Not just in Israeli - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Michael Steiner, Bahrain
    • 31.01.12 | 21:26 (IST)

    This polarization is a phenomenon produced in the past decade. It's very visible in America, too: It started with Pres. Bush's "You're either with us or against us," which has since been corrupted -- by all sides -- into "either for us or against America." In Israel, the term "Zionist" has been hijacked by the most odious extreme right-wing elements, to the extent that those of us opposed to the settlements and opposed to religious encroachment on civic life, and yet supporting a military action against Iran or a firm stance against terror, are scoffed at when we declare ourselves as Zionists. It's no longer about a legitimate difference of opinion, passionate discourse and debate. Now those who do not buy into the whole -- I dare say -- religious-Zionist "package" are enemies of the state, purely and simply, worthy of incarceration and deportation if we're lucky, and physical violence if we're not. The Left is no better, lurching ever further into its own extremes to differentiate itself from the rabid Right... - as if that's really necessary. These are very dangerous developments, which lead to two things: (1) Increasingly many people get put off by politics altogether and decide they don't want to play anymore, and that totally undermines democracy; and (2) the ratcheted-up rhetoric results in someone eventually pulling a gun on the other, as happened with Gabby Giffords who, despite being a right-wing Democrat, was deemed sufficiently anti-American in the current atmosphere. Lamentably, political pluralism and respect seem to be gone...

    from the article: The only Israel boycott that's actually working
    First published 13:58 31.01.12 | Last updated 13:58 31.01.12
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