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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yuval Diskin's tempest in a teapot

As I am sure many of you have already heard, over the weekend, retired General Security Service chief Yuval Diskin attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Rabin over their handling of the Iranian nuclear threat. While the reaction here in Israel has been largely mooted (except for an overdone piece about it on Israel Television's nightly news magazine on Sunday), it has drawn a lot of reaction abroad. It's important to point out, as Jonathan Tobin does, that the criticism is really a tempest in a teapot.
Though foreign news outlets treated Diskin’s remarks as a huge story Linkthat can be spun as part of a negative trend for Netanyahu, even the left-wing press in Israel is skeptical about that. Haaretz’s Yossi Verter noted that the personal nature of Diskin’s rant against Netanyahu and Barak at what he termed a “gathering of defense establishment pensioners” undermined their credibility. Unlike the foreign press, most Israelis are aware that Dagan’s animus against Netanyahu and Barak stems from the fact that he was fired from his post. That Diskin was passed over to replace Dagan may also explain his hard feelings. Moreover, the utter lack of public support for alternatives to Netanyahu or his policies makes farcical the claim in today’s New York Times that there is an “avalanche” of criticism about his stand on Iran.


The animus against Netanyahu and his center-right government from the defense establishment and the government bureaucracy as well as most of the country’s traditional media outlets is well-known. Their frustration about his survival in power is compounded by the fact that he appears to be set for a cakewalk in the next elections which, incredibly, some opposition parties are pushing to be advanced from their scheduled date next year. As journalist Amir Mizroch writes, Dagan and Diskin — two men with axes to grind against the prime minister – may be “smelling elections in the air.”

Although the Dagan and Diskin affairs are in a sense unprecedented, because until now Israeli defense and security officials have not misbehaved in this manner, what is going on is just Israeli politics as usual. If these men and those Israeli and foreign journalists who are trying to make this into a major story are frustrated and angry now, just imagine how they’ll feel after Netanyahu is re-elected.

And it's looking more and more like elections will be in August or September.

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At 11:46 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

I'm reading an interesting book right now called "Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest Hour." I bet PM Netanyahu has either read this book or knows this history without needing to read it here. Bottom line: the Brits had a huge number of info ops to try to get the U.S. to pay attention to WWII and engage. They had Edward Murrow giving on site reports of the London bombing, obviously Churchill giving amazing speeches... PM Netanyahu is doing what is appropriate to get his allies off the couch, just as Churchill, et al had to do... very interesting book and very timely.


At 12:51 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

It's remarkable how much this mirrors what any Republican president has to deal with constantly.

A plurality of Americans, including me, hold Netanyahu in high regard. He's seen as a straight-shooter, both reasonable in his outlook and policies and having the courage of his conservative convictions.

Netanyahu's speech to Congress back in May, 2011 was an oratorical masterpiece that resonated with a majority of Americans. He was warmly received by the Republicans in Congress and even the Democrats found it necessary to fake a sincere welcome.

If/when Netanyahu finds it necessary for Israel to make a military attack on the Iranian nuclear weapons facilities, his credibility with a majority of Americans will stand him and Israel in good stead.

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Just saw this from the IMRA twitterfeed:


New Wave Poll: Right has 64 mandates, 4.6% think Shaul Mofaz most appropriate to be next PM

Well, if the position rotates, then I hope they convince Bibi Netanyahu to get back to working on Israel's economy and to get the Start Up People out of the clutches of the Obama Marxist enterprise. Bibi did a good job springing your innovators loose and getting the govt out of the way enough for them to fly...

It's impossible to know about other countries' politicians, but I seem to remember Mofaz (and Barak) being very involved in the fabulous military upgrades you guys did about a decade ago. (But are Mofaz and Barak both leftists? Just can't tell about people anymore.)

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Defense Minister Rabin"?

I don't think so.


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