Imagine if 100 million Americans participated in the Tea Party movement. And then imagine that the movement had no impact on American politics. Finally imagine that in the wake of the Tea Party movement, Republicans embraced President Barack Obama's positions on spending and taxation.
These scenarios are of course, unimaginable. Anywhere from a million to ten million people participated in Tea Party protests in the US over the past year. That is, perhaps three percent of Americans.
Yet this was sufficient for the citizens' movement calling for fiscal restraint, spending and tax cuts to have a defining impact on the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives. The Republican establishment is being challenged and in many cases unseated by Tea Party politicians.
Owing in large part to the Tea Party movement, just two years after Obama was elected president the American political map has been transformed. The American people are abandoning leftist socialist domestic policy formulations in favor of supply side Reaganomics.
Now look at Israel. 17 years ago, the Rabin government adopted the radical and failed policy of appeasing the PLO. Since then, around two million -- or approximately 30 percent of Israelis have participated in protests against this policy. In four of the six elections since then, the Right has won by pledging to abandon this policy. And in one of the two elections won by the Left, the Left (under Ehud Barak in 1999), won by running on a rightist platform.
The resistance Israelis have demonstrated to the government's policies towards the Palestinians is arguably unprecedented in modern history. And yet, the unimaginable scenarios for the Tea Party movement in the US have been the glum reality in Israel for 17 years.
Presently, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is implementing the Left's appeasement policy towards the Palestinians with as much enthusiasm as Shimon Peres before him. Last Monday Ron Dermer, Netanyahu's most trusted adviser, told Politico that a leader is defined by the contempt he feels for his voters. As Dermer put it, "The test of leadership is doing things that are not popular with your base."
There are many explanations for what is going on. The most cited are Israel's indirect elections system in which leaders are unaccountable to voters, the weakness of Israel's politicians, and the poor quality of their advisors.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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