For Immediate Release
Likud's Win Bolstered by Netanyahu’s Racism and Opposition Towards Peace With the Palestinians
WASHINGTON - A last minute appeal to racist fear-mongering and a unequivocal rejection of any compromise towards peace with Palestinians seems to have succeeded in securing an unexpectedly sound victory for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party. While the kind of coalition that will result is still unclear, it is unlikely that Israel's policies of expanding expanding settlements, the ongoing siege of Gaza, periodic aggressive warfare, and systematic discrimination will change.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who is running for reelection, emphatically confirmed that he has no intention of withdrawing from any territory nor working towards a two-state solution. On election day, he urged his supporters to the polls with race-baiting rhetoric that cast Palestinians citizens of Israel, who are his constituents, as the ‘enemy.’
Naomi Dann, Media Coordinator: “Between the two leading parties, there was little choice for those who want to see a just peace and equality for all Israelis and Palestinians. Should either party form the next government, either separately or in unity, the occupation and military rule over Palestinians will continue. The vote for Netanyahu was a vote of approval for his racism and war-mongering.”
The formation of the Joint List, a coalition of political parties comprised mainly of Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Balad, Ta’al ("Arab Movement for Renewal”), the Islamic movement, and the mixed Arab-Jewish Hadash party, and its 3rd place showing was a potentially promising shift to force Israelis to face the inequalities at the heart of its laws and governance. Though given the expectation of a center-right government, they won’t be in a position to have a strong impact on the government’s policies. However, while Israel calls itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza (over 36% of the people living under Israeli rule) do not have the right to vote for the government that ultimately decides their fate.
Given the racist war-mongering and rejection of the two-state solution, American Jews who express support for peace will need to rethink their relationship to a Israeli government that is explicitly anti-peace. As Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf wrote yesterday, “For years we have been hearing that Israel will either end the occupation or cease to be a democracy. Could it be that the Jewish public has made its choice?”
While election results offer little hope for immediate change to Israeli policies, a government lead by Netanyahu again will likely increase Israel’s growing global isolation, and prompt increasing pressure from outside forces including the United States and the grassroots, global movement for justice and equality to hold Israel accountable for its continued occupation, violations of international law, and human rights abuses.
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.
JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.