Would a Netanyahu victory raise the alarm on Israeli apartheid?

Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly the global face of the ugliest side of Israeli politics.

Abir Sultan EPA

Seven years ago, sitting in the office of a well-respected Israeli human rights group, a friend confided in me that he often wished his organization failed more often. “That way,” he argued, “we might be closer to Mao’s principle that suffering of the people will hasten the revolution.”

I was shocked — two white, Western-educated and privileged men sitting in an office quoting a brutal dictator in the cause of wishing more suffering on the Palestinian people was a deeply uncomfortable position. I’m sure that if you asked any of those suffering they would deem themselves as having endured more than enough injustice to hasten a multiplicity of revolutions. And they are correct.

But there is an essential truth in my friend’s reference to Mao: human beings respond only to crisis. Crisis forces us into action.

Anyone who has visited the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip has seen the daily crisis for Palestinians. But for politicians who shift the status quo only under duress, the alarm bells have to be ringing loudly before they will act.

Waiting for warnings

In a paper on campaign strategy, Chris Rose, formerly a leading activist with Greenpeace, cites a 2000 study by Denis Loreti and Lori Peek in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. Loreti and Peek examine people’s response to warnings about nuclear power plants.

Their findings are fascinating. “People simply do not take action in response to warning messages as soon as they hear the first warning,” they write. “Instead, people seek more information about the impending hazard and appropriate responses from those they know personally, from the news media and from authorities.”

“People call friends, relatives and neighbors to find out what they plan to do, and they also turn on the radio and television to get more information. Unless there is a clear explanation of the need for an immediate response, they might wait for a second, third, or fourth official warning before responding.”

We’ve all been in a hotel or packed restaurant when the fire alarm is activated. Mostly we look at our companions, waiting for further instructions, perhaps complain about the noise or the lost sleep.

Very rarely do we immediately stand up and proceed towards the nearest exit in an orderly fashion. The alarm bell itself is insufficient for us to act upon.

While this provides plenty of food for thought it also offers us a glimmer of hope: we shouldn’t consider an (as yet uncertain) victory for Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s general election just bad news. There may well be a silver lining.

Netanyahu’s attempt to shift the focus of Israeli voters from his failed domestic agenda on to the Iranian question has damaged US-Israeli relations seriously. Indeed, the US-Israeli relationship is now at its weakest since Dwight Eisenhower slapped the Israelis (and his British and French allies) on the wrist for their 1956 misadventure in the Suez Canal.

We should not be under the illusion that this damage is irreparable. After all, the US openly resupplied Israel with arms during the 2014 attack on Gaza.

However, Netanyahu’s ultra-belligerence leaves even the most pro-Israel of Western politicians with little room for moral equivocation.

Peace process theater

Contrast this with the prospect of victory for Netanyahu’s electoral opponent, the Zionist Union bloc. Victory for the Zionist Union will allow it to easily repair the damage to the US-Israeli relationship and present what appears to be an acceptable face of Israeli politics to the European public.

In turn this would allow Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, the Zionist Union’s leaders, to resuscitate the endless peace process.

Since the Oslo accords, Israel has engaged in two decades of peace process theater, where Palestinians are offered little but expected to sacrifice everything. This resulted in the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and a tighter noose around Gaza.

Tzipi Livni formerly served as chief Israeli negotiator with the Palestinian Authority and in 2010 Al Jazeera released documents known as The Palestine Papers which included meeting records between Livni and her Palestinian negotiating partners.

These leaked documents exposed Livni’s contempt for her opposite number and her determination to expand Israeli control, irrespective of the cost for Palestinians.

If Netanyahu is an ultra-belligerent then Herzog and Livni are “belligerence-lite.” Both have supported Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinians, from the apartheid wall in the West Bank to the various attacks against people in Gaza.

The Zionist Union’s election platform commits it to a continuation of the existing policies of siege on Gaza and expansion of the settlements across the West Bank. Ironically, given that the Zionist Union is fighting the Israeli election on the issue of a housing crisis inside Israel, no mention is made of repairing the damage done to thousands of homes destroyed in the latest offensive against Gaza.

On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly the global face of the ugliest side of Israeli politics. Successive attacks against Gaza, saber-rattling about the Iranian “threat” and coalescing with the ultra-right in Israel have all served to turn public — and elite — opinion further from Israel than ever before in both Europe and the US.

When the history books are written, we may find that Benjamin Netanyahu proved to be the loudest alarm bell of them all.

Eóin Murray is an Irish writer and activist based in Edmonton, Alberta. Twitter: @eoinmurray




Those who believed Netanyahu’s hyperboles about nuclear Iran should note his hyperboles in trying to get elected:
"If the gap between the Likud and Labour continues to grow, a week from now Herzog and Livni will become the prime ministers of Israel in rotation, with the backing of the Arab parties."
“[If we don’t win, it will] cause such a monumental shift in policy that it is a danger, and anyone who wants to stop it has to vote Likud to narrow the gap."


I was making the same creepy comment to a friend! I was disgusted with myself afterwarss. The zionist camp will make it seem like a win for the left and people might divert their attention and close this case. Their policy is the same. As russel brand says, whether you vote blue, green or red, in the end its the corporations and lobbies controlling everything.


It is not Mao’s principle that suffering of the people will hasten the revolution.” It was Mao's observation, possibly even based on Newton's Law that to every action their is a reaction just as oppression invites resistance and his own understanding of history. This applies to Palestine as it did to China before the revolution. Looking forward to the end of Apartheid state in Palestine soon.


The only thing that stopped Hitler was the Russian army...aided later by American and the Allies. Even then, had Adolf attacked the USSR sooner, he could have won "enough" to sue for peace: a Pax Germania.

Even when fighting the entire world, Germany pursued the Holocaust. The crazed Third Reich chose the "Samson Option" destroying the Volk in order to sate its insane bloodlust: incinerating Juden.

Today Israel has become the Fourth Reich. Given the sympathy of post-WWII Earth, it acts like Captain Ahab. It seeks the Great White Whale of stealing ALL Palestinian land. The once-bullied now bullies others.

Like Hitler, Inc., Israel uses superior force to crush weaker others. It uses jets, attack-helicopters, armed drones, tanks, warships, guided missiles, phosphorus bombs, DIME munitions, artillery, and armored personnel careers against starving Gazans...who lack similar weapons, air-raid sirens, shelters, and Iron Domes.

Stroop did the same to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

The IDF never fights those who inflicted the Shoah: Germans-Japanese-Italians. It only fights weaker others, often surprise attacking. Israel suffers from PTSD. It feels guilty that Jews couldn't save themselves 1933-45. Instead of mourning it murders Arabs...just like Germans once blamed Jews for everything.

The Jewish State is a rabid dog that cannot stop itself. America backs it like Japan backed the Third Reich.

In fact, neither Germany nor Japan stopped until they both lay in ruins. I suspect the same is true for Israel.

Sadly, since Israel is well-defended, Jews in the diaspora will become targets. After all, Israel is not the Amish State.

The "blight unto the nations" has become the only racist, militaristic, International-law-snubbing, land-stealing, water-robbing, U.S. Congress-owning, lying-spying, nuclear apartheid theocracy in the Mideast.

Yahweh must weep, his People once again disobeying His words.


If israel is such an apartheid, please explain why the third largest political party sitting in the Knesset is an arab party? Made up entirely of people who are not Jewish and who frankly hate the state of israel. did south africa have a huge black party in its government?


First of all, Steve the Palestinians who may sit in the Knesset will have no chance of being in the government. If we go by the sheer number of Palestinians that live under Israeli control the number of Palestinians in the Knesset would at least two or three times greater. If those Palestinians who are allowed to return to their homes, Zionist racists would have no chance of being the government. Since Israel's inception it has been ruled by a racist coalition of some form. Today's Prime Minister is more likely to isolate Israel from the civilized world. Let us hope his rule is short and peace may come to Palestine soon.