There is nothing that Netanyahu's done that Israeli Labour governments haven't done before him
Those with short memories and an even shorter imagination believe that an Israeli Labour Party government will be a break from the Netanyahu government. This despite the fact that the ILP has supported all the attacks on Gaza.
Now the leader of the ILP, Yitzhak Herzog, has reminded us of exactly what the Israeli Labour Party is like. Haneen Zoabi, the Balad MK who was suspended from the Knesset because she has a habit of saying what the Zionists don't like or approve of, has been the subject of concerted attempts to prevent her standing for election (yes this is the reality of Zionist democracy). Up till now the decision of her fellow parliamentarians has always been overturned by the courts but there is no guarantee that the campaign against her won't swing the increasingly right-wing Supreme Court.
I also include an article I wrote over 30 years ago for Tribune, 'Begin &Z Sharon have done nothing that Labour hasn't done before them' to remind people of the Israeli Labour Party's record.
The party that some hoped would defend Israeli democracy from attacks by the right wing has now joined the assault.
By Gideon Levy | Feb. 8, 2015 | 2:50 AM
Shimon Peres is back, his name is Isaac Herzog. The evil wind of Mapai is also back, it’s called Zionist Camp. Appease, appease, appease everyone; set your sights on the right, only on the right, emulate it, stay away from any courageous step. Sometimes one unfortunate decision is enough to learn how the whole thing works. In the case of Zionist Camp it’s the decision to support the disqualification of MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List [The Joint Arab election list formed recently. RG]) from running for the Knesset. With a left like this, we don’t need Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman anymore; Likud’s Yariv Levin will do just fine.
The only hope that Zionist Camp had managed to create was that at least it would stop the crushing of democracy by the right wing. People like Herzog, MKs Tzipi Livni, Shelly Yacimovich, Merav Michaeli and Stav Shaffir know a thing or two about the dangers to democracy that lurk here. They also know that democracy’s real test is in its attitude to the Arabs and the radical left. Now this last hope has been dashed.
If Zionist Camp disqualifies Zoabi, a brave, authentic and legitimate candidate who hasn’t hurt a fly and who reflects the views of her voters, the Arabs of Israel and lovers of democracy will know: On this issue too, there is no difference between the right wing and this left wing. After Herzog announced that “in the war on terror there is no difference,” now there’s no difference in the war on “Zoabis.” So what do we have this whole camp for? For Manuel Trajtenberg [the economist identified with the 2011 social protests, now on the Zionist Camp ticket]?
The first thing the Arabs of Israel and their representatives in the Knesset must conclude is: No cooperation with Zionist Camp, not during the election and not after it. No voting for it and no recommending to the president that Herzog form the next government. Herzog signed the divorce decree himself, having already announced the exclusion of Joint List from his government. He has to pay the price.
But in its decision, Zionist Camp proved something much deeper and more significant: In Israel of 2015, Zionism and democracy cannot go hand in hand; there is an inner contradiction, inherent and unavoidable, between contemporary Zionism and the rights of Israel’s Arab minority, and there is of course also a deep contradiction between “Jewish” and “democratic.”
From that point of view, Zionist Camp has made a great contribution to the truth: There is no such thing as “Jewish” and “democratic.” In its decision, Zionist Camp has chosen “Jewish” at the expense of “democratic”: Zionist Camp knows that behind the decision to disqualify Zoabi is the transparent desire to remove all the “Zoabis” from the Knesset. There is no such thing as a democracy, where elected officials are prohibited from criticizing, as Zoabi is accused of doing, a member of their own people for serving in a police force that kills other members of their people.
But a party that has chosen to call itself “Zionist Camp,” spitting in the face of the Arabs, some of whom supported it in the past, cannot but back the disqualification of an individual who threatens the Zionist order and challenges Jewish privileges in a distorted democracy. Zoabi should be disqualified, according to Herzog-Livni, because she endangers the tottering ideological structure on which their camp relies, which offers no solution to the Palestinian problem nor an answer for the Arabs of Israel. This camp knows only how to trick and mislead, in the best of its tradition. Livni wants to reach a settlement, but only to realize her dream of a Jewish state, a nationalist dream in every sense of the word. And Herzog only wants more negotiations, so there will be peace and quiet.
Aware of the slight damage the Zionist Camp could incur, it hastened to “balance” its decision: It will also support disqualification of ultra-right-winger Baruch Marzel. This preposterous balance, so typical, is even worse in its hypocrisy. The serial criminal, the violent, convicted thug is to the Zionist Camp comparable to Zoabi, who has never been convicted of anything. But trust Zionist Camp and the Arab sycophants. Soon enough we’ll certainly see Herzog and Livni touring the Arab communities, eatingknafeh, having photo ops with kafiyyeh-wearers and uttering pithy slogans about democracy, peace and equality.
Gideon Levy tweets at @levy_haaretz