Roger Cohen's warning for Democrats is simple: with Benjamin Netanyahu winning a fifth term this week while under criminal indictment for bribery and corruption showing Donald Trump the way, the Democrats will lose next November unless something fundamental changes in America within the next 18 months.
It was a referendum on him and he nailed it. Nobody can take that away from Benjamin Netanyahu. This summer, in his fifth term, he will surpass David Ben-Gurion as the longest-serving Israeli prime minister. Enough said.
His victory contains a warning for any Democrat still imagining that the 2020 election will bring an easy victory over Donald Trump. The Netanyahu playbook will be President Trump’s next year. Gather nationalist and religious voters in your camp, add in a strong economy, dose with fear, sprinkle with strongman appeal, inject a dash of racism and victory is yours — whatever indictments are looming.
It’s not that this could happen. It will happen, absent some decisive factor to upend the logic of it. Netanyahu is savvier than Trump, but they share a shrewd assessment of how to control and manipulate the politics of spectacle, as well as a fierce determination to stay out of jail. They campaign ugly.
Exactly a century ago, Ben-Gurion said, “Everyone sees the difficulty of relations between Jews and Arabs, but not everyone sees there is no solution to that question.” Netanyahu’s solution is by now clear. He is a true believer in Greater Israel and will not give up one inch of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. There will be no Palestinian state on his watch. Period.
Many Israelis, weary of the chimera of a two-state peace, thank him for that — as they thank him for a strong economy, Trump’s support and a sense of stability. Netanyahu is a formidable politician adept in using hate and fear, the strongest currency in contemporary politics.
His victory was personal but it was also structural. Israel now has a structural majority of the right. This will almost certainly enable Netanyahu to form a right-wing government, even though his Likud party appeared tied with the Blue and White party of his upstart challenger, Benny Gantz, each winning 35 seats.
The Gantz performance was remarkable. It demonstrated the deep disquiet of liberal Israel over Netanyahu the King. But in the end Gantz took more votes from the left — the Labor Party and Meretz — than from the right. As Avi Scharf, editor of the English edition of the liberal daily Haaretz, put it to me, “Israel’s founding left is totally obliterated.”
Obliteration is absolutely the fate of the American left in less than two years unless we get our shit together and find a way to stop Trump. The two-state solution in Israel is dead. Palestinian genocide is nearly guaranteed as tanks will roll into Gaza and the Golan Heights within months, if not weeks. America will do nothing until the survivors are forced to accept the peace of the grave at gunpoint.
And then our adventure down that road will begin in earnest unless Trump is stopped.
At roundtable in Texas, President Trump laments that US troops at the border can't get "a little rough," because "everybody would go crazy ... can’t act like they would normally act -- or like, let’s say, another military from another country would act." pic.twitter.com/q1TPW24Csa— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 10, 2019
Very soon they will be able to "act" in the manner Trump wants them to act. And then America's long history of genocide against the powerless will continue in an ocean of blood.