Search

band annie's Weblog

I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

Date

March 20, 2015

Netanyahu Deserves the Israeli People, and They Deserve Him

 

If after everything, the Israeli phoenix succeeded in rising from the ashes and getting reelected, something is truly broken, possibly beyond repair.

Zionist Union supporters wait for the appearance of Isaac Herzog at party headquarters in Tel Aviv after exit poll results March 17, 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Baz Ratner)

The first conclusion that arose just minutes after the announcement of the exit polls was particularly discouraging: The nation must be replaced. Not another election for the country’s leadership, but general elections to choose a new Israeli people – immediately. The country urgently needs that. It won’t be able to stand another term for Benjamin Netanyahu, who emerged last night as the man who will form the next government.

If after six years of nothing, if after six years of sowing fear and anxiety, hatred and despair, this is the nation’s choice, then it is very ill indeed. If after everything that has been revealed in recent months, if after everything that has been written and said, if after all this, the Israeli phoenix succeeded in rising from the ashes and getting reelected, if after all this the Israeli people chose him to lead for another four years, something is truly broken, possibly beyond repair.

Netanyahu deserves the Israeli people and they deserve him. The results are indicative of the direction the country is headed: A significant proportion of Israelis has finally grown detached from reality. This is the result of years’ worth of brainwashing and incitement. These Israelis voted for the man who will lead the United States to adopt harsh measures against Israel, for the man whom the world long ago grew sick of. They voted for the man who admitted to having duped half the world during his Bar-Ilan speech; now he has torn off his mask and disavowed those words once and for all. Israel said “yes” to the man who said “no” to a Palestinian state. Dear Likud voters, what the hell do you say “yes” to? Another 50 years of occupation and ostracism? Do you really believe in that?

On Tuesday the foundations were laid for the apartheid state that is to come. If Netanyahu succeeds in forming the next government in his spirit and image, then the two-state solution will finally be buried and the struggle over the character of a binational state will begin. If Netanyahu is the next prime minister, then Israel has not only divorced the peace process, but also the world. Piss off, dear world, we’re on our own. Please don’t interfere, we’re asleep, the people are with Netanyahu. The Palestinians can warm the benches at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, the Israel boycotters can swing into high gear and Gaza can wait for the next cruel attack by the Israeli army.

The battle for all these has yet to be officially decided. The next prime minister will be crowned by Moshe Kahlon and the heads of other small parties. At the time of this writing, Kahlon has yet to declare his intention. The ball is in these parties’ court; they will decide if Netanyahu continues. Most of them despise him, but it’s doubtful whether they will have the courage to turn their backs on the public. That will be their test. That will be the test of their courage and integrity. Moshe Kahlon and Aryeh Dery, do you truly believe Netanyahu is better than Isaac Herzog for the society and social welfare you purport to care for? Does the country’s decent and courageous president, Reuven Rivlin, believe Netanyahu will be a better prime minister than Herzog? There is a lot resting on his shoulders now – but the fact that a figure like Netanyahu and a party like Likud succeeded in maintaining power as the country’s leading faction already says a great deal.

Netanyahu is threatening to surpass David Ben-Gurion as Israel’s longest running leader. He is already in second place, and yet it’s hard to think of one significant achievement on his part. The list of damage he has done is long. But he is the nation’s, or much of the nation’s, chosen one. That choice must be respected, even if it makes it difficult to hope for a good outcome. The only consolation is that another Netanyahu term will prompt the world to act. That possibility is our only refuge.

Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist, writing opinion pieces and a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz that often focus on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. A notable journalist on the Israeli left, follow him on Twitter: @levy_haaretz

Advertisements

You probably won’t read this piece about Syria

AJE this week ran special content on a grim milestone because it’s important. But our data told us something: few cared.

17 Mar 2015 13:47 GMT |

  • Injured women arrive at a field hospital after an air strike hit their homes in the town of Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. [AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra, File, Aug. 15, 2012]

    About the Author

    Barry Malone

    There’s something in her eyes. Something more than the bafflement you so often see in the faces of innocents victimised by the wars of others. It’s something that haunts. Something that reaches you most powerfully not in your mind, but somewhere more prosaic. In your guts. In your bones.

    Her expression seems to plead directly. To ask of you, do you care? Do you see me?

    When we saw this image, there was no other that seemed more apt to lead our website on March 15th, the day Syria entered its fifth year of misery and mayhem. Its fifth year of slaughter.

    Several human rights groups, and many Syrians, had a powerful accusation to make that day. The world, they said, had failed the country and her people. The world didn’t care anymore.

    The twisted steal the attention. And the people we should pay attention to fade into the background, bit players in a narrative wrongly and unfairly dominated by the grotesque.

    Sometimes journalism itself feels like a fight to get people to care.

    And as often, maybe more often, it’s a fight to get yourself to. Every day, the media deals in stories of death and devastation and despair. Too often, it feels like work, just there to be processed. A day’s pay to be earned.

    But we have a duty. Because these are other people’s stories.

    And they deserve to have them heard.

    On the anniversary, we published a lot of content. There were stirring documentaries, powerful polemics, Syrian paintings, infographics, analysis, interviews, features and news. There was streaming TV. We tried to take our audience into the lives of those caught up in this.

    And all of it was fronted with the bloodied woman, that gaze taking up most of the screen.

    But the number of people who came to our site that day was far lower than expected. As we watched the analytics, tracked our traffic, that stinging accusation of apathy seemed justified.

    There are variables, of course. Anniversaries don’t tend to grab the imagination, some people may prefer other news organisations for Syria reporting, and perhaps our work wasn’t what it could be.

    Then there’s fatigue. It’s been a rough few years for the world. Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ukraine, Somalia and more. Dark stories dominate.

    I have never heard so many journalists say that the job is grinding them down nor so many people who watch the news say that they cannot stand to do so anymore. Bearing witness is gruelling.

    Confronting our indifference

    We have seen a stagnation in traffic to our Syria conflict stories since 2012 with intermittent peaks when it makes headlines – Assad says something unusual, the possibility of Western missiles.

    Recently, though there have been occasional spikes, they appear mostly related to ISIL. The taking of Fallujah, the fall of Mosul, the detestable beheadings, and the sledgehammering of history.

    The twisted steal the attention. And the people we should pay attention to fade into the background, bit players in a narrative wrongly and unfairly dominated by the grotesque.

    We find that stories about the suffocating grind and everyday hardship of war don’t do as well. Stories about the almost four million Syrians who have been forced to flee their country, the same.

    When we tweeted the accusation that the world didn’t care, many people retweeted it. But most didn’t click the link to read our stories. Perhaps they wanted to be seen to care. Perhaps they believed that people should care. But they didn’t care enough to read what we had written.

    That’s a shame.

    Because this was an opportunity to take stock. To stand back. To reflect on the fact that more than 220,000 people have been killed and half a country’s population pushed from their homes. To ask the Syrian people what they need from us. To pressure our governments to take them in.

    Our indifference is something we need to think about and talk about. As journalists, we should question our performance. As people, our humanity. Because we can do better.

    And that woman in the photograph should know that we see her.

    Barry Malone is an online editor at Al Jazeera. Twitter: @malonebarry

    Source: Al Jazeera

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑