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Emet m'Tsiyon

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Shall Israel Elect a Gross Liar and Fraudulent Party to Mislead the People?

Have people noticed that in many ways the new Blue-White party of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid has been trying to persuade people that it is much like Likud, but more "honest"? Moreover, Gantz, Lapid  and their strategists wanted to  be seen as patriotic, whereas patriotism is often seen as "rightist." That is why they called their party Blue-White, the colors of Israel's flag although the colors have little ideological content and do not disclose what their policies would be if elected.

In fact, Lapid himself stated on TV that Blue-White was much like Likud, "like Likud used to be" is how I think he put it. Gantz stated in a speech that the distinctions between "Right" and "Left" are not what they used to be. That is often true and I myself believe that the notion of a right-left political and ideological spectrum is very unhelpful for understanding politics today, if it ever was helpful, perhaps at the time of the revolutionary Assembly in France after the 1789 revolution. In those years, the seating in the Assembly was arranged in a semi-circle and parties that were more moderate or conservative were seated on the right and those more radical to the left. However, politics is three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional as on a spectrum.
That brings us back to Israel.
In the 1992 election campaign, the Labor Party pretended to be very similar to Likud but without "corruption" while they accused Likud of being corrupt [מושחתים נמאסתם]. Indeed, this was apparently the design of Haim Ramon who was, as I recall, running the Labor campaign. Enemies of Labor accused the party of trying to be Likud B. Well, what happened was that Labor came out ahead in the elections, partly because several national camp parties did not make it over the percentage threshold of votes, although the national and religious camp did obtain more votes than the so-called Left. And then, after forming a coalition government with the anti-national Meretz party and the ultra-orthodox Shas, Shimon Peres and his poodle, Yossi Beilin [according to Rabin], made the horrendous Oslo accords with the PLO, whereas PM Rabin had promised during the election campaign that he would not deal with the PLO, yet was presented with the fait accompli of the Oslo negotiations by Peres who had started negotiating with the PLO behind Rabin's back. The Oslo accords did not bring peace nor even a lessening of terrorist murders but in fact a sharp increase in terrorist murders. Oslo was a disaster, a death pact, not only for Israel but for people the world over as Oslo quietly encouraged mass murderous terrorism not only against Israel but in many countries, from the USA to France to India to Kenya and Nigeria, etc etc. The Oslo accords set a bad example for the world because they legitimized a band of mass murderous terrorists, they  legitimized mass murder and murder in general. And the relations between Jews and Arabs within the country, within Israel, have worsened. The Oslo Peace was no peace at all.

I see that same thing happening again here in Israel as in 1992. A party that wants to give away parts of the Land of Israel, as Gantz has strongly hinted [unilateral withdrawals in order to "separate" from the Judea-Samaria Arabs], is at the same time pretending to be like the Likud but cleaner, straighter more honest. Yet Gantz is hardly honest. The state controller recently released a report that showed that a now bankrupt company formerly headed by Gantz had obtained a contract with the Israel Police without a proper tender for offers, being issued. The state controller also reported that Gantz' firm had misrepresented important information to the Police. This happened while Gantz was head of the company. The suspicion is of improper collusion between Gantz and the Police Commissioner, ash-Sheikh.

Gantz is also loose with the truth when it comes to smearing Netanyahu. Near the start of the election campaign, about two months ago, Gantz in a speech accused Netanyahu of being an army shirker. Gantz claimed that Netanyahu as a young man had left Israel to go to the United States, specifically to Boston, where he spent much time going to fancy cocktail parties. This is a filthy smear. In fact, BB's father, Professor Netanyahu, had gone to the USA to teach on a university level, and took his children with him. Benyamin Netanyahu lived just outside Philadelphia [not Boston] in Cheltenham Township. And he attended middle school there and later went on to be a student at Cheltenham High School. After graduating high school he came to Israel to join the army, whereas he could have stayed in the USA [although his father would likely have objected]. He followed in the footsteps of his brother Yonatan, Yoni, who was the commander of the Israeli operation to rescue hostages from Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Yoni, z'l was shot and died in the operation, the only soldier to die in it. BB too served in an elite commando unit as an officer. He was hardly a shirker of army service.

And another thing, Gantz also insinuated that BB was not an authentic Israeli, that he was too American. For those unacquainted with Israel and with the anti-national camp, called the Left, that is a fairly common insult for "leftists" to make and I myself have suffered the insult -- and from a "leftist," a member of the anti-national Meretz Party. But it is an ugly prejudice and where is it most common? I already said that.

More personal lies about Netanyahu are detailed by Ruthie Blum in her column in the Jerusalem Post:
Blue and White Party chairman Benny Gantz crossed a rhetorical redline this week that made every other malicious maneuver of the current campaign, on both sides of the political spectrum, seem like child’s play. . . .  Gantz likened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Yes, the leading contender in the race for the premiership actually compared the incumbent leader of the only democracy in the region . . . to a radical Islamist autocrat, who imprisons anyone he deems a dissident. . . .
[Ruth Blum pointed out that Erdogan has conductedStalin-like purges and [has] absolute control of every sector of Turkish society. . . . Unlike Turks subjected to Erdogan’s repressive rule, after all, Israeli citizens enjoy human and civil rights.
. . . . 
The future of Israel, he reiterated to the Times of Israel, “is at stake. As a democracy, it is at stake. I’m not saying the problem is coming here tomorrow, but the trend is very, very, very dangerous.”

There’s irony for you.

The so-called “dangerous trend” to which he was referring is actually a positive progression in a system based on the will of the people, not the whim of despots like Erdogan.

Israelis enjoy free speech, for instance, but do not wish to spend their tax shekels on “art” that portrays them as murderous thugs. Hence, Culture Minister Miri Regev’s policy of being discerning when it comes to funding projects has been welcomed by the public.
Nor do Israelis appreciate the degree to which the courts have become interventionist in political matters. This is why, to give another example, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s moves to clip the wings of the judiciary have been widely popular. . . . .
Meanwhile, Netanyahu – whose “attacks on everyone, including the media” are a cause of such great concern to Gantz – is the one under constant assault. He is investigated by the police, hindered by the courts and eviscerated by the press. Whether it is wise of him to lash out verbally in return is arguable.

WHAT IS NOT a matter of debate, however, is that the situation in Turkey is just the opposite. Erdogan has incarcerated thousands of judges, policemen, professors, politicians and members of the media. In fact, Turkey today is reportedly the world’s largest jailer of journalists. 

Given Gantz’s impressive display of ignorance throughout the interview – including admitting to the two journalists gently grilling him, “Listen, you are more experienced than me” – it’s no wonder that he has spent the bulk of his newfound political career looking pretty and keeping his mouth shut. . . . 
Gantz made a final fool of himself by saying that at times, he has been forced to stoop to Netanyahu’s “low” level of campaign discourse – “but in principle, I think that Israel deserves something more respectful, more statesmanlike, more serious. So I try to maintain the high ground as far as possible.”

Really?

Equating Netanyahu with Erdogan is not just the antithesis of “respectful, statesmanlike and serious.” Nor is it simply a form of hitting a political rival below the belt. It is utterly immoral, and should be viewed with the horror it deserves.
- - - - - - - - - - - - Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, 6 April 2019 - - - [also see]- - - - - - - -

Do you get the picture? Various interests in Israel and abroad want to get rid of Netanyahu because he is too successful a leader. Because he is too good for Israel. So they found a former commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, a mediocre general at best, and gave him backing in the form of money and campaign strategists, to go after Netanyahu, supposedly surpassing Netanyahu in the areas that Netanyahu's base is supposedly concerned with, security, defense [in one early video, Gantz boasted of how many Arabs he had killed], good government, and democracy, and for good measure they got two more former commanders-in-chief [Ya`alon & Ashkenazi] to join his ticket plus the former journalist, Yair Lapid, who already had a party organization and had served in Netanyahu's previous govt, 2013-2015, as an incompetent treasury minister. Does it exculpate or incriminate Gantz that his smears of BB were likely proposed to him by his so-called strategic advisors provided by his moneyed backers? The lie about Netanyahu being an army shirker probably was unfavorably received by the public since it has not been repeated. Too many people know about Netanyahu as an officer in the elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, which among other things rescued hostages on a Sabena Airlines plane hijacked to the main Israeli airport by terrorists. BB was wounded in that action and in at least one other combat encounter.
Lapid in 2013, like Gantz now, got a lot of favorable media attention during the  election campaign. As for Lapid's military service, unlike Netanyahu, he served in a rather cushy unit, you might call him a chocolate soldier. He worked on the staff of a weekly magazine published by the army, BaMahhaneh במחנה, which was freely sold throughout the country. Lapid's father was a prominent journalist which probably explains how he got assigned to a desk job. Gantz's disdain for army shirkers does not seem to apply to Lapid, or maybe politics makes strange bedfellows. 
Just one last thing about Lapid. When ex-US prez Obama visited Israel in 2013, there was a receiving line for him at the airport, and most ministers were in the line. Going down the line, Obama stopped for a minute or more in front of Lapid, longer than with anybody else. They looked each other in the eye. And as I recall, Obama told Lapid that he expected to be working together with him in the future. Together with him, with Lapid specifically. What does that tell us about possible connections between Lapid and Obama that have not been reported in the press?
- - - - - - - - - -
MORE ON GANTZ
BBC timeline of Gantz' military career and criticism of him by the state comptroller [here]
BBC bio sketches of various contenders in the 2019 Israeli election, see the section on Gantz in particular [here].  See part of the bio sketch on Gantz below:
"Mr Gantz's election ads have trumpeted his military record, featuring a body count of Palestinian militants and scenes of destruction from the war in Gaza that he oversaw in 2014. [emphasis added]
"Seeking to draw right-leaning voters away from Mr Netanyahu, Mr Gantz has talked tough on Iran and echoed the prime minister's positions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He has avoided mention of a two-state solution and ruled out unilateral withdrawals in the occupied West Bank, pledging to bolster large Israeli settlement blocs there and maintain the IDF's freedom of action throughout the territory. Settlements are seen as illegal under international law, although Israel disagrees." [BBC here]
The BBC clearly shows that Gantz is echoing Netanyahu's positions in order to draw Netanyahu's voters. But his dishonesty is obvious. Echoing BB's positions is a demagogic ploy. He cannot be trusted.
In another post, I will present some info about Gantz's incompetent or mediocre army career filled with contemptible actions and decisions. 
[this blog post was slightly revised on 9 April 2019]


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