A Tale of Two Parties
The Joint List and Raam. What are they? What are the differences between them? And How one of them is selling out the Palestinians & Israeli Arabs.
There was a fracture in Arab politics during the last round of Israeli elections — Raam, the party representing the Islamic movement, split off from the Joint List, a list comprised of all Arab and Jewish-Arab parties. On paper, it split on the issue of LGBTQ rights, as most of the other parties of the joint list are left-wing and support gay rights, while Raam is more conservative and generally opposes gay rights. There is a problem with this story though because Raam for the past couple of years has run in the joint list or other alliances featuring the progressive Arab-Jewish parties and opted to abstain on votes to do with gay rights and other social issues in order to keep these alliances together. it was a hill that party, and also its current leader Mansour Abbas, wasn't about to die on. So why did they decide now that they are going to split? It was a power struggle. Raam, lead by Mansour Abbas, tried to take over leadership of the joint list from its progressive factions and to shift its ideology, From a progressive party aiming to create Jewish-Arab unity by creating a free and equal society for Israel and Palestine's citizens by rejecting Zionism and fighting for the rights of all people, to the Arab equivalent of the ultra-orthodox Jewish parties — socially conservative, basically zionist, trying to get just enough money to keep its voter base alive but still segregated from the rest of society, largely poor and uneducated, so they would stay intensely religious and keep voting for leaders who are not doing them any good. When the rest of the Joint List didn't let this happen, Raam split and ran on this platform. Raam was and are willing to accept Zionism and even sit in right-wing governments in order to attain their goals of social conservatism and poorly masked self-isolation. by doing that they are selling out the Palestinian people and Israeli Arabs because they are no longer fighting for the freedom of the Palestinian people or for the equality of non-Jewish people, and specifically Arabs, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean sea, as they are now on board with Zionism, which by definition discriminates against non-jews, and are willing(and probably going) to sit in a right-wing government, which will pass laws to expand Israel into the Palestinian territories, which is an act of imperialism against the Palestinian people if Israel will remain to be a Jewish state, and will pass laws that will further discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, just like the last few right-wing governments did.
And they managed to win about half of the Arab votes… by campaigning on a socially conservative platform, by attacking the LGBTQ community, by putting up billboards attacking Aida Touma-Sliman, a progressive Joint List MK(Member of Knesset) for supporting LGBTQ rights, for being too secular, for being a woman who does not dress modestly enough(according to them), and for being a Christian. They managed to dupe half of the Arab community in Israel in the same way other socially conservative leaders have managed to attain power around the world, and it is a very bad sign for Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Jews alike.
Right now it seems like no one will be able to form a government and Israel will go to a fifth round of elections. If that will be the case, the main job of progressives(Arabs, Jews, and others alike) will have to be to get the socially conservative, rural Arab population to understand that they are being screwed over by Raam and the Islamic movement as a whole, and to raise the voting rates among Arabs by at least 20%. It will be a lot of work but that is the only way to get rid of bibi, to replace him with a progressive government, and to build a sane society between the river and the sea. one of the only ways to get these things to happen is for more Jews and other Non-Arab citizens to vote for the joint list, and why shouldn't they, the joint list is the only socialist(as in anti-capitalist socialist), anti-racist and all-around progressive political party out there.
Now more than ever we all have to say “!بس مشتركة” or “!רק משותפת” or “Only the Joint List!”.