Israel’s Election: Why Netanyahu Should Not Win Again

Benjamin Netanyahu or “Bibi” is up for reelection and there are three reasons why he is the wrong choice.

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The first reason is his stance on Iran. It cannot be argued that this position reflects that of the Jewish population, as he stated that in a recent speech. This same reasoning applies to his other positions, also. Moving back to the subject of Iran, the antagonistic view towards Iran is largely unnecessary. In 1996, Netanyahu stated that Iran was close to building their own nuclear weapon. Fast forward almost twenty years and he is repeating the same message. Common sense would lead the intelligent individual to draw one simple conclusion, Mr. Netanyahu is absolutely full of it. Iran’s connection with Hezbollah is a fair cause of concern. Iran has also provided rhetoric that may suggest hostile feeling towards them. Regardless, nations do not have to be friendly with one another to make peace and have diplomatic relations. Netanyahu’s hostility towards Iran has led him to alienate the United States as well.

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This leads to the second issue, which is his uncanny ability to alienate his allies. The recent war in Gaza has turned many nations away from continuing support for some of Israel’s domestic policies. More importantly, however, is the prime minister’s disregard for the United States’ leadership. This is made evident by his most recent address to congress. His speech was not the issue, rather the context of his visit was a significant political gesture. In accepting the invitation to address Congress without the request of the president, he has displayed his indifference to respecting the American Commander-In-Chief. This alienates him from much of the American public, which is not the message Israel wants to send to its closest ally.

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The final issue with Netanyahu as Israel’s leader is his stance on the Palestinians. In the most recent statement before the election, he explicitly noted that he would not entertain the idea of Palestinian statehood if he is to be reelected. This further alienates him from other nations. Furthermore, such a statement erases decades of slow movement towards a peaceful resolution. The Palestinian resistance movement will not react to this with peace given their is no longer anything to work for diplomatically. It will also create a rift within the Israeli public as many support the notion of a solution and are beginning to sympathize with the occupied territories. Therefore, it can be said that Netanyahu’s reelection would be destructive to Israel’s global position as well as the nation’s domestic well-being.

The Gulf States’ Migrant Worker Problem

The Gulf States are notorious for their vast oil wealth, with which they have been able to form powerful allies. As a result, much of their affairs are overlooked or accepted, despite their questionable nature. One such feature is their treatment of migrant workers and the means by which they restrict their freedoms.

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The migrant workers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait make up a significant portion of the population of these nations, yet they receive minimal benefits if any. The individuals come from all over Africa and Asia as well as from the Gulf States themselves. This system is known as Kafala, in which an individual is allowed to work in one of these nations if they are sponsored by an employer. This relationship becomes very similar to indentured servitude, however, when the sponsors refuse to allow the workers to further themselves and seek better employment. The workers are often made to pay off the cost of the sponsorship, which cripples their chance for social mobility if they still wish to send remittances to their families abroad. This creates a very difficult situation for the workers and is all too often the case.

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A large portion of the migrants work construction in these countries, which are building their infrastructure through the exploitation of these individuals. Even more shocking than the Kafala system itself is the death toll and treatment the workers. For example, a report revealed that almost 1,000 migrants perished while working construction in 2012-2013 in Qatar alone. This is without mentioning the sexual and physical abuse that is a constant factor, also. Unfortunately, the power and wealth held by the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council makes fixing the situation more difficult. Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are exposing these crimes, but it is the duty of the international community to pressure these nations to enact change.