The ironies have never been greater, as will be the representation of the Arabs in the new Israeli parliament now in formation. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been accused of racism upon trying to get out his base to vote by pointing out that the press was observing that Arabs were coming out in droves on Election Day. But what does this tell us? Even the most anti-Semitic Israel basher and Netanyahu basher has to concede that the fact that Arabs were coming out in droves to vote as never before is an indication that the Arabs are and feel enfranchised more than ever before, and the fact that this was a concern to the prime minister confirms that the Arabs, as all other citizens of Israel, wield real power in Israel.
Netanyahu did not make any attempt to stop Arabs from voting (an enormous 70% participation rate this year compared to 56.5% in the 2013 election, by people who supposedly feel disenfranchised according to the critics of Israel) even though many of these Arabs support terrorists and oppose Israel and Zionism. By contrast, in the most recent midterm elections in the United States, 36.4% of all eligible voters participated, and even in the most recent national presidential election, 58% of eligible voters cast ballots in America. Netanyahu merely sought to encourage his base to come out and vote. He would have done so just as vigorously had the main storyline of Election Day focused on busloads of supporters of the Labor party being brought to voting booths, which leads us to the next point.
One of the main topics of discussion on and before Election Day had focused on the accusation that foreign funds were illegally transferred from America – allegedly from a particular political party in America – specifically in order to increase the Arab vote, to the detriment of the political party in Israel to be most directly impacted by such a development. Putting aside for the moment the allegations of the illegalities of these alleged activities – and not knowing enough as to their legitimacy – does it occur to anyone that supporting members of one “race” (the Arabs) against another race (the Jews) might be a manipulation of race on its face?
The warm feelings flowing from bankrollers of Arab get-out-the vote efforts, as well as the Labor politicians flirting with the idea of inviting Arabs into the ruling government coalition for the first time in history, as more Arabs than ever before will serve in the Knesset, brings up another issue. At this writing, the Arab parties will be entitled to 13 seats (one of which will be occupied by a Jewish communist), but there will be a record 17 Arabs or so in the Israeli parliament, which means that not only are rank-and-file Arabs represented in the Zionist entity by means of Arab parties, but some Arabs were even elected to serve within Zionist parties themselves. Anet Haskia, for example, is an Arab on the list of the religious nationalist Bayit Yehudi party, further exposing the lie that the nationalist and religious Jewish parties are allegedly anti-Arab. All of this should be kept in mind when thinking of the widespread claim of Apartheid made against Israel, in addition to the allegations of racism.
Recent revisions in the election laws favor Arabs and not Jews
Actually, when doing the math, one does not have to be a mathematician to know that the recent revisions in the election laws favor Arabs and not Jews. Raising the bar for a party to have enough votes to be in the parliament, to 3.25% of the electorate, encouraged the Arab parties to unite, and to thereby obtain an unprecedented number of seats – 13 as opposed to a combined 11 in the past, although one of the contributing factors, in all probability, was the alleged illegal financial contributions, not to mention political advice, from abroad. Because Jews are notorious for being independent – if you have 2 Jews, you have 3 shuls – many of the Jewish political parties that insisted on their independence were wiped out into oblivion, with their votes allocated among the other parties, including the Arab parties.
Ironically, Netanyahu’s famous alleged flip flop right before and after the election actually benefited the Arabs and cost the nationalist half of the country 3 seats in the parliament, since had Netanyahu not appeared to have spoken out against the two-state solution right before the elections, one doesn’t have to be a mathematician or a statistician or a politician to realize that a substantial number of would-be voters for the extremely nationalist Yachad party that was on the borderline of the threshold would not have switched their votes at the last minute for Netanyahu’s party not to risk wasting their votes. As a result, their party missed the threshold and all three seats they would have gotten were allocated among the other parties including the Arab parties. Although Netanyahu’s election-eve ploy got him more votes for his Likud party, without this ploy the Yachad party would have gotten 3 seats almost for sure, at the expense of the Arab party and the left-wing parties, so that ultimately, Netanyahu would have had more mandates with which to form a coalition even had his own party received fewer mandates and even failed to get more than the Labor party, which would have been unable to cobble together the needed 61 seats. So the bottom line is this alleged flip flop benefited the Arab party.
Actually, Netanyahu’s alleged flip flop was more of a shift in emphasis by Netanyahu and a distortion by the media than anything else. The situation has changed considerably subsequent to Netanyahu’s famous speech in 2009 advocating a two-state solution, most significantly considering the flip flop pact now in effect between the Palestinian Authority and the avowedly terroristic human-shield Hamas. This is in addition to many other considerations. The PA proved to be so unpopular in Gaza that it was outvoted in Gaza by Hamas, which could G-d forbid easily happen on the West Bank as well. More recently, the unspeakably dangerous ISIS has shown it can overrun huge swaths of large full-fledged countries, and would even more easily be able to overrun an entity such as the Palestinian Authority, G-d forbid. But even without having to consider these factors, Netanyahu’s position has long consistently been that he would welcome peace and a two-state solution if the Arabs would honor the Oslo Accords and stop their incitement, lies, and violent actions against the Jews, but it is clear that the continued incitement by the PA, which has never stopped (in communications with Arabs) and its honoring of terrorists and demonizing of Jews has influenced a generation of young Arabs, along with their already hostile parents and grandparents, so that the conditions for a truly amicable country of Palestinians side by side with Israel do not seem ripe at this moment in history.
Netanyahu will surely continue to do all in his power to convince Palestinians and their foreign supporters and bankrollers to advance the conditions for such a country, but it is unlikely that such conditions will actually be in place by the time Netanyahu leaves office, so he is perfectly consistent in saying he advocates a two-state solution in principle, but does not see the likelihood of it actually coming to being on his watch. He simply emphasized his realistic assessment right before the election, based on new and old realities, but the bigger picture, with his overall hopes and aspirations, right after the election, and then the media distorted his words into a flip flop, and the rest is history, or, more precisely, revisionist history.
If Netanyahu can be accused of making a flip flop before and after the election, a far greater flip flop is the Palestinians failing to adhere to the most fundamental aspects of the Oslo Accords, as discussed above, which cannot be reconciled the way Netanyahu’s alleged pre- and post-election flip flops can be reconciled. Yet the press and the politicians outside of Israel seem to unfairly focus on Netanyahu’s alleged flip flops which can actually be reconciled.
The unprecedented Arab representation in the Israeli parliament reminds people of the one true allegation of racism that may fairly be leveled against the Jewish parties in parliament, including the party of Netanyahu before he rose to power. Whether you liked Rabbi Meir Kahane or not, or his views, history records that the Israeli political parties decided that his political party was unfit to remain in the Israeli parliament because of his “racist” position favoring the purchase of Arab property from Arabs as a first resort, resulting in their eventual “transfer.” No honest historian or politician can deny that many of the Arabs elected to serve in the new parliament would not like to buy out Jews from their homes, but would like to kick them out of their homes and homeland as a first resort, and many of course support those who would like to eliminate the Jews without a lease on life, let alone on their homes, to put it mildly, which they would not. The communists among the Arabs would certainly not propose buying property from Jews before redistributing it, but as a first resort, confiscating property without paying anything for it. Many of the Arabs surely oppose the Zionist entity and the country’s national anthem. Yet the Israeli parliament kicked out the fiercely Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane and his party from the parliament, not allowing them to have even a single seat after polls showed that the will of the people was in favor of giving them additional seats in their second appearance on a national ticket. So clearly a lesson of this election is that the Israeli political parties favor Arabs – even anti-Zionist Arabs who advocate much more violence than Kahane ever did – over the Jew, even a fiercely Zionist one, and his duly elected political party. If this is not racism by the Israeli parties and political system against Jews and in favor of Arabs, it certainly comes much closer to racism than a politician trying to invigorate his base by pointing out that his adversaries were coming out to vote in droves.
Much has been made about the expression attributed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Arabs were coming to the polls in hordes or droves, both allegedly pejorative terms, although the one most cited was “droves.” This allegation can be driven into the ground for the simple reason that it is a gross distortion by the leftist media from the Hebrew words actually used by Netanyahu, who simply said the Arabs were coming to the polls “in large numbers,” not in allegedly pejorative “droves,” which is not pejorative anyway. As we patiently await an apology from those who misquoted Netanyahu in order to support the false allegation that he is a racist or used a racist word, another version of the word “drove” comes to mind. Weren’t the Arabs known for their rallying cry to drive the Jews into the sea? Netanyahu merely observed that Arabs were being driven by the bus load to vote, so that their representatives would enter the parliament, very much alive, not driven into a sea without a life preserver, if they wouldn’t be slaughtered first to the sound of “Allah akhbar,” Allah forbid.
Israel, unlike in America, common sense prevails to the extent that people must produce identification before voting, to prevent fraud
It might also be noted that in Israel, unlike in America, common sense prevails to the extent that people must produce identification before voting, to prevent fraud. In America, people who advocate such common sense are widely accused of racism. Surely Arabs have as many rights in Israel as members of minorities in America, yet bus loads of Arabs managed to come to vote with identity cards of some sort without its even being an issue. As noted above, more Arabs voted with identity cards than Americans in America without identity cards. (So much for the argument that requiring identity cards suppresses minority voting.) Ironically, the liberal mayor of New York recently came out in favor of universal identity cards even for illegal aliens and noncitizens, and just a few days after the election in Israel, the liberal president of the United States came out in favor of criminalizing those who don’t vote, which obviously means there will have to be some means of creating accountability. When the Democrats in the United States resoundingly lost the midterm elections a few months ago, the president of the United States made a point of correctly noting that only the people who actually cast ballots voted the Democrats out of office, and he bemoaned the fact that the get-out-the vote efforts that had worked so well in his favor when he was on top of the ticket failed to work well enough when he was not on the ticket. As a former community organizer, he was quite adept at getting out the votes, and the votes he was getting out were clearly members of minority groups, yet he was clearly and correctly not widely accused of racism for trying to get his base to vote. This writer would surely not accuse the President of the United States of being a racist for trying to get his base to vote at least at the same level as people outside of his base. Somehow the charge of racism leveled against the Prime Minister of Israel for what he said to try to energize his base to get out to vote seems every bit as unfair as it would be to accuse the President of the United States of being a racist in wanting as many members of the minority community as possible to get out to vote and to share the wealth.
Those who accuse Israel in general of racism or Apartheid tend to look the other way when writing about all the Arab countries. (Many of the accusers are self-hating Jews who would probably be murdered if openly actually walking on the streets of many Arab countries, with a Star of David around their neck. They wouldn’t even have to wait for Isis to take over, for a beheading.) The contrast could not be starker. Under the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s “peace partner, Jews may not buy property or vote, let alone serve in the governing body of the PA.
Those who accuse Israel and Netanyahu of racism can be compared to people racing to a beach to place their heads in the sand. Such behavior can only encourage those who would love to use the beach as a springboard to throw the people who enfranchise them into the sea, G-d forbid. Seekers of the truth must have their eyes open and be open-minded. Diplomacy should not be based on tabloid headlines, but should be based on the context of current and recent events, and clear lines of reasoning as well as what is beneath the surface and between the lines.