Israel Is Only Going to Change Its Horrific Behavior If Outsiders Force It to

Israel’s recent election was a clarifying moment. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to Israelis’ worst racist instincts worked. Between Netanyahu’s declarations during the last week on the campaign trail that he has no interest in a peace agreement with Palestinians, and his horror at the act of Palestinian citizens of Israel voting, his political platform could not be more clear: It is anti-peace and based on Jewish nationalism at the expense of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Despite Netanyahu’s attempt to walk back his comments after he won, there is little doubt that Israel’s policies of expanding settlements, an ongoing siege of Gaza, periodic warfare and systematic discrimination will continue.

For many people, especially American Jews who express support for democratic ideals and are seriously committed to peace with Palestinians, the racist rhetoric and extreme positions Netanyahu was willing to deploy in the last days of the campaign uncomfortably highlighted ongoing Likud party policies. The Zionist Union was defined as an alternative “center left” that could offer a superficially new direction for Israelis tired of Netanyahu’s belligerence toward anyone around the world who doesn’t agree with him. But in substance, the Zionist Union did not actually offer policy positions that were much different in terms of the treatment of Palestinians both within and outside of the Green Line.

As openly offensive as Netanyahu is, he is not the only problem. Underlying his leadership is a systemic and society-wide problem of increasing support among Israelis for anti-democratic policies, including second-class citizenship for Palestinian citizens of Israel and complete control of the approximately 4.5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, who do not have any input over the government that has ultimate control over their territory.

– Read more: Israel Is Only Going to Change Its Horrific Behavior If Outsiders Force It to – Alternet

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