Israel Policy Forum proudly supports Israel and the strength of the U.S.-Israel alliance, long rooted in our shared democratic values and enshrined in the Declarations of Independence of both countries. This support compels us to unequivocally condemn the antidemocratic, extremist views of Itamar Ben Gvir, his Jewish supremacist Otzma Yehudit party, and the anti-LGBTQ Noam party running with him, and to caution against the danger his inclusion in any Israeli government would portend for the U.S.-Israel relationship. 

Ben Gvir has been convicted for racist incitement, has glorified and incited terrorism, and openly threatened Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin prior to his assassination. His decades-long campaign to treat Arabs as second-class citizens and cement their inferior status flies in the face of Israel’s recent steps toward more fully integrating its Arab citizens into politics and society. His inclusion in an Israeli coalition government, let alone his appointment as a governmental minister, would seriously undermine Israel’s efforts to address discrimination against its own citizens and would be contrary to Zionism’s principles of fundamental justice and equality. In a similar vein, Noam’s virulently homophobic and bigoted platform runs counter to any embrace of basic equality.

We respect Israeli democracy and the right of Israeli citizens to select their leaders and representatives. It is that respect that compels us to communicate to our Israeli friends that a government with Ben Gvir and any coalition with Otzma Yehudit or Noam would severely undermine Israel’s standing in the U.S., not only among American Jews but among American political leaders of all stripes. It is that respect that compels us to further communicate to our Israeli friends that any government with Ben Gvir and any coalition with Otzma Yehudit or Noam will make it harder for American Jews to identify with Israel while eroding a larger sense of Jewish peoplehood. Israeli democracy is for Israelis, but we plead with Israeli voters to take this into account.

We urge Israeli political leaders to reaffirm the legacy of Israeli democratic values as a fundamental component of Israel’s strength and success and exemplify that Israel is not only a legitimate member of the community of nations but a credible member in the community of pluralistic democracies.