Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Finishing Evelyn Gordon's thought

Sar Shalom

Evelyn Gordon has an excellent post up about the threat posed by the Joint List in Israel. If I were to raise one objection, it would be the premature ending of her post. She finishes with,
What Israel desperately needs is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. But it will never have one as long as people who favor coexistence insist on embracing radicals rather than shunning them.
She is right that the pseudomoderates who pursue their radicalism under cover of participating within the system should be shunned rather than embraced, she neglects that there is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. Ali Salam, mayor of Nazareth.
Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam took a bold step in expelling the chairman of the Joint List, Knesset member Ayman Odeh, from his town Oct. 11, even if it caused a ruckus in front of the TV cameras. ... Salam is a popular, well-respected mayor who spends his days managing Israel’s largest Arab city. As part of his job, he is intimately familiar with the crises facing the Israeli Arab sector and knows exactly what it needs. In the 2013 municipal elections, he easily defeated Knesset member Haneen Zoabi for the post. Zoabi believed that since she was a well-known figure and the "star of the Gaza flotilla,” she would win handily. But even the young people weren’t very excited by her candidacy, and she suffered a humiliating defeat with barely 10% of the vote. The elections in Nazareth showed the real priorities of the local population.
The only problem with Salam is that, for now, he is only mayor of Nazareth and not a national figure and as such is largely ignored by the international community. Yes we need to stop embracing the pseudomoderates and shun them. However, we also need to stop shunning the genuine moderates like Ali Salam and embrace them.

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