Sunday, July 31, 2005

Liars pay a price.

A few days ago I sat in another one of those committee meetings where students who get caught cheating get tortured and/or expelled. It's excruciating for them but also for me. Most of them are really good kids who suffered a momentary lapse and who are getting seriously messed up. Ouch.

Later that day the head of the Shabak announced that the Shabak doesn't use agent-provocateurs posing as settlers and doing outrageous things to make the right-wing look bad. Having seen the depth of Shabak corruption in the Avishai Raviv fiasco, pretty much the whole country just shrugged and heaved a collective "yeah, sure".

Yet another example of liars paying a price is the Likud Opportunists (LOs), those Likud MKs who campaigned on a platform opposed to unilateral withdrawal from Azza and then supported it in exchange for goodies dispensed by Sharon. They also totally dissed their voter base by ignoring a Likud referendum that went against withdrawal by a 60-40 margin. They're all likely to get thrown out of office by the people who vote on the Likud's Knesset list, namely, the Likud Central Committee.

Apparently, the LOs smell impending primaries and have begun testing out their campaign spins. A few days ago, the Deputy Something Minister (DDM), who is a major LO, asked me to come in for some face-to-face. We both understood the game.
DDM: Wussup?
BC: Just do the shpiel.
DDM: let's-put-the-past-behind-us-and-look-to-the-future-bla-bla-bla
(This kind of reminded me of Woody Allen in Bananas: "I hope I wasn't out of line with that crack about the beady eyes.")
BC: That hitnatkut thing is a bit a hard to overlook. Where I come from politicians who change course are kind of expected to explain themselves to the public, not just say "I got elected so I decide."
DDM: Oh-you-know-that-Arik-ain't-he-a-number-bla-bla-bla
BC: So what merit do you see in the withdrawal?
DDM: We-get-to-pull-the-troops-out-of-Azza-and-we-get-international-legitimacy-bla-bla-bla (I'm skipping some details here but I was astounded to discover that he was even better informed than some bloggers who are experts on every topic.)
BC: The troops will be back in Azza in two weeks and the international legitimacy will be gone in two days.
DDM: We're-still-a-whole-lot better-than-those-creepy-lefties-you-don't-want-to-see-them-in-power-do-you-bla-bla-bla
BC: Ignoring the referendum wasn't so nice on your part.
DDM: our-lawyers-said-the-referendum-wasn't-binding-bla-bla-bla
BC: Not lying to your voters isn't binding either but those voters tend to be unforgiving.
DDM: we're-going-to-be-tough-as-nails-from-now-on-just-you-watch-bla-bla-bla
BC: You've got a bit of a credibility issue, you know.
DDM: judge-us-by-our-actions-bla-bla-bla
BC: OK, what about E1?
(E1 is the undeveloped area between Maalei Adumim and Jerusalem which is crucial if Israel wants to hold on to the settlement blocs of which Sharon often speaks)
DDM: You-betcha-we're-gonna-be-building-there-like-crazy-we-will-bla-bla-bla
BC: But I'm judging you by your actions which are that you haven't moved a single grain of sand there.
DDM: united-we-stand-in-the-government-divided-we-fall-into-the-opposition-bla-bla-bla
BC: Or possibly you won't stand in the government or fall into the opposition, you'll be looking for a job.


Anonymous daat y said...

great dialogue.And you were too nice to this 'bum.'

1:03 AM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Dude, when are you gonna run? I mean,

9:01 AM  
Blogger mnuez said...

I DID NOT hit "Login and Publish", perhaps it was s wandering soul in my big toe. (Fuck. Where's the chofetz chaim when you need him.)

Anyway, the dangers to your yashrus of actually involving yourself in public politics are well known and needn't be repeated. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal and I blindly trust that you would turn out to be the one pure and holy Jewish leader. Comeon Ben ~ I'd even say a few nice things about you in your comment section so as to give you a boost. Wadda you say??

9:05 AM  
Anonymous said...

The Likud is finished. Any politician that sells out to their base to the extent the Likud did gets whammed in the next election. There's is nothing those desparate souls can do other than angle for some silly job in the foreign service or some middling bank about to go bankrupt. They are finished.

Feiglin is wrong - taking over the Likud is not the way forward - finishing it off so they don't fool anyone any longer is.

The sad story about how David Tehori's son (Begin' right hand man from 1944 until he got elected PM) couldn't get even 100 shekel donations from current Likud bigwigs for his father's medical needs at the end of his life shows how low these people are. see This was a person that basically saved Begin's life and raised money for war pensions for Etzel veterans who couldn't receive them from the State when Ben-Gurion refused to acknowledge them as veterans. They were the fathers of these people now in the Likud. Tehori gave them of his own money to pay for their care.

The Likud is a thugocracy and needs to be destroyed - not rehabilitated.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous treppenwitz said...

I think that's statement might be a bit premature. The Israeli voters seem to be capable of incredible acts of political amnesia when they get in the voting booth. Unfortunately, this is what Israeli politicians count on when they abandon their stated policies for personal political gain time and time again.

4:33 PM  
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

so who do you vote for?
NRP? Granted they've preserved some idealism, but they don't have a realistic vision for the entire country, and they're still a bit too Rabbinically controlled. I don't like the religion-politics marriage in general.

UO parties? See above, except for the idealism.
Meimad? Not a player.
LAbor? Feh. At least a corrupt as Likud, and if Likud's too left, then Kal Va-Chomer Labor.

Who does that leave?
National Union? I'm scared of them. Haven't learned the meaning of 'diplomacy'.

Shinui? Some good economic policies, definitely attracting the bourgeoisie who want to be able to spend what they make, but they seem a bit too discompassionate and immature.

I hope to be voting in the next election in Israel, so I'm waiting for either NRP to open up, Shinui to grow up, or NU to calm down.

BC - are there other alternatives you care to share?

6:47 PM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

Ben-I admire your self-restraint. If I were meeting this reprehensible leech and heard him say this nonsense, I would want to punch him in the face. They don't care what happens to the people of this country-"settler@zion" is right, both the Likud and NRP must be destroyed. "Treppenwitz"
is not correct. Look how the Labor/Meretz vote has declined from 1992 (56 MK"s) to now (25). The voters have punished them.
Now the Likud must be destroyed. As to the question of whom to vote for-I am going to sit out the next election. I will vote if I see a Jewish/Zionist party with a collective, responsible leadership. The only way
to influence things is on the OUTSIDE. I know Israelis oppose the idea of Grassroots activism, but we are seeing the seed of it germinating with the popular "orange" movement against the destruction of Gush Katif. Traditionally, voter turnout for Knesset elections were over 80%, last time IIRC it was 60%, I predict that it will fall under 50% the next time. The voters are not fools are realize the elections are a farce, the question is how to motivate them to really demand something better and cleaner.

10:30 AM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

I forgot to add the there doesn't seem to be any prospect of this "Jewish Zionist party with a collective leadership" in the foreseeable future, so for me election day will simply be a nice, additional vacation day from work. The rot is simply to deep and it will take a major crisis to get the people of the country to wake up.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous treppenwitz said...

bar_kochba132... You make some excellent points about the shift in seats within the last couple of Knessets. However I would argue that thes points could support my case just as easily as yours. For one thing, I don't think the voter's dramatic flight from Labor was so much a punishment as it was a natural shift to the right that occurs during times of perceived danger. The labor policies are attractive to a prosperous population at living peace. The Likud's platform becomes increasingly inviting as external dangers and pressures mount on the security and economic fronts. As to your valid point about the decline in people turning out for the polls... this also seems to cut against your earlier argument (even if it doesn't really support mine). People who are motivated to punish their elected officials would not logically sit home on election day.

11:20 AM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

Treppenwitz--you are correct that voters shifted away from Labor/Meretz to the "right" (although we must include Shinui which is really a Leftist party but they say , unlike Labor/Meretz they don't like Arabs or other non-white people in order to fool people into thinking they are not on the Left). But I maintain this is only when the "right" actually seemed to be some sort of alternative. Today, we see that the Likud is no different than Labor/Meretz in being post-Zionist so many people, seeing no real alternative will simply drop out, as I intend to do.
I definitely meant what I said about the Likud being post-Zionist--there was an article in Ha'aretz about a discussion in the Knesset which proposed changing the National Anthem because it is "offensive to Arabs". Mickey Eitan of the Likud supported these changes. Thus, since so many say "only Sharon and the Likud can destroy settlements", then it is incumbent for us to sit it out (I will not vote for the Left under any conditions). All this means is that Israel is now entering a dark age, very much like the period of the Mityavnim (Hellenists) and we just have to wait for a new Mattityahu haHashmonai to raise the banner of renewal.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous said...

I think that Treppenwitz is overstating the case for a "shift" in votes a bit too much. Generations of Labor Zionists were taught (brainwashed?) to hate the Revisionists, Jabotinsky, Begin and Sharon. The Labor party could have turned the country into even worse than the Valley of the Shadow of Death that they turned it into and these voters still wouldn't have voted for any progeny of the Revisionist movement. While some of those 56 votes went to Shinui, it is probable to assume that most of the drop from the 80% to the 60% turnout were Labor voters staying home. The Zionist Labor hawks have disappeared. They have no party to vote for - but they still can't bring themselves to vote for the Likud. This is b/c of years and years of built up hatred.

The election results are a proportional calculation based upon the total of valid ballots cast for parties that cross the election threshold. Thus such a stay at home by Labor voters would account for the big increase in the Likud.

3:14 PM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

settler@zion is correct, the big dropout of voters up until now has been primarily voters of the Left, including Arabs (part of the Islamic movement tells it supporters not to vote), the next big dropout will be voters of the right, so the proportion of seats held by the Left in the next Knesset will be larger, but not due to any real shift in voter attitudes, as "settler" indicates. This perceived (but not real) increase of support for the Left will increase their arrogance and they will try to move faster in dismantling the Zionist state, more destruction of settlement, more attempts to secularize public life, more attempts to cut religious funding,
more attempts to create a "state of all its citizens". How the majority Jewish/Zionist public will react is the big question. What will it take for them to say "enough"!. A war with thousands of dead and wounded has not done it. It seems we have a people whose sense of morality (and even self-preservation) while existent, is dormant. Very sad, but not unprecedented in Jewish history.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous treppenwitz said...

bar_kochba132 and You both make excellent points, but I hope with all my heart that the conclusions you have drawn from your observations will not come to pass.

Ben writes frequently here about his ideas about drafting a constitution... I would be curious to know if he envisions any possiblity of a change in the way the Knesset and Supreme COurt are populated so that individuals in government have more personal exposure to public outrage if they act in bad faith.

12:28 PM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

Treppenwitz: As far as the technical aspects of electing the Knesset and gov't go, the only change that I think could make any real difference is going to a constituency system for choosing the Knesset members. All others, such a raising the percentage needed to get into the Knesset (ahuz hahasima), having primaries, etc are meaningless. The system is so corrupt none of those changes will make any difference. The ultimate thing that has to happen is for the population to say that they will no longer put up with a corrupt system and organize grassroots groups that will fight the system, but as I have said, all the Israelis who are involved in politics tell me "this is not American, people will not get involved in grassroots political activity". If that is so, then we are in for a prolonged dark age, as I said before.

7:36 AM  

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