When will Israelis demand more from their manipulative and mendacious leadership?

by Yaniv Reich on December 1, 2009

I try hard to convey the sheer insanity of the settlers, who I consider to be terrorists and war criminals. Naturally, then, my center-left Israeli family writes them off as fanatics that do not represent the Israeli mainstream. Why would they accept responsibility for the indefensible acts of violent ultranationalist freaks? The right rebuttal to this stupid argument is, in my view, to emphasize that every single Israeli government since 1967 has expanded and defended the settlements, even if there was some pretense about a freeze. In other words, they have lent massive state support using our tax monies to finance the settler insanity.

Another strong argument would simply highlight the sycophantic quotes made by so-called center and center-left politicians. For example, Kadima (Translation: Forward) is the center-right party founded by Ariel Sharon before he fell into his coma. It is now the main opposition party to the Likud-led (very rightist) coalition currently in power. There is no left in Israel today with any noteworthy political power.

Turning then to Kadima, we are charmed today by Kadima MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich:

She said she was “uncomfortable” with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s building freeze, especially as it relates to the settlement blocs. “How did we ever arrive at the point where we would freeze building in a settlement bloc, like Ariel, which is in the heart of the country?” the MK asked.

“The only way we will achieve peace with the Palestinians is if there is peace among us, with all of us gathered around the principles of Judaism and Zionism,” she said, adding that “when the Palestinians realize that we have problems with each other, we lose.”

This is of course perfectly consistent with Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s statement that Gilo (in occupied East Jerusalem) is not a settlement, an assertion that reflects “an Israeli consensus”. But its still shocking that the vast majority of Israelis believe, or politically support those who believe, that Ariel is in the heart of Israel.

I would add that Shamalov-Berkovich appears not to understand what peace means in a definitional sense, as she confuses domestic political disagreement with a political settlement with those people Israel occupies. She also seems to have no concept whatsoever that Palestinians are humans who might not be willing to “achieve peace” with a country that builds cities in the heart of their country while calling it Israel.

When will Israel have real leaders? When will Israelis demand more from their mendacious and self-serving leadership?

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