Election Results: Racism Rising

My apologies for being away from South Jerusalem, the place and the blog. I’ve been on the road, on a schedule that has allowed time for neither sleeping nor blogging.  Nonetheless, my first take on the disastrous election results is up at The American Prospect. Here are some excerpts:

Numerically, it would be possible for Livni, Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, leader of the shrunken Labor party, to form an alliance and leave Lieberman to rage from the opposition. Instead, both Netanyahu and Livni immediately sought Lieberman’s support. On Wednesday, Livni met Lieberman, and was quoted afterward as telling him, “This is a time of favor … It is an opportunity for unity and for advancing subjects that are important to you as well.” The competition for his support will allow Lieberman to increase his price, demanding control of powerful ministries and legislation favorable to his platform…

When Netanyahu was elected prime minister in 1996, Lieberman became his chief of staff, and earned a reputation as the enforcer who crushed dissent in the party. Eventually, facing a revolt from party veterans, Netanyahu eased Lieberman out of the job.

In response, Lieberman started his own party, initially appealing to the immigrants from the former Soviet Union who had poured into Israel in the 1990s. Many were professionals who found themselves working at semi-skilled jobs, competing with Israeli Arabs for jobs, living in towns that became immigrant ghettos. Some 300,000 were non-Jews, who were able to immigrant under Israel’s Law of Return because of their family ties to Jews, but who felt uncertain of their place in their new country.

The name of Lieberman’s party, Israel Is Our Home, spoke to the immigrants’ insecurities. With a stress on the word our, it also suggested that the country was not home to the Arab minority. It’s a classic gambit of the racist right: Bolster one group’s sense of belonging by attacking another as outsiders who threaten the nation…

Lieberman also rails against weak government. His party has proposed a “reform” that would allow the prime minister to appoint cabinet members without parliamentary approval. During a state of emergency, the cabinet or even the prime minister alone would be able to enact regulations superseding laws. It’s a blueprint for one-man rule.

Read the full article here, and come back to SoJo to comment.

5 thoughts on “Election Results: Racism Rising”

  1. Lieberman is awful. But I can’t understand why so many people consider him to be worse than the religious parties. His ideas on religious and personal freedom issues are actually pretty good, and his ideas regarding the Palestinians are very bad but much less bad than those of the religious parties and probably even better than those of the Likud. Even his attitude towards Israeli Arabs is probably no worse than those of the religious parties, though it’s true that only he is making discrimination against them a top-priority part of his platform.

    The bottom line, it seems to me, is that he is the best of a bunch of bad, illiberal alternatives, and he represents the only possible way that Livni can get to be the head of a stable government and exploit the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for peace that is Barack Obama’s presidency.

  2. Arab MK’s in Israel are allowed to commit treasonous acts that in any other country they would be arrested for, and Arabs are more racist to their own people, especially black Muslims, than any other population out there. Between that and the intractability of the so called “moderate PA” which shows Israel not existing on any maps, to make any kind of reasonable peace overtures, and you want to critisize the Jews who actually voted for a party who may actually “Just say no” to terrorism and appeasement? You are simply eating well from the hand of the Arab propoganda machine; the Arab world, who has had all the resources to have solved this whole situation long ago and has not, because Israel is too convenient of a scape goat, loves people like you who perpetuate their myths and bring more anti-Semitism into the world.

  3. For all your politically correct posturing, we should remember that you too are an immigrant come to Israel to feast on the dispossession of the Palestinians. So your appetite isn’t as voracious as Lieberman’s, or you get indigestion a bit sooner, but all in all you’re two peas in the same ideological pod.

  4. I find the “just say no” reference interesting.

    27 years after the “Just Say No” campaign, more people are dying in the Mexican drug wars than the 2006 and 2008 IDF operations combined ( http://projects.latimes.com/mexico-drug-war/#/its-a-war ). One element in the bloodshed is U.S. arms being taken across the border into Mexico – something you might want to think about before getting too excited about the U.S. offer to help with smuggling on the Egyptian border. There are limits to controlling smuggling, just as there are limits to the “new security environment” of massive retribution as a deterrent to further rockets.

    It worries me that Lieberman might want to be like our American President Andrew Jackson. Jackson was popular, a genuine war hero, had a lot of great ideas and put many of them into practice. The people loved him so much some were afraid of him being the American Bonaparte. He also orchestrated the Indian Removal Act, and conducted a 19th century version of ethnic cleansing in the South in full and public defiance of our Supreme Court. Many of those removed had helped Jackson secure the nation’s borders in the Creek Indian civil wars and War of 1812 – loyalty and citizenship in end were not enough to prevent their coerced removal to what is now Oklahoma. Whites were able to have the whole of Georgia for themselves, and in the process white land speculators made a good profit.

    Today President Jackson is on the $20 bill.

    Lincoln, emancipator of slaves, preserver of the Union, is of course on the $5 bill. On the other hand, “Lincoln is one of the world’s most written-about men, along with Napoleon and Jesus, with 16,000 books on him written since his death in 1865 …” http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13108714

    In the end, freeing the slaves, preserving the union, and offering a post conflict vision of reconciliation earned him a more prominent place in our nation’s psyche.

    Is a unity government that offers peace negotiations without false hopes or appeasement such a bad idea? Can President Shimon Peres take the unprecedented step of calling upon both winners to form a coalition? Remind us of the founders belief that a Jewish state and pluralistic democracy can still coexist.

  5. Correction – I should have said “constitution”, not “citizenship”. Cherokees and others were recognized in the Constitution as dependent nations sovereign in their own territories as negotiated by the federal government.

    But that’s wordy. 😉

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