The media in Israel is abuzz with the news that Tzipi Livni will bring her Ha’Tnuah party into a joint ticket with the much larger Labor party. Now there is a tandem that can outpoll Likud, they are saying. The Israeli center just might be able to assert itself in this election.
Permit me to throw some cold water on this excitement. Livni, who has been the lone voice in the current government who has actively supported talks with the Palestinians, is doing this because if she doesn’t, there is a very strong possibility that her party will not get enough votes to remain in the Knesset. Labor leader Isaac Herzog, who has very little international experience, ran for the party leadership based on his commitment to resolving the long-standing conflict with the Palestinians. As the prospective Number Two, Livni gives Herzog some credibility in this regard. Read more at LobeLog
Yesterday, an old Israeli “war hero” died. His name was Meir Har-Zion. He was a veteran of the Israeli military in its formative
Meir Har-Zion in 1954
years after the creation of the state, and we should look very carefully at the re-telling, upon his death, of an incident that took place in 1954.
The incident was an act of vengeance that Har-Zion, along with several accomplices, enacted in response to the killing of his sister, Shoshanna. We’ll get to it in a minute. But first, let’s understand how Har-Zion is viewed in Israel.
Moshe Dayan called Har-Zion “the greatest Jewish warrior since Bar Kochba.” That’s a description we should take a close look at. Bar Kochba is a Zionist icon, and a symbol of the nationalist revision of Jewish history. For most of pre-Zionist Jewish history, Bar Kochba was a very divisive figure, but the majority view of him was negative. He was seen as a false prophet (which he undoubtedly was) who duped the greatest religious figure of his day, Rebbe Akiva ben Yoseph (though some argue that he was not actually involved with Bar Kochba’s revolt) into supporting him and eventually led the Jews to final defeat and exile at the hands of the Romans. Continue reading
One of the greatest and most repulsive of tactics employed by repressive regimes and bigoted ideologues is the co-opting of the
Mandela’s image on a bad held by a San Francisco protester against Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2009.
[Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes, published under a Creative Commons license]
legacies of great figures in the fight for justice and freedom. It never fails to happen, and it is never anything less than morally reprehensible. Not surprisingly, there has been plenty of it since Nelson Mandela’s passing, and equally unsurprising, Israel has been among the leaders in this practice.
Now, let me be clear, Israel is not unique in this regard. Indeed, the lunatic right wing in the United States which has been so influential in destroying US politics and the US economy, which has led the US into disastrous wars that have wreaked havoc on the globe but which, thankfully, is at least losing the social battles in the United States has raised this practice almost to an art form. Consider the recent statement of GOP congressional candidate from Illinois, Ian Bayne, comparing the anti-LGBT, racist and …well, the list of bigotries is too long, statements of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson to the actions of none other than Rosa Parks:
“In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians…What Parks did was courageous. What Mr. Robertson did was courageous too.” Continue reading
While John Kerry was putting on a show in the Mideast, Congress was showing where the US really stands. I elaborate at Lobelog.
Stephen Hawking unleashed a storm this week by pulling out of an Israeli conference. I explore the response to the boycott movement more broadly at Souciant this week.
A broad overview of how much or how little is expected from Obama’s trip to the Middle East which starts tomorrow.
In my latest piece for Souciant, I look again at the shenanigans of Bibi and Barak and how Shimon Peres was so worried they might damage Israel’s “special relationship” with the US, he took unprecedented steps to stop them.