Knesset

Netanyahu's "Arab voters are voting!" Facebook video

Netanyahu’s “Arab voters are voting!” Facebook video.

Despite polling predictions that Israeli voters were abandoning him, Binyamin Netanyahu won by far the biggest share of seats in the Knesset last Wednesday. There has since been much despair in my social feeds and the international press that Israel is right-wing and only sliding further in that direction.

In my opinion, for all this talk of Netanyahu as a political magician, he has walked over a cliff this time. You can’t insult the President of the United States by coming to his country behind his back, and then explicitly repudiate US foreign policy in the Middle East, and just expect to get away with it. For all the jubilant talk of Netanyahu sticking it to that lame-ass lame-duck softy-on-security Barack Obama, he’s the President of the United States. One of the only things holding Mahmoud Abbas from filing cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court is a law the US Congress passed automatically cutting off $400m in aid in the event that they did.* One commitment from Barack Obama to fund that $400m from appropriations under the control of the Executive would clear that obstacle in the time it took to hold a press conference. He can withhold the US veto from the UN the next time an Israel-bashing resolution comes up. He could endorse settlement-produce labeling. He could do anything, and because he’s a lame-duck, there’s pretty much no personal consequences to him doing so. It would tear the Jewish diaspora apart, as Israel’s current trajectory is already facilitating.

But anyway. This post is not a caravan of despair. I was reading a piece by Jonathan Freedman, who commented that buried in the numbers of the election, there was left-wing hope. And I’m tired of people talking about number of seats, so I went and looked at actual numbers of votes: [click to continue…]

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