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 American Government and Corporations: A Love Story

The United States government fights harder for its corporations than for its citizens. This is a statement that should be refuted by the  American citizenry, who have faith in their elected officials. Unfortunately, an assertion such as this will find very little opposition given the current state of politics. Shockingly, a study has found that 79% of Americans believe their government is corrupt. This demonstrates an established belief system that reflects negatively on the nation and its leadership.

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It cannot be said how it got to the point that it is now. When politicians leave their positions in order to pursue business ambitions and vice-versa. What can be examined, however, is that the current state of politics is a mess because of the goal has not been to change the country for the better, but to shape perceptions. Upon receiving office, re-election is amongst the first things that crosses an incumbent’s mind. As a result, campaign donors are always in the back of their mind. Logically, it can be concluded that this is the vicious cycle that reinforces the powerful connection between the public and private sector.

This is not only an issue of perception, as it is increasingly making headlines and undermining the credibility of the nation’s leadership. Specifically, there exists an image of the GOP cozying up to big business and Wall Street. More often than not, these public views are misleading, but in this case they are not far from the truth. There is no better indication of this than the battle that is being held between the Obama Administration and Congress. Given the revelation that corporations are moving their headquarters abroad in order to avoid paying larger taxes, the administration rolled out a plan to make them pay for those taxes that were being dodged. Republican politicians, however, have already vowed to stop this from passing through congress. These organizations are not held accountable for not honoring the taxation system when the average individual faces serious consequences when they make a mistake. This reality is extremely troubling and is not something that would be expected from a representative democracy, especially not the United States.

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This problem is not simply a GOP issue, its an problem that extends to the entirety of the government.The current issue surrounding corruption regards Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. The government is close to charging him with corruption charges for actions that have been carried out for several years. He is a Democrat. Corruption is not partisan, it has no preferences. Last year, Republican Eric Cantor was voted out of office and immediately found a new home on Wall Street. What does this suggest? It sheds light on the fact that big business and politics may be more interwoven than is immediately evident. If this is not frightening to the American public, what the future holds might be.

Their is one absolute certainty in regards to American politics in the future, besides the fact that the government will more than likely remain a mess. That is Hillary Clinton’s bid for presidency. What many fail to understand is that the democratic politician is more in bed with corporations than most other individuals in Washington. Having served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart and considering they have been nothing less than generous to the Clinton Foundation, there is no doubt that she will not be leading the charge to condemn corporations. Due to these facts, some are claiming Clinton may be a favorite for Republicans, also. Moving forward the American citizens must ask themselves, do they want someone to fight for their rights or the rights of corporations?

Racism and the International Black Community

It has been years since Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States and the most powerful individual on the planet. It has been even longer since Nelson Mandela emerged triumphantly from the South African apartheid state as their new president. Given the progress of the black community internationally, does racism continue to affect this demographic? In examining the circumstances of a few nations, the reality of the situation become much more evident.

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It is only fitting that the first nation to be discussed is United States given its standing in international politics and its image as a beacon of equality. The most recent news on the topic highlights police bias towards African Americans, which has lead to a high number of black deaths. One figure, for example, reveals that over 5,000 civilians (mainly latino and black Americans) have been killed by a predominantly white police force. An equally serious issue is the denial of this racism by many politicians, despite the fact that it has been proven. Many individuals of significant influence, mostly in the GOP, attempt to maintain the status quo, which is not an issue. In this case, however, the status quo is plagued with racism. A recent report from the Justice Department finds that Ferguson Police Department has taken a predatory approach to policing. In examining these facts surrounding the racism within the United States, it becomes evident that a serious change is necessary if they are to uphold their underserved reputation.

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After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, one of the closest nations is the United Kingdom, which is also a melting pot of cultures for various reason such as university or employment. This Western nation, which at one point commanded an empire extending across various regions, also struggles with racial prejudice. While the current issue in the nation is Islamophobia, racism towards the black population is evident in everyday culture. A large discussion recently is being had in regards to racism in football. This was spurred by a video displaying fans of the Chelsea football team chanting racist slurs and not allowing a black man to enter a train in Paris. Given the location of this incident and the fact that the bystanders did not discourage these passengers, it is fair to conclude that France also suffers from this form of racism to some degree.

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The final country that will be examined is Israel. This nation is often made out to be a center of tolerance and democracy in an otherwise intolerant region. The validity of this perception is as relevant as the treatment of their black community. In this specific case, the racism targets Ethiopian Jews and it is severe. This population faces constant discrimination in the form of verbal and physical abuse, unequal socioeconomic conditions, and even deportation. Despite the right of return that is afforded all Jews in the nation, their is a definite biased approach to granting asylum to African refugees. Out of 17,778 Africans, mostly Jews, only 45 have been granting refugee status. The rest were denied and withdrawn or even imprisoned. This reveals a pattern of racist behavior within the Israeli nation.

These nations all share one significant similarity, which is that they are all democracies which are held in high regards. The reason for which they have been chosen is to demonstrate that racism against the black community is very well alive and flourishing today. It reveals that this reality can be found anywhere and even those nations whose fundamental principles oppose it, are guilty of creating such an atmosphere. Although the international community has come a long way, they still have a long way to go.

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.

Should Netanyahu Have Addressed the U.S. Congress?

Short Answer: After objectively examining the the Prime Minister of Israel’s visit to Congress, the answer is no.

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The first problem is the context of his visit. The United State’s government is significantly divided and polarized. This rift has negatively impacted the country and its population who are more than likely not benefitting from a relationship with Israel. The party that is most benefitting from that relationship is Israel themselves, but given their socioeconomic conditions, they do not need the United States. Israel is a developed nation with a democracy and a thriving and extremely entrepreneurial private sector. Therefore, they are innovative and can survive on their own. In understanding this, it becomes somewhat confusing as to why much of the American population welcome this individual at the expense of disrespecting their president.

Any individual who has followed Middle Eastern politics to some degree has a general understanding of how the current Israeli government has an unwavering disdain towards Iran. This can be attributed to many reasons such as their support of Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militia. In the speech given by “Bibi”, in which he warned that in establishing an agreement with Iran would only aid their efforts in creating nuclear weapons. President Obama’s did not make the effort to watch, but read the script later. His response to the Prime Minister is that he proposed no reasonable alternatives and is not entirely wrong.

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The only evidence necessary in this particular situation is history itself. President Obama’s assertion that no valuable suggestions were made is not without truth as the Prime Minister only insisted that the United States continue their efforts to restrict Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In looking to historical instances where sanctions and similar practices were unsuccessful, a couple significant instances can be examined. One of these instances includes sanctions against Japan in the pre-WWII period, which resulted in the bombing of Peal Harbor. The second instance, which is significantly more relevant as it is a more current example is that of North Korea. This is the perfect comparison as it has sanctions imposed on it by many nations, including the United States, yet it has been able to acquire nuclear arms. Therefore, it becomes evident that placing restrictions on Iran, is not a reliable option for ending or postponing their nuclear ambitions.

In conclusion, the long answer to the question is also no. Benjamin Netanyahu should not have been invited or accepted the invitation to address the United States congress. The speech will probably not change how Obama Administration will proceed and it should not, as the United States is a nation that should act in the manner it perceives will be the most effective. Furthermore, it may be within reason for the international community to question why other nations have nuclear arms, such as Israel itself.

College Debt: A Growing Problem

Most college and high school students, alumni, and parents know that paying for college has become a small fortune. For that reason, loans become the only option for college hopefuls as they seek a better and more profitable future. This problem is not limited to America, but unfortunately has grown to encompass higher education in the UK, Canada, China, and Japan amongst many others. Given that student debt has become such an issue, why are the same lending practices allowed to continue?

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The first reason concerns the benefit this provides both universities as well as their governments. For example, the United States Treasury takes in around 130$ a month from the social security benefits of anyone over 65 with student loan debt, a demographic which includes over three quarters of a million households in that country alone. One important detail to bear in mind is the fact that social security benefits are not substantial to begin with and therefore, any money that is collected out of that sum will significantly impact this population. This detail reveals that student loan debt effects individuals of many demographics, not just millennials as is the popular belief. The government attempts to subsidize these payments with various grants, but the reality of the situation is that it gives these institutions the opportunity to increase their tuitions. As this vicious cycle continues, it is quite evident that the government and universities will continue to benefit at the expense of those seeking education and a better life.

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The second reason is the lack of resistance to these practices. The simple fact that the amount of individuals applying to these institutions continues to increase yearly serves to enable these price increases and for the government to continue lending. Students finally appear to be taking a stand, or at their efforts are at least being publicized. The Corinthian 15, as they have come to be known, are a group of students who are taking a stand against the especially predatory Corinthian Colleges. The students are refusing to pay their debt to the chain of for-profit colleges and despite only making a small difference, they are turning national attention towards a problem that is often overlooked. In recognizing the potential catastrophe large amounts of student debt may result in, it may definitely be in the interest government to fix this issue immediately.

Oklahoma’s American History Problem: Too True to Tell?

Recently, a new bill has been proposed in the United States’ Oklahoma. This bill, authored by Republican Representative Dan Fisher, seeks to eliminate funding for college-level American history courses in high schools. Politicians in the state are claiming that the course is unpatriotic. Unfortunately, these individuals may not have realized that history is often complicated. The answer, however, cannot be to rewrite it in order to add to the undeserved attitude of superiority many American now possess.

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Many of the individuals who are more educated in the true history of their nation, as one may notice in universities, often do not posses an unrealistic view of their nation. Any student of political science who has received a proper education in United States history knows their nation, similar to others, has made mistakes. Simply creating a new curriculum that does not include the genocide of the Native American people or the Japanese Internment Camps is as great a crime as the atrocities themselves. Why? This is because to deprive the country’s youth of the mistakes and triumphs of their nation’s history is to slander the memory of those who were unjustly forced into slavery, made to move into reservations, or had their rights sacrificed for the sake of safety. Furthermore, it is creating a generation of individuals with an inflated pride of their nation that will more than likely become detrimental for future efforts in establishing international relationships. In conclusion, unless the nation has plans on adopting an isolationist policy, this small gesture can have significant future implications.

This article from The Onion provides a great satirical view of the situation.