The Collapse of the Israeli Labor Party Is Bad for Israel’s Democracy

With Israel’s next national election scheduled for April, the campaign season has kicked off with the usual reshuffling of political parties, as new parties form—two of them led by prominent former chiefs of the IDF—and established ones fracture. The most important and surprising development so far has been the decision of the Labor party’s leader, Avi Gabbay, to end its alliance with the centrist Hatnuah, led by Tzipi Livni. Since its formation in 2014, the Labor-Hatnuah bloc has been the most important opposition force in the Knesset. Amnon Lord believes its collapse will ultimately empower unelected elites:

Although there are historical reasons for the consistent decline in the party’s power, they are not the reason Labor is projected to make a single-digit showing in the April 9 election. The media, and [the influential left-wing newspaper] Haaretz in particular, are responsible for Labor’s collapse. Haaretz’s treatment of Labor’s now-deposed leader Isaac Herzog (currently the head of the Jewish Agency) was tantamount to character assassination. It is worth bearing in mind that the [Labor-Hatnuah bloc], may it rest in peace, still has 24 lawmakers in the Knesset [out of a total of 120] thanks to Herzog and Livni. . . . [But] the establishment left is controlled not by its voters but by external factors.

Should the justice system, God forbid, succeed in taking down Benjamin Netanyahu [as a result of the ongoing corruption investigation], the [unelected] establishment will determine policies in every field. The justice system will continue its self-transformation into a quasi-legislative branch. . . . The defense establishment will determine Israel’s defense policies. . . . Netanyahu is the only prime minister since David Ben-Gurion to succeed in steering Israel’s foreign and security policy in a different direction from the one being promoted by the defense establishment. Regulators, like those tasked with antitrust and the capital market, and the Bank of Israel, will determine economic policies.

The Likud party, with Netanyahu at its head, is the sole survivor of the elected and functioning political system. It is the last anchor for the expression of the will of the people.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli democracy, Israeli politics, Labor Party, Tzipi Livni

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy