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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Benito Gantz Talks & Acts like a Dictator -- Israel's Democracy in Danger

Fraud is a common feature of politics, Who would deny it? A blatant contemporary example is the so-called Blue-White Party in Israel. Blue and white are the national colors of Israel, appearing on the flag. Hence, the Blue-White Party wants to be seen as patriotic. It pretends to be nationalist, often called "right-wing" in Israel although that term is often misleading. To further the ambition of Benny Gantz to dominate Israel's government, it was necessary for his party to pretend to be national or "right-wing." This is because  the "left-wing" Labor Party had led Israel into the disastrous Oslo Accords, which multiplied the number of Israelis being murdered in terrorist attacks. And was thus discredited. So "left-wing" became an ugly, threatening term to most Israelis. Therefore, a party had to seem non-"left" or "right-wing" or national in order to win enough votes to form a govt with other  parties in a coalition.

Staying with the Israel Labor Party, although one would think that a labor party would automatically be considered "leftist," the Israel Labor Party pretended to be "rightist" or national in the 1992 elections. In fact, some journalists complained in 1992 that the party was "Likud B." In other words, the party was too close to the Likud in its election rhetoric. It was imitating Likud. Yits'haq Rabin who was at the top of the party's list, and therefore would become prime minister if the party succeeded in forming a government, promised repeatedly that he and his party would not negotiate with the  PLO. We now know that the party, perhaps through Shimon Peres, was negotiating before the 1992 elections with Arab parties, such as Hadash, which was the Israel Communist party but with a chiefly Arab voting base and with Arab nationalist policies and rhetoric. After the election, Yossi Beilin was sent by foreign minister Peres to negotiate with the PLO and these ill-starred negotiations took place in Oslo, Norway, as part of the Norwegian contribution to world terrorism, which the Norwegian govt of the time would have called helping  the "peace process." Perhaps Rabin was sincere in his promise not to negotiate with the PLO. But Peres was able to work around him. It seems that Rabin did not not know about the secret Peres-Beilin-PLO talks in Oslo and was then presented with a fait accompli by Peres. Rabin had previously called Peres "a tireless subverter" [חתרן בלתי נלאה] and he had called Beilin "Peres' poodle." As prime minister, Rabin should have known better than to trust Peres.

This history of the Oslo Accords is very relevant for what is now going on in Israeli politics. Gantz and other party members of Blue-White claimed over and over that they would not try to form a minority govt supported from outside the government by the frankly anti-Israel group of parties in the Joint Arab List.
Just before last week’s election, Yair Lapid, the No. 2 in Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, wrote on Facebook that his party could have formed a government after the previous election in September with the support of the Joint List of Arab parties. But it decided not to. “We won’t form a government with the Joint List. Period, exclamation mark. Whatever you choose.” [Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, 10 March 2020]
Gantz even went so far as to call prime minister Netanyahu a "liar" for forecasting that that is what he would do after the election. Now, after the election on 2 March, last week, it turns out that Netanyahu was right and that Gantz was unjustly calling him a "liar" for his accurate forecasting. Gantz is hardly one to heed the will of the people if just one week after the election he is already breaking an important promise to his voters. Gantz is not democratic and is a habitual liar himself. We will get to that later.

First, the Israeli system needs explanation. There are 120 members of the parliament, the Knesset. They are elected by proportional representation. That is, the total vote is counted and parties that get more than the necessary threshold of vote percentage [3.25%] will get seats divided up by the percentage of votes for each qualifying party or party list. If a party list gets approximately 10% of the votes, it will get10% of the seats, that is, 12 out of 120. Since a party never gets half or more of the seats [61], it has to form a coalition. In the last three elections, neither major party [neither Likud nor Blue-White] has gotten enough seats among the Jewish parties [most of which have some Arab or Druze voters] to form a govt even in coalition. The Arab parties (including the Communist Hadash), being anti-Israel and Arab nationalist in rhetoric and policies, have never been part of a coalition [alhough the Communist Party in 1948 signed the Israeli Declaration of Independence]. So there is good reason not to include them in a coalition --as opposed to individual Arab politicians considered loyal to the state who have been in the government.

As Benito Gantz has been speaking in favor of forming a minority government supported from outside the govt by the Joint Arab List to provide a 62 seat majority, two members of Blue-White, considered "right-wing," have spoken out publicly against the very idea. Gantz naturally became angry with them, although they were only insisting that the party hold to Gantz' own promises to the voters rejecting the very notion of a govt based on the Joint List [including Communists and Islamists]. What Gantz said to these two members of his own party elected on the Blue-White list to the Knesset is very interesting and instructive. He did not merely tell them why he thought they were wrong and he was right, he put it this way:
Gantz however issued a statement saying “In Blue and White there can be a variety of opinions, but there is only one position and one decision - that of the chairman of the party. Not that of senior officials or associates.” [Jerusalem Post, 10 March 2020]
Benny Gantz issued this statement. But it could just as well have been issued by another Ben, Benito Mussolini. Or Stalin, for that matter. The party leader is called by Gantz the "chairman" as in Communist countries where the top dictator was the chairman of the Communist Party. Is there any doubt that this Benito is a danger to Israel's democracy and a danger to the Jews?

Just to add a little extra sweetness to our portrait of Benito, let's look at what he said last Saturday night. Netanyahu gave a speech to members of Likud in which he severely criticized Gantz. Gantz responded with a speech of his own in which he threatened civil war. Of course, he charged Netanyahu with threatening or working towards a civil war due to Netanyahu's alleged "incitement." But the charge of incitement has been used all too often here in Israel in order to silence political opponents. In fact, Gantz and some of his Blue White comrades have been inciting against Netanyahu by gross lies [here]. Here are beauties from Gantz' speech on Saturday night:
"The Right in recent in weeks are [sic! should be "have"] left no room for no [sic!! This second no does not belong here] doubt, Netanyahu is threatening a civil war with his call of incitement. I stand here in front of you in the name of many people on the Right and Left and say: it's time to heal Israeli society from the plague of hatred," [i24news]
In fact, Gantz has been smearing Netanyahu since his first major political speech in February 2019 [here].
Gantz is far from being a true military hero. He was a mediocre general at best. In Yiddish we can call him Ah gantser gornisht [ א גאנצער גארנישט], a total nothing!! On the other hand, Netanyahu served in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. He took part in various missions, such as rescuing the passengers on a Sabena [Belgian] airline who were hijacked to the Lod airport here in Israel by terrorists.
Now for the good news. It seems that Orly Levy Abecassis has served as the Queen Esther of our times --on Purim appropriately-- and rescued us from the nightmare of a minority government dependent on the hostile Arab parties who had already warned that they demand a high price be paid for supporting Gantz' would-be govt from outside. For instance, they ruled out any future major military action against the Hamas jihadi terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Orly Levy, daughter of a Likud foreign minister, joined with Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel in refusing to back Gantz in his endeavor to form a minority govt supported from outside by hostile Arab parties.
Whereas Hauser and Hendel belong to Blue-White and were elected on its list, Levy Abecassis was elected on a joint list of her party, Gesher, along with Labor and Meretz.

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