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Israeli voters not impressed by Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday elicited strong opinions from U.S. elected officials with rave reviews from Republicans and condemnation from several Democrats. But back home Israelis were nonplussed over the talk—if they watched at all.

With Israeli elections now two weeks away, Netanyahu’s address was widely thought to have doubled as late campaign pitch. Yet even those who support him found the speech redundant, and noted the lack of a clear alternative to the current negotiations between the P5+1 with Iran (the P5+1 refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany). Moreover, Israelis understand that their country is not a party in the Iran deal and did not expect that Netanyahu would sway the State Department in its diplomatic path.

Of those that did listen the speech, 43% said Netanyahu was unable to change their vote, according to polls released Wednesday evening by Israel’s Channel 2.  Apathy amongst Israelis was also confirmed by Netanyahu’s Likud party’s projected incremental gain in Knesset seats. He bumped up one spot to 23 seats after the talk in Washington, still trailing behind the center-left bloc, the Zionist Camp, which polled at 24 seats, again according to Channel 2. Throughout the election season Netanyahu and his opposition have each oscillated between 23 and 24 seats.

“I think it was a nice speech,” said Pinhas Karavasi, 59, a former electrician, while shopping in a convenience store Jerusalem’s Zion Square shopping corridor. Karavasi intends to vote for the right-wing, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party. “I could vote for Likud, Likud is good too,” he said. But Karavasi was not convinced by the speech at Congress, “Netanyahu is good with his words, but not in reality.” For Karavasi, “The Palestinians, Hamas and the Palestinian territory, all of these problems are more important than Iran.”

Moreover, Karavasi does not believe Netanyahu can change the course of the P5+1 talks, nor does he think Netanyahu will conduct a military strike on Iran. While many Israelis backing Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc are opposed to world leaders striking any deal with Iran, for them, Iran is not a priority. In December over 50% of Israelis polled by Ma’ariv said that social or economic issues were the most important to them, opposed to 30% who said security. Still Israeli voters did regard Netanyahu’s talk with a generic source of pride, lauding his ability to grab headlines in America. Karavasi added, “I don’t think that he is going to do anything about Iran. I don’t think Obama is going to listen to him.”

David Mayer, 27, a cashier, agreed. On he Iran he said, “I think it is a bad country.” Still, out of apathy Mayer did not watch the speech. “I’m really avoiding this stuff,” he said.

“He didn’t say anything new, or how to make a better deal or agreement. He just repeated himself, that’s all,” said David Katz, 32, a worker in a paper store in near Mayer’s shop. Katz agrees with Netanyahu, that the U.S. should not move forward on making an agreement with Iran, and prefers harsher sanctions, “No one thinks differently than Netanyahu on Iran. The only differences when it comes to Iran are between Netanyahu and Obama, that is the only conflict in this issue.” Katz also saw Netanyahu’s speech as an example of bipartisan support for Israel, thought that the row over Netanyahu’s talk was more of a rift between the administration and Israel, rather than Democrats as a whole.

“In the relationship between Israel and the U.S., the one problem is Obama. Congress, from both sides, Democrats and Republicans, they don’t have a problem with Israel—not security, not economics, not anything at all. Only Obama has a problem with Israel,” continued Katz.

Katz is unsure who he will vote for, but Netanyahu will not be his selection. He wants a candidate from the hard right with a platform for the economy and the Palestinian conflict, both of which Netanyahu has remained quiet on throughout election season. “I think I will decide only when I sit in the ballot hallway.”

For those opposed to Netanyahu, the address to Congress changed nothing. Like their right-wing counterparts, issues of the economy and conflict with the Palestinians remain key concerns, two subjects Netanyahu did not touch upon when in Washington.

I heard it was a good speech,” said Tal Nachman, 23, a college student studying photography who did not watch the Netanyahu speech, “I’m not sure if it was,” she added. Nachman said she will not vote. In the last election she supported the center candidate Yair Lapid who vowed to reduce the cost of living in Israel. Following two years of his tenure as economic minister and prices rising in Israel, Nachman is disillusioned, “He promised a lot of things and never did anything,” she said.

“No one in the government is doing or planning to do anything for the students or for people that rent apartments—thousands of Shekels—nothing is really going on so it doesn’t really matter,” said Nachman.

Even though Nachman is not backing Netanyahu in this election, she had a blasé attitude towards him and the speech at Congress. “I think he is doing what is the best for Israel and what he thinks is the best.”

Others had harsher words for Netanyahu.

“It is abundantly clear that Netanyahu hopes his speech will cause western civil society to ignore the brutal occupation of the West Bank, the strangling siege of Gaza, and the unprecedented assault on the Palestinian people last summer, whose only achievement is that it claimed the lives of over 2,000 people,” said Itamar Haritan, 28, a graduate student at Tel Aviv University. Haritan is voting for the United Arab List, making him one of an estimated 10,000 Jewish-Israelis who will back Palestinian citizens of Israel in the next election. He is deeply opposed to Netanyahu and the speech to Congress only reaffirmed his beliefs. “His use of the threat of a ‘Second Holocaust’ with reference to Iran is so blatantly cynical that he has even used this strategy to deflect criticism regarding his government’s systematic dismantling of health care and public housing within Israel, making the Iran gambit a focal point of ridicule even in ‘mainstream’ Israeli-Jewish society.”

Following Netanyahu’s speech, the Arab List polled at an expected 13 seats, making it the third largest political party in Israel. The Arab List had been tied with the rightist Jewish Home and centrist Yesh Atid parties, however, they only polled at 12 seats, according to Channel 2.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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37 Responses

  1. ritzl on March 5, 2015, 1:38 pm

    Imagine that you threw everything you had into achieving a result, Adelson, Apocalypse, Argentina, Ester, and Wiesel (ffs), backed and so gently cradled by a non-stop string of subterfuge, damn lies, and political lies… and nothing happened.

    Here OR there.

    Hopefully nothing continues to [not?] happen here, and Netanyahu gets reelected anyway.

    • weiss on March 5, 2015, 7:35 pm

      True Satanyahoo would be the prefect poster boy for Apartheid Israel.

      But with his back against the wall he is even more dangerous, and would not hesitate to launch another false flag attack against the US.

      Or let alone exercise the “Samon Option” and frame the Arabs for it again one day soon .

      • Theo on March 6, 2015, 11:09 am

        I couldn´t agree with you more, there are may examples of such false flag attacks.
        June, 1967, the attack on S.S. Liberty by unmarked israeli planes and boats, the attack in Egypt during 1953, several attacks on jews in Iraq and Iran during the 1950s to force them to immigrate to Israel, etc.
        Not to forget the many attacks by Mossad in foreign countries, including the USA!

      • jon s on March 8, 2015, 5:43 am

        I wonder what you mean by “another false flag attack against the US”.

        We know of the false flag operation in Egypt over 60 years ago. Anything else is speculation, usually in the realm of crackpot conspiracies.

  2. seafoid on March 5, 2015, 1:41 pm

    In the last election she supported the center candidate Yair Lapid who vowed to reduce the cost of living in Israel. Following two years of his tenure as economic minister and prices rising in Israel, Nachman is disillusioned, “He promised a lot of things and never did anything,” she said. –

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 5, 2015, 1:55 pm

    Ì really hope Bibi wins the elections again this year.

    Why? Because even if what is laughably called a ‘centrist’ or even ‘leftist’ candidate wins – how about architect of Cast Lead, Tzipi Livni – absolutely nothing will improve for the Palestinians. Nothing. However, if such a candidate wins, it will put a kinder, gentler face on Apartheid, and allow all those hypocritical ‘liberal Zionists’ like Johnathan Freedland or Avi Schlaim to proclaim the return of the ‘real’ Israel and to continue to indulge the myth that Israel is a normal country.

    With Bibi back in power, it’s much harder to turn a blind eye to the horror that is Israel. Hard, but not impossible.

    • amigo on March 5, 2015, 2:45 pm

      “Why? Because even if what is laughably called a ‘centrist’ or even ‘leftist’ candidate wins – “MDM

      Quite so , they will represent more of the same.

      To paraphrase nietanyahu, the days of Palestinians being cajoled , threatened or fooled into another round of futile sham peace talks are over.The Palestinian people will stand up for themselves through BDS and other non violent actions.

      No more fake initiatives or road-maps to nowhere ,No more Saudi plans or “most generous offers or going further than anyone , blah blah blah while Israel continues to steal land and kill those indigenous to that land.

      Enough of the US/EU/UN/Israel peace process .

    • bryan on March 7, 2015, 8:08 am

      Sorry but I do not get this argument that a Netanyahu victory is the best option in an imperfect world. It strikes me as a bit like saying the Nazi victory in the 1933 Reichstag elections was desirable because it presented Germany in a bad light within the international community. The man is a dissembling warmongering charlatan. I would not wish that on any country. He is past his sell-by date and as a Briton I well remember the arrogant disdain for colleagues and the sense of infallibility that Thatcher and even Blair exhibited in their third terms, let alone a fourth. I know the argument that the leftist parties were just as bad during the Gaza slaughter, but surely the steady rightward shift of Israeli politics has driven them to make silly bids in the electoral auction, and a decisive defeat for Netanyahu (though very unlikely) could liberate them to reclaim their agenda. I know the argument that the left has quietly pursued the settlement enterprise almost as consistently as the right, though with somewhat more concern for international opinion, but also happen to believe that parties of the left are invariably better on social and economic policy, and that no improvement in the Israel-Palestine situation is possible until Israeli society is more at ease with itself and less inflamed by right-wing incendiaries. I know the argument that the two-state solution is dead, but whereas Netanyahu and Likud are openly obstructive on anything that might resolve the situation or even reduce tensions, there are still many on the left who would love to withdraw from the occupation. I know the argument that ultimately BDS is the only mover that can change the game, and that a Netanyahu victory will boost that process, but I also know that BDS represents a very long and very uncertain path – and that South Africa does not represent a proper parallel because western support for Israeli apartheid is much stronger and has far more resources to obstruct the process.

      Most of all I would love to see a Netanyahu defeat because it would demonstrate the buffoonery of those Likudniks and Christian Zionists (and even PEPs) who jumped up and down so orgasmically in Congress earlier this week, and go some way to wipe the smile off Adelson’s face. It might even teach AIPAC a lesson about the desirability of so blatantly undermining the US political system.

      • annie on March 7, 2015, 8:53 am

        bryan, if my highest aspirations regarding this election were wiping a smile off adelson’s face and teaching aipac a lesson i might agree with you. but they aren’t.

        no improvement in the Israel-Palestine situation is possible until Israeli society is more at ease with itself and less inflamed by right-wing incendiaries.

        why would you think this?

      • Mooser on March 7, 2015, 5:25 pm

        “no improvement in the Israel-Palestine situation is possible until Israeli society is more at ease with itself and less inflamed by right-wing incendiaries.”

        I would timidly venture that no improvement in the situation is possible until extreme economic and international political pressures are put on Israel. Unless, of course (ha ha ha) Israeli citizens revolt in an action of the people which crosses all barriers.

      • bryan on March 8, 2015, 1:58 am

        Mooser – if “no improvement in the situation is possible until extreme economic and international political pressures are put on Israel” then the picture is very, very bleak. The occupation is almost fifty years old and intensifying and Israel was by no means an exemplary member of the world community before 1967. Where are the intense economic and political pressures? Where even are the moderate economic and political pressures? BDS has provided some promising small triumphs but in the grand scale of things these are trivial. Soda-Syphon sales are dipping but there are huge and expanding markets for Israeli military and other technologies in Asia and elsewhere, in areas where scruples about the oppression of the West Bank are discounted by the oppression of Tibet and Kashmir, and entire societies. Madonna is still performing in Tel Aviv.

        This argument is also perverse because it misunderstands social change. American slavery did not disappear because of campaigning by small groups of European abolitionists and enlightened thinkers like Tom Paine. Soviet totalitarianism did not crumble just because of the Ronald Reagan and the Cold War but because of the traction developed by its internal dissidents, and the emergence of a new generation of more progressive politicians like Gorbachev. South African Apartheid did not end solely because of external sanctions, which states like Israel actively undermined, but also because of internal campaigns for reform in which South African Jews played a major part. Change in Israel-Palestine will similarly come only when Israeli society changes – as it will – and not only because of international censure – though that certainly has a role to play. Both de Toqueville and Marx stress the role of the internal vanguard in driving change.

  4. on March 5, 2015, 2:06 pm

    “But back home Israelis were nonplussed…”

    Allison, nonplussed may be the most misused word in the English language; it means to be bewildered or dismayed about something, not ho-hum, which is I think how you meant it. I actually had an exchange of emails with Alexander Cockburn on this some years back, he is the only journalist I know of to have used the word correctly.

    • Mooser on March 5, 2015, 7:22 pm

      “Allison, nonplussed may be the most misused word in the English language;”

      I shouldn’t wonder, since it’s Latin, isn’t it non plus? (actually, I just found that out, I thought it was French! ) I think “non plussed” is a Latin-English (the “ed?) hybrid. Linguistic out-marriage, if you will.

      • on March 6, 2015, 2:43 pm

        My guess is the non isn’t a prefix, and the double “s” always seems to imply words like “fussy” or “hissy fit.” Getting upset. So nonplussed would suggest not getting upset.

      • Mooser on March 7, 2015, 11:12 am

        “So nonplussed would suggest not getting upset.”

        I looked it up, and a “nonplus” is an optimist’s way of saying “0”

      • on March 8, 2015, 12:52 pm

        Hey Moose;

        Got a book you might like. Perhaps not annie r’s cuppa, might be more your thing. Let me know, I’ll send you the file. Cheers.

  5. crone on March 5, 2015, 4:01 pm

    I don’t think Bibi will win…

    And I think it will be best if he loses…

    And I am hoping that if he loses, he is NOT awarded Sec. of Defense by the winning party. My hope is that he is left with as little power as possible. He should take time with his family…

    If re-elected he will be in our ‘face’ (the USA) every living day, insulting Obama and Democrats even more… and unfortunately Obama and the Democrats will not only take his insults, but ask for ‘more please’ –

    btw, I learned yesterday that he has been trying to get legislation through designating Israel a ‘Jewish State’ – it is not designated as such presently. Most Israel supporters (inside and outside of Israel) are horrified that he is doing this as it draws attention to the fact that it is not currently designated as such, and thus would open a huge can of worms. For this reason I feel even more confident that Bibi will lose. ymmv

  6. Pixel on March 5, 2015, 4:35 pm

    This is terrible.

    From Net’s perspective on his re-election bid ONLY, if this field-trip gained him 1 seat and all he needs is 2, it was WELL worth it.

    I really NEED him to win.

    If anyone else does, the world will feel obligated to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    It will add YEARS to this horror while people figure out that nothing’s different – or that, possibly, it’s worse.

    • Chu on March 5, 2015, 4:55 pm

      Yahu’s performance in the Halls of Congress makes our ‘unwavering’ alliance (USA/Israel) seem like a cheap and embarrassing relationship. They give us squat and come here to berate us and ask for more.

      Imagine some punter-satellite nation’s leader going to Moscow and berating Putin in front of the Council of Ministers while Putin sat in his office? It wouldn’t happen. China must be laughing with Russia, with the rest of the world.

      This desperate relationship seems to have turned to a rejected stalker relationship. I can’t determine what kind of stalker relationship we are in, but you can decide pixel ;D http://sapac.umich.edu/article/320 Yahu comes off as the rejected stalker in my mind. lol

  7. W.Jones on March 5, 2015, 7:10 pm

    I am confused why Allison said that it didn’t affect them or impress the Israelis. She wrote: “Of those that did listen the speech, 43% said Netanyahu was unable to change their vote, according to polls released Wednesday evening by Israel’s Channel 2. ”

    Doesn’t that mean that most people did not say that he couldn’t change their vote?

    His position in the polls may have only changed a tad, but that is still a major effect from a speech in a tight race.

    The main thing not to be missed in all this, Allison, is that Israelis are moving to the right steadily over the decades. It’s not as if tomorrow we should expect a huge shift either way. Net’s speech did not make a huge impression on many of them, but an effect it did have. Instead of making a sudden major shift, it is only one step in a gradual long term one to the right among Israelis.This is revealed in polls on tolerance in religion showing a major gap among generations even among the secularists.

  8. Brewer on March 5, 2015, 7:28 pm

    Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Channel 2 interview previewed Thursday, calling his speech before Congress “bullshit,” and charging that his policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians endangered the Zionist dream.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-mossad-chief-calls-netanyahus-iran-speech-bullshit/#ixzz3TYpLuArU

  9. Brewer on March 5, 2015, 7:51 pm

    Netanyahu’s False Narrative.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/03/04/netanyahus-false-narrative/

    Very good article by Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law

  10. Kay24 on March 5, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Sometimes you have got to wonder if Netanyahu is all that intelligent. Yes, he is arrogant, ruthless, lies, and has openly lectured and insulted the US President, who he admits has helped Israel more than we would know (although that part of the speech seems to be deliberate, and to show how MUCH he appreciates Obama, before he openly and harshly criticizes him for his Iran policies, and lectures him exactly how wrong he is and how it must be done. For someone who knows his self invited speech in congress was divisive, turning American against American, unwelcome, and ill advised, he was not intelligent enough to realize he was taking a risk and going into deep waters. Anyone not drinking the zio koolaid can see it was not the bit hit he was delusional to think it would be, it has backfired on him in many ways, it made usually devoted leaders like Pelosi and Feinstein criticize him harshly, it made many congress people reject him and his speech, and his own people, thought it was a bad idea.

    Things will never change in Israel has long as there are zionists leading it. They will keep voting for. and supporting, those who want to keep the status quo, when it comes to the Palestinian people.
    Polls show they want apartheid policies, the land grabs, and occupation going.
    You always get what you vote for.

  11. seafoid on March 5, 2015, 9:35 pm

    “On Iran he said, “I think it is a bad country.” ”

    They obviously know very little about Rumi in Israel. The cost of prioritizing the IDF over education is huge. Israel is so sad .

  12. Kay24 on March 6, 2015, 2:32 am

    Looks like Obama still has hopes, but we all know it is a waste of time and money.

    As long as there is a zionist running Israel, there will never be peace and freedom for the Palestinians.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.645603

    • oldgeezer on March 6, 2015, 2:55 am

      @Kay24
      zionists don’t desire peace. They desire land and that land has more value than human life whether it be a Jewish life or non-Jewish life.

      Why I can almost imagine one of those depraved individuals saying something lile “I’m almost grateful’ for attack on kosher supermarket that killed four ” or that 9/11 is good for Israel.

      I must be imagining things. No one is that devoid of humanity are they?

      • Kay24 on March 6, 2015, 3:58 am

        On the subject of those attacks in France, it seems the French can be selective when it comes to deciding what exactly is free speech, and who can or cannot get away with it.

        Insulting the Prophet and anti Islamic cartoons – free speech

        DVD which condones the holocaust – anti semitism, no free speech tolerated

        “A Paris court has banned the sale of a DVD by controversial stand-up comedian Dieudonné on the grounds that it is anti-Semitic, condones the Holocaust and encourages“collaboration with the enemy,” according to French media reports.

        The comedian’s stage show The Wall was banned in January 2014 due to its anti-Semitic content. The Council of State, France’s highest court, later threw out Dieudonné’s appeal against the ruling.

        On Wednesday, the court ruled in favor of a complaint by the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and banned the sale of DVDs of the show.

        The judges found that sections of the show constituted incitement of racial hatred against Jews, that a section about the Holocaust was denial of a crime against humanity and remarks about journalist Patrick Cohen condoned a crime against humanity.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.645582

  13. David Doppler on March 6, 2015, 11:33 am

    Thanks, Allison, for this insight into what the Israeli electorate is saying. On first reading, it was depressing to think that the Leader of a small, near-plurality chosen by such an apathetic crowd unwilling to look at the beam in its own eye, while picking aimlessly at this mote or that, could rock our Congress as Netanyahu just did.

    But then I read this wonderful column in the NYTimes this morning from the “Disunion” series, looking back at the Civil War from the perspective of 150 years, in which Paul Kendrick recounts Abraham Lincoln’s final encounters with Black History’s Frederick Douglass. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/lincoln-and-douglasss-last-encounter/?ref=opinion&_r=0

    I like to hope that Israel’s more moderate candidate, Isaac Herzog, who, like everyone else in Israel but Israeli Arabs and a few radicals, ignores Israel’s human rights travesties against the Palestinians which are part of Israel’s DNA, just as slavery was to America, will consider Lincoln’s experience. Lincoln ran his initial presidential campaign unwilling to make a moral case about ending slavery, a motive he emphatically denied and pledged against in his First Inaugural address, and a position he maintained for over two years, until after important twin victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg came on July 4, 1863, and he then issued the Emancipation Proclamation, not on moral grounds but only as applied to the rebellious states and on the narrow legal basis of defeating the rebellion through a form of war-time economic sanction. [See the recent movie “Lincoln” for the later process of enacting the 13th amendment to broaden emancipation and make it constitutional.]

    Here is what Lincoln said at his Second Inaugural, in early 1865, that so moved Douglass: “If God wills that [the War everyone was so tired of] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

    Douglass had advocated unsuccessfully with Lincoln for years to make the war about moral redemption of the republic from its original sin of slavery, and the column recounts the impact on him of hearing what he had worked so long for enunciated so powerfully, so succinctly, by that leader for his time.

    It is worth noting that Norman Podhoretz’s spat with Gore Vidal in the 1980s, at a time when the Neocons began their rise within the American conservative establishment, included his Neocon view that there was nothing relevant to today to learn from the Civil War, part of the Neocon effort to remake America as the World’s Empire, willing to fight “dirty little wars,” wherever, so that Israel could count on it when necessary, all else in America’s history thus made as irrelevant to Neocon outlook “as the War of the Roses.”

    It has been one of Phil Weiss’s great contributions on this blog to share his own studies of that period of transformational trauma in American history, in addition to being one of the “radicals” (like the white Abolitionists) willing to fight for justice from within a crowd not yet ready to accept the premise that their high sense of self-esteem is fundamentally tainted by deep moral crimes.

    Unlike some on this blog, it is my hope that Herzog will eke out at least a small electoral margin, and will then lead Israel through the painful process (but I pray not as painful as was the Civil War), necessary to redeem Israel for its moral crimes against Palestinians. These conversations between Lincoln and Douglass are well worth reviewing, for inspiration, in these difficult times.

    We heard Netanyahu’s version of history on Tuesday. Here is a competing view. Let the Israeli electorate make its choice which is a better source of guidance for the future.

    • seafoid on March 6, 2015, 11:31 pm

      “Unlike some on this blog, it is my hope that Herzog will eke out at least a small electoral margin, and will then lead Israel through the painful process (but I pray not as painful as was the Civil War), necessary to redeem Israel for its moral crimes against Palestinians.”

      Over the Israeli establishment’s dead cashflows.

      Walt
      “No matter how well-written or delivered, a speech cannot divert whole societies from a well-established course of action. Policies in motion tend to remain in motion; to change the trajectory of a deeply-entrenched set of initiatives requires the application of political forces of equal momentum. ”

      Herzog is not going to stand up to the IDF and tell Yossi I that the last 50 years were a mistake. The inability to make hard decisions is why all empires collapse.

      • David Doppler on March 7, 2015, 12:05 pm

        Great quote, seafoid, and the article it is from is worth reading in its entirety: http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/03/25/empty-words-2/

        Netanyahu has made clear the trajectory he is leading, has been leading, intends to keep leading: fear-monger about Iran, Palestinian terrorism and Islamophobia, in order to justify increasing violence at home and abroad, while settlements expand continuously, all the while blaming the victims of violence, and blaming all voices of criticism as Anti-Semites, Chamberlains, or the hopelessly naive.

        He’s been doing it so long his crowd is very tired of him, he’s in danger of running our of steam. If he loses and a new, more Centrist leader takes the helm, a change in trajectory becomes possible. Without it, no change in Israel’s direction is going to happen.

        How will that change occur? Walt says the application of political forces of equal momentum are required. As Likud-Neocon trajectory runs out of steam, gathering against it are forces of 1) BDS and its growing economic impact, capacity to grow further – exponentially – within Israel; 2) Growing international pressure, with Obama leading P5+1 toward a possible deal with Iran, and Martin Indyk speaking of a joint UN resolution that the US joins or abstains from; 3) Palestinian action in the international court of criminal justice; 4) Growing estrangement of Diaspora Jews from Netanyahu’s KoolAid crowd; 5) Growing self-recognition among the Netanyahu crowd as they look in the mirror that they are trying to live a lie.

        I don’t know Isaac Herzog well enough to say he can be anything like Lincoln was for America in his prospects of leadership in Israel, but I can say that a change of direction is required, and Netanyahu isn’t going to make it.

        “The inability to make hard decisions is why all empires collapse.”

        I would say the key advantage of a republic over autocracy in whatever form is the built-in capability for the source of political power – the people – to periodically slough off its leaders, who inevitably become corrupted by power and incompetence.

        So, what is Israel? An empire? A theocracy? A democratic republic? No one can decide that legitimately but the source of that political power, the citizens who live there. Perhaps it is beyond comprehension that Herzog will form a government with the Arab List, and lead Israel to make deals with Palestine, and its other neighbors, that change the current trajectory. But perhaps not. It depends on leadership and the crowd being led. Note how feckless the electorate is in Allison’s review.

        We can hope that it is ready for new leadership.

  14. seafoid on March 6, 2015, 11:15 pm

    David Gardner in the FT basically says Milikovsky has lost the plot in a piece entitled “Netanyahu squanders US relationship on illusory gains ”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9c6dd0b6-c32e-11e4-ac3d-00144feab7de.html

    “The collapse of Oslo brought down the peace camp in Israel, since when many of its citizens have hardly reacted to the Palestinians being walled into discontiguous cantons by settlements, segregated roads, checkpoints and a security barrier. But fear of isolation has grown among globalised Israelis.

    The EU is partly responsible for that. Nine member states recognise the state of Palestine, and a cascade of EU parliaments last year voted to do so. It cannot be long before Europe brings a resolution to the UN Security Council calling for recognition of Palestine, as a state within more or less the land Israel conquered in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Will the US, which has exercised its veto 41 times to shield Israel’s behaviour from condemnation, continue to do so with Mr Netanyahu still in charge?

    Meanwhile in Tehran, the ostensible target of Mr Netanyahu’s statesmanship, hardliners will be smirking. So long as he takes the lead in sabotaging a deal they see as the thin end of a wedge that could eventually bring about regime change in Iran, they do not need to lift a finger. Yet, if Iran does reach a deal, Israel’s shrill opposition will make it a lot easier to sell at home.”

    It goes all the way back to the 1970s and a Baron Munchausen interpretation of international law by a young thrusting gobshite.

    • Chu on March 6, 2015, 11:43 pm

      thanks for the great video

      28 is too young, no wonder he is so zio addicted.
      Anthony Weiner is about the same brainwave freq.
      dangers of snorting …

      The part about birth control and multiplying as they wish is racist.
      but hops can probably put lipstick on it.

    • mikeo on March 7, 2015, 8:46 am

      Ha ha Seafoid : )

      Gobshite!

      A perfect description of the man.
      You can tell you’ve lived in the UK…

  15. crone on March 7, 2015, 8:55 pm

    I truly think Bibi is going to lose the election…

    Tens of thousands attend anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv
    Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan tells crowd of up to 35,000 that under Netanyahu, Israel faces most severe leadership crisis in country’s history.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/.premium-1.645757

  16. jon s on March 8, 2015, 1:53 am

    Sometimes what’s important is what doesn’t happen.
    In this case , Netanyahu was counting on a post-Congress “bounce” in the polls. He was willing, with that target in mind, to further alienate the President, the Democrats , and much of the American public.
    Well, it hasn’t happened. No such “bounce” materialized. I heard one Likud spokesperson lamely claim that “at least our slide in the polls has halted”.
    I still think that Netanyahu will probably be the next PM. In my estimate his odds are 70%-80%, but that means that we still have a fighting chance of getting rid of him.
    There’s a distinct possibility that after the elections we’ll have a “unity government”. Herzog and Livni consistently refuse to rule out joining a Netanyahu goverment.

    • oldgeezer on March 8, 2015, 1:57 am

      I sort of hope Nutty wins as his over racism and war mongering will speed the end of Israeli war crimes but I can’t argue against your analysis of the Israeli political landscape. Nor do I care to, frankly.

      What would be the point when the alternative that encompasses a war criminal like Livni. There’s no Israeli alternative that proposes peace or justice. We’re just arguing which group of war criminals or want to be’s will be in charge with the current environment.

  17. inbound39 on March 8, 2015, 7:26 am

    I thoroughly agree with you oldgeezer. The same sick thought ran through my mind as I was reading the comments. It will be interesting to see if the EU makes good on its threat and imposes sanctions on Israel the day after he is elected. And yes….He will bring about Israel’s demise. As for Livni…lol….she now is a leftist?….Her parents were members of Sterngang-Lehi…..they have a funny idea of leftists in Israel. Makes you wonder where Goering would fit were he alive today….lol

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