The Israeli Left Shoots Itself in the Foot by Demonizing Benjamin Netanyahu

Jan. 25 2019

For years, leftists in Israel—from moderates like the Hatnuah-party leader Tzipi Livni to post-Zionists writing for the newspaper Haaretz—have painted Prime Minister Netanyahu as a dangerous threat to democracy and an enthusiastic builder of settlements. Not only are these claims false, argues Evelyn Gordon, but they have done Netanyahu’s political opponents no favors:

[This leftist] narrative about Netanyahu . . .  has been widely embraced by American Jews and the Democratic party. That’s bad for Israel as a whole, as it has contributed to growing anti-Israel sentiment among both groups. I don’t think either group’s alienation stems primarily from Israel’s policies, whether real or alleged. Nevertheless, had prominent Israeli leftists told the truth—that Netanyahu was doing very little settlement- building [and] that his actual positions are far from his hardline image—it might have slowed the process.

[Moreover], this false narrative hurts leftists themselves since it impedes Netanyahu’s ability to adopt policies they favor. Many such policies, like the dearth of settlement construction, are indeed very unpopular with his base, but he could justify them if they were achieving something important for Israel, like maintaining its bipartisan support in America.

In reality, however, they don’t achieve anything. For instance, despite Netanyahu’s restraint on settlements, the Obama administration repeatedly accused him of “aggressive” settlement-construction, with full-throated backing from Israeli leftists. That makes it impossible for Netanyahu to justify restraint to his unhappy base, which is precisely why he sometimes “caves to them” [as Livni herself put it in a recent interview]. Finally, this false narrative hinders his ability to form a broader-based government. . . .

Many of the same evils obviously derive from Israeli rightists’ favorite trick of calling left-wing opponents “anti-Zionist,” though most Israeli leftists are no such thing. Inter alia, the false narrative that anti-Zionism is widespread on the Israeli left helps legitimatize anti-Zionism as a normative left-wing position overseas.

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz, Israel & Zionism, Israel and the Diaspora, Israeli left, Tzipi Livni

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror