In the past week, two pervasive issues within Israeli politics have resurfaced: extremism and corruption. To begin, Israeli Prime MInisters Benjamin Netanyahu came under fire as he moved towards allying himself with a Jewish extremist group, the Jewish Power Party (Otzma Yehudit) for electoral purposes. For background, the party has its ideological roots in the thought of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane who openly advocated for the expulsion of all Arabs from the land of Palestine.
The move even stoked condemnation from prominent pro-Israeli organizations including AIPAC in the United States. Despite officially supporting a 2-state solution, Netanyahu has previously opposed it and his own party does not recognize Palestine as a state. This was hardly the first of Netanyahu’s troubles as the Israeli attorney general told the public that the pm will be indicted for corruption.
On February 28, the Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said he was considering leveling charges or bribery and fraud against Netanyahu. He is accused of attempting to skew coverage of an Israeli media outlet towards according to the BBC.
This has in turn further called into question his electoral prospects as elections near. He has, in turn, accused the AG of acting politically rather than seeking justice. Though disturbing, these events are representative samples of the problems that have long plagued Israeli politics.
Though some defenders of Israel will insist that they maintain the moral high ground by condemning Netanyahu’s gestures to Israeli racists, the reality is that such an alliance is not out of character for Netanyahu’s brand of politics. To begin, Netanyahu is on record arguing against the two-state solution several times as recently as the last Israeli general elections though he claims to have switched after. The fact that supporters of Israel continue to defend him despite such an abysmal record is unacceptable.
Additionally, the Israeli state regularly perpetuates violence against Palestinians and holds many of them as prisoners without trial, and even though it doesn’t explicitly call for their removal, that doesn’t change the fact that they have turned them into prisoners in their own land especially in Gaza and the West Bank. Additionally, corruption has been endemic in Israeli politics with several prime ministers and presidents of the country being implicated in it. All in all, Netanyahu’s actions force supporters of Israel to reconcile their espoused ideals with the reality of the state that they claim to support.