Israel Shifts Rightward While Obama Just Shifts

President Obama spoke to the nation yesterday about his stimulus package. I will not covering his speech because I cover hard news. This was an infomercial.

I have stated that I would be a gentleman regarding Mr. Obama provided he did likewise. Last night he did not.

His constant criticism about President George W. Bush had all the feel of a campaign rally. I do not recall President Bush claiming that he inherited problems from his peripheral predecessor. Adults stop campaigning when the campaign ends. They get to work.

Not all of the press conference was blather, but enough of it was. He did manage to get away with evading an obvious attempt by Arab Terrorist Sympathizer Helen Thomas to criticize Israel for its nuclear ambiguity. Her rantings about so called “terrorists” were rightly ignored. Yet a republican President would never get away with brushing her aside, as much as she deserves it.

Yet his claim that his plan would be considered to have failed if he does not create four million jobs is pure nonsense. Again, by doing nothing, the economy will create that many. If a stock drops from $100 to $5, Obama cannot get credit if that stock then reaches $10. It is called a dead cat bounce. The economy will create more jobs than that no matter what.

So again, anything good that happens is because of him, and anything bad is because of his predecessor.

When the current President starts showing some class, that class will be returned.

Anyway, today is not about trying to nail Jello to the wall. It is about important events actually occurring. Regardless of who wins the Israeli election, the country has shifted to the right. Thank Heavens for this. “Not a moment to soon” is an understatement.

I was on a conference call with a senior adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu. Unless given clearance, I cannot discuss the identity of the adviser.

Nevertheless, his analysis was as uplifting as it was sobering. He made three basic points.

The first point is that there has been a big shift in Israel to the right.

Kadima should drop from 70 seats to 55 seats. Likud (the mainstream conservative party in Israel, akin to the republicans) has lost 4 or 5 seats to the far right.

There is confusion over the idea of only one vote. If people think they can vote for the Likud Party, but then a far right candidate for Prime Minister, this is not the case. They only get one vote.

Kadima is getting 2 to 3 seats that were held by Labor.

The right will win, but maybe not Likud. 70% of people think that Bibi (Netanyahu) will win. This makes them comfortable to support the far right. Bibi would win over Tzipi Livni (Kadima candidate) by 15% without the far right.

The second point is that far right candidate Avi Lieberman is gaining. He has said that “there is no citizenship without loyalty.” This means he will take a very hard line regarding Israeli Arabs. Russian Jewish Emigres like him. He has gone from 12 to 13 seats to a projected 18 to 19 seats.

The third point is the prediction of 66 seats for Likud. Arab turnout is expected to be very low.

Either Labor gets 15 seats, or Ehud Barak (Labor Candidate) is gone.

The polls are narrowing (Between Livni and Netanyahu), but the block on the right is strong.

If Bibi loses by 1 or 2 seats instead of winning by 3 or 4 seats, Lieberman will still prop him up.

The right is more homogenous than in the past. In 1996, Likud was more Dovish. Now, Likud is more to the right.

The adviser offered some more analysis.

80% of Israelis don’t believe that a peace agreement is imminent. Israel has rejected the approach to peace that has brought more terror. Israel is not anti-peace. They are anti a failed approach.

There will be a strong right wing knesset. The left has moved to the center and the center has moved to the right.

However, Lieberman is a one person party, not an ideology or an ethnic bloc. Most far right parties, and there are 6 of them, have something beyond the personality of the leader.

Unity comes in the form of the rejection of unilateral Israeli withdrawal.

At the risk of overexplaining the commentary, I will do so only because it was a fascinating learning experience for me. Also, it reminded me why I feel Israel is ungovernable.

I believe in the two party system. Coalition governments often fail because people with 5% of the vote can blackmail parties with 40% of the vote. Despite rhetoric on both sides, extremists normally do not get elected in America. Even if they do slip through, realities of a moderate center-right nation force moderation.

Israel caters to the extremes. A straight up match between the center-right and center-left would give the center-right a landslide victory at this stage in Israeli history. Yet in theory, the right could win many more seats, yet the center-left could take the Premiereship.

The key is whether or not people feel safe that Netanyahu will win on election day. The narrowing polls actually help him. Support for Likud slipped when people felt that their win was “in the bag.” The possibility that Bibi could somehow lose is forcing people to do what happens in America. Starry eyed dreams are being replaced with cold eyed pragmatism.

If Bibi loses, it will not be because Israel has stayed left of center. It will be because Bibi was considered too moderate. Yet Livni is spending her final days on the campaign trail cozying up to the left, holding rallies with transsexuals in a last ditch attempt to coopt a truly dying labor.

Livni is trying to forge the “Third Way,” that Bill Clinton and Tony Blair forged in the 1990s. Yet war cannot be triangulated. This is what Hillary Clinton found out.

Israel would face plenty of controversy if Livni won over Bibi by one or two seats, but did not become Prim Minister. Avi Lieberman would not want to destroy his own future by dealing with anybody but Bibi. Bibi will still ascend, but the left will have so much venom that it will make Al Gore voters seem adorable by comparison.

It would be better for the country from a governance standpoint if Bibi wins decisively, only because the right is expected to win big.

The issue will not be one of ideology, but of degrees.

Israel has shifted to the right. The only question is how much.

For this, with or without a Bibi majority, the non-terrorist world will be better off. After all, Israelis want peace. They just want security first.

Unlike Barack Obama, who does not want to deal with Likud, Israelis have to live there. Terror does not get cured with platitudes.

Like Barack Obama, the opponents of Bibi try to do their impersonation of Jello. Like Barack Obama, Bibi’s opponent’s truly are Jello. Yet somehow, unlike Barack Obama, Bibi’s opponents have been caught against the wall. Their policies have failed to deliver peace or security.

Ironically enough, the only hope for the left is that voters go so far to the right that they neglect to elect Likud.

No matter what, Israel is now a conservative country.

Good luck Mr. Netanyahu.


13 Responses to “Israel Shifts Rightward While Obama Just Shifts”

  1. Most Israelis are turned off by pretty much all the options they have at the polls and the turn-out proves that. The race is as yet to close to call, so I think you’re getting ahead of yourself here anyway. I predict there will be a center-right coalition but that it won’t last long. It will fail for two reasons – one, the global economic crisis cannot be successfully addressed by righwingers and so Israel’s economy will stumble under their guidance, and two, the “power” method of bringing peace will fail, as it always does, and people will see it pretty quickly.

    We shall see soon enough.


  2. thepoliticaltipster says:

    Although a stimulus is needed to enable consumption to be maintained while consumers de-leverage, I’m not enamoured with either version of the bill. It manages to spend a lot of money on ad-hoc measures rather than needed projects, such as nuclear power stations and high-speed rail. It also contains a bailout for those feckless enough to have bought into the property bubble, in the form of a $10,000 dollar tax credit. However, the GOP version is, if anything was worse. Not only is cutting taxes is a bad idea as a purely short term measure, because they have a nasty habit of becoming permanent (when the US structural deficit will mean both raising taxes and moderating spending inthe longer term), but the estate tax abolition will only help the super-rich.

    Obama’s “show pony” experience in the Illinois state senate (where he did little more than turn up for the signing ceremony) and the US Senate (where he got the grand total of one bill written into law) is clearly showed during its passage. While Obama is second to none at behind the scenes politicking and an admittedly inspirational speaker, he is vulnerable to a direct challenge. For instance while he showed un-paralleled deftness in forcing the super delegates to back him before Hillary Clinton could recover her momentum, his initial responses both to the selection of Palin and the TARP crisis were pathetic (although both would end up being clear negatives for McCain).

    This weakness (and the fact that he realises that his foreign policy agenda is not particularly popular) is the reason why he has tried to push through his policies by co-opting potential opponents, leaking contradictory signals to the press and by doing things as quietly as possible. While this strategy may (unfortunately) enable him to implement the policies that are within the purview of executive power, such as foreign policy, it works less well in negotiations with Congress (or at least not if Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are on your side).

    Of course this has not been completely negative for Obama. It is now certain that the bill will pass. Obama also has managed to drive a wedge between moderate and conservative Republicans – and strengthened the hand of the latter. I firmly agree with those that suggested that his attack on Limbaugh and snub of Palin at the McCain dinner were deliberately aimed at bolstering their standing within the GOP. Nonetheless, this does provide a template that can be used to make a rush for the exits in Iraq and unconditional negotiations with Iran politically dangerous for Obama (which should force him to be more cautious and less dovish that he would like).

  3. Dav Lev says:

    During the campaign for the Democratic candidate, Mr. Barack Hussein
    Obama promised to withdraw ALL our troops within 16 months after being elected President.

    Many moons later (actually rotations around the sun), Obama still promised the same, but this time with the condition that events on the ground should justify the withdrawal.

    During the second Bush administration, the Maliki government, along with
    the approval of the Iraqi parliament, came to a deadline for US troops
    to be out of Iraq. In effect, they created a timeline, something Bush was
    adamently against (John McCain rightly noted that timelines just embolden
    the enemy).

    Can anyone imagine if we gave Eisenhower and Patton timelines to
    defeat the prior to the Battle of the Bulge? One of my uncles fought in that battle…it was a slaughter on both sides. Then he
    and the army went into Germany…and finished the job of destroying
    Hitler and his buddies.

    In fact, that battle was lost by the Germans mainly due to the horrendous
    winter weather.

    Had we given the Japanese a timeline, before the atomic bombs were dripped, what then? They had 5 million men and women ready (some with
    pitchforks), to take on the several US divisions that were prepared to invade. It is estimated that there would have been 1 million US casualties
    had we invaded (prior to Hiroshima).

    Anyway, Mr. Obama has CHANGED virtually everything on his agenda during the campaign, from credits to small business, to upper income tax increases, to his position on Afghanistan, etc.

    He has consistently however advocated diplomacy..with a military
    strike (against Iran) as the court of last resort (read, no resort).

    Okay, let’s give the President the honeymoon of the remaining
    70 plus days to talk, to engage, to negotiate with Jong, Ahmad,
    Assad, Chavez and Castro. I am for that.

    We all know the results, that absolutely nothing will be accomplished,
    except to allow Iran more time to test an atomic device, and No. Korea
    more time to build plutonium bombs. Then the fur will fly, right here
    to our cities.

    In Israel, as noted by this blog site’s article, the population has shifted
    to the RIGHT. About 17 years ago, I wrote the Israeli consulate my concerns about Camp David…and how Arafat was demanding more and more, and threatening violence if not adhered to. Israel originally offered
    about 60% of the West Bank..then 80, then 90, then 97%. Typically,
    Arafat said no. He wanted it all, including dismantling ALL the settlements.
    Israel offered 3% of it’s land in exchange AND a corridor from the Strip to Jericho, (West Bank) if I recall. Arafat wanted complete sovereignty over that strip of land. Israel refused.

    The demand by Arafat that ended this charade, was the recurring matter of the so-called “Right of return”. This allowed any Arab who left Palestine or offspring, to relocate to Israel proper.

    That’s like bringing in 300 million Chinese during the Korean War, or 50m VC during the Vietnam War to the USA. No way, no how.

    For those interested in the real story of the conflict, please read,
    Joan Peters, “From Time Immemorial”. In fact, the Arabs replaced the
    Jews in Palestine, not the reverse. All of the former British Mandate
    was to be a Jewish homeland..not just 10,000 square miles west of the Jordan River, interrupted by so-called Palestinian territories.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, most Israelis, in their understandible quest for peace with the Muslims, have forgotten Israel’s violent history, it’s existence hanging by a thread over 48 years.

    Israel desparately needs a constitution..(Iraq has one now). Israel needs to completely change it’s system of governing, from a 60 party country with a weak Prime Minister, to a strong P.M, and a balance of power with it’s parliament.

    Israel, after todays’ elections, should begin the process of CHANGE.
    Unlike Obama’s recipe for change from the bottom up (does he
    mean 10m on his email list?), Israel needs to reduce it’s party system
    to 2-4 parties..left, middle, right, Arab.

    If the Arabs stay out of Israeli society, then let them pay the consequences. (as the Sunnis did in Iraq). Sooner or later they will realize that they also need some clout to gain any benefits.

    I would go further,…as a test of loyalty, I would require all Muslims
    in Israel, who are citizens, to participate in Israel’s future..a sort of
    Muslim peace corps. I would continue not taking them into the army
    for obvious security reasons. However, they could handle some
    jobs..working in hospitals, etc.

    I am against a loyalty oath. Recall that Israel required a pledge by
    those terrorists freed from jail to sign oaths, absolutely worthless, and
    counter productive.

    I cannot understand why Israel did away with the direct vote for Prime
    Minister, frankly?

    We in the US can survive with someone like Obama and his
    gaggle of advisers, (people who are not and were not novices to economics). Israel
    has no such luxury. We must understand it is a tiny country, with
    a miniscule population, less than 7 million, in an area the size
    of one-half San Bernardino County, California.

    As far as the Arabs, they are already maligning Bibi. So what else is new under the M.E. skies?

  4. “During the campaign for the Democratic candidate, Mr. Barack Hussein
    Obama promised to withdraw ALL our troops within 16 months after being elected President.”

    NOT TRUE. Obama has ALWAYS stated that withdrawal was dependent on the facts on the ground relative to the secuity of Iraq and safety of American forces. He has ALWAYS also asserted the need to maintain a security force for the embassy and any assistance asked of the Iraqi government, as well as keeping force to counter terrorism in or around Iraq.

    “Can anyone imagine if we gave Eisenhower and Patton timelines to
    defeat the prior to the Battle of the Bulge?”

    COMPLETELY IRRELEVENT. Active fighting has long since ended in Iraq. This is an occupation of a now sovereign state, not war against a hostile invading military. I can’t even begin to imagine how anyone could draw such a ludicrous parallel.

    Israel will not change all that much from this election. Informed observers accross the board ackowledge there is a deep divide in the Israeli body politic about what to do and how to do it. The next coalition wil be so tenuous as to almost guarentee it will not last the next four years. And if the Rightwing has it’s way wit hthe economy, I 100% guarantee the country will move right back to the Left in little time.


  5. Micky 2 says:

    “NOT TRUE. Obama has ALWAYS stated that withdrawal was dependent on the facts on the ground relative to the secuity of Iraq and safety of American forces.

    There you go lying again.
    He hadnt even made up his mind yet during his campaign and you say “ALWAYS”?
    Obama has campaigned on removing combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. But yesterday in Fargo, North Dakota, he told reporters: “I am going to do a thorough assessment when I’m there. I’m sure I’ll have more information and continue to refine my policy.”

    Not to mention that in two years I heard him go from “immediately”, to 12 months, to a year and then right after Bush met with Maliki is when he started adhering to the 16 month number only because Bush and Maliki had already agreed to a “foreseeable horizon” that involved the same strategy that Obama is now trying to label as his.

    “the “power” method of bringing peace will fail, as it always does,”

    Another lie since true power has never even been exercised yet.
    True power would be to just finally once and for all push the little bstrds right into the Meditteranian, clean Iran and Syrias clock and dust of their hands.

    That is true power and what needs to be done but there is yet one leader with enough balls to stop screwing around with repeated leftist failed policies and just do what needs to be done once and for all.

    I’m afraid that by the time that person shows up it will too late.
    Iran will have its bomb.

  6. Micky, your article cites no proof whatsoever. Try again. Obama has never once asserted that he would pull our of Iraq completely, let alone that he would pull out regardless of the facts on the ground. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain stupid.

    The “power” strategy has been Israel’s ONLY strategy for years and years and years, and has always just maintained the status quo. The only success they’ve ever had was with Egypt when they sat down together, made mutaul concessions, and acted like adults.The power strategy WILL fail again. I guarantee it.


  7. Micky 2 says:

    What do you mean cites no proof ?

    he said it right there in quotations that he will “refine his policy”.

    More little girly junior high debate tricks ?

    He has “asserted” a whole bunch of times that he would pull out immediately. In addition he never said he would confer with the generals in the beginning and on the contrary rejected the surge., his own website, mentioned during the primary Obama’s plan to withdraw ou troops from Iraq was immediate.

    “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.”

    So far, he has not lived up to his word, and any troop removal so far was a result of prior removals instituted by the Bush administration months ago.

    “Anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain stupid.”

    No one here thought that, so it was really stupid of you to say that since the words out of Obamas mouth were during the primary debates that he’d have our troops out of Iraq “within 6 months” of assuming office.
    Then on January 15, 2008, he changed it to the end of 2009 (a little over 11 months)when he said this
    “I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out by the end of 2009. ( DO THE MATH JERSEY) We already saw today reports that the Iraqi minister suggests that we’re going to be in there at least until 2018, a decade-long commitment.” So that was an increase of 5 months.
    Obama’s current plan is to have troops out within 16 months, another increase of 5 months.

    And now he even wants to delay the 16 month timetable.
    “WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence. ”

    So you see Jersey, anyone who hasnt noticed that withdrawal dates and timetabless have been all over the place, is the idiot.

    And the bottom line is this.

    Dav Lev said :
    “Obama promised to withdraw ALL our troops within 16 months after being elected President.” You said that was “NOT TRUE”.

    Well guess what buddy !!!!!!!!!!

    It is true.

    “The “power” strategy has been Israel’s ONLY strategy for years and years and years, and has always just maintained the status quo.”

    Once again. learn to read !!!
    Real power has never been used !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ” The only success they’ve ever had was with Egypt when they sat down together”

    Another failure that worked out real well for Sadat. And if I’m correct, Palestinians are launching boms as of yesterday.

    “The power strategy WILL fail again. I guarantee it.”

    Once again, real power has never been used, so your argument is moot.

  8. Again, Micky, what would you have Israel do? What is this “Real power” that’s never been used? Total genocide? Nuclear war? Really, Micky, what is this “real power” you speak of?

    As for Obama, I’m done with this parsing nonsense. If we’re still all-in in Iraq a year from now, and nothing has changed to explain it, then I’ll be mad at Obama for breaking his word. For now, I’ll comfortably assume he’s being prudent with yet insipid debacle the Bush administration left him.


  9. Oops!

    “yet insipid ANOTHER debacle the Bush administration left him.”


  10. Oh man, I got it wrong again. Eric? Some help please? I’m trying to blog and play games and do taxes all at the same time here. Please?

    Thanks, JMJ

  11. Micky 2 says:

    “Micky, what is this “real power” you speak of?”

    Jersey, I’ve made it clear many times now exactly what I would do but for some reason you cant get it thru your skull that I’m talking about beating this threat into the ground, whatever it takes.
    Listen, read, consume it, soak it it up and pass it thru your mond one more time.

    “Whatever it takes ”

    If all the Palestinians need to beat to a pulp and whats left exited from Gaza, so be it.
    And at the same time disable Iran and Syria.
    If that means a full blown invasion or tactical nukes, so be it.

    Look at what Clinton did with Saddam and Al Queda.
    Ya know, a couple pot shots here and there just to keep everyone happy and no real serious effort and then look what happened once plans were allowed to come to fruition.
    No ones gonna be happy until genocide is commited against the Jews again.
    And seeing as how its enemies have said that this is their wish, I suggest we do the same to them before they get their wish.
    Its common sense.
    A movement with the same objective almost wiped out my people once before and here comes another movement with the same objective based on the same doctrine as the last movement.
    Oh ! O.K., lets play volleyball with them for 60 years and keep applying a million different versions of the same failed policies all based on the delusion that there can be peace, that’ll solve the problem.

    Idiots. Idiots. Idiots.

    Obama will break his word, hes broken it on almost every issue so far.
    His withdrawal dates have been all over the calendar since he started campaigning, only someone whos been in a coma wouldnt of noticed the expedient changes.
    Obamas administration was supposed to begin it’s first 100 days with a power clean in washington, remember?
    He said over and over and over again that his administration would have ‘the highest of ethical standards.
    Yea right. Tax cheats galore, a key nomination withdrawal because of a fed investigation, stimulus porkulus filled with democrat paybacks and back scratches, lobbyists, approaching a 4 trillion dollar deficit in less than 3 months, and he hasn’t even been in office a month yet.
    Transparency ?
    yea, its all pretty clear to me

    “For now, I’ll comfortably assume he’s being prudent with yet insipid debacle the Bush administration left him.”

    Assumption is actually one of yours and the Obamanites biggest problems.
    Assume nothing, he wants you to be stuck in the deceptions of hoping hes got it right.
    Besides that, the war is won, now were just figuring out how to settle down , maintain the peace and get Iraq to fend for itself.
    Hes not really fighting much of anything in Iraq anymore as the Iraqi forces have taken over 75% of the provinces.
    We’ll put up a few bases here and there in case of any flare ups and start keeping an eye on the middle east from our perches in Iraq, which was the whole intention from the beginning.

  12. Micky 2 says:

    I should quoted this on behalf of the Jews, they’re really not “my people”

    ” movement with the same objective almost wiped out my people once before”

  13. Dav Lev says:

    Doesn’t this sum it all up? After an initial delay of several days, it was
    reported that two submarines struck one another in the Atlantic.

    Now, you say, so what, why is that important except to the sailors?

    Okay, let me explain. These subs were British and French.
    Both countries have their lefist, pro-Palestinian, pro-Muslim extremist groups which regularly call for Israel’s destruction, or at least a boycott.
    Numerous British academic and labor union groups have launched
    boycotts of Israel these past few years.

    London, both from my readings as well as personal interviews with tourists from the US, is an open city. allowing most any kind of speech.

    So, back to the subs. They were carrying about 100 nuclear missiles in

    Each missile is equivalent to six times the awesome power of the bombs
    dropped on Japan during WW2.

    Isn’t this where it’s all at? While little Israel, in defending itself
    against it’s sworn enemies, next door, is condemned for taking
    defensive or offensive actions. Yet, even no one has threatened or has
    attacked Britain or France, it has subs patrolling equipped with these doomsday weaponry?

    I guess the world wants Israel to be good Christians and turn the other cheek all the time., while neither France nor England, will turn their cheeks. In fact, they will blow entire cities off the map, if provoked.

    Like in everything else, Israel is judged differently.

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