Throughout history, revolutions have meant starting something new, the breakout of a formerly unknown radical movement. This is about to change. In Israel, the core ideology of the ongoing protests in Tel Aviv and everywhere else around the country is pure conservatism. The protesters who fear the end of democracy as they know it, are simply advocating against change. While I support the cause, the preservation of the tiny amount of democracy Israel has, I do think it’s a bit funny, how mass protests are not guided by the desire for progress, or human rights violations against Palestinians for crying out loud, but rather, resistance against change. Israelis are so accustomed to their way of life, that they cannot advocate for a better political environment for everyone living under the Israeli government, they can only support things being as they were before.
When talking about the diversity of the protesters’ ideologies, it’s always framed as a net positive, “Look, guys, we finally managed to agree on something”, and not “This is the only thing we can agree on”. A whole country came together in support of democracy. Leftists and right-wingers chanting for something, side by side. Disappointed former Likudniks.
Pretending like this happened for reasons completely outside voters’ control.
Now, I’m no Yesh Atid supporter. I think we need someone much more left-leaning in power than Yair Lapid to stop, for example, Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and in the West Bank.
However, with him as Prime Minister, we wouldn’t have the independence of the highest court in the land hanging on by a thread. So when it comes to “disappointed Likudniks”, I can’t really say anything consoling. It’s your fault, guys. If someone voted for Bibi, let’s say, twenty years ago, I get it. He was a charismatic guy. But to fall for the same populist declarations over and over again, for decades, disappointment shouldn’t come as much of a shock.
So, we’re here, with Israel’s huge revolution. A revolution that didn’t have to happen. So many things had to go wrong for it to do.
Twenty-five percent of voters voted for the Likud. Leftists decided not to vote for Meretz, but for Lapid. Merav Michaeli did not budge and did not agree to join forces with Meretz. A couple of years ago, Lieberman raised the minimum percentage of overall votes for a party to be able to enter the Knesset.
So many things had to go wrong for this government to take power, and they did. The most radical, most right-wing government in Israeli history, just to make every matter just a tad bit worse. So many years of ‘center-right’ governing should have taught the Israeli public that centrism is simply not an antidote against fascism. Tolerating everything, from left to right just doesn’t solve anything. It instead eases the normalization of radical right-wingers, like Smotrich or Ben Gvir. Extreme pluralism, as some call it, accepting each and every ideology, no matter, how insane or xenophobic it is, leads to this. A centrist revolution. Not fighting for racial or religious minorities, economic equality, or climate reform, but for things to stay as they were before “Bibi, the liar, and the son of a liar” came and ruined everything.
I hope that the judicial reform bill does not pass and does not eventually become law. I do.
But I’m also terrified of the prospect, that after hundreds of thousands of people protest for months, they regard their victory over Netanyahu as the end goal, and simply go back to their lives, as if nothing happened, and they forget about Israel’s real problems.
Apartheid. It flourished under Lapid and Bennett, as it did under the current guy and it will not go away, not if all of us, Jews stand don’t stand in solidarity with the Palestinians.