Uri Ariel, you’re #1. (Photo: Haaretz)
A report from Mattot Harim, a West Bank settlers’ advocacy group in Israel (“Peace through Peace” is their slogan), was leaked to the press. The document is for internal distribution only, Haaretz reports. The bill lists MKs in order of legislation they have advanced that benefits the settlements (the top ten are all Likud or National Union, of course).
Nevertheless, it is really odd, from an American perspective at least, that this list constitutes “breaking news,” and that it was composed in secret by an advocacy group. U.S. civil society groups (and lobbyists) compile similar lists all the time on elected officials, from gun control to farm subsidization. Doesn’t Israel have groups like Project Vote Smart or Club for Growth, which compile “report cards” for Members of Congress based on their voting records? Every election cycle, a doorstop of a book called “The Almanac of American Politics” comes out that has issue rankings in them. And the secrecy aspect is also strange: the Club for Growth is fiscally conservative, but does not hide it’s rankings because it uses them for its lobbying efforts. Lobbyists in the U.S. make their preferences and ratings known all the time, from environmental protection to gun control (relaxed gun control was actually one of the key items discussed by Mattot Harim’s report). But, there is no Knesset version of GovTrack.us, which tracks all bills introduced to Congress. And most KM webpages only consist of a few sentences and a picture, in contrast to the webpages of U.S. legislators, which are studded with statements and links to prospective legislation.
Anyway, here are the top ten. Readers will recognize some names from our past coverage. That Zeev [also spelled "Ze'ev"] Elkin is so near the top is no surprise, given that he’s had his hand in most of the illiberal legislation of the past year. Danny Danon needs no introduction. Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon goes stumping in the West Bank to demand faster settlement construction:
1. Uri Ariel (National Union, 46)
2. Zeev Elkin (Likud, 34)
3. Yariv Levin (Likud, 27)
4. Aryeh Eldad (National Union, 24)
5. Moshe Ya’alon (Likud, 18)
6. Danny Danon (Likud, 15)
7. Moshe Kahlon (Likud 14)
8. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union, 13)
9. Benny Begin (Likud, 13)
10. Tzipi Hotovely (Likud, 13)
Avigdor Lieberman is ranked low on the entire list, though this is mainly because it is based on specific legislation, and the Foreign Minister is not exactly lobbying for infrastructure projects or gun rights on a regular basis.
One wonders if Haaretz will be able to run a story like this again next Thanksgiving should the new libel laws pass (probably: what KMs would consider reporting on their sterling pro-settlement record to be “scandalous”?)