If You're a Democratic Israeli, You Must Vote for Herzog

The only truly radical approach to reality is having the audacity to change it. If Herzog doesn't prove himself, we will keep fighting.

Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann
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Isaac Herzog attends the Israel Conference on Democracy, February 17, 2015.
Isaac Herzog attends the Israel Conference on Democracy, February 17, 2015.Credit: Moti Milrod
Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann

The only radical political action available to the democratic Israeli voter is to vote for Zionist Union, headed by Bougie Herzog. This is so for one simple reason: because the truly radical approach to reality is having the audacity to transform it.

Obviously, this doesn’t guarantee that Herzog will lead Israeli society to the correction necessary for its liberation: ending the occupation. Indeed, we must admit, the future is unknown. It’s impossible to know whether Herzog is “the one”; even Herzog doesn’t yet know if he is who he thinks he is. His opponents’ fears go without saying: History teaches us that an Ashkenazi capitalist from the Labor Party is generally a well-mannered servant of the “lord of Israeli reality,” which is the status quo.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that any possibility of changing reality first and foremost requires replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. And in the upcoming election, this possibility is embodied in a single person: Herzog.

“The occupation corrupts,” Yeshayahu Leibowitz warned Israeli society almost 50 years ago. If society has indeed been corrupted by the occupation, how can it know what is best for it? How can it know that its concepts of good and evil, which guide its choices, haven’t also been corrupted by the occupation, such that what it thinks is good is bad, and vice versa?

If Leibowitz was correct in his diagnosis, then the entirety of Israeli political thought, including the voter’s reasoning, is infected with this disease. Consequently, those who still carry the memory of this illness in their hearts are obligated to maintain an attitude of constant suspicion toward Israel’s political logic and language. They must understand that in the political power structure of Israeli democracy, “the Israeli left” is a necessary element in maintaining the status quo.

The dramatic balance that society maintains between the “left-wing” and “right-wing” blocs serves the status quo, because it doesn’t permit any significant historical movement. It keeps society stuck in place, at most allowing limited military operations or the launching of diplomatic processes, but nothing beyond that.

As evidence, see the speed with which the left switched from an unequivocal, almost Bolshevik, call to vote “just not Bibi” – in other words, Herzog – to the supposedly politically diverse calls for everyone to “return” to his natural political home (in the well-kept ideological suburbs of the Israeli occupation) and then, finally, arriving at “just not Herzog.” It’s almost as if they scented change in the air and mobilized to do everything possible to prevent it. The disease is fighting the medication.

True radicalism obliges us to plug our ears to the nonsense Zionist Union is spouting night and day and vote for Herzog. We must also plug our ears so as not to be led astray by the beautiful phrases uttered in other political arenas.

We must not forget for a moment that our political language is infected with the disease, and therefore, tidings of a cure won’t arrive in the pretty phrases reserved for it in our language. Because those pretty phrases also serve the status quo – or in other words, they play a role in maintaining it.

And if Herzog is elected and merely continues to serve the status quo, then we will continue to fight, until “the one” who will save Israeli society finally arrives.

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