Looking at who won and who lost is not the way to analyze this move. The Prime Minister and his new vice premier have dealt a lethal blow to a political system that barely had any credibility left to begin with
“Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue”
— Billy Joel
When lying is something to boast about
Don’t get me wrong – there are a few things that could be good about the Bibi Netanyahu-Shaul Mofaz move that stunned us all this morning.
For example, it will give some more time for the opposition to get its act together, most probably bring about the evaporation of the pseudo-party known as Kadima and basically get rid of Yair Lapid. I can’t be honest and say these are bad things.
Remember that word. “Honest.”
But if that’s why you’re OK with this move, than you’re just not looking at the big picture. The big picture isn’t about which guy won and who made a more brilliant move. The big picture is the ever-widening gap between the public and the politicians it elects.
The big picture is the disgusting politics, reaching a new low. A political sphere that has lost any credibility whatsoever.
To think that the head of the opposition (for only a few days) could go on a rant in the Knesset calling PM Netanyahu a liar in March, and then join forces with him in May is simply outrageous.
And here’s what Mofaz wrote on his facebook wall on March 3 (my translation):
“Listen closely: I will not enter Bibi’s government. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not after I take the leadership of Kadima on the 28th of March. This is a bad, failing and deaf government, and the Kadima that I will lead will replace it in the next elections. Clear enough?”
To think that the head of the opposition can write that on his Facebook page in March and then sign a deal with Netanyahu in May – is spitting in the face of the public.
And Bibi, as prime minister, talking to the public, the press and during the Likud conference a few days ago about the elections – all the while never even intending to go to elections? You have to not give a hoot about the public to pull a trick like that. What a poker face. What hutzpah a guy has to have to even be able to do that! And not crack under the pressure!
The damage these two have done is irreparable. How can anyone take any politician, even those with good intentions (and there are a few!) seriously now?
#J14 and #Occupy
It’s this gap between the public and its elected officials that is precisely what #J14 and #Occupy are about.
Let me tell you something: there are a lot of analysts out there who are going to tell you, “Hey, calm down! It’s politics! This is all fair and square, it’s how you play the game!”
Bullshit. Sure, politics are dirty – but even politics have to have a limit, a red line, a certain connection to reality. It’s not some kind of different planet where other rules apply. Where you can lie and be considered savvy at the same time. Where the better liar you are, the farther you go. Where the more you disrespect the people, the longer you rule.
What is this, Russia?
And no, I’m not being naive. Because this is exactly what #J14 and #Occupy are coming to change.
While a whopping 80 percent of the Knesset is now sitting in the coalition, people may soon be surprised to find out that the opposition in the public, outside, is a lot higher than 20 percent.
Now we’ll have to see how this move will affect the renewal of #J14. Will it become more political? Will it be led by Labor? There were those who thought this summer would be smaller – but will people now even be angrier? And if it does turn political, is this a good thing? These questions will be answered sooner than later.
But there is a sense that now that Kadima has joined the coalition, the only ones left in the opposition – are the people.
Spitting in the face of women
Any person who gives a damn about women’s rights should be outraged at this deal, seeing as how Natan Eshel was the main architect of this fiasco. For those of you who forgot, Eshel was removed from his position as head of the Prime Minister’s Office after he admitted to holding “too close” a relationship with a female colleague, photographed beneath her skirt with his cellphone (apparently during Netanyahu’s speech in Congress) and went through her emails.
This man, despite everything, is still calling the shots.
And a lot of people are just, “oh well, whatcha gonna do?” with it.
I’m not “oh well” with this at all.
Spitting in my face, in the public’s face – and most of all, Bibi is spitting in the face of women.
Hopefully, the women of the opposition will spit back.
Not literally, of course.
Shelly Yachimovich leading Labor, Zehava Galon leading Meretz, and Tzipi Livni (who may join somehow, one way or another).
I have my issues with all three (quite a few, actually), but after last night, this trio looks like a dream compared to the disgusting male, macho,
Major Lt. General, Chief of Staffs, good ‘ole boy politics of this morning.
If you’re so smart?
Netanyahu is proving to be one of the smartest and slickest politicians this country has seen since it was born. With his latest moves, he’s leaving Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres and others in his tracks.
Which makes you wonder – if the guy is so smart, so wily a politician, getting whatever he wants, how is it that he is so weak on the diplomatic front with the Arab world?
If you ask me, it’s just further proof the guy can – but just doesn’t want to.
And it doesn’t end there: Now we know that Netanyahu could not only care less about Palestinians, he couldn’t give a hoot about Israelis, either.
There was a widespread assumption that these elections were a done deal, that Bibi would stay in charge. But, some polls were showing a slight movement. Lapid was biting a bit into Lieberman’s base, the right wing bloc was losing 1-2 mandates. Not enough, of course. But in four months in Israel, with the social protests coming – I think anything could have happened. Don’t know if I would have put my money where my mouth is, but still – if last night proves anything, it’s that nothing’s a done deal in Israeli politics.
But that’s old news now.
Yair Lapid must have had a hissy fit this morning. This is good. We like to see Yair Lapid have hissy fits.
He might still try to make it till the elections in Fall 2013, but I doubt he has that kind of strength to last it out. But who knows…?
Same goes for Aryeh Deri. Can he hold it out? Probably better chances for him than Lapid.
Anyway, Lapid out of the game is a good thing. Because he’s all hot air. Yet, I still would have preferred him in the Knesset to a 96-seat coalition led by fascists. (Did I mention you only need 80 MKs to overturn a Basic Law? Yeah, very positive, this move of Bibi and Mofaz. Go on, show me how this group of fascists, who went on a total assault on democracy when they were only 65 MKs is now a good thing. Show me!)
Kadima will lose even more. The similarity between this move and the one Netanyahu pulled earlier with Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Haatzmaut is striking. Both were done because Barak and Mofaz saw the end was near – and they did all they could to delay it just a bit longer, no matter what the price. To credibility, to truth, to integrity.
Kadima will vanish into thin air, or be gobbled up by the Likud. Either way, the Big Bang of Israeli politics that Ariel Sharon began is slowly coming to an end.
The agreement between Mofaz and Netanyahu calls for “an emergency budget.” That’s finance lingo for “more taxes.”
The Yom Kippur of Israeli media?
You have to hand it to Netanyahu and Mofaz – they kept it silent, according to some reports, for at least a week. Not one reporter managed to get a sniff of this one. And this isn’t some military action, some kind of secret intelligence operation – this is politics. Where everybody talks. And leaks (and reeks).
I’ve heard some colleagues call it the Yom Kippur of Israeli media. I wouldn’t go that far, but… it’s pretty embarrassing.
To sum things up…
For me, this is the slimiest move I’ve seen in Israeli politics.
It literally made me nauseous.
And as I said above, there may be some good things that come out of this. But ultimately, the price we, the citizens, the people, have to pay for merely a possibility of a stronger left-wing bloc, the possibility of a louder opposition, the possibility of a stronger #J14 – that price is too high.
Buying possibilities by giving up on the credibility of the whole system?
I’d rather gamble in Vegas.