Benjamin Netanyahu and the global far right

Image: Sera Cocora


An electoral victory or even a cycle of progressive governments are not enough, even though they are extremely important, to defeat the global extreme right

Benjamin Netanyahu's government is today the biggest political reference for the global extreme right, playing a role in reorganizing it. The electoral defeats of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro were partial defeats for the global extreme right, but insufficient to definitively disable it. The military offensive by Benjamin Netanyahu's government on the Palestinian population and territory gave shape to a policy that aligned several far-right currents around the world.

Politics is also context. Since his first government in 1996, in the wake of the political crisis that hit Israel after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin – prime minister who led the ceasefire agreements between Jews and Palestinians in the 1990s – Benjamin Netanyahu established himself as the leader of factions that deny the coexistence of two states in the region. And also of any concession on the part of Israel in order to materialize a peace pact, such as the Oslo Agreement, its main target in the first government.

The global political crisis since 2010 has given Benjamin Netanyahu the environment, the political conditions, for the radicalization of his far-right politics. With the 2022 election, Benjamin Netanyahu reached his sixth government. In this government, the policies of social and ethnic segregation against the Arab people advanced, solidifying its colonial policy on the Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and not just Gaza. Israel is moving, at the hands of the extreme right, to assert itself as an ethno-religious State and not as a national and democratic State.

Accused of corruption and leading an extreme right-wing government, made up of radical Zionist parties, fundamentalist religious parties and expanding the strength of the military and police, Netanyahu consolidated ethnic discrimination laws, territorial annexation policies and dedemocratizing proposals. On the one hand, it has been heavily criticized and has suffered resistance from the Israeli democratic opposition and human rights organizations – which characterize it as a government of apartheid social – on the other hand, it has become a reference for far-right organizations and parties around the world.

In Brazil, for example, after the electoral defeat to Lula at the end of 2022 and the suppression of the attempted coup d'état in January 2023, the extreme right, led by Bolsonarism, rediscovered a point of unity in defending colonialist and religious policies. by Benjamin Netanyahu. The idea, although diffuse, of a religious, militaristic State, with the elimination of social rights and that combats the premises of human rights, worked with a trumpet call to remobilize its social base, conservative and susceptible to the operational schemes of the networks. Bolsonarist social groups.

The provocative meeting of Israel's ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Zonshine, with far-right parliamentarians and former president Jair Bolsonaro, demonstrates that the Israeli government is, objectively, willing to engage with the global far-right and go beyond diplomatic limits of relations between states. This same ambassador had already attacked the PT, the main party of the Lula government coalition, in an unusual attitude for representatives of foreign states.

Israel's military offensive provoked, after several political and electoral defeats, a revival of the global extreme right. In Brazil, the United States, Argentina, Portugal, Spain and Germany, the extreme right seeks to undertake a new offensive movement. The attempt to lawfare against the center-left government in Portugal, the candidacies of Javier Milei and Donald Trump, in Argentina and the USA respectively, the strength of pressure from the right-wing opposition in Brazil and Spain, the activism and representation of neo-fascism in Germany, if join the governments of Hungary, Poland and Italy in an ultra-reactionary front.

An electoral victory or even a cycle of progressive governments are not enough, even though they are extremely important, to defeat the global extreme right. It is the global economic crisis and the high concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the super-rich that fuel this situation of hatred and scarcity, an environment conducive to far-right activism. The dispute over values, which involves denouncing the extreme right for what it is and what it does without fuss or tergiversation, is decisive for a confrontation over the continuity of the social achievements of recent decades.

*Jorge Branco is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).

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