Bringing Bibi down

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Over the past week, two writers published columns in foreign newspapers. One received wall to wall coverage in Israel. The other was completely ignored. The contrasting fortunes of the articles are a key to understanding the central challenges to Israel’s democratic order. 


Last Friday, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief peace negotiator with Israel published an op-ed in Britain’s Guardian newspaper in which he declared eternal war on the Jewish state. This he did by asserting that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that does not permit the immigration of some 7 million foreign Arabs to Israel will be “completely untenable.” 


So as far as the supposedly moderate chief Palestinian negotiator is concerned, a peace deal in which Israel cedes Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the Israeli Left desires will not be sufficient for the Palestinians. Unless Israel also agrees to commit national suicide by accepting 7 million foreign Arabs as citizens, the Palestinians will continue to wage their war. With or without a Palestinian state, as long as Israel exists, the Palestinians will continue to seek its destruction. 


The second article was Tom Friedman’s latest column in the New York Times. Throughout his interminable career, Friedman has identified with Israel’s radical Left and so been the bane of all non-leftist governments.  In his latest screed, he compared Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to someone in the throes of an LSD trip. Friedman harangued Netanyahu for failing to convince his cabinet to agree to the Obama administration’s demand to abrogate Jewish property rights in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem for another 90 days. He argued that by doing so, Israel – with some help from the Palestinians – is destroying all chance of peace.
So on the one hand, the chief Palestinian negotiator declared eternal war. And on the other hand, Friedman condemned Netanyahu — for the gazillionth time. 


And characteristically, the Israeli media ignored Erekat’s article and gave Friedman’s screed around-the-clock coverage. 


DESPITE ITS hysteria, the media has not fooled the public. The Israeli people don’t need to hear about Erekat’s declaration of war to know that the supposedly moderate Fatah party is just as committed to Israel’s destruction as Hamas. Israelis know that the majority of terrorist attacks carried out by the Palestinians since 2000 have been conducted by Fatah. They know that the US- and EU-financed and trained Palestinian security services commanded the Palestinian jihad that began in 2000. They know that Fatah is behind much of the political warfare being carried out today against Israel throughout the world. 


The disparity between the pubic and the media comes across very clearly in a poll released last week by the Brookings Institute. A mere eight percent of Israelis believe that Israel and the Palestinians will achieve a lasting peace in the next five years. 91percent of Israeli Jews and 88 percent of Israeli Arabs think either that more time is needed or that there will never be peace. 


Despite the sentiments of the public, there is a class of Israeli leaders that acts as though peace is just around the corner and that the public expects them to deliver it. Not unlike Friedman, for the most part these politicians argue that the Israeli government bears either sole responsibility or the lion’s share of responsibility for the absence of peace. 
Consequently, they argue that all that is required to achieve peace is an Israeli leader willing to do what it takes to make it happen.  


Over the weekend, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak were in Washington for the annual Middle East peace process conclave at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum. In their addresses to the forum and in media interviews, both politicians followed the Israeli media’s lead by ignoring Erekat and parroting Friedman. 


Barak brazenly rejected the policies of the government he serves by calling for the division of Jerusalem in the framework of a final peace accord with the Palesstinians.


As for Livni, she eschewed every semblance of propriety during her stay in the US capital. During a joint appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” with the unelected Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, Livni viciously attacked the Netanyahu government. Livni criticized Netanyahu for not accepting the Obama administration’s call to abrogate Jewish property rights. She attacked him for not forming a leftist government with Kadima and Labor. She made it clear that she doesn’t believe that Netanyahu is interested in peace. 


Echoing Barak’s assertion at the Saban Forum that being a Zionist means supporting a Palestinian state, Livni argued that by surrendering to the Palestinians, and agreeing to every US demand, Israel is advancing its own existential interests.
On the so-called Palestinian refugee issue, while stipulating that Israel could not accept immigration of foreign Arabs to its truncated borders, she said nothing about Erekat’s Guardian article. And she voiced no objection when Fayyad intimated that a Palestinian compromise on this issue is not in the offing. 


From Livni’s perspective, the only one acting in bad faith is Netanyahu.


Barak and Livni’s behavior was not wrong simply because it is classless to attack your country’s elected leadership while visiting in foreign lands. It was wrong because in behaving as they did, they showed extraordinary disrespect for the 92 percent of Israelis who do not share their professed belief that peace is just around the corner. 


So what were they after in Washington? Why did they embrace the views of a mere 8 percent of the electorate while treating 92 percent of their countrymen with contempt? And why did they choose to launch their assault on the government from Washington?


livni clinton.jpg
IN TRUTH Barak and Livni were simply following what has become the standard operating procedure for leftist politicians over the past twenty years. They were playing to two constituencies that they prize more than they prize the public. 


They were playing to the US administration and the Israeli media. 


Barak is an old hand at this game. During Netanyahu’s first tenure as prime minister, Barak used then president Bill Clinton to bring down Netanyahu’s government and get himself elected in his place. After Barak made clear that he would be far more accommodating towards Yassir Arafat than Netanyahu was, Clinton went out of his way to demonize and isolate Netanyahu. He pressured Netanyahu’s coalition partners to abandon his government. And when Netanyahu’s government finally fell, Clinton dispatched his senior political strategists James Carville, Stanley Greenberg and Robert Schrum to run Barak’s campaign. 


Since Netanyahu appointed him Defense Minister, Barak has been racking up frequent flier miles on th
e Tel-Aviv-Washington line. Barak travels to Washington at least once a month. Amazingly, he always happens to come home with recommendations consonant with the administration’s whims.


Livni was similarly richly rewarded for her willingness to attack Netanyahu while sitting next to Fayyad on American television. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton treated Livni like the most esteemed politician in Israel. Clinton steadfastly ignored the fact that 91 percent of Israelis think Livni’s views are utter nonsense. And after accusing Netanyahu of lacking the courage to embrace the cause of peace, Clinton ostentatiously hosted Livni for an hour-long private meeting.


Livni’s party Kadima is a media creation. Whereas every other political party in Israel was formed by citizens who felt they needed to organize politically to empower their voices, Kadima was the brainchild of the media. The media colluded with Likud leaders who were disenchanted with their voters. The likes of Ha’aretz, Yediot Ahronot and Channel Two convinced these Likud politicians to join forces with breakaways from the Labor party, who also held their voters in contempt. 


As Barak’s rise to power in 1999 makes clear, the media’s bid to demonize the Right and undermine Israel’s alliance with the US in the hopes of restoring the Left to power is nothing new. But this week, a leading media siren was kind enough to expose the media’s entire strategy for disenfranchising the public. Ha’aretz’s veteran columnist Akiva Eldar performed this service in a pair of articles published Tuesday in the Guardian and Ha’aretz.


akiva-eldar.jpgEldar co-authored his Guardian article with his comrade Carlo Strenger. It was their response to Erekat’s declaration of eternal war. 


Eldar’s main message to Erekat was that he should keep his plans to himself. Certainly he shouldn’t be blabbing about them in a place the Israeli public was liable to see them. It could wreck the media’s entire plan to discredit the government. 


Eldar and Strenger scolded, “Erekat”s article is disappointing. He is not just a private citizen, but the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, and he knows Israel and its internal dynamics very well. He knows that raising the right of return at this moment plays into the hands of Israel’s right wing: they will be able to say: ‘We always told you so: the two-state solution is just a Palestinian plot to incorporate the Jewish state into the Greater State of Palestine.'”


But then again, as Eldar showed in his article in Ha’aretz, Erekat doesn’t really have anything to worry about. Eldar and his comrades will keep the Israeli public in the dark about Erekat’s determination to destroy Israel.


Ignoring completely what Erekat wrote, Eldar’s column in Ha’aretz started where Friedman’s ended. He placed all the blame for the absence of a peace process on Netanyahu’s shoulders. He accused Netanyahu of destroying Israel’s alliance with the US by not embracing Obama’s latest request to abrogate Jewish property rights in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. He then claimed that due to Netanyahu’s behavior, the Obama administration has decided to follow in the Clinton administration’s footsteps and overthrow his government.


As Eldar put it, “When Clinton recently invited Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to a private meeting, this signified an unofficial announcement that Netanyahu’s account in Washington has been closed.”


He continued, “Twelve years ago, when Hillary Clinton’s husband realized that… [Netanyahu] had no intention of honoring his signature (on the Wye River Accord with Yasser Arafat), that was Netanyahu’s last stop before being sent back to his villa in Caesarea.”


So this is the game. The media and the US administration are again colluding with the Israeli Left’s political leadership to overthrow the Netanyahu government. They are willfully ignoring both the will of Israel’s voters and the declared commitment of their favorite “moderate” Palestinians to fight Israel until it is destroyed in order to blame the absence of peace on Netanyahu. 


THIS GAME can stop. But two things must happen first. 


The Obama administration and the US foreign policy establishment that supports it must pay a price for seeking to undermine the elected government of the US’s most important strategic ally in the region. And Israeli voters – who gave Kadima more mandates in the Knesset than any other party in the last elections – must abandon Livni and her Astroturf party. 


Until these things begin to happen we can expect our media to continue to collude with their American partners, and with Livni and Barak to undermine the will of the public. 


Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 


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  • Marcel 12/17/2010 at 12:42

    ‘THIS GAME can stop. But two things must happen first’.
    I agree that this game can stop but there is only one terrifying thing that will happen which will forever change the equation,something that those who look to the little god’s just can’t imagine or see coming.
    It will shake them and the world to their core.
    This life and death game has One in it which almost everyone is ignoring.
    He always keeps his word unlike politician’s.
    He has promised to “>”>
    cut in pieces any and all who meddle with His mandate centered on Jerusalem.
    The chief meddler just can’t help themselves and are driven to destruction by their arrogance.
    I beleve the God of Israel with my whole heart and this is why I am watching China play their throw away pawn North Korea while the Bear and his little pawns prepares to make their move.
    Remember the picture of Amadinejad at the anti-Zionist Confrence in Tehran and the two globes ? The one of the US hitting the ground first and the second one ,Israel in freefall ?
    One thing about Israel’s enemies ,they are open and honest in their intentions unlike the false peace hustlers in Washington who use the peace to destroy Israel.
    Just as the God of Israel raised up King Nebuchanezzer and the Babylonian Empire to target His own people Israel He has a plan to neutralize the proud meddler Empire who have stuck their finger in His eye.
    Israel will be forever cured of her penchant for idolizing and serving the Eagle and the Left and Kadima will be a passing thought of the past.
    Once the U.S. is no more the issues you raise will be mute and Israel will have to move onto other matters.
    Israel’s stumblingblock will be no more and will no longer be restrained against her enemies under a US led false peace and have to FACE the One they have ignored so religiously for so long.
    Peace will only come by way of Him and only after the rats are removed.

  • roth11570 12/17/2010 at 13:16

    As usual Caroline Glick hits the nail on the head. The one change in the article I would make is in the title. I would call it Bringing Israel Down.
    The news media blackout of Erekat’s call for the destruction of the State of Israel is no surprise. Today, I am told that (in Hebrew) Dore Gold’s comments in Yisrael Hayom also exposes Erekat and the PA’s agenda in a way that most Israelis have not seen.

  • Jacob Weis 12/17/2010 at 13:44

    I’m dumbfounded by Mr. Friedman’s ignorance regarding the middle east dynamics. Doesn’t Mr. Friedman know there is no partner for peace on the other side? A perfect example is Gaza, The Israelis got out of there and in return they got rockets.How does the leadership in the east bank explain that behavior? They don’t even control their own people. America is trying to shove a peace agreement down Israel’s throat without looking for its best interest. Israel is such a small state surrounded by enemies. Before any leader signs any peace agreement he/she has to look at the long term consequences. On the other hand I disagree with you regarding Israel’s being the most important strategic partner of the US. That scenario was true in the 70’s and 80’s but since the iron curtain crumbled, America has Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia just to name a few as more important strategic partners than Israel because by lining up with these allies they don’t inflame the Arab world, thus, they use them when ever needed more so than they use Israel and we saw it in both of the Gulf wars. Israel has no strategic value anymore in America’s eyes and that is showing in the way it’s being looked at lately. In that regard I identify with Tom Friedman; He speaks as an American that looks solely on America’s interests and if Israel doesn’t want to do what it’s asked for than who ever pays for dinner should stop. If I support my child constantly, yet my child doesn’t want to take any of my advices, and repeatedly do things to harm my interests or feelings in that regard, than at some point I will stop supporting him/her and tell him/her to go on his/her own. In essence that’s exactly what Tom Friedman is saying.

  • Jazzper 12/18/2010 at 14:26

    Israel may be a small state but the U.S. has made it the military bully of the middle east. Stop crying how small you are while annexing any land you can. The reason there will never be peace is because both sides fantasize that god is on their side. It is like a sporting event with each team thanking god for a score only with Israel it is usually for a war win with U.S. weapons.If there is a god,which I doubt,would he have allowed the holocaust,the use of nuclear weapons or even earthquakes killing children. It’s fine to believe in whatever fairy tales you choose but in the middle east both sides take drastic policy measures using their dueling mythologies. If it wasn’t so deadly it would be funny.

  • Peter42y 12/18/2010 at 14:49

    I was a bit bewildered , shocked.You did not publish my post about antisemitism in europe.
    Not even the jews( You are a Jew) publish heartfelt testimonies of people victim of antisemitism.
    I am not a jew but because I supported Israel people thought I was , I was seen as one , and I was insulted.., persecuted.
    Even today antisemitism does drive me crazy.
    I was chating with a portuguese friend.
    Nazi extermination camps became the topic of the talk.
    ” The objective of auschwitz was to exterminate every jew “.
    My friend did reply :
    Average P Antisemite :
    ” But they did not manage kill them all. The proof is that they are here. You know. I have met some israelis. They are not good people. “.
    Peter : ” There were 3 million jews in Poland , before the war. After the war there were none “.
    Average P. antisemite :
    ” You know..; Economic power.
    ( She was implying jews were exterminated during WW2 because they had too much economic power )
    But they ( the jews) are like rabbits “.
    – She said.
    Average P. Antisemite :
    ” I went to a elite school and I met jews. I did not like what I saw.
    ” Fanatism and ignorance never brought anything good to the world ” – She said.
    ” I once met a jew that went to Israel and received military training. She was a fanatic.
    She joined a black guy in that school and used to attack everything and everyone.
    Recently I met colleagues that work for jews and they claimed that the jews
    are not good people .
    By the way : Throughout history avarice is associated with jews .
    Peter : I think You are being racist.
    Portuguese are antisemites.
    We massacred jews back in 1560 .
    Average P. Antisemite :
    ” Now way. We are not antisemites. We have always protected the jews. “.
    ” The jews were being persecuted elsewhere and found an heaven in Portugal ” – She replied back.
    Peter : Does show her wikipedia.
    1506 – 2000 converted jews massacred in Lisbon.
    Average P. Antisemite :
    You only read foreign sources.
    The jews in Portugal were always protected…..;
    End of quote.
    I took the pain to translate a MSN chat to show you what antisemitism is.
    You live in Israel and the US.
    I doubt you have ever experienced such ingrained prejudice and hostility towards the jew.
    The final irony :
    Caroline , a jew , does not bother to publish a true account of some one who was victim of antisemitism .
    Only someone who has lived througt that experience knows what does it feel to be victim of a prejudice that is there and its impossible to erase.
    No need sophisticated explanations for the hate towards israel.
    Part of it is rooted in antisemitism.
    Mister barack with operations cast lead does not help either, like it or not.,

  • naomir 12/18/2010 at 20:27

    Shavuah Tov Caroline, another excellent article. I’m certainly not surprised and neither should anyone else with an iota of common sense be at Saeb Erekat’s article especially calling for the “return” of 7 million Arabs to a land that was never theirs to begin with. That the Palestinians don’t want peace with Israel is a given. They’ve certainly mentioned it often enough in every conceivable fashion and their demands border on the absurd. Thomas Friedman has gone Erekat one better. As a Leftist Jew he is despicable, willing to sell out his own people for promises that the Obama government has no intention of keeping. Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak in power would be suicidal for the Jewish state. It is surely time for Israelis to take back their country and stand solidly behind Netanyahu. Bibi may not be the strongest leader Israel has ever had, but he cares about his country and his fellow Jews. With G-d on our side and the public solidly behind Bibi, Israel will endure.

  • paraclete 12/21/2010 at 1:18

    Brava, Caroline.
    Indispensable, as always.
    I’m surprised to learn anyone still takes Friedman seriously. Maybe more so there than here in the States. No one I know ever mentions him anymore. I stopped following him right before 9/11…right about the time he went over the edge. Meanwhile, the electorate here has certainly woken up, thanks to some strong tea…and the poll numbers you cite indicate the people of Israel are similarly alert. If Bibi can hang on for awhile, he should find a kindred spirit in the next president. She will be Israel’s best ally since Truman.

  • HP 12/22/2010 at 13:01

    Israel has to hang in there and wait out Obama’s term in office, hoping he does not overly complicate things for the Israeli government. By all reasonable accounts he will be a one-term only president (shades of Carter)and the next administration is unlikely to be as ideologically hostile to Israel


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