Aug 03 2008

A Cautionary Tale of Post-Ideological Politics in Israel: Visions of a future Obama presidency?

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,middle east,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:16 am

Pretty much anyone who can read, and bothers to, knows that the Olmert government in Israel is hopelessly corrupt. The old notion of a “fish rotting from the head” comes to mind. Olmert is the target of seven different corruption investigations, a likely candidate for prison unless he cuts a deal before leaving office, and the most feckless leader in recent memory at fighting Israel’s enemies and protecting its people.

Building a governing coalition based on the Kadima party, the self-confessedly post-ideological creation of Ariel Sharon, a party which claimed to be neither right nor left (shades of Obama’s claim to “unify” and be “beyond old categories”), a party which would simply do what was necessary without reference to previously stated ideological positions, Olmert has actually accomplished nothing but to stay in power and stretch out his tenure, while causing great harm to Israel’s security.

This is all made very clear by Caroline Glick as she describes the ebb and flow of the Israeli electorate in response to events on the ground, and the way a “post-ideological” leader is captive to swings in public mood, but lacks the strength to actually carry out a coherent policy:

With the nation in a left leaning mood in the run-up to the last election, Kadima announced its plan to give Judea and Samaria to terrorists from Fatah and Hamas. Distinguishing their party from the radical left, which shares their plan, Kadima’s leaders explained that they sought to place Israel’s major urban centers in Palestinian rocket range not in the interest of peace – as the leftist ideologues would have it – but in the interest of the hardnosed “demographic” aim of putting all the country’s Jews in one concentrated area.

Before the nation had an opportunity to fully understand what Kadima’s “convergence” plan entailed, Israel’s body politic shifted to the right in June 2006 after the Palestinians attacked an IDF post near Gaza and kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Two weeks later it shifted further to the right when Hizbullah carried out a nearly identical attack along the border with Lebanon and abducted reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Noticing the public’s rightward shift, Olmert and his colleagues followed immediately. When Olmert launched the Second Lebanon War, he sounded downright Churchillian as he promised the nation nothing less than the total defeat of Hizbullah and the return of our hostage servicemen.

Continue reading “A Cautionary Tale of Post-Ideological Politics in Israel: Visions of a future Obama presidency?”

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Jul 31 2008

Challenge lies, or ignore them?

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,media,middle east,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

A writer in the Jerusalem Post observes that US newspapers constantly attack Israel in editorial pages and with slanted, distorted coverage and wonders what the appropriate response is. To defend, or to ignore? It’s hard to know what will be most effective:

Verbal attacks on Israel in US papers and other media outlets are ceaseless, and can be demoralizing. But how do we measure their impact on the average American? Should we simply assume that a pro-Hamas op-ed in The New York Times is far more damaging to Israel’s cause than a local activist’s letter in a minor paper? Perhaps we should assume that Times’ readers are less likely to fall for obvious spin because they are more sophisticated than local media consumers? It’s impossible to be sure.

My inclination, which the writer eventually seems to share, is that if you want to affect public opinion, you have to fight unfair assertions, every single time.

The Bush administration learned, too late, that when you don’t answer outrageous assertions, and those assertions are constantly repeated, they have a way of becoming received wisdom in the relatively uncritical public mind. By the time the Bush administration wised up a bit and began to try to counter the main stream media’s narrative that Bush had lied about weapons of mass destruction, and that the presence of those weapons was the only reason for going into Iraq, it was just too late to affect the public understanding with facts.

People in sympathy with Israel, and Israel itself, need to learn this lesson: absolutely no good comes from “taking the high road” and not responding to outrageous claims. Lies need to be countered, period.

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Jul 21 2008

Preparing for the unimaginable: Israeli parents consider their childrens’ kidnapping

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Islam,Israel,middle east,terrorism,tortureharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

A former Israeli special forces officer has hard advice for parents whose children in Israel are vulnerable to kidnapping by Islamic terrorists. It is quite unimaginable for most of us to consider such a thing in advance, and what we would do about it. Yet, this is the reality faced by parents in Israel, exacerbated by the recent trade of live terrorists from Israeli prisons for dead bodies of Israeli victims.

I am writing this as a parent that has 100% of my children, at high risk, of being victims of a kidnapping.

We must remember, Israel has never received any of our children back alive, from a kidnapping.

We must also face certain hard to face facts, our children if grabbed will be subject to torture and mutilation that would have made Mengele proud.


….. think about the kidnapping of your child now, face the pain and make a plan that will keep your dignity.

You really need to read the whole thing to understand the realities.  There is truly not a moral equivalence between the Israelis and Hamas/Hizbullah, regardless of the pretensions and posturing of the Left.

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Jul 17 2008

Trading the living for the dead: How many will die at the hands of released terrorists?

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Islam,Israel,middle east,terrorismharmonicminer @ 2:09 pm

Power Line asks some obvious questions about Israel’s trade of live terrorists for dead bodies: Why did Israel do it?

Why did the government of Israel turn over four terrorists and a mass murderer for the bodies of two dead soldiers? Herb Keinon purports to explain the deal via an exploration of the Israeli national psyche. Keinon does not address the question whether Ehud Olmert and his cabinet in fact fairly represent the desires of the people of Israel in agreeing to the exchange. Do they?

It is naturally demoralizing for those with a healthy psyche to watch evil rewarded and celebrated. Are the Israelis somehow different in this respect? I doubt it. Watching the Lebanese celebrate the return of Samir Kuntar and the Hezbollah terrorists (as in the video above) is profoundly demoralizing. Ynet News editor Sharon Gilad, for example, describes her blood running cold as she watched the exchange take place. In this video former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Arens frankly condemns the exchange. Who speaks for Israel?

UPDATE: Carl in Jerusalem adds: Hezbollah mutilated the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev.

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Jul 16 2008

Trading Future Dead for Bodies of Soldiers

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,middle east,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 11:27 am

Israel’s leadership is sacrificing the lives of future victims of terrorism for the bodies of a couple of soldiers.

Hours after the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were transferred to Israel in a dramatic prisoner swap with Hizbullah which saw the release of convicted killer Samir Kuntar, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the deal, and offered his condolences to the families of the reservists.

“With all of Israel, I embrace and hug the families of Regev and Goldwasser in mourning,” Olmert said in published statement.

I wonder if he also plans to embrace and hug the families of the people who will be killed by the terrorists he released.

“My throat is dry, my eyes are tearing, and my heart goes out to the families that struggled without a sign [of life], and didn’t lose hope until the very last moment,” he continued. “This is a day of removal of doubt. Certainly with regards to the fate of Udi and Eldad, may their memories be blessed, but also regarding the moral and ethical power of Israel.”

Do you suppose he also plans to sympathetically bite his lower lip? Surely morals and ethics are more about actions and outcomes than about acting out of feelings of grief and remorse, no matter how genuine. What will be Omert’s ethical position when he has to comfort the families of yet more victims of the terrorists he is releasing?

“By virtue of this power we decided to return the boys, even with the heavy price of releasing a despicable murderer,” the prime minister said. “Nobody else will understand what every Israeli understands well: the worry over the fate of every one of our soldiers is the glue which binds us as a society, and it this which allows us to survive in an area which is surrounded by enemies and terror organizations.”

Actually, what has allowed Israel to survive so far has not been empty emotional gestures that endanger citizens still living, but instead the tough mindedness to fight and win.

More on this here and here. This is really a travesty, revealing a weakness in the Israeli government that is very worrying, though not new, given the mishandling of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, etc. Bluntly, the Left seems to have proven itself incompetent at protecting the nation. This is, of course, another way that politics in Israel parallels politics in the USA.

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Jul 11 2008

Hizbullah gets new toys…. LOTS of toys

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,politics,terrorism,UNharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

I commented earlier on HAMAS turning Gaza into an ammo dump and training field for the coming conflict with Israel. (When isn’t there a coming conflict?) Hizbullah, not to be outdone, is doing the same thing, probably also via arms from Iran and Syria.

Continue reading “Hizbullah gets new toys…. LOTS of toys”

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