The Recent Election Is a Nail in the Coffin of Israel’s Labor Party

Surveying the results of the Tuesday’s election, Liel Leibovitz draws several lessons, including one about the demise of the country’s left:

In 1992, the year before the Oslo Accords were introduced with much fanfare, Labor and Meretz, the twin pillars of the Zionist left, won a staggering 66 seats in the Knesset, giving them a strong mandate to pursue their peace plans. This week, Labor and Meretz eked out a combined ten seats, far less than the ḥaredi parties, which won sixteen, and exactly the same as the two Arab parties, Ḥadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad. Considering the fact that Benny Gantz’s party, Blue-and-White, had very few, if any, substantive disagreements with Netanyahu’s Likud, the meaning of this is stark and simple: the left, as it has existed for generations, is thoroughly, unequivocally, and irreversibly dead.

Having run for decades on poses rather than policies, [the Israeli left] failed to produce a coherent answer to the question that was foremost in most Israelis’ minds, namely, what to do when the so-called partner for peace, the Palestinian Authority, giddily and unabashedly cheered on and paid for the murder of innocent Israelis. Instead, the left talked about identity politics—a favorite of Meretz’s new leader, Tamar Zandberg—and invested more and more of its communal resources in addressing audiences in Berlin, London, and New York but not in Netanya, Petaḥ Tikvah, and Beersheva.

It’s likely that the slew of nongovernmental organizations that make up the contemporary left’s beating heart—many with robust funding from European governments and other foreign sources like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation—will continue to campaign anywhere but at home, with the political parties that support them continuing to pay the price.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics, Labor Party, Meretz

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict