Intersectional protests strengthen Netanyahu's push for sovereignty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is probably the only person in the country who benefited from the disgusting show of insurrection.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is able to make good on his vow to begin extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria on July 1, he will owe a debt of gratitude to his enemies.
Foes abroad include extremists of all stripes. Some of these openly pray for the Jewish state’s elimination, without regard to its leadership at a given time. Others cloak a similar desire in hatred for Netanyahu specifically. Still others profess to take issue solely with Israeli “policies,” using this as a ploy and an excuse to delegitimize the country in every international forum.
Had any of the above been slightly less anti-Zionist, they would have been able to hoodwink all unsuspecting Western liberals, not just manipulate those with a mea culpa complex. Indeed, the more radical that Israel’s defamers become – through terrorism, UN resolutions or university lectures – the less sympathy they garner from people with half a brain and a pair of eyes.
The same applies to Israel’s homegrown critics of Zionism. Like their counterparts abroad, these local paragons of virtue-signaling fit into a few related categories. While all loathe Netanyahu in particular, they are none too fond of his predecessors either.
This includes the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, whose assassination by right-wing fanatic Yigal Amir elevated him to the kind of saintly status that leftists never attached to him when he was alive. It was only when he signed the disastrous Oslo Accords with arch-terrorist and PLO chief Yasser Arafat that they gave him a little grace.
DURING THE period after his murder in 1995 at a pro-Oslo rally, many members of the so-called “peace camp” defected. Having one’s dreams of genuine coexistence with people whose leaders were still bent on Israel’s destruction – and who educated their populace to become martyrs for Allah by killing Jews – will do that. Even while your country is beating its collective breast over the ostensible Israeli “incitement” that led Amir to shoot Rabin.
Though Amir was jailed for life, as he should have been, Netanyahu – who led the opposition at the time and fought an ideological battle against Oslo – was held almost equally responsible. It got to the point at which defending him and criticizing the accords was not worth the wrath that it was sure to bring down on one’s head. It was hardly an atmosphere of national mourning.
Less than five years later, Arafat launched the second intifada, the suicide-bombing war against innocent Israelis in response to then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s dangerously generous territorial offers. The daily sight of blood and body parts on the streets of the Jewish state was enough to shift the consciousness of those Israelis who had harbored fantasies of peace with the Palestinians but had woken up to the reality that the obstacle to any mutual arrangement lay in Ramallah, not Jerusalem.
Hard-core left-wingers never budged, however. If anything, they doubled down on their stance that the territory reclaimed from Jordan, Syria and Egypt in the Six Day War was “illegally occupied.”
Never mind that Israel relinquished the Sinai to Egypt in 1979 in a peace deal, signed a treaty with Jordan in 1994, withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and faces Iranian troops and proxies in Syria. The Left’s skewed view is that Iran is not as great a threat as Netanyahu makes it out to be; that Jordan’s supposed interest in protecting the Palestinians from Israeli aggression renders its treaty with Jerusalem shaky; that Hamas-controlled Gaza is still under Israeli siege and that all Palestinian violence stems from victimhood. Not at the hands of the corrupt and repressive Palestinian Authority, mind you, but rather as a result of Israeli colonialism and oppression.
IT IS this group of deranged thinkers, along with Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, who demonstrated last Saturday night at – where else? – Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.
Despite police warnings the number of participants was not to exceed 2,500, in accordance with coronavirus social-distancing regulations, more than 6,000 protesters turned up to rail against Netanyahu and his “annexation” plans. Or so the rally was advertised.
Thanks to a hefty dose of intersectionality, the mass gathering was actually a general gripe-fest against Israel and the US. Though US President Donald Trump is the father of the “Peace to Prosperity” plan that includes the application of Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria – this was not the focus of the anti-Americanism on display. No, the star of the evening was George Floyd, choked slowly to death on May 25 by the knee of a sadistic Minneapolis police officer.
Black Lives Matter signs mingled with Palestinian flags and placards reading, “Annexation will spark a war,” “Liberate the Gaza ghetto” and “Nakba, since 1948” (a reference to the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment 72 years ago).
Also waving in the air were photos of Iyad al-Halak – the 32-year-old Palestinian with autism who had been killed earlier in the day by Border Police mistaking his behavior as threatening – with “Palestinian Lives Matter” captions.
Meanwhile, one of the event’s organizers, a Palestinian singer, performed “We Shall Overcome” in English and Arabic, and the crowd joined in with gusto. Communist youth in masks decorated with hammers and sickles sang “The Internationale” in Arabic.
No such happening would be complete, of course, without a shout out to “Crime Minister” Netanyahu, the key villain of the occasion.
HEREIN LIES one of the reasons that he is still prime minister, after three rounds of Knesset elections that ended in deadlock. His only real contender was Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, who is now defense minister and alternate prime minister, a title cooked up for coalition-building purposes.
Gantz had nothing concrete to offer voters other than a shared aim to oust Netanyahu. The “anybody but Bibi” campaign got him pretty far initially, but it wore out its welcome, particularly among members of center, who saw him as a watered-down, uncharismatic version of Netanyahu.
In the immediate aftermath of the March 2 election, when it became clear that he had no hope of forming a government without backing from the Joint List, Gantz reversed previous assertions that he would not rely on that anti-Zionist bloc of parties to enable him to do so. Even toying with the idea got him into trouble, both from centrist voters and from members of his own party.
But it didn’t really matter, because the Joint List, like its Jewish champions, consider the former IDF chief of staff a war criminal.
The promise on which Gantz actually reneged was the basis of his entire platform: that he would never sit under, or even with, Netanyahu in a government. Had he stuck to his guns on that principle, however, the public would have been forced to go to the ballot box for a fourth time in 15 months – during a global pandemic, no less, which Netanyahu was managing skillfully.
Indeed, Netanyahu’s ability to steer the country through every possible kind of difficulty explains why he is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history.
Like Trump, he is beloved by many and hated with a passion by others. And, as is the case with Trump’s election in 2016, citizens in the middle – who may have problems with the man and his policies, but who do not wish their country ill – are put off by the Left’s frenzied attempts to unravel all threads of societal health.
IF EXTREMISTS taking part in Saturday night’s rally, or observing it on TV from the comfort of their couches, imagined it would generate sympathy for their intersectional causes – and fan the flames of antipathy towards Netanyahu in the process – they need to have their heads examined. He is probably the only person in the country who benefited from the disgusting show of insurrection.
None of his most ardent fans could have done a better job at helping advance his push for sovereignty.