Netanyahu at a Likud event. 'The worse Israel's situation, the better it is for Netanyahu?'
Ben-Dror Yemini

Why is the Likud degrading its voters?

Op-ed: According to the ruling party's logic, the way to gain more support in the polls is through diplomatic blows to Israel.

The past few weeks mark a turning point reflected in a series of anti-Israel diplomatic moves.



Parliaments in Europe, as well as the European Union, are adopting a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, Switzerland is convening the parties to the Geneva convention to re-discuss Israel's crimes, the General Court of the European Union is ordering the removal of Hamas from the EU's list of terrorist organizations, and the boycott movement against Israel is gaining strength.


The most serious move could have been a change in the American policy: No more automatic veto, so that the decision to recognize a Palestinian state would have also been adopted by the Security Council.


Tzipi Livni managed to influence US Secretary of State John Kerry. The US will veto the proposal. The reason, according to foreign reports, is that a change in the American policy against Israel would strengthen the Israeli right-wing camp.


Livni strongly denies that this was her argument. She is making it clear that her permanent position in the past few years is to oppose a unilateral Palestinian move. So she has no need for a political argument from the election field.


There one thing there is no argument about: Livni did appeal to Kerry, and as much as she influenced him – she only helped Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


It's not just Livni. Unlike the left-wing intellectuals who signed a disgraceful petition urging European parliaments to recognize the Palestinian demand, the Labor Party has been consistently working against such a recognition, regardless of the elections.


Livni and Kerry. 'As much as she influenced him – she only helped Israel and Netanyahu (Photo: Reuters)
Livni and Kerry. 'As much as she influenced him – she only helped Israel and Netanyahu (Photo: Reuters)


The interesting thing is that the Likud party is warmly adopting the claim that Livni's intervention had to do with the elections. In other words, according to the Likud's logic, an American change which will make the US avoid a veto will strengthen the right. And in clearer words, the Likud is informing the public that the worse Israel's situation gets, the more likely it is to benefit Netanyahu.


This claim clearly reflects unbelievable contempt towards the right's voters. Because unlike what the Likud thinks about them, they are not interested in deterioration. They are not interested in a crisis in Israel's relationship with the United States. They want the US to stand by Israel, not against Israel. But someone is trying to present them as a bunch of fools. And this someone, this time, is the Likud itself.


The truth is kind of the opposite of the Likud's claim. In order to harm the Likud, Livni should have worked behind the scenes, and in her conversations with Kerry, to worsen Israel's situation. That would have served as further proof that Netanyahu is leading Israel from one failure to another.


Granted, that wouldn’t have affected some of the right's voters. They wouldn't have been discouraged even if the international community had imposed serious economic sanctions on Israel.


The thing is that there are many among the right's voters – at least 30%, according to different surveys – who want a national position, but not a nationalistic position. They are affected by reality. They want a strong Israel. They want the US to be a friend and supporter, not a rival and enemy. They are willing to pay a painful price for real peace.


And these voters, who make up about 10 Knesset seats, are not in favor of a policy of "the right at all costs." They are composed, and that's why they are hesitating. A diplomatic collapse does not strengthen their support for the Likud. On the contrary, it drives them away.


But both Livni and Isaac Herzog did not seize the opportunity. They did not advance any collapse. They are not seeking a worse situation just so they could gather a few more votes.


That doesn't make them ministering angels. In many areas, which will be revealed in the coming months, they suffer from blindness. But this time, for a change, their efforts should be appreciated.


According to the Likud's logic, a diplomatic collapse of Israel will only help the right-wing camp. It's good that some people's logic is a bit more serious.


פרסום ראשון: 12.23.14, 22:02
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