Lou Sandler

Likud Won…What’s the Plan?

In the almost majestic support of Netanyahu and Likud, many continue to dismiss the reality and points being made by those within Israel itself who have strongly questioned Netanyahu’s framework and key demands. And with this, Bibi still hasn’t offered a solution; an alternative; a set of coherent suggestions.

Bombing Tehran should be out of the question. Further sanctions to the point of ‘fencing off’ Iran will not only likely not help to discontinue whatever exactly Iran is doing but may both expedite it while removing any degree of international observation at all. The question is not what Iran ‘can’t have’ but more functional alternatives to and oversight about what it does.

Generally speaking, an expectation that a nation – any nation – will simply give up powerful new modern technology at the demand of others who often actually have that technology themselves is simply not realistic.

So what do we do?

And the use of sanctions, themselves, are often way overrated even as they may ‘feel good’ for those who impose. Most recently and as a for instance, Russia has been hit very hard by sanctions creating desperate economic conditions which continue to deteriorate. At the same time, Putin continues his escalating political rhetoric, intimidation and attacks on Ukraine to include recreating some of the exact politics just prior to the outbreak of WWI.

Hamas are Islamofascists who have routinely committed war crimes against their own citizens and whose Charter calls for the murder of every single Israeli Jew. Abbas, who seems to be working on his own delusional dictatorship while be conned by an Israel hating European core, is corrupt and becoming more absurd and thoughtless by the week.

At the same time, this also can’t continue as an indefinite excuse for Israel’s lack of vision and motivation to move forward. Netanyahu’s own lack of vision; own incredibly counterproductive histrionics; his increasing willingness to say almost anything depending on the audience and point in the international news cycle has also not only been less than helpful. It also continues to feed the political hands of our enemies.

Even as Netanyahu and many others state – with some accuracy – that there is no ‘partner’ among the Palestinian factions with whom to truly negotiate, the Israeli Right continues to provide adequate data and ammunition that allows that other side to make some of these exact same claims.

There is nothing truly available right now by which to ‘negotiate’ with the Palestinians; with that point I agree.

But Netanyahu’s political choices have been increasingly disintegrative, increasingly less thought through and the opposite of leadership. His only identifiable ‘goals,’ it seems, are in the negative; what should not happen. We largely already know what we don’t want to happen; what we do need is to articulate functional, forward directed and doable alternatives.

A fact is that the myriad of possibilities which Netanyahu DOESN’T want to happen are points on which most of us very likely agree. But he has done a very poor job of articulating what he DOES want to happen and what Likud and Israel is prepared to do (short of reactive military action).

Despite some written opinions to the contrary, I actually don’t think the Israeli electorate are as ‘happy’ about returning Likud as many believe. And with the Zionist Union party…and before, certainly…the ‘not Israeli right’ (the opposition) has also done an impressively poor job articulating a progressive forward thinking vision framed by no nonsense strength.

Likud’s ability to talk no nonsense strength and resistance at a particular point where threats to Israel are increasing exponentially combined with uncertainties about the opposition’s positions by both the Israeli electorate and those of us in the Diaspora is what won the elections for Likud.

I don’t think ‘happy’ with the status quo or Likud was an active part of the decision process for a large percentage of those who voted Likud. I would also debate as to Likud’s degree of domestic successes though I am certainly also not being outright dismissive.

Costs, cost of living and housing, dramatically increasing divisions in income and economic equity among Israelis, issues related to never-ending welfare support of Israel’s Haredi towards whom Netanyahu will likely have to go Faustian again as he forms his newest coalition, the draft, integration of numbers of European Jewish immigrants and so on has not been uniformly high on the Likud agenda.

This was – could and should have been – a strength of the Zionist Union (the opposition). But without their own broader and integrated vision, security understandably remains a priority concern and reality. That the opposition struggles to maintain stable and unified thoughts in this regard is also an issue which translates into a strong Likud advantage and is a very legitimate cause for concern for every one of us.

One last pivotal point not much referenced is the fact that Israel is a very new nation with a very new and a still significant need to evolve political and related infrastructure. Israel, in too many ways, remains locked in the radical Zionism and ‘tribalism’ of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his cohort who largely considered the existing Palestinian groups at the time to be full persona non grata.

While such a mindset probably played an important role at its point on the Timeline of History in the remarkable unification and strengthening of the about to be State of Israel, in many ways it has yet to move forward; to further evolve. And move forward it must…..

Likud more represents and is locked into the early to mid-20th century Zionist movements and movers who, while building modern Israel, also made some egregious philosophical, human and applied errors.

Israel must remain strong and strongly directed. Israel also must not and cannot back down. But under Likud, Israel still lacks a coherent forward vision and continues to be framed by a day to day reactivity that is more and more inflammatory and disintegrative in its own nature.

Netanyahu’s victory likely represented far less satisfaction and far more fear, concern and uncertainty; elements which were artfully used by Netanyahu.

My principle frustration with and antipathy towards Netanyahu is that he continues to use such fear, confusion, divisiveness, concern and uncertainty as a fluid electoral and political strategies to include telling us what to be afraid of rather with an assurance of strength but without, offering a coherent interconnected political vision and the leadership to move in that direction.

The repeating mantra that identifies a lack of coherent Palestinian negotiating partners is not altogether incorrect. But just as I’d anticipate were the PA to fully recognize Israel and Hamas revoke its charter to kill every one of us that Israel and the West would respond differently so, too, must Israeli consider what it can do to break the pattern and logjam.

Yelling back and forth has clearly not been working. And arguing that the other side is unreasonable does not absolve Israel and Likud of the real responsibility for Israel’s stability and future.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.