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We may not have Netanyahu to kick around anymore

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In the last 24 hours, the conventional wisdom inside the journalism community has solidified: people are whispering that it’s bedtime for Bibi, Benjamin Netanyahu is fading in the Israeli elections. That he made a historic blunder by trying to go over Obama’s head and address both Houses of Congress last week, that Israeli Jews are wise to the damage he has done to the US-Israel relationship that is the lifeline of the Jewish state, and they want him gone, and they are abandoning Likud.

Liberal Zionists cannot contain themselves over these predictions. Gershom Gorenberg has been tracking Netanyahu’s rapidly changing fortunes with glee. He picked up the foto of Likud’s offices in Netivot, above, which are supposedly shuttered.

the Haaretz poll: Herzog 24 (up 2), Bibi 21 (down 1), right bloc loses 4 seats since last poll.

Peace Now says, The gap is widening, Likud can’t stop the tide, per Maariv.

Two separate polls, by Channel 2 and the Knesset Channel, give Herzog and Livni’s list 3-4 more seats than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The Forward says that Herzog could clobber Netanyahu by 27-21, or even more.

internal polls conducted by both the Likud and its opposition, the Labor-led Zionist Camp, show the Likud trailing the challenger far more dramatically than any of the published polls have shown…

A March 1 report in Haaretz (Hebrew, paywall) quoted unnamed Likud campaign sources who said their polling indicated that widespread apathy among Likud voters would depress turnout. They calculated that the Likud was on track to end up with as few as 18 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

Zionist Camp internal polling shows it leading Likud 27-21.

“Senior Likud minister” to Globes: Likud could drop to 17 seats

That was in Haaretz, which says the speech to Congress upset the applecart.

“Something isn’t going the way it should. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week should have created a turning point for us and strengthened Likud in the polls. It’s clear that we didn’t achieve the desired outcome,” a senior figure in Likud told Haaretz.

So Netanyahu did it to himself. Haaretz’s American correspondent Chemi Shalev:

Fmr. Mossad head [Shabtai] Shavit describes PM’s Iran policy as “one big mistake”. Instead of being in Int’l coalition, it fights its ally U.S.

Shavit spoke at a Tel Aviv press conference with others who bitterly denounced Netanyahu for playing around with the most important relationship Israel has.

Brigadier General (res) Asher Levi says Netanyahu’s handling of U.S. ties “endangers Israel’s security if not its existence”

For years people have been telling Israel this part:

Shavit says: Europe hates us. They’re fed up with us.

But in Haaretz, Netanyahu blamed an international conspiracy.

“There is a huge global effort to bring down the Likud government,” Netanyahu told supporters at a meeting Monday in the Haifa Bay suburb of Kiryat Motzkin. “This is a very close battle,” he added. “Nothing is assured.”

Over the past few days members of Netanyahu’s inner circle have echoed his charges, citing foreign businesspeople who have invested funds to bring about a change of government in Israel, by funding organizations like V15, which is conducting a campaign against Netanyahu, or One Million Hands, the group that organized the anti-Netanyahu protest in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Allison Kaplan Sommer at Haaretz notes that Israel faces political disarray: “Bibi fatigue: Israelis are sick of Netanyahu, but can’t agree on his replacement,”

The tide may be turning against Netanyahu, but it is turning in many directions and the Israeli public just can’t agree on a suitable alternative.

Gorenberg says that smaller centrist parties are running away from Netanyahu as kiss of political death.

[Yair] Lapid now saying out loud won’t recommend Netanyahu as PM. Doesn’t want his voters to move to Herzog.

But Shas leader Aryeh Deri is moving to Herzog.

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Just watch other parties shift to Herzog

Liberal Zionists in the U.S. are egging on the trend. Democratic congresswoman Jan Schakowsky called on Israelis to oust Netanyahu so as to repair the Israel-U.S. BFF relationship. The Forward:

“Obviously one thing that would help…if the prime minister were to lose the elections and a different government would be set up, that would change the dynamic between the United States and Israel.” Schakowsky said that this new dynamic would “without a doubt” be a positive change for Democrats.

Peter Beinart in Haaretz also warns Israelis that if you reelect Netanyahu you alienate the United States.

If you are, in any way, factoring Israel’s relationship with the United States into your vote, then please know this: By reelecting Bibi, you put that relationship at risk.

To understand why, it’s crucial to understand that the United States is becoming, in important ways, a different country. Benjamin Netanyahu does not like Barack Obama; you may not either. But Obama is not an aberration; he is not a passing phase. He is the face of 21st century America. He will leave office in two years, but the coalition that elected him – minorities and Millennials – will grow in strength. In all likelihood, it will shape American politics for decades to come…

But by entrenching Israeli control over the West Bank, and moving Israel ever closer to what Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and now Meir Dagan have called an apartheid state, Bibi is putting Israel on an ideological collision course with the people who will likely dominate American politics in the years to come. He’s alienating the young and non-white voters who backed Obama not merely because he’s treated Obama with disrespect but, more fundamentally, because he flouts the values that led them to support Obama in the first place.

Laura Rozen kicks Netanyahu while he’s down.

Gallup: 3 times as many US Democrats (46%) have unfavorable view of Netanyahu as favorable (17%) after visit

Yes, why would Israelis vote for someone Americans despise? We hold the breathing tube for the Jewish state.

MJ Rosenberg has a dream of a center-left victory.

I have a dream. That on day after election, Prime Minister Herzog will accept President Obama’s congratulations at the White House.

Yousef Munayyer doesn’t share the dream. The Zionist Camp won’t make any difference to the peace process:

One of the grave dangers in the lead-up to this election is operating on the assumption that a defeat for Netanyahu and his replacement with a Herzog-led government would in fact improve the prospects for a renewed and successful peace process. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most effective challenges to the recent right-wing governments from within this portion of the electorate focus on economic issues and not on the question of peace or Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The foundational problem is that the Israeli electorate is simply not there, and there are no signs of internal change on the horizon. Catalysts for change will likely have to come from the outside. Both practically and normatively speaking U.S. policymakers with peace on the agenda should not weigh the outcome of the Israeli election, whatever direction it goes, in terms of peace and Palestinian rights.

Maariv reports that Herzog is reaching out to settlers. If I get to be premier, four out of five of you can stay. Peace Now:

Maariv reported that Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog said he supports Israeli sovereignty in the settlement blocs. “We need to make confidence-building measures such as freezing the settlements outside of the settlement blocs. I want (Israeli) sovereignty in the large blocs and we need to invest in them. It’s possible to contain 80% of the settlers there,” he said.  His remarks were made a few days after he said: “In any situation and in any agreement, Gush Etzion will remain an inseparable part of Israel, but in order to ensure security and in order to keep the large blocs we need to change direction and take responsibility for our fate.”

MJ Rosenberg says not much will change but the air freshener on the rear view mirror.

Herzog’s victory would not change all that much in terms of substance but it would help eliminate the shame & stench of the past month.

Writes Rania Khalek:

If Herzog beats Netanyahu, he will extend the lifespan of Israeli apartheid by appealing 2 western liberals w deceptive rhetoric about peace

Myself I will cheer to see Netanyahu’s back. Let alone his war crimes in Gaza, no one has done more to delegitimize the Israel lobby in U.S. politics than this unpleasant man, not even Walt and Mearsheimer. And what happened? The lobby performed cell division; and right now there’s a liberal Israel lobby and a rightwing one, and the rightwing neoconservative one will get tossed into the dustbin of history, discredited by the 47 Republican senators’ stunt; and the liberal one will take over, and AIPAC will pivot to align with Schakowsky and J Street and a left of center Israeli government.

Then the US discourse will clarify: it will turn into the liberal Zionists versus the anti-Zionists. Beinart talks all about the changing demographics of the U.S. hurting Israel, and he’s right. Ferguson has undoubtedly helped the Palestine movement. A young multicultural coalition will be pushing Palestinian rights, and an establishmentarian liberal/not-liberal Zionist (Beinart and Schumer) coalition will be talking about the revival of the peace process, with Rob Malley at the NSC and Yitzhak Herzog in whatever the Israelis have for 10 Downing Street. And folks will say, Give peace a chance. But can an Israeli Zionist government make any real concessions?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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95 Responses

  1. hophmi on March 12, 2015, 10:01 am

    “Ferguson has undoubtedly helped the Palestine movement. ”

    Please document this claim. I see no data to support it.

    “A young multicultural coalition will be pushing Palestinian rights”

    Not after they leave campus they won’t. Not any more than they’ll be pushing Tibetan rights. Remember that movement? How’s that cause doing? And Tibet has far more support amongst the American public than Palestine does; roughly 3/4 of Americans believe Tibet should be independent of China, far more than the 40-45% that support a Palestinian state.

    “And folks will say, Give peace a chance. But can an Israeli Zionist government make any real concessions?”

    Gave the Sinai back to Egypt. Check.
    Made peace with Jordan. Check.
    Withdrew Israeli troops from Gaza. Check.
    Signed two Oslo Agreements, and withdrew from Palestinian population centers. Check.
    Settlement blocs are easy land swaps, and Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert both offered to give them up. Check.

    So there’s no reason to believe that a center-left Israeli government can’t make peace. Of course, if your worldview is that Israelis are all evil, then it will make you a bad analyst.

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 10:26 am

      “Gave the Sinai back to Egypt”. – To hang onto the main prize – East Jerusalem
      “Made peace with Jordan”. To secure the lesser prize – the rest of the West Bank
      “Withdrew Israeli troops from Gaza.” – continued the occupation and imposed the Morgenthau plan
      “Signed two Oslo Agreements, and withdrew from Palestinian population centers.” – built more settlements- now 800K parasites
      “Settlement blocs are easy land swaps, and Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert both offered to give them up.” – too late for land swaps. Didn’t check.

      never trust a land junkie

      • just on March 12, 2015, 10:55 am


        Nailed it, seafoid!

      • Kay24 on March 12, 2015, 10:33 pm

        Well said seafoid. The truth shall set Hoppy free. :))

    • amigo on March 12, 2015, 10:35 am

      “Of course, if your worldview is that Israelis are all evil, then it will make you a bad analyst. – ” hopknee

      No hoppy, only zionist Israelis are evil.

    • pjdude on March 12, 2015, 4:03 pm

      they had to be pressured into all of those moves. none of them were done because of a sincere desire for peace. Israel won’t make real concessions because the Israeli electorate is to divorced from reality to demand them. again hop saying your going to steal less is not a concession. something like offering economic aid would be a real concession and show the palestinians that finally after 70 years they have a partner in peace and that their willing to give up there conquering ways

    • Dutch on March 12, 2015, 5:14 pm

      Left the West Bank including East Jerusalem? Nope. Ended the siege of Gaza? Nope. Had the RoR manifest itself? Nope.

      These are the parameters to judge if Israeli’s want peace. The answer: a triple no. They don’t.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 10:08 am

    ”Myself I will cheer to see Netanyahu’s back”

    While I will of course take some schadenfreude out of seeing Bibi dumped, if indeed that does come to pass, I’ve explained on another post why I hope he is re-elected. A Herzog victory will only galvanise the moral hypocrites known as ‘liberal Zionists’, set the merrygoround of ‘peace talks’ off again, allowing Palestinians to be blamed for their own occupation, while at the same time watching the expansion of the ‘settlements’ and the ongoing siege and regular turkey shoots in Gaza.

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 10:15 am

      They are all arrogant ethnocentric scumbags who just follow their arrogant ethnocentric brainwashed nominally Jewish people- 95% supported the last round of bloodletting in Gaza. Israel has been iterating away for 60 years to get where it is today. There is no way an election will change anything.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 10:26 am

        I agree, and I’m kind of surprised that some people here seem to think it can.

        Especially when the ‘liberal’ alternatives are Livni and Herzog. Seriously?

      • just on March 12, 2015, 10:56 am

        bingo to both of you!

      • Dutch on March 12, 2015, 5:37 pm

        Seafoid, MDM,

        I agree with you, adding that the more important development is BDS. Fine if people want to believe in Zionist Camp, fine if people want to distinguish between classic, liberal or anti-Zionism, but BDS won’t wait for the outcome.

        From a BDS-perspective these categories don’t matter, as none of them is supportive of basic Palestinian rights. Above I reminded Hophmi of the goals of the Palestinian civil society. Anything else is distraction, meant to create irreversible ‘facts on the ground’.

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 5:56 pm

        I managed to get a photo of Hophmi’s Muslim outreach work

      • just on March 12, 2015, 5:59 pm


  3. DaveS on March 12, 2015, 10:17 am

    Myself I will cheer to see Netanyahu’s back. Let alone his war crimes in Gaza, no one has done more to delegitimize the Israel lobby in U.S. politics than this unpleasant man, not even Walt and Mearsheimer.

    Not sure what you mean here, Phil. Isn’t this a reason to hope he remains PM? The only satisfaction in seeing him voted out is to see a guy who deserves life imprisonment get a little egg on his face. Isn’t that outweighed by the danger that the world will give his successor a free pass for a few years, and the presumption of good will and “generous offers” that were bestowed upon Rabin, Barak and Olmert?

    • philweiss on March 12, 2015, 10:21 am

      I’m a liberal so I pull for a De Klerk
      Those who want to see the internal contradictions ramped up seem to want a revolution.
      I think the revolution has to happen here, and antiZionists are getting more empowered by the minute.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 10:25 am

        You think that Herzog, who complained that Bibi wasn’t being tough enough during the Gaza massacre, whose tenure as Housing Minister included massive expansion of the ‘settlements’, who has ruled out an alliance with Palestinian parties and who has never ever opposed any of Israel’s wars, sieges and killings, is a ‘De Klerk’?

        I would say he’s another Olmert. If he is elected, I fully expect another Gaza massacre within months, just to show us he can cut it with the big boys.

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 10:32 am

        De Klerk only saw the light after the Iron curtain fell and SA’s role as a first line of defence against communism became nonsense.
        Zionism needs to hurt badly before anyone in the Knesset other than the Palestinian MKs joins the reality based community.

        Thugs don’t give up money because they suddenly feel all fluffy inside.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 10:39 am

        ”Zionism needs to hurt badly before anyone in the Knesset other than the Palestinian MKs joins the reality based community.”

        Again I agree, seafoid.

        The reason there is almost universal support for expansionist Zionism in Israel is because it is virtually cost free. Oh sure, there are such outrages as having to miss the Holland-Costa Rica penalty shoot out because of a bomb alert, but Israelis really don’t know what htey’re talking about when they whine about being ‘victims of terror’. With Bibi, there was just starting to be a cost for the occupation – increasing international isolation, the rise in BDS, and probably worst of all for those who think they belong to a sophisticated ‘start up nation’, the embarrasment of being led by a man who communicates via cartoons.

        If Herzog is elected, they can all feel a nice warm glow about having such a polite, reasonable and oh-so-moderate PM. And then it’s back to blaming the Palestinians all over again. Not that that ever stopped, but with Bibi, it’s getting harder to do so.

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 10:41 am

        The 14 families who run Israel need to see serious deleveraging before they change tack.
        Not going to happen unless the occupation starts costing Israel. This is why BDS is so important.

      • DaveS on March 12, 2015, 11:35 am

        But haven’t anti-Zionists become more empowered simply because Netanyahu is such a schmuck? I get your De Klerk reference but De Klerk would not have done the things he did without international pressure, and Herzog will see a reduction in such pressure as a goodwill measure to give him a chance at forging peace, that is, the 2ss that is not going to happen. Also, I don’t think there is any reason to believe that Herzog will relieve any oppression on Palestinians. If anything, he may feel he has to prove his mettle by being as brutal as Bibi.

      • just on March 12, 2015, 11:45 am

        “If anything, he may feel he has to prove his mettle by being as brutal as Bibi.”

        I think you are correct, David.

        The 95% that cheered the latest massacre will expect no less.

      • Donald on March 12, 2015, 11:47 am

        The problem with the South Africa analogy is that while Israel behaves about as badly as apartheid SA, in the US amongst liberals this still isn’t recognized. Netanyahu was finally making a real difference with his hubris–Democrats who were otherwise in Israel’s corner no matter what were forced to pick between Obama and Netanyahu and some of them chose Obama. A mainstream Zionist who isn’t a complete numbskull will know better than to split the bipartisan consensus in American politics. The liberals who have been criticizing Netanyahu still claimed to love Israel, and at his very worst, they still split the blame 50/50 between Netanyahu and the Palestinians for the lack of peace. If Netanyahu loses, American liberal PEP types will be back in their comfort zone, back to supporting the never ending peace process, and back to putting 90 percent of the blame on the Palestinians for the failure to achieve peace. Kerry will adopt the Israeli pov and try to force the PA to accept–if they refuse, then Friedman and most of the American liberal pundits will line up with Kerry and the Israeli “liberal Zionists” in sighing and claiming that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

        Or that’s what they will try. If you are an optimist, you might hope that people in the press will have wised up and will cover the issue differently. Dream on. I hope I’m wrong. Some part of me thinks maybe with the internet and so forth things will be different, but I think most of the mainstream media will continue to be awful.

      • just on March 12, 2015, 11:49 am

        I think that you’re correct, Donald.

        “The problem with the South Africa analogy is that while Israel behaves about as badly as apartheid SA,”

        I think that Israel behaves quite “badly” enough, and differently than apartheid SA. All done in a much shorter time frame and with the full weight and support of the US, I might add.

      • DaveS on March 12, 2015, 11:50 am

        I think Donald’s got it right here, as usual.

      • Sycamores on March 12, 2015, 1:36 pm

        granted there has been some cracks in AIPAC’s armour over the last few weeks but is it enough to show such optimism for the future? i for one hope you are right.

      • Bandolero on March 12, 2015, 5:27 pm


        “I’m a liberal so I pull for a De Klerk”

        I can’t see it happening yet in Israel because I don’t think Herzog has a base mandating him treating Palestians as equals. If Herzog is indeed elected I suspect he will be elected to get back protection of US/EU for the zionist cause and thereby preserve the institutionalized Israeli racism.

        So that might become more like a change from GWB to Obama. What was the change there? GWB was hated in the world because he openly committed devastating imperial wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama was loved in the world because he talked peace and respect for different cultures, but he continued GWBs policy with devastating imperial wars of aggression against Libya and Syria and sparking war in Ukraine while sugarcoating these wars as revolutions so that they didn’t coast the US so many international hatred as the Bush wars. That was pretty much why Obama got backing from much of big money: he promised to continue the war policies of GWB but conduct the wars of aggression in a more clever way, cheaper and with less international blowback. And Obama delivered on this promise.

        So what would that analogy with Obama mean in the context of Herzog/Livni? Expect less Operation Protective Edge and more Operation Cast Lead – and expect Israel to sugarcoat the wars of aggression and institutionalized Zionist racism more clever than Netanyahu did it.

        However, there is a silver lining in that gloomy picture. Obama behaved in his 2nd term notable different than in his first term, now opposing more wars of aggression and confronting the Israeli lobby in a meaningful way. So, to project the analogy on Israel, let’s hope that Herzog will behave better in several years after he consolidated his political power.

        And so long, let’s judge actions instead of words or intentions and let’s work hard to keep up the pressure on zionist racism and aggressions though Herzog will be a much more difficult target than Netanyahu.

      • Bumblebye on March 12, 2015, 8:46 pm

        An Israeli de Klerk wouldn’t survive long in that country’s present political climate. But you reminded me of the moment I knew the end was coming for apartheid in South Africa. I was off work that day and turned on the tv to find bbc2 live broadcasting de Klerk addressing his fellow South African parliamentarians. I decided to listen, and it was as if I was listening to a completely different speech than they were – where they semed to be cheering whatvthey thought would be the perpetuation of their cruel system I seemed to be hearing the promise of it’s imminent demise! I had real shivers up and down my spine that day. It was quite a while before Mandela was released.

        Only continued pressure, thru BDS, especially if we can reach the stage of “s” with governments applying sufficient and meaningful sanctions, will open political space enough for such a person to squeeze on to the Israeli stage. I so hope it happens sooner rather than later.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 10:22 am

      My thoughts exactly.

      The Peter Beinarts and Jonathan Freedlands of this world are praying for a Herzog victory. It won’t improve things for the Palestinians one bit, but it will allow them to feel good about supporting racism again. It’s all about them, you see.

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 10:39 am

        And Israel will make peace really soon when the Palestinians are ready and none of the stuff you saw from Gaza last year actually happened

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 6:09 pm
      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 6:24 pm

        Classic Freedland indeed. Note how he gives credence to the ‘Jordanian option’ but backs away – mainly because he doesn’t want to inflict more Palestinian human waste on the Hashemite monarchs he, like all Zionists, is so in love with.

        He really is a piece of work. And he’s worse now than then.

  4. a blah chick on March 12, 2015, 10:18 am

    What’s even more beautiful is that Lieberman’s party might only just make the threshhold if it makes it at all. Lieberman, who championed raising the threshhold in order to eliminate those pesky Arabs. And if that happens the schadenfreude will taste sweet, and with a long finish.

  5. amigo on March 12, 2015, 10:29 am

    Herzhog, will first meet with his DM (??) and ask him /her , to pull out the instructions on how to stir up the Palestinians–you know, get the rockets firing again.It is always easier to manage the propaganda war when you are fighting a violent mob than a peaceful ,one when your goal is to kick them out of their homes and take their country.Besides every PM has to have their lawn mowing season .It,s a right of passage .

    Anyone who believes this possible change in leadership will make one damn difference is either not watching or is brainwashed.

    We have see this all before.The endless photo shoots outside the WH .The promises.The pledges.The handshakes and the smiles.It,s all BS.

    Zionism is zionism and that means taking over all of Palestine.Herzhog /Livni are one and the same as Nietanyahu.Their soft sell is all that separates them.

    Bring back Bibi.

  6. pabelmont on March 12, 2015, 10:38 am

    I rather agree with MDM that electing anyone who will (attempt to) restart “peace process” talks will be contrary to real progress.

    On another matter: I have wondered whether the letter of the 47 was written by a broad coalition (call it the AIPAC board of directors) or by a (single) rogue meddler (Adelson? Kristol?). Now I wonder if BB’s trip to Washington was orchestrated (as a letter is written) by a broad coalition or by a rogue meddler.

    Only reason I ask is that it would be funny to see BB fall due to this combination: [1] a rogue meddler with a “good idea” and [2] the full panoply of Zion-in-Congress not to mention the full panoply of AIPAC-in-action afraid to oppose an idea which they mistakenly suppose to have come from “on high”. All the fear (that I am speculating about) reminds me of the fear in the legislative assemblies of totalitarian countries (Stalin’s USSR, China post 1948, Germany-1930s-40s, Japan-1930s-40s) when an idea is proposed that sounds as if it had the blessings of the “glorious leader”.

    Let us ask why Obama is working so hard to push forward the two “free-trade” treaties (actually protection-of-overseas-investment treaties) TPP and TIPP which will be disastrous for Americans (disastrous for labor and for environment, world-wide). Why? Because he has got into the habit of doing what the Oligarchy (very big business, especially global capital corporations) are presumed or known to desire. I suppose he does it for Democrats in 2016 — they still need to collect campaign money even if he doesn’t. But the FEAR to oppose the BIGs (the Oligarchs) explains much in American politics. Read Jill Lepore in the New Yorker, Richer and Poorer which asserts (correctly) that Democrats and Leftists in USA no longer oppose the BIGs:

    [T]oday’s left doesn’t engage in dissent; it engages in consent, urging solutions that align with neo-liberalism technological determinism, and global capitalism.

    In other words, America’s political class have trained themselves to be docile servants of global capitalism (and other BIGs such as Big-Zion, come what may, principles be damned.

    Nice to see BB come to grief due to this cowardly lack of principle in the USA’s political class. Not so nice to see the rest of the grief it causes, inaction on Climate Change being the most urgent.

  7. CitizenC on March 12, 2015, 10:54 am

    “We may not have Bibi to kick around any more.” So we can all relax knowing that the “peace camp” is back, heirs to Oslo and all it has wrought. Here is the “peace” being prepared:

    Former Israeli general Amiram Levine also addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative. Addressing Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Amiram argued that peace “is the only way to preserve the settlement project, the settlement blocs and to hold on to the Golan Heights.”

    The Zionist Union of course seconded the attacks on Haneen Zoabi, opposed her place on the Joint List, inter alia. Zoabi said there’s no diff betw Bibi and ZU.

    More recently she may have recommended to Rivlin that Herzog be chosen to form a govt, tho the Joint List won’t join it, could not submit to its terms.

    For such reasons some experienced observers have said that a Netanyahu defeat would be the worst outcome, would let liberal opinion off the hook, let it accept Israeli Zionist business as usual, no longer so flamboyant and obnoxious, but more efficient, and equally unjust.

  8. just on March 12, 2015, 11:17 am

    “no one has done more to delegitimize the Israel lobby in U.S. politics than this unpleasant man”

    The only good thing to come from Netanyahu, imho. I am glad about it.

    “Liberal Zionists in the U.S. are egging on the trend. Democratic congresswoman Jan Schakowsky called on Israelis to oust Netanyahu so as to repair the Israel-U.S. BFF relationship.”

    ugh. Why does it tick me off so much to read how concerned so many are about the “BFF relationship”? It’s a huge source of our FP problems! How about treating Isr as an ally and as another state… the hypocrisy around this is apparent to anybody watching, and has been for my lifetime. What does Israel do for the US? What does Israel do to stabilize the region, to make peace, to be just with the Palestinians? NOTHING! I have not heard one of the candidates speak about peace with Palestinians. If I missed it, I do apologize. Rather, I have heard more violent/threatening vitriol.

    Yousef Munayyer is absolutely correct! I agree with his quote that you provided in its entirety. My focus is, and has always been, on the Palestinians~ they deserve justice, peace, respect, freedom, dignity, and so much more.

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 12:18 pm

      “My focus is, and has always been, on the Palestinians~ they deserve justice, peace, respect, freedom, dignity, and so much more ”


      For those who feel they’ve been mistreated
      Discriminated, robbed or cheated
      To claim one victory inspired
      To win just once is their desire

      • just on March 12, 2015, 5:46 pm


  9. ckg on March 12, 2015, 11:24 am

    Let’s hope a Herzog victory doesn’t deflate BDS’s recent growth in the same way that Obama’s 2008 victory prematurely sucked all the air out of the US antiwar movement (with some exemplary exceptions like CODEPINK).

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 12:15 pm

      I don’t believe Israel has the institutional strength to change direction and pass over its well earned punishment for what it has done.

    • just on March 12, 2015, 12:19 pm

      From Munayyer above:

      “The foundational problem is that the Israeli electorate is simply not there, and there are no signs of internal change on the horizon. Catalysts for change will likely have to come from the outside. Both practically and normatively speaking U.S. policymakers with peace on the agenda should not weigh the outcome of the Israeli election, whatever direction it goes, in terms of peace and Palestinian rights.”

      Full BDS speed ahead!

      • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 5:51 pm

        Yossi Israeli still thinks he can have it all- quiet in the territories and a nice flat in the Sharon region.

        As Mencker said, democracy is about giving voters what they want and giving it to them good and hard.

      • just on March 12, 2015, 6:03 pm

        And HLM is still right.

  10. Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 12:03 pm

    Despite all the libzio gushing over a ‘new dawn’, the analyses I’ve read suggest that the most likely scenario is that even if Labour get more seats than Likud, Bibi will still remain PM as he’s more likely to be able to cobble a coalition together.

    Let’s see.

    • a blah chick on March 12, 2015, 12:53 pm

      That’s the math i have seen at various sites. Also I would not rule out some idiotic “unity” government.

      Unlikely, I know but Tzipi-do-dah wants to be PM real bad and this might be the only chance she’ll get.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 2:28 pm

        I don’t think that’s an option, is it? I mean that Cast Lead Tzipi might be PM? I thought Herzog was the senior partner in that alliance?

        Anyway, should be interesting to see the horse trading, even if means nothing for the Palestinians. If what both you and I have been reading is correct, then it seems that Bibi will still be PM this time next week, albeit in a weaker position. So maybe the libzios should hold back on popping those champagne corks for the moment.

  11. David Doppler on March 12, 2015, 12:55 pm

    “But can an Israeli Zionist government make any real concessions?”

    Realism says that will be a matter of the strength of the political forces driving toward peace. Netanyahu’s trajectory toward war over the last 20 years have exhausted the Likud-Neocons, now panting and wheezing through one desperate blunder after another.

    Arrayed for peace are the BDS movement, P5+1, the various war crimes liabilities that will constitute the stinking carcass of the dying “Project for a New American Century,” and let us not forget Mondoweiss, which has kept open the window of journalism into the bizarre workings of Israeli hasbara, a triumph of the American value of an informed public, as the ultimate check on corrupt and incompetent “elites,” the dangers of naked ideology.

    And let us also not forget the Palestinians, and other Arabs, Muslims, and the many factions throughout the Middle East, and their right to self-determination, their own dreams of a just peace, of reparations, of a resolution to the generations of conflict brought about by the Zionist project.

    It will take a great leader of Israel to negotiate a peaceful way forward. Isaac Herzog was born into a great family. He’s on the verge of having great leadership challenges thrust upon him. It will now be up to him to achieve greatness. Realism is the only reliable guide.

    Here at home, let’s be sure to dump the Bill Kristols, and other disgraced Neocons, once and for all.

    Hint to all those fearful prosecutors, editors, journalists, auditors-general, Congresspersons and staffers: the Great and Terrible Oz is now powerless to prevent you from doing your jobs, as America expects and history demands.

  12. Taxi on March 12, 2015, 12:58 pm

    Bibi or Zizi – what difference would it make to Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians and Jordanians (people israel has attacked and stolen territory from)? Ziltch is the difference – ziltch! The israeli election is barely discussed in the middle east right now, not for lack of interest, but they’ve seen the same zionist movie made and remade with the remake remade further starring ugly assh*le after ugly assh*le. They don’t believe that one zionist is better than the other, they believe ALL zionist leaders are liars, butchers and thieves. And ain’t that the truth!

    • just on March 12, 2015, 1:38 pm

      I’ll second that.

      The only change will have to come from without, not from within… The 95% are not going anywhere, and there’s been no “peace and justice” platform that I have heard of. The pressure has to come from Israel’s traditional benefactors~ beginning with the US.

      • Taxi on March 12, 2015, 2:00 pm


        People of the middle east are not even waiting on the USA to deliver them justice. The rising popularity of the axis of resistance in the middle east is a clear indicator of this. Your average mideasterner knows the zionist history and MO better than your average American citizen. They know that only a military confrontation with israel stands a chance of them getting their land and dignity back. They’re giving up waiting for us in the USA to get it together. They’re realist cuz they’re living it – been living it for seven decades.. Unfortunately, they are right in their assessment: Israeli right or israeli left will not give an inch back to Palestine. Only military force can liberate them. This is what they believe.

      • just on March 12, 2015, 2:12 pm

        Who can blame them? Certainly not I. Confronted by the might of WMD that regularly commits genocide, what else seems possible?

        My shame at the complicity of the West in Israel’s decades of criminality and genocide of the Palestinians is what makes it all the more important to force our governments to change. Israel’s self- delegitimization is helping all the time.

        BDS is one thing that we can do….

      • just on March 12, 2015, 2:31 pm

        As for the rest of the ME…….all I know is that historically, and up to this very minute, “we” have made a complete mess of everybody’s lives there with “our” MIC, WMD, creation of “enemies”, coups, and more.

        Little wonder that “we” are not trusted. Our FP has been disastrous.

      • Taxi on March 12, 2015, 3:08 pm

        What is particularly disgusting is our hypocrisy which is practiced overseas as well as nationally.

        We blow horns and whistles that we’re the greatest democracy that ever lived, except we only practice this (degraded form) of democracy at home. Overseas, we practice imperialism driven by unfettered warmongering corporate capitalism and greed.

        Voters need to ask for this despicable behavior to STOP! Imperialistic foreign policies, especially in the mideast MUST STOP! It’s killed millions of mid east people over decades! Enough already! This is NOT the 19th or 20th century anymore!

        Notable: many of the West’s immigration problems will fade away if we stopped usurping other countries’ natural resources and driving a bulk of their manpower to emigrate to greener pastures like Europe and north America.

        Point is: we’re only practicing democracy amongst ourselves and not with strangers – and that’s not exactly being fully democratic.

      • just on March 12, 2015, 4:01 pm

        Exactly right, Taxi.

        Every time I hear that we are ‘spreading democracy’, all I can think of is spreading manure. It always, always, always means death and destruction and misery. If I never hear again that “they hate us for our freedoms”, then I’ll be a slightly less grumpy person .

        Sadly, hypocrisy is the trademark of the US.

  13. concernedhuman on March 12, 2015, 2:46 pm

    Netunyahoo before leaving to address US Congress said it is the moment of his life. Little did he knew that he was committing political suicide.
    He wanted to kill two birds with one stone – the Iran deal and the vote bank back home.
    And it back fired, he only shot in his leg.

    The way Obama is pursuing the Iran deal hopefully after getting the deal and after elections Obama will restart and purse the peace process.

  14. W.Jones on March 12, 2015, 3:47 pm

    For Netanyahu to lose, a large part of the parties who are even more conservative than him would have to make a coalition with Livni. Shas, Lieberman, etc.

    Israelis are moving to the right, whoever wins. And if Herzog is in power and they keep building settlements, bombing Gaza, etc., and meanwhile the PA is petitioning the ICC, then what?

    We are looking a long term trends that go beyond a single president there.

  15. Laurent Weppe on March 12, 2015, 3:57 pm

    The most effective challenges to the recent right-wing governments from within this portion of the electorate focus on economic issues and not on the question of peace or Israel’s treatment of Palestinians […] Catalysts for change will likely have to come from the outside.

    Or from the israeli electorate having an epiphany and realizing that their shitty economic conditions and the parasitic settler system/”security” apparatus are intrinsically linked.

  16. Bornajoo on March 12, 2015, 5:01 pm

    I agree with MDM, Seafoid, Donald, David, Pabelmont, Amigo, Just and the others that agree Netanyahu should be re-elected as pm.

    The Zionist Camp or whatever they’re called will be a disaster

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 5:39 pm

      I just hope Israel brings the YESHA project to the Masada stage, as seems to be written into Zionist DNA. I hope they arse it up Israeli style the way they seem suicidally destined to do. Like a fate they can’t escape, an itch they can’t stop scratching. All those Israelis who go unthinkingly to work every Sunday to do their 8 hours and push the great project along, all the petty hatred and mindless cruelty of the system, all in the cause of a greater good – the deluded notion that the land is Jewish. Get it all out , Yossi- just drop all the moral crap and express your Jewishness in the basest way possible and let’s see gd walk away again , like she ever cared about Hebrew being revived and that 6 day war. Like there is any point to all the mitzvoth, especially when the country is so warped. Saying prayers in Hebron is less valuable than a crap in a sandwich bag.

      Be a loyal plastic ziobot for a world that couldn’t care less.
      Vote Likud. Only Likud can deliver security and the big meltdown at the end when all options are out of reach.

  17. ritzl on March 12, 2015, 5:29 pm

    A) I agree with Donald (well said), MDM, David Samel, just, seafoid, et. al. above. The divisive magic that N’u inflicts on the “BFF” relationship has not yet run its course. A/the fracture has been suggested, but has not solidified. More time is needed to effect actual change. Zionism, in any form, has not yet been ingrained in the minds of US voters as the wart-faced witch it truly is.

    B) Whether or not the ZU gets more votes/seats than Likud is largely (i.e. not at all completely) tangential to the selection of the next PM. The process is based upon who is most likely to be able to form a government.

    Here is a poll of polls result from last week:

    (Last Week {March 1-7} in brackets), current Knesset seats in [brackets]

    1st 23.50 (23.66) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

    2nd 22.83 (23.08) [18] Likud

    3rd 12.58 (12.41) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

    4th 12.30 (11.91) [20] Yesh Atid

    5th 11.91 (12.00) [11] Bayit Yehudi

    6th 08.25 (08.16) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

    7th 06.83 (06.75) [10] Shas

    8th 06.66 (06.91) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

    9th 05.58 (05.66) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

    10th 05.33 (05.00) [06] Meretz

    11th 04.16 (04.41) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

    66.25 (67.08) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

    53.75 (52.91) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

    Maybe this week the Right-Religious-Kahlon bloc has tanked enough to make government formation a toss-up, but even so, the path for N’u to get 61 Knesset seats is simpler and arguably more durable prospectively.

    [Israeli President] Rivlin is, imho, sufficiently aware of the damage (from a Zionist PoV) N’u has caused Israel and/or the need for generic political change in Israeli politics. Even if it is close and the “left” bloc’s potential coalition more tenuous, he’s likely to give Herzog first shot.

    But then, the whole Joint List dynamic comes into play. What happens if Joint List MKs do not support either bloc? I don’t know if that’s even possible, but I suspect abstentions are an option in the Knesset. What if JL also agree with Donald and just sit on their hands, awaiting the [not forthcoming] call for explicit inclusion from Herzog? If that strategy is an option, N’u wins.

    Interesting stuff.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 5:43 pm

      Richard Silverstein has said that Herzog has explicitly ruled out any coalition with an Arab party. I wonder if that would change if he needed them badly enough? If so, I hope they charge a high price.

      • ritzl on March 12, 2015, 6:12 pm

        Yeah, MDM. Two weeks ago he ruled it out, but I read that last week he weasel-worded something to the effect that he hadn’t ruled it out (I’ll find the link if I have to…).

        Imho (and sorry to be repetitive), he cannot afford to rule it out before the election because he then declares himself to be a loser, before the fact. So he plays the same politiking game with that that N’u is playing with his non-denial of a “both ways” statement on the categorical end of the two-state prospect.

        “If so, I hope they charge a high price.”

        Roger that!

        I think Israeli politics is at or near an inflection point. Maybe not this time, but soon.

    • seafoid on March 12, 2015, 5:49 pm

      Wart faced witch is a bit misogynistic. I see Zionism more as a Dick Cheney minus the warmth and charisma.

  18. JLewisDickerson on March 12, 2015, 5:36 pm

    RE: “Democratic congresswoman Jan Schakowsky called on Israelis to oust Netanyahu so as to repair the Israel-U.S. BFF relationship.” ~ Weiss



    BFF has two definitions

    the most common of which is : Best Friends Forever

    the other is the complete opposite and is: Big Fat F- -k

    Yo dude, that guy is my BFF, we have been friends our whole lives and we will until we die

    Man that girl is such a BFF, she is so fat and annoying

    SOURCE –

  19. seafoid on March 12, 2015, 6:05 pm

    What Netanyahu brought to the job :

    Symptoms of psychopaths
    Persistent lying or stealing
    Recurring difficulties with the law
    Tendency to violate the rights and boundaries of others
    Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
    Persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
    Inability to tolerate boredom
    Disregard for the safety of self or others
    Lack of remorse, related to hurting others
    Superficial charm
    A sense of extreme entitlement
    Inability to make or keep friends
    Recklessness, impulsivity
    Difficulties with authority figures

  20. Donald on March 12, 2015, 6:38 pm

    It did occur to me that there is one way non-Netanyahu might be better–aren’t the more liberal Israelis more sane regarding Iran? I don’t know that for a fact, but I get that impression because of the stories about the Israeli intelligence figures who disagree with Netanyahu. A bit more sanity about Iran would be a good thing.

    But I don’t know the spectrum of opinion on Iran in Israel.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 12, 2015, 6:51 pm

      From what I’ve read, Iran simply isn’t an issue for most Israelis. They’re most concerned with the same sort of things people everywhere are concerned with – housing, jobs, welfare benefits etc.

      Certainly, the suffering of the Palestinians doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of their minds. It’s as though it were on the other side of the world. So long as Yossi has a job to go to, who cares about Gaza/

      • seafoid on March 13, 2015, 4:21 am

        Very hard to break through years of brainwashing and the Hebrew bubble, Maxi.
        However there have been chinks of light breaking through in the past.

        “Now, bandmate Zayn Malik has chimed in, tweeting out a “#FreePalestine” message to his 13 million followers. So far, it has received over 200,000 retweets.
        But not all fans were pleased. Per the Jewish Chronicle: One fan told the 21-year-old, who was raised as a Muslim in Bradford, Yorkshire, that he should be “ashamed.” Another wrote: “I’m so disappointed right now.” One Israeli tweeted: “It broke me that one of my idols wants me to die.”

        Hormones vs Zionism- it’s a big decision

  21. wondering jew on March 12, 2015, 8:55 pm

    Pipe dreams. 49 to 36% of Israelis prefer Bibi to Herzog. the center party- Kahlon will not back Herzog. Deri said that he will NOT support a narrow left wing government. if you add up the numbers how does the left wing add up to 61 seats without kahlon. recall that lapid and the ultra orthodox cannot sit in the same cabinet. the numbers are not there.

    I’d be quite happy to have herzog rather than bibi. i don’t think it’s likely. a labor likud coalition is far more likely than a narrow left wing government.

    • seafoid on March 13, 2015, 1:41 am

      That is super news. Yonah. Give the Israeli people what they want. Good and hard.
      Would you prefer cholera or plague with your main course of ethnocentric hatred ?

      • wondering jew on March 13, 2015, 12:27 pm

        seafoid- nice way to start a conversation. Not.

      • seafoid on March 15, 2015, 8:11 am

        Say something nice about Jim Crow, Yonah,. I mean, what were the positive aspects of it ?

      • wondering jew on March 15, 2015, 2:57 pm

        seafoid- another conversation starter. Not.

      • seafoid on March 15, 2015, 5:22 pm

        Say something nice about Israeli policy towards Gaza, Yonah
        Keep it chirpy and upbeat

    • just on March 13, 2015, 9:20 am

      “I’d be quite happy to have herzog rather than bibi. i don’t think it’s likely. a labor likud coalition is far more likely than a narrow left wing government. ”

      Do you have a choice by voting, yonah?

      • wondering jew on March 13, 2015, 12:27 pm

        just, why should i answer a personal question from you?

      • annie on March 15, 2015, 4:48 pm

        just, tsk tsk — that was deeply personal.

      • just on March 15, 2015, 5:41 pm

        who knew?

    • wondering jew on March 13, 2015, 12:30 pm

      I think/ hope that there is another possibility. Those who want Bibi out, but whose natural constituency are of the Likud frame of mind, will let the Likud know: get rid of Bibi and we will make a government with you. Thus Deri and Lapid will be the ones to force Bibi into retirement, but it will be a Likud government.

    • annie on March 15, 2015, 4:54 pm

      a labor likud coalition is far more likely than a narrow left wing government.

      which would mean the arab list might (probably?) lead the opposition for the first time in israel’s history. or do you see a way around that given your scenario?

  22. Kay24 on March 12, 2015, 10:40 pm

    Netanyahu must be very, very nervous, he even accuses a “foreign conspiracy” for their looking bad in the polls. Typical Beebs, blaming everyone but himself, for his ills. Not sharp enough to realize if he loses it is because of his own doing.

    “Netanyahu’s torment: How he loaded the political gun now pointing at his head
    In recent months he’s gone from Superman to SuperSchlemiel, from political wizard to serial bungler, as he was known before he first lost power.

    Benjamin Netanyahu could have called for early elections in August, when his approval ratings were sky high, rather than in December, when they were nose-diving back to earth. He could have thrived on the nationalistic winds that swept Israelis over the course of a stormy summer, rather than wither away in the shadow of the indifference and frustration that mark this winter of discontent. Netanyahu might have…” Haaretz

    I like that word SUPERSCHLEMIEL applied to Beebs.

    • a blah chick on March 12, 2015, 10:48 pm

      “He could have thrived on the nationalistic winds that swept Israelis over the course of a stormy summer, rather than wither away in the shadow of the indifference and frustration that mark this winter of discontent”

      Stormy summer for whom?

  23. crone on March 13, 2015, 12:38 am

    Frankly I think if Bibi goes back in he will do something rash… like bomb Iran, perhaps thinking he has a ‘mandate’ to do so… I see him as a very dangerous psychopath.

  24. W.Jones on March 13, 2015, 3:47 am

    Please think about mentioning this new official Netanyahu the Great campaign ad in one of your next articles, Phil or Annie. It has all the bells and whistles you have learned to love:

    (Plays glorious music, shows Netanyahu speaking with emphasis)
    “We got sanctions against Iran”
    “And now to stop the agreements that are dangerous for Israel”
    (Shows a photo of Congress applauding Netanyahu)

    But “From you we hear…”
    (Shows picture of Knesset legislators whining)

    “We closed the hole in the wall”
    (plays glorious music and shows Separation Wall with barbed wire)

    “And again you say”
    (shows Knesset whiners)

    Netanyahu is amazing! Barbed wire walls, passing US sanctions, and stopping US agreements! But oh, these whining legislators!

  25. Kay24 on March 13, 2015, 4:30 am

    The blame game continues with Likud blaming Nutty:

    “Likud officials blame Netanyahu for poor poll results
    Officials in PM’s party aren’t waiting for the election results: To them, it’s already clear the campaign was a ‘colossal failure,’ thanks to Netanyahu.

    Likud officials aren’t waiting for the election results. On Wednesday, following less than favorable polls, senior officials labeled the election campaign a failure, and blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the party’s poor showing in the polls ahead of Election Day on Tuesday”


    The one and only time I may agree with Likud. Nutty has only himself to blame for the blunders, arrogance, missteps, and the deteriorating relationship with the US. Boehner and his anti Obama bandwagon, should be feeling like losers too.

  26. Taxi on March 13, 2015, 7:32 am

    After sixty years of absolute rule, it’s hard to believe that in just two short months, the Republicans have destroyed their own party and killed Netanyahoo too with friendly fire.

    • Kay24 on March 13, 2015, 7:40 am

      Not that the end results will help the Palestinians, but Nutty has gone too far this time, trying to manipulate, disrespect, turn Americans against their President, and interfere in our foreign policies. Many articles say the Israeli people are sick of his ways, and may turn against him.
      I wonder what our national polls (I mean the honest ones) will show. I think Nutty has opened many American eyes to the fact that we have been supporting a parasite, a dangerous entity that has prodded, and lied to us, and made us fight wars, that we (not they) have to pay dearly for. Boehner and the GOP must also feel the repercussions of their arrogant and unpatriotic ways. They should move to Israel and join the Knesset over there.

  27. retired on March 13, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Maybe there won’t be any practical change in Israel as a result of a Netanyahu defeat.

    But there will be a salutary result in America. The national Republican party is going to be permanently characterized as owned by such as Adelson and fatefully beholden to
    Southern Christian fundies (“evangelicals” to them) and to their more rabid heretic cousins, the christian Zionists.

    It’s going to become a regional party, with dominance in the old Confederacy, Oklahoma, and parts of the Mountain West. The Republican Party has ensured that they will be unable to defeat any Democrat for President in 2016.

    Sheldon Adelson is going to lose a lot of money, even for him, and the authorities are already going after him in his Vegas and Macau casinos.

    This constant saber-rattling for pre-emptive aggressive war on Iran is going to come to an end.

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