Monday, March 2, 2015

Stav Shaffir Knesset minister; Netanyahu’s cynical move.

To: The American People via Robert Reich
The following is from 29-year-old Stav Shaffir, the youngest minister in Israel’s parliament (Knesset), in response to my recent post about Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress.

Dear Robert Reich,
Like many Israelis, I read your post that was shared by thousands. Because you decided to address Israelis directly, you’ll forgive me if I take the same liberty and speak directly to US Jewry:
Brothers and sisters, you are not alone. Many of us in Israel feel the same extreme discomfort, even embarrassment, that you feel at Netanyahu’s interference in US internal politics. We understand that he is primarily interested in electioneering and is cynically exploiting you as a part of his election strategy, not to impact an agreement between Iran and world powers.
To our utter mortification, Netanyahu is willing to take this grave misstep despite its costs. In refusing to back down, he has already done serious damage to the strategic alliance between the US and Israel and put you -our brothers, sisters, allies and partners – in an impossible position in which you are asked to choose between your love for Israel and loyalty to the US. Make no mistake: we, like you, understand that support for Israel cannot become a partisan issue, limited to Republicans or Democrats. Support for Israel has long been bipartisan, and that cannot and should not change now. From what we know about the agreement being formulated, we have serious reasons for concern. But Netanyahu is doing the exact opposite of what someone who is interested in effecting the reality in the Middle East should be doing.
Robert, your work over the years on inequality has been an inspiration for many of us in the Israeli social protest movement. I know that you probably tend to hear about Israel in tragic contexts, but you should know that only a couple of years ago hundreds of thousands of us, citizens of Israel, took to the streets to begin a challenging common journey whose aim was a profound repair of our society. But just as our government, with Netanyahu at its helm, chose a destructive path when it came to our international relations, it took a destructive path on our economic front as well: housing prices continue to skyrocket, median income is stuck, and our most basic social services are falling apart.
Though Netanyahu may be deaf to the needs and hopes of most of our citizenry, we have faith that we can build a different Israel. We have not the privilege to despair. We are neither impressed nor intimidated by Netanyahu’s scare tactics or Sheldon Adelson’s billions. We are encouraged and moved to know that we have partners across the ocean that share our vision for a more egalitarian society – one that is more just and more united. And if the circumstances we find ourselves in today succeed in generating a stronger bond between us and generate an emerging alliance, then at least we know that something good has come out of Netanyahu’s cynical move.
MK Stav Shaffir

No comments:

Post a Comment