Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will Israel go the way of France's 4 Republic?

Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak's has decided the political wilderness is not for him. He's tasted power, and he won't let it go.
Abandoning Labour, he's decided to form his own political party and remain in the Netenyahu government. It did not take much imagination to do this: the left and centre in Israel have whithered on the political vine for a long while now. Although Barak described his new party as centrist and Zionist, the operative word is 'Zionist', and the new party won't be centrist in the ordinary definition of the term.
The fracturing of the Israeli body politic has favoured the far right. Barak can and does argue that he is to the left of Avigdor Lieberman and 'Bibi' Netenyahu. Saying this may not mean alot, since he's in favour of the Zionist ideology which is moving to incorporate more and more of the Palestinian West Bank into a Greater Zionist Israel where Arab - those with Israeli passports or not - will be treated as 'sub citizen'.
Barak may mouth a more nuanced policy on a two states' solution, his drive to power will make him jockey for influence by objectively adopting first Netenyahu's than Lieberman's positions on leaving any Palestinian state behind.
What is becoming more and more noticeable is that the musical chair of the right and far right coalition of governance will end up as a fight for power within the Barack-Netenyahu-Lieberman trioka.
Already the infighting among these 3 is worthy of notice. The radical right government may hold but the splits and reformulation of fractions will intensify. It is in this sense that the rise of the radical right in Israel reflects the French 4 Republic.
Who will be the man in the white horse who ultimately seize power? Barak? Netenyahu? or Lieberman? Who will be the man to bury Israel's much touted 'democracy'? Barak? Netenyahu? or Lieberman? Who will put a feather in his hat and call it a copy of European fascism of the Spanish or Portugese or Hungarian kind? Barak? Netenyahu? or Lieberman?
There is little doubt that Israel has taken on the colours of religious extremism of its neighbours. Judith Miller observed this in the early 1990's when she was writing her book : 'God has 99 names'.
Israel slippage into the mould of clerico fascism will become more and more pronounced as the extreme right wing plants deeper its roots.

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