Israel’s left-center, which has lost its emotional and moral compass, must turn to the Arab parties and their voters now or face destruction
The left-center bloc is no less racist and nationalist than the right. But unlike the right, it is racist and nationalist without emotion. The right-wing mindset is fear and hatred. They are afraid of the Arabs, the migrants and the leftists, and they hate them.
The left was once marked by compassion and sympathy for the oppressed. When soldiers broke bones, the left was shocked. When children were beaten and people under interrogation were tortured, when vineyards were set ablaze and land stolen, the left identified with the victim. This feeling disappeared about a decade ago. The emotion is gone and the left is gone. The left-center is devoid of feeling. That's why it is being defeated.
Its spokespeople have become nationalist. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was the first to foster leftist nationalism when he said: "We are here and they are there." That is, we also hate Arabs, but our solution is better. We'll build a wall and let them rot behind it. We'll give them a state and let them wallow in it. The main thing is for them to get out of our sight. That was the beginning of the death of the true left, a left that came from the heart and a sense of justice.
While the Palestinian left speaks of a just life together, the Israeli left speaks of separation (based on race, of course ). Hatnuah chief Tzipi Livni says correct things about the two-state solution, but she preaches from nationalist motives. She wants a state without (many ) Arabs, a Jewish state, which she defines as a nationalist state. Israel for the Jews. Just like France for the French and Germany for the Germans. In French and German this sounds terrible; only in Hebrew does it pass muster. Not a word about morality and human rights for all.
Labor Party chief Shelly Yacimovich, meanwhile, makes firm and correct statements about social justice and discrimination, but she only wants justice for Jews. The poor of your own city come first, as the ancient saying goes. So her statements are also racist. Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid doesn't say much but he certainly doesn't break with the nationalist line.
Only Meretz and Hadash speak the language of the old left, but their passion has cooled somewhat. Israel's left-center has lost its emotional and moral compass, so it is being destroyed. It can't sweep up the masses because if we're going to have nationalism, the right's nationalism wins out.
At the end of the week the left-center bloc seemed somewhat reinvigorated. Talk of coordination between its three parties provided some meager hope that there is still a chance to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But this hope is lost from the outset because this bloc is keeping out Meretz, not to mention the Arab parties and their voters.
Former Shin Bet chief and Yesh Atid candidate Jacob Perry
True, no respectable Arab will vote for a bloc whose values are a "Jewish state" or "justice for the Jews," but without Arab voters there will be no victory over the right. The left-center must overcome its racism now and turn to the Arab parties and their voters.
Enough with this talk of a "Jewish majority," enough with television ratings among "Jewish households." The Knesset today consists of 110 MKs, not 120. This must stop, even before the election. The only reservoir of votes that can stop the left-center's fall is in Taibeh, Nazareth and Kalansua. These voters must be brought to the polls on January 22. They won't vote en masse for Labor, Hatnuah or Yesh Atid, but if they know that these parties listen to their problems, if they know that Meretz, Hadash, United Arab List-Ta'al, Balad and the Da'am workers party could have some impact after the election, they might change their minds and vote.
We need cooperation and coordination now, before the election. United Arab List-Ta'al leader Ahmed Tibi must be recognized as a partner in stopping fascism. The Arab parties are legitimate parties, no less than right-wing Habayit Hayehudi and Otzma Leyisrael. They are anti-Netanyahu no less than Yair Lapid. And they must be partners in the fateful political moves to stop the right wing now.
Later the left-center will have to come back to feeling emotion, to the natural justice that has stopped pulsing within it and whose absence has led to its demise. But with the bloc's current cast of characters, this will be very difficult.