Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bibi’s bread and circuses

I usually love reading Carolyn Glick’s column in the Jerusalem Post but not last Friday’s column. While I agree Israeli politics is dominated by a disproportionately large group which is both innately corrupt and extraordinarily weak on leadership skills - I don’t perceive Bibi Netanyahu as the solution for all of what ails Israeli politics. He is just another manifestation of the problem. Friday’s column revolved around schilling for Netanyahu by shopping Moshe Feiglin. And it was all absolutely unnecessary. Let’s start here:
WHILE NATIONAL elections seem light years away, in 10 days, Netanyahu will stand for reelection as the leader of Likud. He is facing off in the Likud primaries against Moshe Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership faction. What is striking about these primaries is the similarity between Feiglin and Barak and Olmert. Although Feiglin comes from the post-Zionist Right rather than the post-Zionist Left, like Barak and Olmert, he bases his post-Zionist vision for the country on fantasy.

If I needed a reason to establish the viability of Feiglin’s candidacy Glick provides it. Glick doesn’t tell us why Feiglin’s post-Zionist right vision is fantasy - we are just to take her word on it. What Glick calls fantasy others might call Torah and Talmud; though, I suspect the primary reason Glick doesn’t tell us why Feiglin’s vision is fantasy is because Feiglin leads the “Jewish Leadership” fraction of the Likud party. The last thing any Netanyahu supporters want - is for everyone to discuss openly the Jewish values of Feiglin, and then, compare and contrast those with the “Jewish values” of Bibi Netanyahu.
Whereas in Olmert and Barak's leftist visions Israel has no enemies, in Feiglin's vision, there is no outside world at all. There is no US administration. There is no European Union. There is no United Nations. There is no media.

Imagine, once again, having an Israeli Prime Minister who puts Israeli national interests before his own, or the interests of the United States, the European Union, the Palestinians or the local/international press. Egad, that would certainly be a novel situation. I think the entire country would swoon. While many in the international Anglo communities are charmed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s commanding and effective grasp of spoken English - Israelis are less amoured. After all, Israelis have already lived under his leadership during one disastrous term as Prime Minister.

Netanyahu will win the Likud party nomination for party leader but Netanyahu’s great vanity requires him to win party’s nomination in full Ba’ath party style with a 100% of the vote. Already Feiglin has had to fight off a challenged backed by the Netanyahu’s fraction to disqualify him from even putting himself forward as a candidate for the leadership of the Likud party. This does not bode well for Netanyahu either as a leader or a democrat. It also suggests a great deal of what was wrong with the old Bibi is back - contrary to his claims of learning from his previous mistakes. A strong showing by Feiglin can act as a leash to keep Netanyahu’s narcissism from spiraling out of control and according to this Jerusalem Post report there is cause to hope. Feiglin is polling around 24% and growing.

For those who are curious about Moshe Feiglin, here’s a link to a CHIN radio interview of Moshe Feiglin in English/

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