Israeli settlers in from of Knesset Thomas Coex/Getty Images

Illiberal Israel

After a half-century of occupying Palestinian territory, Israel is succumbing to its deepest ethno-centrist impulses, and increasingly rejecting recognized boundaries. Israel is now joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to thank.

NEW YORK – After a half-century of occupying Palestinian territory, Israel is succumbing to its deepest ethnocentric impulses, and increasingly rejecting recognized boundaries. Israel is now well on its way to joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to thank.

Over the course of 11 years as Israel’s prime minister, Netanyahu has reshaped the country’s collective psyche. He has elevated the isolated, traumatized “Jew” – still at odds with the “gentiles,” not to mention the “Arabs” – above the secular, liberal, and globalized “Israeli” envisioned by the country’s founding fathers.

Netanyahu himself is a secular, cynical hedonist who faces an ongoing investigation into his alleged acceptance of lavish illicit gifts from a Hollywood mogul. Yet he is adept at playing the “Jewish card” to his benefit. In 1996, his promise to be “good for the Jews” won him power. In 2015, his warning that Jews must rush to vote for him, or have their fate decided by “droves” of Arabs supposedly headed to the polling stations, did the same.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/8aqYTmY;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.