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on victory, side remarks, predictions, and the need for UNITY

Reader comment on item: About Those Billboards in Israel ...

Submitted by David (United States), Nov 14, 2022 at 22:29

At the risk of making one too many comments and straining the author's hospitality, I would like to add one more, in response to a remark you wrote in response, to a reader question about the current state of Israeli politics.

I find it strange to see the author suddenly wish for a more "centrist" government in Israel after having pronounced, a year and half ago, that the outgoing government was, contrary to Netanyahu's characterizations, going to be much "more" right wing than his was. I remember this observation distinctly, as well as a characterization of the incoming security cabinet as right wing, and I thought to myself, this is not true at all. Liberman is not right wing, he is very flexible according to the moment. Saar, at the time, was always positioned well to the right of Netanyahu. His move to some other direction is incredibly, incredibly recent, and surprising. But the composition of that security cabinet was not right wing at all, and it was by dint of luck that they did not make certain sweeping concessions to the Biden administration.

If you will allow me to note this, I find the characterizations of the cabinet then, and the current political players now, to be both inaccurate and possibly self-deluded. You do not like Netanyahu, personally. This, of course, is your prerogative. I personally do not care for his wife or son, but we are all entitled to our opinions.

I cannot emphasize enough the gravity of the moment, and the seeming indifference to this, in Washington. Such a moment requires responsibility. And as to Raam, and Liberman, and Saar, in none of those cases was Netanyahu the person saying "no." Some facility in Hebrew would perhaps aid the author in understanding a bit more about Liberman specifically, and recent allegations surrounding his activities. But in the grand sweep of things, it's neither here nor there. Whatever he did or did not do. The gravity of the moment, requires that people suppress their instincts to make flippant judgements, and especially given the apparent influence of Qatar and its allies, in the Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, as well as the nature of Washington in general these days. Israel can ill afford to be isolated, at a moment of peril, and this requires serious people to act with the seriousness that the moment requires, and to put petty differences aside. Liberman and Saar could not do this in the past. All fine and well, they have their own multiplicity of unknown considerations. Those who believe in "victory," should behave otherwise.

And I will add, a couple of wrong predictions interspersed with condemnations of Bibi, if I may: 1) An NRO editorial circa 2014, in which the author lamented that Bibi seemed to want to establish a Palestinian state (seems to have been a ruse, although I note that the author's position seems to have shifted from favoring a "no-state" solution to being fine with whatever outgoing PM Lapid says, 2) A prediction that former President Trump would "turn on Israel" back during the Republican primaries, 3) A prediction that his move of the embassy to Jerusalem would portend a very dangerous peace plan (the exact OPPOSITE occurred, in no small part due to Netanyahu, and when the plan came out, the author improbably opposed it for being overly generous), 4) a prediction that PM Bennett would bomb Iran's reactors.

I will say that the author has great insight, and good predictive powers as well. The prediction about the bridges in Crimea was prescient for sure. And there are others. It is always interesting to read predictions from a scholar of world affairs. That being said, if I am not mistaken, there is a strain of personal pique regarding the criticisms of Netanyahu, and inconsistency. Perhaps now is not the proper moment for it. I will just make an observation. To wit, there has not been victory yet. We are at war. A very serious war, and it requires all hands on-deck, at least when it comes to the serious matters on which (if I am not mistaken) we all share the same goals.


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