Insults don’t win votes, hearts or minds
Lord John Mann, former Labour MP and now the British government’s adviser on antisemitism, has pointed out, in the context of Corbyn, that you don’t get votes by antagonising the electorate.
We saw it in Britain with Brexit. Why would we vote for someone who insults you by calling you racist or thick?
Wherever we live, whoever we are, each of us is afraid of something.
Those fears need to be addressed and not rebuked, not least because often they’ve been amplified and even caused by populists and extremists who seem to hear us but in fact exploit us. I was going to say ‘them’ but dividing people into us and them is where failure of empathy begins. There’s not one of us who, hand on heart, can honestly own they are immune to manipulation.
However well meaning and wherever we live if we don’t acknowledge with open minds those fears that others are playing with, and find a way to hear; to address; to promise to deal with the cause of the fears non judgmentally; then we don’t stand a chance of regaining moderation.
It’s not unique to Israel but the years of grinding aggression which leads people to want to retaliate has to be understood so people’s voices are heard. There is also the role of Israel as a Jewish state, together with our ethnic and cultural diversity, and that needs addressing whilst including and not disenfranchising any strand of Judaism and those citizens who are not Jewish. All our voices have to be listened to in a spirit of cooperation.
This catastrophic result (I use that word because I can’t right now use any other) is, to a very great extent, down to the failure of the moderates to put their differences and egos to one side, to organise politically, and to understand that we are all human beings.
I still have a smidgen of hope that Bibi will drop Ben Gvir but my cold reason says it’s unlikely.
People shouldn’t give up on Israel. We need to learn from our mistakes. We need to organise. This applies in Britain as well where we have splintered since Corbyn. The Jewish left or right here isn’t going to get anywhere by name calling.
I’ll end on a light note. Someone yesterday called me a ‘hard left dud’ because I’m not happy with the Israeli election result. It’s funny but at the same time an example of ridiculous name calling that gets us nowhere and could just as easily have been phrased the other way, ie ‘hard right dud’.
Whether wearing my Israeli or British hat, is this really the best we can do?