Israel’s Dark Future


Max Fisher in Vox (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images):

Netanyahu's reelection merely reflected trends that have been building in Israel for years: a growing and increasingly extreme political right, a resistance or outright hostility toward peace, a willingness to forgo international acceptance, and even a certain hesitation toward the more difficult aspects of democracy.

“Israel is galloping toward an anti-democratic, bi-national future saturated with hatred and racism,” the Israeli columnist Ravit Hecht wrote in Ha'aretz in March.

And that gets to what makes this all so troubling: even if Israelis oppose this end result, and highly prize their democracy and international acceptance, the choices that they are making as a nation, over and over, point increasingly in that direction.

Israelis cannot say they were not warned, nor that warnings have come only from liberals and peaceniks. The alarm that Ben Gurion sounded in 1967 has gone off many times before and since.

“[Even] after the formation of a Jewish majority, a considerable Arab population will always remain in Palestine,” Jabotinsky, the early Zionist leader whose ideas inform today's Israeli right, wrote in the years before Palestine had become Israel and Palestine. “If things fare badly for this group of inhabitants then things will fare badly for the entire country. The political, economic and cultural welfare of the Arabs will thus always remain one of the main conditions for the well-being of the Land of Israel.”

Yuval Dishkin, the former head of Israel's shadowy internal security service Shin Bet, warned in 2013 that unless Israel could find peace the Palestinians, and soon, “we will certainly cross the point of no return, after which we will be left with one state from the river to the sea for two peoples. The consequences of such a state for our national identity, our security, our ability to maintain a worthy, democratic state, our moral fiber as a society, and our place in the family of nations would be far-reaching.”

Israel's unwillingness or inability to reconcile its Jewish identity with its democratic ideals, or to reconcile its military occupation of Palestinians with its place in the international community, puts the nation as it exists now at real risk.

More here.