Israel’s cloak of democracy is falling away

An Israeli foreign minister who won’t wear velvet gloves

Lieberman is not a passing phenomenon. He represents the integration into Israeli politics of the million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. These new immigrants have displaced the old Labour party, once the elite of the country and the so-called party of peace. In every Labour voter there was a sepia-tinted memory of a kibbutznik taking his horse to be shod in an Arab village. If this fantasy of Jewish-Arab co-operation was ever true, it stopped being so in the 1920s. But the Labour party has always felt that somehow the Arabs can be forced to love, or just get along with, Zionism – a viewpoint which used to sell easily in Europe and the US, even if it never corresponded with facts on the ground.

The Russian-speaking immigrants have no truck with such illusions. They came in waves in the 1970s, believing they were coming to a “civilised, European” country. They found that one fifth of the population of Israel was of Arab origin. And worse, they found that they were looked down on as accidental immigrants, who came to Israel only because they could not get to America. “Russian” became a term of abuse, for someone whose goal was to dump granny on the Israeli welfare state and head off to New York.

With Lieberman the immigrants have got their revenge. The Labour elite is crushed. Lieberman’s discourse derives not from the early years of Zionism but from the Leninist thinking of the old USSR, where any negotiation was a zero-sum game, with one clear winner and one outright loser. For Lieberman, it is not enough that Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel; the head of state must come and pay regular visits to the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. It is not enough that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs live peaceful and productive lives despite widespread discrimination; they must sign up to the ideals of the Zionist state or lose their citizenship. [continued…]

Israelis kidnap Hamas leaders

After negotiations over the release of the Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit and between 325-450 Palestinians went sour, Israeli forces in the West Bank moved to “arrest” 10 Hamas leaders.

Although the New York Times used the more dignified term “arrest,” it seems a lot more like hostage-taking. I guess democracies like Israel are different than groups like Hamas. They arrest people then use them as political chips, whereas terrorists kidnap people than use them as political chips.

The IDF did not comment on the actual intents, but the timing says it all.

Among the ten Hamas members Israel nabbed are four parliamentarians. Israel has imprisoned around 40 Hamas legislators since Corporal Shalit’s capture in June 2006; many of them remain in jail. You think this habit will disappear if Palestinians are granted a state by Israel? Ha! [continued…]

Israel abducts Hamas minister — again

Among those arrested was Nasser Eddin al-Shaer, an academic from Nablus in the West Bank. Mr. Shaer served as education minister and deputy prime minister in the Hamas-led government that was formed after the Islamist group won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

His wife, Huda al-Shaer, said that soldiers arrived at their Nablus home around 2 a.m. and stayed for about an hour before taking Mr. Shaer away. Speaking by telephone, Ms. Shaer said she had asked the soldiers why he was being arrested, “but they told me it was not my business.” [continued…]

Israel abducts Hamas deputy PM (2006)

Israeli troops abducted deputy Palestinian prime minister and senior Hamas member Nasser Eddin Al Shaer Saturday, in the latest move against the governing Islamist movement.

Israel has detained more than 60 Hamas officials since the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-led government condemned the new arrest as an attempt to destroy the Palestinian administration. “At 4:30 (0130 GMT) in the morning the soldiers came to our house and took Nasser,” Shaer’s wife Huda said. [continued…]

Israeli coalition appears fated to clash with U.S.

The foreign minister of Israel’s incoming government lives in a West Bank settlement and will begin life as a diplomat battling the perception that he is anti-Arab.

A leading contender to become defense minister once characterized the two-state solution that forms the basis of U.S. and international policy toward Israel and the Palestinians as “a story the Western world tells with Western eyes.” And the potential make-or-break votes in the country’s new parliamentary coalition belong to legislators from religious parties that would like to expand settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Israel’s next government seems tailor-made for conflict with an administration in Washington that supports a Palestinian state and is expected to push for progress on drawing its borders. Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu is himself a skeptic when it comes to Palestinian statehood and has referred to U.S.-backed peace talks as a waste of time. [continued…]

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2 thoughts on “Israel’s cloak of democracy is falling away

  1. Donna Bubb

    Clash with whom in the U.S.? Hillary, the Israeli apartheid
    posture girl? Took the bouquet of flowers and the kiss but
    refused to visit Gaza. Rahm Emmanuel, Dennis Ross, Nancy
    Pelosi of the AIPAC ring? The pro-Israel Senate & House?
    Obama, who has surrounded himself with Israeli occupied
    territory? With whom will racist Bibi and Lieberman clash?
    Who in the U.S. government has the guts to suddenly clash
    with the building of the apartheid state of Israel?

  2. DE Teodoru


    Lieberman is a stereotype of the kind of low level hustlers that characterized the”associates” of “activists” in the old USSR. Netanyahu seems to have a sense of the Sabras that do not desert Israel for a good job abroad. Stay on Israelis see Israel as one of the Mideast nations. But if Netanyahu proves to be a disappointment and, as some Israelis now claim, Lieberman is simply using a ministerial post of high visibility as part of his premiership campaign (typically the pattern in Israeli politics), then we Americans should rethink our entire commitment to the Zionist project. So much historical, genetic and other evidence has appeared to strengthen the case that the Zionist notion of “returning home” of 12 “lost” tribes is all mythology, that the United States would have to consider that Likudniks just might get what they have come to demand: A ONE STATE SOLUTION. But for that solution to be a “Jewish” solution, the Great Aliyah would indeed have to be great, making Jews a majority in a bi-national state. Otherwise, demographics would show that the Diaspora Jews have rejected the Zionist concept with their feet, refusing to leave their “frightening good lives of plenty in the West for that in the Jewish sandbox. At that point where it becomes one citizen-one vote, Israel becomes part of Palestine, one sectarian group working the cleavages in the majority group (Arabs) as the Sunnis are expected to do in majority Shia Iraq. I remind that this is exactly what Bush calls the “democracy” he brought to Iraq. Of course, Lieberman could– and I doubt he has the fortitude to do so– call for elimination of Palestinian Arabs. Another Zionazi lebensraum assault like the Lebanon and Gaza assaults– which were not to get “the terrorists” but to prune the prolific Palestinian civilian population– then the United States, as nation, should COMPLETELY disassociate itself from the Zionazi, not Zionist, project. Such an Israel would not be an ally to the US but a cancer. And, as far as the Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is an ego trinket (if it were more they would move there), they are free to do whatever they want with their assets. I can only assume that much too much of America is sick of the Zionazi kill, kill, kill innocent civilians as you would kill crabgrass on your lawn. Jabotinsky’s fascist minions, the neocons living safe and wealthy in the West, have pushed the US into far too much death and waste of wealth for them to demand that we shed more blood in an anti-Islamic Crusade they call “World War IV” any more. We are in the post-Holocaust Industry period now; while we want and will work for a peace good for both the sabra Israelis and Palestinians, we are not guilt ridden into a Zionazi repeat of what the Germans did to the Jews while we passively sit on the sidelines; we will not associate the United States with a war crimes army as we had through the 2006 and 2008. We will work tirelessly for a peace that is bountifully shared by the peoples of both ethnicities. But we cannot chose one over the other or allow Diaspora Jews to impose on us the principle: “IF IT’S GOOD FOR ISRAEL, IPSO FACTO, IT IS GOOD FOR AMERICA. Should Netanyahu pursue the policies he indicated he might, we can support him wholeheartedly, knowing that he is working to integrate Israel into the Middle East economy and national security environment. But should he opportunistically morph to suit that Zionazi criminal, Lieberman– so far criminal only in words and not yet in deeds– then it’s time for the US to cease its meddling in the area with both its diplomats and its cash/arms. We are now at a crossroad and we cannot stay on the middle path for it no longer exists, we must choose one arm or the other: accommodation or massacre. By bringing HAMAS to Gaza as a toxin with which to “selectively assassinate” the PLO, Israel has seeded a movement whose clean civil order puts Israel’s and Fatah’s to shame. That is what Gaza people voted for, not the Islamic Fundamentalism and Jihadism it represents. HAMAS was Israel’s invention and now it, not us, must deal with it without using it as a Zionazi excuse for mass murder. On the other hand, Israel should be allowed to choose its own way, made fully aware of the consequences of a drift by Netanyahu from Netanyahu to Lieberman.

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