When the writs are issued, and Israelis are called to the ballot box to choose their next parliament, something extraordinary is happening. A huge realignment of political forces is taking place, with new alliances being formed, new parties being set up and, as befits a strongly militarized society, former generals entering the race. Yet, this is a development Israelis have grown accustomed to and can well afford, since it never questions the core ideology and make-up of their state. Indeed, the Zionist propaganda machine will jump into gear to ensure that the international commentariat will hail the country as the shining city on the hill or, to use the words of the current israeli leader, the villa in the jungle. Whether or not political and media elites perpetuate such a narrative out of misplaced historic guilt or political opportunism is beside the point.
Sadly, we will be treated by politicians and media personalities in the western world to the same spectacle come April 9th, portraying Israel to be the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East. Little or nothing will be said about the fact that a large part of people living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River are not allowed to take part in this great democratic exercise, even though the state of Israel has limitless control over their lives. Little or nothing will be said about the daily violence and human rights violations the Zionist state uses with impunity to preserve the status quo and advance its colonial project, and little or nothing will be said about the war the state wages against a largely civilian population in the West Bank and in Gaza, and that the state of Israel with acquiescence of the democratic west runs the biggest open air prison on the planet in the Gaza Strip, ruining the lives of countless people and destroying the hopes and dreams of at least an entire generation of young Palestinians growing up there at present. For all the current political machinations leading up to election day, and irrespective of the final outcome, this is unlikely to change in the near future, particularly as long as the Zionist ideology exercises its firm and manipulative grip on the state of Israel and political elites in the western world.
So, then, is there any hope for a better future? Historically speaking, there is always hope for a better future, and there are countless reasons for incorruptible souls to work toward a better outcome for Jewish and Arab citizens alike, even though the immediate future looks rather bleak and will test our faith and resolve. Remember, though, the same was said about Apartheid in South Africa and the regimes holding sway in eastern Europe. History, as I have always believed, is not shaped by determinism and imagined laws; history and human society is what we make it as human beings, nothing more and nothing less. One day, the Zionist regime in Jerusalem will fall either by a big bang or a slow, painful decline of its appeal to especially progressive world Jewry. After all, it is a young generation of Jewish activists in the US giving me a sense of hope and optimism; they are already building up the political capital needed for the battles yet to come, but, once Zionism looses its legitimacy in the international Jewish community, the state of Israel will be finished in its current form once and for all, and the doubtlessly complicated task of establishing a new inclusive polity in the region can finally begin. Zionism will and I believe must be part of such a new political entity, but it will have to be incorporated into a inclusive structure built on equal rights for all citizens. Only a political structure built on this premise can satisfy Jewish aspirations and guarantee equal human and civil rights for Palestinians.
For a great analytical piece on the impending elections in Israel, I refer you to my favorite Israeli writer
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