Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kahane's own Yvette

Regardless who prevails to become the next Israeli Prime-Minister, he/she will have a heavy burden to bear. And no, it’s not “Palestinian Terrorism”; it’s Avigdor “Yvette” Lieberman. His rise to kingmaker has two main implications for the region, both of which are far reaching.

In the Immediate...

Whatever his merits(?), the home-made brew that this guy’s spewing is far more toxic than Kahane’s. Yes, the language is milder, but the undertones are the same, and worse, the whole venom is now accepted discourse in Israeli politics.

Such venom has a uniquely corrosive effect; ever since its establishment, Israel claimed some form or moral right. Whatever the merits of the Zionist cause, this gave Israel a boost, especially considering the dismal record of the regimes surrounding it. Today, this may well be all unravelling; by welcoming their own Ahmadi-nut-job within mainstream politics, Israelis are losing whatever moral high ground was left.

Even the stupid Gaza campaign does not carry the same cost. As Lieberman’s stature and influence grows, expect more comparisons to be made with Le Pen or Haider. And expect some unwelcome reactions.

Externally, the rise of such right-wing racists will only feed western anti-Semites. But those nut-jobs hardly need an excuse anyway. The larger danger is Internal. Those being constantly accused of being a fifth column may finally decide to become one, especially as the Settler movement continues to act with impunity. And then Israel will find that a home-grown Intifada is a far harder challenge to face, an inconvenient “fact on the ground” that no “security fence” can hide away.

On the Long run

An additional effect of Lieberman’s rise would be on the regional “peace process”, whatever that still means.

The current Israeli leadership will have to contend and growing dissent among Diaspora Jews, most of whom are not really too far from Hannah Arendt. In addition, the current Obama administration is far less Likudnik than the previous one.

However, that does not mean that the current Obama administration will be much less tone-deaf than the previous one. As a result, the new Israeli government will be pressured to show some progress on the “peace track”. And rather than choosing the Palestinian track, it will buy time and "keep Obama busy" on the simpler "Syrian track", where it finds a far more accommodating partner.

...And so, for Lebanon...

Interesting times, Ahoy!

Update/Modification: It seems I'm not the only one feeling uneasy about Ol'Yvette, as there appears to be a similar mood south of the Mason-Dixon line.  The video is therefore more fitting than the one I had previously selected...


Excerpt from Yvette's speech (H/T Lisa Goldman):

Good Morning, Israel, Citizens, second-class citizens, third-class citizens - and Arabs. I declare the founding of a Jewish state called Yisrael Beiteinu. 

Applause.

The elections were a marvelous experience and they were also a final experience. There will be no more elections. Mina [a famous pollster], your next poll will be called, ‘What do you think of the leader?’ And the answers will be: 

(a) He is excellent; 

(b) He is great; 

(c) He’s totally hot, I’d leave him nothing but his socks and do him right here and now;

(d) All answers are correct with the addition of coconut oil. 

Applause plus whistles.

Regarding the rest of the choices, I decide as follows. 

On planes, regarding chicken or beef - beef. 

For weddings, garden or indoor event space -  indoor event space. 

On Galgalatz (army radio), Madonna or Shakira - Madonna. 

Regarding leftists: If you voted Hadash, you will receive a new (hadash) passport [the leftwing party’s name is an acronym for the Democratic Party for Peace and Equality, but it also means ‘new]

Applause. 

Now lower the volume of the applause. Raise it again. Now applaud according to a jazz rhythm

...May the farce end here...

אף פעם לא

13 comments:

Nobody said...

Whatever his merits(?), the home-made brew that this guy’s spewing is far more toxic than Kahane’s. Yes, the language is milder, but the undertones are the same, and worse, the whole venom is now accepted discourse in Israeli politics.

In terms of practical recommendations Lieberman is not far away from the center. He is secular, conditions his participation in any coalition on legalizing civil marriages, supports territorial swaps between Israel and PA and made it known that he won't object to transferring Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem to the Palestinians. He formulated his position on territorial issues in very simple terms - it can be all the way up to the 1967 borders as long as he is assured that these are final borders that will be accepted and defended by both the left and right. Not exactly Rabbi Kahane.

Your problem is that you know too much. For you the same old routines are only endlessly replaying themselves all the time, nothing is new under the sun. You seem to be no longer capable of differentiating and are only drawing these very dubious analogies. I would call it intellectual and analytical stagnation.

Jeha said...

In a sense, I agree with you; he makes solid reasonable policy proposals, particularly on social issues. In that sense, he's far more in sync with what Israel needs than Bibi or Livni..

However, even those merits do little to hide the key issue; it's the Palestinians needs and desires that matter mostly now.

Israelis forget that, whatever the merits of their own claims, their country's legitimacy ultimately depends on each Palestinian accepting that eventual little John Hancock on that little piece of final peace paper. And people like Yvette are not helping, to say the least.

You properly diagnose an "intellectual and analytical stagnation". But I'm merely reflecting what is in front of me. And I see a population steadfast in its denial, and staying the course adamantly to the precipice.

Such a sorry state lead centrists in Israel to another form of sorry excess, with people such as Haaretz editor David Landau stooping to referring to Israel as a "failed state" politically, whose government wanted to be "raped into peace".

... That Yvette is the symptom of a deeper, terminal illness in Israel. The strength of the state is blinding Israelis to such inherent, deadly weaknesses. In comparison to what is brewing, our little Lebanese wars are nothing but childhood fevers...

Nobody said...

Israelis forget that, whatever the merits of their own claims, their country's legitimacy ultimately depends on each Palestinian accepting that eventual little John Hancock on that little piece of final peace paper.

If Israel's legitimacy depends on what Palestinians think then Israel has no legitimacy whatsoever. The only legitimacy that exists over there is the Abbas style "they are illegitimate but they have tanks". Salam Fayyad may be ready to go further but he is basically an outsider who owes his premiership entirely to the fact that without him in charge the donor countries from the West won't give the PA one single penny. Fatah apparatchiks are famous for their uncanny ability to make aid money disappear into thin air without leaving a trace.

Jeha said...

Nobody,

I am afraid you confuse might with right. Might is a temporary feature of those tanks you talk about. It is necessary, but far from sufficient, to guarantee rights.

I am not making a value judgment when I say that Israel cannot hope for any legitimacy without the acquiescence of the Palestinian people.

I am simply stating a fact.

Roman Kalik said...

I am afraid you confuse might with right. Might is a temporary feature of those tanks you talk about. It is necessary, but far from sufficient, to guarantee rights.

I don't think that Nobody is disagreeing with you on that count. He is simply saying that the legitimacy you are seeking - that which the Palestinian people are supposed to give by accepting the existence of Israel wholly, and not merely as a temporary feature due to the current realities at hand - is largely nonexistent. And pretty much nothing Israel will do short of compromising its existence will change that reality as long as it's only due to Israeli actions.

The current needs and desires of Palestinians override the basic needs and desires of Israelis. If Israelis at least give *some* thought to the needs and desires of Palestinians, and *do* compromise or attempt to reach compromises to reach a mutual agreement, I have yet to see that reality on the Palestinian side of the field.

What exists, basically, is a negotiation by necessity. Palestinians negotiate with us because we're here, we're bigger, and trying to blow us up doesn't really work so far.

And that's how most peaceful relationships between two nations begin - not by instant mutual acceptance, but by the necessity of the current situation.

The rest is a matter of time. The passage of time will either bring positive or negative opinions to the fore, and only through that will some semblance of Palestinian acceptance of Israel will come. For now, at best, there will be just grudging acceptance of the reality at hand.

And that grudging acceptance may bring strife later on. Time will tell. As we have that strife as a *given* today, I find that it being merely a *possibility* in the future a step in the right direction.

Jeha, what you're asking for here is ultimate sacrifices and perfect accord. They do not exist in the real world. All there is, at best, is the hope that the future will be better than today.

Nobody said...

And what kind of legitimacy you are expecting to see in the case Israel does reach an agreement with the Palestinians? As far as I can see the current PA administration in the West Bank will lose its own legitimacy if it gives up on the right of return or agrees to some sort of a territorial swap. It was not for nothing that Arafat was refusing to do so, he knew his people all too well. Abbas and Fayyad will be condemned as traitors or in the best case an agreement they can sign will be seen as a temporary compromise before the next stage which is Israel proper.

Neither Israeli Arabs leadership pretends that it will be satisfied with the two state solution, though it appears that a significant portion of Israeli Arabs don't actually mind living in Israel as a Jewish state. At least this is what polls say and the polls are partially confirmed by the fact that the Arab parties get maybe only a half or something of Arab votes.

But as far as Syria, Hezbollah or Hamas and other Muslim Brothers are concerned, the thing is very clear. They will never compromise on this, this is their razon detre, they can't stop.

Jeha said...

Roman, You make strong arguments, and you are right to say that what I am asking is out of this world. However, so are the books and claims that got us there.

Nobody, you also make a good case in stating that any potential partner may not be able to deliver. But much can be done from the Israeli side; for example, dealing with obvious fanatics among the Settlers. Why not start with those lowlives who are illegally occupying houses in Hebron?

There are many small things that can be done. And many of them should be done by the stronger party, Israel; the Palestinian society is too weak to "deliver" anything anymore, or "negotiate" anything else.

Nobody said...

Well. If it were up to me they would have been out of Hebron long time ago. And not so much for my love of the Palestinians (which I have none) but for my own good and the good of Israel in general. I am absolutely no fan of this cuckoo nest of biblically inspired Jewish extremism that was created there. But the thing is that to get them out is not a small thing, this is THE thing.

And I doubt it's possible to evacuate just those in Hebron or somewhere else in the WB. If it comes to this, there should be probably some sort of a general pullout, the style of Gaza, all of them at once. Piecemeal approach won't work. They can easily disrupt any attempt to evacuate isolated settlements by sending hundreds and thousands of their people to block the army from entering.

On the other hand, any attempt to do any sort of mass evacuation in the WB may well mean some sort of a civil war, since these people are not exactly lowlives. Otherwise we could have easily bribed them out of there. But these are religiously inspired and very motivated people. They account for something like 1/4 or 1/3 of our combat units.

Also I assume that we can no longer evacuate main settlement blocks. So we need some kind of a new border agreement with the Palestinians. Some sort of a territorial swap. Actually I would favor one proposed by Lieberman in which we swap Israeli Arab areas along the border for major settlement blocks. Maybe some sort of compensation or an extended aid package can be considered too.

Anyway. The 1967 borders are impossible. We need to renegotiate with the PA borders and such stuff. And even if we do achieve this, evacuating those few dozens of thousands of settlers left in the PA territory will be extremely difficult. We got away very cheaply with Gaza. I bet this time it would be different. This time they would be waiting for the army to come and this time they would probably start shooting.

Roman Kalik said...

Jeha,

Roman, You make strong arguments, and you are right to say that what I am asking is out of this world. However, so are the books and claims that got us there.

*shrug* Irrelevant to the matters at hand, I'm afraid. Self-identity and the various aspects that make it up are not really something subject to change in the same manner one changes one's shirt.

But much can be done from the Israeli side; for example, dealing with obvious fanatics among the Settlers. Why not start with those lowlives who are illegally occupying houses in Hebron?

You mean something along these lines?

These "small things" happen quite often. They are ignored.

There are many small things that can be done. And many of them should be done by the stronger party, Israel; the Palestinian society is too weak to "deliver" anything anymore, or "negotiate" anything else.

Then what will you tell the citizens of Israel, when all they see is their government giving something for nothing? When their government negotiates and shakes hands and makes peaceful gestures (which, quite often, involve releasing violent thugs at the request of Palestinian officials)?

What should they think, when they see nothing in return? Not even a gesture.

If anything, they *do* get a gesture - the one-finger salute. Someone still tries to blow them up the next day, or shoot them, or rain rockets on them, or drive over them with some heavy vehicle. And in the background, there are more demands from Palestinian officials, more gestures, more empty results...

Yes, Jeha, Palestinians can deliver nothing now. But neither are Israelis super-human, or suicidal. There's only so much we can take before we say "Enough. Now it's your turn to show you mean it."

And the answer? Crickets. Or an explosion.

Palestinians have so far failed to realize that Israeli public opinion matters a great deal.

Nobody said...

BTW RK

Nice to see you again. Was missing your comments. Hope everything is fine with you and your life is streaming forward smoothly on that peculiar mix of yours of orthodox Judaism and heavy metal music

:D :D

Roman Kalik said...

I'm alright, Nobody, thanks. Hope everything's alright for you in the hectic world of the hi-tech industry.

Mishkafofer said...

Whats funny is that Jena is from Lebanon, a country which lost it course and its going nowhere.
Liberman using tough retoric because people are tired of "Let make love and not war" bable.
My city was targeted by Hamas rocket, we are not Arabs and this is not Lebanon, this is a developed country with high standard of living. Dont compare Gaza to Israel, compare Gaza to Egypt where you can live on 29$ minimum wage, you heard me!!! 29$, not 1000$ as you get in Israel. Arabs from Gaza worked in Israel and now they are beggars outside Hamas offices.
From 1000-2000$ in Israel to 29$, and why not? Does Egyptian minimum wage is a joke? Not if you ask Mubarak and the Parliament.

Jeha said...

Mishkafofer:

Take it from someone who's been bombed by heavier stuff that those Hamas firecrackers; it's no basis to make policy decisions. The fact is that the Palestinians are poor because, at least in part, of Israeli policies. That they are being led by crooks does not let Israel off the hook.

Yvette is, at best, a deadly distraction to Israel. You guys better move on from this mix self-pity and arrogance, and learn that you cannot fight geography.

Find a way to get along with those neighbours of yours instead of wasting your votes on racist demagogues.