by Stephen Lendman
On November 6, America's sham process occurs. On January 22, Israelis face the same Hobson's choice. Real choice is excluded from both ballots. Democracy is hypocrisy in both countries.
Congress recessed until post-election. Israel's Knesset just adjourned. On October 16, Haaretz headlined "As Knesset ends term, we should say 'good riddance,' " saying:
It's Israel's most anti-democratic one ever. It "brought the tyranny of the majority to new heights." Hardline extremists ran "roughshod over vulnerable minorities, first and foremost Israeli Arabs, as well as over civil society groups and human rights organizations."
They targeted free expression and assembly. They intimidated independent media. They supported lawless settlement expansions on stolen Palestinian land.
"(L)ed by Netanyahu and other senior ministers, (they) searched tirelessly for ways to violate" High Court rulings and make "state prosecution(s) odious."
Israel's 18th Knesset trashed rule of law principles. It mocked democratic values. It governed to the right of some despots. It gave Judaism a bad name. It enacted one repressive law after another. It took unprincipled shame to its highest level in Israeli history.
As its term ends, "good riddance" to what no free society should tolerate. Netanyahu, of course, is its worst member. He's a lawless world class thug.
He makes even sham democracy look like despotism. Israeli Arabs and Occupied Palestinians feel his harshness most. He despises Islam and shows it. He's unfit to serve. He belongs in prison. He's an illegitimate head of state.
On October 9, he announced early elections. Originally scheduled for September 2013, he said they'll occur in three months. He "decided for the benefit of Israel to hold (them) as quickly as possible."
He doesn't give a damn about Israel's benefit, just his own and supportive hardliners. On national television, he lied. He claimed his coalition government couldn't agree on a 2013 national budget. He said Israel's "most stable government in decades" is ending.
He claimed it helped strengthen Israel's security and fortify its economy during hard times. He stressed preventing Iran from having nuclear weapons.
He knows they have no plans to obtain them. Israel's so-called "stable government" is its most repressive ever. Early elections aren't because of budget disagreements. Netanyahu wants them when he's most able to retain a parliamentary majority.
Western and Israeli politics aren't about issues. They're about securing power and keeping it.
On October 11, Netanyahu announced elections will occur on January 22. It's two days after America's inauguration. Netanyahu openly favors Romney. He and Obama express mutual dislike.
It's hard imagining why anyone likes either of them. They both head rogue regimes. They rule lawlessness. In 2013, expect no change in either country.
Polls show Obama and Romney closely matched. An Israeli Dialog poll shows Netanyahu's hardline coalition favored to win. Israelis denied choice seem stuck with him. Dread what's coming in both countries for good reason.
On October 17, Haaretz contributor Carlo Stenger headlined "Israel's upcoming elections: No hope we can believe it," saying:
Israeli voters get sham options like Americans. Reality denies them real ones. Democracy exists in name only. Like Congress, hardliners infest the Knesset like crabgrass besets lawns. It's dominant and dismissive of rule of law principles. It spurns other democratic values.
Whatever changes show up in January, they're not enough to matter. "Israeli politics are bound to remain the same. (Its) defining characteristic" reflects coalition religious and political extremism. Together they're toxic.
Netanyahu looks certain for another term. Repressive Knesset politics will follow.
"What does this mean for Israel's future? Netanyahu has proven beyond a doubt that he is not willing to move towards a viable Palestinian state. His primary achievement this term has been to put the Palestinian issue on the backburner…."
At the same time, he prioritizes a nonexistent Iranian threat. "In less than 100 days, the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges we have known since the state was established," he claimed.
"Anyone who belittles the threat posed by a nuclear Iran on Israel is not worthy of leading the state of Israel for even one day. Today, unprecedented sanctions are imposed on Iran, which issue a harsh blow to its economy. We now have capabilities to operate against Iran that we did not have in the past."
Fear is his electoral strategy. So is duplicity. Israelis, like Americans, fall for the scam every time.
Israeli voters ignore reality. They also don't address "the one, big issue that truly determines Israel's fate as the democratic homeland of the Jews - the occupation" that's continued "for more than two-thirds of Israel's history."
Failure to act responsibly assures "an inevitable tragedy." West of the Jordan, Arabs already outnumber Jews. At the same time, they're treated like sub-humans. No state can survive governing this way.
Claiming territory illegally and governing repressively "means the (eventual) end of the democratic homeland of the Jews." The "Titanic" Israel is sinking.
Stenger stopped short of admitting it sank long ago. What passes for democracy in Israel is none at all. Netanyahu enforces police state harshness. He's also recklessly belligerent.
In the last 10 days, multiple air strikes targeted Gaza. Civilian neighborhoods were struck. At least eight Palestinians were killed. Dozens were wounded.
At the same time, Israeli gunboats fired live ammunition at Palestinian fishing boats. Luckily those on board escaped injury. These type attacks happen often. Injuries result and occasional deaths.
Vessels are usually damaged and/or confiscated. Arrests often follow. Imagine being charged with the crime of fishing in their own waters. Imagine the worst of anything in Occupied Palestine.
No one is safe anywhere, any time. Going to school, pray, or shop is hazardous. So is going to sleep. Middle-of-the-night raids target peaceful civilians. No one knows who's next or when.
On October 17, Radio Bethlehem 2000 said Israeli soldiers invaded Bethlehem pre-dawn. Arrests followed. Other Palestinians were targeted in Ramallah, Nablus, East Jerusalem, and Jericho.
Homes are lawlessly broken into while people sleep. Children are terrified. Some are arrested. Others watch their fathers dragged from bed and beaten.
Democracies don't operate this way. Despotic states do routinely. Palestinian communities are violated multiple times daily. Palestinians have no rights. Gaza remains suffocating under siege. Children are treated like adults.
State terror is policy. Equity and justice are four-letter words. Freedom isn't in Israel's vocabulary. Institutionalized repression most people can't imagine explains what Palestinians endure daily.
Gazans fear more war for good reason. Full-scale invasion threats are heard. In September, IDF chief Benny Gantz said Israel "is ready to wage a war on several fronts, including Gaza where homemade projectiles are fired on Israeli" territory.
"It is not just military among us who know what to do in war. We must not put the sword in its sheath. Let's see what is next. Less than 20 km separate us from those who want to hurt Israel."
Gazans fire homemade rockets in response to Israeli provocations. Usually multiple ones occur before Palestinians act. They do so in self-defense. It's their right. International law affirms it. Israel calls it terrorism.
There's more. Netanyahu warned it's ready to interdict the latest Gaza-bound humanitarian vessel. It's Swedish owned, operating under the Finnish flag.
On October 6, it sailed from Naples. It's called Estelle. A banner displayed says "Ship to Gaza."
Finland's Foreign Ministry spokesman Risto Piiponen said Israel warned it would "take action to stop the ship from reaching land if it tries to break the blockade."
"We pointed out that it is a civilian vessel and urged them to practice restraint in any action they take," Piipopen added. Sixteen activists are on board.
Israel attacks humanitarian missions ruthlessly. On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos murdered nine Turkish nationals in cold blood. Dozens of others on board the Mavi Marmara were accosted, beaten and arrested.
On October 11, Estelle's logbook headlined "Sailing to Gaza on the waves of freedom," saying:
"We are on board the Estelle. This sailboat is 90 years old and its presence is felt in this immense ocean as it breaks the waves on its way to Gaza. A little more than a week is left until we reach the coast of Palestine and we know that when we arrive we will not be alone."
"Thousands of people are following the route of freedom from land. They are passengers on land and they are just as important as the crew and those of us who are on board the Estelle."
"This sailboat of the Freedom Flotilla is full of solidarity that we breathe and hopefully the people on land also can feel this. Only together can we obtain a better future for all of us. For me, to break the siege on Gaza is one of the best ways to construct a better world."
Israel calls their mission and others like it a national security threat. Isn't that what all despotic regimes claim? Israel gets away with it because world leaders don't object. It's long past high time accountability was enforced.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.