Both in the U.S. Congress and in Israel’s new coalition government, extremists are dictating policy. With both leaders, in Kevin McCarthy and Benjamin Netanyahu, promising them streets paved with either lies or extreme violence. Whether it is Marjorie Taylor Greene on the U.S. side promoting lies and misinformation, or the Nazi-talking Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who believes Israel should wipe out Palestinian villages, just as Hitler wiped out the Jews. When extremists become the zookeepers, their leaders lose control over policy and their actions, and eventually, both countries will suffer the consequences.
In both instances, McCarthy and Netanyahu keep their leadership posts by diluting their own democracy and providing cover for the extremists who are now the ones running the show.
Without the agreement that McCarthy struck with the extremist hold-outs in the Republican Party, who would not vote for him as Speaker if he did not yield to their demands to control key posts in Congress, and without the smaller extremists political parties in Israel to join the Netanyahu coalition for him to become Prime Minister again, thus yielding to their demands to hold that coalition intact, neither McCarthy nor Netanyahu would be in position of power today.
But boy is it expensive for both countries.
Why would someone whose religion suffered under the Holocaust would want to exercise his right to start his own?
Israel is now formally and literally an expansionist state, taking over Palestinian lands and homes illegally under the claim it was theirs 2,000 years ago. The two-state solution that would bring peace to Israel one day is no longer an option with the extremists few who run Israel today. In its place now is an aggressive policy of uprooting Palestinians, by force if necessary, using not only threats, but also extreme violence against civilians.
It reminds this author of the same policies that Assad of Syria prosecuted to displace six million Syrians, using extreme violence as a tool of implementation.
In Israel’s instance, and to showcase Netanyahu’s impotence with regard to controlling his own cabinet ministers, an Israeli official told NBC News:
Like we said, when the extremists become the zookeepers, some of whom act like the animals in the zoo, democracy and the rule of law suffer first.
In the case of Smotrich, he, a Jew, whose portfolio in the Israeli government includes managing the affairs of the Palestinian civilians in the West bank, wants, instead, to wipe them out. He said it publicly. No shame, no regrets, and no retractions. Why would someone whose religion suffered under the Holocaust would want to exercise his right to start his own is beyond anything a reasonable person should accept. Smotrich is but a fanatic, sick man who is driving Israel to the brink.
Otherwise, we are looking at democratic institutions turn into Pantheons of the past.
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE
Extremists in both countries, be it the small extreme religious parties in Israel, or the MAGA order the Führer Trump left behind, tend to stick to their demands come hell or high water. Often, they are unapologetic as they push the envelopes of extremism to break the norms of logic and centrism.
Especially, in Israel today, where the Prime Minister no longer controls his own destiny or that of Israel, few hardcore fanatic political parties hold the coalition together. It is those small minorities that are driving policy and the violence Israel is experiencing since Netanyahu came back to power.
Something has to give. Both here at home where lies and misinformation have become the norm, and in Israel where violence and zealotry have become their norm.
Otherwise, we are looking at democratic institutions turn into Pantheons of the past, with future generations heaving their praise upon them without realizing their importance in their own contextual times.