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Israel's elections: A referendum on Netanyahu

The coalition is falling apart, and the Knesset is likely to agree on early elections soon. Current polls suggest we are heading toward a fourth Netanyahu government, which will be even more right wing than the current one.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman thank their supporters at the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu headquarters, January 23 2013 (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman n election night 2013. Netanyahu would like to form a new government with his old political partners (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

Netanyahu’s third government has reached its end. New elections, which seemed likely when the Gaza war ended, are practically inevitable at this point. UPDATE: The Knesset’s parties agreed to hold the elections on March 17, 2015.

The two central pillars of the government – Netanyahu’s Likud party and Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (comprising 18 and 19 seats, respectively, out of the Knesset’s 120) –  are not able to cooperate with each other any longer, with bad blood running especially high between the two politicians. Growing disputes led to Netanyahu firing both Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni from his government on Tuesday evening.

Theoretically an alternative coalition can emerge without elections. In recent days both Lapid and Netanyahu have tried to gain the support of Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ), the two ultra-Orthodox parties. With that support, either one of them could have gathered the necessary 61 votes to become prime minister. But the ultra-Orthodox parties refused both Bibi and Lapid, believing that they will have better leverage after the elections, even if they end up winning fewer seats than in the current Knesset. Unless the ultra-Orthodox change their mind soon, the government will not have a majority in the Knesset and new elections will become inevitable.

Netanyahu will likely not resign, since the risk of seeing Lapid or Herzog assemble an alternative coalition is too great. Instead the Knesset will likely pass a quick bill on early elections – the way it does every time a government is about to fall. Netanyahu would like to have as short a campaign as possible – the common wisdom is that long election cycles hurt incumbent prime ministers running for reelection.

Netanyahu will run as the head of the Likud party. Avigdor Lieberman will run independently with his Yisrael Beitenu party (last election he combined his list with Bibi’s). Naftali Bennett will lead the Jewish Home party, though whether the extreme-right National Home faction splits from Jewish Home is yet to be seen. Tzipi Livni will seek to merge her Hatnua party – which is sinking in the polls – with either Labor or Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. There are even talks of a joint center-left bloc, though this is not likely to happen.

Former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon (who is polling well, between 8-12 seats) will lead a new centrist party. The Palestinian parties – United Arab List and Balad – will run on the same list, due to the raising of the Knesset threshold. The Arab-Jewish Hadash party may join them as well.

The unexpected element

If Operation Protective Edge was a war over maintaining the status quo, these will be the elections of the status quo. Put another way: these elections are akin to a referendum on Netanyahu and his signature policy, which is all about maintaining the current trends on the ground. Nobody can pretend any longer that Netanyahu is about to negotiate a peace deal or evacuate settlements. The prime minister attacked Mahmoud Abbas so vehemently in recent weeks that even if he were to suddenly cut a deal with Abbas, it would be impossible to sell it to the public.

There won’t be any new Bibi. Only the old Bibi, older. Netanyahu is closer than ever to Naftali Bennett and the settlers. As relations between Israel’s Palestinian citizens and Jews deteriorated over recent months, Netanyahu only fanned the flames, refrained from condemning attacks on Palestinians and threatened to expel protesters or revoke the citizenship of family members of terror suspects. This hardline approach reflects Netanyahu’s ideology as well as his political calculus.

Unlike other Likud leaders (Sharon being the prime example), Bibi is not looking for votes from the center. His strategy is more about rallying the base. Netanyahu won his 1996 upset against Shimon Peres by mobilizing a collation of forces: the settlers; lower-income, mostly Mizrahi Jews; much of the Russian vote; the ultra-Orthodox and the hawkish revisionists that dominated Likud in those days. The Israeli Right has seen a change of guard – the Likud’s revisionists were demoted and the national-religious (mostly settlers) are now in the driver’s seat – but the coalition around them remains mostly intact. Those same forces handed Bibi his recent victories in 2009 and 2013. All three victories were narrow: he won 50.5 percent of the vote in 1996; his coalition won 65 and 61 Knesset seats in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Never a landslide, but always enough. This is what Bibi will be aiming for this time as well.

The problem with the current government is that it didn’t comprise of Bibi’s regular coalition, since Bennett and Lapid forced him to leave the ultra-Orthodox out. This was the source of the instability: Bibi leading a government while drawing his political support elsewhere. Now he is running in order to return things back to normal: securing a majority of 61 votes or more for his coalition, while squeezing in a centrist party or two in order to balance the hard right and use them as a diplomatic buffer, the way Barak and Livni were used in Bibi’s two previous governments.

Polls suggest that Netanyahu will get what he wants. The center-left parties are not polling anywhere close to 60 votes, which is the minimum required to disrupt the prime minister’s plan. Furthermore there is a split between the centrist parties (Kadima, Livni, Yesh Atid, Labor and Kahlon) and the leftist parties (Meretz, Hadash and the Palestinian parties) which prevents them from operating as an effective political bloc.

Right now the most likely outcome is a shift of around 8-10 seats from Livni and Lapid to Kahlon, and another 2-4 seats to Meretz and Bennett. This will actually leave Netanyahu in a better position after the elections, as the right-wing bloc will slightly grow, and he will have easier time inviting Kahlon to the coalition than he did with Lapid or Livni. Kahlon was always rather hawkish in his views, though he is currently trying not to highlight this fact.

Having said that, there is always something unexpected in elections, especially in the fragmented Israeli system. Bibi’s next term is far from guaranteed, and there is always the option of a major upset, or of someone (Lieberman?) defecting from the right simply in order to get rid of Netanyahu. The likely scenario, however, is another term with Netanyahu. The Israeli public – or more accurately, the Jewish-Israeli public – is not likely to change course on its own, and the circumstances that would force such a change are not here yet.

Related
Top 10 reasons Israel should be going to early elections
War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)

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    COMMENTS

    1. Danny

      Lapid is the big loser from this turn of events. His 19 seats will soon become a distant memory, and he’ll likely join his father in political purgatory sooner rather than later. Good riddance!!!

      I wish we could get rid of Livni already from the political scene. She is such a disgusting opportunist that is beginning to rival Shimon Peres. I hope she joins Lapid and they end up making each other miserable in next knesset’s opposition.

      The main result of these elections will be Naftali Bennett becoming our new finance minister, and Arye Deri probably interior minister.

      Haide Bibi!

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        Another Right Winger cheering on Fascism chirps, but fails to realize that Israeli obstinance to achieving a fair 2 state solution will NOT bring peace AND security (El Al airlines is down 82%)

        It will only further entrench and enrich the current military war-profiteer industry that thrives on this conflict.

        Must be nice to be able to call elections whenever you please …

        ESPECIALLY when it suits your own personal agenda.

        This is not Democracy.

        This is a cabal built upon back door deals … A Parlimentary system that has NO DIRECT ELECTIONS of individual candidates.

        Israeli voters select PARTIES NOT CANDIDATES THEMSELVES.

        The Candidates for each PARTY are CHOSEN through “party lists” conducted through more back door deals.

        And yet ANOTHER reason why I am Ashamed to be Jewish.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Mr. Weiss, the system and modus operandi of the parliamentary democracy in Israel is not different from that of The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, etc. Sure, the students of the “Grand +972magUnitversity” are not the brightest bulb in the chandelier and no one should expect any lofty ideas from them, but your claims are really too embarrassing. At least try to do a little research before going off on a erratic brouhaha ranting mumbo jumbo. And if you think that “Danny the Jihadi” is an Israeli “right-winger” (because even the Israeli far-left is not leftist enough for him), then the nuts and bolts must surely be coming off of your head, no?

          Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          Right-winger? Me?
          Geez, I’ve been called many things, but never a right-winger.

          BTW, what constitutes in your opinion right wing opinions? The fact that I’m against Lapid and Livni? Both of them were active members of the most extreme and reactionary government in Israel’s history, and only left it after being booted out by force. How being opposed to these two dregs could be considered to be right wing is beyond me.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Whiplash

      The left and center parties only have themselves to blame. IN 2009 Kadima and Livni scored more seats than the Likud but the Center and left could not get their ducks in a row while Netanyahu did in order to form the givernment.

      In 2013 the leaders of the left and center could not unite in a block, all wanted to be king or queen. Netanyahu formed an alliance with his old adversary Liberman. When Netanyahu barely won the left and center could have balanced the coalition government and kept out of government the right wing party of Bennett.

      Now Bennett’s party looks to score the greatest gains and secure a larger share of government positions. Together Liberman, Netanyahu and Bennett could form a formidable block. Kahlon and the religious blocks are likely to enter the coalition.

      With Shimon Peres gone, Netanyahu is now the elder statesman who will uphold Israeli values and the status quo.

      The veteran Netanyahu is unlikely to do anything rash to hurt his chances of re-election. On the one hand he will please the right with additional news of house plans while actually allowing few housing building permits to issue in Judea and Samaria in order to placate the American Administration. Netanyahu will talk firmly handling the Palestinians while propping up Abbas’ government.

      In Gaza Israel will let in enough supplies to comfortably maintain its blockade. Israel will continue to blow up arm shipments to Hezbollah.

      The big question will be will Netanyahu bomb Iran when everyone expects him to maintain the status quo.

      Reply to Comment
      • The size of the party doesn’t matter. in 2009 and 2013 the left and center won less than 60 seats, so there wasn’t any real option of forming a government – only wishful thinking.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Livni only needed to make a deal with Shas to form a government in 2009.

          If the left had presented the electorate with an united front in 2013, they could have done better. Considering how narrow Netanyahu’s victory was, the left could have won government.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            It is unfortunately true that Livni blew significant opportunities to wield positive influence as co-prime minister, opposition leader and most recently justice minister. There may be no way for the left or center-left to take power in Israel today, but it certainly won’t happen without a leader who combines intelligence, courage, vision and practicality, and I don’t see one on the horizon today.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            The ‘combination of the “intelligence, courage, vision” of “the left or center-left” means two things: (a) more dead Israelis slaughtered on the streets of Israel (Oslo) and (b) more Jews thrown out of their homes, while their homes, towns and villages are bulldozed and crushed to dust (Arik Sharon). There is no intelligence in that. There is no courage in that. There is no vision in that. Israelis have seen that movie before and are not ready to watch it again. The left is dead. Dead and cold. Yasser Arafat killed it.

            Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        “In Gaza Israel will let in enough supplies to comfortably maintain its blockade”

        You forgot to mention that in 2-3 years Israel will fight another war in which the south will once again become a war zone and the lives of millions of Israelis become disrupted for 1-2 months. Thumbs up for the “status quo”.

        ” Israel will continue to blow up arm shipments to Hezbollah. ”

        Until Hezbollah gets fed up and retaliates. Then you’ll fight another war in which the north will once again become a war zone and the lives of millions of Israelis become disrupted for 1-2 months.

        Haide Pipi!

        Reply to Comment
        • “The lives of millions of Israelis become disrupted for 1-2 months.”

          And thousands of Palestinians killed, thousands upon thousands injured, thousands upon thousands home’s destroyed. So glad you keep it all in perspective though, Israeli lives “disrupted”.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Perhaps you haven’t seen many of Danny’s posts. He certainly doesn’t disregard or minimize Palestinian suffering, quite the contrary.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sluggo

            Marnie is a mere cartoon character.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yet, here you are “Sluggo”, a real live jackass. Kisses!

            Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Indeed. I usually take the Palestinian side 100% (since Israel is usually in the wrong 100%).

            I only brought forward this argument to show this guy how wrong he is if he thinks that the continuation of the status quo will be good for Israel and Israelis.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sorry for assuming different –

            Reply to Comment
      • JoJo

        It is getting harder and harder to get the American people to believe Israel is something other than the racist, colonial settler state it has been since its inception.

        Reply to Comment
        • Corey

          So.. Basically.. Israel is America?

          Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Poll after Poll of Americans show support for Israel remains stable and strong among those with an opinion.

          http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/gallup.html

          Paragon Insights stated after a poll this summer:

          “What is very clear is that American support for Israel has stayed near record highs… Americans know that Israelis share our values and our interests, and they side with the millions of Israeli men, women, and children”

          Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      The former head of Israel’s Security Agency Shin Bet, Carmi Gillon, launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, slamming him as an “egomaniac”.

      Gillon’s remarks came during a demonstration against the controversial “Jewish State Law” organised by Israel’s Labour Party, Meretz (part of the Peace Now group), outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported.

      “Israel is headed by a group of pyromaniacs and is being led by an egomaniac to its final destruction,” declared Gillon. “The continuation of the radical and messianic policy on the Temple Mount will bring about a Gog and Magog war against the Jewish people” he warned.

      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/15572-israels-former-chief-intelligence-slams-pm-over-jewish-nation-state-bill

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      Naftali Bennett was and remains a terrific soldier; a man of courage, valor and integrity. He is righteous and trustworthy. He is a formidable Gate Keeper.

      Naftali Bennett understands the economy;

      Naftali Bennett is smart, handsome (unlike ugl*** Noam Scheizaf, hih hihi), loved by the majority and representative. His time may not have come yet, but he is definitely a future Israeli Prime Minister.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        “Naftali Bennett is smart,handsome”

        Waxing erotic here? Where have we seen this before? Hmmmmm.

        “It is not a question of culture…Look at his beautiful hands!”

        http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Hannah+Arendt%27s+Eichmann+reconsidered-a0166433343

        A well-known Heidegger’s biographer, Rudiger Safranski, asserts the sum total of Heidegger’s ethical teaching in that work could “be summed up in a single sentence: Do whatever you like, but make your own decision and do not let anyone relieve you of the decision and hence the responsibility.” (9) Hitler promised historical greatness. Heidegger was stirred by a romantic German nationalism. Although his world view did not dictate joining the Nazi Party and advancing Hitler’s racial/political agenda, it was utterly compatible with it. And although Heidegger’s public flirtation with active Nazism was short-lived and his anti-Semitism was not racial or eliminationist, his moral pronouncements were every bit as vacuous as Eichmann’s. When Karl Jaspers asked him in 1933 how he could favor someone as uncultured as Adolf Hitler to rule Germany, Heidegger famously responded by citing Hitler’s alleged aesthetic elegance. “It is not a question of culture,” Heidegger observed. “Look at his beautiful hands!” (10)

        After the War, Heidegger barely said anything about the Nazi horror, although he did compare it to mechanized chicken farming (about which he similarly disapproved). Only very infrequently, he would furnish an indirect allusion to genocidal evil, but it would inevitably be couched in some sort of opaque ontological formula about being, specifically about its absence and mystery. The bluntest characterization of Heidegger’s unsatisfactory response to genocidal evil has been made by the Jewish ethicist Rabbi Joseph Telushkin: “Despite the veneration expressed for Heidegger’s brilliance by intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, Richard Rorty, and George Steiner,” “Heidegger was, in moral terms, an idiot.” (11)

        Reply to Comment
        • Lo

          Ginger is pretty creepy, but really man? Just like that, boom: hitler reference. Not a good look my dude.

          But I definitely agree that Naftali Bennett is a weird object of affection. He’s like what a 13-year-old boy would think is the apex of masculinity and authority.

          In reality, he’s just another religious fanatic.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Lo, it’s not “just like that.” It comes from a fair amount of experience with “Ginger.” And from my own education and experience. Did you read at any length what Peter Schotten writes? If not, your objection is ungrounded and premature, based on nothing more substantial that “boom, Hitler reference”–an entirely reflexive response.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            If only Bennett WAS just another religious fanatic. I live in J-lem and know plenty of RF’s here, but none of them are (a) senior government leaders who’ve been quoted as saying (b) “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.” So while I agree with you that Hitler references are terribly overused, still, such a reference might be appropriate here.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ben, Bennet is slso fond of threatening nightime marches through Arab neighborhoods on Jerusalem. He’s done this. The unabashed brownshirts here on this site love him. These trash are a bellwether for where your country is going. Until I encountered the likes of Tomer, Tresspassr, Pedro and Eis I too thought references to Hitler shed more heat than light and were never helpful. Now I think it sheds actual light and is helpful in this context.

            Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            brian

            “waxing erotic here”, brian? my observation is that you are the one stalking Gingi on this site and constantly bombarding her with messages. seems you have “a thing” for Gingi, brian; she ignores all your posts and you go bonkers, moaning, groaning and posting even more strange messages to Gingi? Go home, little man and quit obsessing with Ginger;

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            My observation is two-fold, Gingi “You lie and ya know it!” Merav. 1. It is you who appear obsessed with me and are uselessly stalking me. 2. It is you who appear driven wild by “Gingi”-baby, LOL. I just call her Eis.
            Finished reading that court transcript yet [chortle]? Have a nice day.

            Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            brian

            you are “waxing erotic here” for Gingi, brian; sure you have “a thing” for her which is why you follow her around bombarding her with sick messages; hope you don’t end-up bumping your head against the wall because Gingi ignores all your massages to her including the ones where you are – and I quote you – “waxing erotic here”. Take it easy brien.

            Reply to Comment
        • He’s quite a catch if you’re fond of buck-toothed, balding, paunchy and pasty looking inbred types, doesn’t look a day over 60, oh, he’s only 42? He just the kind of man for just the type of woman with zero hope, self-respect, imagination or interest in fulfillment of a physical nature. (Reminds me of the inbred banjo playing idiot savant type that was in “Deliverance” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8)

          Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            You are too late to woo Naftali Bennett with your flattery; he is married already with 4 children.

            Bennett has a remarkable history, having served in elite fighting units, having been a high tech super star, having obtained a law degree, having served as chief of staff for Likud, having overseen educational reforms and then having combined into Jewish Home the secular and religious nationalists.

            In 2006 he served in Lebanon again participating in dangerous missions against Hezbollah.

            Bennett does not talk in messianic terms but in terms of real politic, Israeli security and human rights for Jews living in Judea and Samaria. He appeals to many young persons.

            In his first election Jewish Home captured 12 seats and now look to secure 19 or more seats. Bennett has achieved where Lapid and the left have failed.

            Reply to Comment
          • That was just lovely Ex. But you’re right, he is a married hillbilly and you and Vanilla Eis will have to satisfy yourselves, as I’m sure you do, with his lovely photo and a nice Chianti.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Hey, it is not much of an insult to call Bennett a hillbilly, Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon all came from the hill country of Judea and Samaria. The Maccabees who lived and hid in the hills taught the cultured Greeks a few lessons. Simple Folk Ben Gurion, Ariel Sharon and Golda Meir bested the brightest and strongest of the British and Arab civilizations. So if Bennett is a hillbilly he certainly is in good company.

            Reply to Comment
          • I guess you’d call that making lemonade out of lemons. He’s a racist prick. That will do.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Bennett has said that he believes that 99.9% of Arab Israelis are loyal citizens of the state of Israel. He has said he wants to build 15 industrial parks to provide employment for 300,000 Palestinians. He says he wants to improve infrastructure like roads and remove checkpoints and obstacles to make travel easier within the West Bank. He has said that after annexation of area “C” he would offer Palestinians Israeli citizenship.

            So much for your allegation. Palestinians need more Bennetts.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Tomer

      Good News!
      This article says “the next government will be more right wing than this one”

      Each future government is getting closer to Feiglin’s point of view. Mass expulsion of the fake people back to Arabia is getting more likely each year!

      Reply to Comment
      • Be careful what you wish for. Sure would hate to think of this blowing up in your face.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          I think it is the Palestinians who should take care that Tomer does not get his wish. Time is running out for them to make a deal before Israel annexes area “C” and leaves the Palestinians living in Palastans in areas “A” and “B”.

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Go ahead – annex area C and see what happens #EconomicSanctions #BDS #WholeWorldRecognizesPalestine

            Reply to Comment
          • Sluggo

            BDS?? Would this be the same BDS that the Palestinian leadership opposes?

            Reply to Comment
    6. DAVID BRINN \Jerusalem Post
      12/03/2014 03:12

      Peres: There will be no peace or security with Netanyahu

      Netanyahu: Israel must elect a new, bigger and more stable government

      Israel’s Seinfeld election

      Netanyahu’s declaration of support for a two-state solution with the Palestinians must be backed up with action, says former president.

      Unfettered by the office he held for seven years, former president Shimon Peres has lashed out at the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying they have moved Israel further away from peace and security.

      “Do you remember the slogan that Bibi used in the past [in the 1996 elections versus then prime minister Peres] that said something like ‘since Peres does not deliver peace, does not deliver security, and brings us fear…we have to change Peres.’ I suggest he reread what he said back then,” Peres said last week in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post ahead of his appearance next week at the Post’s annual Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem.

      “The challenge that Israel faces is to understand that peace will not come to us. We have to go to peace. Muhammad did not come to the mountain. The mountains will not come to Muhammad.

      “We have to be the initiator of peace and not say ‘since they don’t do, I shall not do,’” he added.

      In the interview, the 91-year-old Peres hinted that he supported early elections by dismissing the idea that had been briefly raised in recent weeks of establishing a national-unity government to combat the wave of terrorism that has swept the country.

      “In order to have a national-unity government you must have a united policy. With all due respect to the prime minister, asking other parties to enter his government and accept his ideas is not going to happen – it’s as simple as that,” he said.

      “On that basis, you cannot make a national-unity government – you need a national policy. But you cannot build a national-unity government based on the policy of one party when there are different views,” he added.

      Last month, at the annual memorial for slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres’s partner in the Oslo Accords, the former president made an only slightly veiled reference to Netanyahu’s policies in regard to the uptick in violence and last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

      “We have all sorts of so-called smart people who talk about ‘managing the conflict’ instead of peace. Take a look at what happened in Gaza over the summer and what is happening in Jerusalem as of late. That is what ‘managing the conflict’ looks like,” he told the crowd.

      In his interview with the Post, Peres said Netanyahu’s declaration of support for a two-state solution with the Palestinians had to be backed up with action.

      “We have to execute what we say. We cannot declare that we are for two states and not act accordingly,” said Peres. “Clearly you cannot have a two-state solution without a territorial compromise.”

      Regarding whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas is still a partner for peace in his eyes, Peres referred to the assessment last month by Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Abbas was not inciting Palestinians against Israel.

      “Yoram Cohen doesn’t have any other interest but to tell the truth. He is not in politics. He doesn’t have alliances,” Peres said.

      “Abbas has said some things which have been provoking, and he is mistaken.

      On the other hand, he has constantly fought against terror. He has a force and he gave them an order to prevent terror and to cooperate with us.

      “So, okay, he is also in politics. But on the basic issues, I do believe that we could have achieved peace with him, and I still believe that we can achieve peace with him. I know maybe I am a minority. That doesn’t change my mind. Between being a majority and being right, all my life I preferred to be right even if it makes me part of a minority.”

      Peres will be speaking at the Post’s diplomatic conference along with President Reuven Rivlin, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Interior Minister Gilad Erdan.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWFofJSm-c

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IynADeLxfCU

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Bruce, why do you and your comrades determined to distract, change the subject and force us talk about anything but what Noam Scheizaf wrote about? Since when has the BDS-hoodlums been known to tell the truth (without exaggerations)? Is the country in the video clip below the Brazil you talk about – the capital of human rights? You see, Bruce, if you and your fellow BDS-hoodlums have any humanity in YOU and really give a damn about human rights, you should be more concerned about the 3.650 (10 per day) people who are murdered YEARLY in the streets of Rio ALONE, while hundreds of millions are living in abject poverty, without education and discriminated against based on the color of their skin. That death toll alone, that stinging poverty, etc. make the Arab-Israeli conflict look like a picnic!

        Watch. And weep!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obj3W1FnOpY

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          ‘why are you and your comrades……’ (was meant).

          The biggest mistake made by the Brazilian population documented in the video is that they have not managed to link the crimes against humanity committed against them to Jews/Israel. The day they do that, they hypocrites here will pay attention and set the world on fire! Until then, who cares? Human rights? What human rights?!

          Reply to Comment
        • Yvette

          Hi luv the the Bralian social protest blog site is somewhere else in the universe but it’s not here. Talk about being “determined to distract”! Do ya even read what ya write b4 u hit the submit button? Geez Louise.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Bruce, you posted about Brazil, human rights, BDS, etc. Even Yvette is now telling you very loud and clear that your post is off-topic. Yvette is also telling you to stop posting off-topic, because when you post off-topic, you force others to discuss your off-topic post. That’s a distraction. It’s called trolling. Thank you, Yvette, for making that point again to Bruce – even as it is evident that you, Yvette, cares about human rights and calls for BDS ONLY when you can somehow find a way to alleged that Jews/Israel are involved in human rights abuses (e.g. you, Bruce and the BDS-hoodlums are nowhere to be found on at least the “Brazilian social protest blogs” fighting for justice! etc., even as you abuse and misuse Brazil to attempt to boycott Israel). No problems there, Yvette. We understand!

            Reply to Comment
          • Yvette

            Nitwit. Can’t ya follow a column line? I meant YOU, Ginger, troll dear, not the estimable Bruce. Things always flyby you don’t they dearie?

            Reply to Comment
          • LOL! Cheers Yvette!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Nitwit. Can’t ya follow a column line? I meant YOU, Ginger, troll dear, not the estimable Bruce. Things always flyby you don’t they dearie?”

            Bruce, Yvette is ONCE AGAIN telling you very loud and clear that your post is off-topic. Yvette is also telling you to stop posting off-topic, because when you post off-topic, you force others to discuss your off-topic post. That’s a distraction. It’s called trolling. Thank you, Yvette, for making that point AGAIN to Bruce. PRICELESS!

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          • What a fool.

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          • Ginger Eis

            Not just manic, but also incurably psychotic. You see, manic marnie, I have beaten you up several times exactly as I wanted and not interested in over-kill. As such you worth not a second of my time anymore (and I am sure such has been obvious to you for a while now). You need to seek the emotional comfort and validation you crave elsewhere. I am not remotely interested. Now, Be Gone, Imbecile!

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          • Now don’t use big words you don’t understand.

            Manic and psychotic – thy name is Ginger Eis (or Gustav, Pedro or whatever the hell you are).

            So glad you’ve had an epiphany though and you are “through”. It must be frustrating and tiresome being unglued/unhinged all the time.

            You are so definitely that pigeon crapping all over the chessboard then strutting around claiming you’ve won the game.

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    7. Yeah, Right

      Interesting observation made over at Juan Cole’s website – all the recent violence and strife is due to Bibi’s obsession with breaking the Fatah/Hama’s coalition.

      And….. remind me again who’s coalition is now in tatters?

      Karma. Ain’t it a bitch.

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      • Sluggo

        You have an astounding inability to draw proper conclusions from what you read.
        1) the Gaza war was fought for much more important reasons than what you mention ( in fact, the coalition ended earlier this week)
        2) The PM will most likely emerge from the elections with an even stronger mandate

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        • Yeah, Right

          Quite astonishing.

          Sluggo appears to be the only person on Planet Earth who doesn’t know that the Gaza War was provoked by Netanyahu in an obsessive attempt to spoil that Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

          And Sluggo appears not to understand that the reason WHY this lamentable coalition has gone into meltdown is as a direct result of the chaos and madness that Bibi has been orchestrating.

          That Bibi may well come out “stronger” as a result of all that rabble-rousing and destruction is not exactly unusual.

          It has, indeed, happened before.

          *cough* *cough* Rabin *cough*.

          Remind me again how the (possible) election outcome “proves” that Netanyahu didn’t unwittingly self-destruct his current coalition via his recent Clown Car antics?

          After all, he is if nothing else a supremely amoral and opportunistic demagogue.

          That does appear to be his one and only party trick.

          Times are, indeed, made for him.

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    8. Brian

      Something to ponder when evaluating extremist and charismatic right wing leaders who denounce outsiders and evoke in their followers a sense of righteousness and pride:

      http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Hannah+Arendt%27s+Eichmann+reconsidered-a0166433343

      “Arendt’s theory failed to capture the sense in which even a person’s best part was susceptible to pernicious influences so prevalent in totalitarian states. Often, the Nazi conscience contained the belief that murdering Jews and other social undesirables was not merely a necessary burden but a noble duty. Genocide seemed justified and even morally praiseworthy because many Nazis believed, encouraged by every element of the regime, that Jews either posed a lethal threat to the state, or were subhuman, or both. Admittedly, these beliefs constituted outright self-deception based upon lies. Therefore one wonders: Could Arendt’s critical self-thought have unearthed these lies that were so inextricably bound up with conscience? Or would thinking simply prove ineffectual in actually changing the judgments, attitudes, and behaviors of believing Nazis? Arendt’s Socratic thinking would have had to bear a heavy burden. The souls of many Germans–and particularly Nazis in positions of political and military authority–had been corrupted by a combination of resolute hatred and a perverse sentiment borne of a misplaced moral idealism. At its root was a political faith brought on by faulty thinking, and often closed to new thinking, a faith that emboldened while it reassured. Such Nazis believed in a way that was genuinely resistant to objective self-evaluation. The existence of such a widely disseminated, perverse Nazi conscience reflected the celebration of an evil that did not, and would not, recognize its true nature. For that reason, but not only for that reason, the “road to Auschwitz was paved with righteousness.” (21)”

      21. See Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, Mass., 2003), 3.

      http://www.amazon.com/The-Nazi-Conscience-Claudia-Koonz/dp/0674018427

      “The Nazi conscience is not an oxymoron. In fact, the perpetrators of genocide had a powerful sense of right and wrong, based on civic values that exalted the moral righteousness of the ethnic community and denounced outsiders.

      Claudia Koonz’s latest work reveals how racial popularizers developed the infrastructure and rationale for genocide during the so-called normal years before World War II. Her careful reading of the voluminous Nazi writings on race traces the transformation of longtime Nazis’ vulgar anti-Semitism into a racial ideology that seemed credible to the vast majority of ordinary Germans who never joined the Nazi Party. Challenging conventional assumptions about Hitler, Koonz locates the source of his charisma not in his summons to hate, but in his appeal to the collective virtue of his people, the Volk.”

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      • From Wikipedia:

        Eugenics, the social movement claiming to improve the genetic features of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization,[1] based on the idea that it is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society,[2] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.[3]

        Eugenics was practised in the United States many years before eugenics programs in Nazi Germany[4] and U.S. programs provided much of the inspiration for the latter.[5][6][7] Stefan Kühl has documented the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States, and points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands.[5]

        A hallmark of the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, now generally associated with racist and nativist elements (as the movement was to some extent a reaction to a change in emigration from Europe) rather than scientific genetics, eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population.

        Today eugenics in the United States is still officially permitted. Between 2006 and 2010 close to 150 women were sterilized in Californian prisons without state approval. Between 1997 and 2010, the state paid $147,460 to doctors for tubal ligations.[8][9]

        All in the “land of the free, home of blah, blah, blah”.

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    9. Richard Witty

      Elections are referendums.

      And they are much much much more. They are an opportunity to form party, platform, communicate to the public, organize for subsequent social and political efforts.

      Always an opportunity to hear, to identify obstacles and set to solving them.

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