Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Update Wednesday March 19, 7:00 PM: I have just received a detailed and convincing message from the director of Kolech reiterating that they have no connection with Mossawa and will demand that their name be removed from the list of partners in the initiative. I regard this matter as closed as far as Kolech is concerned. The behavior of those who signed the mendacious letter (Jafar Farah of Mossawa, Francis Radai of Hemdat and Gilad Kariv of the Reform movement) bears further investigation.
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The economist Harold Hotelling once observed that the rational course of action for a political party that is the most left (or right or whatever) among those competing would be to move to the point just left (or whatever) of its nearest competitor. As a result political parties will all inevitably drift towards the center.

What Hotelling doesn't take into account is that parties don't always seek to maximize their voter base. Here's another dynamic I have seen. The party that is most left (or right or whatever) necessarily becomes home to all the moonbats who have nowhere more extreme to go. The moonbats then either take over or become the audience to which those in charge need to appeal. Moonbats are not pulled by gravity towards the center; they are driven outward by centrifugal psychic needs.

Here's an interesting example. In my previous post, I discussed the constitutional proposal of the IDI and the extent to which it is pareve on the Jewish character of the state. As you might have surmised, however, even this proposal is way too Jewish for some. The "Future Vision" document, published by a group of Israeli Arab intellectuals calls for completely removing any Jewish character the State of Israel might have. This includes changing all state symbols, revoking the Law of Return and much more. In addition, Israel must atone for its colonial roots by granting special privileges to Israeli Arabs. (Of course, all this in Israel proper; Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza get their own state in addition.) It's worthwhile to read the full document; if you can't, here's the NYT coverage.

(I haven't gotten to the example yet; bear with me.) One of the organizations that participated in preparing that document (and the source of the above link to it) is Mossawa. The head of Mossawa, Jafer Farah, was also a member of the steering committee that produced the "Future Vision" document. Jafer Farah and Mossawa are now leading an effort to either change or abort the Knesset's effort to produce a constitution. They refer to the influence of the IDI (not mentioned by name) as pulling the process too far rightward and note with dismay the participation of "religious and haredi" MKs in the committee meetings.

Mossawa is not working alone. The letter they sent out seeking support for their initiative notes that a number of organizations are working with them. Here's the critical paragraph in full:

את המהלך מובילים, מרכז מוסאוא לזכויות האזרחים הערבים בישראל, המרכז לפלורליזם יהודי של התנועה ליהדות מתקדמת וחמד"ת – האגודה למען חופש מדע דת ותרבות. הארגונים החברים ביוזמה זו: האגודה לזכויות האזרח, מוסאוא, המרכז לפלורליזם יהודי, חמד"ת – האגודה לחופש מדת ותרבות, נעמת, הקשת הדמוקרטית המזרחית, שדולת הנשים, יוזמות קרן אברהם, אג'נדה, ויצו, ידיד, טבקה, אדווה, האגודה להגנהעל משפחות מעורבות, אגודת להט"ב, קולך.

Kolech?! An organization that identifies itself, on its website, as apolitical?! If you donate to Kolech but don't wish to be party to Mossawa's initiative, you might want to ask them what this is all about. Their email address and phone number are on their website.

Update Wednesday 4:30 PM: Since a number of people asked, both here and at My Obiter Dicta, the facts are these. The letter from Mossawa clearly states that Kolech is a partner in this initiative. This letter, with a request for clarification and a warning that it would be publicized, was brought to the attention of the Kolech office on Friday March 7 and acknowledged on Sunday March 9. After further pestering, Kolech promised a response "at the beginning of next [= this --BC] week". After a further nudge on Tuesday went unanswered, I posted the above. I quoted the paragraph in full so that I could not be accused of misinterpreting or quoting out of context.

I am active in several organizations and I can tell you one thing: If some other organization circulated a letter that misrepresented me, I'd be on their backs immediately and I'd certainly try to get the truth out as quickly as possible, especially if someone specifically inquired about the matter and expressed an intention to publicize it.

In any case, after posting the above, I received email from Channah Pasternak, director of Kolech, informing me that Kolech has never had any connection to Mossawa. She adds that her response was delayed due to illness.

That should close the matter as far as Kolech is concerned. Now, who wants to follow up with Mossawa and the others who put out a mendacious letter? The letter was signed by Jafar Farah of Mossawa, Francis Radai of Hemdat and Gilad Kariv of the Reform movement.


7 Comments:

Anonymous kolech said...

To all,
Kolech-Religious Women's Forum has no connection with Mossawa, no cooperation with anything concerning the constitution or any other activity.
Kolech is currently checking it's standpoint concerning the constitution in the context of women in general and observant women in particular. This is clearly a defamation approach and certainly gossip. This is Kolech's formal response

12:08 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Kolech,

This is neither gossip nor defamation.

The letter circulated by Mossawa clearly states that Kolech is cooperating with their initiative. This letter was brought to your attention over a week ago and you had ample opportunity to state that it was incorrect. You chose not to do so even after being prompted multiple times.

Ben

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Aviad Stollman said...

Ben, This is pure Lashon haRa. I am really surprised that you publish unverified information. I expect from people of your caliber much more than I expect from journalists in Haaretz and beSheva. Instead of admitting that you were wrong and apologizing, you prefer to put your trust in Mossawa's information.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

read Amnon Lord's column from two weeks ago http://www.makor1.co.il/makor/Article.faces?articleId=29148&channel=1&subchannel=2

The left is much more influential than indicated by just the left-most party. It should come as no surprise that a loud and shrill organization such as Kolech is affiliated with the radical left.

from the article:

ההתפתחות של השמאל הישראלי וזיקתו ל'תנועת השלום' או ל'מחנה השלום' היא סיפור מרתק, שלדעתי לא סופר מעולם בצורה אמינה ומלאה. הוא סופר בחלקו על ידי דמויות שהיה להן עניין לאפוף את פועלן במיתוס – כמו אורי אבנרי ואחרים.

כדי להבין את זה צריך קודם כל למפות את האוכלוסיה המדוברת, שלעיתים נקראת גם "השמאל הישראלי". כמו בכל העולם המערבי, גם בישראל האוכלוסייה הזאת מורכבת מגרעין קשה של קומוניסטים, שסביבה מעגל צר אבל חשוב של מה שמכונה "פלאו-טראוולרס" (חברים לדרך); אלו אנשי שמאל, בעיקר אנשי רוח בולטים, שעושים בדיוק מה שמוכתב להם על ידי הגרעין הקומוניסטי, אך אינם בפועל חברי מפלגה; לידם, ערב רב של אינטלקטואלים מבולבלים הסובלים מרפיון מחשבתי, צבועים למיניהם המחפשים פופולריות או מקובלות חברתית, אנשי דת הרעבים לפרסום, בעלי מקצוע המתמחים בניהול קמפיינים, סתם שוטים גמורים, והרבה צעירים שמוכנים תמיד למרוד נגד משהו. גם אם האוכלוסייה הזאת לא שווה יותר מכמה מנדטים בכנסת, היא בהחלט מסוגלת למלא כיכרות לעת פקודה, ויש מתוכה ודאי נציגות מכובדת בכלי התקשורת. לנין כינה אותם האידיוטים השימושיים. זה הגיס החמישי האמיתי, שהסובייטים הפעילו וניצלו לטובתם לאורך עשרות שנים במדינות המערב, והיום עושה זאת האסלאם הרדיקלי במלחמתו בישראל. למזלם של האידיוטים השימושיים בישראל, יריביהם בקצה השני של הקשת הפוליטית הם סתם אידיוטים.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Tyrone said...

The "Future Vision" document, published by a group of Israeli Arab intellectuals calls for completely removing any Jewish character the State of Israel might have. This includes changing all state symbols, revoking the Law of Return and much more. In addition, Israel must atone for its colonial roots by granting special privileges to Israeli Arabs. (Of course, all this in Israel proper; Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza get their own state in addition.)

Thats a good start.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Skeptic said...

Hotelling's observation is only valid in a two-party system. It is worth pointing out that voting systems in general only have nice theoretical properties when there are one-peaked preferences, or when there are only two choices, or both. Fortunately politicians and business people are cleverer than economists, and real economies and commonwealths are quite stable even though their theoretical analogs blow up.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Kolech is supported by the New Israel Fund. I'm not sure that this is much "better" than being connected to Mossawa.
http://www.nif.org.il/?id=982

10:27 AM  

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