Menachem Rosensaft: Netanyahu's leadership a hindrance to Israel's future

NEWS 25.06.202420:47 0 komentara
Ron Adar / Zuma Press / Profimedia

In a searing critique of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership, Menachem Z. Rosensaft, Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and General Counsel Emeritus of the World Jewish Congress, articulates a bleak assessment of Israel's current political trajectory.

“The problem with Netanyahu is that I am quite certain that he does not want a deal under any circumstances,” Rosensaft states, “even if it would bring about the return of those hostages who are still alive, because any hiatus in the war would force him out of office. The pressures on him to call new elections are increasing daily, and he knows that he would lose those elections badly.”

Rosensaft criticizes Netanyahu's priorities, asserting, “His priority is neither to rescue the hostages nor to provide security for Israel. What he cares about — possibly the only thing he truly cares about — is to remain prime minister regardless of the cost to the country.”

Rosensaft's condemnation extends to Netanyahu's allies, specifically naming ultranationalist ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir. “Ultranationalist ministers like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir who believe in Jewish supremacy over the West Bank and Gaza are as destructive a force as the equally extremist Palestinian ideologues who want the State of Israel to disappear. And those West Bank settlers who engage in violence, often lethal violence, against Palestinian civilians on the West Bank are terrorist criminals who violate every norm of civilized society.”

He draws a stark parallel between these figures and historical fascist movements, saying, “I would not analogize Smotrich and Ben-Gvir to Nazis — at least not yet — but they are very much a reincarnation of the fascisti of the 1920s and 1930s, and the ominous counterparts of surging far-right political movements in other parts of the world. As such, they are an existential threat to the democratic values on which Israel was created. So is Netanyahu who started out as their patron and is now beholden to them for his day-to-day political survival. He made a Faustian bargain with them, and is perfectly willing to drag the entire country into purgatory with him.”

Reflecting on Israel's historical context, Rosensaft invokes the words of Nahum Goldmann, the longtime president of both the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization. “Within less than two months after the June 1967 Six-Day War, Nahum Goldmann warned that Israel could not prevail as the Sparta of the Middle East. He was right then, and his words resonate prophetically today.”

Rosensaft calls for a fundamental change in leadership, advocating for a government willing to pursue a two-state solution. “What Israel desperately needs is a new leadership —or possibly the return of a prior leadership — that will be willing to interact with those Palestinians who accept the principle of a two-state solution — the only viable way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is something that Netanyahu has refused and adamantly refuses to do.”

The path forward, according to Rosensaft, hinges on political courage within Netanyahu's coalition. “The masses of Israelis who demonstrate against the government want him gone, not today but yesterday. However, it will take five Knesset members from Netanyahu’s coalition to realize that he is an albatross around Israel’s neck, and to have the courage to act on that realization. The only hope for Israel to move forward from its present quagmire is to vote him and his Likud Party out of office.”

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