No More ‘My Ally, Right or Wrong’

Ein Meinungsbeitrag von Susie Becher, Kommunikationsdirektorin der Policy Working Group, einer Gruppe von Israelis, darunter ehemaligen Mitgliedern des diplomatischen Dienstes und der Sicherheitseinrichtungen des Landes, die sich gegenüber der internationalen Gemeinschaft weiterhin für eine Regelung des Israelisch-Palästinensischen Konflikts auf der Basis der einer Zwei-Staaten-Regelung einsetzen:

„Not only the Israeli left but progressive governments everywhere are reeling from the outcome of the Israeli elections.  It is not so much the decisive victory of the right-wing, pro-Netanyahu camp, whose voters showed utter disregard for the values of honesty, integrity, and truth as characteristics for leadership, that has shaken liberals around the world.  What is far more worrisome is the impressive 12% of the seats in parliament won by the extremist Religious Zionism party, the wretched alliance of the Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir with the fundamentalist Bezalel Smotrich that has both Jews and Arabs, quaking at the thought of the racist, reactionary, homophobic, chauvinistic policies they may seek to advance.

Smotrich, Ben-Gvir, senior Likud members, and commentators identified with the right wing are busy trying to assure the public that there is nothing to fear, that the status quo on gay rights, abortion laws, and other issues related to civil rights will be preserved.  It is too early to assume that that will not be the case, to no small degree because of the Religious Zionist leaders’ understanding that the surge in this popularity did not come from a public hungry for halakhic rule but rather from a public that loathes the Arabs among whom we live. Despite assurances to the contrary, there may yet be a turn on the domestic scene that makes the current level of religious coercion in Israel look like a liberal paradise, but what is an absolute certainty is that we will see an increase in anti-Arab discourse designed to delegitimize the Arab political parties and make the entire Palestinian population in Israel appear suspect and entitled to no more than conditional citizenship.  Furthermore, the incoming government – right wing from end to end with a large percentage of religious parties – will be united not only in its objection to the establishment of a Palestinian state but also in its refusal to recognize the very need for a diplomatic resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict and its portrayal of the expansion of settlement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as the fulfillment of the destiny of the “chosen people” on its own land.

Germany, as a leading EU member state but, even more importantly, as a country that has committed itself to the defense of the security of the Jewish people and the State of Israel as its raison d’etat, is facing a unique challenge. Its leaders are wondering how Germany can chastise the Israeli Government or impose punitive measures without breaking the promise that lies at the foundation of German-Israel relations and without being perceived as reverting to an antisemitic stance reminiscent of the Nazi era.  The real question, however, is how can it not?

Following the approach adopted by the Biden administration, Europe and Germany in particular must stress that democratic values are fundamental to their relations with Israel and that they expect to see these values upheld both domestically and in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Such a change in German policy would not constitute abandonment of its unwavering commitment to the security of Israel; rather, it would demonstrate willingness to act when Israel strays from the path of justice and democracy because it recognizes that the greatest danger to the security of the state and of world Jewry would be giving license to a racist, fascist government whose policies ignite the Middle East.“

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