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§260 It’s time to get involved – my first very political blog post

November 8, 2008

Until a few days ago I didn’t get involved in the US elections at all. Why indulge in that when I can’t vote? But now when we know who the next president is, it’s time to find out who he is. Yesterday me and my wife watched together on youtube his speech after the victory. That’s the first time ever I’ve seen him doing a speech. Man, that guy has charisma!

I’ve read an Israeli newspaper about the different for and against. I’ve read the Swedish-Israeli freelance journalist Dick Haas’ views on it, I have read what Mr. Goodenough predicts will be the devastating results for Israel, I have read my friend AngryAfrican’s happy swearing about it.

On November 11th there’s municipality elections here. For Ma’ale Adumim I already know what to vote. But it will be interesting to see who will be the new mayor of Jerusalem. The current mayor, Lepoliansky, is not running for another term. Jerusalem, you know, our capital. Our homelands very heart. Center of the Universe. The city about which Obama said would be Israel’s eternal and undivided capital. I guess the new mayor won’t have much to say if Obama breaks his promises and Livni (God forbid) gets elected as our new Prime Minister in February. But he will definitelly play a major role. Will it be secular Barakat, whose picture is seen with a burning West Wall around Jerusalem, put up by his opponents? Will it be religious Porush whose cartoon charicature with lots of beautiful election promises is all over the city? Or will it be multi millionaire Gaydmak who has said so many stupid things so his election slogan has become “Actions, not talks”? And how will it affect? No idea, I’ll try to figure that out after the elections. I can’t vote in Jerusalem in any case. For Ma’ale Adumim everyone are promising to promote building in E1area, the area about which Bush said would be built over his dead body.

A more interesting election coming up is the elections for our parliament in January-February, when we get to know who will be our next Prime Minister. Unless any unexpected surprises, it will be Livni or Netanyahu.

Livni belongs to the spineless Kadima party. Large party because of Sharon, Olmert Mufaz and all big names in it, but the party is totally deprived of ideology. It’s the more leftish ones from the right and the more righty ones from the left joint together in an effort to gain as many votes as possible by staying in the middle. It’s stupid. I hate Netanyahu for his extreme capitalistic views, his trickle-down economy strategy and his efforts to make the richer richer and the poorer poorer. But he is the only candidate that doesn’t want to throw me out of my home. And with a new American president who might very well be interested in dividing our land, we need a strong Prime minister who won’t cave in to american pressure. Netanyahu has in the past (the primaries against Sharon in the Likud in the early 2000’s… when was that…? when Sharon was reelected…?) said “no palestinian independent country” which does sound like he knows what he talks about. On the other hand, he is a politician. He might cave in like the others. On the third hand, he was Prime Minister 1996-1999 and did a good job back then.

Basically, the american elections that were just finished, and the upcoming israeli elections are what will determine our future. Will it be a chaos that will force us to leave our home (either because of evacuation, or because of instability – my children are more important to me than my values) or will we be able to continue to live like we do? Or even better – will there be a peace between people (not only an official politician peace) that will enable us to go visiting our neighbouring arab villages and vice versa? I believe it’s possible – but that will take a long time.

Back to Obama. Haas said he will either be a huge success or a huge dissappointment – but nothing inbetween. I think that can be quite true. People say he will not be as good to Israel as Bush was. That sounds scary. Because Bush was the one who insisted on dividing our land, he was the one insisting on elections in Palestinian Autonomy bringing Hamas to power, he is the one who wiped out one of our threats (Iraq)  making a worse threat (Iran) grow bigger and scarier. Was Bush good to Israel? In some ways he was and in some ways he wasn’t. I’m guessing Obama will be the same – but not necessarily in the same areas as Bush.

So to sum up my impressions… here are the advantages and disadvantages of new president-elect Barack Obama:

Advantages:

  • He has said that Jerusalem will remain our eternal undivided capital
  • He will hopefully assign Israeli-decsendant and pro-Israel Rahm Emanuel to be chief of staff in the White House
  • He is black (big victory against racism)
  • He has charisma
  • He has leadership qualities
  • He is a democrat – less hypercapitalistic than the republicans
  • He apparently got 78% of the Jewish votes (But how exactly a country can know the etnicity disperse of their votes without violating voter’s secrecy integrity principle is beyond me…)
  • If he uses his muslim background and his middle name wisely he might help to bridge the gap between islam and the western world.
  • He has young children which automatically qualifies him as a conflict solver…

Disadvantages:

  • Arab world is rejoicing, attributing the victory to arab american votes, emphasizing his background and middle name and declaring victory over “the jewish lobby”. May their hopes be in vain and may they be as dissapointed as we jews were when we rejoiced the start of the Brittish mandate in 1914.
  • He has talked about talking with Iran. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but still…
  • He is unknown. He often laid down his vote as a senator, he has never been a decision maker in the past. He is new in the Middle East.
  • If he uses his background and middle name unwisely he might start a third world war.
  • According to Goodenough, some guy called Jesse Jackson supports Obama. According to Goodenough:

Jackson gloated over the changes an Obama presidency would bring. The most important would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end. And although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout.
“Bush was,” he said, “so afraid of … upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing [solving the conflict] a miss(!)”. He added that “Barack will change that” because, as long as the “Palestinians” haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will “remain a source of danger to us all.”
“Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims.”

Above doesn’t sound good for Israel. Of course he is wrong about Bush. I hope he’s wrong about Obama too. “Decades of putting Israel’s interests first”. I guess I can agree to that. Israel’s wish to compromise on the expense of its inhabitants has indeed been put first, as opposed to the Palestinian leadership’s stubborn refusal to any compromise whatsoever. But no, “zionists” were not the ones who wanted Bush to increase Iran’s influence in the Middle East, darkening the deadly cloud over Israel. “Zionists” did not want him to insist on letting Hamas participate in the elections, and the result we can see in Sderot and Ashkelon. When Jackson talks about Palestinians seeing justice, I suppose he refers to their right to be opressed by their corrupted leaders, and not to the difficult task of actually finding a real solution.

I have so far been pretty quiet regarding my personal views about the conflict here. That’s about to change the closer we get to the israeli elections. Basically I can sum it up like this:

  • There’s no easy solutions
  • No one should be forced to leave one’s home
  • A two-state solution is no solution, just another problem
  • Sitting around doing nothing won’t lead anywhere
  • Never ever compromise with terrorists and never give in to their demands
  • Israel belongs to the jewish people. Always have, always will.
  • Jerusalem is our eternal undivided capital
  • Human rights, mutual respect, dignity and ubuntu for everyone, jews, arabs, israelis, palestinians, muslems, christians. We are all created in God’s image and we are all created equal.
  • All israelis must accept that the concept “palestinian” exists as must all palestinians accept that the concept “israeli” exists.

Now, one more thing that Goodenough says about Obama’s role in the Middle East is:

“How much more will Barack Obama not do. On a role before he even gets to the Oval Office, this man means business, and who will be able to withstand his efforts?

Israel’s leaders won’t. They are not people of faith, and America is the only “friend” they have left in the world. As Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Wednesday: The US will push Israel into advancing the discredited land-for-peace process if the Jewish state refuses to do so.

According to Ynetnews Livni, who is contending in the newly-launched race for prime minister, noted that Israel’s general elections, scheduled for February 10, “must reflect the country’s interest in advancing the peace process, otherwise the international community, headed by the US, will try and push us in this direction.”

She needn’t worry. America will push whoever the Israelis choose to lead them. And whoever they are, those leaders won’t resist.”

Livni is correct here in one way. I have always been convinced that the new american president – be it Obama or McCain – will push Israel to a devastating two-state solution, pulling the deadly front closer to us, enabling rockets to fall on all our cities. We saw it happen in Gaza, and it will happen again if we keep giving in to international pressure. If we keep putting international and american interest above the right of our citizens to live in homes and not bomb shelters. This is why I agree with Livni on one point – “The US will push Israel into advancing the discredited land-for-peace process if the Jewish state refuses to do so.” According to Dick Haas, professor Gerald Steinberg said something similar – It would be wise by the next israeli leaders to make a draft of ideas for the coming steps, something for the Obama administration to deal with. Instead of waiting around until they force something upon us.

This is why the next israeli leader must be strong. S/he must be able to stand against international pressure. Obama pressure. Livni says that the coming elections “must reflect the country’s interest in advancing the peace process, otherwise the international community, headed by the US, will try and push us in this direction.” In other words, israeli public now has the responsibility to show that we are willing to give up our homeland and live under rocket attacks for the rest of our lives, otherwise the US will force us to do so.

I’d rather vote for someone who will actually stand against that international pressure. Someone who will try to find a real solution instead of the “easy way out” of making a two-state solution. Sure, it may look better to the international community if we force people out of their homes, give the terrorists a country to rule with an already victimized population. It may look better to the international community if the current situation turns into a war between two nations instead of the way it is now.

Is it worth it though, Livni? Is it worth giving the terrorists a country to rule? We all know they will make a military pact with Iran, just like Hamas and Hizballah are doing. Is it worth our blood? Is the international opinion more important to you than we are? Because if so, we can wave good bye to zionism, good bye to Israel and good bye to the two thousand year old dream of building up our homeland on the ruins.

Many people talk about the ideologically and morally wrong with the two state solution. Of building a 23rd arab state on the very heartland of the jewish nation. I can agree to that. But it is also important to emphasize the devastating physical results we will see from it. You can disagree with me. You can say that a Palestinian state will be peaceful and live in peace with Israel and it will make all other muslem countries love Israel, and all of Middle East will become a place of Care-Bears. Do you really believe it? I really don’t. And if you believe it, do you believe it so firmly you would put your life at stake? Because that’s what it is here. We’re talking human lives.

I feel I have no choice but to vote for a corrupt politician who promotes slavery work at a minimum wage to fill millionaires’ pockets. I have no choice but to vote for a guy who may very well sign a law prohibiting my right to share my faith with others. I see no choice but to vote for Netanyahu. Just because of the slight chance – the very slight chance – that he will not give in to international pressure to kick me out of my home.

Bottom line – this is Change. New American president. New Israeli Prime Minister in a few months. New Jerusalem mayor in a few days. I do wonder what the future will bring. And I know I will one day look back on myself on this day, remembering my wonder. One day I will look back, having all the answers. But I will still be wondering about the future.

Future is what we make it. Let’s make it change. Let’s make it better.

___________________________________________________________________________________

One last comment – this is the first time I write something longer about the situation here in my homeland of Israel. It is a touchy subject for many people throughout the world. For some reason our conflict is much more interesting than Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc. I guess it’s because this is the land of God. The land which produced the Book of Books. The first nation ever to adopt the principle that everyone are equal and even the king is not above the law. These principles that through Christianity has become the foundation of the entire Western World. I guess that’s the main reason we are under the magnifying glass of the world. In any case, since this is a touchy subject, please understand:

  • Blog comments that do not respect me and/or include bad language will not be tolerated
  • There’s no guarantee I will answer your comment, whether you post a support or a condemnation comment
  • I am very busy, I used some spare time on shabbat to write this. I will not be able to write long answers. If you have a twenty-five point comment, please post. But I might not answer. That doesn’t mean “you won”.
  • I will not erase criticism (unless they violate point 1), but I might not answer, or answer very shorty. This doesnt mean you won. It only means that I didn’t want the fact that I can’t answer long answers to prevent me from writing this.

10 comments

  1. Hey boet. Difficult one. I don’t know enough about the dynamics of Israeli politics to really comment. But hopefully you will continue to write about it and give us an education. Keep it up.

    On Obama. Let’s talk Goodenough… Jesse Jackson… Jesse said a few harsh words about Obama a while back that was caught by the mike off camera. Jesse Jackson is not close to Obama. So I won’t worry about that. Remember, Hannity and the religious right in the US backed McCain. And some of them even called for the end of Israel! I think Goodenough has his own agenda. Remember why he wants a strong Israel. Not for the sake of a strong Israel. But to realize his own religious beliefs – that his God will come when Israel is at peace. I respect many of his views, but it is based on a fundamental difference with Judaism.

    Sorry, I’m not here to climb into Goodenough. My broader point is that Obama is not close to Jesse Jackson and takes no council from him. Heck, Al Qaeda “endorsed” McCain. That doesn’t mean that McCain takes council from them. And the first person Obama appointed? Rahm Emmanuel who is Jewish.

    We will have to see where Obama takes his foreign policy direction. But I see that Iran was the first foreign country to attack Obama after being elected. Why? Because Obama said that Iran can never have the bomb. We’ll see where it takes us.

    Now… It seems as if you have your hands full with those elections at home! Going to be a tough one. Sounds like the election between the fire and the pan if you ask me. Good luck and educate us!


  2. Hey, AA! Good work, two minutes after my post you comment…

    I’m glad to learn that Jackson is not close to Obama. I’m even happier to hear that Obama has said that Iran can never have the bomb. That’s another one to the advantage list. Since I never indulged in the elections in the states, I do not “remember” anything about Hannity nor AlQaida. I did mention Rahm Imanuel on the advantages. The fact that Emanuel is jewish doesn’t qualify as an advantage for me. The fact that he is proved pro-Israel is. He served as a civilian volunteer in Israel’s Defence Force during the first gulf war.

    However, you’re wrong about Goodenough’s reasons for wanting a strong Israel. The scripture says that the end of times is when all nations gather against Israel, not when Israel is at peace, so you’re on the wrong track there. He is pro-Israel because he believes in the God of Israel. Simple as that.


  3. Haha! See how quick I can be if needed?

    Cool – we’ll agree to not agree on Goodenough. I am in constant flux with him. I like much of what he writes but I do question some of his reasons and reasoning. Why? Some Christian Zionists believe that the “ingathering” of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. The idea is that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christian. Also, Christian Zionism does not necessarily mean sympathy for Jews as a nation or for Judaism as a religion. Christian Zionists emphasize the Jewish roots of Christianity, and even promote Jewish practices and Hebrew terminology as part of their own practice. The problem is that many Christian Zionists commonly believe that to fulfill prophecy, a significant number of Jews will have to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

    So there is my problem with him.


  4. I forgot to add. I support Israel just because. No motive. I just believe in the state of Israel. I have no hidden religious reasons. I’ll fight next to you if needed. But only because I believe in Israel. I hope my comment on Goodenough didn’t come across as me being anything but pro-Israel.


  5. Most religions believe that the entire world will sooner or later accept the one true faith, so there’s really no difference. And by reading the Bible, where you can see that Jesus is the Messiah of the jews, how can one blame them? I believe and hope that most of them do not wish for the jews to become christians but to accept Jesus as their jewish Messiah without giving up our jewish heriage. The promotion of Hebrew terminology and jewish practices is all about going back to the biblical roots of their faith without leaning on the idol worshipping greek and roman founders of modern Christianity.


  6. I’m glad to hear that, no I did not think you were against Israel. But you know… religious reasons is not necessarily a bad thing. And I don’t think there’s anything hidden about Goodenough. He’s pretty clear. I share most of his religous beliefs, although not entirely with him on the political applications of it.

    Thing is, when you state religion as reason for your views you won’t get anyone with you. That was the problem with the movement against the disengagement plan in 2005. It was a huge nation wide movement, but the only reason they stated was “this is our land because God gave it to us”. That falls on deaf ears. If that’s your only reason so be it, but there were so many oter reasons. The amount of money it would cost the tax payers in lost revenues from the established agricultural businesses there, and from the compensation paid to the settlers. The fact that it would draw the fron line closer to everyone else, enabling rockets to fall on Sderot and Ashkelon. If they had used those reasons they might have brought the people with them, and that’s actually one of my critical views on Goodenough. His reasons are too religious. Even if they are true they will fall on deaf secular ears. On the other hand, it is clear that the audience of his blog is the Zionist Christians.


  7. Hi dudethatIdon’tknowyet:-)

    ONE LINE about Maale Adumim elections??

    C’mon, give us a hint!:-)

    (sorry I’m not going into the rest of the post, but I have an immediate interest here!:-)
    Thanks,
    Gidon Ariel
    Maale Adumim City Council candidate
    Tova Haaretz Meod Meod – MEM ALEPH
    Mitzpe Nevo 29, Maale Adumim 98410 Israel
    adumim2008@gmail.com
    054-5665037, 02-5354586
    http://www.gidon.info


  8. Gidon,

    That is because that’s not the subject of this post. I wrote about the Ma’ale Adumim elections when I published the letter that the paper printed. One post translated to English the other one in original Hebrew.

    https://thatdudeyouknow.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/%c2%a7223-the-newspaper-published-my-letter/

    https://thatdudeyouknow.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/%c2%a7220-municipality-elections/

    I’m sorry, though. You don’t have my vote. I don’t know you, your ads in the newspaper started to pop out when I had already made up my mind. And frankly, besides the fact that youre using english in your ads to reach out to english speakers, and the fact that none of you have been city council members in the past, I can’t really find anything that makes your party more special than the others. It’s what I always said – all the parties say the same things. “Promote education, promote youth”. Benny telling how good it is now, Rafi telling us how horrible it is now. Blablabla.

    I like Maale Adumim as it is. I’m voting for the mayor. I won’t vote for his party because I don’t want him to get personal majority. I’m voting for the only one of the candidates who has proved himself during the last 5 years. I’m voting for a guy who has been working his ass off serving the community on the expense of his own family for the past 20 years. I’m voting for someone I happen to know personally, so I know for sure that he is an honest person, and that he means what he says, and that he stands by his word. He is actually the only local politician that I can say that I trust.

    I’m voting Grossman.


  9. Oops, sorry I cannot get email alerts for comments on a WordPress blog. First blogger benefit over WP I’ve found…

    Thanks for being direct and open. I had signed a surplus agreement with Boris and had worked with him in the past, and ran alone to prove my political value to all the other parties who thought I was worth less than I thought I was. Turned out we were both wrong:-) I expect next time to run on Kachol Lavan, now that they see I probably have more electoral value than they thought I did.

    BTW, nice letter tot he editor. I definitely remember seeing it. I thought I did a good job of living up to your requirements.


  10. Actually, they recently launched the possibility to get email alerts. Enjoy😉



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