Ostracize, Boycott, Do Not Join

The list Likud members have put together is tainted. Those who belittle its makeup belittle Israeli democracy. And those who delude themselves into thinking that Netanyahu is a moderate cannot ignore the ironclad constraints he will be subject to.

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This list must be ostracized, this parliamentary group must be boycotted. After Kadima and Labor railed against the newly elected Likud list, which includes an outright racist and murderer of prisoners, they must practice what they preach, and immediately. Only if the heads of these two "shocked" parties announce that under no circumstances will they join a Likud government will we know that there is an alternative to the extreme right. Only if they do this will we know that their words have not been meaningless.

Only if they do so will we know that there is still an iota of ideology left, a scrap of an idea on our political map. Only then will we believe that there is any difference between Likud, Kadima and Labor. If Kadima chief Tzipi Livni and Labor chairman Ehud Barak do not quickly proclaim a boycott of Likud, we will know that the upcoming elections mean nothing. The extreme right will rule in Israel.

An early announcement of a boycott of Likud is the weapon of last resort against the rise to power of Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. Such an announcement will weaken support for Likud and strengthen the alternative before the national elections.

David Ben-Gurion ostracized Menachem Begin - "the man sitting next to Dr. Yohanan Bader." Ben-Gurion said, "without Herut and without Maki," referring to his willingness to sit with any party in a coalition except the right-wingers and the Communists. Livni and Barak must similarly come out against a list that is far more extreme and unacceptable than Herut ever was. If the Israeli government boycotted an Austrian government that included Joerg Haider, who was much less of a racist than Feiglin and with much less blood on his hands than Ehud Yatom, an Israeli government formed by Likud can, should and must be boycotted.

The list Likud members have put together is tainted. Those who belittle its makeup belittle Israeli democracy. And those who delude themselves into thinking that Netanyahu is a moderate cannot ignore the ironclad constraints he will be subject to. This list is filled with refusers of peace, rebels against authority and deniers of democracy. Netanyahu understands this, and the time has come for Livni, Barak and their voters to recognize it. They must not lend a hand to legitimizing it.

If Netanyahu does win, he should be allowed to form a government only with his extremist partners. Let them put together a narrow coalition of Likud, Shas and Israel Beiteinu, and let Israelis and the world understand that something serious has happened in Israel. Let those extremists and fundamentalists go out to the world, and maybe the world will finally make a statement about the racist and violent government that has been established in Israel. Let's see them conduct negotiations not with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbbas, but with Barack Obama. Let's see Obama declare his support for a government based on people like those Likud has chosen. Let Netanyahu rule alone, let Feiglin win and let Benny Begin lead.

This is not just about Feiglin, although his victory is more serious than can be imagined. A man who called for Ramallah to be wiped off the face of the earth following the lynching of two Israel Defense Forces reserve soldiers in 2000, and who did not disavow this statement before the primary, is an inciter of war crimes. A man who demands that Israeli Arabs take an oath of "loyalty" and threatens to abrogate all their rights if they do not is an out-and-out fascist. The man who calls on Israel to resign from the United Nations and sever ties with Germany and other "anti-Semitic" countries is a separatist and nationalist and brings trouble to Israel.

But it is not just Feiglin. The man who smashed in the skulls of two bound, unarmed teen-terrorists with stones and iron rods was Ehud Yatom; he is a murderer of prisoners. And those who oppose any diplomatic negotiations, like Benny Begin and Moshe Ya'alon, are warmongers. How is it possible to call Begin, the son, "a democrat," as is the custom for some reason to call him, while he proposes to perpetuate a situation in which 3.5 million of his country's inhabitants do not have basic civil rights? What kind of a democrat preaches democracy only for Israelis? How blind and hard-hearted have we become, considering that these people have become legitimate in our public discourse? A thousand deceptive Dan Meridors cannot blur the real picture.

But this is not just about Israel's moral and democratic image. It is about a last-ditch battle to stop the erosion and landslide. It will be a lost cause from the outset if Livni and Barak do not quickly proclaim: Just not Likud, no, and no again. And then we will know: If they do not do this, we will have a country speaking in one voice, the voice of Feiglin, Yatom and Begin, which does not deserve acceptance into the family of enlightened nations. Not only will we not be the only democracy in the Middle East, we will not be a democracy at all.