Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

On May 3, 2017, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, came to the United States to meet US President Donald Trump. Is this the pathway to the “ultimate deal” of peace between Israel and its neighbors?

Unlikely.


President Donald Trump shook hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office on May 3, 2017. ( Photo: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Abbas has no Legitimacy

Abbas was elected to a four year-term as President in 2005. That term ran out in January 2009, and he has refused to hold new presidential elections as he and his Fatah party are weak.

Abbas has no Control

A year after Abbas took office, the Palestinian Arabs elected the rival political party, Hamas, which is viewed by much of the world as a terrorist entity, to 58% of the parliament of the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip and launched three wars against Israel (2008; 2012; and 2014). Abbas either supported those wars or he had no control over the region.

Abbas is Unpopular

The Palestinian Arabs poll themselves on a number of issues every three months. In September 2015, they began to ask people their thoughts of Abbas. In every poll since that time, between 61% and 65% of respondents wanted Abbas to resign.

The Palestinians Prefer War

While Abbas would have won several theoretical elections many years ago, his rival in Hamas has become the Palestinian favorite as a result of the wars against Israel. As evidence, in the September 2012 Palestinian poll, Abbas would have beaten rival Ismail Haniyeh by 11%, but he would have lost by 3% just three months later after the November 2012 Hamas war. Abbas’s popularity bounced back in the next quarter’s poll, but he has never been able to recover from his dramatic fall in popularity after the 2014 Hamas war: In the June 2014 poll Abbas would have beaten his Hamas rival by 12%; after the war, Abbas would have lost by 17%.

The Palestinians are done with Abbas and prefer to stake a future with terrorists.

Lack of Support for Two States

Since the 2014 Hamas war, Palestinians have become ambivalent about a two-state solution, with roughly even percentages supporting and opposing the plan. The notion reached the lowest point at the aggressive Palestinian push of the “stabbing intifada” in December 2015, when 54% of respondents stated they opposed two-states to 45% in favor.

Abbas has no Ability to Govern

In the last ten of the twelve years that Abbas has headed the Palestinian Authority, he has been unable to rule. He has not been able to control Gaza or reconcile with rival political parties. How can he possibly be expected to negotiate and deliver a peace deal with Israel?


Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas Continues to Attack Every Aspect of Zionism

Abbas has used every opportunity during his tenure to fight against the basic rights and beliefs of the Jewish State, laid out in international law (references to the 1922 Palestine Mandate below):

  • Citizenship: Abbas stated that no Israelis will be citizens of a Palestinian State, even while international law promoted Jewish citizenship. (Palestine Mandate Article 7: “facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews,” and Article 15: “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.“)
  • History: Abbas routinely denies the 3000+ year history of Jews in their holy land and works with United Nations agencies to promote false narratives. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine“)
  • Owning Land: Abbas has said that no Jews can own land in Palestinian areas, and PA law has a death sentence on any Arab that sells land to Jews. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.“)
  • Immigration: International law in 1920 and 1922 explicitly encouraged Jews to move to the holy land. Meanwhile, Abbas has sought an international apology for the declaration. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall facilitate Jewish immigration“)
  • Reconstituting the Jewish Homeland was the stated goal of the San Remo conference and the Palestine Mandate. Abbas has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish State. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country“)
  • Freedom of Religion and Worship was both part of the international laws calling for reestablishing the Jewish homeland, and part of Israel’s basic laws. However, Abbas seeks to prohibit Jews from accessing and praying at their holiest location. (Palestine Mandate Article 13: “securing free access to the Holy Places” and Article 15: “complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship.“)

The Freedom CHOIR are fundamental building blocks of long established international law underpinning the Jewish State.  And the weak and unpopular Abbas tramples on every aspect of it.

In case the aforementioned list wasn’t enough, Abbas peddles vile Holocaust conspiracies, as a further affront to the Jewish people.

The Ugly Straw Man

So the inept straw man came to Washington, D.C. to meet with the president of the United States. Is he the man that can negotiate and deliver peace. No.

Abbas serves as a fig leaf for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they are actually moving forward with a peace process.

If people wanted to take constructive steps towards peace, there are two different paths to take: 1) treat Abbas like the unpopular straw man that he is, and force him to accept the peace proposal that is put in front of him; or 2) let the Palestinian Arabs hold new elections with someone that has the backing of the people and can deliver on the results of the negotiations. If the Arabs elect someone who has no interest in peace, then the Israelis have no need to compromise on its cherished goals.

The failure of past peace processes was that they were based on a failed dynamic. There is no point in dealing with a cut-out. It is time to either treat Abbas like the straw man that he is, or show him the door.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas Knows Racism

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Related First.One.Through video:

Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha Franklin)

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Money Can’t Buy Clinton Love

The 2016 US presidential race was not only contentious throughout the campaign; it remains so post the results.  The NeverTrump bandwagon continues to insult every move that the President-elect makes, and other Hillary Clinton supporters trumpet her win in the popular vote.

Yes, the diehards still insist that Hillary Clinton is popular.

Perhaps they should honestly consider the results in light of a glaring fact: Clinton spent an estimated $687 million on her campaign, which averages to $10.84 for every vote that she received.  That is a whopping record figure for anyone -let alone someone who is truly “popular.”  Consider that Trump spent only $307 million on his campaign, or just $4.96 per vote received. Clinton had to spend more than double Trump’s spend for each vote.

money-per-vote

  • That enormous figure was despite her well known-brand, having spent her lifetime in public service including as Secretary of State, Senator from New York and eight years as First Spouse.
  • That 2.2x Clinton spend was still required, even though she had the backing of the mainstream media, including TV channels, newspapers and magazines.
  • Clinton’s incredible overspend to obtain votes was needed, despite the aggressive lobbying by the incumbent president on her behalf.
  • Hillary’s campaign to shatter that final “glass ceiling,” failed to attract a significant majority of the enormous female voting public.

With so much wind in her sails and running against the most unpopular candidate in history, Hillary was only able to win the popular vote by 2.5%. She was clearly a very damaged candidate.

Note that the Democrats may state publicly that they want to change the influence of money in politics, but they would have been doomed without the money. Liberals may claim they have the majority of America backing their agenda, but all they achieved was carpet-bombing ad campaigns on a confused nation.

Liberals cannot claim to represent the will of the common man, after spending more than double the Republicans in a losing effort. They have only highlighted how much more they have to spend to reach a parity. An election purchased is not smugness earned.


Related First.One.Through articles:

If You Want to Take Money out of Politics, Liberal Leaders Suggest Voting for Trump

Michael Bloomberg Talks to America about Marrying a Prostitute

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

George Soros’ Left Wing Lobbying Dwarfs Goldman Sachs and the NRA

The Broken Glass Ceiling in Politics Hides the Importance of Education

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Naked Democracy

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation
with the average voter.”

-Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Democracy is a system of government in which the people get to decide for themselves who will be their leaders. In some situations, people make their choices directly, in others, they elect representatives who ultimately choose the leaders. In either case, citizens are often guided to their decisions by professionals, both in the media and in government.

The 2016 contest for president of the United States of America was a whirlwind, and the two primary parties took very different paths to nominate their ultimate candidates. Those paths ended with individuals at polar extremes.

The Democrats worked with party favorites and their political machine to nominate a long-time political insider, Hillary Clinton.  The Republicans let the American citizens override their guidance to nominate a complete political-outsider.

In 2016, naked democracy won.

Clinton, Arm-in-Arm with the Democratic Machine

Hillary Clinton spent her lifetime in politics. She began as the first lady of the State of Arkansas while her husband Bill was governor (1979-1992), and then of the United States (1992-2000). She served as US Senator from New York (2001-2008) and then as US Secretary of State (2009-2013). Her life was politics, and she craved capping that career as the president in 2016.

Clinton had the Democratic Party backing her the entire way.  The head of the Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, took many actions to favor Clinton in the primaries. It included having only a few debates and revoking Bernie Sanders’ access to voter data.  Leaked DNC emails made clear that the Democratic party sought to actively undermine Sanders – including by questioning his religious affiliation – in an incident that forced Schultz to resign.

The immoral actions against Bernie Sanders were embarrassing, but only half of the story.  The Sanders’ left-wing fringe campaign could not score many “superdelegates,” (those Democratic party bigwigs that supported the lifetime politician) which undermined a pure democratic process.

The Democratic machinery did not stop pushing Hillary after crushing Sanders. It continued to operate for Clinton in similar ways against Trump.

After Schultz was forced to resign, her position in charge of the DNC was handed to Donna Brazile, who was a commentator with CNN.  It was soon discovered that Brazile leaked questions to Clinton before one of the presidential debates, giving Clinton an unfair advantage. Like Schultz, Brazile was subsequently forced out of the DNC.

Hillary Clinton may claim that she is “not a natural politician” like her husband, but she is the very embodiment of a crony politician, in bed with the political and media establishment.

Trump on the Outside

Donald Trump was not just a political outsider who had never run for any governmental office. He was also spurned by the Republican establishment and conservative media.

Many of the Republican candidates for president and other politicians refused to endorse Trump, and several loudly criticized him:

  • “I also cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative…nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as Commander in Chief.”  – Sen. Lindsey Graham
  • Trump is not a non-interventionist in foreign affairs; he’s a national populist who will adopt any position that advances his political ends.”  -Rep. Justin Amash (MI)
  • A “serial philanderer” and “pathological liar” for whom “morality doesn’t exist.”  -Sen. Ted Cruz
  • A “con artist.”  – Sen. Marco Rubio
  • “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”  – Former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney

The list goes on, including from various members of the Bush family.

The conservative media treated Trump no better, including Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard.

  • I can’t support Trump”  – Bill Kristol
  • Donald Trump is anti-conservative, un-American, immoral and dangerous.”  – Bret Stephens

national-review-against-trump
Cover of the Conservative Magazine National Review

Sarah Palin, who had run for Vice President on Sen. John McCain’s ticket in 2008 called out the Republican establishment for turning their backs on Trump:

“Even today, the G.O.P. machine, they’re attacking their own front-runner, and his base of dynamic, diverse, very patriotic supporters.  They’re attacking you! They can’t afford the status quo to go. Otherwise, the gravy train, it stops and they can’t keep slurpin’ from it, not if things change the way that Mr. Trump and all of we know needs to change.”

Trump was not only a political novice.  He ran without the support of the Republican party and was saddled with a conservative media which constantly sought to bring him down.

The Naked Democracy

By any account, such a contest would likely have been unfair. A lifetime politician with the complete backing of the political machine and media, AND the backing of the sitting president AND a family foundation which peddled influence for money, stood opposite a complete novice.  That first-timer was undercut by his party and the media, AND by the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

How could the American people possibly ignore all of the money, media, power and politics? The results were clear before the first vote was cast. There was really no reason to vote.  Clinton will be your president. So said the establishment.

But the people did not listen. Not to the media. Not to the government. Not to their political parties.

The people decided for themselves, as they went to the polling stations with their own opinions.


Winston Churchill, the venerated leader of Great Britain during World War II and in the 1950s, had very mixed feelings about democracy.  While he admired the concept of people deciding upon their own futures, he felt that most people were incapable of properly understanding the issues and proposed solutions to arrive at a logical conclusion. Just have a “five-minute conversation with the average voter,” he would say.

So the Democratic party offered Americans a crafted Hollywood Democracy, full of fake sets, scripts and voice-overs to make them feel good as they were ushered to the voting booth with their ballots already filled in. The Republican party would have preferred that approach as well, but let the American people move forward with a Naked Democracy, without any supporting actors.

In 2016, the American people voted directly for the naked novice.  Will they now decide for themselves if they are happy with the results, or will they wait for the media establishment to inform them about their feelings?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

Buckets of Deplorable Presidential Endorsements

Eyes Wide Shut

Let’s Make America VOTE Again

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Let’s Make America VOTE Again

The United States has a long history of terrible voter turnout.

The voter turnout as a percentage of the voting age population (VAP) since 1992 has been: 58% (1992), 51% (1996), 54% (2000), 60% (2004), 62% (2008) and 57% (2012). This compares to countries like Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom which had turnouts around 70%.

It is not that people are apathetic about the outcomes of elections; they just realize that their votes do not matter.

In the US, presidential elections are not based on the popular vote, where every single vote counts. The outcome is awarded by electoral votes, where every state has a set number of electoral votes as roughly determined by the population in the state, in a winner-take-all formulation. Therefore, if a state is a virtual certainty of voting for a Democrat (say California) or for a Republican (like Texas), it makes no difference if any individual casts a ballot. It is therefore possible that a state like Texas can have as few voters as Minnesota, but the 55 electoral votes for Texas would still be cast for the Republican, even as Minnesota only awards its pre-determined 10 electoral votes.

There is a way to get people to participate in the elections, and it does not entail making it mandatory, as is done in Australia.

This proposal is to INCENTIVIZE people to vote by weighing the electoral votes by the percentage of people that vote in the state.

If a state has less than half of the population casting a ballot, that state would only get 50% of the predetermined electoral votes. For every 2% of the VAP that participates in the election, another 10% of the electoral votes would count, up to 58% of the VAP, when 100% of the electoral votes would be counted.

Percent of VAP Percent of Electoral Votes
Less than 50% 50%
50% to 51.9% 60%
52% to 53.9% 70%
54% to 55.9% 80%
56% to 57.9% 90%
58% and above 100%

 

Consider Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes. In the 2012 presidential election, it had a 57.8% VAP turnout (5,596,499 votes out of a voting age population of 9,677,000). According to this proposal, Pennsylvania would have only gotten 90% of its electoral votes, or 18 instead of the full 20. The shortfall of 16,161 voters (which would have brought it to 58%) would have netted the state 2 important electoral votes.

This formulation incentivizes everyone in the state to vote, and everyone in the country to care about each state. No state would be considered “secure,” as the drive to get every American to participate in the democratic process would be critical.

A great example is New York, with its 29 electoral votes, which has been a lock for almost every Democrat (as opposed to Pennsylvania which is a “swing” state).  Most New Yorkers (yes, a majority) opt to go to work and skip the polls.  In 2012, only 6,160,193 people voted, out of the 13,302,000 voting-aged population. Only 46.3%. That’s pathetic.  This formula would have penalized the state for the poor turnout, and awarded NY only 50% of the 29 electoral votes, or 15 votes.  The loss of 14 votes would have been equivalent to losing the entire states of Wisconsin and Hawaii.


Americans are going out to vote today – in the somber 2016 election – when people have strong dislikes for the candidates. Many will opt to stay home because of that distaste.

vote-hat

Let’s change the current election model, so people don’t withdraw from the democratic process itself.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Libertarian Validation and Absolution

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

Buckets of Deplorable Presidential Endorsements

The Broken Glass Ceiling in Politics Hides the Importance of Education

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Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

Political pundits have been calling out White, uneducated old men as racists and the sole fringe backers of Republican candidates.  They suggest that women, minorities and the young are much more balanced and thoughtful in their choice of political preference and affiliation.

They are lying to you.

Look at the actual numbers from the 2012 election:

By Gender:  Men split for Romney by 52%/45% (7 point difference), while women voted for Obama by 55/44 (11 point difference). Men were more balanced than women in considering their candidate.

By Race: Whites voted for Romney by a 59%/39% margin (20% difference), while blacks voted for Obama 93/6 (87% difference), Hispanics for Obama 71/27 (44% difference) and Asians 73/26 (47% difference). Whites voted in a more balanced way than minority groups.

By Age: The young were the most unbalanced in their support for Obama. People aged 18-29 chose Obama 60%/37% (23% difference), while the other groups, 30-44 picked Obama 52/45 (7% apart), 45-64 year-olds chose Romney 51/47 (4% difference) and 65 and over chose Romney by 56/44 (12% difference). The older working class (aged 45-64) were the most balanced in their votes for the candidates.

Education: The most uneducated people picked Obama by the widest margin. Those with some high school picked Obama 64%/35% (29% difference), compared to high school graduates picking Obama 51/48 (3% difference), those with some college chose Obama 49/48 (1% difference), college graduates picked Romney (51%/47% (4% differential), while those postgraduate work picked Obama 55/42 (13% difference).

Marital Status: Married people voted for Romney by 54/39 (15% split), versus singles for Obama by 56/35 (21% difference). Interestingly, white non-married people were perfectly balanced (45%/45%), but non-white non-married people almost exclusively voted for Obama (80%/11%).  Married people, and non-married white people were more evenly divided.

Religion: Catholics were the most balanced group, voting for Obama by 50/48 (2% spread). Protestants chose Romney 57/42 (15% spread), Jews chose Obama 69/30 (39% spread), other faiths picked Obama 74/23 (51% spread) and the unaffiliated picked Obama 70/26 (44% spread). Mormons chose Romney (who was Mormon) by 78/21 (67% spread).

The most unbalanced group in the 2012 election were uneducated, young, single black women, who almost exclusively voted for Obama.  The most evenly split group were older, working, married Catholic white men with some college education, who split very evenly for the two candidates.

But the liberal press continued along a narrative that old racist white men are the last holdouts for the Republican party.  They made it sound that there aren’t real and legitimate policy differences between Democrats and Republicans – just people that are progressive-thinking and those that are racists.

This characterization started in earnest in 2008, when Barack Obama was running for president.  He said that some people “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” In July 2016, Democrat Nancy Pelosi continued the same white male-bashing theme that “non-college-educated white males have voted Republican. They voted against their own economic interests because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G’s, God being the woman’s right to choose.

pelosi-2
Nancy Pelosi at the Democratic National Convention
(photo: Chad Rachman)

Liberals paint all white men in a monolithic camp, even though they are actually the only demographic that doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to vote in a simplified and unified manner.  If Republicans would speak about single African-Americans in such a fashion (and there is statistical reason to do so), there would be a loud uproar.

Liberals biased treatment of white men is a gross disservice to genuine debate about how to govern and put in place policies that serve all Americans. In the 2016 election, where the candidates have only exchanged barbs about being “fit to serve,” the American people have truly been robbed of thoughtful discussion of important issues.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

George Soros’ Left Wing Lobbying Dwarfs Goldman Sachs and the NRA

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Liberal Hypocrisy on Foreign Government Intervention

Libertarian Validation and Absolution

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Bernie Sanders is the Worst U.S. Presidential Candidate for Israel Ever

On April 19, 2016, the people of the State of New York vote in presidential primaries. The U.S. state with the greatest number of Jews has the opportunity to vote in presidential primaries where a Jew is running on a major ticket for the very first time.

sanders
Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Remarkably, the Jewish candidate is  – by far – the most aggressive and confrontational in his views of the Jewish State:

These positions are actually held by other left-wing groups who consider themselves pro-Israel, as does Sanders. J Street (the home of Sanders’ Jewish outreach person) has even proposed that the United States begin punishing Israel at the United Nations Security Council, where the US is often the sole vote that prevents Israel from being subject to many biased laws. How’s that for pro-Israel?

J Street and Sanders still like to use the term “pro-Israel” in their tagline as they believe that Israel has the right to exist. Maybe they should consider the fact that most people think Peru should exist too, but don’t brand themselves as “pro-Peru.”  A “pro-Peru” person would presumably not call for boycotting Peru’s goods or sanctioning it at the UN. Approving a country’s existence does not grant bona fides.

Radical left-wing people and groups like Bernie Sanders, Jewish Voice for Peace, Neturei Karta and J Street use their Jewishness as a red herring for their anti-Israel blood libels.  If they were not Jewish and held these positions and made these statements, people would call them out as “anti-Israel” easily and immediately.

The Democrats have been moving away from Israel since Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008. The relationship blew up in full in 2012, when the Democrats opted to remove the long-standing pro-Israel positions in the party’s platform including:

  • No longer stating that the US will isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism
  • No longer called for the Palestinian “refugees” to be settled in a new country of Palestine rather than Israel
  • No longer stating that it is unrealistic to expect the border contours to follow the 1949 Armistice Lines
  • Barely approved recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The Democratic party moved away from Israel these past eight years, and the radical socialist-wing of the party has moved it further still. (And this is while Sanders’ running for the office of president. One can only imagine how much more aggressive he would be if he actually won the office.)

The anti-Israel wing of the Democratic party has a champion.  How many people will embrace him?


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

Has the “Left-Wing” Joined the UN in Protecting Iran and the Palestinians from a “Right-Wing” Israel?

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Squeezing Zionism

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

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Join Facebook group: Israel Analysis

In Israel, the Winner is… Democracy

Summary: Israeli citizens came out to vote on March 17, 2015. The winner in the midst of the total chaos in the Middle East, was once again, democracy.

 

The turbulent Middle East got a chance to see a democracy at work.

With a civil war in Syria which has thus far claimed 220,000 lives; with the Islamic State/ISIS destroying Iraq; Yemen and Libya quickly becoming failed states; Jordan becoming a giant refugee camp; Egypt flip-flopping between elections/ military take-overs/ elections in quick succession; and Iran on the verge of building nuclear weapons, a country in the heart of the Middle east with a diverse population and set of opinions took to the polls.

Bibi victory
Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu declaring victory

Great Voter Turnout. The 2015 Israeli election had an incredible voter turnout. The 71.8% turnout rate dwarfed the 54.9% in US 2012 presidential election and represented a sharp spike from the 67.7% 2013 Israeli turnout.

Majority in the Center. The political center captured the greatest number of votes. The center-right Likud party received 30 seats, center Kulanu had 10 seats, and center-left parties Yesh Atid with 11 and Labor got 24.  With a combined 75 seats in total (of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset), Israelis predominantly voted for politically moderate parties over the more extreme right-wing and left-wing parties.

Minority representation. The Arab party, the Joint List, placed third in the election with 14 seats. The religious Jewish parties, Shas (7) and United Torah Judaism (6) had a similar total vote count.

Most Women in Parliament. The 20th Knesset will have 28 women, the greatest number ever.

Extreme parties. The far-right nationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu received 6 votes, and the far-left anti-national Arab Joint List received 14 seats. The right wing Israel Home received 8 seats and left-wing Meretz had 4 seats. The totals of 14 for the right-wing parties and 18 for the left-wing parties showed a bias for change in the fringes.

What’s Next for the Israeli Democracy.  If history proves a guide, Likud will be asked to form a coalition.  The Israeli election and transition to a new government should have many of the attributes of functioning democracies:

  • Citizens elected their representatives
    • Majority in the center
    • Minority representation
  • Smooth transition to new parliament
    • No military coup
    • No riots
  • New government will abide by past agreements

These are lessons and models for the chaotic Middle East.  Maybe one day the Palestinians will try it.


Related First One Through articles:

Abbas’s 10 year run at a 4 year presidential term: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-disappointing-46-anniversary/

When Palestinians last went to the polls in 2006, they elected Hamas, an anti-Semitic jihadist party which went to war with the second place winner, Fatah. https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/its-the-democracy-stupid/

Israel, the Liberal Country in the Middle East

Changing the Israeli Knesset

The Israeli government is heading for another change. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the firing of two cabinet members and lawmakers voted for the effective dissolution of the current legislature.

The last Israeli elections held in January 2013 brought several changes to Israeli politics:

  • Likud combined with the Yisrael Beitenu party to win a collective 31 seats (21 for Likud and 11 for Israel Bietenu)
  • A new party, Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid won 19 seats
  • Bayit Yehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, continued to grow in strength, up to 12 seats
  • The Shas party was excluded from the government for the first time since 2006
  • The ruling coalition deliberately excluded the ultra-orthodox (Haredi) parties as they attempted to force changes in their participation in community service or military draft

The main factors that motivated the Israeli public was the economy, which was viewed as leaving too many people behind. As such, it was the first election in Israeli history that did not focus on security or a peace process. The Arab Spring enveloping the Middle East, and the inability of acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to reign in Hamas and manage Gaza, made the possibility of a resolution with Palestinian Arabs seem remote.

 

The new elections are called for March 17, 2015. Current polls suggest that Likud would win 22 seats (up from 20), Yesh Atid winning 9 seats (down from 19), Jewish Home would win 17 seats (up from 12), making for a more-right leaning coalition.

Enjoy the FirstOneThrough music video with music by David Bowie: The Changed Israeli Knesset.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMPQqkR_D04


Sources:

Netanyahu poll: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-02/netanyahu-to-call-early-israel-vote-fire-ministers.html