20 years ago for many non-Israelis, Israel looked like a strange country – a country created from the ravages of World War II by and for Jewish people, a country that seemed to be fighting the Palestinians almost perpetually. 20 years on Israel looks like everywhere else. The rest of the world seems to have become like Israel – every country seems to be perpetually in a state of civil war. “Israel, far from being an anachronism, turned out to be a harbinger. Rather than Israel coming to more closely resemble other democracies, other democracies are looking increasingly Israeli.”
As a result, the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have become a poster boy for other leaders in countries as disparate as Brazil, Hungary and India. Everybody, it would appear, wants a page out of the Netanyahu playbook. “Mr. Netanyahu rose to power in the 1990s by championing skepticism and fear of efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, a common sentiment among Orthodox and secular nationalist Jewish Israelis. When he defeated Shimon Peres in elections in 1996, Mr. Peres commented, “The Jews had beaten the Israelis.”
For 20 years in and out of power after that, Mr. Netanyahu played what many American diplomats suspected was a double game. Abroad or when speaking in English, he would emphasize Israel’s democratic system, its hope for peace with the Palestinians and its respect for international rules and norms. At home and speaking to his base, typically in Hebrew, he would promise stern treatment of Palestinians, promise to expand the settlements choking off the West Bank and warn darkly about Arab Israeli voters.”
And so, against all odds, Israel has laid the template for the kind of right wing politics that many other countries seem destined to follow: “…Netanyahuism is succeeding beyond Israel. Voters around the world are flocking to strong-fisted rulers who promise to protect “us” — usually defined, at least implicitly, along racial, ethnic and religious lines — by controlling or expelling the minorities or cultural outsiders unlucky enough to be categorized as “them.”
More and more often, defying the international order, with its idealistic restrictions on everything from the use of force to a state’s obligations to refugees, is seen as a plus. In this new nationalist order, there is one country that, paradoxically, wields little power in the traditional sense but commands great cultural sway…There is more going on here than evangelical pro-Israel attitudes or strategic interests in the Middle East. Israel’s old-style ethnonationalism and its hard-line treatment of Palestinians, once an international liability, have become an asset.”
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Note: the above material is neither investment research, nor financial advice. Marcellus does not seek payment for or business from this publication in any shape or form. Marcellus Investment Managers is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a provider of Portfolio Management Services. Marcellus Investment Managers is also regulated in the United States as an Investment Advisor.
Copyright © 2022 Marcellus Investment Managers Pvt Ltd, All rights reserved.
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