Lou Sandler

Netanyahu’s Pyrrhic Victory: A Unified, Stable and Self Defined Opposition needs to Evolve

As asked by David Horovitz in today’s article with its unnecessarily dramatized and, likely, less productive title of ‘King Bibi and his Divided People; “Would Netanyahu have so desperately cannibalized his right-wing allies/rivals had the polls been rosier for him? Would he have whipped up such internal friction over the Arab vote? Would he have taken so emphatic a stance against Palestinian statehood?”

These seem to barely even be real questions since there is little doubt that the response would be a formidable ‘no.’

It is also likely that Netanyahu will, once again, be forced to backtrack from at least some of his more recently selected and wholly melodramatic actions and statements to include those of just the last 48 hours which were far more the politics of disconnected, visionless panic than a presentation of electoral principles and strategies driven by a thoughtful vision for the future.

Its also time to stop the false classification of ‘right’ and ‘left wing’ as coherent and mutually definable entities in Israeli politics.

A sincere wish to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli relationship in ways which are of mutual benefit to both Israelis and Palestinians to include acknowledging the fundamental political aspirations of the Palestinian citizenry – as opposed to the nihilistic Palestinian governments in both Gaza and on the West Bank – is no longer of the ‘Left’ or previously even then misnamed ‘Peace Camp.’ It is, instead, for the future stability and viability of the State of Israel. And it is this critical hope for the future of Israel which voters unfortunately continue to place on Netanyahu and the Israeli hard Right.

A true, mutually acceptable resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli relationship also has increasing bipartisan support across a growing number of intelligence, military and political Israeli officers to include a spectrum of Israeli citizens and those across the Diaspora. And this hardly represents a ‘left wing’ or ‘Obama dominated’ spectrum within either Israel or among the Diaspora.

In fact, in a fairly recent speech, even Avigdor Lieberman referenced the likelihood that ‘land for peace’ would need to be ultimately considered in negotiations with the Palestinians. Inasmuch as that speech also include lots of alternative political rhetoric, his particular ‘land for peace’ reference failed to get the attention it warranted then and still warrants now.

That the Palestinian leadership, itself, has been unstable, nihilistic and destructive to both its own and to Israel while failing to offer a real and sincere partner certainly is another important variable in any formula leading to a mutually shared peace and stability.

Just one of the ongoing errors of the so called Israeli Left or, more accurately, the Israeli ‘Not Hard Right.’ is, similar to that which continues at play in the U.S. That is, to not let itself continue to be defined by default and/or simply based on its rejection of the amoral principles and visionless Israeli future pursued by Israel’s hard Right.

A real opposition; real and evolving strategies to be in the opposition and a platform/agenda to pursue which makes sense is imperative to block a return to the dangerous status quo which is all Netanyahu and the Israeli hard Right have offered. The lack of a consistent, stable, coherent and self defined alternative political framework by the Zionist Union likely played far more of a role in Netanyahu’s victory than Netanyahu’s own desperate ploys of the past couple months.

While Netanyahu’s increasing fear mongering theatrics no doubt helped, I’d still give it less credit than have others. The lack of a coherent, stable and focused opposition with a logical and doable set of objectives remains a key operant.

Just as principal Palestinian parties and their allies would receive a very different response from Israelis were they to fully recognize Israel and Israel’s own right to live in a secure peace, Netanyahu and his hard Right would do much better with Obama, other supportive nations and many Israelis, for that matter, were he to demonstrate a vision for the future rather than constant histrionics and the pandering politics of fear.

The Israeli ‘Non-Right’ would also very likely receive a different response from the voters of Israel were it to differently organize and present itself.

In the last few days, Netanyahu has ‘proven’ himself a perfect ally to and in collusion with a self destroying American GOP to include banging out strategies right from a Rovian playbook. Netanyahu may have also sold what was left of his soul for this ominous pyrrhic victory. While disappointed, I’m hardly surprised by Likud’s victory.

It is now up to the Zionist Union to mature and remain unified rather than break down into a cacophony of recrimination, power moves and peevishness.

The Zionist Union needs to further develop, organize and become a truly active, forceful opposition while offering a far more consistently coherent set of doable political alternatives.

The Zionist Union needs to clearly and logically demonstrate how and why the ultimate pandering of Netanyahu to the Israeli hard Right remains more of an immediate threat to Israel than its neighbors combined.

There were many unheeded powerful voices speaking out in Israel on the risks emanating from Netanyahu and the Israeli hard Right. Just one challenge will be for those voices; a true and active political opposition to not let Netanyahu and the Israeli hard Right return to their ‘business as usual’ while a once again disunified opposition returns to its own disjointed ‘status quo.’

And redirecting Israel and its right wing from its ‘business as usual’ in Israeli politics will also demand a frank reassessment of the current state of Israeli politics which continues mired in and blocked by its own history.

The Still Evolving Politics of Israel; A Misunderstood and Unrealized Dynamic

Bibi has long since given up on leadership for pandering to base politics. Perhaps he may now recover some of those lost competencies. But yesterday did not so indicate and was not a victory for either Israel or the immediate region. It will be up to a sincere and focused opposition to truly organize and hold both Netanyahu and his likely mirror coalition to a much higher set of expectations.

And as a relevant aside to many readers…I’d suggest that you finally, now and into the future, free yourselves of your irrational hate of Obama and clear confusion as to his role; positions and politics. You’ve been more conned than you clearly recognize.

Netanyahu cynically used the American Congress, the American people and American Jews, Obama and the Israeli electorate alike due to his dramatically reduced capacity to lead based on the decided lack of a truly coherent future vision for either Israel (first) or Israeli-American relations, for that matter.

Oh…and keep an eye on the calendar; the need to call for the next set of elections in Israel may not be all that far off…

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.
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