of the world to be healed at last...
But all those who rail against the use of the word apartheid, should be silent now. For some things cannot be defended, and racism is one of them.
And one thing is clearer than it ever has been.
Until the day that the Israelis liberate the Palestinians, they will not liberate themselves.
And for all who live there, the endless nightmare will continue...
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