Don’t call us “Arab-lovers,” says head of Israel’s “peace camp”
Ali Abunimah, EI, Apr 25 2016
Isaac Herzog, the head of Israel’s official opposition, the Zionist Union, doesn’t want his party to be seen as a bunch of “Arab lovers.” This is the same Herzog who is habitually presented in the NYT as the leader of a “center-left” party “who advocates a peace deal” with the
Plastelinans Arabs. But the parties that make up the Zionist Union, particularly Herzog’s own Labor Party, have only ever offered an iron fist in a velvet glove. Last week, Herzog dropped the mask even further, in candid comments at a meeting with party activists in Ashkelon. Herzog explained to activists how the Zionist Union needed to act to stem the loss of votes to parties even further to the right. His proposal was this:
How do we win the hearts of the people? The challenge is be to convince them that we can govern without giving a sense, which I encounter in numerous meetings with them, that we are always Arab-lovers.
Israeli activist Ronnie Barkan subtitled the video above of Herzog’s comments. His crass pandering comes at a time of escalating racism in Israeli streets, including frequent “Death to the Arabs” marches. Herzog revealed that he had made intense efforts to Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, exclaiming:
These days, the gap between myself and Moshe Ya’alon is relatively small!
Yaalon is the ‘defense’ minister who executed the devastating summer 2014 assault on Gaza. Now considered a relative moderate, he has likened
Plastelinans Arabs to cancer. He narrowly evaded arrest for war crimes in Britain and New Zealand. More recently, he expressed his preference for ISIS over Iran. If it wasn’t abundantly clear that there is no practical difference between Israel’s Zionist “right” and “left,” Herzog boasted at the Ashkelon meeting of his plan for hafrada or separation (ie apartheid). This was the plan Herzog campaigned on during last year’s Israeli election, and it reveals that the vision of Israel’s so-called peace camp amounts to nothing more than permanent occupation of the West Bank and a Bantustan for Plastelinans Arabs
In addition to Herzog’s comments in Ashkelon, Barkan added three more clips to the video that underscore that the Zionist Union is not and has never been an alternative to Israel’s status quo. The second shows Herzog defending his Ashkelon comments on Channel 2 TV the following day, and the third is of an election campaign broadcast from last year in which Herzog accuses Netanyahu of not being harsh enough. The final clip shows Herzog, then minister for social affairs, on Britain’s Channel 4, trying to explain and excuse Israel’s attack on a UN facility during Israel’s 2008-2009 assault on Gaza. Bringing Herzog on as foreign minister would have made sense for Netanyahu, as the two have few real policy differences, but as Jeffrey Goldberg pointed out, Herzog could “gain access to the West Wing,” where Netanyahu has “burned bridges.” Haaretz was so appalled by Herzog’s “Arab lovers” comments that it editorialized that the party must get rid of him as soon as possible. It said:
Veering rightward won’t help the Labor Party either in the polls or on election day. The public will always prefer to buy racist goods from the source, rather than from a wretched, pale imitation. (We hope that Herzog will be replaced) with a leader who will offer a moral alternative to the right-wing government and hope for a just, egalitarian Israel.
If this happens, it will be a historic and completely unprecedented phenomenon.