Israel’s 2019 National Election Take 2

Israelis are going to the polls today in a redo of their national elections from April, which ultimately failed to produce a governing coalition. The possible outcomes are:

  • Bibi and his potential coalition allies combine to win a clear majority, which is easily enough seats in Knesset to form a clear majority coalition.
  • Bibi and his potential coalition allies win barely enough seats to try to form a majority coalition, which would be a potential repeat of April’s results.
  • Neither Bibi, nor his opponent Benny Gantz of the Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) Party, and their potential allies are able to win a clear majority and are unable to form a governing coalition. This could lead to either a unity government, which could have several variants, or the need for a third election if no governing coalition can be formed.
  • Gantz and his potential coalition allies win barely enough seats to try to form a majority coalition, which would be a potential repeat of April’s results.
  • Gantz and his potential coalition allies combine to win a clear majority, which is easily enough seat in Knesset to form a clear majority coalition.

The first and last possible outcomes are clear and would put an end to the limping along, no clear governing majority caretaker government of the past five months. The second and third potential outcomes would create incredible pressure on Likud to dump Bibi in order to either enter into a unity government/coalition with Kahol Lavan led by Gantz or to try to use getting rid of Bibi to entice just enough recalcitrant members of Knesset to join a slim Likud led coalition. Bibi would, of course, be working to ensure he doesn’t get dumped by promising everyone anything he could possibly give them in exchange for them not dumping him. The fourth potential outcome, a narrow Kahol Lavan win, would lead to a scramble similar to what happened in April that might or might not lead to the actual formation of an Israeli government. Finally, the fifth outcome, a clear Kahol Lavan win makes Gantz the prime minister.

I want to focus a minute on the first two outcomes. If Bibi’s potential coalition either wins outright or ekes out a slim one or two seat victory like they did in April, we’re likely to see something very, very, very bad happen. A clear, outright victory for Bibi and his partners will not just empower Bibi. It will also force Bibi to reward his partners, because he’ll need their support to undermine the criminal charges he’s facing. For all that pundits in the US have speculated that the President is running in 2020 on an unofficial platform of reelection or prison, Bibi actually is running today on an official platform of reelection or prison. If he gets reelected he is going to push through legislation that makes it impossible to prosecute him and that weakens Israel’s supreme court and criminal justice system. To do this he’ll need the support of his coalition partners in either a clear and convincing victory or a narrow one. Either way, this gives the more ideologically extreme, more nationalistic, more religiously extreme, and more neo-fascist politicians and their political parties incredible amounts of leverage over him and would give them even more power going forward. Everyone who has been worried about Israel’s illiberal turn as a result of Netanyahu’s long misrule* will be amazed by just how much worse things could and would get. The laundry list of retrograde and revanchist political, social, religious, militaristic, and nationalistic actions such a Bibi led government would take, all so Bibi won’t have to face justice, should make us all concerned. Bibi will do anything and everything to avoid having to face justice. He’s desperate and his coalition partners know it! That gives them all the power in the relationship. And it looks like he’s already up to his usual tricks. The Times of Israel is reporting that Likud has once again installed cameras outside Arab polling places and then leaked that they did so. This is clearly an act of intimidation to suppress the Israeli Arab vote, which would likely benefit Bibi and Likud.

And we’ve had a DDOS attack on Kahol Lavan’s website on election day!

While we wait for the election results to come in later this afternoon/early this evening, here are some links for those that want to follow what’s going on or check in occasionally.

Haaretz‘s live and updating election coverage.

The Times of Israel‘s live and updating election coverage.

The Times of Israel‘s guide to the 30 Israeli political parties competing in the election.

Noga Tarnopolsky’s Twitter feed.

Anshel Pfeffer’s Twitter feed. (Pfeffer recently wrote a political biography of Bibi)

Chemi Shalev’s Twitter feed.

Ruth Marks English’s Twitter feed.

Liz Sly’s Twitter feed.

Lisa Goldman’s Twitter feed.

Natasha Roth’s Twitter feed.

That should do it for now. I’ll be back later today with updates regarding the ongoing meshugas.

Open thread.

* Kagan’s essay is, overall, very well written and quite thought provoking. I think it has one major flaw, which is it fails to grapple with the reality that a major Israeli political philosophy, Revisionist Zionism, which is the ideology of Likud, has always been illiberal. Revisionist Zionism, which is at the core of Likud’s ideology and the political philosophy of Netanyahu and his father, are rooted in the beliefs and teachings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky’s ideological views were always fascist. The root is might makes right. And on the continuum of fascism, from the social corporatism of Switzerland to racist/religious supremacist fascism at the farthest right extreme, which was embodied in NAZIsm, Jabotinsky’s beliefs are a Jewish racist/religious supremacist fascism. This ideology has been politically ascendent in Israel over the past twenty years of Bibi being the Israeli Prime Minister.






45 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Israelis are going to the polls today in a redo of their national elections

    So basically a Mulligan.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Something like that.

  3. 3
    Carol says:

    What Kagan essay are you referring to? I didn’t find a link.

  4. 4
    B.B.A. says:

    I’m on the edge of my seat to find out which genocidal Judeofascist war criminal wins this time.

  5. 5
    Mike in DC says:

    If they annex the West Bank they are effectively slamming the door shut on any peaceful solution to the I/P dispute. What remains is whether they intend to impose a formal apartheid arrangement on the Palestinians, backed by the implicit threat of deportation/ethnic cleansing of those who resist, or whether they will maintain some pretense of “allowing” the Pals limited autonomy. The other question, of course, is what course the Palestinians will take(though that assumes a unified, unitary approach, which I think is unlikely), which includes some consideration of the degree of violent resistance they are still capable of and willing to engage in.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Carol: The link is in the sentence in the text where the * appears.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: Nothing like keeping a positive outlook.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in DC: Bibi closed all Palestinian movement in the West Bank for election day. So I think that’s a good indicator of where that would be going.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    This is a great example of Jabotinksy’s philosophy:

    Also, I’m sure all those Jewish American WW I and WW II veterans felt powerless. I know several who had to fight their way across the Pacific, including surviving Guadacanal – The Green Hell. Or my granduncle whose fighter was shot out around him in operations over Europe and then went on to become the mayor of Meriden, CT six or seven times. Yep, they were absolutely powerless.

  10. 10
    marcel proust says:

    RE: Bibi would, of course, be working to ensure he doesn’t get dumped by promising everyone anything he could possibly give them in exchange for them not dumping him.

  11. 11
    daveNYC says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It works if they’re using 1984’s definition of power.

  12. 12
    Kent says:

    I’m a little lost on the time zones and such. When do we expect to have results available?

  13. 13
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Is there anything the US could do if the Israeli government attempts to impose apartheid status on the Palestinians? I know military options would be a last resort but the Israeli far-right don’t strike me as people who can be persuaded by mere soft power.

    I can’t imagine regime change in Israel would go over well with domestic opinion, even if Israel seems to have slightly less of a grip on our politics than in the past

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    @Mike in DC: I assume Bibi’s aim is to set up a bunch of tiny Bantustans.

    Here’s hoping Israel steps back from the brink and doesn’t go all-in on making things as bad as possible… :-(

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kent: It is now 7:57 PM in Israel. Polls close there at 10 PM. So two hours of voting left.

  16. 16
    oatler. says:

    While filming “The Life of Brian” the Pythons played with the idea of a band of “Jewish Nazis” but dropped it because it was too ridiculous and over-the-top.

  17. 17
    trollhattan says:

    A post about Bibi adjacent to a post about political corruption seems apt. We–the US, Israel, the Middle East, the world–need Likud marginalized to the point of irrelevance. His ghoulish laundry list of “will-do if you reelect me” promises show how dangerous he becomes when desperate. And Trump’s all in.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Yes, but they won’t with a Republican president, especially this one, and a GOP controlled Senate. And even with a Democratic president and Democratic controlled Congress, I doubt they would because they’d be afraid of the politics. Quite simply, the US could suspend both economic and military aid. Move the embassy out of Jerusalem. Persona non grata (PNC) Ron Dermer and strip him of his US dual citizenship, meaning with the combination of being PNGed and losing his US citizenship, he’d be unable to return to the US to visit his parents in south Florida. Go after AIPAC and WINEP as unregistered lobbyists, as well as a counterintelligence investigation into them. Recognize Palestinian state hood. Stop protecting Israel in the UN Security Council. There’s a whole lot of tools that could be used from subtle to “holy shit, I can’t believe they did that!!!”. Unfortunately the US will never do any of those things.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, anyone have a link to the Corey Lewandowski testimony? TIA.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: No, it is not. Remember, the Israelis already control most of the West Bank. Between hollowing out Areas A and B with settlements and having full control of Area C as strategic depth in case they’re ever attacked across the Jordan River. What this annexation would be is the next step in slowly turning the West Bank fully into Israel. Palestinian villages might still exist, but they’d both be surrounded and still subject to Israeli rule. Either military or civilian. There won’t be bantustans. There will basically be the small towns that grew up outside the Sundown Towns during the Jim Crow period. Both were in the US, but only the Sundown Towns were really considered America.

  21. 21
    daveNYC says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, the difference between could and would is huge. We ‘could’ nuke them. We ‘would’ be willing to consider treating them like South Africa, assuming that the rest of the world was already on board with that and there was an absolutely huge amount of pressure. Or even then maybe not.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The guardian has a live feed that you can read, and they also have the video available
    I chose not to listen to his lies but am reading their synopsis.

    Israeli Election, Brexit, Corey.. It’s just too much

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @daveNYC: We won’t. The domestic politics of Israel are toxic in the US.

  24. 24
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Unfortunately the US will never do any of those things.

    Nothing lasts forever, Adam. AIPAC’s power is already beginning to fade, even now the the BDS campaign is slowly gaining steam. We just have to put pressure on the government to do what we want

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I know military options would be a last resort

    For the last time, we have no military forces left to deploy anywhere.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Nothing lasts forever, Adam.

    Death, Taxes, Stupidity.

    You were saying?

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: AIPAC is actually a big fan of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement. As long as it is directed at Iran.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: One of the first foreign policy milestones a Democratic Administration needs to accomplish is a full apology and end to sanctions and embargoes against Iran. We owe them that at this point.

  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    Cake or Death
    @Johngcole
    I’m sorry Cokie Roberts is dead but she was basically another embodiment of everything wrong with the beltway media for quite a long time. I’ll take one Amy Goodman over 1000 Cokie Roberts any day of the week.

    Fucking seconded.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I’ll take Mehdi Hassan and Michelle Goldberg over both.

  31. 31
    ET says:

    I know nothing about Israeli politics. This is a question/thought experiment.

    Would Likud/Bibi be in as much trouble if it wasn’t Bibi on the ballot? Would the scenarious in the post be something we would be talking about or would Likud be less/more sure about the outcome with someone else? Would opposition be worse off?

    (this is a second try at this comment so if another shows up from me sorry).

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ET: I think Likud and the right of center parties that are the potential Likud coalition parties would have an easier time right now if Bibi was not the end all be all of their campaign.

  33. 33
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    What kind of name is “Cokie” anyway? I’m asking the important questions, just like Cokie

  34. 34
    BobS says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not the first time another country took their inspiration from the Jim Crow south. And they say irony is dead.

  35. 35
    BobS says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Both of them are great. But call me when they put together an hour long show 5 days a week.

  36. 36
    TomatoQueen says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: according to the WaPo obit, her elder brother couldn’t pronounce her given name (Corinne), so as is typical of small children, found something pronounceable, and it stuck for 75 years.

  37. 37
    daveNYC says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Probably true, but leave me a tiny ray of hope of you don’t mind. The alternative is far far worse.

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @TomatoQueen: The president expressed his regrets…
    TRUMP on Cokie Roberts’ death, per pool report: “I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    The exit polls are out, but I guess they aren’t always trustworthy.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @JPL:

    TRUMP on Cokie Roberts’ death, per pool report: “I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals

    Wow. Typical Trump. Even someone else’s death is about him.

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    @Brachiator: He’s a sick man that doesn’t deserve our pity.

  42. 42
    cain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Yes, but they won’t with a Republican president, especially this one, and a GOP controlled Senate. And even with a Democratic president and Democratic controlled Congress, I doubt they would because they’d be afraid of the politics. Quite simply, the US could suspend both economic and military aid. Move the embassy out of Jerusalem. Persona non grata (PNC) Ron Dermer and strip him of his US dual citizenship, meaning with the combination of being PNGed and losing his US citizenship, he’d be unable to return to the US to visit his parents in south Florida. Go after AIPAC and WINEP as unregistered lobbyists, as well as a counterintelligence investigation into them. Recognize Palestinian state hood. Stop protecting Israel in the UN Security Council. There’s a whole lot of tools that could be used from subtle to “holy shit, I can’t believe they did that!!!”. Unfortunately the US will never do any of those things.

    They can’t do that now as there are still a lot of elder Jewish communities that still strongly believe in Israel. But the gulf between American Jews and Israel is continuing to widen. I fully expect Bibi to punish the American Jews for not being appropriately supportive of Israel.

    The military complex is what is really letting us support Israel. It will be up to American Jews to demand that the U.S. do something I suspect because otherwise it will easily be demagogued as anti-Jewish.

  43. 43
    Kent says:

    @JPL:

    @TomatoQueen: The president expressed his regrets…
    TRUMP on Cokie Roberts’ death, per pool report: “I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals

    Ironically, Cokie and her ilk are as responsible as anyone for normalizing Trump and his rise through their obsessive “both-sides-ism” that has pervaded their reporting and commentary since at least Bush.

  44. 44
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @cain: John Hagee, Jim Bakker and guests, other televangelists—

    The Evangelicals are totally pro-Israel. T moving US embassy to Jerusalem was a major goal for them.

    Many do not realize that much of their pro-Israel, pro-Jewish stance is part of the necessary path to the End Times, when Jews are either converted to Christianity or die in agony because they rejected Jesus

  45. 45
    Mike in DC says:

    @cain: It’s kinda one of the potential bright spots of a Sanders presidency, that he could openly criticize the Likud government of Israel and face diminished consequences for doing so. Sure, they’ll still call him a self-loathing Jew or somesuch, but not without looking ridiculous.

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