Barack Obama's reelection to the United States presidency is a bright ray of light in the dark tunnel of international and particularly Israeli politics in recent years. In the U.S., the crass, belligerent public discourse, which borders on brutal nationalism, failed to douse the hope and unity of the forces opposed to racism and xenophobia.
Whatever learned observers may say about the election process – for instance, that they centered on domestic affairs or Obama's feeble economy – the truth is that they centered (like the previous one) on a far more fundamental issue: the ability and right of a non-white to lead a global superpower and therefore, the globe as a whole.
It wouldn't be going too far to say that the election results unequivocally proved that the younger generation of Americans, of whom more than 60 percent voted for Obama, is a lot more tolerant than the generation of their fathers. That in and of itself is reassuring and is relieving. The election outcome also shows that it only took a few generations after institutional anti-black racism was abolished thanks to adherence to constitutional principles, for public awareness to take the next step forward.
Israelhad a role in the American election, not because its people could vote in it but because of choices made by the prime minister. We should ask America's pardon for Benjamin Netanyahu's role. Like a herd of bulls in a china shop, he and his cronies tried to set the agenda of the American election, through reckless manipulation of human lives and global peace. The Sheldon Adelson-Mitt Romney-Netanyahu alliance wasn't born yesterday; but it grew stronger in the last year at the expense of Israel's security and at the expense of its ability to coordinate action with the elected government in Washington.
The threat from Iran isn't imaginary but neither are the disagreements between Israel's political leaders and military about Israel's ability to achieve the desired results on its own. Top military brass don't believe Israel can stop Iran's nuclear program without logistical support from the U.S.; by acting alone, all it would do is provoke a bloody regional war.
Trying to bring the internal disputes between Jerusalem and Washington before the American public right smack in the middle of election season was a bad idea and an irresponsible one. Netanyahu thought American Jewry would prioritize the Iranian threat and its ramifications a-la Netanyahu higher than their loyalty to the values of American democracy. He was wrong.
The forces of democracy in Israel must now to unite to fight the enemy within. That enemy is our own government, as a whole and in its components. Anti-democratic legislation, inflammatory rhetoric, concentrated and anti-social economics and teaching racist and xenophobic - all are dangers to peace within Israel, which has yet to recover from the murder of its prime minister 17 years ago.
The forces of democracy, including from the right and the Arab community, must come together to restore the scepter to sane people who view international crisis as an opportunity to find solutions and not as a declaration of war; who care about the weak and oppressed rather than sic other weakened forces against them; who teach tolerance as opposed to the supremacy of the Jewish people over the other.
For this to happen, the leaders of the leftist and centrist parties must put their egos aside; and come election day we have the horse sense to vote for democracy-minded parties; and if we squeeze out every vote from the intimidated, defensive silence of the Israeli political depression.
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