Monday, November 21, 2011

Leftist Party Is Over

[I don't quite agree with everything this op-ed by Yoel Meltzer has to say, but it provides some much needed balance to the one-sided opinions on the Huffington Post vis a vis recent Israeli legislation.]

As Solomon the wisest of men once said "there is nothing new under the sun." With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the recently proposed "rightist" bills have elicited the usual responses: Plenty of Bibi-bashing coupled with accusations that Israel's democracy is under attack and that freedom of speech is being stymied.

Thus, rather than seriously addressing the issues and arguing over substance, the supposed guardians of democracy simply rattle off sound bites that are designed to vilify and scare anyone who dares to see things differently. It's a common tactic and one that is expected, especially from those who feel their power slipping away.

However, times are changing and the public is finally waking up. They know that the Israeli Supreme Court is one of the most activist supreme courts in the world with a disproportionate amount influence, driven by a worldview that represents a very small percentage of the Israeli population. Moreover, people understand that changing the longstanding policy whereby the court largely chooses its own judges in order to perpetuate its ideological stranglehold will only strengthen, and not curtail, Israeli democracy.

Similarly, most Israelis understand that the funding of Israeli organizations by foreign governments as a way to enable these governments to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel, especially in light of the current international campaign against Israel, is obviously problematic. Thus, labeling any attempt to deal with this complex issue as a sign of a right-wing crackdown or a restriction of human rights is nonsense.

Indeed, this is very serious issue that must be addressed regardless of one's ideological position.

Public fed up

More importantly, the days where the powerful left-wing establishment manages to silence its critics every time it feels a threat to its well-entrenched hold on power are coming to an end. As much as they try to portray themselves as innocent by wrapping themselves in pure white cloaks of freedom and democracy, this small yet powerful ideological group can no longer hide its hypocrisy.

The same voices that sanctimoniously claim that Netanyahu’s and Lieberman’s Israel is turning ugly and fascist, for years labeled all opponents of the disastrous Oslo process as enemies of peace in order to stifle any real discussion.

Likewise, prominent voices in the mainly left-wing media who disingenuously claim that the current government is overstepping its boundaries in order to impose its agenda, only a few short years rallied round the call by one of their colleagues that Ariel Sharon had to be "protected like an etrog" in order to help the government implement the controversial Gaza Disengagement.

Unfortunately, rather than understanding that the public is simply fed up with a situation whereby a small group with an exorbitant amount of power and influence largely determines what is best for the rest of the country, the predominantly left-wing establishment continues to view alternative voices as a threat.

This is certainly a shame as the truth of the matter is that a change in direction based upon a more balanced approach will not only be more in line with the mindset of the average Israeli, but will also help secure the country’s long-term survival.

Whether or not the Left finally internalizes this and stops attacking is irrelevant. Either way, the party is over as the leftist monopoly on being the sole decider on the direction of the country is finally coming to an end.

Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. His personal blog is

1 comment:

  1. The near-total failure to acknowledge ownership for catastrophic policy failures and the follow-up failure to effectively lie their way free of responsibility for those decisions isn't unique to the Left in general or the Israel Left specifically (you can find the same elements in play across the U.S. poitical spectrum from extreme to extreme). But I do think the Left in Israel believes that as long as they have Haaretz and some important European media outlets (especially the Guardian and Economist) in their corner, they're going to regain all of their previous power and control of events. And I can say without hesitation that this belief is a mix of anachronistic fantasy and dangerous projection of stunted programs. IT WON'T WORK.


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