“Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.” – Plato
A Private and governmental sources in the United States and Europe poured many millions of dollars into groups like V15, which set up 50 offices around the country and dispatched thousands of volunteers to go door to door explaining why the only sane choice was to vote for the Zionist Camp and bring Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni to power.A week after the elections in Israel, the liberal left in Tel Aviv and Washington is still shaking its head in disbelief. Where did we go wrong, they’re asking themselves.
The campaign had the backing of the press, of highly respected security figures like former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, who slammed the prime minister as being a danger to the country, and even professionals from the United States who helped President Barack Obama use the social media to get elected.
The campaign was brutal and divisive, pitting “us” against “them.” With a seemingly limitless budget it succeeded in distorting the economic picture in the country, making it seem like things had never been worse, and that catastrophe was right around the bend unless the government were ousted and replaced by the wise and sober leaders who believe in “peace” and who will instantly improve Israel’s relations with the United States and Europe.
So what went wrong?
The public didn’t buy it. All the money in the world could not convince Israelis to abandon their common sense and take the leap of faith needed to accept that the left had answers to the Iranian threat, ISIS, Hamas and Hizbullah. Even on social and economic issues, Herzog and Livni didn’t offer concrete proposals, only slander against the incumbent. And the good and decent and, yes, wise, people of Israel could not be convinced by the leftist elite that their thinking was flawed and irrelevant.
It’s standard practice after an election for the losers to do a cheshbon nefesh, to try to figure out where they went wrong. Israel is no different. The consensus among the left is that the voters must be replaced.
Prof. Amir Chezroni, admittedly a gadfly who loves to say provocative things, said that if it were around 60 years ago and in a government position of prominence “in keeping with my talents, I would have opposed the massive immigration of the Jews of the East [Morocco] without conducting a proper selection to ensure that in 60 years there wouldn’t be a majority for the right.”
Chezroni made the comment on a talk show and was asked to leave when he refused to retract his comments or apologize. While his outrageous words are rejected by the vast majority of the left, the underlying theme isn’t. His message is, to paraphrase Plato, that there are equals and unequals and that the unequals cannot be trusted to vote on matters affecting the fate of the nation.
The same message, in a milder form, is coming from Washington, which has championed the cause of democracy in the Middle East, even when it produced disastrous results in Egypt, Gaza and elsewhere.
We would have expected true liberals to respect the will of the majority in Israel as it was expressed in last week’s election. The public — the ones who’ve repeatedly paid the price for disastrous diplomatic deals of the past — said it doesn’t believe that further territorial concessions will bring peace and security.
They’ve seen the results of withdrawing from Gaza — Hamas missiles, and the results of withdrawing from Lebanon — Hizbullah missiles. They’ve seen Palestinian democracy in action — PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who hasn’t held an election in many years and names city squares after terrorists; they see a PA economy that couldn’t survive a day without a major infusion of foreign funds; a security force that cannot contain extremist elements like Hamas without Israeli assistance.
How outrageous that after all of Israel’s efforts to advance the peace process — including releasing hundreds of terrorist murderers just for the right to sit and talk face-to-face with the Palestinians — it is accused of abandoning the two-state solution because its leader said that the time is not ripe to implement such a solution.
It’s legitimate for the Obama administration to be disappointed with the elections results. However it is illegitimate to lash out at the government or its leader for accurately expressing the will of the majority of the voters on the two-state solution and other life-and-death matters.
We would have expected the White House spokesman to issue the following statement: “While we had hoped for a different result, we believe in democracy and respect the will of the majority in Israel. We will continue to be at Israel’s side, as the only democracy in the region, in the hope that this will convince the Arab world to recognize Israel’s right to exist and create the proper setting for peace.”