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10 May 2019 - 19:57
Israel Elections: A true mirror of its Liberal Democracy

Israeli parliamentary election – held in last April – paved the way for Benjamin Netanyahu to become Israel’s prime minister for the fifth time, breaking the record in the ‘Jewish state’. This election and its results were at the centre of much media analysis in the world in general, Western countries in particular. A western view of Israel is dominated on the bulk of such analyses, at least, in one way.

The western countries used – for a reason or another - to look at Israel as a liberal democracy similar to those that govern their democracies. From this view point, in Israel – like other western countries – different political tendencies of a modern society - left, right and centre – are competing in a fair and free election. It happens, although rarely, that certain parties – and personalities – with anti-liberal or anti-democratic agenda use, successfully, a democratic process to come to power. This possibility in liberal democracies explains what is happening in Israel for many in the Western media. For them, it is mainly a bad luck that an ugly duck has hatched from Jewish gorgeous eggs. On their view, the result could be completely different if another egg was hatched in that election.

What happened in the recent Israeli election, in relation to democratic and liberal values, provide one with a proper chance to assess the mentioned hypothesis that introduce Israel as a genuine Liberal democracy; in all kinds of serious elections, parties involved in the election try to win the biggest number of votes. A straight path to realize this goal is taking positions - in areas that voters concern - that bring more agreement, more popular support and consequently more votes. This argument explains why political parties are very concerned about what people like and also dislike, and why they try their best to take positions that are closer to people’s views in election campaigns. For this, parties’ positions and statements addressed to people in election campaigns is a reliable guide about what people, in any given constituency, like and what they dislike.

This article is formulated to look at Israeli election from this perspective. Based on the mentioned, Israeli parties and political leaders were engaged – in the last election - in pleasing Israeli public opinion by taking positions that they like, and avoiding from position they dislike to guarantee the biggest number of votes. Israeli parties, like other ones, address almost all matters that concern the public to maximize their chance of impact. These matters include many subjects – including political, cultural as well as economic - and cover a long list of voters’ interests. This investigation centers only on those positions that are related to liberal and democratic values. These values are considered the foundation of a genuine liberal democracy. For such purpose, positions taken by Israeli parties in the recent election campaign are studied, and the results are offered in the following two items. The first one deals with those positions that are taken publicly, and the second one is about those matters that parties choose to avoid. These two items may refer to what people like and also dislike in Israel.

A significant portion of such positions taken by the main chances of Israeli election - and not just Netanyahu - during the campaign could be classified in categories such as racism, human rights violations, Jewish dictatorship, breaching international law, and rejecting international resolutions. Views of all major Zionist parties contain cases where the ‘Jewish race’ is admired in a way that its rights prevail those of other races in the country. Other races in the country, Arabs in particular, are categorized as races with less or no rights to live in the ‘Jewish state’. Calls - by some party figures - to expel this race from the country are heard, repeatedly, in the campaign. When it comes to human rights, the main candidates compete to support the violation of Palestinian rights. They were openly proud of their contribution in killing Palestinians. Benny Gantz - Netanyahu's main rival - campaign published a video that praise his role - as IDF chief of staff - in the deadly attack on Gaza strip in 2014. The video, shockingly, counts the death toll of Palestinians during the attack from 1 to 1364 (many of them civilians), considering it, proudly, as an achievement for Gantz. The same footage shows a large-scale destruction in Gaza caused by the attack to admire Gantz role in bringing Gaza back to ‘the stone age’. Despite sharp criticism of Israel, by international NGOs, for violating the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, the illegal and deadly siege on the strip, committing war crimes against Palestinian people and the brutal and bloody suppression of the March of Return (which killed, so far, more than 200 innocent civilians including children, women, nurses and journalists), almost all Israeli parties asked for a more vicious policy towards Gaza and its people. The leaders of these parties promise their supporters, without any hesitation, that they would take a tougher position against Palestinians in Gaza if they win the election. All parties support Judaizing the country at the expense of its indigenous residents, and dictating Jewish agenda on other citizens of Israel, Muslims and Christians alike. In this regard, liberal democracy is seen as a disturbing bariar, and fascism is praised. Israeli former Justice Minister’s - Shaked – campaign video contains parts that she articulates fascism, for her, smells like democracy . Every single position taken by international community on Israel/Palestine question was rejected, altogether, by Israeli political leaders in the election campaign. Establishing a Palestinian state, abandoning illegal Jewish settlements, withdrawing from the occupied Golan, withdrawing from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, complying with international law and fulfilling UN mandatory resolutions, all and all are opposed by all main figures of Israeli politics. Netanyahu promised, in the campaign, to annex the West Bank illegal settlements to Israel.

Positions and statements that are avoided by political parties - in the campaign - can demonstrate similar inferences about Israeli society: none of the main candidates call for strengthening democratic values and consolidating freedom in Israel. Positions taken by many of them, including Shaked's, support kind of undermining democracy and limiting freedom. None of them asked for more respect to human rights norms and less violation of human rights in Israel. None of them called for respect to international law and United Nations resolutions. The racist nation-state law which passed in the Israeli Knesset, was not opposed by Israeli parties. Israeli crimes in violating Palestinian rights is criticized by no Israeli party. Israeli parties not only avoid such positions but also threatened Israeli electorates by a noteworthy warning; if rivals win the election they will give such concessions to the world and the Palestinians!

What has been mentioned in the last two items (1 & 2) on positions of Israeli parties is based on the views of all main parties of Israel - Including Likud, labor, Blue & White, New Right, Shas, United Right, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beiteinu and Jewish Home ). All of which participated in the recent election, and won mainstream votes. Positions of Arab parties and a marginalized Party like Meretz - Which is supported by many Arabs of Israel - is not counted in this analysis.

A quick review of this investigation and its main results can demonstrate that no chance for change in areas of democracy, peace, respecting human rights, complying with international law and humanitarian law if any other party won the election. Winning election by some could, in fact, create a worse atmosphere from this perspective. Thus, it is fair to conclude that Netanyahu is not an exception in Israeli politics, and his party does not represent Israel’s ills. They do represent, in fact, realties of Israeli Jewish mainstream. Widespread support of anti-liberal and anti-democratic values by mainstream parties demonstrate that this cruel tendency governs almost all parts of Israeli society. These results can also show that unlike western democracies, liberal and democratic values are not a priority for Israeli society. The real priority for Israeli society is those values that are propagated by Jewish ideology of Zionism. Hence, it is fair to conclude; as far as Israeli society is bond by such ideologic dogmas no change in governing party in Israeli politics can bring any significant good to this polity.

Israeli parties’ popular positions in the campaign can introduce an idea about Israelis and their view of the world; abnormal level of their opposition to international consensus and global values might be exceptional. It is difficult, in deed, to find any other population with such record of opposing international standards. One evidence that support this claim come from the fact that the US unpopular and unilateralist president Donald Trump is a popular figure in Israeli society. Polls can display that he enjoys a level of support that is higher than any other society in the world including the American one. Similar polls should be able to show that Israeli society is anti UN more than any other in the world. On the whole, it is hard to find any other people, in the western countries, with such record of hostility towards liberal and international values like human rights, democracy, freedom, international law and peace.

Results that were offered in items No.1 & 2 of this article about Israeli parties’ position come from a brief study. If such results are confirmed by a more comprehensive examination, it would be able to introduce the Israeli society, and not only Israeli government, as one of the most corrupted societies in relation to liberal-democratic values. Hence, it is hard to understand why western media insist to catalogue this corrupted country in the category of liberal democracies.

News Code 190291

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