The next time Netanyahu talks about ‘common values’

Hours after disavowing the two-state solution, the Israeli prime minister makes clear that his version of democracy includes as few Arabs as possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC, US, March 2 2015 (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC,March 2 2015 (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)

A few hours after the polls opened in Israeli elections on Tuesday, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a message that offends the very spirit of democracy and equality.

Invoking military terminology, the prime minister warned that his own “right-wing regime” is in danger because “the Arabs are mobilizing in large numbers … to the polls.”

Lamenting that the Right doesn’t have its own get-out-the-vote movements, Netanyahu said it does have its “Order 8,” an emergency call-up order in Israeli military parlance.

The racism that capped off Netanyahu’s campaign on Tuesday followed an equally audacious statement the day before. In an interview Monday, Netanyahu made clear that no Palestinian state will come into existence on his watch should he be re-elected.

Next time the prime minister, in whatever capacity, talks about the shared values of the United States and Israel, the next time he accuses an Arab leader of saying one thing in English and another in Arabic, remember this.

Remember that Netanyahu’s version of democracy includes as few Arab voices as possible, simply because they are not Jewish.

Remember that the peace processes he has overseen for decades were not genuine, that he never had any intention of ushering in, let alone seeking, a two-state solution.

A government that values the voice of one group of its citizens more than others does not share the values espoused by the United States.

A state that has kept millions of people under military rule with no say in how they are governed, no say in their future, and which does not seek to end that disenfranchisement, that state does not share America’s values.

A leader who no longer even pays lip service to the values of democracy and civil rights is not a man with whom Americans shares common values.

Remember all of that next time Benjamin Netanyahu appeals to his supporters in Washington and says, you and I are the same.

I, Mr. Prime Minister, am nothing like you.

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