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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The New York Times gets Netanyahu all wrong

An appalling editorial that misstates facts right and left graces the pages of Sunday's New York Times. Who wrote it? I'd love to know....
Six decades after Israel’s founding, its citizens remain deeply at odds over the future of their democracy. The latest illustration is the disintegration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new governing coalition after only 10 weeks.
The coalition is just fine thank you. Kadima, a party that currently has 29 seats, but which polls say will drop to single numbers in new elections, has left the coalition. Why do you think they joined in the first place? Hint: It wasn't because they actually care about the issues.
But when Shaul Mofaz and his centrist Kadima Party joined the government in May, the merger created a much broader coalition. It seemed to give Mr. Netanyahu — a disappointing, risk-averse leader — unprecedented authority to get things done.
Actually, Kadima joined the coalition to save itself from electoral defeat. They latched onto one populist issue - the need for a replacement for the Tal Law - and hoped to use it to bootstrap themselves back into the Knesset. Recent polls make it clear that no one was fooled by that ploy.
Mr. Mofaz became deputy prime minister and outlined an encouraging agenda. The first priority would be integrating minority populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs into the military and civilian service.
Actually, one of the main reasons that the partnership with Kadima failed was the fact that Kadima was opposed to drafting 'Israeli Arabs.' They were only interested in 'getting' the ultra-Orthodox. The rest of the coalition had broader goals. No way you would know that from reading the New York Times.
The coalition would also revive peace negotiations with the Palestinians, pass a national budget and enact electoral reforms.
It takes two to tango on 'peace negotiations.' Is the Times even aware that Abu Mazen canceled a meeting with Mofaz? No Israeli coalition can decide to 'revive peace negotiations with the Palestinians' unless the 'Palestinians' also want to revive them. That is clearly not the case. The coalition actually did start work on a national budget, which is not something that happens overnight (although the Times is also loathe to point out that our most recent national budget - which was for two years - was passed more recently than the last Obama administration budget).
But the coalition quickly collapsed over the issue of military service, which has exacerbated tensions between secular and religious Jews and with Arabs. Secular Israelis are increasingly resentful of the tendency of the ultra-Orthodox to refuse to serve and to separate themselves from the country’s mainstream.

The issue came to a head after the Supreme Court invalidated a law that granted draft exemptions to thousands of religious students and mandated that it be rewritten by Aug. 1.
The Times acts like Mofaz joined the government after the court ruling. But that's not the case. The court ruling was the main reason Kadima joined the government. They saw an opportunity to save their political skins. It didn't work out that way.
There was also talk of doubling army enlistment for Arabs. Israeli Palestinians are not required to join the army, and most do not. Many feel like second-class citizens and are deeply conflicted about their place in Israeli society.
Whose talk was that? Not Mofaz's. And what's an 'Israeli Palestinian'? I would guess that anyone who describes themselves as an 'Israeli Palestinian' would feel quite conflicted about their place in Israeli society. But we refer to them as 'Israeli Arabs,' while some of them refer to themselves as 'Palestinians.' Unless the Times is referring to Arabs who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines, and no one is proposing to draft them.
Demographic changes are making political compromise harder. Experts say an influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union and a high birthrate in the ultra-Orthodox community mean that many Israelis have a cultural mistrust of the democratic values on which the state was founded.
Jews from the former Soviet Union and ultra-Orthodox Jews (especially the ones who come from New York City) have a 'cultural mistrust' of the 'democratic values' on which the state was founded? Who wrote that line? Bill Clinton? Two words: Prove it.
The Palestinian population is also expanding, hastening a day when Jews could be a minority.
Actually, the 'Palestinian population' is expanding at about the same rate as the Jewish population, and if the world would allow them to leave, many of them would opt to do so. So that line is nonsense. Based on current trends, Jews will not be a minority here.
Mr. Netanyahu’s past dependence on hard-line parties has manifested itself in aggressive settlement building and resistance to serious peace talks with the Palestinians — who themselves have not shown enough commitment to a solution. Without Kadima’s moderating force, these trends will continue.
Actually, Mr. Netanyahu has not built a single 'settlement' since taking office, implemented a 10-month 'settlement freeze' and has spent the last 3+ years calling for 'talks without preconditions' with the 'Palestinians.' It's the 'Palestinians' who have refused to come to the table. Oops.
There are other worrisome developments. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has expressed concern over “intensifying infringements on democratic freedoms.” In the past two years, activists say, more than 25 bills have been proposed or passed by the Parliament to limit freedom of speech and of the press; penalize, defund or investigate nongovernmental groups; restrict judicial independence; and trample minority rights.
I think that throwaway line was referring to this. It's been more than a year, and the NGO's still seem to be around. Hmmm.

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1 Comments:

At 5:01 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Carl, do you think most of the Kadima people who came into the party with Ariel Sharon will end up back in Likud?

 

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