Some of us saw this comingCaroline Glick wrote a brilliant column over the weekend, but ultimately she still fails to recognize that the current Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, whom she strongly backed, is no different than Ariel Sharon whom she blames for most of Israel's ills over the last decade. And many of us saw it coming two years ago.
As we move into the second decade of this century, we need to understand how the last decade was so squandered. How is it possible that in 2010 Israel continues to embrace policies that have failed it - violently and continuously for so many years? Why, in 2010 are we still ignoring the lessons of 2000 and all that we have learned since then?Netanyahu didn't belatedly embrace the 'peace process.' He embraced it long before he became the Likud's candidate for Prime Minister, because he felt that he could not get enough support from the Left to form a government without embracing the 'peace process,' and after what happened to him in 1999 (when the Right brought him down for not being ideologically pure enough), he wasn't going to try to form a government of the Right alone, even though that's what most Israelis wanted. The failure to recognize that Netanyahu's campaign for media appeal and his rejection of the people's will is our fault, will ensure that we continue to elect spineless politicians who are more able to endanger us on the Right than on the Left.
There are two main causes for this failure: The local media and Sharon. Throughout the 1990s, the Israeli media - print, radio and television - were the chief propagandists for appeasement. When appeasement failed in 2000, Israel's media elites circled the wagons. They refused to admit they had been wrong.
Misleading phrases like "cycle of violence" were introduced into our newspeak. The absence of a security fence - rather than the presence of an enemy society on the outskirts of Israel's population centers - was blamed for the terror that claimed the lives of over a thousand Israelis. Palestinian propagandists and terrorists such as Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti were treated like legitimate politicians. Palestinian ties to Iran, Syria, Iraq and the nexus of global jihad went unmentioned or uncommented upon.
At the same time, opponents of appeasement - those who had warned of the dangers of the Oslo process and had spoken out against the withdrawal from Lebanon and a potential withdrawal from the Golan Height and Gaza - were not congratulated for their wisdom. They remained marginalized and demonized.
This situation prevails still today. The same media that brought us these catastrophes now derides Likud ministers and Knesset members who speak out against delusion-based policies, while suddenly embracing Netanyahu who - with Barak at his side - has belatedly embraced their pipe dreams of appeasement-based peace.
All one needs to do is mention some of the people with whom Netanyahu surrounded himself two years ago to appreciate that his goal was to be Prime Minister rather than to defeat our enemies, and that he was willing to forfeit all of his values for that goal. Dan Meridor. Uzi Dayan. Tal Brody. Even Caroline Glick herself was taken in. This is Caroline from right after the Likud primary in August 2007.
Here in Israel, after Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu's stunning victory in the Likud leadership primaries Tuesday, we are also moving into pre-election mode. Israeli voters will expect Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Labor Party leader, and Netanyahu to present their visions of where Israel should be going.But for reasons that were evident two and a half years ago, Caroline was doing some wishful thinking. Netanyahu wasn't going to take chances with his shot at being Prime Minister to head a Right wing coalition that would recognize that Fatah is the enemy.
Since Barak owes his primary victory to Labor's Arab voters, no one expects him to give up on his commitment to Palestinian statehood. But Netanyahu is a different story. It would make perfect sense for the Likud to base its electoral platform on recognizing that Fatah is Israel's enemy, and by rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state. And Netanyahu is better qualified than any politician to convince Israeli voters to support such a reality-based platform.
As Cantor's letter and Giuliani's article make clear, there also is a strong coalition in the US that is willing to recognize that Fatah is a member of the enemy camp and to accept that a terror-supporting Palestinian state would harm US national security interests. Yet, as Steny Hoyer made clear, only Israelis can stand at the helm of such a coalition. Israelis and Americans alike must hope that Netanyahu will embrace his duty to lead that coalition.
Caroline is right that Olmert and his government refuse to accept that Fatah is the enemy. And if left to his own devices, there is little doubt that Olmert will reach an agreement with Abu Mazen that, like Oslo, Netanyahu will be obligated to honor should he come to power again.So when Netanyahu was elected and immediately started courting Barak and Livni, none of us should have been surprised. Not even Caroline Glick.
But does Netanyahu understand that Fatah is the enemy? Does Netanyahu want to stop Olmert from reaching that agreement? Or would he prefer that Olmert reach the agreement and then that he, Netanyahu come to power 'facing' a fait accomplis? From his actions this week, Netanyahu seems to think that it's not Fatah - but Feiglin - who is the enemy, and that he'd just as soon let Olmert reach an agreement with Abu Mazen.
In this week's Likud primary, Moshe Feiglin garnered just over 23% of the vote. Instead of being gracious and trying to co-opt Feiglin into a strong nationalist coalition, Netanyahu treated him and one quarter of the Likud's voters like interlopers. He barred Feiglin from the victory celebration and made sure he was not photographed with Feiglin. In fact, he made sure that former education minister Limor Livnat stood by him like a wall to make sure that no photographer would get a picture of him with Feiglin. Instead of speaking out against the corrupt government of Ehud K. Olmert in his victory speech, Netanyahu spoke of recruiting "moderates into the party's leadership from the business sector, academia and former IDF generals." Earlier this week, I noted what Netanyahu meant by that statement:He's talking about bringing people who abandoned the Likud forNetanyahu wants to make the Likud a 'centrist' party and not a party of the right. It's as if he's playing for votes from Haaretz and not from Israel's right. People seem to have forgotten - as he wanted them to - that Netanyahu stayed in the cabinet and voted for the expulsion from Gaza almost to the very end. Netanyahu was the only leader in the Likud who could have mobilized people against the expulsion. He didn't do it:
KadimaAchora back into the party. He's talking about people like Shaul Mofaz, who zealously commanded the expulsion of the Jews from Gaza two years ago, and Bibi's old buddy Tzachi Hanegbi who has never seen a bribe that looked too criminal to take, and who has been under 'investigation' nearly as many times as Olmert. Bibi's not talking about former generals like Effie Eitam, who was beaten by police at Amona, or Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon, who was fired as Chief of Staff of the IDF because he opposed the Gaza expulsion. (Yaalon is already a member of the Likud, but if Bibi brings Mofaz back, you can bet that it is Mofaz who will be defense minister and not Yaalon).
Caroline goes on to blame Ariel Sharon for betraying his voters, and she's right about that. What she missed is that Binyamin Netanyahu did - and continues to do - exactly the same thing. Were it not for Moshe Feiglin, we would not have the likes of Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset today trying to do something to protect the Likud's traditional positions. Yes, we need to understand why we continually squander opportunities. One reason is that we're afraid to stand up to the mainstream media and espouse goals - like a Jewish state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean - that aren't politically correct, but that are our only hope - with a lot of help from God - for survival.
Caroline Glick is smart enough to recognize that.