Everyone knows that the Israeli left is either dead or (hopefully) in the midst of a world record nap. Tzipi Livni’s centrist opposition is tepid at best. Livni’s first and only act of ‘opposition’ was her refusal to join a coalition government.
This is Livni immediately after the last election:
"we weren't elected to legitimize this extreme right-wing government, and we must represent an alternative of hope and go to the opposition.”
For the last year Livni has spent most of her time, well, legitimizing this right wing government. She has been unwilling or unable to challenge the Israel Right on issues that matter: the occupation, issues of religious equality, Israeli identity, gender equality, discrimination against Arabs, etc.
Livni delivered some revealing remarks at last Friday’s Gay Pride Parade in Tel-Aviv:
"Because the tendencies of the body and heart are not political, the protection of the [gay] community is not within the realm of any one political group. It is a matter of human beings respecting each others."
Livni is dead wrong. For members of the LGTBQ community in Israel, “tendencies of the body and heart” become VERY political when the Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Affairs calls gays “sick” and demands an end to the parade.
Guaranteeing equality “is much more than a matter of human beings respecting each other.” It requires a political fight. Livni doesn’t get it.
The failure of the opposition in Israel stems for their inability to grasp the stakes. Israel is undergoing a political shift to the right. Ministers from nationalist and religious parties are changing government policies in surprisingly terrifying ways. Government ministers routinely voice support for a whole host of bizarre policies: racial discrimination in public housing, loyalty oaths, press censorship, redefining the Jewish State based on its ‘love for Torah'.
Just today, members of the ruling government protested the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate Beit Yaakov a girls school in the West Bank. The Israeli police are preparing for a protest of 20,000 ultra orthodox Jews who oppose schools that integrate Sephardic and Ashkenazi children. Only a few hundred Israelis bothered to protest the flotilla incident.
American Jews are starting to get it. The gap between our values and the values of the current Israeli regime is turning some prominent heads. But the spark must come from Israel. At this point, the Israeli opposition does nothing more than legitimize the current regime, giving them political cover and the veneer of "healthy dissent."
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