Israelis Have No Say Over How They’re Governed

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Israelis Have No Say Over How They’re Governed

by Stephen Lendman

Like Western countries, Israel is a fantasy democracy, never the real thing from inception. How can it be when its Arab citizens, over a fifth of the population, are treated like nonpersons.

Jewish state ruling authorities serve privileged Jews exclusively, force-feeding neoliberal harshness on others, denying Arab citizens their fundamental rights — mocking what democracy the way it should be is all about.

Israel is an apartheid state, today ruled by war-mongering far-right extremists, long-suffering Palestinians harmed most, Gazans most of all under suffocating blockade, repeated bombings and cross-border incursions terrorizing them, along with live fire used on nonviolent demonstrators.

The Netanyahu regime is also waging war on Syria without declaring it, terror-bombing its territory countless times, what naked aggression is all about.

Israel’s only threats are invented. No real ones existed since the October 1973 Yom Kippur war ended.

Political rhetoric by its hardliners suggesting otherwise is polar opposite reality.

Israeli elections occur every four years unless the Knesset calls one earlier by majority vote. The prime minister may also request one early unless most Knesset members block it.

This time is different because no ruling coalition emerged from last April elections, Tuesday voting a rerun, possibly turning out the same way, results likely known late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Knesset seats are apportioned based on each party’s percentage of the total vote — a minimum total required to win seats. 

Right-wing Jewish parties alone are empowered, the vast majority of Knesset seats held by fascist hardliners, Zionist ideologues, and religious fundamentalists. 

Powerless as potted plants, Arab parliamentarians have no decision-making authority. 

They’re also constrained by the 1992 Law of Political Parties and section 7A(1) of the Basic Law that prohibit candidates from denying “the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people” exclusively.

Under the law for Arabs and Jews, no candidate may challenge Israel’s fundamental Jewish character or demand equal rights, privileges, and justice. 

Candidates from 11 parties are involved in Tuesday Knesset elections, a rerun following inconclusive April results.

Two leading parties in polls alone matter — Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz/Lapid’s Blue and White. Candidates from both parties are right-wing extremists, supporting fascist rule over peace, equity and justice.

Whichever party wins the most Knesset seats gets to try cobbling together a ruling coalition — what Netanyahu failed at last spring.

Voting Likud or Blue and White is like choosing between death by hanging or firing squad.

The only positive thing about B and W prevailing is ridding Israel of toxic Netanyahu rule. 

Beyond that, names and faces may change. Far-right governance remains the same, dirty business as usual continuing as always.

Though Israeli Arabs are nominally enfranchised, Knesset members representing them are powerless, scorned and treated disdainfully by ruling regimes — the way it’s always been.

Haaretz suggested various possible scenarios Tuesday, polls indicating the result too close to call. If deadlock occurs like last spring, they’ll be another election early next year.

A winning coalition requires 61 or more of the Knesset’s 120 seats. In April, Netanyahu fell one short. It’s unclear if he’ll do better this time.

Possible scenarios Haaretz mentioned include an 11th hour Likud “surge,” letting Netanyahu remain PM, the opposite occurring for Gantz/Lapid, anti-Netanyahu right-wing extremist Avigdor Lieberman doing better than expected, a neo/Kahanist party winning seats, Labor or Democratic Union losing altogether, and/or Arab candidates doing better than expected.

The above and other possibilities are guesswork. Results won’t be known until announced after polls close Tuesday night.

Whatever the outcome, ordinary Israeli Jews will continue suffering under neoliberal harshness, Arab citizens treated far worse, Occupied Palestinians worst of all.

If Netanyahu loses to Gantz/Lapid, his toxic presence will be gone, his destructive agenda to continue under new management.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.