Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back a frequent guest, Dan Diker, Director of the Political Warfare Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). They discuss with Diker the apparent Netanyahu victory in the third election in a year in Israel, the rising Israeli Arab quest for normalization in the Jewish state and a new book on Israelphobia and the West published by the JCPA that has caught a wave of attention in Washington, Jerusalem. Alan Dershowitz who participated in a roundtable discussion before an audience of 250 at the JCPA remarked that he considered Israelphobia and the West as the bible on combatting the new antisemitism of Israel as the Jewish state and the return of violence against individual Jews, that occurred in Pittsburgh, Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, New York in the US. Violence against Jews not seen since the Holocaust that took the lives of Six Million European Jews.
While the results of Israel’s third election will not be available until early next week, nonetheless, it appears that with 95 percent of the vote tallied that Likud has 36 mandates versus the Blue White alliance’s 32. The Likud led right bloc composed of Shas, Agudath, other religious parties and Yamina are within striking distance of forming a possible ruling coalition with 59 mandates or seats in the Knesset. The Final tally may show perhaps another 3 to 4 Knesset seats from 100,000 votes remaining to be counted. That would cement formation of a Netanyahu ruling coalition in an unprecedented fifth term as Prime Minister. Diker note that the voter turnout was the highest since 1999. Diker attributes that result to intensive campaigning in predominating Likud base areas. That was facilitated by use of an Israeli software system Elexor that identified low Likud base turnout in previous elections and sent text messages to cell phones urging voting turnout. Should President Rivlin grant PM Netanyahu the right to form a new ruling Knesset, that would effectively dent the reputation of Avigdor Liberman and his right wing secular Yisrael Beiteinu party as ‘kingmaker’. Liberman, the former foreign and defense minister in previous Netanyahu governments scored only 7 mandates in this election.
The stunning spike in voter turnout by Israel’s Arab community ironically may have been spurred by the map redrawing in the Trump peace plan that might have ceded the triangle of 250,000 of Israel Arab towns northeast of Haifa. The spike in Israeli Arab voter turnout Diker thinks represents a turning point in what is perceived as normalization and rejection of traditional corruption of majority Sunni Arab control via families, clans and tribes. Diker thinks that Israel Arabs may be accepting an Israeli version of what arose in the US from immigration, a melting pot of minorities in a democratic Jewish state. This electoral result from Israel Arab turnout vaulted the Arab Joint list to become the third largest coalition bloc in the new Knesset with 15 or 16 mandates. Diker considers this a death knell for BDS as it reflects the self-confidence seeking a larger budget for the Israel Arab community and males the joint list a force to be reckoned with. He noted that the Blue White alliance had sought the Arab Joint list as a possible coalition partner. The result marks in Diker’s view as a new milestone in normalization of Israel Arab and Jewish community relations.
We spoke of this third election as a possible touchstone for application of Israeli law to the Jordan Valley approaches, especially control over the Judean hills to protect low lying areas along the Mediterranean Coast, especially Tel Aviv. Diker noted that Netanyahu has sought this development since his first election in 1996. Even Labor PM’s before him has espoused such a strategic move, especially in the wake of the June Six Days of War in 1967. The difference this time, Diker pointed out, is that the Trump Administration sees the importance of that security interest of Israel. But realization of that awaits the composition of the ruling coalition of PM Netanyahu’s fifth term and the re-election of Trump in the 2020 US national elections. Netanyahu promoted the view that he had maintained a “decade of peace” by containing Hamas and the Iran-controlled Palestinian Islamic Jihad. That, Diker thinks, has allowed Netanyahu to concentrate on the strategic threat of Iran-controlled Hezbollah both in Lebanon and Syria.
The discussion turned to recent meetings in Jerusalem with the general assembly of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (COPMAJO) and a JCPA – sponsored round table discussion on the new book, Israelophobia and the West. Besides, Diker as both editor and co-author, the book contains articles by a broad range of authors including Israeli Arabs, black South African Christian leaders, and US members of the Black Caucus supporters of Israel. Diker noted that Israel is denigrated not only on US college campuses, but also by so-called ‘progressives’ in the US Congress as a “Nazi, apartheid racist state”. Israelophobia covers not only the rhetorical assault on the Jewish state of Israel but the sudden eruption of violence against individual Jews and communities, reminiscent of the Nazi final solution that took the lives of the Six million. What is insidious Diker propounds is that the Israelophobia rhetoric assault against Israel in the mainstream media amounts to lies as legitimate criticism. He noted it had in origins in the Soviet era in the 1960’s reaching a climax in the UN Resolution 3379 of 1974 that “Zionism is racism”. That took until 1991 to finally be overturned.
Beyond the Matrix listeners can read Israelophobia and the West by going to jcpa.org and downloading a free copy. A video of the recent JCPA roundtable discussion of Israelphobia can be found on YouTube. You can watch Beyond the Matrix program videos posted on the Netiv YouTube channel.