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ehud barak

  • The origins of Israeli racism lie in our hyper-militarized society

    Israel was established and continues to exist in a mentality of constant war. Our racism is only a symptom. One of the most influential institutions in Iranian politics is the Guardian Council. Among its many roles, the Council filters out presidential candidates, deciding who can and who cannot run in the elections. It even has the power to disqualify former presidents, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from running again. And as befits a religious dictatorship, its considerations are far from democratic. [tmwinpost] And yet, after Ehud Barak announced his return to Israeli politics last week, I couldn’t help but envy the power…

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  • The biggest myth about Israeli politics

    It’s tempting to believe that non-politicians are the antidote to bad politicians, but it's also wrong. In 2011, the Israeli pop singer Roni Superstar released a song called “Adoni” — literally “my lord,” or colloquially, “sir.” For sarcastic overtones, “His highness” will also do. Here is my free translation: “His Highness will tell me what he knows/ His Highness will make sense of what I ought to think… His Highness wishes to be Prime Minister… His Highness thinks he is so smart…” The otherwise banal song kept surfacing in my mind during the last election cycle. Something about it seemed apposite.…

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  • The attack on Iran that wasn’t: Ehud Barak’s autobiography

    As Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak was determined to carry out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program. His book provides the tools to examine the limitations of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the considerations Israeli leaders put into the decision to go to war. By Shemuel Meir "My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace", Ehud Barak, St. Martin's Press, 2018. The title of Ehud Barak's recently published autobiography My Country, My Life declares that it is a book not just about Barak's life, but also a first person account of some the most important moments in Israeli…

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  • What would you do if soldiers dragged your son out of bed in the middle of the night?

    After more than half a century of occupation, most Israelis can no longer imagine themselves in the place of the Palestinians. But if we cannot imagine what it is like to live under occupation, we must at least confront its brutal reality.  Twenty years ago, in March 1998, the head of the Labor Party Ehud Barak was asked by Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy what he would do were he a young Palestinian living under occupation. “If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would, at some point, join one of the terrorist groups,” Barak answered. [tmwinpost] Today, not…

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  • What Labor's new leader must do to resuscitate the Left

    Instead of creating an lifeboat for undesired political has-beens, new Labor leader Avi Gabbay should try to unite Israel's center-left behind a defiant message in the face of an emboldened right-wing coalition. By Abe Silberstein There are more than enough reasons for Labor Party voters to be thoroughly skeptical of their recently-elected leader, Avi Gabbay. He has little to no political experience, and the little experience he does have comes from the center-right of Israel's political spectrum: he helped co-found Kulanu with finance minister Moshe Kahlon, which continues to back the Netanyahu government despite a steady increase in undemocratic legislation and mounting…

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  • Israelis, Palestinians are ready to accept international consensus

    For the first time since 1967, both the Israeli public and the Palestinians are likely to accept an outline for a final-status agreement based on international law. By Shmuel Lederman A recent poll conducted by the The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion on an outline for a final-status agreement. The poll presented a "permanent agreement package" based on previous rounds of negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, based on mutual recognition between Israel and Palestine, establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state within 1967 borders, annexing a number of settlement blocs to Israel in exchange…

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  • What happens the 'day after' Netanyahu?

    Even as the end of Netanyahu's reign seems to be approaching, it's no time to celebrate — the problems in Israel run far deeper than one man. Over the past few years, the top echelons of the Jewish Israeli Left have been trying to figure out how to remove or "replace" Prime Minister Netanyahu. [tmwinpost] Those who have been following these conversations over the past few years, could have, for a moment, become confused and think that the criticism of the government and regime in Israel are the result of Netanyahu's rule — not the occupation, discrimination, racism, not abandoning…

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  • Cheer up! Trump's victory gives us reasons to be optimistic

    The election of Donald Trump is a reminder that when the American people want change, they go out and make it. When will the same thing apply to Israelis? The grief that overcame my Facebook feed Wednesday morning is understandable. The thought that a violent, racist, anti-Semitic man such as Donald Trump will now hold run the most powerful country in the world is nothing short of frightening. [tmwinpost] And though I understand this kind of reaction, it is wrong to view Trump's election in apocalyptic terms. Not only because the anxiety and desperation paralyze us politically, but because things are…

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  • Don't call it a comeback: Really, please don't come back

    Ehud Barak isn't the 'only hope' to defeat Netanyahu. He is, however, the most dangerous prime minister Israel has ever had. It seems Ehud Barak is planning a return to politics: posters have appeared calling on him to “run” (where exactly is unclear), and now even Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy reluctantly voiced the opinion that for all his faults, Barak is “the only hope” to defeat Netanyahu because he is “so much more brilliant than his politician peers." But before the buildup of yet another great white hope commences, a reminder might be in order. [tmwinpost] Barak was arguably the…

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  • Tel Aviv mayor says the occupation is a cause of Palestinian terror

    Huldai tells Army Radio that Israel may be the 'only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights.' Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai shocked many Israelis Thursday morning when he cited Israel's occupation as one factor that leads Palestinians to turn to terrorism. Speaking on Army Radio about Wednesday's deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv and reported celebrations of it in the West Bank and Gaza, Huldai argued that Israelis should focus instead on the fact that Israel is "perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights." [tmwinpost] "On the…

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  • Avigdor Liberman's new job: Control over four million Palestinians

    Netanyahu may have found an opportunity to take revenge on the old IDF elites, but in doing so has put one of Israel's most hawkish politicians in charge of the occupation. Avigdor Liberman's appointment as defense minister is, in my eyes, one of Netanyahu's most surprising moves (in fact, on Wednesday I argued that it wouldn't happen; two hours later I was proven wrong). Netanyahu is a careful politician that does not like big egos surrounding him, and Liberman is Liberman — a person who deliberately chooses to be unexpected and undisciplined — even when it doesn't serve his interests…

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  • The life and death of the Israeli peace camp

    Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog is channeling the same tropes and spin Ehud Barak used to destroy the peace process 15 years ago. Will we have to wait another decade and a half for him to admit what he's done? On a balmy evening in October of 2000, Ehud Barak, then the Israeli prime minister and Labor Party chairman, held a press conference in Tel Aviv where he made a rattling announcement that would leave its imprint on the Israeli establishment for years to come. Israel, he said, has no partner for peace. [tmwinpost] It had been only several months…

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  • We need a center-left political alternative in Israel

    This is not a time for ideological purity. There is an overriding goal and that is ending the Occupation. By Jeremiah Haber Since the election of Ehud Barak as prime minister in 1999, if not earlier, there has been no center-left in Israel. Of course, there has been something referred to as “center-left” but that was only relative to the so-called Right of the Likud, Kadima, Shinui, Yesh Atid, and defunct parties whose names I forget. Former prime minister Ehud Barak managed almost single-handedly to destroy the center-left, which had supported recognition of the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination,…

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