Rising to the Moment
Partners for Progressive Israel is extremely dismayed by the emerging results of Israel’s November 1 elections. Barring improbable last-minute developments in the vote count, the current center-right government will soon be replaced by an extremist far-right coalition of Jewish supremacists, authoritarians, and religious fundamentalists. It is a government that will constitute an immediate threat to democracy within the Green Line, to the rights of Arab citizens, women, and the LGBTQ+ community, to the standing of non-Orthodox Judaism, and certainly to any chance for equitable diplomatic engagement with Palestine or for ending the military occupation of the territories beyond the Green Line. Israel, as the Ha’aretz newspaper noted in its editorial, is about to be ruled by a “nightmare” government.
We are also saddened by the disappointing result for our friends in the Meretz party, which might end up under the minimum vote threshold and out of the Knesset altogether. We’re holding out hope, as the result could go either way and might not be known for at least another day or two.
Obviously, this is a time for reflection, for new paradigms and strategies to meet this qualitatively new moment – whose upcoming impact we are only beginning to digest. But it is certainly no time for despair.
Millions of Israelis voted against the extremist vision of the Netanyahu bloc of parties and this democratic camp of resistance needs our help more than ever. Indeed, when one examines Israel’s overall popular vote, it turns out that, due to the quirks of Israel’s electoral system, while the expected seat totals in Knesset will favor the right, the number of ballots cast for pro-democracy parties will actually equal the number cast for Netanyahu’s bloc! In other words, the democratic camp in Israel is still very much alive, still potent, and not going anywhere or giving up – and neither are we.
We will continue to amplify the messages of Israel’s progressive camp, expand our partnerships, and share our criticism of Israeli government policy unhesitatingly and unsparingly. In all our interactions with progressive Israelis, we are regularly told how much encouragement they draw from having allies like us in the United States. In fact, we are being told that they need us now more than ever. We won’t let them down now.
In the months ahead, Netanyahu and his partners will try to take Israel in a direction that formally undermines the guarantees made in the country’s Declaration of Independence. Partners for Progressive Israel continues to believe, however, that Israel’s citizens, Jewish and Arab, can forge a common path that embraces the dignity and right to freedom of all who live under Israeli rule. In that spirit, we will redouble our effort and hope that you will join us.
Thank you for your support.
Paul Scham, President
Partners for Progressive Israel