Barak says Trump should name Rice or Gates v.p. to improve his chances from 30 percent

US Politics
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Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, says Donald Trump has a 30 percent chance of becoming president but he offered him advice on how to get there: name Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates as his vice presidential nominee to make Americans think that he is a more stable candidate. A “few responsible nominations” would change everyone’s image of Trump. “If he just take for example, a vice president like Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates, immediately you may start to look in a different way,” Barak said to a New York Jewish audience last night.

Hillary Clinton would be “great for Israel,” Barak said, speaking to more than 500 people in the Central Synagogue in New York. He had gotten to know Clinton during her husband’s administration. “She was extremely intelligent, probably not as communicative as her husband but not a drop less intelligent, probably more. She has a powerful mind.”

Clinton is “stable,” and “what she will do is highly predictable,” he said, adding: “With Trump no one can tell.” Barak described Trump as someone of “high volatility,” but said Trump might surprise people. The late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin had had a low estimation of Bill Clinton at first, and ended up being extremely close to him, so Trump may also surprise.

Barak was far more critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said that Netanyahu had been taken “hostage” by the extreme right wing and was suffering “Stockholm syndrome,” going along with the rightwing settlement program across the West Bank. And Netanyahu had produced a crisis for Israel through his lack of vision.

“Somehow our government, all of them drifted into a state of mind, of pessimism, passivity, anxiety and self victimization,” Barak said, when the essence of Zionism is action, and taking control over Jewish destiny.

The Netanyahu government was deceiving the world. “When you listen to the Israeli government, they tell you we are for the two state solution, but when you look at their behavior, our best friends in the capitals of all serious countries in the world do not believe it,” he said. They think the true objective of the Israeli government is to control all the land between the river and the sea with some limited autonomy for Palestinians and make the world “get used to” this new reality.

The inevitable outcome of this policy–“and that is the key word, inevitably”– is either apartheid control by Israel, or (after 50 years) giving the vote to Palestinians, who would become a majority in the single state; and the result would be instability and civil war.

Barak likened the Israeli government to apartheid South Africa. He was “very well acquainted with Afrikaners” in South Africa. They are “extremely intelligent people, top quality,” he said. “Great people.” You could talk to them about Kant and Schopenhauer and listen to Brahms.

“But they didn’t know what happened around them. They lived in a kind of bubble of their own self righteousness.”

Netanyahu is guilty of this same self-righteousness. “There was a hostile takeover of our government by extremists, but now even the ministers, including the prime minister– the Stockholm syndrome maybe start to work on Bibi from those who took him hostage, the extreme right wing agenda.”

That rightwing agenda went against the essence of the Israeli law and international law. Israel needed to “wake up” and “come back to the basics,” of Herzl, Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion. Those basic principles were: “safe haven for every Jew, security first, we should be a strong democratic liberal Israel and should produce an exemplary society, a model society.”

That was all in jeopardy because of Israeli hubris. The country is now on a “slippery slope.”

The remedy is for the Israeli government to act like Zionists and take strong measures that convince the world it is serious about allowing a Palestinian state, by ending settlement construction to the east of the security wall (which already gobbles up large portions of the occupied West Bank). But the Netanyahu government is instead “paralyzed,” Barak said.

“You have heard of the Bar Ilan speech?” Barak said, of the 2009 speech that Netanyahu gave at Bar Ilan University, declaring support for a Palestinian state. “He never brought it to the Knesset. It remains hot air.”

The world is urging Israel to take action, but “the government is deaf. They are deafened by extreme ideology.” And though Israel has become the strongest power between Benghazi and Teheran over the last 35 years with the support of the United States, the leadership is “fearful and anxious.”

So Barak urged American Jews to come out against Israeli policy instead of backing in blindly.

“I should tell you honestly I think that it’s time to debate… We are people who were never deterred by the need to debate,” he said. “I think that its time for Americans not just to– of course we appreciate the support, whenever there’s a crucial moment you stand behind us together.” But today is not a crucial moment.

“I think it’s time to end the unison, or the expectation from Jerusalem that you will talk the same voice.”

He also offered criticisms of Israeli policy in the region. Right now Israel could form an alliance with many Arab states against extremist ideology, terrorism, and Iran, but the Arab states can’t make such an alliance without Israel doing something for Palestinian human rights. “It will not fly,” he said. “I talk to the Arabs.. nothing will fly, believe me I talk to the people– nothing will fly not because they are great lovers of Palestinians–” but because they have to demonstrate to their people that Israel is willing to take “reasonable movement forward” on the Palestinian question.

Finally, Barak slammed Netanyahu for his stance versus the Iran deal.

“I think it was a bad mistake to sign the deal,” Barak said, to great applause from the Jewish audience.

But he said that the deal was irreversible, and that after five years, there is only “hope” that Iran won’t develop a nuclear weapons. The history of secondary powers developing nuclear weapons is mixed. Of course he fudged on the issue of whether Israel has nukes (it does), but Barak said that two had dropped their programs (Libya and South Africa), two had been stopped by military means from doing so (Iraq and Syria– Israeli attack) and two had gotten nukes (Pakistan and North Korea).

By “insisting on keep fighting the Congress and the American body politic, we missed a moment of grace,” Barak said. Netanyahu should have accepted the inevitability of the deal a year ago and done his utmost to get concessions from the Obama administration. For instance, Israel could have gotten a large role in monitoring Iran and demanded from the U.S. the military “means to execute an independent surgical operation” against Iran if it violated the terms of the deal. Such a strike would only take place if both American and Israeli governments agreed that Iran was in violation.

The world made a “grave mistake by signing this deal,” Barak said. “But we made a grave mistake by not accepting the reality and trying to extract the most.”

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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16 Responses

  1. Blownaway
    June 15, 2016, 6:50 pm

    You have to have an Israeli war criminal tell the truth. But the Democratic Party can’t say occupation

    • Krauss
      June 16, 2016, 5:52 am

      In what way did he speak the truth? He invoked Jabotinsky, the fascist, as a hero and Ben-Gurion, the ethnic cleanser, as a role-model.

      His criticisms are tactical, not ideological. It’s amazing to me that Phil stenographed his entire talk without nary a critical comment. Maybe Barak can be that charming, but with distance, it is a hypocritical speech.

      He lectures the South Africans on living in a bubble, yet this guy thinks that Netanyahu has been “taken hostage” when everything points to the fact that he believes everything he does. Why shouldn’t he? Barak spins this fairy tale because he needs a fairy tale Israel to believe in.

      He cannot fathom that the so-called ‘extreme right’ as smack in the middle of center in Israel today. Worse, he cannot admit that his ideological strain basically agrees with them on all the fundamental aspects of Apartheid and oppression. His only critique is that they should do it in a more nimble way.

      • Mooser
        June 16, 2016, 10:39 am

        “His criticisms are tactical, not ideological.”

        Between that sentence (and your first paragraph) (and the rest) I would say “you got it in one try”.

        “It’s amazing to me that Phil stenographed his entire talk without nary a critical comment.”

        And yet, an intelligent and perceptive reader like yourself seemed to get it. And your comment helped me get it. So maybe Phil doesn’t need to tell us or give us permission to get it.

      • Rusty Pipes
        June 16, 2016, 12:17 pm

        If he’s referencing Zabotinsky, Barak is even out-of-touch with American Liberal Zionists — who still may idolize Ben-Gurion. Condi Rice and Robert Gates are not power-hungry enough to want to spend 24/7 next to an ego-maniac like Trump, even if it puts them one step away from the top. Are there any Republicans other than Trump’s friend Chris Christie who would be willing to take the spot?

      • gamal
        June 16, 2016, 2:21 pm

        “And yet, an intelligent and perceptive reader like yourself seemed to get it”

        some guys just don’t know their own strength.

        “So maybe Phil doesn’t need to tell us or give us permission to get it.”

        why you wilful rebellious thing you!

        https://youtu.be/n_m_0ZLA9iA

      • Mooser
        June 16, 2016, 3:27 pm
      • Mooser
        June 16, 2016, 4:07 pm

        “some guys just don’t know their own strength”

        I think it’s an ‘implicit’ vs ‘explicit’ thing. I take his point, certainly.

      • gamal
        June 16, 2016, 8:53 pm

        “it’s an ‘implicit’ vs ‘explicit’ thing. I take his point, certainly.”

        ok thats very good, whats the safe word, can I say TAP, its sipple out there.

        https://youtu.be/_ILjMmfAGXQ

      • echinococcus
        June 16, 2016, 9:57 pm

        Rusty Pipes:

        If he’s referencing Zabotinsky, Barak is even out-of-touch with American Liberal Zionists — who still may idolize Ben-Gurion

        Isn’t that somewhat naive? Gruen-Ben Gurion was entirely committed to Vladimir Zhabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” doctrine. In fact, he’s the guy who first applied it fully.

        That Gruen pretended to be “on the left” while being a Nazoid nationalist and Zhabotinsky was a committed Mussolinian did not disrupt the harmony.

        After all, these “differences of opinion” were as little of a difference in reality as those between the Demolicans and Repucrats in these here States. They served the same purpose: fake it enough to recruit cannon fodder from both the right and the “left” for Zionist aggression. No one is more addicted to that BS than American Zionists.

  2. ritzl
    June 15, 2016, 7:33 pm

    “Extract”?? Ho hum.

    Why is Barak offering advice (on what to look for) to would-be Jewish funders of Trump when Clinton is so perfect for Israel? Is this an acknowledgement of the seriousness of, and a hedge against, the roiling/uncertainty on Israel in the Democratic party?

    How can Barak chastise Netanyahu for failing to move toward the mythical two-state outcome (and thereby propelling Israel’s lurch to the right) when he himself punted on making that deal (and STILL lost to Netanyahu, iirc)?

    Sounds like this was a “Please save Israel from itself!” plea from a former PM who had every opportunity to do just that. Not sure what it all means.

    • Rusty Pipes
      June 15, 2016, 8:15 pm

      Barak is delusional if he thinks that Netanyahu could have gotten this from Obama: “Netanyahu should have accepted the inevitability of the deal a year ago and done his utmost to get concessions from the Obama administration. For instance, Israel could have gotten a large role in monitoring Iran and demanded from the U.S. the military “means to execute an independent surgical operation” against Iran if it violated the terms of the deal.” Clinton, maybe, but not Obama. Netanyahu’s arguing against Obama on the floor of Congress just made it easier for the American people to see the daylight between America’s interests and Israel’s.

      • ritzl
        June 15, 2016, 8:54 pm

        Agree Rusty. All of this talk was strangely wishful, wistful, tangential, and/or otherwise consigned to sad, unachievable what-if-ery.

  3. Mooser
    June 15, 2016, 8:20 pm

    “name Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates as his vice presidential nominee to make Americans think that he is a more stable candidate. A “few responsible nominations” would change everyone’s image of Trump.”

    What the hell is he think…. Oh, I forgot, I guess Israelis view 9-11 differently from Americans.

  4. yonah fredman
    June 15, 2016, 10:07 pm

    First on the subject of headlines: who really cares about ehud barak’s assessment of Trump’s odds. I see where this is the headline in that it will draw the most eyes because trump in the headline attracts eyeballs and Israelis commenting on american politics gets the choir all riled, calling comments of this sort interference. But in fact it is the least revealing part of this story.
    His description of Netanyahu as a hostage and Stockholm syndrome is piquant, and it shows that he considers bibi a centrist (a do nothing centrist, but still at heart a centrist). I think bibi is driven by two considerations: 1. Staying in power and 2. Giving nothing up.

  5. Kay24
    June 15, 2016, 10:10 pm

    All American candidates please pay attention to what Barak is saying. We cannot have our elections without the advice and blessing of the world’s most disliked Occupier, and kindly allow Netanyahu, Barak, and all the zionist leaders to interfere in all our elections. Thank you.

    • Marnie
      June 16, 2016, 12:10 am

      “A “few responsible nominations” would change everyone’s image of Trump. “If he just take for example, a vice president like Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates, immediately you may start to look in a different way,” Barak said to a New York Jewish audience last night.

      Hillary Clinton would be “great for Israel,” Barak said, speaking to more than 500 people in the Central Synagogue in New York. He had gotten to know Clinton during her husband’s administration. “She was extremely intelligent, probably not as communicative as her husband but not a drop less intelligent, probably more. She has a powerful mind.”

      Clinton is “stable,” and “what she will do is highly predictable,” he said, adding: “With Trump no one can tell.”

      I don’t know why he held back and just didnt’ say “Look. You americans are too stupid to know what’s good for you (read israel). Vote like this.” I love how he tries to help Trump out with VP suggestions.

      I wonder if Killary will be upset hearing that she is ‘highly predictable’.

      Trump will be happy his name is on the lips of the chosen people.

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