Friday, March 27, 2009

Likud/Labor forms unity government

Former failed PM Ehud Barak has joined former failed PM Bibi Netanyahu to form a unity government of opportunist parties which lack ANY substantive convictions or ideologies, giving the Israeli people yet another wasted election that just reinforces how flawed the political system is in the Holy Land.

With this merger, Kadima now takes over the role of the opposition almost entirely to themselves. The tiny humanist/arab/communist rabble parties that sit with Livni in opposition are insignificant from a coalition perspective, thus anointing Kadima rather than Labor as the party most representative of Israel's mainstream left.

By virtue of this development, Labor now assumes the mantle of being Israel's representative center-left party; more pragmatic than Kadima's uncompromising liberal idealism regarding territorial compromise and Palestinian rights, and willing to work together with Israel's Likud center-right coalition to find middle ground.

Internally, Labor is hotly divided between their ideological left and the pragmatists, though when push comes to shove the MK's always want more to sit in the cushy chairs of government than follow their convictions out the party door, so the internal rift among their elected members is symbolic only.

However, among the voters there is no question that Kadima's stand against a unity government will allow them to pull from the further left even stronger next time around, probably even among many anti-Zionists and post-Zionists, leaving Labor's future market the elusive middle ground of what's left of the aging, dwindling Zionist left, along with the left-leaning pragmatist voters wanting to maintain status quo and stability.

This, then, represents the completion of Sharon's bizarre legacy, transforming himself from the grisly, "Bulldozer" general, who symbolized the settler mission from a secular perspective more powerfully than any other leader, into the "concessionist" leader who headed the pogrom making Gaza Judenrein, openly declaring the long held Likud dream of "Greater Israel" dead, and founding the Kadima Party as the flag bearers of liberalism and anti-nationalist ideology.

Similarly, Bibi successfully expelled the Greater Israel Zionists from Likud the same way that Sharon expelled the Jews from Gaza. He simply declared that he would not allow for Feiglin and company to sit in his party, the kangaroo court of post-Zionists provided the rubber stamp, and that was the end of that.

Netanyahu had been handed from the elections a 65 seat coalition majority if he was willing to govern from the nationalist and religious position, but he is not a religious or nationalist man, so he wanted partners in government that had the same lack of values and conviction he does to run a pragmatist government that is primarily in power just to stay in power - and who better than Ehud Barak, his mirror image in Labor, to make this dream a reality?

So, Israel is in a state of political flux, as usual, but if you look just beneath the chaos you'll find the one constant: megolomaniacs retaining power, selling out their constituents, and standing for nothing except perks, fame and fortune. There is nothing new under the sun in the politics of the Holy Land.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Jews are mentally ill, favor Obama over Israel

I am disgusted with my people. A survey from a self-loathing hub of Jewish thinking, "J-Street", has revealed a poll that shows the majority of American Jews would side with Barack Obama over the Jewish State, and would favor cutting off aid to Israel if they don't accept Land for Peace policies of concession towards the Arabs.

Washington- According to a poll conducted by liberal American lobby group 'J Street,' 32% of American Jews say that the appointment of Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman as a cabinet minister will weaken their ties with Israel.

The poll's results, released on Monday, examined the position of American Jews regarding President Barack Obama's policies on the Middle East, the election results in Israel, the possibility for a right-wing coalition in Israel, and Lieberman's political positions.

Jim Gerstein, who conducted the study on behalf of J Street, found it worrisome that the appointment of one person could cause such a high percentage of people to distance themselves from Israel. He noted that amongst young people below the age of 30, that statistic rises to 40% because of the anti-democratic nature of Lieberman's statements.

Gerstein said statistics clearly showed that Lieberman is not very popular amongst American Jews.

The poll showed that 60% of respondents knew who Lieberman is, and 69% of them are opposed to the positions he took during the elections campaign. Despite the fact that many said that Lieberman's appointment as a cabinet minister would put a damper on their connection with Israel, 58% said that it would not change their relationship with the country. Ten percent said that it would actually strengthen their connection with the Jewish state.

In general, it seems as though the American Jewish community is not overly enthused by the concept of a hawkish right-wing Israeli government. The poll showed, however, that in a confrontation between Israel and the Obama administration, most American Jews would side with Obama. Gerstein noted that such support is exceptional, noting that the Jews of America support the American policy on the Middle East.

'Decrease aid if Israel holds up peace'
Some 76% of poll respondents believe that Obama supports Israel. Seventy-three percent said that he shares their values, and 72% support his management of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In accordance, 58% of respondents support American involvement in the peace process, even if it means America's public disagreement with Israel.

Some 57% of those polled are for applying the necessary pressure on Israel to make compromises necessary for peace. A similar figure was published for those opposed to the settlements in the West Bank.

The J Street poll showed that 77% of respondents believe that the United States should declare which side is holding up the peace process, and 75% believe that financial aid to Israel should be decreased should the Jewish state be the party responsible for putting the skids under the peace process. Some 49% even support decreasing military aid in such a case.

In regards to security, 75% of respondents supported Operation Cast Lead, 41% of whom believe the military operation improved Israel's security and 41% believe the opposite to be true.

And why do the respondents support Israel? Thirty-five percent answered "Because I'm Jewish and Israel is the Jewish state," 31% because "Israel and the United States are allies in the Middle East, and this serves the US's security interests," 19% because "Israel is a democracy and this is in line with my values," and 6% because "I have friends and family in Israel." Of those participating in the poll, only 3% responded that they do not support Israel.

What the hell is wrong with the Jews? I knew the majority bow to the alter of liberal assimilation, but this deifying of Obama is just more than I can stand.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Nothing new

Same old same old...

Bibi's still reaching out to the left for a "unity government", the left is still insisting that the only way they'll join him is if Likud severs ties with parties on the right and embrace concessions to the arabs, and Bibi is still stuck in the middle, crippled by indecision.

Early today, Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party signed on to join the Likud government coalition with "conditions", meaning if Tzippi were to come hither to Bibi's wooing all prior deals and agreements are void and she gets what she wants.

Yawn...expect this dance to continue until the April deadline, when Bibi must present a coalition with a mandate of at least 61 seats or forfeit his opportunity to become Prime Minister. In the end, Bibi will likely have to swallow the slimmer 65 seat right-leaning majority instead of his dream unity leftist government that would add up to at least 83 seats.

Nothing new under the sun.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Kahane's Purim writings - March, 1982:

As we welcome in the festive chag of Purim, it's appropriate to learn some valuable lessons from the great Rav Meir Kahane. Below is a snippet of his writings from March, 1982 relating to Israel's illegal orders to destroy Jewish settlements.

No non-Torah ideology can possibly be a permanent force for Judaism. The people in the bunker, named Fortress Sanctification (Mivtzar Kiddush Hashem), are people steeped in ideology. The outside walls of the bunker, as I said, are painted with verses from the Bible, sayings of the Rabbis, and slogans. The most striking includes the quotation from Maimonides (Hilchot Mlachim, 3:9), that a king who orders a Jew to violate a Torah law is not to be obeyed. 

This point is one that I have driven home again and again in the classes that I give to settlers, in speeches and in the special Hebrew booklet I have printed, called “Law and Order in Israel.” 

Indeed, on Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath preceding the festival of Purim, I pointed out that while the Prophetic portion read on that day deals with King Saul’s weakness in refusing to carry out G-d’s will against the cruel Amalekites, it does not deal with the other side of the coin — his cruelty in ordering the murder of the priests of Nov, for helping David. “If one looks at that chapter” (Samuel I 22:17), I said, “one notes that Saul ordered his soldiers to take their swords and slay the priests. And the verse quietly says: ‘And the soldiers refused . . . ’ ” 

The lesson was clear and clearly needed. For two of the leading rabbis of the Stop the Retreat Movement, alleged “hawks” Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Nerya, head of yeshivot Bnei Akiva and Rabbi Chaim Druckman, had ruled that a religious soldier who was ordered to remove settlers must do so, despite the fact that the evacuation was contrary to halacha. The ruling, so clearly contrary to the clear ruling in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 49) and Maimonides (ibid.), led Yamit Rabbi Yisrael Ariel to run to Rabbi Nerya, who had been his rabbi at Kfar Haroeh, and to ask him for his halachic source. 
Rabbi Ariel, two weeks ago, pleaded with soldiers standing at the roadblocks to disobey orders to remove settlers. His words, based on the above-mentioned halacha, led to demands by leftists for his arrest. His consolation was that he stood by the Torah ruling. Now, with the incredible stand taken by Rabbis Nerya and Druckman, he looked wan and weary as he sat in his home and told me of a threat by a famous rabbi that he would ask that Rabbi Ariel be arrested! 

I felt genuine pity for Rabbi Ariel whom I had come to know so well during the election campaign (he was number two on the Kach list). He is a true tzaddik, a man of sincerity and pure trust. As the rabbi of Yamit, he was the lone symbol of resistance against retreat long before Tchiya and rabbinical “hawks” came on the scene. To be betrayed by fellow rabbis, who have not the courage to expound the halachic truth was a profound blow for him. 
I write this, of course, four days after Rabbi Ariel was arrested when he took part in an abortive effort to resettle the settlement of Hatzar Adar, literally wiped off the face of the earth by the army, two weeks ago. 

Time marches on, but the words of Kahane remain as relevant today as when they were written 27 years ago. Chag Purim Semayach!