SIR – Is Archon’s excitement over Isaac Herzog wresting the helm of Israel from Netanyahu, and steering a more enlightened course, justifiably optimistic? Let’s look more closely at the key players in this party, the ‘Zionist Union’ – and the man whom The Southern Star is ‘rooting for’.
Yes, as you say, it’s a pity about the name, Zionist Union, because as we know ‘actually existing Zionism’ is a racist settler-colonial political system built upon the ethnic-cleansing of over 1m indigenous people. It imposes apartheid upon the Palestinian people, routinely flouts international law, steals land, builds illegal settlements and frequently engages in murderous campaigns of war crimes against a captive population.
However, looking at the calibre of the Zionist Union leadership, it seems not much will change … Isaac Herzog chided Netanyahu for not killing enough Palestinians more quickly last summer. In an advert which, according to the Jerusalem Post, ‘attacked Netanyahu from the Right,’ Herzog complained that: ‘You waited, stalled and hesitated … You had to hit them on the head and on time. You failed.’
Furthermore, while Minister for Housing Herzog continued building illegal settlements in violation of the ‘Road Map for Peace’ (and more importantly, the Geneva Convention) and has signalled his intention to keep building settlements. His coalition partner Tzipi Livni, slated to be deputy PM, oversaw the savage butchery of the 2008/’09 Cast Lead attack on Gaza which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, including 352 kids. During that assault, she stated the operation was ‘punitive.’ Collective punishment is a war crime, but Livni is on record as saying ‘I am against law – international law in particular.’
Meanwhile, Amos Yadlin, the candidate for defence minister, largely agrees with Netanyahu when it comes to Iran. Among the options listed by him are: regime change, or a ‘kinetic attack’.
So-called ‘Liberal Zionism’ is not a better option for Palestinians than its rightwing counterpart. Liberal Zionism oversaw many of the most terrible crimes against the Palestinian people. If anything Liberal Zionism is more pernicious than rightwing Zionism – at least the right is more honest about its anti-Palestinian agenda.
As dissident Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has pointed out, ‘Herzog and Livni will delude the world,’ they have ‘no intention of reaching an agreement’ and the ‘occupation will become even more entrenched’. In other words, if the foot on your throat is simply wearing a different boot – nothing much has changed. No matter who emerges victorious, Palestinians will not celebrate – and neither should we.
We should continue building the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as Palestinians have asked us, to help them secure their freedom, justice and equality.