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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/1/22

Election Results Beyond Our Borders Matter

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Message Elayne Clift
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It is November 8th, Election Day in America, as I begin to write this commentary before joining friends to watch early results of our crucial midterm election, and it is not hyperbole to say we are beyond tense. We are terrified. We know what could be coming at us if the wrong side prevails, the side that embraces demeaning language, dangerous behavior, power grabs, and cruel priorities. We know because we're witnessing it in other countries where dictators prevail and where recent elections have exacerbated the global threat of rightwing governments.

Italy is one of them where Giorgia Meloni, essentially Mussolini in skirts, was elected in October. In the 1990s she joined the youth wing of a neo-fascist political party founded by Mussolini and has been a leader in the country's far right political movement ever since. Sweden is another, where the rightwing Sweden Democrat party which has grown dramatically since 2014, was the country's second most popular in recent elections.

All across Europe the ideological right has made large gains in recent years, according to the Pew Research Center. Spain saw the share of votes for right leaning parties double in four years, and the Netherlands garnered their highest rightwing votes ever in 2021. That puts them right up there with Hungary and Poland. Even France came close to a big tilt right in its recent election when Marine LePen's party rose to one of two political parties in a second round during the last two presidential elections.

Israel is another worry since Bibi Netanyahu managed to win that country's election yet again, despite being under investigation for corruption. He did that by joining forces with three ultra-right political organizations that come under the umbrella of Religious Zionism, suggesting the real possibility of an openly fascist state. Prominent in the new coalition are men like Itamar Ben Gviv, who was convicted in the past of inciting racism and supporting terrorism. Other allies have suggested that Israel's judicial system should be altered such that it would end Bibi's corruption trial. Sound familiar?

Netanyahu's wide-margin victory is deeply worrying. His rightwing bloc now holds 64 of 120 seats in the Knesset, many of them filled with virulent anti-Arab politicians, while the increasing oppression and violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank has been called genocidal, rising to the level of crimes against humanity. A new report from Amnesty International finds that "an apartheid system extends not only to Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but also throughout Israel and to displaced refugees in other countries."

Recent attacks against Palestinians have been shocking. According to Middle East Eye military raids in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in November resulted in dozens of arrests and detentions that included children, while roadblocks prevented over 200,000 Palestinians from conducting daily life. The death toll for Palestinians in recent months surpasses anything seen over the last few years and the number of arrests and raids have grown dramatically. At least 175 adults and 29 children, many of them intentionally shot with live ammunition, have been killed as a result of Israeli actions in 2022.As one witness put it, "This is what apartheid looks like."

With Amnesty International taking the lead in its recent report, calls have been mounting for the Biden administration to investigate and report "credible evidence of Israeli forces' use of U.S.-made weapons, security aid, and Israeli arms bought with U.S. funds to commit grave human rights, war crimes, and crimes against humanity." It is important to note that the U.S. sends $3.8 billion dollars in military aid to Israel annually, but as Jewish Voice for Peace points out, our politicians "refuse to hold Israel accountable for how it uses these funds."

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Elayne Clift is a writer,lecturer, workshop leader and activist. She is senior correspondent for Women's Feature Service, columnist for the Keene (NH) Sentinel and Brattleboro (VT) Commons and a contributor to various publications internationally. (more...)
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