Wednesday, January 30, 2013
2. Another "academic" pogrom: Brooklyn College merging with Ben
3. A good analysis of the losses of the Likud:
I basically agree with it.
There is one other factor that occurred to me only AFTER I sent out
my own earlier analysis of the election. It is this. A major part of
the Likud's traditional constituency was always working-class
Mizrachi-Sephardic Jews. They backed the Likud going back to the
1950s. They have no patience for Labor Party Menshevism. They tend
to be religiously traditionalist. And they know who and what Arabs
They also do not like Avigdor Lieberman. In general, they are
resentful towards Russian Jews, feel the Russians are pampered and
treated better than Mizrachim (their feeling is largely sour grapes
and baseless but it is definitely there), and dislike the radical
secularism of Lieberman and some other Russian Jewish figures. When
Netanyahu announced the merger with Lieberman, many Mizrachim felt
betrayed by the Likud. They abandoned it for SHAS, Bennett, and maybe
even in some cases for Lapid.
4. Pogrom at UC-David:
5. Yet another good one from Prager:
6. The Arab moderate:
Notice the "Holocaust Industry" jibe, taken directly from neo-nazi
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Protect the Palestinians!
Palestinian bystanders who fall victim to the way Israel's military
uses live ammunition. The time has come to change the instructions to
Israeli soldiers about opening fire.
The trigger for this demand is the tragic death of an Arab woman
student who was accidently killed when Israeli soldiers fired into the
air to scare off terrorists who were attacking them. The woman was
Lubna Monir Chanash.
Two Israeli army officers were driving a car with civilian plates in
the "West Bank" when they were attacked by a group of Palestinian
hooligans, who tossed Molotov cocktails and rocks at them and at their
vehicle. The officers got out and chased them. They followed the
strict military instructions for opening fire under such circumstances
and they fired into the air. The problem is that one of the bullets
fired into the air came down and accidently struck Chanash while she
was waiting for a bus home from the college where she studies. She
died from the wound. (Story here:
Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew, is aghast. It
considers the problem the "light trigger finger" behavior of Israeli
In fact, Chanash was killed because Israeli soldiers are ordered NOT
to shoot terrorists. Firing into the air to scare off terrorists is
a reckless, clear and dangerous policy, as Chamash's death proves.
Israeli soldiers must be ordered to fire directly at terrorists
throwing rocks, molotov cocktails, or anything else at Jews! The
alternative is depraved indifference towards the lives of innocent
Similarly, Haaretz is also aghast at the death of a 15 year old boy
who was shot in the leg while shooting large rocks from a slingshot at
a military guard-post. When the soldier there felt he was in danger,
he followed orders and shot the urchin in the leg. The urchin was
unlucky and died of the wound. Let us note that there is no other
army on earth where soldiers shoot people attacking them in the legs.
They shoot them in the heads! Israel's insane policy of shooting
terrorists in the legs encourages them to attack soldiers and leads to
accidental deaths, like that of this poor 15 year old.
Protect Palestinian lives … by shooting terrorists! End the firing
into the air! End the shooting of terrorists in the leg!! Shoot them
in the head! Palestinian lives depend on this!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The Election about Nothing
By Steven Plaut
Quick. Name all the Israeli parties that did NOT run in the recent
election on a platform focusing on lowering the price of housing and
the cost of living! After that, name all the Israeli parties who
understand what has produced the rapid increase in housing prices and
have a plan for coping with and lowering them!
If you were unable to answer those two questions, then you
actually answered both of them correctly. You also accurately summed
up the essence of the last Israeli election!
It was an election about nothing. By parties running on the same
platform: "social justice:, equality, and better standards of living.
Every single party running in the Israeli election ran on a
platform that emphasized concern over the rising cost of housing and
promises to lower them. And not a single one of these parties
exhibited the least bit of understanding of what produced the rapid
increases in housing prices in the first place. With Iran building
nukes and Palestinian terror and intransigence growing worse by the
day, with an increasingly hostile Obama administration re-elected, the
dominant theme running throughout the Israeli election was the
desperate desire on the part of every single party in the country to
co-opt and capitalize on the "social justice" protests from the
previous year, the exhibition of frustration and anger by adolescents
and post-adolescents over housing prices and the cost of living.
Paris is 6266 kilometers away from the capital of Mali; Israel is zero
kilometers away from Gaza. But Israelis were voting as if this does
And the irony is that the rapidly rising housing prices are a
collateral effect of two positive trends in the Israeli economy. The
two causes of it are the general prosperity in Israel and rising
incomes, and the low-interest easy-money policy by the Central Bank.
Housing prices are shooting up because Israelis are doing well
economically, are generally prosperous, have lots of capital, and use
their capital to bid up housing prices. Hence housing inflation is a
bi-product of success. In addition, the Bank of Israel has kept money
loose and interest rates low to avoid a serious recession. Israel
experienced a far softer downtown during the global financial crisis
than the US, Japan, or Europe. Today the only real way to drive
housing prices down in Israel is to push the country into a deep
recession and to drive interest rates up in order to cause housing
demand to be slashed, thus making housing less affordable, and THAT is
something that none of the political parties propose or even
Since every single Israeli party was running on the same "social
justice" platform and none had any real ideas about how to improve
"social" conditions or reduce inequality, just what was the election
about? The answer is that it was essentially about nothing. And the
proof is that the biggest surprise in the election was the success of
the party and politician who most faithfully represent and believe in
That surprise was the success of TV host Yair Lapid and his Yesh
Atid party, which won 19 Knesset seats (out of 120), twice what the
polls had been predicting. Yesh Atid became the second-largest party
in the country's parliament. To understand this development, you
would need to imagine Ellen Degeneres waking up one morning in the US
and running for Congress as head of a party that nudges out the
Republicans for second-place. If you ask Israelis just what Lapid
represents, they will say concern over housing prices and promises to
bring them back down, with no explanation of how it will be achieved.
In other words, he represents nothing and promises the same thing that
every other party promises.
Is Lapid in favor of or against a Palestinian state? Is he in
favor of or against settlements? No one knows. One Israeli in 6
voted for a party that has no platform. In essence, these are
Israelis sick and tired of parties that want things or advocate
things, and they prefer a Seinfeldian party, a party about nothing.
The second biggest surprise was the poor showing of the Likud.
It ran as an amalgam of two parties, the regular Likud, which had 27
seats on its own in the last Knesset, and Lieberman's party, Israel
Beitenu, which held 15 seats. From that joint 42-seat power base, the
amalgam party shrank to 31 seats, losing a quarter of its strength,
although retaining its position as the largest party in the Knesset.
Netanyahu's failure was due to two strategic errors in the
election itself and one far greater set of errors in general Likud
governing policy. The two election errors were the merger with
Lieberman and the devotion of the bulk of Likud election resources to
trashing Naftali Bennett and his party, rather than attacking the Left
and the Seinfeldian Center parties.
The merger with Lieberman was so foolish that it is hard to
explain what the politically shrewd Netanyahu was thinking when he
made that call. Lieberman had built a powerhouse mainly upon the
votes of Russian immigrants in Israel. Lieberman had also attracted
a lot of votes from the non-Russian Israeli Right. But these were
abandoning Lieberman, since Bennett's party was a more credible
expression of anti-Oslo ideology, and so his star was eclipsing. A
lot of Right-leaning Israelis dislike Lieberman, and even Lieberman's
Russian base is assimilating and becoming "more Israeli," voting more
for the mainstream parties. To top it off, Netanyahu had sat by
smugly while his leftwing Attorney General attempted to destroy
Lieberman's career with phony corruption charges and partisan legal
harassment. Netanyahu's hand was in that assault against the very
same Lieberman that Netanyahu recruited at the last minute to save
Likud prospects via merger. It did not work. Any "economies of
scale" Netanyahu hoped to gain from the amalgamation with Lieberman
vanished within hours of its announcement.
The other strategic error of Netanyahu was the decision to focus
Likud energies and resources in the elections on trashing Naftali
Bennett. Two months before the election, Bennett and his Jewish Home
party were the talk of the town and had the Likud running scared, and
the leftist media running even more scared. Bennett was being
attacked by the Left and even by the Obama Administration as a "danger
to peace," and Netanyahu decided to join the feeding frenzy. Dirty
attack after dirty attack, Netanyahu's people falsely accused Bennett
as running a party of Kahanists, of women haters, of crackpots
plotting to blow up the Temple Mount mosques. To a point, it worked.
Bennett was polling 16-18 seats in polls weeks before the election,
but as a result of the coordinated demonization, he ended up with only
11 seats. This is still a remarkable achievement for someone who took
over a party that had been polling before his leadership as winning 2
or 3 seats. But the strategy did not win the Likud any support.
Since Bennett is solidly anti-Left, the combination of Likud,
Lieberman and Bennett still has the same 42 seats that the Likud and
Lieberman alone had in the previous parliament, but of course with a
very different internal mix. So all the media commentary about the
implosion of the Israeli Right, like Mark Twain's erroneous death
notice, represent premature news of demise. Likud seats migrated
into Bennett's camp (and perhaps to a smaller extent to Lapid's).
The Likud's more harmful long-term error was that the Likud has
always exhibited a fear of governing once it is in office. Netanyahu
is a coward who makes his daily decisions based upon this week's
public opinion polls. He came out in favor of a Palestinian state in
the now infamous "Bar Ilan speech." He repeatedly froze settlement
construction. He capitulated to White House arm twisting. He
appointed leftwing activist judges to the Supreme Court and a leftwing
Attorney General to protect the hegemony of the Left. He even
appointed a Leftwing elections commissioner, who used his position to
censor the campaigns of the Right. He did nothing to dislodge the
Left from hegemony over state-run electronic media nor to privatize
Netanyahu refused to confront and intimidate the Histadrut trade
union federation to end its syndicalist terrorism. Instead of
dismissing and repudiating the "social justice" protesters as spoiled
lazy hypocrites, he tried to co-opt them. He appointed a "social
justice" commission to try to buy them off with futile gestures.
Having run on a platform of lowering taxes, he raised them. Netanyahu
refused to challenge or dismember the country's worst cartels and
monopolies, such as in agriculture, while posturing "anti-tycoon"
populism. He sponsored a bolshevik price-fixing scheme for books in
Israel to help the Literary Left. With the exception of approval for
Ariel University, for which he deserves credit and admiration, he did
nothing serious to challenge the hegemony of the Far Left over the
universities. He sat back passively while Israel was inundated with
a hundred thousand African infiltrators, who converted large swathes
of Tel Aviv into the Third World. Ironically, these are areas that
ordinarily vote Likud, so part of the Likud losses were thanks to
Bibi's coddling the Eritreans!
Lapid's startling flash-in-the-pan success is very likely to be
followed be an equally astonishing collapse by the next time elections
are held. You can only be the unknown newcomer for one election. A
similar flash in the pan that disappeared was the "Pensioners Party,"
run by Rafi Eitan (the doofus who recruited Pollard), which went from
7 Knesset seats to zip. In the current election, Kadima was the most
obvious sinking ship. It had once held 29 Knesset seats and governed
the country. In the current election, it had split into two small
splinters. The one calling itself Kadima was headed by ex-general
Shaul Mofaz and just squeaked past the cutoff into the Knesset with
two seats. The slightly larger "Movement" splinter headed by Tzipi
Livni got six seats. I suspect that part of their failure was the
revulsion Israelis feel every time they see the face of corrupt Kadima
ex-head Ehud Olmert on the screen. Olmert's political legacy is
pandering to the Left, Israeli defeat in Lebanon, and the
determination by Israelis across the spectrum to hide the silverware
whenever he would come for a visit.
The Israeli Left was strengthened a little, also capitalizing on
the general "concern" over housing prices and "social issues." The
Labor party, which was once the unchallengeable ruling party of the
country, had imploded to 13 seats in the previous Knesset, thanks
largely to its role in the Oslo debacle. It was up slightly in the
new election to 15 seats because it was not running on a platform of
more Oslo. Its current chief, another ex-television personality (like
Lapid), ran on a platform favoring - you guessed it - lowering housing
The far-leftist semi-Marxist Meretz party had shrunk to 3 seats in
the previous election. It doubled its strength to 6 seats in the new
parliament. While very few Israelis still believe in the "Two State
Solution" and the "Palestinian Peace Partner" rhetoric of Meretz, it
too managed to capitalize on the "social justice" bandwagon.
The religious parties essentially kept the same representation
that they held in the last parliament. So did the three small Arab
fascist parties, surrogates for the PLO and the Hamas, although one of
them picked up an extra seat.
Finally, it is always interesting to note who did NOT make it into
the parliament. The "Green Leaf" party of Tikkunite pot smokers,
promoting legalized hemp, lost yet again. I am sure Michael Lerner is
sitting shiv'a. One more "social justice" mini- party based on
promoting the agenda of the tent protesters failed to get in, as did
the mini-party of the courageous and honorable Rabbi Amsalem. And
one of the parties that had long represented the militant anti-Oslo
Right swept itself into the dustbin of history. The Otzma Party (it
earlier operated under other names) was co-headed by Michael Ben-Ari
and Dr. Aryeh Eldad. It also devoted most of its energies to
attacking Bennett, which got it nowhere. While Eldad is an
intelligent man of integrity, his sidekick Ben-Ari is an open Kahanist
whose campaign was spent cruising about alongside Kahanist thugs
Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir.
Every single time I comment on the fact that open Kahanists are
unelectable in Israel, I get poison pen e-mails from Kahanist cranks.
Well, at least I was proven correct about one thing. Eldad should
have cut ties with Ben-Ari and joined Bennett to form a broader
anti-Oslo front. So should have the Feiglin camp inside Likud.
2. Worth reading: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4335396,00.html
Monday, January 21, 2013
More on Spying on the Left
Reporting on the Radical Left Is 'Spying'?
Posted By Steven Plaut On January 21, 2013
There is a fascinating story underway at the fringes of election-eve
Israel. Israel's radical Left has always been anti-democratic, and is
showing increasingly fascist tendencies these days. One manifestation
of this is that the Left tries at every opportunity to suppress the
freedom of speech of non-leftists. It does so in a variety of ways,
including legislation, court lawfare, suppression of pluralism in many
of the country's media, and so on.
After Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a radical nationalist
religious law student in 1995, the leftist-controlled media led a
McCarthyist campaign in Israel, claiming that the assassination was
actually caused by the exercise of freedom of speech of non-leftists.
The Left insisted that freedom of expression for "rightists" presents
a clear and present danger of violence and murder and so must be
criminalized. Much of the political establishment followed the lead of
the leftist media McCarthyists, prosecuting "rightists" who dared to
express their opinions. Later Rabbis have been dragged into police
headquarters by the bushel and accused of "racism" because they
endorsed a book some considered bigoted. In the mind of leftists,
recommending to people that they read such a book is a crime, unless
it is an anti-Semitic leftist book.
But the most amusing twist to all this is the growing number of
complaints coming from the same anti-democratic leftists about how
freedom of speech for leftists is supposedly under attack by Israeli
conservatives! And they are increasingly pointing to the supposed
surveillance and "spying" activities against them being carried out by
critics of the far Left.
Several watchdog groups and web sites, led by Isracampus.com, keep
tabs on and monitor the radical tenured Left in Israel, the extremists
who are on the faculty at Israeli universities. They operate a bit
like Campus Watch in the US. The monitoring consists of citing
verbatim what the radicals write and say in public. The Israeli Left
has long claimed that such monitoring is equivalent to creating
"blacklists," supposedly like the lists of people boycotted in the
days of Joseph McCarthy. Of course a more accurate description of
these exposure and monitoring efforts would be "citation." The Left
claims that these watchdogs are plotting to silence leftists. But the
main way that they silence leftists is by giving broad publicity to
what leftists publish and proclaim in their public lectures.
The claims by the Israeli Left about "blacklisting" are a bit amusing,
given that many of these very same complainers have long promoted
international blacklisting against all of Israel. This has been the
"complaint" by the Fascist Left against Isracampus.com and the NGO
Monitor group led by Professor Gerald Steinberg, both of which expose
the political mischief and anti-Israel activities and publications of
the Israeli far Left.
Another group that has been very successful in exposing the far Left
has been the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu, headed by Ronen
Shoval. In the past few years Im Tirtzu has become the most important
and popular student organization in Israel; it regularly holds
counter-protests against the smaller communist party and Arab fascist
student groups when they organize anti-Israel pro-terror
demonstrations. The Im Tirtzu students have also (gasp!!) recorded
what left-wing professors say in their classroom lectures and
published these statements. Left-wing professors have accused the
students of "spying" because they obtain course outlines and syllabi
from propaganda courses operated by tenured leftists in the
universities and publish their contents. In other words, the students
are engaging in journalism. The far leftists insist this is really
spying and McCarthyism.
Israeli universities, like many American universities, are crawling
with far-leftist faculty members, and there are many departments in
which no non-leftist opinion may be voiced and no pro-Israel or
anti-Marxist instructor may teach. Academic standards have been
trashed and hiring procedures corrupted in order to fill these
departments with wall-to-wall radicals. The worst institutions engaged
in these things are Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, but
the other schools are also at fault.
A few months back Shoval and his Im Tirtzu students filed a huge libel
suit against a small gaggle of leftists for setting up a Facebook
group accusing Im Tirtzu of being a "fascist organization" and
accusing its leaders of being "fascists." The suit is for 2.6 million
shekels ($660,000) in Jerusalem District court. As part of their court
action, Shoval and his people are also keeping tabs on the radical
political activism of the lawyer representing the defendants, the
ultra-leftist Michael Sfard. He is associated with Israel's
"Association for Civil Rights in Israel," a far-leftist NGO group that
has no interest in defending any civil rights for Jews or in defending
freedom of speech. The ACRI has long been headed by the Stalinist
writer Sami Michael. Student leader Shoval dared to provide
information on Sfard's activities to two newspapers. I guess that
makes Shoval guilty of journalism.
Israel's far-leftist daily Haaretz is roughly analogous to The Nation
in the US. It has been covering the story of the "spying" on Sfard in
detail, which is a bit amusing because one of the defendants in the
libel action is herself a Haaretz writer and editor. Haaretz even
cites the claim by one of the far-leftist defendants that reporting
what leftist NGOs do is a form of terrorism.
In that story, the paper cites the student leader as proudly admitting
collecting a dossier on the political extremism of Sfard.
When asked by Sfard what methods were used to uncover such
anti-Zionism, Shoval said: "We read the publications and listen to the
claims and look at the motives people talk about, and then we reach
conclusions." When asked if Im Tirtzu had ever used material collected
by private investigators, Shoval said: "Definitely." In response to a
question that the organization had used documents obtained from
Sfard's office, Shoval replied, "We see you as someone who is
consistently involved in harming the State of Israel. Your ideological
rejectionism from [your time in the] army has continued until now, in
providing your services to organizations that consistently persecute
IDF soldiers and identify Zionism as racism.
Sfard is claiming that documents about his political activities were
stolen from the ACRI offices and leaked to the press. There is no
evidence that these were taken in any sort of Watergate-like
incursion, and, even if they were, there is no evidence that the Im
Tirtzu students were involved. But the very same radicals who have
always claimed that Daniel Ellsberg's espionage was the highest form
of patriotism and that the Wikileaks people are the world's greatest
heroes are suddenly aghast at the leaks to the press about the
political activities of Israel's far Leftists.
Of the two newspapers who used the leaked materials, the spokesman for
one of them (Israel Hayom) said: "The newspaper acted according to the
principles of the law." The other newspaper, Makor Rishon, said they
had no stolen documents and did not send "reporters or 'plumbers,'
like in the Watergate affair, and of course we have not stolen any
documents. We received the documents and cannot reveal their source,
as is accepted here."
This is just the tip of the oppressive iceberg to suppress the radical
Left, screams Haaretz. In an op-ed by its educational reporter this
week, it points to a long litany of supposedly anti-democratic
initiatives by the Israeli Right. First there was a petition to bar an
Arab woman from running for the parliament just because she had
herself engaged in terrorism and violent attacks against Israeli
soldiers. Never mind that the Supreme Court foolishly overruled the
initiative and let her run. Then there was the case of the "boycott"
of a leftist professor at Tel Aviv University by Benjamin Netanyahu.
She was "boycotted" in the sense that Netanyahu declined to invite her
to attend a state reception with the German Prime Minister which she
wished to attend. Then there was the case of a radical leftist who was
pushed into an archives job from his research position in the
parliament because he insisted on filling all his reports with his
far-leftist opinions. Also a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education
was canned for churning out textbooks for use in civics classrooms
that were filled with anti-Israel bias and historic revisionism based
on Arab pseudo-history. And to top it all off, the Minister of
Education called for closing down the Department of Politics at Ben
Gurion University simply because the department refuses to allow any
conservative or pro-Israel opinion to be voiced, because its courses
are anti-Israel and Marxist indoctrinations, because its academic
standards are so awful that an international panel of experts demanded
that the department be shut down altogether, and because it harasses
students if they dare to question the extremist indoctrinations by the
So from all the above, you can see that the complaints by the Left
that freedom of speech and pluralism are under a McCarthyist assault
in Israel are completely valid. The only problem is that the assault
against freedom and democracy is coming from the Fascist Left.
2. Israel's Pagan Left:
3. The NY Slimes:
4. The Left's jihad against transparency:
5. Among the Maasai:
Friday, January 18, 2013
Let's all Spy on the Left!!
There is a fascinating story underway at the fringes of election-eve Israel.
Israel's fascist Left has long claimed that it is "McCarthyism" and
"spying" when critics of the Left cite verbatim what Leftists say and
write, when critics dare to publicize and expose what the Leftists
themselves write and do publicly. The Left also calls this the
building of "blacklists." This, coming from the very same people who
want all of Israel blacklisted! This has long been the "complaint" by
the Fascist Left against Isracampus.com and the NGO Monitor group,
both of which expose the political mischief and public anti-Israel
activities and publications of the Far Left.
Another group that has been very successful in exposing the Far
Left has been the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu, headed by Ronen
Shoval, an up-and-coming leader with Naftali Bennett-like talents and
integrity. Shoval and Im Tirtzu have been keeping tabs and records
on what the anti-Israel leftist NGOs do and say. In other words, they
are engaging in journalism, or what the far leftists insist on calling
Shoval and his people have also filed a huge libel suit against a
small gaggle of leftists for setting up a Facebook group accusing Im
Tirtzu of being a fascist organization. The suit is for 2.6 million
shekels in Jerusalem District court. As part of their court action,
Shoval and his people are also keeping tabs on the radical political
activism of the lawyer representing the defendants, ultra-leftist
Michael Sfard, associated with Israel's "Association for Civil Rights
in Israel," a far-leftist group that has no interest in the civil
rights of Jews or in defending freedom of speech. Shoval dared to
provide information on Sfard's activities to two newspapers. I guess
that makes Shoval guilty again of journalism.
Haaretz is covering the story in detail, which is a bit amusing
because one of the defendants in the libel action is a Haaretz writer
and editor. Haaretz cites the claim by one of the far-leftist
defendants that reporting what leftist NGOs do is a form of terrorism.
Nevertheless, here is the Haaretz report, which I think speaks for itself:
Right-wing Israeli group admits using PIs to spy on leftist NGOs
Revelation made during libel trial filed by Im Tirtzu against eight
left-wing activists who established a Facebook page calling the
By Nir Hasson | Jan.18, 2013
The Im Tirtzu organization used private investigators to collect
information on human rights organizations, its leader told a court
Thursday. Chairman Ronen Shoval said his group also asked
investigators to snoop on the lawyers representing those groups.
Shoval was testifying in a NIS 2.6 million libel case at Jerusalem
District Court, filed by Im Tirtzu against eight left-wing activists
who established a Facebook page calling the organization fascist. (One
of the defendants is a Haaretz journalist.) The group styles itself as
a movement "to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in
Im Tirtzu gave some of the information it collected to two newspapers,
Makor Rishon and Israel Hayom. In at least one case, Israel Hayom
decided not to publish the information as the newspaper feared it
might violate privacy rules as well as attorney-client privilege.
Most of the cross-examination of Shoval, conducted by Michael Sfard -
who also represents the Yesh Din rights organization - focused on
Shoval's political views. Sfard filed a complaint with the police two
years ago after he thought documents relating to Yesh Din had been
stolen from his office and given to right-wing newspapers.
In his testimony, Shoval spoke of the need to uncover "hidden
anti-Zionism" among political activists and organizations. When asked
by Sfard what methods were used to uncover such anti-Zionism, Shoval
said: "We read the publications and listen to the claims and look at
the motives people talk about, and then we reach conclusions."
When asked if Im Tirtzu had ever used material collected by private
investigators, Shoval said: "Definitely." In response to a question
that the organization had used documents obtained from Sfard's office,
Shoval replied, "We see you as someone who is consistently involved in
harming the State of Israel. Your ideological rejectionism from [your
time in the] army has continued until now, in providing your services
to organizations that consistently persecute IDF soldiers and identify
Zionism as racism.
"It seems to me that it is legitimate to send a private investigator
to the office of someone I view as a political opponent," Shoval
added. In response to Sfard's question regarding the legality of the
matter, Shoval said it was legal to do so.
Sfard later asked whether there were materials Israel Hayom had
refused to publish due to privacy issues. "There are a lot of
documents. This is an article from two years ago, I don't remember all
the details. It is possible there was what you say," Shoval said.
Shoval was later questioned by attorney Yishai Shneider, who asked
about sending private investigators to gather information on other
human rights organizations. Shoval said there were three or four such
events, but didn't remember exactly. He refused to name the
organizations but said Im Tirtzu's main interest was with groups
connected to the New Israel Fund. When asked whether his organization
had sent private investigators to the New Israel Fund's office, Shoval
said "No. But it is a good idea. [But] all within the framework of the
Shoval later accused Sfard of being a traitor, saying the state should
prosecute him: "I regret that until the court determines you are a
traitor, then you are not one."
At the time of the reports of Sfard's complaint to the police,
December 2010, Israel Hayom said: "The newspaper acted according to
the principles of the law." Makor Rishon said they had no stolen
documents and did not send "reporters or 'plumbers,' like in the
Watergate affair, and of course we have not stolen any documents. We
received the documents and cannot reveal their source, as is accepted
Yesh Din said on Thursday: "Secret surveillance of a human rights
organization is a despicable act of political violence."
Thursday, January 17, 2013
How Israel should respond to the "Palestinian Declaration of Statehood"
Time to Annex Judea and Samaria
Posted By Steven Plaut On January 17, 2013
In a few months it will be the twentieth anniversary of the signing of
the "Oslo Accord" on the White House lawn. In that signing, Yassir
Arafat, on behalf of the so-called "Palestinian Liberation
Organization," committed himself and his "people" to conduct
negotiations with Israel that would lead to a peaceful resolution of
the Middle East Arab-Israeli conflict. He forswore unilateral actions
Since then, the "Palestinian Authority," which was set up by the PLO,
has violated every single clause in that and the subsequent Oslo
Accords. Twenty years hence, the "Palestinians" as represented by the
"Authority" have yet to comply with a single one of their obligations.
Arafat and his gangsters simply used the Accord as a cover to gain
control over part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They then
converted all the territory they controlled into bases for launching
terrorist aggression against Israel. The Palestinian terrorist groups
have murdered at least 1700 Israeli civilians since signing that first
"peace accord." Thousands of Palestinian rockets have been launched
into Israel aimed at Israeli civilians, and not just by the Hamas.
"Palestinian leaders" repeat several times each day before breakfast
that their aim is the obliteration of Israel altogether and that they
will never recognize the legitimacy of Israel within any set of
The media controlled by the "Authority" and the terrorist
organizations have been thoroughly nazified; they broadcast
anti-Semitic filth that exceeds what the German Nazis broadcast in the
1930s. The Gaza Strip has been completely nazified. Very little
distinguishes the Islamofascism of the Hamas from the Islamofascism of
the PLO, and the "president" of the Palestinian Authority is a
certified Holocaust Denier.
And now to top it all off, the "Palestinian Authority" has
unilaterally declared itself to be a sovereign state and applied for
United Nations membership as such. This is just the latest and not
even the worst violation of "Palestinian" obligations under the Oslo
There is growing debate about how Israel should respond to the
behavior of the "Palestinians." Indeed, there have already been calls
in Israel to implement part of the proposals that follow here. This
unilateral "declaration" of Palestinian statehood and bid for
international recognition is not just a wholesale repudiation of the
Oslo Accords by the "Palestinians." It is also as much a declaration
of war as was the secession of South Carolina. Any similar "secession"
would be casus belli in any other country on the planet and would be
suppressed with arms. And any country endorsing or supporting such
secession would be treated as an enemy belligerent.
Israel must make it crystal clear: the experimental Israeli
willingness to consider acquiescing in the creation of a separate
Palestinian state is over. The "Palestinians" never had a legitimate
claim to statehood in the first place, although in exchange for peace
Israel was in the past willing to overlook this. The "Palestinians"
forfeited any shaky claim they might have had to statehood because of
their behavior during the past two decades, indeed during the past
century, their nonstop barbarism and mass atrocities. This is much
like the East Prussians and Sudeten Germans forfeiting all THEIR
rights to self-determination and even to autonomy after World War II.
Israel must declare: The game of pretense and fiction is over. Israel
is no longer willing to pretend that there exists some sort of
"Palestinian people" entitled to statehood. The "Palestinians" are
Arabs, and Arabs already have 22 states. They will not get yet another
inside Israeli lands. Any Palestinian wishing to enjoy national
sovereignty is free to move to one of those 22 Arab states, but no
Arab sovereignty will exist in Israeli territory, meaning the lands
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The "Palestinian declaration of statehood" must be dealt with by means
of a unilateral Israeli settlement imposed on the West Bank and
de-nazification of the local population.
The principles upon which such a unilateral Israeli concordance and
resolution must be founded are these:
1. The West Bank belongs to Israel and is Israeli in all ways. No
non-Israeli sovereignty of any form will be permitted in the territory
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The West Bank is
part of the Jewish national homeland, always was, and always will be.
2. "Palestinian" Arabs living in the West Bank will not receive
Israeli citizenship and will not vote in Israeli national elections.
3. The land and resources in the West Bank will remain under Israeli
supervision, control, and regulation.
4. "Palestinians" who do not wish to live under Israeli sovereignty
will be free to leave. Israel may consider providing financial
support, property compensation, or incentives for those so wishing to
5. Most "Palestinians" choosing to remain in the West Bank will live
in reservations, in some ways resembling Native-American-Indian
territories that function inside the United States (possibly even
including casinos), although in some ways they will differ.
Reservations will be operated in those parts of the West Bank that
have large concentrations of Arab population, meaning Jericho, Nablus,
Ramallah, Jenin, Tul Karem, and a few other areas. Reservations will
NOT have territorial contiguity. In each reservation, the
"Palestinians" will be permitted autonomy and limited self-rule to
manage their own local affairs as long as violence is completely
absent from the reservation. Where violence is present, they will be
denied autonomy. Reservations from which terrorism arises may be shut
down and their populations dispersed. Arabs engaging in or supporting
terrorism in any way will be deported.
6. "Palestinians" in the West Bank will be considered to be resident
aliens within the Jewish state. Many still have Jordanian passports
and citizenship and will be considered resident Jordanians.
"Palestinians" who do not have Jordanian citizenship will be stateless
unless they obtain citizenship from some other country.
7. Jews will have the right to live anywhere they wish in the West
Bank outside the reservations assigned to the "Palestinian" Arabs. The
territory in the West Bank in which Arabs do not live or live
sparsely, and this includes the Jordan Valley and the sparse areas in
between the reservations, will be opened to unlimited Jewish
The villages and towns with the Arab reservations will be assigned to
two lists, a white list and a black list. Those in the white list will
manage their own affairs without interference from the Israeli central
authorities. Residents of white-list towns may hold commuter jobs in
Israeli cities and industrial parks. The local authorities in the
white areas will manage their schools and other local institutions.
They will collect their own taxes and may benefit from revenue sharing
arrangements with the Israeli fiscal authorities, like other Israeli
towns. They might be allowed to operate their own local police forces.
Residents in white-listed areas will be fully and freely mobile, able
to move freely within and among all white-list areas. They will be
allowed to develop local industry and tourist services. Their
residents will have access to Israel universities, health facilities,
and other services.
Those towns and villages in the black list will enjoy none of the
above. Their residents will be denied the opportunity to hold day jobs
in Israeli cities and industrial parks. They will have no access to
Israeli services. They will have control over nothing. Their residents
will be prevented from moving freely outside their reservation, except
in cases where they wish to leave the country altogether. They will
receive no shared revenues, no fiscal incentives.
Villages and towns will be assigned to the two lists based entirely on
one single factor: violence. Areas in which violence occurs, and this
includes rock throwing, will be assigned to the black list. Areas in
which violence is absent will be assigned to the white list. Towns and
villages will be reassigned to the black list from the white list when
terrorism, sniping, mortars, rockets, or other forms of violence occur
there. Towns and villages in the black list will be assigned to the
white list only when the local population cooperates fully with Israel
in apprehending and arresting the terrorists and those engaged in
violence, and takes other effective actions to end the violence.
Otherwise they will remain on the black list indefinitely. Entry into
black list areas will be denied to foreigners, journalists, and
especially to the "International Solidarity" anarchists and their ilk.
Any such anarchist infiltrating the areas of the black list will be
denied permission to leave them and will remain there indefinitely, or
else will be imprisoned by Israel.
This of course leaves the dilemma of the Gaza Strip. As noted, because
of the Israeli folly of withdrawing from and abandoning its control
over the Gaza Strip, the area is now nothing more than a large
rocket-launching terrorist base. I happen to believe that, in the long
run, Israel will have no choice but to re-impose its complete control
over the Gaza Strip.
But for the immediate future, an Israeli unilateral set of moves will
be necessary here as well. Basically these must consist of a
three-pronged assault against Gaza the very first time that a rocket
is launched into Israel from that territory. In this assault, Israel
will seize a strip of land several kilometers wide that will divide
the Gaza Strip from Egypt and this will end the massive smuggling of
weapons, explosives, drugs and other materials into Gaza. The other
two prongs will split Gaza into three smaller segments. Israel will
control movement of people and materials among these segments. It will
arrest and shoot terrorists on the spot. And eventually it may impose
the system of reservations and the white-black lists upon Gaza as
This is how Israel should respond to the declaration of war by the
"Palestinians" in their unilateral declaration of statehood.
2. As we have been noting here, the most dramatic development in the
current Israeli election is the rise of Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi
(Jewish Home) party. The polls are giving him between 14 and 18
Knesset seats and I am hoping he will do even better. He has a
serious chance of pushing aside the Menshevik Party of Shelly
Yachimovich (a.k.a. the Israeli Labor Party) to become the Number Two
party in the next Knesset.
Bennett's rise is so dramatic that the Obama White House has been
issuing statements about the "danger" to the world from the success of
Bennett and his party. I cannot think of a more persuasive reason to
vote for them.
The bulk of the Likud's campaign these past weeks and the lion's share
of Likud election ads have been devoted to trying to discredit Bennett
and his people. The Likud continues to hammer away at the supposed
"anti-women" position of some of Bennett's people, a blatant lie by
the Likud, and never mind that Bennett's slate has three times as many
women on it as the Likud's. The Likud dug up an old alleged statement
(I am not sure he really said it) by one of the people on Bennett's
slate in which he supposedly said that the murdered murderer Baruch
Goldstein (who shot up the Hebron Mosque 19 years ago) was a victim.
(Goldstein was lynched after he had been disarmed after committing his
atrocity; had an Arab terrorist been killed after being disarmed, you
can bet he would have become the martyr saint of the Israeli Left!)
And the Likud keeps insisting that Bennett and his party will be
considered untouchables and will not be part of any Likud led
government coalition after the election. Netanyahu has the advantage
though of ever being believed by anyone so it will be easy for him to
backslide after the election.
Bennett has responded not with ad hominem anti-Netanyahu ads but
rather by running new ads showing Bennett and Netanyahu side by side
smiling and cooperating in the next government. Moreover, Bennett is
consistently refusing to wash any Likud dirty laundry in public.
Bennett had once been the director of Netanyahu's Prime Minister's
Office until resigning under somewhat mysterious circumstances, but
widely believed to be because Netanyahu's wife was interfering with
and harassing Bennett. However, Bennett has simply refused to comment
on that matter at all, saving Netanyahu embarrassment, and similarly
has refused to engage in any other Lashon Ha-Ra regarding other
head-to-head conflicts he has experienced over the years with other
people. In short, Bennett is an Old School Gentleman and that is one
more reason why he deserves to win.
The Likud's attempt to bash Bennett over "women" is amusing to say the
least. It should be noted that women in current Israeli politics tend
to be extremely incompetent and incapable, probably because competent
women do more productive things than politics. Golda Meir of course
made it without any affirmative action, but just take a gander at the
women currently in positions of political leadership. There is Shelly
Yachimovish, whom I call Little Bo Peep (because she has lost so many
of her Menshevik sheep). There is the arrogant and vulgar Zehava
Gal-On, the Madam DeFarge of the Meretz bolsheviks. (Now would be a
good time to remind readers that when Stalin died, the party newspaper
of MAPAM, which is today one of the central factions comprising
Meretz, ran a banner headline reading, "The Sun of the Nations has
Set.") Many of Israel's worst tenured anti-Zionists are strongly
backing Meretz. And then there is Tzipi Livni. Every time she opens
her mouth I am tempted to run over, pat her on her shoulder and say
NOW NOW, and offer her my handkerchief.
Not exactly a great set of figures to persuade us to endorse the
feminist demands for quotas in political representation!
Livni is now the head of one of three centrist Seinfeldian parties
running in the election. You recall that Seinfeld boasted that his
was a show about nothing. Well, these are parties about nothing.
Quite a few Israelis tend to vote for Seinfeldian parties, because
they dislike the parties that actually stand for something. Little
White Bird (that is what Tzipi Livni's Hebrew name means) heads just
one of these. Her erstwhile sidekick Mofaz heads a second party, but
support for him is so low that he is not expected to make it past the
cutoff into the next Knesset. Then there is Yair Lapid, a
good-looking airhead whose political agenda is nothing more than his
being a good-looking airhead. He is a TV host, not a very good one,
and that seems to be his entire novelty.
Shelly Bo Peep's party is also becoming increasingly Seinfeldian. Her
remaining support seems to be coming from the sorts of people who sat
in the protest tents in Tel Aviv last year demanding government
handouts and price controls. (Almost no one believes in the Labor
Party's Peresian delusions about the New Middle East and Palestinian
peace partners.) Shelly promises the adolescents cheap housing in
central Tel Aviv, but refuses to explain just how she plans to provide
any. She appeals to young pampered middle class kids who do not want
to work hard or pay market prices for anything.
The Radical anti-Israel Left is also hysterical about the rise of
Bennett and his party. Haaretz devotes part of the front page every
day to bashing and discrediting them. (As an example of how detached
from reality Haaretz has gotten, take a look at this:
. Haaretz believes that treason is the most effective method for
attracting votes for the parties of the Far Left. )
In today's Bash-Bennett smear, Haaretz publishes a grand scoop: the
brother of Yigal Amir, the assassin who murdered Yitzhak Rabin,
published on his Facebook page the claim that his brother Yigal plans
to vote for Bennett.
Well, I have my own scoop. The favorite newspaper of Iran's Holocaust
Denying president Mahmous Ahmadinejad is Haaretz, and the heads of the
Hamas are all supporting the political parties of which Haaretz
approves: BALAD (as in terrorist Hanin Zoabi), the Stalinist HADASH
party, and - when Haaretz is forced to compromise and moderate itself
3. On many an occasion we have commented on the Literary Left in
Israel. But there also operates in Israel the Cinematic Left, which
is at least as extremist and anti-Israel as the Literary Left.
Propped up by subsidies from the government, far-leftist film-makers
churn out bash-Israel films. The foreign anti-Semites love them. The
leftist-run "Jewish film festivals" in bastions of civilization like
Berkeley all feature them. Especially when they paint Israel as the
New Nazi Germany. Not every single director of Israeli films is an
anti-Israel loon, and not every single Israeli film is atrocious, and
"The Footnote" from last year and its director were unusual
There are two films right now by Israeli directors that are so
anti-Israel that the Hollywood Left has them down as candidates for an
Oscar. Please take a look at this expose of the Cinematic Left:
See also http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4332078,00.html
and this: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/12729
and http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/164084 .
4. Here is a remarkable piece, even more remarkable because it ran on
the Haaretz web site (but not in the print version of the paper):
Friday, January 11, 2013
The Israeli Left Finds Some Threats to Democracy
By Steven Plaut
The Israeli Left is all worked up these days about the "fascism"
of the Israeli Right and dangers from it to democracy. It is
hyperventilating in anguish because the "Right" supposedly is trying
to suppress freedom of speech. Its anger is focused on two recent
minor incidents. In the first, a "researcher" at the Knesset was
demoted and sent off to work in the Knesset archives. The Knesset has
a small internal research service, kind of a mini Congressional
Research Office. There one Dr. Gilad Natan worked as a "researcher,"
except he insisted on inserting into every "report" that he churned
out for Knesset committees his own personal far-leftist ideology.
Since he was not being paid to spout off his personal views, the
Knesset brass, led by the speaker, decided to boot Natan off into the
archives, where he can spout leftism all he wants to the mice while
dusting the racks. (See this:
In the second incident, there has been growing public outrage
against a Tel Aviv high school principal who co-authored an Op-Ed in
Haaretz (together with a Tel Aviv University tenured leftist)
endorsing the Communist Party (Hadash). See this story
Note the statement in that Haaretz article by the Stalinist communist
party hack Dov Khanin about dangers to Israeli democracy!) It was
part of a leftist cat fight within the Left conducted at Haaretz,
where the principal and his sidekick were upset when the leftist
professor Shlomo Avineri endorsed the Labor Party rather than the
Now school principals, like generals and some other public
servants, are supposed to keep their political opinions to themselves.
So Comrade Ram Cohen, the principal, is under attack by Hizzonuh the
Tel Aviv mayor.
In both these cases, the tenured Left has been organizing
petitions to protest the "suppression of freedom of speech, " and they
are joined by Haaretz, which is so devoted to freedom of speech that
non-leftists are essentially banned from writing in the newspaper
(except for one token conservative Op-Ed piece every week or two).
Pluralism at Haaretz is considerably less than pluralism in Pravda
back in the days of Brezhnev.
The suppression of freedom of speech in Israel by the Left is on
display for all to see almost every day. Take the coming elections.
There is an elections supervisory commission, headed by the leftwing
Elyakim Rubinstein, a yarmulka-wearing lawyer who is so far-Left that
he used to be the Attorney General. He is now one of the many
leftists serving as a Supreme Court judge. He was part of the
original team headed by Beilin that "negotiated" the original Oslo
"Accord." He was one of the Supreme Court judges who ruled that Arabs
in senior governmental positions in Israel need not sing the country's
Elyakim oversaw much of the McCarthyist assault against freedom
of speech in Israel in the days after the Rabin assassination, when
the Left sought to criminalize speech by "Rightists." Rubinstein was
also the sponsor of the law that criminalized and banned the Kahanist
splinters and denied freedom of speech to them. For many years the
real litmus test of whether a person believes in freedom of speech in
Israel has been whether that person criticized this arbitrary
anti-democratic denial of freedom of speech. The point is not whether
or not the Kahanists are fringe loons (they are!). The point is
whether you think that everyone, including fringe loons, are entitled
to freedom of speech. And if fringe loons are to be denied freedom of
speech, how come it has not been denied to any of the fringe loons on
the Far Left or to any Arab fascists?
In any case, as Elections Supervisor, Comrade Elyakim has been
striving hard to suppress freedom of speech. He first banned a
campaign ad by one of the parties of the Right that featured the
slogan, "Without duties and obligations there can be no rights."
Elyakim claimed it was racist and anti-Arab. Later he banned an ad by
the Likud because it featured a pop singer singing that Bibi was "The
Bomb" (she meant it as a compliment) and olde Elyakim thought that was
inappropriate. While he did ban one ad by an Arab fascist party
(Balad, the party of Hanin Zoabi) because it featured an Arab mockery
of Hatikva, the national anthem, all the rest of Elyakim's measures
have been implemented to stifle the Israeli Right. Can you guess
which of all the above bans was the only one that the Left criticized?
The most outrageous decision by Elyakim was his decision this week
to ban an election ad by the SHAS party. Now let me say that I do not
like the SHAS party and disagree entirely with the ad in question. I
also think that the banned ad was the most original and amusing of any
of the election campaign ads being broadcast, the bulk of which are
mind-numbingly stupid and infantile. In the SHAS ad, they show a
young Israeli under the Hoopah with his bride, a blond with a heavy
Russian accent. Just before the ceremony commences, she takes out her
cell phone and dials
"*-conversion" and immediately the fax machine under the Hoopah prints
out a conversion certificate for her. "You mean you are not Jewish?"
The groom asks. "Now I am," she answers and tries to smooch him as he
ducks back. The ad is a SHAS attack against Lieberman and some other
groups that want to reduce and ease conversion procedures. You can
agree or disagree with the message of the ad (I disagree with it) but
it was refreshingly entertaining. And Elyakim banned it.
So just what did Elyakim NOT ban? He was awfully quiet when the
Knesset was trying to ban the terrorist Hanin Zoabi from running on
the Balad slate for the parliament, and he voted with the other
Supreme Court judges to overturn the ban on Zoabi and let her run.
Curious how the same Supreme Court judges have nothing at all to say
about the ban on the Kahanists.
The Far Leftists that are wetting themselves in anguish over the
"assault by Rightwing zealots against freedom of speech" in the cases
of the communist principal and the leftist "analyst" in the Knesset
research office have not had a single word to say about the behavior
of Comrade Elyakim. Not a single one of them has ever spoken out
against the denial of freedom of speech to the Kahanists. Not a
single one of them has protested when Jews are arrested on the Temple
Mount for the crime of moving their lips there (moving lips by Jews is
prohibited on the Temple Mount). Not a single leftist has ever
protested against the McCarthyist assault led by Elyakim against the
freedom of speech of non-leftists, an assault operated by the Left in
the years following the Rabin assassination. Not a single one
protested when Ben Gurion University's president fired a professor
from a position because he expressed a skeptical opinion about the
wisdom of allowing children to be raised by homosexual couples. Not a
single one of them, including the law professors whom I challenged on
a professors chat list to do so, expressed any criticism when a high
school teacher was fired because he called for schools to stop
indoctrinating students into the "Rabin legacy" regarding Rabin's Oslo
ideology. Not a single one.
Finally, Haaretz is all upset because of cases where Far-Leftist
professors find themselves "boycotted." This is the same Haaretz
that has long championed the Far Leftists who promote and organize
world boycotts against Israel. There was the case where Bibi
Netanyahu refused to allow a far-leftist professor from Tel Aviv
University to participate in a state ceremony held with the Prime
Minister of Germany. The professor was not exactly "boycotted," just
not invited. Now Haaretz has found an even more outrageous assault on
democracy. It seems the Hebrew University was organizing a ceremony
to honor its Far-Leftist anti-Israel extremist professor Moshe
Zimmerman, best remembered for his comments calling the children of
Jewish settlers "Hitler youth." Well, Nobel Laureate professor Robert
Aumann from the Hebrew University (retired) let everyone know he would
not be attending. How dare he "boycott" Herr Zimmerman, screams
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Israeli "Occupation" and the ROLV Fallacy
Why Lifting the Israeli 'Occupation' Won't Stop Violence
Posted By Steven Plaut On January 9, 2013
There seems to be a wide misconception that the Middle East conflict
is complicated. In fact it is really rather simple. Indeed, one can
basically summarize and explain the entire conflict within the context
of the words "occupation" or "occupied territories" and with respect
to beliefs about the effects of such "occupation."
Let me explain. For most of the past 46 years (since 1967), there has
been something of a universal consensus among those agreeing that
removing or eliminating the Israeli "occupation" over the West Bank
and Gaza, areas dubbed "The Occupied Palestinian Territories," would
reduce tensions and make the region more tranquil, possibly leading to
full peace between Israel and its neighbors. Let us dub this theory
the Removal of Occupation Lowers Violence (henceforth the ROLV) Axiom.
It would be hard to exaggerate how broad the ROLV consensus is in the
world. Outside of Israel it is essentially universal. Even within
Israel, for much of the past two generations this ROLV has been the
consensus position of the bulk of the Israeli political spectrum.
Almost all Israeli parties have long agreed, certainly since the "Oslo
Accords" of the early 1990s, that the key to reducing tensions between
Israel and the Arab world is via partial or total removal of Israeli
"occupation" of those territories. With the exception of small parties
on the Israeli Right, basically the entire Israeli political elite,
including Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud, is at least nominally
committed to the ROLV axiom. In this sense, (Israeli President) Shimon
Peres' recent pronouncement that there is near consensus in Israel
behind the so-called "two-state solution" was only partly his
imagination. (The President in Israel is little more than an honorary
post like the queen of Holland, whereas the real head of state is the
Prime Minister, and so Peres really represents no one.) While
acceptance of the ROLV axiom, holding that removal of occupation leads
to reduction in violence, is not quite the same thing as the
"Two-State Solution" that Peres advocates, its broad acceptance by so
many Israeli political parties provides a small basis for Peres'
Everything needed to understand the Middle East conflict can be
grasped if one bears in mind that near-universal consensus behind ROLV
and one second fact. The second fact is that the international
consensus about removal of Israeli occupation is empirically false and
nearly all Israelis understand that it is false.
It is somewhat difficult to document exactly what Israelis think about
the "removal of occupation" and the so-called Two-State Solution. Many
of the public opinion polls in Israel are deliberated distorted by
people with an ideological axe to grind, one that precludes asking
candidly what Israelis think. An example was a recent poll that asked
what the respondent would think about a Palestinian state if it were
to be effectively demilitarized, proclaimed its friendly intentions
towards Israel, and proved its intentions over a long testing period.
The question was science fiction; it was like asking how you would
respond if friendly space aliens landed in a flying saucer on your
lawn and offered you a Starbucks. So it was not surprising when fewer
than half of Israelis said that even then they would still be opposed
to a Palestinian state.
Occasionally the truth seeps through, such as in another recent poll
in which Israeli Jews opposing the "Two State Solution" outnumbered
those who endorse it by between 6 and 10 to one.
The simple truth of the matter is that almost all Israelis by now
understand clearly that removal of Israeli occupation does not reduce
violence, but rather it escalates violence. Almost all Israelis
understand that a copy-and-paste job of the unilateral Israeli
withdrawal from Gaza applied to the West Bank, which is pretty much
what the whole world is demanding (including the Obama
administration), would result in tens of thousands of rockets and
missiles fired at the Jews of Israel by the Arabs in those "liberated
territories." And probably also weapons of mass destruction. The
universal ROLV axiom is simply wrong and almost all Israelis realize
it is wrong, even if nearly 100% of the rest of the world thinks it is
And wrong it is. The unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza proved
better than any controlled laboratory experiment how invalid ROLV is
and what the real effect of "ending occupation" is. True, the
anti-Semites and their terrorist allies claim Israel never really
relinquished its occupation over the Gaza Strip, although their claim
exhibits Orwellian levels of NewThink pretense and cognitive
dissonance. If there is not a single Jew in Gaza and the Gazans enter
and leave Gaza freely and smuggle in unlimited stocks of weapons from
Iran, while running their own economy, in what way exactly can this be
considered to be Israeli occupation? It is occupation only in the
sense that the US "occupies" Castro's Cuba, by imposing some limits
and restrictions on the trade done with the pseudo-occupied by the
In my opinion, at least 95% of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs
understand perfectly that the ROLV axiom about removal of Israeli
occupation producing tranquility is fallacious. Israeli Arabs and the
Jewish Far Left (and that includes the Tenured Left) support the
removal of occupation precisely because they know – like other
Israelis – that it will produce escalation of violence and tens of
thousands of rockets and missiles landing on Israeli Jewish civilians.
Unlike other Israelis, the Radical Left and Israeli Arabs favor those
developments because they hate Israel and want it eliminated. They
understand as well as everyone else that the axiom of Removal of
Occupation Lowering Violence is incorrect.
For the rest of the Israeli public, skepticism and disbelief regarding
ROLV is nearly universal, almost as widespread as belief in the ROLV
axiom outside of Israel. The only group within Israel that still
believes in ROLV is confined to one or two political parties (the
Labor Party and Meretz) of the less-extreme Left, and these parties
are expected to get less than one vote in 6 in the upcoming elections.
In my opinion, even many of those who vote for these two parties do
not really believe in ROLV, and in fact much of the remaining vote in
favor of Meretz is coming from the anti-Israel extremists who seek
While Israeli political parties, especially the Likud, may still pay
lip service to ROLV, almost none of their rank and file supporters and
voters believe in it. Indeed, the parties pay the price for their
superficial posturing in favor of ROLV. Some of the posturing is to
gain support (including financing) from overseas believers in ROLV, or
to curry favor with the Obama administration and other foreign
governments. But those going through the posturing are as aware as
everyone else that the ROLV is false and that almost all Israelis
understand that it is false.
There have been proposals to condition any "deal" that removes Israeli
occupation from large swaths of the West Bank on an Israeli national
referendum. The Likud and most of the establishment Israeli parties
strongly oppose this. The Israeli radical Tenured Left opposes such a
referendum with hysterical jeremiads, labeling any proposal for such a
referendum anti-democratic and fascist.
Everyone, including Israel's treasonous Left, knows that a referendum
on ROLV would not pass because almost no one in Israel believes in
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URL to article:
Rain in "Apartheid" Israel
Israel, and parts of the country look more like Venice than the arid
Levant. The Ayalon highway, which is built next to the Ayalon creek,
was flooded yet again today. The "creek" is usually a Los Angeles
"River"-like dry "river" bed. When this most advanced of Israeli
highways was first opened, it was predicted that it would flood once
every 50 years. When it flooded two years in a row after it was
opened, the joke was that the first one was for the preceding 50 years
and the second for the NEXT 50 years. Meanwhile it has flooded at
least 4 years in the past decade, and, when it floods, it shuts down
the main highway and the train lines, paralyzing the country.
Given the stormy weather, I want to do two fast uncharacteristic
things. First, below I re-paste a story I post every winter or two
about the problems Israelis have with rain, with the concept of rain.
Hope it amuses you. Second, I want to post a short story of the sort
that I usually save for Israel Independence Day, one of those "only in
Israel" stories about daily life over here on this side of the pond.
Yes, an Israel Apartheid Story. Here goes:
Two days ago, when the storm was just getting started, the Missus
and I were driving to Jerusalem to attend to some family business.
Just past Ramle on the main Highway, which runs from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem, one of our front tires blew out violently, possibly from a
stone or glass on the highway. We were going quite fast and the
situation was potentially dangerous, but I was able to keep control of
the car and get it onto the shoulder safely. I slowly drove it on the
shoulder for a few hundred meters to get it onto a side ramp. The
weather was terrible and I had no idea what I would do once I got to
the ramp. With so many cars breaking down, cars bashed by falling
trees, and blown out tires in the storm, I expected to spend many an
hour on the ramp waiting for a cop or some sort of rescue.
A passing truck saw me struggling to nudge the vehicle onto the
ramp and saw the shredded remains of the front tire, which was
actually giving off smoke (no exaggeration!). The truck pulled over
onto the ramp a little ahead of me and the driver got out. He was a
young Israeli Arab. I must have looked pretty desperate and
distressed. He took charge, got our spare out, changed the tire for
the geezer. But the spare (which I had not inspected in several
years, being a dumb-ass professor), had no air in it either. No
problem, he said. He had an air hose attached to some sort of tank on
the undercarriage of the truck and so he pumped air into the spare,
telling me not to go faster than 80 kmh till I reached Jerusalem.
I insisted on paying him for his help and he vehemently refused.
I insisted again and my wife told him he would offend us if he refused
payment, and he offended us by vehemently refusing payment. I told
him I wanted to contact his employer to praise him and he refused.
But you literally saved us, we said, and he just waved his hand and
drove off. I suspect the special Mal'Ach messengers to the parents of
Samson before he was born or to Abraham before Isaac was born were all
Arab lorry drivers.
Not so easily deterred, I jotted down his truck number and have
every intention of tracking him down and sending his family the nicest
flower arrangement that money can buy in Israel and - believe you me -
you can get some really nice flower arrangements in Israel. I wanted
to go to the vehicle registration station today to try to track him
down but they were flooded (!!!) so it will take a few days.
From several years back:
By Steve Plaut
Here is another of my "Seinfeldian observational" efforts .
Perhaps some day I will gather them all and put them out as the Negev
Prairie Home Companion.
Be that as it may, yesterday it rained pretty hard in Israel. Not
enough to really fix the Sea of Galilee and the water deficit. The
authorities say Israel would have to have 133 days just as rainy to
fill the Kinneret.
But it did get me thinking, and I thought I would share my thoughts
with you about Israelis and rain. Israelis invented the disk-on-key
(memory stick), invent cures for cancer, and Israeli components were
on the rocket that landed on the moon. But Israelis simply do not
I suppose it is all pretty understandable. After all, rain is a
very unusual event in Israel, so Israelis have never quite figured out
how to cope with it. In the monsoons, it may rain in an hour in East
Asia more than it rains in Israel in a year.
First of all, Israelis are convinced that going out in the rain
is lethal. Humans melt in the rain. Especially children. And it
does not have to be very hard rain. It is highly common to hear
Israelis saying things like, "I need to go to the post office but I
can't go because it is drizzling." Katyusha rockets just make loud
noises, but a bit of precipitation will kill you for sure.
At the first drops of rain, Israeli streets empty out. Thunder
is so unusual that Judaism has invented a special blessing one says
when one hears it. Winters in Israel are so mild that typical daytime
temps in January and February are in the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit).
(There is a math prof at my university who has taught for 40 years and
has yet to come to campus wearing long pants or shoes.) When the wind
blows together with rain, Israelis are convinced that the Angel of
Death is stalking the country. I once left my building on campus up
in the Carmel hills when the temperature was 50 degrees F and the wind
was blowing. While waiting for the bus, all the Israelis around me
were complaining and screaming that Israel had morphed into Siberia. A
couple of Russian Israelis from Siberia stood nearby and fell on the
Because rain is so unusual, Israelis do not know how to drive in
it. If a car's wheels spin when the traffic light turns green
because the street is wet, Israelis believe that you have to gun the
gas pedal to make them spin faster until they move you out of the spot
with poor traction. Israelis have no experience with ice on roads and
do not recognize the feeling of a car skidding. So on the occasion
when they come across a slippery road, they do not even notice the car
Israelis also have never figured out that hats keep light rain
off your face and head. Their major fear in rain seems to be that the
hat could get wet. Religious Israelis always wear hats, but they
cover their hats with plastic covers in the rain so the hat will not
get wet and so the rain flows down the plastic into their faces. For
ultra-Orthodox Israelis, defying the weather is an article of piety
and pride. That is why, when it is 112 degrees F outside in the shade
in August, the Ultra-Orthodox will show their contempt for meteorology
by wearing winter coats. It is best not to sit next to a black-coated
fellow on a bus in the summer with the windows closed.
Part of the Israeli problem with rain is manifested also in the
Israeli dread of eating ice cream in winter. Israelis are universally
and passionately convinced that if you eat ice cream in the winter,
you will get a throat infection and die a horrible death. The
infection, by the way, is caused by the calendar month, so you will
get it if you eat ice cream in January even if it is 80 degrees F
outside. I once sat on a bench in winter eating ice cream, and the
people walking by kept coming up to me to ask if I had gotten a
special inoculation that winter against throat infections. Israelis
who own dogs always make the dog wear wool sweaters when they go out
into the rain in 50 degree F evenings, so the dog will not freeze to
Every Israeli believes it is the case that winter ice cream will
kill you. Bibi Netanyahu probably eats ice cream in winter, but that
is because he spent part of his youth living in the US. No other
Israeli cabinet minister and no general has ever endangered himself
and tempted fate by eating ice cream in the winter.
For a while, Israel was unique in the world because Israeli
supermarkets were marketing something they called "winter ice cream."
No one anywhere else on earth has heard of such a thing. Winter ice
cream is slightly softer than regular ice cream, and the idea was to
convince Israelis that it was not as cold as regular ice cream (never
mind that it was stored in the same freezer), so they could eat it in
winter without risking immediate agonizing death. But it never caught
on, I guess because Israelis preferred not to tempt the Angel of
The other thing is that no Israeli in history has ever written in
his or her "personal ad" or Facebook status that he or she likes to go
for long romantic walks in the rain. And if you want to date an
Israeli, never write that in YOURS. Israelis believe that walks in
the rain will kill you. While we are at it, you should also never
write that you eat ice cream in winter.
And if Israelis do not understand rain, they have even MORE
problems understanding snow. Granted that snow is highly unusual in
this part of the world, Christmas manger scenes notwithstanding.
Jerusalem usually gets snow once or twice a year. Safed can also get
snow, as can the Golan.
Israelis do not understand snow. A snow storm instantly binds
together all the North American and Russian Israelis, who get together
in fraternal fun and mock the sabras, while doubling over in laughter.
First of all, Israelis always carry umbrellas in the snow, so the
flakes will not damage their hats and their hair. Second, they
usually tie large plastic garbage bags around their shoes so that the
snow will not touch the leather or plastic and destroy it. And it
goes without saying that swallowing a snow flake will kill you on the
Israelis do not understand rain and snow. But they also do not
understand elevators. Every single Israeli believes that if you are
standing on the ground floor and want to go up to the tenth floor,
then you need to press the DOWN button so that the elevator will know
that it should come DOWN to get you and then take you up. Israelis
are as convinced that this is how elevators work as they are that the
sun will rise tomorrow. I tried a few times to explain to Israelis
who had pushed the down button in order to go up that they had pressed
the wrong one. Hearing my heavy American accent, they would jab one
another in the ribs with their elbows and make comments about how
simpleminded and naïve Americans are.
In some cases, compulsively pushing the wrong elevator button has
its advantages. I am convinced that many a plot by terrorists to
assassinate Israelis in large buildings has been foiled because the
Israelis escaped the gunmen by pressing the wrong elevator button.
You may recall that there was one successful assassination by
terrorists of an Israeli cabinet minister, Rehavam "Ghandi" Zeevi, in
a Jerusalem hotel. I have investigated the incident and, alas, the
poor man was killed because he accidentally pressed the correct
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Oh Dear, the Left is Suddenly upset about Academic Partisanship!
his party is apparent in the vicious attack ads and dirty tricks being
used by Netanyahu and the Likud against them. The Likud has joined
forces with the radical Left in trying to demonize Bennett and his
team, because they all find Bennett's success so alarming.
Nevertheless, the tactic of the Likud over the past week in trying
to paint Bennett as "anti-women" is the finest illustration of the
lack of integrity and decency in the Likud and the extent to which it
feels threatened by Bennett's growing juggernaut.
Last week the Likud, probably under direct orders by Bibi, placed
attack ads in all the Israeli media accusing Bennett of having "woman
haters" on his party slate. Likud statements accused Bennett of
hostility to women. The accusations were entirely based on the fact
that one member of the Bennett (Jewish Home Party) slate, Rabbi Eli
Ben Dahan who is number four on the list of candidates, had called
for the elimination of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women.
What further proof is required?, scream the Likud hacks.
Well, first of all, eliminating the Knesset Committee on the
status of women would not be such a bad idea. Its main activities in
the past have been in pressing for dumbing down standards, promoting
the implementation of gender quotas, "affirmative action" and nature
double standards, gender preferences, and other silly ideas that harm
women and create the general suspicion that any woman who is
successful must have made it up the slippery pole because of such
discrimination. Ask why many black families in the US refuse to send
their children to a black dentist and you will understand the point.
But that is just MY reason for thinking the committee should be
shut down. So what is Rabbi Ben Dahan's reason and what did he really
say? Well, it turns out, and you would know this only if you read
Makor Rishon, that the actual quote by Rabbi Ben Dahan was to call for
the elimination of the Knesset Committee on Women because he wanted to
merge it together with the Knesset Committee on the Welfare of
Children, claiming that the merged committee would be far more
powerful and effective and influential!
Yes, the guy who the Likud claims is the epitome of male chauvinism
in Bennett's slate simply called for making the efforts of the
Committee on Women MORE effective!! The Likud showed its lack of
integrity and willingness to engage in sleaze and distortion in order
to make a few fleeting political points, and counted on no one ever
checking to see what Ben Dahan had REALLY said! But that is what he
The other interesting point being that Bennett has three times as
many women in the senior positions on his party slate than the Likud
2. The editorial today in Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper
published in Hebrew, is a broadside attack on the decision by the
government to allow the Shalem Center to operate its own college. The
college would NOT be funded by the taxpayer. You can read the
Let me explain. The Shalem Center is a Jerusalem-based think tank
run by a team headed by Dr. Yoram Hazony, who is politically close to
Bibi Netanyahu. Hazony has served as a close advisor for Bibi in the
past. In the 1990s Hazony sought to set up a policy think tank
roughly based upon the role models of the Heritage Institute or the
American Enterprise Institute in the US, and initially it was thought
that it would deal mainly with domestic Israeli social and economic
policies. At that point I was loosely associated with it and wrote a
few policy papers for the Center.
For a variety of reasons, within a few years the Center changed
its focus and decided to devote its energies to philosophical and
religious discourse regarding the mission and nature of Israel,
including things like Religion-State relations, but even more so - the
threat and evil of "Post-Zionism." Since my "comparative advantage"
was in the economic policy issues, I had little of value to offer this
refocused Shalem Center and played no further role in it, other than
privately enjoying its publications.
For the past few years, Hazony and his Center have been proposing
to open a "college" that would teach mainly things like philosophy,
Jewish thought, and maybe political science, and it would be from a
decidedly Zionist and liberal (in the good sense of the word)
perspective. A few days ago the government agreed to grant
accreditation to the new College. Among the people involved in its
establishment are world-class intellectuals Martin Kramer and Menachem
Kellner (the latter being an expert on Maimonides and Jewish Thought,
well left of center and a friend of mine).
Haaretz is aghast. Here is a citation from its editorial:
'According to the subtitle of this mission statement, "Shalem College
is a historic opportunity to create visionary leaders for the Jewish
state and people." This makes it clear that academics at the
institution will be subordinate to higher purposes with a distinct
ideological identity. Constant skepticism, a key academic principle
since Medieval times, is not mentioned.
'After last week's announcement Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who
chairs the Council for Higher Education, called it "another step
toward rehabilitating the humanities." In effect, the accreditation
was a narrow partisan measure concealed in the robes of officialdom.
It would have been better for Sa'ar and the council to find ways to
increase undergraduate enrollment at Israeli universities,
particularly in the humanities, than to encourage private,
donor-supported institutions with a political agenda.'
Subordinating academic activity to partisanship and ideology, you
say? Skepticim is needed in academia? Hmmm…..
First let us note that Israel has plenty of one-sided partisan
ideological "academic institutions" already, and the Haaretz editors
have never objected to any of them. Even if we do not count the
non-accredited "Socio-Economic College" run by the Israeli (Stalinist)
Communist Party, which engages in Marxist indoctrination, the Beit
Berl College, which IS accredited, is only slightly less partisan and
conscripted. We posted a few days ago the story about a mandatory
course at Beit Berl in Anti-Zionism and Demonization of Israel, which
is forced upon students by a fanatical pro-terror communist woman
lecturer there. The Bezalel College has behaved in only a slightly
less extreme manner of partisan self-conscription.
But that does not even scratch the surface. There are scores of
departments in the mainstream Israeli universities in which it is
prohibited to express a pro-Israel or Zionist opinion. Haaretz has
long been the main (in fact the only) journalistic defender of the
abomination at Ben Gurion "University" calling itself the Department
of Politics, a university unit in which Israel bashing and
anti-Zionist indoctrination are its main activities. An international
panel of experts called for shutting down that department altogether,
because of its extremist ideological biases, its total lack of
pluralism, and its abysmally low level of academic quality. None of
that prevented Haaretz from championing the department and demanding
that it be preserved in the name of "academic freedom." Some
All or almost all the departments in Israel of political science,
sociology, law, linguistics, education, and - of course - women's
studies are monolithic uniformly-pure bastions of far-leftist
anti-Israel indoctrination. They are the occupied territories of
the Tenured Far Left. ohilosophy departments are just as bad. The
history department at Tel Aviv University is for all intents and
purposes a branch of the Israeli communist party.
Haaretz has never expressed any discomfort with any of THAT!
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Onward and Upwards goes the Bennett Juggernaut!
By Steven Plaut
Without a doubt, the most exciting political development in Israel in
decades has been the sudden and unexpected brilliant success of the
Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party of Naftali Bennett. The shy and
straight-talking Bennett, who built a highly-successful high-tech
entrepreneurial career, started his political career by taking over
the splinter that was left out of the MAFDAL-National Religious Party.
That moldy rump party would have been lucky to get enough votes for
two Knesset seats before Bennett. Within weeks he became the voice
of Israelis who think that the Likud is too double-faced, cowardly,
A poll released today by the prestigious Israeli Geocartographia
company says that, if the elections were held today (they are less
than 3 weeks away),, Bennett and his party would get 18 Knesset seats
out of 120, probably making it the second largest party in the Knesset
after the Likud, possibly beating out the Labor Party for the
second-place parliamentary position.
Bennett has successfully attracted a wide range of both religious and
secularist Israelis, people who want a party with a clear anti-Oslo
platform, one that does not mumble about "peace partners" and a
possible Palestinian state "under the right circumstances," one that
says what it means and means what it says. It is attractive to those
who want to vote for a party consisting of people who could actually
get jobs if they were not in the parliament, ruling out most of the
The only other unambiguously anti-Oslo party with such a clear message
is trapped in fringe insignificance because it is headed by an open
Kahanist. And in Israel today, being an open Kahanist makes you a
pariah and unelectable. Bennett speaks his mind clearly and openly,
doing so even when it led to a temporary stumble in a political
pothole a few days ago.
Bennett has both the Left and the Likud foaming at the mouth in
hysteria. The Likud has been engaging in hysterical mudslinging at
Bennett. But so far, it is like that country-western song: Every
time they throw dirt at him, they lose a little ground. Bennett has
been soaring and the Likud-Lieberman coalition has been imploding in
the polls as a result of the Likud mudfest, which has included
"anonymous" attack ads against Bennett in the media. The fascist Left
is even more threatened by Bennett's success, so of course is pulling
out all stops to try to slander and bury him.
Consider the attack on Bennett's party today by Yediot Ahronot, the
large Israeli daily (it has actually fallen to second place behind the
freebie Israel Hayom). Yediot has been trying to out-Haaretz even
Haaretz in behaving like a lapdog of the Left. In any case, in
today's paper Yediot claims to expose the political extremism of the
top 15 people on the party slate of Bennett's Bayit Yehudi party. It
promises readers it has uncovered sleaze on every one of them and that
they are a bunch of far-Right zealots and extremists. In each case,
they display the worst quote they could find from that person's public
political record to discredit that person.
And just what did they find? Of the top 15 people, they only found a
single quote for two of them that seemingly makes them look "extreme,"
and even those two do not look extreme in the quote Yediot uncovers.
Of all the others, the best Yediot can do is to "prove" that a
candidate from the party (Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, number 13 on slate
and Orit Struck, number 10) holds extremist rightwing views by writing
under his or her picture that he/she holds extremist rightwing views,
with no illustrations or citations. A few slate members have been
active in anti-Oslo NGOs. Some even (gasp!!) opposed the eviction of
the Jews from the Gaza Strip, which we now know accomplished nothing
other than turning Gaza into Hamastan and a rocket launch base. One
other candidate had headed the Bnei Akiva movement for religious
Zionist youth and, while there, he had sanctioned some separate
activities for boys and girls. Proving how extremist he is in the
view of Yediot. The only actual quotes Yediot could uncover was one
from Rabbi Eli Bar-Dahan (number 4 on the slate) saying that gay
marriage would be a threat to Jewish survival, and another from Uri
Ariel (number 2 on slate) opposing conscription of homosexuals into
That's it. That is the worst that Yediot could uncover. Even if you
disagree with those last two statements, almost everything else you
will read about what the people on the slate say and think will leave
you with a buzz, a feeling of bliss. Bennett himself this week came
out unambiguously in favor of reining in the imperious anti-democratic
Israeli Supreme Court, and also expressed criticism of the political
bias and lack of pluralism in the media. He is the ONLY serious
political leader in Israel daring to make such statements. Haaretz
meanwhile is trying to paint Bennett as anti-women.
The only political tumble Bennett has experienced to date may not have
even been a real tumble. He was being interviewed for TV by the
arrogant far-leftist TV journalist Nissim Mishal, and at one point
Bennett said that, if he were ever to be given an order while serving
in the army to evict a Jewish family from its home because of the
government's political agenda, he would personally refuse to carry out
that order. He could have ducked the question but choose to answer it
candidly. The Get-Bennett SWAT Team then had a field day. He is
justifying mutiny and lawlessness, screamed the very same Haaretz
editors who have always supported leftist attempts to organize mutiny
and insurrection in the army, praising THOSE leftist campaigns as
infinitely moral. Others compared the "Rightwing Insurrection" of
Bennett to the long track record of Leftwing Moonbats calling for
Insurrections among soldiers.
Now here is not the place for a detailed exploration of the moral
issue of conscientious objection and refusal to carry out immoral
orders given to soldiers. I will just say that, in general, such
things make me uncomfortable. There are appropriate places for taking
a moral stand and expressing political opinions, but politicizing the
army is way out of bounds. Having said that, I also note that Bennett
just said that he personally would refuse the order and would then man
up to any personal legal consequences from that refusal. (He later
retracted the whole statement, by the way.) He did not call upon
OTHER soldiers to refuse to obey orders, something the Tenured Left
does several times a day. And his reluctance to carry out such an
order was based on the fact that he is PRO-Israel, while the Leftists
organizing mutiny do so because they are ANTI-Israel.
Ultimately, the incident did not harm Bennett's campaign and may well
have helped it. He came across as a straight-shooter, a
non-politician who does not mince words and is not afraid to answer
honestly what he thinks, a Jimmy-Stewart Mister Smith headed for the
Knesset Hill. A pro career politician would have ducked the question
in the interview and said something like "I would have to ponder the
situation," or "It would all depend" or "I did not sex with that
Lewinsky woman." Bennett's shy candor is endearing and refreshing.
And if the trend continues, he could end up with 25 Knesset seats,
maybe even out-polling Netanyahu and the Likud.