Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cleaning out the Likud...

It's ironic.

Bibi Netanyahu's efforts to cleanse the Likud of it's criminal elements (read: to get rid of Moshe Feiglin) are a true litmus test as to where the party now stands in relation to what it once stood for.

Bibi Netanyahu is advocating that the Likud Central Committee approve a change to the party's constitution that would ban anyone with a criminal record and a jail sentence of at least three months from running for Knesset (Courtesy of Arutz-7).
In Nov. 1997, Feiglin - as leader of the anti-Oslo Zo Artzeinu (This is Our Land) organization - was sentenced to six months in prison, which he was permitted to convert to six months of public service. He had been convicted two months earlier of "sedition" for organizing massive road blockades in the framework of anti-Oslo protests in 1994.

In handing down the sentence, the judges said that the government should learn from this affair to be more attuned to the opinions of large sectors of the society. They said that the defendants carried out a "sincere protest" in pure faith, and that they represented the opinion of many who felt that the government was purposely ignoring them...

Feiglin was not allowed to run in the last Knesset election, by Supreme Court order. In January 2003, the Court sustained the Election Commission's ruling to disqualify him, claiming that his conviction on charges of "sedition" - for organizing road-block protests of the Oslo Accords - was a crime involving "moral turpitude." Israeli law states that conviction of such a crime makes one ineligible to run for Knesset for seven years.

Bibi has made it clear that the Likud is no longer the party for those who are opposed to the Oslo Accords, and other such "peace" initiatives.

Moshe Feiglin, however, should not feel alone in his abandonment by the new Likud.

The law that Bibi is working to implement would likely have disqualified Ze'ev Jabotinsky - founder of the Revisionist Zionist movement (and predecessor to the Likud) - from running for a slot in the Knesset, as he was exiled from Palestine for his Zionist activities by the British.

Additionally, two former Likud Prime Ministers, Menachem Begin (former head of the Irgun) and Yitzchak Shamir (Lehi) were viewed as terrorists by the ruling British authorities during the British mandate of Palestine, would also likely have been disqualified from representing the Likud in the Knesset.

What about Natan Sharansky? he is another member of the Likud with a criminal record, having spent over a decade in numerous prisons and work camps throughout the former Soviet Union.

What Moshe Feiglin has in common with the likes of Begin, Shamir, Jabotinsky and Sharansky is that they all were principled individuals who fought for the rights of the Jewish People and of the right of the Jewish People to a Jewish State in the Land of Israel - and who were prepared to stand up for their beliefs, even in the face of corrupt regimes that branded them as criminals.

Bibi Netanyahu has no place amongst men such as these. Bibi Netanyahu represents the antithesis of these values - one whose political positions change with the wind. Bibi Netanyahu represents the new Likud - whose relation to the original Likud being in name only.

Welcome to the new, cleaner Likud.


So Ze'ev you are equating the Israeli legal system with that of the Soviet Regime? Or the British Mandate? I knew you were an anti-Zionist because of your love of G-d but I did not know it had got so far that you would become a hater of the Jewish People!

Hag Hannukah Sameah!


By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 25, 06:41:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, I believe that even you would agree that not all decisions made by the givernment or the court system in Israel are always just and moral... Or that they are made free from outside political or personal influence...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 25, 08:13:00 PM GMT+2  

Regardless, Feiglin did break the law. I don't like what Bibi's doing, but it's unfair to compare Feiglin to Sharansky...

By Blogger Ezzie, at Mon Dec 26, 12:12:00 AM GMT+2  

Ezzie - why? Sharansky also broke the law. Each one was found by their repective "powers that be" to be guilty of sedition like crimes, SHaransky for his Jewish / Human Rights activism, and Feiglin for his anti-Oslo protests and demonstrations...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Mon Dec 26, 05:52:00 AM GMT+2  

If you guys dont wanna compare feiglin to Sharansky, then compare him to Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. They both opposed their own gov't thru civil disobedience.


By Blogger Jerusalemcop, at Mon Dec 26, 07:50:00 AM GMT+2  

Jerusalem Cop - works for me...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Mon Dec 26, 09:28:00 AM GMT+2  

I guess the real problem here is that the Likud really has very few options for preventing itself from being hijacked by Feiglin and his adherents.

Remember that most of the Manhigut Yehudit members don't actually vote Likud in the elections, and that the Likud is normally a secular party (albeit one that has no problem sitting in coalitions with the religious parties). Feiglin - whatever we think of him and his ideals - may be many things, but a true Likudnik he isn't! Ideologically, he belongs in National Union or perhaps Mafdal.

As far as I can tell (and I haven't had a chance to ask Feiglin in person!), the whole point of Manhigut Yehudit is to take over the Likud from the inside, then use the party's organization and cachet to gain national power (or at least strong influence) far beyond what would be possible through small sectoral parties like National Union or Mafdal. This is why Likud "regulars" like Netanyahu and the rest of the party's establishment (or what's left of it) are trying to get rid of the Manhigut Yehudit faction - they feel that the Likud is being used to further an agenda that is very foreign to "authentic Likudism".

I can see three possible resolutions to the conflict:

1) The Likud effectively kicks out Feiglin and his supporters.

2) The Likud takes such a beating in the next election that Feiglin gives up and goes elsewhere (since there's no point in taking over a party that's falling apart anyway - it'd be like a mutiny on the Titanic).

3) Netanyahu and crew decide that if they can't get Feiglin out of the Likud, they'll let him have the Likud for himself and go elsewhere - either to an existing party or to form a "New Likud" with a different structure, such that Feiglinites can be effectively kept out. (This all seems pretty unlikely, but so much other unlikely stuff happens around here that I have to allow for the possibility.)

Whatever happens, it's kind of fun to watch Bibi squirm...

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Mon Dec 26, 12:26:00 PM GMT+2  

Don, what exactly is foreign about Moshe feiglin to the Likud?

Is it his Kippa? His beard?

Perhaps its because he is against the establishment of a Palestinian State anywhere west of the Jordan, as the Likud platofrm states.

Is it because he believes that the Likud is a Jewish - nationalist party, as opposed to a religious one?

Why is it that those who supported the expulsion of thousands of Jews and handing over parts of the Land of Israel to our enemies are Likudniks more than Moshe Feiglin?

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Mon Dec 26, 01:24:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev - what is foreign about Moshe Feiglin to the Likud.

Well yes - his beard and kippa absolutely are foreign to the likud, but much more so the ideas they represent.

EG: Messianic belief that Israel's creation was G-d's work and not the work of the Jewish People led by the leaders of the Zionist movement.

A belief that the Arabs somehow represent Amalek, and generally the failure to recognise the conflict as one over material resources (land) but rather to frame it in theological-philosophical terms.

A failure to recognise that the essence of Jewish identity is national, not religious, and that the Zionist cause is secular.

So no Moshe Feiglin is not part of the likud mainstream.

And as for my original point - I agree that not all decision of the Israeli Government or Judicial systems are fair. I would also say that not all decisions of the rabbis are fair - life isn't fair. That doesn't mean I would suggest that there is a parallel between saying someone who was imprisoned for being Jewish is the same as someone who sentenced to imprisonment (but wriggled out of it) for Sedition against the Jewish People. Feiglin's conviction was for fighting against the State of Israel - all the other examples were for fighting for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Your desire to decieve makes your supposed comparisons unreliable and unbelievable - that was my point.


By Anonymous H, at Mon Dec 26, 03:59:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev wrote:

> Don, what exactly is foreign about Moshe feiglin to the Likud?

1) Kippa and beard? Yes, absolutely. How many Likud leaders looked like that? Begin? Sharon? Netanyahu? (I don't remember what Jabotinsky looked like, but I know he was pretty secular in his outlook.)

2) Palestinian state? No, as you pointed out opposition to a Palestinian state is part of "official" Likud dogma. (Did you know that until relatively recently, the official Likud platform called for Jewish/Israeli sovereignty on the east of the Jordan river?) I suspect that Feiglin takes his opposition much more literally than the "real" Likudniks do; I strongly suspect that most of the latter fully expect that there will be a Palestinian state, and maintain their opposition as a lever to try to make the new state as small and restricted as possible.

3) Feiglin definitely has a much more religious outlook than the Likud traditionally has. You can split hairs all you like, but the fact is that Jabotinsky and his followers were not at all fond of the traditional religious establishment. Whether you (or I) agree with Feiglin's policies or beliefs is irrelevant; even if I agreed with Feiglin about everything else, I would not believe that he belongs in the Likud.

4) The Likud is supposed to be a pragmatic party, one capable of appealing to a broad swathe of the Israeli electorate and forming governments. I believe that the "Likud rebels" have already seriously damaged this image, as Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip was never popular with the vast majority of Israeli voters. Remember, again, that we're not debating whether we agree with the Disengagement; all we're talking about is the extent to which Moshe Feiglin belongs in the Likud. It seems fairly obvious to me that a Likud remade in Feiglin's image would be even more of a small, marginal, splinter party than a Netanyahu-led Likud will be.

Again, I think one of the key questions is whether Moshe Feiglin himself, along with those he brought in to the Likud to support him, actually votes Likud. If he has never voted Likud, and if the vast majority of his supporters don't vote Likud, then I think it's highly questionable that they should be choosing the leadership or platform of the Likud.

I have never voted Likud (although I did vote for Ariel Sharon in the separate Prime Ministerial election against Ehud Barak), so I don't have an axe to grind in this debate, BTW.

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Mon Dec 26, 04:29:00 PM GMT+2  

Shalom All,
I'm pleased to be able to post a message on this topic as a member of the Likud Central Committee who is identified with Manhigut Yehudit.
If I were you all, I would not swallow the spin the Anti-Feiglinites are trying to put out. Just because someone figures out how to play the game, it doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve to win it.
There is no question that the real power brokers and power holders in the Likud are the ones who are able to sign up people who will support them in the institutions, namely the Merkaz and the general membership. Bibi did it in 1992 in anticipation of the primary that he won in 1996, Sharon did it in 2001, and numerous Knesset members did it too (I remember Sylvan Shalom and Ayub Kara reportedly shlepping in tens of thousands of forms the day before the last Mifkad ended in 2001). To claim that Feiglin is less authentic or entitled to do the same as them is indegenious and frankly, I can't understand the double standard.
Anyone who swallows the canard that Feiglin doesn't vote Likud or promotes Likud members to not vote Likud is not in the know. He states always that voting for the Likud is the right thing to do, both strategically and tactically.
Bottom line, anyone who is mad dog against Feiglin now is someone who fears him and his policies, namely, other Likud leaders who might lose their power if Feiglin rises.
But don't worry, if Feiglin is ousted, there will be others to take his place. The fact that he is clearly the only Likud candidate who can proudly pledge his alliegance to the values of the Likud constitution quoted on his Likud Central Committee membership card speaks volumes regarding his sincerity, no matter what the color of his beard and kippa.
Gidon Ariel
Maale Adumim (writing from Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, while visiting my mom)

By Anonymous Gidon Ariel, Likud Central Committee Member, at Thu Dec 29, 03:03:00 AM GMT+2  

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