Left, Arabs and ‘Israeli Democracy’


By Gilad Atzmon

In the ‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’ the Government decided to get rid of marginal opposition. The Knesset passed yesterday a bill that seeks to raise election threshold to 4%.  The new law is set to block the Arab and Left parties in Israel from participation in the political game. This is clearly a non-democratic move, however, we have to remember that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’ – it is primarily committed to Jewish interests. Democracy, for that matter, is far from being a crucial or significant for most Israelis. From a Judeo-centric perspectives, democracy is basically a Hasbara plot, there to differentiate Israel from their neighbours.
In the light of the new bill,  Israeli Left and Arab parties would have a simple choice – they either unite or face political eradication. The question is whether Israeli ‘Left’ and Arabs have enough in common. We will soon find out if the Israeli Left – a secularist, Judeo-centric, hedonist and righteous worldview have anything in common with the Arabs – a proletarian, mostly Muslim and patriarchal society.
The truth of the matter is that I don’t hold my breath, but I also hope to be wrong. And if I am wrong, we would have to congratulate Netanyahu for achieving the impossible – Bonding the Israeli elitist  Left with Israel’s working class i.e. the Arabs


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Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer. Atzmon's album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year,[4] he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz." His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a "devoted political artist." He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as "one of London's finest saxophonists" stated: "It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read." His new book The Wandering Who? is now availble at Amazon.com