A kick up Israel’s centre-left behind

The support of Ariel Sharon in Israel, from both the left and right, is a disturbing delusion, argues Sefi Rachelevsky in today’s Haaretz:

“…the contrary political path that perpetuates the idea that “only the Likud can do it” is ironically what will allow the Likud to reunite after the disengagement from Gaza, and to gather around the flag of “protecting the real interests of Israel” in the elections that take place right after the withdrawal.”

The essential failure of Israel’s left over the last four years to construct a convincing argument has led to this most unfortunate situation, whereby many on the left support Sharon because he appears to want withdrawal from Gaza and then they argue, as I heard frequently during my recent travels in Israel, “only a right-winger can bring about such a radical shift here.”

Gideon Levy recently wrote a fiery piece entitled, “Good morning to the Israeli left.” He argues that the Israeli left have almost uniformly joined the ranks of Sharon supporters and fallen silent whilst the brutality of the occupation continues:

“…the silence was the greatest failure of all. It is impossible not to ask now where everyone was for the 346 children that Israel killed. What prevented them from protesting when 112 wanted men were assassinated without trial and another 521 innocent passersby were killed at the same time? The demolition of half of Rafah, the uprooting of olive trees in the West Bank, the erection of the wall, the apartheid roads for Jews only, the imprisonment of an entire nation behind checkpoints for years – none of it awakened most of the artists or the “coalition of the majority.” They were silent. They were afraid. They were complicit.”

Speaking out in times of national trauma is what distinguish the brave from the cowardly. So few Israelis have campaigned against the direction that Israel is taking, essentially wanting to remake Gaza as a large prison camp and consolidate a tight grip over the West Bank. All the while, settlement expansion continues. And the West thinks the Israeli government is serious about peace?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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