Breaking a long silence on Israel
Somehow I tried to turn this into a blog of such epic proportions that I forgot where it started. Well screw that garbage. I’m gonna bring this back to where it belongs and hopefully that’ll encourage me to write more often. What you need is my opinions.
Over the past six years I have kept up with Israeli politics more or less in silence. After living there for a year I turned my back on the nation that, through my experiences, became known to me as a hotbed of political corruption, systematic racism, hatred, and everything that Zionism was not supposed to be.
I had spent my childhood viewing Israel as a heroic nation and after seeing first hand what that heroism had wrought, I turned away. But though I generally kept my mouth shut (opening it only from time to time in almost exclusively Jewish settings, surrounded by those who still saw Israel through naïve, rose-colored lenses), I managed to continue observing.
Today the news showed that Bibi Netanyahu and his (for lack of a better word) racist amalgamation of right-wing groups Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu (“our home Israel”) failed to win nearly as many seats in the Israeli parliament (knesset) as in the previous election. Simultaneously, a new party, Yesh Atid (“there is a future”) won nineteen seats (out of 120; Likud Yisrael Beiteinu won thirty-one).
Let me be clear: Israel is no longer a Democratic nation, and though it has elections, there is a clear and unavoidable distinction between the Democratic Israel inside the green line (and even there the lines of “democracy” are blurry at best) and the segregated, non-Democratic West Bank. The election results represent those of citizens, ignoring the millions of disenfranchised, less-than-second-class non-citizen occupied Arabs in the West Bank who do not get to vote.
And even still, the right is losing ground. In total, the far right parties lost nine seats, and Kadima, a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing “centrist” (read: right) party lost another twenty-six. The Arab parties gained ground, and a new, populist party gained a right-hand seat.
Of course, Netanyahu and his friends still retain power. And I maintain no hope toward immediate change. Truthfully, I maintain no hope toward gradual change either. Yesh Atid is populist, but has thus far ignored any issues relating to the Arab population either outside Israel or occupied within. In fact, it seems as though their main goal is to force army participation by the ultra-Orthodox, which I do in fact support (a post for a later time).
I don’t want this to be too long so perhaps I’ll continue it later. But for now I will say this: Israel, on its greater than ten-million mile journey toward reaching the goals of true Zionism, moved forward one quarter inch today. There’s a long damn way to go.