Friday, February 06, 2009

Those Israeli elections

A quick point. Just bear in mind, for all the talk of how terrifying Benyamin Netanyahu is, that Labour, Likud and Kadima all stand for racism and militarism. They all supported the attack on Gaza, and they will undoubtedly unite behind the next one. They all defend the annexation of West Bank land. (Olmert may talk about limiting their growth, but their expansion has been far more dramatic and speedy under his rule than ever before.) They all supported the attempt to ban Arab parties from the elections. They have all expressed a willingness to form a coalition with far rightist Avigdor Lieberman and his Ysrael Beiteinu party. Lieberman talks about 'transfer' (ie, the expulsion of Israeli Arabs), but then Livni has no problem with that idea. A major talking point in the elections at the moment is Lieberman's plan to introduce a law to remove citizenship from Arabs who don't display loyalty. This has already gained support from Likud, and one can all too easily see the other two parties giving it a friendly nod. Actually, that proposal would have far-reaching ramifications for Israelis as well: leftists and peaceniks would surely be deemed disloyal and thus be potential internees. As Jamie points out, these ideas are not necessarily unpopular. Polls have found staggering levels of support for driving Palestinians out of the occupied territories (46%), and 76% of Jewish Israelis say they would support expelling the Israeli Arab population. And that is what is going to be expressed at the ballot box.