The Israeli election

There were two sets of comments I found most clarifying. That Obama is an enemy of everything that is good I now take it as given. John Hinderaker at Powerline has written a post on Will Obama punish Israel for re-electing Netanyahu? in which we find the following:

The administration’s critique goes on and on, as you will see if you follow the link. The bottom line is that we now have, in the United States, an administration that is friendly to the Islamic extremists in Iran who consider us to be the “Great Satan,” who hang homosexuals from cranes, who torture and kill those who want democracy, who have ICBMs and eagerly seek nuclear weapons with which to attack us and our allies. All of that is fine with the Obama administration, apparently. But the administration is bitterly hostile to the only actual democracy in the Middle East–the one place in the region where women in burkas can vote.

There are no values on the left, only tactics. Not even hypocritical, they just want the pleasures and personal wealth that come from running things. To the extent they care about anything, they care about other people succeeding by the application of bourgeois values in their own lives. There is such hatred infused in everything they do that it must be the most miserable experience to be who they are. They never achieve a single positive thing they say they are trying to do. But their promises are taken up time and again by others many of whom prefer to vote to ratify their inner misery. They have no genuine expectation that things will get better. We must protect ourselves from these people, but pay no attention to their high-minded words. They are filled with hatreds and envy. Nothing will satisfy their nihilism because there is nothing they seek other than the harm of others.

The other comment I found very insightful was written by someone who seems to have wished the socialists to have won. It is more a strategic overview from the left side of the Israeli political spectrum, but seems to make clear what someone such as myself, living on the other side of the world, cannot so easily see. The article is After electoral trouncing, what future for the Israeli left?. Read it through, but this added quite a bit to my understanding of how Israelis look at the world and why Netanyahu won.

Why did turnout rise so dramatically? Simple: the majority of the Israeli electorate continues to distrust the left’s judgment. It is a trust deficit rooted in a more general distrust of Palestinian intentions, of the Obama White House and other touchstones of left-wing policy. In hindsight, it may be one of the bitter ironies of this campaign that Labor’s own slogan, “It’s us or him,” may have done as much to guarantee Netanyahu victory as anything Netanyahu may have done. . . .

It is true that Netanyahu explicitly “fear-mongered,” and that this won him his steep lead on Tuesday. But Netanyahu’s international critics fundamentally misunderstand his audience, his electorate, and so deeply misconstrue what exactly he was “fear-mongering” about.

Netanyahu’s critics insist that he fear-mongered about Iran and the Palestinians. He did not – because he doesn’t have to. The Israeli electorate has long ago written off Palestinian politicians as untrustworthy and unable to deliver peace. And it is Iran, not Netanyahu, that has convinced nearly all Israelis from all parts of the political spectrum that Iran is a very real danger to Israel.

All Netanyahu had to do was to warn, at times in blatantly racist terms, that the left and Arab voters were “turning out in droves.” His fear-mongering was not on the substance of the disagreement with the left – the electorate already mistrusts the left’s judgment on these issues – but simply to warn that the left might win. That alone spiked the Likud vote, even in the cold late-evening hours of Election Day.

The assumption behind the “fear-mongering” accusation is that Netanyahu is the reason Israelis are distrustful of peace initiatives or Iran deals. It is a convenient conceit, suggesting that if one could get rid of Netanyahu the problem would be solved, but it is entirely wrong. The White House’s or European Union’s policy feuds with Netanyahu are not actually with Netanyahu himself, but with the mainstream Israeli electorate that responded so forcefully on Tuesday when they were finally convinced that their country might soon be forced into dangerous new concessions or compromises in a precarious Middle East.

Obama hates Israel. Well so do others. The election was a judgement by Israelis on how to deal with the world they live in, that includes the vicious hostility of the American President. Who knows what the future will bring, but this was, in my view anyway, the least worst answer where there are no really good ones.

AND ANOTHER TAKE ON THE ELECTION: Here is a different view by Meyrav Wurmser who seems more closely tied to the Likud and even the religious side of the Israeli constituency. First this, which I had not known:

The majority of the religious Zionist camp, however, spoke of continuing the partnership with the state but under different terms. They believed that it was time for the religious Zionists, who until then had treated the authorities of the secular Zionist state with great reverence and admiration, to begin demanding leadership positions in government. As one of the leaders of the religious Zionist camp described it to me during an interview shortly after the disengagement, they no longer wanted to be the guy who checks if the kosher rules are kept in the restaurant cabin of the Zionist train. They now wanted to be the driver of the train. They would no longer play a humble second fiddle in the secular state’s orchestra but would choose the music and conduct. That was the only sure way for them to prevent further disengagements.

The decade that has passed since the disengagement has seen the settler movement working relentlessly toward this goal. Within a few years, they have become the primary foundation of the IDF’s officer corps. Their children volunteered in disproportionate numbers in all the elite units and became top pilots, paratroopers, and commandos serving on the front line. As a result, they also suffered a disproportionate number of casualties in the military. Gradually, the religious Zionist community and its skullcap-wearing youth replaced the secular youth of the kibbutzim as the core of Israel’s defense forces. The religious Zionist camp won much admiration and sympathy among large segments of the Israeli public, which now regarded it as the unwavering embodiment of Zionist principles.

But this really worries me. The left seems to be the same everywhere, but in most places it is not quite as suicidal as it would be in Israel. Here is how the article ends:

Ironically, as the settler movement engaged in soul-searching and spent the last decade reinventing itself in ways that Israel’s mainstream center would tolerate and perhaps even admire, the Left is moving in the opposite direction. Instead of asking what went wrong and looking to find a strategy for winning back the Israeli people, most of the commentators on the left in the past 24 hours have retreated into bitterness and elitist condescension toward the Israeli people. The most popular Facebook page today in Israel is a leftist attempt to punish Israel’s south, which voted heavily for Likud. Referring to Israelis, Alona Kimhi, a popular author on the left, wrote: “Every people has the leadership it deserves. Long live stupidity, evil and false consciousness. Drink some cyanide, . . . Neanderthals.” And Gideon Levi of Haaretz wrote that Israel should hold another election, to elect not a new leader but a different people. Instead of asking why they lost touch with the Israeli people, the Left is washing its hands of them, which is hardly an effective strategy for winning future elections.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Do they think they live in New York? What can they possibly be thinking that I can’t see myself? I just don’t get it at all.

“Security to stand up for ourselves and secure ourselves under our own sovereignty”

An Israeli election ad. The translation:

“Many people around the world ask me, ‘how does such a young country, such a small country, who is attacked by enemies at every turn – how does such a country reach such great achievements?” Netanyahu begins.

Netanyahu then related to a personal story, about his grandfather, Natan Netanyahu Mileikowsky.

“He stood at a train station in the heart of Europe at the end of the 19th century, along with his younger brother Yehuda – two yeshiva [Torah academy – ed.] students,” he recounted. “Suddenly, they saw many anti-Semitic thugs waving batons, screaming, ‘Death to Jews.”

“My grandfather turned to his brother and told him, ‘Run, Yehuda, run!’” he continued. “He tried to chase after the thugs to save his brother. They beat him until he lost consciousness.”

“They left him to die.”

“Before he lost consciousness, lying in his own blood, he thought to himself: ‘What a shame. The descendants of the Maccabees are lying here in mud, unable to defend themselves,” he continued. “He promised himself that if he would survive the night, he would bring his family to the Land of Israel and help build a new future for the Jewish people in Israel.”

Netanyahu then brought the scene back to the present-day.

“I am sitting here now as the Prime Minister of Israel because my grandfather kept his promise,” he said. “Here in the Land of Israel we have returned to what the Jewish nation did not have for thousands of years: security.”

“Security to stand up for ourselves and secure ourselves under our own sovereignty, to protect ourselves with our own power – security not just to survive, but to alloy one of the most advanced countries in the world,” he continued.

“We are a nation that aspires to peace – our hands are extended in peace to all who choose to grasp them,” he added.

“But to our enemies, I say: there is no baton, there is no rocket, there is nothing that can defeat us – because we are united in our faith and in our right to our land – the Land of Israel.”

The Obama touch

Obama fails at everything he tries to do. Netanyahu surges in pre-election polls just as he sends his own team of election advisors to Israel to help the opposition.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enjoying a surge in the latest opinion polls of Israeli voters. The Jerusalem Post reports that its latest poll shows Bibi’s party, the Likud, is leading the race for the first time in weeks. Other polls agree, and show the Likud leading its rival, the Zionist Union, which is a combination of the Labor and Hatnua parties.

The Post attributes Netanyahu’s improved showing to the cross-border conflict with Hezbollah, which attacked Israeli soldiers earlier this week, killing two. The attack was a retaliation, likely orchestrated by Iran, for Israel’s strike on a Hezbollah convoy in the Syrian Golan Heights earlier this month, in which an Iranian brigadier general was also killed.

However, this is also a week in which Netanyahu has been the target of withering criticism from the American and Israeli left over his decision to accept Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress in March. If that has harmed Netanyahu, it has not prevented him from taking the lead–and it may even have rallied Israeli voters around him.

Obama and the Israeli election

Obama has only one enemy in the world, American’s closest ally in the Middle East. From Drudge today:

BIBI BE BAD…
White House ratchets up criticism of Netanyahu…
Inside HQ of ex-Obama staffers’ campaign…
Iran Targets Netanyahu Children for Assassination…

In case you are not keeping up with the latest from the White House, this is where we are:

A U.S. State Department-funded group is financing an Israeli campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has hired former Obama aides to help with its grassroots organizing efforts.

U.S.-based activist group OneVoice International has partnered with V15, an “independent grassroots movement” in Israel that is actively opposing Netanyahu’s party in the upcoming elections, Ha’aretz reported on Monday. Former national field director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign Jeremy Bird is also reportedly involved in the effort.

He would probably send in the troops if he thought he could. We are dealing with such insanity that it is hard to understand why this remains so low key. Is this now how things are. The stories that the CIA brought on the dismissal back in 1975 is a story that won’t go away, but that, at least, was supposed to have been clandestine. This is right out in the open, and as public as you could wish.

MORE ALONG THE SAME LINES: From Victor Davis Hanson: Can Israel Survive?

The Jewish state has always depended on three unspoken assumptions for its tenuous existence.

First, a democratic, nuclear Israel can deter larger enemies. In the Cold War, Soviet-backed Arab enemies understood that Israel’s nuclear arsenal prevented them from destroying Tel Aviv.

Second, the Western traditions of Israel — free-market capitalism, democracy, human rights — ensured a dynamic economy, high-tech weapons, innovative industry, and stable government. In other words, 8 million Israelis could count on a greater gross domestic product, less internal violence, and more innovation than, say, nearby Egypt, a mess with ten times more people than Israel and nearly 50 times more land.

Third, Israel counted on Western moral support from America and Europe, as well as military support from the United States.

Israel’s stronger allies have often come to the defense of its democratic principles and pointed out that the world applies an unfair standard to Israel, largely out of envy of its success, anti-Semitism, fear of terrorism, and fondness of oil exporters.

Why, for example, does the United Nations focus so much attention on Palestinians who fled Israel nearly 70 years ago but ignore Muslims who were forced out of India, or Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the cities of the Middle East? Why doesn’t the world worry that Nicosia is a more divided city than Jerusalem, or that Turkey occupies northern Cyprus, or that China occupies Tibet?

Unfortunately, two of these three traditional pillars of Israeli security have eroded.

When the United States arbitrarily lifted tough sanctions against Iran and became a de facto partner with the Iranian theocracy in fighting the Islamic State, it almost ensured that Iran will get a nuclear bomb. Iran has claimed that it wishes to destroy Israel, as if its own apocalyptic sense of self makes it immune from classical nuclear deterrence.

Obama is not expected to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will address Congress in March. An anonymous member of the Obama administration was quoted as calling Netanyahu, a combat veteran, a “coward” and describing him with a related expletive. Another nameless administration official recently said Netanyahu “spat in our face” by accepting the congressional invitation without Obama’s approval and so will pay “a price” — personal animus that the administration has not directed even against the leaders of a hostile Iran.

Obama won’t meet with Netanyahu, and yet the president had plenty of time to hold an adolescent bull session with a would-be Internet comedian decked out in Day-Glo makeup who achieved her fame by filming herself eating breakfast cereal in a bathtub full of milk.

Jews have been attacked and bullied on the streets of some of the major cities of France and Sweden by radical Muslims whose anti-Semitism goes unchecked by their terrified hosts. Jewish leaders in France openly advise that Jews in that country immigrate to Israel.

A prosecutor in Argentina who had investigated the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 — an attack widely believed to have been backed by Iran — was recently found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Turkey, a country whose prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was praised by Obama as one of his closest friends among world leaders, has turned openly non-secular and is vehemently anti-Israel.

Until there is a change of popular attitudes in Europe or a different president in the United States, Israel is on its own to deal with an Iran that has already hinted it would use a nuclear weapon to eliminate the “Zionist entity,” with the radical Islamic madness raging on its borders, and with the global harassment of Jews.

A tiny democratic beacon in the Middle East should inspire and rally Westerners. Instead, too often, Western nations shrug and assume that Israel is a headache — given that there is more oil and more terrorism on the other side.

Obama is what he is. A leftist anti-Semite who ruins anything he goes near. It is the Jewish “anti-Zionists” I find the most disgusting, and they truly do disgust me.

You do need friends in this world

canada israel stampjpeg

Obama, unlike anyone else in his position, is no lame-duck President. The ruin of the West is his deliberate aim and he has two more years to do no end of damage. He cares absolutely nothing about the Democrat Party or the effect his actions will have on Congress. He is a law unto himself, and will not be constrained by any of the normal considerations of party and country.

He would like nothing better as his final legacy of eight years of foreign policy than to see the destruction of Israel. The political calculation that undoubtedly lay behind Netanyahu’s decision to accept the invitation to address the American Congress in March with certainty factored in Obama’s furious response. The story heading is in no way an exaggeration: Obama fuming at Netanyahu invitation to Congress, plans retaliation

“Netanyahu spat in our face. There will be a price.” With these words, an unnamed Obama administration official declared war on Israel’s prime minister in an interview with the left0wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Smarting at being blindsided by the invitation to address a joint session of Congress and advocate a sanctions bill on Iran to kick in if the current round of negotiations fails, Obama is letting his anti-Israel feelings show more openly than ever before.

Haaretz also reports that Obama has been warning Netanyahu for ten days to not lobby Congress on the bipartisan sanctions bill:

U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stop encouraging U.S. senators and congressmen to advance new sanctions legislation against Iran.

A senior American official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, said Obama gave Netanyahu this message during a telephone call on Monday, January 12.

There is obviously no principle, only political convenience behind this demand, since Obama stood by as British PM Cameron announced to the world that he was lobbying U.S. senators on the same bill, only in the opposite direction.

That the Israeli cabinet chose to allow Netanyahu to speak to Congress shows how desperate they are. There is a war coming in the Middle East. How Israel will survive in the face of the active hostility of the American administration is the most delicate calculation. I hope they know what they are doing. I hope this is not desperation in the face of every other avenue having been followed. Canada’s friendship with Israel is a blessing, similar to Australia’s. But such friendships are transitory, with the left so fanatically anti-semitic, under the pretext of being anti-Zionist.

The war is with Islam against its extremest fringe

It is not a war on terror. It is not a war for free speech. It is a war for the preservation of our western civilisation and modernity. This is Benjamin Natanyahu speaking in Paris:

“Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam — not normal Islam,” Netanyahu said at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, after briefly joining other world leaders in a march against extremism through the capital that drew up to 1.6 million people, according to AFP. . . .

“Although the various factions of Islamic extremism are involved in their own local bloody conflicts, including among themselves, they are all driven from the same ambition: to impose a dark despotic regime on the world, to take humanity a thousand years backward. They trample anyone who does not share their beliefs, and at the top of the list are their fellow Muslims, but their greatest hatred is reserved for Western culture, the same culture that respects freedom, equal rights, all the things they so despise.”

“Radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It sees Israel, and rightly so, as an island of democracy, justice and Western tolerance in a sea of fanaticism and violence that it wants to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the world,” continued Netanyahu.

Israel, he stressed, is attacked “because of its very existence and essence. But not only we are being attacked. Look around you: the whole world is under attack, the whole world.

The war is not on Islam. The war is with Islam, against its extremest fringe. George Bush Jr tried to make that point by calling it a “War on Terror”. The same desire not to offend is found in the “Je suis Charlie” slogan. Both fail to get to the heart of the matter because they refuse to make the statement that needs to be said. We are in a struggle on the side of the majority of the world’s Muslim population against our common enemy, radical extremist Islam. Unless there is clarity about who the enemy is, this is a war that cannot be won since there is no clear idea what it is that must be defeated.

“Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam — not normal Islam”

It is not a war on terror. It is not a war for free speech. It is a war for the preservation of our western civilisation and modernity. This is Benjamin Natanyahu speaking in Paris:

“Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam — not normal Islam,” Netanyahu said at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, after briefly joining other world leaders in a march against extremism through the capital that drew up to 1.6 million people, according to AFP. . . .

“Although the various factions of Islamic extremism are involved in their own local bloody conflicts, including among themselves, they are all driven from the same ambition: to impose a dark despotic regime on the world, to take humanity a thousand years backward. They trample anyone who does not share their beliefs, and at the top of the list are their fellow Muslims, but their greatest hatred is reserved for Western culture, the same culture that respects freedom, equal rights, all the things they so despise.”

“Radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It sees Israel, and rightly so, as an island of democracy, justice and Western tolerance in a sea of fanaticism and violence that it wants to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the world,” continued Netanyahu.

Israel, he stressed, is attacked “because of its very existence and essence. But not only we are being attacked. Look around you: the whole world is under attack, the whole world.

The war is not on Islam. The war is with Islam, against its extremest fringe. George Bush Jr tried to make that point by calling it a “War on Terror”. The same desire not to offend is found in the “Je suis Charlie” slogan. Both fail to get to the heart of the matter because they refuse to make the statement that needs to be said. We are in a struggle on the side of the majority of the world’s Muslim population against our common enemy, radical extremist Islam. Unless there is clarity about who the enemy is, this is a war that cannot be won since there is no clear idea what it is that must be defeated.