Jasmin Mujanović, one of the folks I follow on Twitter, made a bold statement about Slobodan Milosevic. Below is the first of 16 tweets. It’s an interesting read. Worth clicking through.
— Jasmin Mujanović (@JasminMuj) November 10, 2016
I look back to 1996 when Bibi beat Peres in an election no one thought would go the Likud’s way. It was mere months after the Rabin assassination. Depending on your politics, either Bibi fanned the flames of incitement against Rabin and the Oslo Accords or stood idly by and basked in its murderous heat. Many were convinced – myself included – that there was no way that decent Israelis would ever allow Netanyahu anywhere near the chair Rabin warmed just seven months before. I remember going to sleep with Peres in the lead and waking up to a different reality.
I would not repeat the same mistake on Tuesday night, November 8.
When folks ask me for my take on the outcome, I reply: I wish there was a German word that expresses my sadness and lack of surprise.
Because after what I saw in Israel in 1996, and again and again and again over the next two decades, I realized that, in democracies, people get the leaders they want and the leaders they deserve. And it broke my heart.
The Israeli voter wants Bibi. The Israeli voter deserves Bibi. And Bibi and his henchmen have delivered!
They have been instrumental in fundamentally changing the way Israeli democracy works.
They have spearheaded a full-throated assault on the Supreme Court.
They have vilified and sought to use the law to harass non-governmental organizations who advocate for civil liberties and human rights in Israel.
They have declared war on the sectors of the Israeli press that dare criticize or hold the government accountable.
They raised the electoral threshold to minimize the representation of undesirable, smaller parties in the Knesset.
The PM’s office would like us all to remember that Israel is a democracy, the only one in the Middle East! However, in practical terms, that does not say very much. Israel is ranked 101st by Reporters Without Borders in their 2016 Press Freedom Index… right in between Gabon and Uganda! And two slots up from Kuwait!! Israel is ranked 32nd on the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International… right in between Cyprus and Lithuania! The United Arab Emirates, BTW, is ranked 23rd.
Most important, the Israeli voter wants the corrosive and illegal Occupation to continue – and Bibi continues to deliver it to them.
Without shame, and despite his claims of wanting peace, Bibi takes credit for dismantling the peace process with the Palestinians.
It took Netanyahu and his cronies about 10 years to chip away at the cornerstones of Israeli democracy… and ten years more (with some breaks) to thoroughly compromise the foundations.
Oh, and let us also not forget this last minute plea / naked appeal to racial animus from the 2015 election:
Which is all to say that, I believe, Trump is embarking on a similar course.
He has pledged to change libel laws so that he can avenge himself on journalists who criticize him too much.
With the stroke of a pen, he intends to undo America’s commitment to fighting climate change and scuttle the Iran deal which many in the Israeli military and intelligence community support.
He wants to reinstitute torture as a tool of American intelligence gathering.
Though pledging to “drain the swamp” in Washington, his court jesters (Chris Christie who will be criminally implicated in the Bridgegate scandal, Rudy Guiliani who wants to take the racist and unconstitutional policy of stop-and-frisk nationally and Newt Gingrich who is just repugnant) will bring their own tanker truck of even dirtier swamp water.
(Oh, and let’s not forget the fifteen women who have come forward to claim that he sexually assaulted them – a criminal offense.)
But the biggest concern is that there is no branch of the American government to tell him NO. The House and Senate are solidly GOP. The Supreme Court will be stacked shortly GOP-ward.
I guess this is what a majority of American voters want. (I am aware that as of now, Hillary won the popular vote but not the electoral college. I suspect that statistic will change in the coming days.)
I have heard from Trump supporters that NOT ALL Trump voters are racists, antisemites or xenophobes – and that it’s not fair to fit them all with the same Klan hood. Many are staunch supporters of the GOP, patriots, lovers of Israel who sincerely believe in conservative policies or that Trump is better for Israel. Perhaps they even held their noses and voted Trump. Many just hated Hillary more. Fair enough. But you did vote for this guy. You should own it. He’s your boy. The mess he might make is yours too.
I hope I am wrong. But I have seen how this goes in one democracy.
I am sad but not surprised.