Since Benjamin Netanyahu’s landslide victory in last week’s Israeli election, some governments have said they will not cooperate with the far-right ministers he might appoint to the coalition he will eventually form.
The possible coalition would be made up of Netanyahu’s Likud, the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, as well as the far-right Religious Zionist Party led by Bezalel Smotrich, including extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit faction. It would be the most extreme right-wing Israeli government in history.
Both Washington and Westminster have made their concerns very clear that the new Israeli government may not be committed to so-called Western democratic values. “We hope that all Israeli government officials will continue to share the values of an open, democratic society, including tolerance and respect for all in civil society, especially minorities,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said last Wednesday.
US news website Axios also reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration could boycott Ben Gvir, whose far-right faction won 14 seats, if he is expected to be appointed as minister. Israeli media reported today that he requested access to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Homeland Security was also mentioned.
“We will call on all political parties in Israel to refrain from using offensive language and to show tolerance and respect for minorities,” said a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Netanyahu himself is unpopular with many European leaders because of his ties to the right, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He also organized a China-EU alliance to create a wedge in the EU.
Israeli journalist Emmanuel Fabian told The Times of Israel that Americans and Europeans have their own far-right groups and political parties and must deal with their own problems with far-right and fanatical politicians.
Emmanuel Fabian described the democratic elections of far-right politicians in Israel as a natural phenomenon that can occur in any society and should not be worried about.
It is hard to believe that American and Western concerns about the far right becoming part of the Israeli government are serious. Actions speak louder than words, especially in international politics. The same US, which says Ben-Gvir‘s involvement in the Israeli government could undermine democratic values, has just removed Kach, the ultra-nationalist group in which his extremism thrives, from its designated “foreign terrorist organization” list.
“A review of these five FTO designations determined that, as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the five organizations no longer engage in terrorism or terrorist activities and maintain the ability or intent to do so,” the State Department said. This clearly shows that public objections to people like Itamar Ben-Gvir are only superficial. But if Ben Gvir and Smotrich become ministers, what can they do? First, they can push for the official annexation of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Palestinians will be displaced from their homes in the West Bank and Israel, and many Palestinians will be killed. The US will not do anything about such illegal activities.
Additionally, Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary for export enforcement in the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, told the American Jewish Committee that those who follow the Arab League boycott of Israel’s occupation will have to admit their “mistake.” , and will be penalized if its foreign subsidiaries comply with the boycott. The Americans are basically trying to ensure that the Israelis can continue to kill Palestinians with impunity because no one is going to make a fuss about it for fear of US sanctions. This is “democracy”, American style.