Only non-Jews can save Israel, Eldar says

Israel/Palestine
on 62 Comments

The only thing that can save Israel is non-Jews. This was the message of Akiva Eldar, the veteran Israeli journalist, in a conference call on January 2 held by Americans For Peace Now.

These non-Jews could save Israel by acting in two ways: The Palestinian citizens of Israel must vote in three weeks, instead of staying home, and this will allow a Labor coalition to form a new government dedicated to making peace with Palestine (and guaranteeing Israel’s existence), Eldar says.

Or, if as is almost certain, Netanyahu’s coalition is reelected, the Europeans– who unlike Obama are unbound by AIPAC– will at last pressure Israel in ways that will force the Netanyahu government to dissolve before too long, Eldar says.

In short, if you are counting on Israeli Jews to change their society and end the occupation, forget about it. The “Masada syndrome”– the belief that “the goyim” are against us– has taken hold in the Israeli public, Eldar says, pushed by the only strong leader in Israeli society, Netanyahu, so that even secular liberals accept the idea that peace with the Palestinians is a theoretical possibility but not practical. 

So you have a liberal Zionist, Eldar, 67, columnist for Haaretz and al-monitor.com, arguing that the only way to save the Jewish state is for non-Jews to take action. Though Eldar did not say so explicitly, his argument turns Zionism on its head: Jewish sovereignty is actually destructive.

You can listen to Eldar here. Key points of his analysis: 

1.       The Israeli Palestinians are the “game changer,” if they would only vote.

“If Labor/Kadima what’s left of it, [Tzipi] Livini, if they will be able to convince the Arab Israeli constituency that if they win, things will change– because the reason they don’t vote is they gave up hope that things will change–… I think the Arab or Israeli Palestinian electorate can be a game changer. But otherwise the common wisdom is, that Bibi Netanyahu is going to be the next prime minister.”

If Israeli Palestinians voted, Labor Kadima could then form a 61-member coalition with the addition of Shas, the Ultra-Orthodox, who would be in the government because they always want to be in the ruling coalition, so as to be “close to the bank,” Eldar explains.

2.       Israel is careening to the right, and the Europeans are the only ones who are going to stop Israel.

Netanyahu lost to the radical right twice, first when he combined the Likud party and the rightwing Yisraeli Beteinu party, a masterstroke/”mistake” brokered by American political consultant Arthur Finkelstein, which put the radicals inside his own party; then he has lost more recently with the rise of the charismatic Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home Party on his right. Bennett, an Orthodox Jew, is for Bantustans on the West Bank, annexing Area C, and pushing Gaza into Egypt, Eldar says, but even the secular elite young like him because he made money in high-tech and his secular wife is a chef in a non-Kosher restaurant. 

The Israeli Jewish public claims to be for a two-state solution but it will vote for Likud and Bennett because it has accepted Netanyahu’s propaganda that Palestinians don’t want peace, they want Jerusalem; and so the international pressure on settlements is an effort to delegitimize Israel – in the pointed finger,”it’s our fault, not the goyim’s fault.” Netanyahu also claims to be for a two-state solution but if he had to adopt his own Bar-Ilan speech of ’09 as his platform, his coalition would abandon him. Even Labor’s Shelly Yachimovitch has deferred to the radical right on the settlement policy, because she doesn’t know anything about the Palestinian issue. The Masada syndrome is reminiscent to Eldar of a song that Israelis sung after the 1967 war: “The whole world is against us. Sorry, we won.”

Of course, the Europeans and the Americans have been letting Israel get away with consuming the West Bank while claiming they are for the two state solution. The Americans briefly changed the program in ’91 under Bush and in ’99 under Clinton (note to reader: last year of their presidencies) and in each case Likud lost the prime ministership because the US pressure changed Israeli public opinion.

This time round Obama “doesn’t seem interested,” but the Europeans are “getting fed up.” The Israeli ambassadors’ revolt against their government’s E1 settlement plans shows that they can’t sustain European support. The biggest crack is the Czechs. The Czechs were the only EU member to vote against Palestinian observer state status at the UN last November, but the Israeli ambassador says since then for the first time he has been getting “difficult” questions from the Czechs about E-1 and other settlement plans.

So when Netanyahu is sworn in again, on Day One his coalition will have a radical right line and the Europeans will start to confront him. On two potential fronts: Hey, we like the American visa system, and now when you want to have a bar mitzvah in Paris, you have to wait for weeks to get a visa; and we have noticed that even you Israelis are boycotting settlement goods, so we are going to do so too. Eldar spoke about the Israel lobby. During the statehood initiative at the UN, the US signaled to European countries, you can vote for enhanced status for the Palestinians, but we can’t:

“I believe [the pressure] will not come from the Americans, it will come from the Europeans, because… the Europeans are getting fed up, and in the case of the Palestinian request to the UN, there was a message, you can go ahead with this, you don’t have to follow us and vote against the Palestinians. [It was a] subtle hint from the US to Europeans, you don’t have to worry about the European AIPAC, so take advantage of this.”

Netanyahu will respond to the economic pressure, and his coalition will break. There will be new elections not long after he forms his coalition, Eldar indicated.

When asked by a Peace Now caller what could produce a meaningful two-state solution, Eldar basically admitted no one is Israel is thinking about this.

“People are thinking now of other solutions including a kind of one state solution which will allow Israel to maintain its Jewish nature and the Palestinians [not to have] borders and allow the settlers to stay where they are.”

But this disturbs him:

“The majority of the Israelis, and the Palestinians don’t believe in a one-state solution. They don’t want to get married, they want a divorce. There is so much animosity and unfinished business between the two people. Look at the Balkans, look at Belgium, at Quebec, let alone here where you have different religions, different history, and so many years of occupation that left millions of Palestinians wounded. I don’t believe there is an other way.”

I understand this argument but am not convinced by it. It is generational. How many of Peace Now’s constituency even believe it? People are sick of a charade, the peace process, and Israeli expansion has forever changed the West Bank landscape. The two state solution would require repartition and return of colonists; and there’s no political will to impose it. As for “unfinished business” and the wounds of occupation, world opinion is beginning to valorize Palestinian grievances, from ’48 to ’67, and that is a good thing.

If you follow Eldar’s logic that only non-Jews can save Israel from the dangers of Jewish sovereignty– well, it is actually a democratic argument for everyone who is under the power of the Israeli government to have a vote. The extremism Eldar so disparages is the fruit of empowering only half the population, on an ethnic basis. 

62 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    January 5, 2013, 12:43 pm

    RE: “In short, if you are counting on Israeli Jews to change their society and end the occupation, forget about it.” ~ Weiss summing up Eldar’s assessment

    ALSO SEE: “Watching as Israel’s Election Approaches”, By Jay Michaelson, The Forward, 1/04/12

    [EXCERPT] . . . First, there’s the Likud’s new list of parliamentary candidates. This list has purged everyone in Likud who had been interested in some form of negotiated peace, as well as its more moderate intellectual leadership — Dan Meridor, Benny Begin, Micky Eitan and so on. In its place, it includes not only the followers of the rejectionist Avigdor Lieberman (now off the list himself due to a corruption inquiry), but also the know-nothing Moshe Feiglin, the anti-democratic Danny Danon and the xenophobic Miri Regev.
    These may not be household names in America, but those of us who have lived in Israel and paid attention to politics know them well. Indeed, my centrist Israeli friends — some of whom have voted for Likud in the past — are gnashing their teeth. It’s as if the Republican Party nominated Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to its presidential ticket.
    Any American supporting the Likud now has to face the facts. This is not a list taking a somewhat harder negotiating line, or being a bit tougher on Iran. This is a list of nationalist thugs who pander to the absolute worst in all of us: fears, prejudices and most of all, anger. This tactic works; after all, what supporter of Israel isn’t furious with Hamas? Who didn’t entertain a thought of “turning Gaza into a parking lot,” as one conservative friend of mine proposed? It’s natural to feel these emotions — but ill-advised to act on them, and cynical to exploit them.
    Second, among Israeli conservative pundits, a new — or at least newly discussed — narrative has taken hold. The story is that the Palestinian people are not ready for peace, and that this conflict will continue for 100 years. This past November, the writer Daniel Gordis made this point — as a statement of fact — on a panel I shared with him at the General Assembly. Danny Danon, a member of Knesset, made the same argument in an op-ed published in The New York Times.
    Strictly speaking, this argument is not new. Netanyahu’s late father made it decades ago, and arguably it goes back to Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s claim that the Arabs are too proud to ever make peace.
    But think about it: The intellectual leaders of the Israeli right, the brains behind the power today, are telling us that there will be no peace for 100 years: 100 years of occupation (within a few decades, of 5 million people); 100 years of Israeli 18-year-olds risking their lives at checkpoints; 100 years of two-faced Israeli policies, of expanding settlements while maintaining the propaganda of peace. This is appalling to consider — and yet it is what’s being offered in this election. . .
    . . . If, as Americans, we cheer the re-election of this government, we are supporting 100 more years of occupation, and a perilous path for Israel on the world stage. In my view, such a position is not just anti-peace and anti-Jewish values but also anti-Israel, because it is so dangerous to Israel’s very survival — in the real world, if not the far right’s fantasyland. It is the path of madmen: leaders intoxicated with nationalistic rhetoric, and a population that is (understandably) enraged at the Palestinians. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to forward.com

    • seanmcbride
      January 5, 2013, 12:54 pm

      Dickerson,

      Let me say once again that I appreciate all the valuable documentation you post here — especially including the bolded passages. You help us find the signal in the noise. In some ways, this kind of editing is an example of the highest kind of analytics and dot-connecting. You are helping us to see what is really going on.

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 6, 2013, 6:15 am

        Thanks. The work of an obsessive-compulsive is never done. Nor done well enough!*
        Last weekend Google Chrome crashed on me and when it restarted, I discovered that there had been 224 open tabs at the time it crashed.
        I’m trying to establish a brand new* “mental impairment” by being the very first person known to have suffered from Chronic Multi-Tab Browser Abuse Syndrome (CMTBAS)! ! !

        * As Good as it Gets; OCD handwashing, locks, and lights [VIDEO, 01:05] – link to youtube.com

        ** Brand New: Jesus Christ (from The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me CD, 2006) [VIDEO, 05:05] – link to youtube.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 6, 2013, 7:23 am

        P.S. ANOTHER “FUN FACT”: Ian Curtis (lead singer of Joy Division) hung himself one evening after watching Werner Herzog’s 1977 film Stroszek (with it’s famous dancing and piano-playing chickens”) on BBC television and then listening to an Iggy Pop album.
        Apparently this is even more dangerous than mixing the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky with the music of Bob Marley!

        Joy Division: She’s Lost Control [VIDEO, 03:39] – link to youtube.com

        Joy Division: Live in Amsterdam 1980 (audio only) [VIDEO, 1:09:37] – link to youtube.com

        Werner Herzog Stroszek extract Bruno S song [VIDEO, 03:36] – link to youtube.com
        “Ladies and Gentlemen, Bruno will now play something on his Glockenspiel because Bruno now has Eva at home.”

        Final Scene from Werner Herzog’s Stroszek (including the dancing and piano-playing chickens) [VIDEO, 08:46] – link to youtube.com

        ENTIRE FILM: Werner Herzog, Stroszek (VOSCastellano) [VIDEO, 1:47:58] – link to youtube.com

    • American
      January 5, 2013, 1:33 pm

      “and a population that is (understandably) enraged at the Palestinians. . .”

      Well they have ‘no right’ to be enraged at Palestines….so it’ not understandable…they are after all part of theft of Palestine land.

      Jay Michaelson also wrote that it was “understandable” that Israelis wanted to ‘turn Gaza into a parking lot”.

      Like I’ve said before when you peel away the layers of ‘reasonable, liberal, etc. zionist’ you still find this huge core fatal flaw of excusing the Israelis hatreds on the basis of their being the vicitms not having been the theives and aggressors and oppressors for 60 years.

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 6, 2013, 4:38 am

        RE: “a population that is (understandably) enraged at the Palestinians’ . . . Israelis wanted to ‘turn Gaza into a parking lot’. . . you still find this huge core fatal flaw of excusing the Israelis hatreds on the basis of their being the victims . . . “ ~ American

        MY REPLY: I thought exactly the same thing when I read those lines, but I accept that this is the way Michaelson sees things from his perspective.
        From my perspective though, Michaelson has bought into too much of the propaganda constantly churned out by the Israeli government and “force-fed” to Israelis (with very little to counter it).
        A big part of the reason that Israelis are “enraged at the Palestinians” and entertain thoughts of “turning Gaza into a parking lot”, is because they have been so indoctrinated by their own government over the years. As far as I am concerned, it is largely this incredible degree of indoctrination, and the Israeli government’s constant anti-Arab/Persian/Palestinian propaganda that makes the Israeli’s enragement at the Palestinians “understandable”.

        *FOR JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THIS INDOCTRINATION, SEE:
        “Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias” ~ By Harriet Sherwood, guardian.co.uk, 8/07/11
        Nurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as “terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers”

        [EXCERPT] Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.
        They are called Arabs. “The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don’t pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don’t want to develop,” she says. “The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.”
        Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education”, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service. . .

        ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to guardian.co.uk

        VIDEO of interview with Peled-Elhanan (08:48) – link to youtube.com

        P.S. ALSO SEE: Is Change possible in Israel? (VIDEO, 07:49) – link to youtube.com
        Prof. Haim Bresheeth tries to answer this question – why can some Israelis change, and support the Palestinian cause, but change seems elusive in Israel? Should we wait and hope for such change?

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 6, 2013, 5:05 am

        P.P.S. RE: “Michaelson has bought into too much of the propaganda constantly churned out by the Israeli government and “force-fed” to Israelis (with very little to counter it).” ~ me (from above)

        SEE: “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

        [EXCERPT] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [ Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]
        All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis. [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation.
        Bennett assertions are only slightly more extreme that those of the Likud and the religious parties.
        In the annual gathering of the heads of Israel’s diplomatic missions in the world, a very senior diplomat asked why the government had announced the building of a huge new settlement in East Jerusalem, a decision denounced throughout the world. The question was loudly applauded by the diplomats. Netanyahu’s spokesman, until recently the most senior Orthodox kippa-wearing army officer, curtly told the diplomats to resign if they have problems with government policy.
        A few weeks ago, the commanding general in the occupied West Bank decided to elevate the status of the college in the Ariel settlement to the rank of a university. It may be the only university in the world which was given its charter by an army general.
        There is, of course, not the slightest sign of democracy or human rights in the occupied territories. The Likud threatens to cut off international funding to all the NGOs which try to monitor what is happening there.
        Does this process of de-democratization evoke a furious debate in these elections? Not at all, just a few feeble protests.
        The issue is not a vote-catcher. . .

        SOURCE – link to counterpunch.org

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 6, 2013, 5:31 am

        P.P.P.S. RE: “[I]t is largely this incredible degree of indoctrination, and the Israeli government’s constant anti-Arab/Persian/Palestinian propaganda that makes the Israeli’s enragement at the Palestinians ‘understandable’.” ~ me (from above)

        URI AVNERY, 1/04/12: “Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that ‘the Arabs’ don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.”

        SEE: “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

        [EXCERPT] . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
        If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to nought, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
        This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
        The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”, the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
        How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
        It peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

    • Henry Norr
      January 6, 2013, 2:07 pm

      Thanks for the interesting Michaelson link, Dickerson.

      >100 years of Israeli 18-year-olds risking their lives at checkpoints

      Ah, so that’s the problem with the checkpoints! Who cares about the disruption, delay, humiliation, etc., those 18-year-old Israelis impose on the Palestinians? Not to mention that it’s the lives of the latter that are at much greater risk.

  2. yourstruly
    January 5, 2013, 12:48 pm

    only non-jews can save israel?

    from those who oppose it?

    from itself?

    where to now?

    really? build anew?

    something about one equals one?

    • yourstruly
      January 5, 2013, 2:04 pm

      & just think, always in the spirit of those eighteen magical days in tahrir square?

      not to mention the forever more?

  3. tommy
    January 5, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Only the oppressed can liberate the oppressors, according to Paulo Freire. Palestinians have stopped imitating militant Zionist tactics, revealing the terror based policies of Israel’s regime, which are being realized even by Israeli nationalists. One, however, doubts any kind of dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis will ever be able to reconcile the immense suffering imposed on Palestinians. Perhaps Nuremberg-like trials will be needed to reveal how terrible Israel has become to Israelis and their supporters. It is difficult seeing how the one state solution can resolve the conflict, unless that state is called Palestine.

    • yourstruly
      January 5, 2013, 9:35 pm

      nurenberg-like trials?

      the immense suffering that israel’s colonial existence has imposed on the palestinian people?

      the truth about the p/i conflict happening to be the opposite of what we’re being force-fed?

      justice for palestine?

      no more than a mouse-click away?

    • Mooser
      January 6, 2013, 1:55 pm

      “Perhaps Nuremberg-like trials”

      “Truth and reconciliation” has proven to be an effective technique. The Israelis ought to jump at the chance.

  4. piotr
    January 5, 2013, 1:18 pm

    “Netanyahu lost to the radical right twice, first when he combined the Likud party and the rightwing Yisraeli Beteinu party, a masterstroke/”mistake” brokered by American political consultant Arthur Finkelstein, which put the radicals inside his own party; …”

    I think this is not precise. The merging of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu is only partial, the primaries were separate and it was in Likud primaries that the radicals won. There differences between Likud and YB are small, and Likud radicals may well be more radical. Second, the religious nationalist wing of Likud is rebelling against campaign against Jewish Home party. Bennet, Jewish Home party leader said that soldiers should be allowed to disobey orders if they concern removing the settlers which is the basic tenet of the “nationalist religious Zionist” that partially took over Likud. And this tenet is also popular among not so religious Jews of Israel.

    There is a gradual spectrum spanning from Labor to Jewish Home which is based on certain shared beliefs with a variable component. The share belief is that the “perfect Israel” is within the borders it currently controlled, without any Arabs. The variable component is practical: how close Israel can get to that vision without a crisis threatening its existence, or how fast?

    The liberal part of the spectrum believes that some territorial compromise is necessary, transfer impossible and some modicum of civil rights for non-Jewish citizens is also necessary. It may stem either from their “social contacts” abroad, where liberals in other countries voice some opinions, or from the conviction that a new ethnic cleansing, continued subjugation, and rejection of peace are wrong in itself, that conviction remains mostly private. The position of liberals is slipping for obvious reasons: for the last 20 years they were proven manifestly false. Israel can push toward the ideal without ill consequences if one disregards toothless UNGA votes, expressions of concern and so on.

    The position of Yachimovich is perfectly logical in that framework: rather than loose face making false predictions of external pressure, finesse the issue until that pressure materializes.

    So called Jewish or Israeli Lobby imported that logic. The pressure may eventually materialize, or not, their duty is to avert, postpone and minimize. Any doubts to the moral validity of the position can be left for others.

    One consequence of that reality is that any “negotiations without preconditions” are a mockery. A solution that changes the balance toward the weaker party must come from outside. The question is where this “outside” may be located. Not in the editorial board of WaPo, that for sure.

  5. agatharchides
    January 5, 2013, 1:49 pm

    So if the Israeli left reaches out to the Arab population, something it has never shown any indication it really wants, it can possibly form a coalition with ultra-Orthodox parties that hate the left and Arabs to form a magic coalition that will save Israel from the ebil Netenyahu. That’s one possibility. But let’s be realistic. The Arab population in Israel has no great desire to save it, nor do they trust the Jewish politicians of any stripe. The Israeli left is still Zionist and letting Arabs have a major say in the government would still negate the very purpose of a Jewish state. And why exactly would the Ultra Orthodox want to form a coalition with Arabs and leftists when they could form a coalition with Likud and Jewish Homeland? They are in power either way and will probably get more of what they want from other Israeli rightists. This whole thing is a pipe dream by a leftist desperately trying to dream up ways not to get crushed in the election.

  6. dbroncos
    January 5, 2013, 2:02 pm

    ” The Israeli Palestinians are the “game changer,” if they would only vote.”

    Sadly, this well was poisoned long ago in the sense that Palestinians have experienced little difference between left and right wing governments in Israel.

    • German Lefty
      January 5, 2013, 4:32 pm

      @ dbroncos
      “Palestinians have experienced little difference between left and right wing governments in Israel.”
      Right. All of them are Zionists, i.e. Jewish supremacists. Why would Palestinian citizens of Israel vote for them?

      @ Akiva Eldar
      “These non-Jews could save Israel by acting in two ways: The Palestinian citizens of Israel must vote in three weeks and this will allow a Labor coalition to form a new government dedicated to making peace with Palestine (and guaranteeing Israel’s existence).”
      Why should non-Jews be interested in guaranteeing the existence of Israel, i.e. the self-declared “Jewish state”? If the Zionists want to preserve their “Jewish state”, they need to take care of it themselves.

  7. Klaus Bloemker
    January 5, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I don’t know what is meant by “saving Israel”?

    – Saving the Jewish Israelis who live there from being killed?
    – Saving the sovereignty of some territory called ‘Israel’?
    – Saving the Jewish character of that territory/state?

    Well, Germany was ‘liberated’ by forcing it to unconditionally surrender in WW2.
    Israel can probably only be ‘saved’ by forcing it to unconditionally surrender, too.

    • Klaus Bloemker
      January 5, 2013, 7:51 pm

      Maybe I should say what I mean that Israel should be forced to “unconditionally surrender.” I mean it in an ideological, not military sense.

      Israel has to give up – unconditionally – its “biblical and historical” claim/rational for its existence and the Zionist concept of ingathering most of world Jewry.

      • Mooser
        January 6, 2013, 1:58 pm

        “Israel has to give up – unconditionally – its “biblical and historical” claim/rational for its existence and the Zionist concept of ingathering most of world Jewry.”

        It doesn’t embarass you, Klaus, to be the only one who takes those claims seriously- besides the Zionists? Are you really as credulous as Zionists expect Jews to be? (Which is not to discount the brutalising exigencies many European Jews faced, another thing Zionism took advantage of)

      • Klaus Bloemker
        January 7, 2013, 7:23 am

        “It doesn’t embarass you, Klaus, to be the only one who takes those [Biblical and historical] claims seriously- besides the Zionists?”
        —————-
        Mooser,
        It embarassed me that the US Congress did take it seriously, in 2011, when Natanyahu declared – and Congress applauded:

        – “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God.”
        —————————
        I am a negligible quantity – but is the US Congress one?

      • Mooser
        January 7, 2013, 7:55 pm

        “I am a negligible quantity – but is the US Congress one?”

        Unfortunately, yes, the US Congress is mentally negligible. You could out-cerebrate them all with one hand tied behind your back.

  8. Don
    January 5, 2013, 2:45 pm

    It seems to me that it is “leftists” like the above author who bear as much responsibility for the unfolding Israeli disaster as the right wingers.

    Look at these comments…to Michaelson they seem self explanatory…no explication or explanation is necessary…furious with Hamas…understandably enraged at Palestinians…why, exactly?

    “what supporter of Israel isn’t furious with Hamas? Who didn’t entertain a thought of “turning Gaza into a parking lot,” as one conservative friend of mine proposed? It’s natural to feel these emotions — but ill-advised to act on them, and cynical to exploit them.”

    “… a population that is (understandably) enraged at the Palestinians. . .”

  9. Les
    January 5, 2013, 3:00 pm

    I don’t see rapture minded Christian Zionists as supporters of Israel, but quite the opposite.

  10. sardelapasti
    January 5, 2013, 3:11 pm

    And why would anyone care about “saving Israel”?

    • Mooser
      January 6, 2013, 2:00 pm

      “And why would anyone care about “saving Israel”?

      Oh, ye of little faith! Why I bet “non-Jews” could do as good a job saving Israel as they did saving Iraq and Afghanstan! Or maybe we should include the efforts of the UN in other places, still ongoing.

  11. American
    January 5, 2013, 3:20 pm

    I can’t see where Eldar is wrong on anything. It will have to be non Jews. The Anti Zionist Jews plain don’t have enough political power to overrule the Zios and do it. The liberal zionist Jews aren’t willing to accept what is necessary—advocating against US Isr support- – to save Israel. The Israeli Jews are already into the dark abyss.
    The Palestine-Israelis are a minority so don’t know how much their vote would help.
    So who’s left?
    Probably it is only the Europeans with some under the table encouragement from the US…if they can find their balls and do some serious sanctioning on Israel…so far they’re still looking for them.
    But how ridiculous is this whole thing anyway?….that the US superpower can’t do anything because of a fanatical minority of Israel-Firster’s grip on corrupt US politicians?
    This idiocy is going to be the one of the century for future history books however it ends.

    • Mooser
      January 6, 2013, 2:04 pm

      Seems to me the good ol’ UN is the agency which can discuss, plan, and carry out this rescue mission.

      • American
        January 7, 2013, 12:40 pm

        Mooser says:

        Seems to me the good ol’ UN is the agency which can discuss, plan, and carry out this rescue mission>>>>>

        If the US would get out of their way the UN might have a shot.

  12. CloakAndDagger
    January 5, 2013, 5:12 pm

    Why in the world would I, as a non-jew, want to save Israel? The sooner it collapses and vanishes from existence (the entity, not the people), the better it is for the rest of the world. I am an anti-Israel American who is not about to lift a finger to aid and abet Israel in any shape or form. I want this yoke removed from the collective shoulders of the USA so we can focus on things that are important to us and in our self-interest.

    • Sibiriak
      January 5, 2013, 11:36 pm

      CloakAndDagger:

      The sooner it collapses and vanishes from existence (the entity, not the people), the better it is for the rest of the world

      Exactly how to you envision Israel collapsing–and when? That just seems like wishful thinking to me, unless you provide some concrete details.

      • Taxi
        January 6, 2013, 12:42 am

        It’s “wishful thinking” to believe that Apartheid israel will last long.

        The onus is on YOU to show us “concrete details”. On second thought, don’t bother – already been down your hall of mirrors and it’s fog-boring.

      • American
        January 6, 2013, 1:26 am

        @ Sibiriak

        Read this….

        link to electronicintifada.net
        Ilan Pappe
        The Electronic Intifada
        4 January 2013
        I have just spent the last few days of 2012 in the city of Haifa. Accidentally, I met a few of my acquaintances who in the past deemed me at best as deluded and at worst as a traitor. They seemed more embarrassed today — almost confessing that mine and my friends’ worst predictions about Israel’s future seemed to be materializing painfully in front of their very eyes.

        In fact, our predictions came very late in the day. Already in 1950, with unsettling accuracy, Sir Thomas Rapp, the head of the British Middle East Office in Cairo, foresaw the future. He was the last person sent by London to decide whether or not Britain should establish diplomatic relations with Israel. He approved but warned his superiors in London:
        “The younger generation is being brought up in an environment of militarism and thus a permanent threat to the Middle East tranquillity is thereby being created and Israel would thus tend to move away from the democratic way of life towards totalitarianisms of the right or the left” (Public Record Office, Foreign Office Files 371/82179, E1015/119, a letter to Ernest Bevin the Foreign Secretary, 15 December 1950).
        It is the totalitarianism of the right which is going to be the hallmark of the Jewish state in 2013.
        .
        Let me begin with a more personal touch. During this visit I had the opportunity to watch my former colleague, the historian Benny Morris on television and to read some of his interviews. His anti-Arab and anti-Islamic racism is now of the rawest kind possible: a naked and rude discourse of hate, venomously spat out in the most disgusting way possible. So why show any empathy? Because his first book on the refugees was an eye-opener for me and others. It was not a great history book, but it was an eloquent survey of the truth to be found in the state archives about the 1948 Israeli crimes.
        Yet his transmutation into an arch-racist is not surprising — it follows the same trajectory of many of the so-called liberal Zionists in Israel. He and his friends had an epiphany in the 1990s: discovering the immoral foundations of the state. This could have opened the way to a genuine reconciliation but it was also a frightening moment that demanded brave personal decisions. Most of them opted instead to deny the truth and the guilt, covering it up with a born-again Zionism of a far more extreme and obnoxious kind. This particular group of Zionists are not likely to go through another epiphany, but maybe their children will. One can only hope.”

        Then read jdledell who I knew from TWN who now comments at Lang’s now and then…he knows what he’s talking about

        ”jdledell said…
        I celebrated this Chanukah in Israel and just returned and the right wing rhetoric of dehumanizing the Palestinians is at an all time high. Bayit Yehudi is rising fast in the polls for the January election. Currently the polling says they will be the third largest party coming out of the elections but I’m almost certain they will be the second largest.
        The whole mood of the country is far more right wing than I have seen in the last 55 years. Not only is Bayit Yehudi strongly against a Palestinian state, they have no interest in any solution for the Palestinians. As far as they are concerned, not only will Palestinians not be granted citizenship or statehood but they can either leave or simply be quiet. G-d help Israel because, they are blind to what they are doing to the Palestinians, themselves and Israel’s position in the world.
        By way of background for 55 years I have traveled to Israel a couple times a year for Holidays since my entire side of the family resides there, primarily in the settlements. My grandfather was Irgun and I lived in Israel in the early 1980’s.
        I have seen the evolution of Israel first hand and it is not pretty. Some of the same forces affecting other developed countries are also impacting Israel. Income and wealth disparity has grown dramatically. The best and the brightest of the secular Jews are leaving Israel. Emigration is currently about even with immigration. It is primarily the young who are sent abroad for their education and they end up staying. The Haredi Jews and the Religious Zionists are growing dramatically with their high birth rates. It is the latter that are becoming the core of the IDF.
        In my estimation, Israel has past the tipping point for a viable two state solution. Netanyahu’s hands are tied and the best that the Likud-Beiteinu can offer at this point is Area A and most of Area B. Area C is already being cleansed of the Bedouin and pockets of Palestinians to prepare for annexation of Area C.
        What Israel will become is a country with a significant underclass and hard core Zionists who will try to shut out the rest of the world. Anyone with brains will eventually flee. ”

        He also said this….
        jdledell said…
        Fred – No, the IDF did not kill Rachel Corrie to make an negative example of her non-violent efforts. She was killed because of a depraved indifference to the lives of non-Jews. The D-9 operator knew there were only Palestinians and demonstrators in front of him. He had a job to do and plowed ahead without the need to look. ”
        Reply 31 December 2012 at 07:43 PM

        Israel is writhing caldron of hate and militancy. It is what all those statesmen in the US and Europe who opposed it’s creation from the beginning said it would turn out to be. And one of their reason was they knew the zionist, they had to deal with them, they knew what they were. I have said before that a state built on the idea of eternal hostility between “them” and the world couldn’t survive forever.
        Now Israel is what jdledell said…a state with a *depraved indifference* to the lives of non Jews.
        The US so called liberal zionist are living a pipe dream…Israel isn’t going to change for the better, the US isn’t going to save it. How it will finally go down I don’t……but it’s going.

      • Shegetz
        January 6, 2013, 11:14 am

        How it will finally go down I don’t……but it’s going.

        “Not with a bang but a whimper.”

        Israel is already bleeding to death in few different ways. The Jewish population being the main bleed but not the only big one. The focus on the problem everyone knows about, but doesn’t like really discussing, helps create this ‘depraved indifference’ to the lives of non-Jews.

        After all, if your population was dropping like a stone and you kept being told over and over your very existence and ‘self-determination’ depended on having a Jewish majority because of all the awful things that were going to happen to you if it were otherwise – then big surprise that tribalism trumps common sense and it’s all about ‘us vs. them’. Non-Jews become not just bringers of Holocaust, pogrom, and U.N. resolutions, but just their existence itself is a on-going threat.

        However, it’s a deadly balancing act that Israel isn’t going to pull off. Be too prosperous and the birth rates drop. Keep everyone too poor and they get smart and emigrate to greener pastures and likely get assimilated.

        It’s a corner they’ve painted themselves into and there’s no way out that I can see. Nothing else matters if you don’t have the population and Zionism can’t do what the Christians would have done (in the old days anyway) – namely marched in and force-converted the local population in a baptized river at sword-point and declared the country devoted to Christ eternal.

        Judaism isn’t built for converts, however. While other religions seek converts and proselytize, Jews don’t. So after the awful birth and assimilation rates and nearly non-existent numbers of converts, what’s left? Demographic projections that would turn a Zionist’s hair white if looked at with some degree of honesty.

        Unless some Jewish ‘birth miracle’ occurs, or they start cloning people Israel will evaporate like smoke in time – that is if it doesn’t burn itself out in sizable war or suddenly collapse from the rot of its own corruption. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when and how’ exactly, and none of the timelines for any of it are very long in the big scheme of things.

        Or am I missing something that the ‘Eretz Israel Forever’ folks know that I don’t?

      • sardelapasti
        January 6, 2013, 1:20 pm

        “am I missing something that the ‘Eretz Israel Forever’ folks know that I don’t?”

        Could it be the other “colored” South African solution? Importing newly converted fourth-class Jews with a permit limited to the settlements outside the armistice line, like the Peruvian tribe and the Sino-Tibetan Ben Menashe, then the next line of defense with the non-citizen immigrants with no rights as more cannon-fodder fillers?
        It’s not unimaginable to see them change things a bit, too, by opening citizenship to all Zionists instead of “Jews” and sending recruiters to the US South for a “quality” rapture-ready population who’d love to live on the dole while doing target practice on ayrab-speaking trespassers.

      • Mooser
        January 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

        “After all, if your population was dropping like a stone and you kept being told over and over your very existence and ‘self-determination’ depended on having a Jewish majority because of all the awful things that were going to happen to you if it were otherwise – then big surprise that tribalism trumps”

        I kept on telling them that if Zionism is brought to its knees, the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the closed thighs of Zionist women! C’mon ladies, we’ve got an “existential” problem to solve. “What does your father do” must give way to “Let’s go make some Jewish babies” if we are to overcome this problem.

        Who, or what, is sapping the Jewish people’s virility and fecundity? It’s almost like we were crippled sexually, soon after birth. Wait a minute, I don’t like where this is going. It’s the women’s fault, that’s the ticket!

        If you think about it, tho, this rapid reduction in Jews, which is happening all over the world, is a big advantage to “Jewish leaders” . It won’t be long until “Jewish leaders” are no longer hampered, obstructed and impeded by actual Jews to “lead”. So they can finally get on with their business.

      • chinese box
        January 8, 2013, 7:13 am

        The demographic problem is complicated even further by the stated desire of many to keep secular population higher than that of “the religious”. Will American Jews keep supporting an Israel that’s dominated by haredi?

      • sardelapasti
        January 6, 2013, 3:42 am

        Sibiriak – “Exactly how [d]o you envision Israel collapsing–and when? That just seems like wishful thinking to me, unless you provide some concrete details.”

        The exact concrete details with participants’ identities and numbers, date and hour, etc. should be in the Prophecies of Nostradamus. I am sure you also were given an exact plan years ahead of time in the case of South Africa, the USSR and other state collapses before absolving its proponents of the crime of wishful thinking.
        Now, let’s get the shoe on the other foot: can you prove that dissolution cannot ever, in saecula saeculorum, be imposed on the Zionist entity?

  13. Inanna
    January 5, 2013, 5:45 pm

    So Eldar thinks that the past history of Labor and Kadima will somehow inspire Palestinian support? What planet is he living on? Labor and Kadima will take those votes (thank you very much) and do absolutely nothing for Palestinians or peace. Not just that, but as Don points out above, the antipathy against Palestinians that seeps through his own writing will repel any Palestinian from wanting to support the Israeli ‘left’. Eldar and his comrades would be far better off coming to grips with their responsibility in creating this problem and come up with ways to change in their own society rather than throwing up their hands and look for a deus ex machina to solve all their problems – save them from supporting an apartheid state and save them from living in equality with Palestinians.

  14. ritzl
    January 5, 2013, 6:02 pm

    Wow! Great article.

    Presumably Eldar is saying that voting en masse leads to power sharing, in a ruling government coalition. Not just voting per se, for show.

    If it’s the former this is a potentially consequential political inflection point, like a Hagel confirmation. Probably so small to be meaningful at first, but including, or even entertaining the notion of including, the Arab parties and Hadash into a government is one of the absolute prerequisites to anything at all changing for the better in Israel. Nothing can happen regionally in the direction of peace without it happening first (that and a massive desalination effort).

    If I read this correctly, Eldar’s statements may be just that, an Israeli Hagel moment. A momentous, yet barely perceptible inflection point.

    If it’s the latter, then this is just more selfish dreck.

  15. Ramzi Jaber
    January 5, 2013, 6:15 pm

    I say it again: NOTHING matters anymore. The game has fundamentally changed and we’ll slowly start seeing the impact of this fundamental change.

    To us Palestinians ALL israeli political parties are the same with different facades. They are not trusted. Labor did what Likud is doing but did it with a smile and a friendly western face. After all, the settlement policy was created and implemented by peres and his labor buddies.

    The change that I’m talking about is not only the ICC and the Palestinian Arab Spring, but also the demand by Israeli Palestinians in the al-Jalil (the Galilee) to establish a state that truly represents them, a state by the people and for the people and to the people. Shlomo Sand has already detected the beginnings of that thinking (not yet a movement) in his Israeli Palestinian students that he teaches at TAU.

    Change is coming but not like our current israeli or Palestinian leaders think its coming as or hope will be coming as.

  16. atime forpeace
    January 5, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Is this why the battle for Hagel is so important.

    Is Hagel Israels’ non jewish savior?

    No wonder the battle is so fierce.

    The battle at Hagel ridge.

    • piotr
      January 5, 2013, 10:44 pm

      May I suggest another video to illustrate the concept: link to youtube.com

    • Obsidian
      January 6, 2013, 2:19 am

      Hegal has a longstanding problem with ‘the Jews’.

      link to freebeacon.com

      • Mooser
        January 6, 2013, 2:55 pm

        “Hegal has a longstanding problem with ‘the Jews’.”

        Maybe, Obsidian, maybe. But it’s not as bad as your’s. After all, I doubt Hagel thinks he owns them.

      • Mooser
        January 7, 2013, 3:41 pm

        Sorry, Obsidian, you are right, Hegel had a big problem with the Jews. He was anti-Semantic.

  17. RoHa
    January 5, 2013, 11:40 pm

    “Only non-Jews can save Israel”

    O.K. I’ve checked my calendar, and I think I can make myself available. But we need to talk about fees, expenses, and all that sort of thing.

    • Mooser
      January 6, 2013, 2:40 pm

      “O.K. I’ve checked my calendar, and I think I can make myself available. But we need to talk about fees, expenses, and all that sort of thing.”

      Well, don’t you dare try and Je…cough… that is, seek unfair reductions in price by persistent haggling and wheedling.
      I mean, darn it RoHa, if you people put half the effort into saving Israel that you put into persecuting us for two thousand years, the job would be done already!

      And the hell with emoluments, RoHa! You people owe us!
      I mean, I hate to put it this way, but what would Jesus do? Huh?

  18. Taxi
    January 5, 2013, 11:47 pm

    Whoever out there is tryna “save israel” needs a bucket of iced water dumped on their head.

  19. Avi_G.
    January 6, 2013, 3:19 am

    1. The Israeli Palestinians are the “game changer,” if they would only vote.

    “If Labor/Kadima what’s left of it, [Tzipi] Livini, if they will be able to convince the Arab Israeli constituency that if they win, things will change– because the reason they don’t vote is they gave up hope that things will change–… I think the Arab or Israeli Palestinian electorate can be a game changer. But otherwise the common wisdom is, that Bibi Netanyahu is going to be the next prime minister.”

    If Israeli Palestinians voted, Labor Kadima could then form a 61-member coalition with the addition of Shas, the Ultra-Orthodox, who would be in the government because they always want to be in the ruling coalition, so as to be “close to the bank,” Eldar explains.

    I don’t get this fella, Eldar. Either he said the above under duress, or he slipped on banana peel and hit his head pretty hard, or he’s been drinking too much cough syrup.

    So a 2013 Labor coalition is supposed to somehow, miraculously, be a game-changer when it hasn’t been such in the last 65 years? And it all hinges on the Palestinian minority in Israel? Wow.

    Yeah, it makes perfect sense.

  20. WeAreAllMadeOfStars
    January 6, 2013, 3:46 am

    Can’t Israel and Israelis take care of themselves alone for once ?!? Israel begs for money and special advantages from their special friend and and allies, bullies all those disagree with its racist and murderous policy towards the Palestinian people and people in the region in general and yet some liberal zionist think it’s the oppressed population or the bullied people/government that should save this rogue state … This has got to be a joke of the worst kind. We all must act to ensure a better future to people there (and anywhere) but saving Israel whatever that means is certainly not an option.

  21. Scott
    January 6, 2013, 8:33 am

    Are there any Palestinians on Labor’s list? Does Labor plan to campaign in Arab towns and neighborhoods? I’m sure the non-voting is a form of protest, but it could easily be mitigated if Labor was willing to consider Palestinians who live west of the Green line to be fellow citizens and part of Israel, which for the most part it doesn’t. (This I’ve been told was something Rabin was seeking, actually making efforts to, change.)

    • piotr
      January 6, 2013, 11:54 am

      On this site we discussed an assault by MK Anastasia Michaeli on MK Raleb Majdele from Labor. Actually, she spilled a glass of water on him in a committee meeting, and Raleb hardly blinked before continuing “Mr. Chairman, this is exactly an example of fascistic tendencies that I was talking about” (quote from memory). Labor traditionally had some Palestinian MKs.

  22. iResistDe4iAm
    January 6, 2013, 9:18 am

    “If Labor/Kadima what’s left of it, [Tzipi] Livni, if they will be able to convince the Arab Israeli constituency that if they win, things will change” ~ Akiva Eldar

    DREAM ON…

    1. The only only constituency that Labor/Kadima care about is Jewish Israelis, not Palestinian Israelis.
    2. The Arab parties who actually represent Palestinian Israelis have never been invited to join an Israeli coalition government, nor are they likely to be invited in the coming elections.
    3. The last time Labor and Kadima were part of an Israeli coalition government (which included Foreign Minister Livni), all the Palestinians got was more Jewish settlements in the West Bank and more lethal wars on Gaza culminating in the 2008/2009 Gaza massacre (casualties: 1,417 Palestinians, 13 Israelis including 4 by Israeli fire).

  23. Mikesailor
    January 6, 2013, 10:19 am

    Does Israel deserve to be saved? The land will remain, so will populations of human beings. But should the state of Israel, that Zionist ideal of a ‘Jewish ‘state be saved or rightfully be consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’.The problem Eldar has is that he is a Zionist, he sees some justice within the Zionist view and the history of Israel. I, on the other hand, do not. I see Zionism as a massive crime (of theft and brutality), built upon a faulty premise (that Jews are a separate ethnicity entitled to a state upon the land of others) that should be seen as the object lesson in what happens when bad ideology is married with the worst attributes of religion and nationalism.

    • Mooser
      January 6, 2013, 2:52 pm

      “object lesson in what happens when bad ideology is married with the worst attributes of religion and nationalism.”

      And never forget, Mikesailor, about the differences in education and information and experience of living between the “leaders” of the Zionist movements, and the ordinary Jews they wanted as their “human material”. Misleading those people (how many of them really understood the legal and political reality of the situation they were enslaved to?) was one of the Zionists first and most basic crimes.

  24. piotr
    January 6, 2013, 12:17 pm

    On one hand, Labor and Hatnua are less militaristic than parties in 4-6 years ago, in part because politically those wars were suicidal. The latest adventure of Netanyahu has to be viewed as limited disaster — can you show any votes gained by the architects of that adventure?

    Inviting Arab parties and Communists to the ruling coalitions is something that few would contemplate. Given the way Israeli right wing operates, with a web of extreme and even more extreme groups, it would be like the election of the first president of Polish Second Republic. It was roughly (details not accurate) like that: Monday. In 10-th voting round Parliament (Diet and Senate) elects the first President after independence, with votes of the left, minorities and a centrist peasant party. Tuesday: riots of enraged patriots. Wednesday: pogroms (Ukrainians are not at hand, but the Jews are). Saturday: assassination.

    It is possible to have a minority government with external support. But it would change the situation very little.

    I think that Eldar is correct that it would help if Arab parties and far left had more deputies, but the impuls for change must come from abroad, US and EU (with a cameo role for Canada). At it does not have to be that hard. In a nutshell, the far left is openly ready for peace and center-left is essentially ready but it must give a show of some “resolute” resistance to foreign pressure. Which triggers hue and cry from Jewish Lobby etc. and all of that has to be ignored. Only anti-Semites, immune to those lamentations, can save Israel (I mean new anti-Semites, not the obsolete paleo model).

  25. Nevada Ned
    January 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Early in this exchange, someone threw out a number: 100 years until Israel gives the Palestinians their rights.
    In another 100 years (or less!) the oil will be gone. And with it, the US interest in controlling the oil of the Middle East will also be gone. And also gone will the main factor behind the US/Israeli special relationship: a common opposition to Arab nationalism (or anything else that threatens US control of the oil of the Middle East).

    The Israelis have a time limit on US support. Their leadership doesn’t act as if they realize it.

  26. Annie Robbins
    January 6, 2013, 11:28 pm

    i finally got around to listening to this interview and it’s really good. i recommend. and imagine my excitement towards the end when i recognized phil’s voice asking him questions!!!!!

    he knows so much about everything. i think i am finally starting to get my toe in the door in terms of understanding how election outcomes in israel work. it’s a little gratifying actually. for years it was way over my head but i was able to follow everything he was saying about the electoral politics, with ease.

  27. yonah fredman
    January 7, 2013, 6:13 am

    As far as the longevity of the coming Knesset- I really doubt that European pressure could bring new elections. I guess the scenario would work like this. Netanyahu promises to build in Area E-1, Europe voices objections strong enough to make Netanyahu back down, Netanyahu’s coalition partners bring down the government. Personally I don’t see it. Only Obama could cause Netanyahu to back down. When was the last time that European pressure worked on Israel? You really would have to go back to pre 67 to cite me an example of that.

    It is not clear what Obama’s priorities are for the next 2 years. The possible nomination of Hagel indicates that a level headed approach to the conflict with Iran is one of his priorities. Then comes the aftermath of the 2014 congressional elections. Given the fact that Republicans will probably do well in those elections- they already control the house and the out party historically does well in off year second term of presidents, Obama will be a very lame duck in his last two years in office. That would be the time to take on a foreign policy initiative like going toe to toe with Netanyahu.

    There is little chance that Netanyahu will annex any territory in the short term. He will bring the right wingers into his office and he will tell them, Iran is what is important and settlements are what is important, annexation is stirring up trouble and it is not going to happen. And Bennet will not push him on this idea. There is little biographical evidence that Netanyahu will change the status quo regarding the West Bank. Netanyahu is of the Shamir mold, despite the telegenic differences: he will not do anything outlandish, other than giving speeches and building settlements. (The recent Gaza war and the Mavi Marmara and the opening of a tunnel which led to riots in 96 are the most blatant acts that have been taken by Israel in the 7 or so years that Netanyahu has been prime minister. Nothing as outlandish as the Gaza war or the Lebanon War. He makes speeches that turn the stomachs of Israeli liberals and anti Zionists, but he is not a bold mover.) He believes that he can control the agenda due to the Israel lobby, but an act like annexation: that is not part of his modus operandi.) I doubt that Naftali Bennet, or Avigdor Liberman or Moshe Feiglin, will have sufficient power in the next Knesset to force Netanyahu to do something like annex territories.

    Thus my prediction: Netanyahu will win the election and only after the November 2014 elections will the conflict with Obama reach a critical point.

    But: if an attack against Iran takes place by Israel against Obama’s wishes, that will be a different story, but leaving that behind the idea that Europe’s attitude towards the settlements will lead to the quick break up of the next Knesset seems like a long shot.

  28. NickJOCW
    January 8, 2013, 2:16 pm

    The only thing that can save Israel is non-Jews. Save Israel from what? From itself? I cannot imagine a single reason why a non-Jew would seek to do that. The only relatively peaceful way out of this ugly situation is for Israel to destroy itself, and so long as no nation attacks it that will continue to happen, one might argue the process is already fairly well advanced. Supplying them ever more deadly arms presumably reduces the chance anyone will even be tempted to engage them so all we have to do is keep our fingers crossed and be patient. It is tragic for the indigenous people, of course, but preferable to Armageddon, and we can make it up to the Palestinians later.

    Tangentially, I have just finished rereading Herodotus’ Histories in which there is not a single reference to Jews or Hebrews in the whole work although many to Palestine and even Gaza. There is a reference to the Hebrus (Έβρος) but that is a river in the Balkans and not quite the same thing.

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