Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Israel votes

Israelis went to the polls today in legislative elections, and the exit polls suggest a surprise upset for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Up until today, it looked like the country was going to continue along its path to religious and nationalist extremism, with new ultra-nationalist party Jewish Home - which wants to annex the West Bank and "transfer" (ethnically cleanse) Palestinians to leave a Jewish-only state - rising in the polls to provide a secure (but extremist) coalition partner for Netanyahu's Likud. But a surprise high turnout has meant a much better showing for the Israeli left. While it won't be enough to kick Netanyahu out of office, it may help moderate or stall those toxic policies somewhat.

What's depressing is that this may be the best we can hope for. Unless something significant changes in Israel, its long-term trajectory seems fixed: open apartheid, with a strong likelihood of ethnic cleansing and genocide. It would be ironic, if it wasn't so appalling. These people have learned nothing from history, and seem intent on repeating it.