Is Kadima as progressive as it claims to be?

THE JERUSALEM POST reported last week that a female Member of Knesset, Kadima’s Yulia Shamalov-Berkovitch had told a Knesset lobby group that women and men are not equal and downplayed the problem of sexual harassment (a problem so great that Israel was recently dragged through the mud in front of the whole world because of it).
To top it off, Shamalov-Berkovitch parroted anti-Semitic slurs, saying that the worst of Israel’s social problems is that “No one trusts anyone and it’s clear why . . . Jews are shady and remained shady . . . . They came to Israel and forgot that this is our trait, and kept tricking each other, and 60 years later, it’s come back like a boomerang to our face.”
This begs the question: Is the Kadima party, whose name literally means “forward,” as progressive as it claims out to be?
I have previously written in these pages that Kadima is merely a party of opportunists. Its lack of ideological glue should not be confused with “pragmatism” or some kind of progressive-liberal protest against right-wing ideology.
Kadima supports the establishment of a state on our border whose proto-government – the Palestinian Authority – has not held presidential elections in six years (Mahmoud Abbas’s term ended two years ago). A majority of its parliament is also held by Hamas, an Islamic-fascist group to which Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh belongs. (The self-proclaimed Western-backed “Prime Minister,” Salaam Fayyad is not the actual Palestinian Prime Minister).
By virtue of a military coup, that same party runs a large chunk of the territory of the potential state Kadima would like to see created. If Israel were to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, Hamas will control all of it. And like Hamas, the supposed moderate Fatah party of deceased Yassir Arafat recently declared its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The Palestinian Authority also has a death penalty on the books for selling land to Jews. This Jordanian-era law was affirmed by the Palestinian Authority as recently as last September. This past Thursday, PA security forces detained a man on suspicion of selling land in Jerusalem to Jews. The Palestinian Authority also sentences people to death for collaborating with Israel in fighting terrorism. According to a recent report, PA Security Forces have been engaged in the practice of torture on a systematic basis for years. PA media and educational institutions are also major purveyors of anti-Jewish hatred.
Once these proto-state institutions are given the full rights and powers of statehood, the next step which Kadima leader Tzipi Livni sees, as she explained before the last elections, is to tell “Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs,” that their “national solution lies elsewhere,” implying that those Arabs who currently have equal rights in Israel, might have their rights or themselves transferred to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian state.
Had the current foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, made the same comment, he surely would have been roundly criticized in the international arena, and Livni surely would have complained that Lieberman was tarnishing Israel’s image. (Consider the reaction to Lieberman’s statement at the United Nations in favor of swapping Arab populated territory within the Green Line for Jewish populated territory in Judea and Samaria).
This points to the fact that Kadima’s policy in favor of a Palestinian state is not based on the actual interests or human rights of the individual Arabs who live within Israel’s sovereign jurisdiction. Nor can it be said to be based on achieving peace or stability for Israel, given the repeated refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist at all and their failure to accept Israel’s generous territorial offers – including an offer made by former Kadima leader Ehud Olmert.
To the extent that Kadima’s policy is more than just criticizing Prime Minister Netanyahu for not doing enough for peace (what more he could actually do we have not been told) or to just raise false hopes in order to attract voters, Kadima policy seems to be about “disengag[ing] from most of the Palestinian population” and “going toward separation from the Palestinians,”  as Olmert explained it after he took over as Acting Prime Minister back in 2006. In other words, to just away from the Arabs. That’s not very progressive or liberal. 
IT’S ALSO WORTH MENTIONING that Kadima members often claim that they are in keeping with the legacy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky was the Zionist thinker and leader who called for a Jewish state in all of Palestine (including Jordan), railed against partition of even Western Palestine, urged the establishment of an “Iron Wall” against terrorism, and was also an ardent advocate of human rights in classic liberal fashion. His national-liberal philosophy is the foundation of the Likud party, which most of Kadima’s membership deserted to form Kadima.
Many of Kadima’s top members come from families who were ardent followers of Jabotinsky, including Livni and Olmert. As Prime Minister, Olmert was reported to have kept a picture of Jabotinsky in his office, opposite a picture of Ariel Sharon, who gave up territory in stark contrast to Jabotinsky’s territorial maximalism.
Kadima members even seem to enjoy lecturing the Likud about Jabotinsky. For instance, Livni criticized Netanyahu for having “cast aside” Jabotinsky’s “civic doctrine” by offering to form a coalition with other right-wing parties. (Compare this with Jabotinsky’s statement that Abba Ahameir, an extremist member of Jabotinsky’s Revisionist movement, was his “rabbi and teacher” in order to preserve the unity of the movement).
I think it’s safe to say that by supporting withdrawals from ancient Jewish territory, supporting the creation of an anti-democratic anti-liberal religious-fanatic state and a policy of separation from Arabs, Kadima long ago abandoned both the liberal and nationalist teachings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. After all that, how much could it hurt to throw into the mix an MK who occasionally bashes female equality and voices anti-Semitic slurs?
Daniel Tauber is an officer in Likud Anglos and can be reached at [email protected]