Israel has spoken its mind. And from an election contest focused on finding the most proven 'kill more Palestinians' candidate there will now emerge the most racist government on the planet.
Whatever the ensuing political coalition, this country has given its endorsement to a trio of war criminals and fascists. Livni, Netanyahu and Lieberman: take your pick, hard as it is to distinguish their dark mindsets. Add in the mechanically murderous Barak, not forgetting an assembly of fringe Zionist fanatics, and we have a unanimity of leaders and parties dedicated to the systematic murder, repression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
This election was never about the issue of peace and how to realise it. Nor was it about that media-filtered fiction, "security". It was, in base terms, an exercise in right-wing consolidation. And we can't escape the depressing truth that the bulk of the Israeli electorate have clearly mandated that racist alignment.
Here's Mustafa Barghouti on the full extent of the shift:
Electronic Intifada editor Ali Abunimah is also under no illusions about the lurch into fascism:
This is a very serious shift, but not only to the right; this is a shift to racism. In my opinion, in these elections, Israel has completed the transformation into an apartheid state with an apartheid racist political system.
And this is the outcome of two processes. One is the implantation of fear and hatred in the Israeli society by the Israeli establishment. The army is a big part of that establishment, and the military-industrial complex is a second big part. And the second factor has been the complicity of the international community. The United States administration, previous administration, the European governments, the whole official international community has been complicit with Israeli crimes, war crimes in Gaza and in other places, and silent about forty-one years of occupation. So, basically, people in Israel think they can do what they want. If they violate human rights in such a terrible manner and nobody is objecting, I think they think they can move forward towards racism and an apartheid system, and that is unfortunately the case today.
In addition to what was said about practically the Likud racist approach dominating the whole scene, with Livni and Netanyahu—and here I would agree that there aren’t much differences between the two. Maybe you can say that both of them are racist. Only, Netanyahu is a blunt racist, and Livni is a racist with some makeup. But they both represent the same.
Barak, on the other hand, who was supposed to represent what you call left-centrist party, shocked everybody, in my opinion, by being even more extreme and more racist. When he described Lieberman, who’s clearly a neo-fascist and a very dangerous element, he said—he accused him not of being a fascist, not of being an extreme, but he criticized him for not being tough enough. He said, “This is a lamb in hawk’s clothing. And when did he ever shoot anybody by himself?” So Barak was competing with Lieberman by saying, “I am the man who shot Palestinians. I am the man who executed Palestinians with my own hands.”And that gives you a very, very simple picture of how tragic the situation is in Israel today. And it puts us all, as Palestinians, in front of a very clear task: we have to struggle against this apartheid system, we have to break this apartheid system. But the challenge now is on the side of the whole international community, which has been either silent or complicit or trying to avoid the issue, when it is very clear.
The clearest message from Israel's election is that no Zionist party can solve Israel's basic conundrum and no negotiations will lead to a two-state solution. Israel could only be created as a "Jewish state" by the forced removal of the non-Jewish majority Palestinian population. As Palestinians once again become the majority in a country that has defied all attempts at partition, the only way to maintain Jewish control is through ever more brazen violence and repression of resistance (see Gaza). Whatever government emerges is certain to preside over more settlement-building, racial discrimination and escalating violence.We can, nonetheless, take some optimistic encouragement from this ugly development. The extended lurch to the right may appear to take us even further from a just solution for Palestine. But it also indicates Israeli society's fear of international criticism and humanitarian pressure. This rearguard electoral response suggests a growing retreat into isolationist hatred and belligerence. Such was the downward spiral of apartheid South Africa, a regime which could not ultimately resist that kind of accumulated opposition and international reaction.
There are alternatives that have helped end what once seemed like equally intractable and bloody conflicts: a South African-style one-person one-vote democracy, or Northern Ireland-style power-sharing. Only under a democratic system according rights to all the people of the country will elections have the power to transform people's futures.
But Israel today is lurching into open fascism. It is utterly disingenuous to continue to pretend - as so many do - that its failed and criminal leaders hold the key to getting out of the morass. Instead of waiting for them to form a coalition, we must escalate the international civil society campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israelis to choose a saner path.
There are no no serious doves or peacemakers among Israel's criminal elite. Their collective efforts in the murder of Gaza should have confirmed that sober truth for all sane observers. Israel's Western friends will, of course, continue to take refuge in their own complicit hypocrisy. Yet, fascist, anti-democratic regimes are always most vulnerable to failing and falling when they're at their most repressive. Such raw extremism can also become an inconvenience even for their Western protectors. Perhaps it's better having the world see Israel right now in its most naked state.