Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Election Reflections #2: The National Union - National Religious Party merger

(For the 1st installment of Election Reflections, click here and here)

I have been asked by a number of my loyal readers as to my thoughts on the merger between the National Union Party (HaIchud HaLeumi), of which I am a candidate for Knesset, and the National Religious Party (the Mafdal).

The short answer is:

Ideologically: I don't like it.

Politically: I accept it, understand the need for it, and can see the potential benefits (while being aware of the obvious drawbacks).

Now for the longer answer...

(Important background info: The National Union party is currently composed of 3 parties: Moledet, Tekuma, Tzionut HaDatit. The National Union party was founded in 1999 when Moledet, along with Herut and Tekuma joined forces. Since then, Herut left the National Union, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu joined prior to the last elections, and has since left to run on its own, and most recently, Effie Eitam and Yitzchak Levy broke away from the Mafdal, formed the Zionut HaDatit party and joined the National Union).

If one goes back to the elections in 1992 that led to Yitzchak Rabin's (and Labor's) rise to power, there was not a single (non-Arab) party in the Knesset that openly advocated for the establishment a "Palestinian State" (at the time, even talking to Arafat's PLO was against the law at the time); there was not a single party that would have would have openly called for using the Jewish State's security forces to expel thousands of Jews from their homes; nor was there any party that would have dared to suggest the possibility of dividing Jerusalem.

Today, even the Likud has amended its platform to accept the creation of a "Palestinian State" west of the Jordan River (and of course, was the party in power that implemented the Expulsion plan). Shas was instrumental in helping to push the Oslo Accords through the Knesset, and of late has made it clear that it accepts future territorial concessions; the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party had no trouble sitting in Ariel Sharon's government as the Expulsion plan was implemented; Avigdor Lieberman's "right-wing" Yisrael Beiteinu party has called for redrawing the borders of the State of Israel in order to cut-out areas with too many Arabs; and sadly, even the Mafdal stayed in Sharon's government of Expulsion until the almost the last moment, and recently stated that they would sooner have a "settlement" uprooted than have a religious day school closed.

Furthermore, just about every party from Ehud Olmert's Kadima party and leftward has expressed a willingness to divide the ancient and eternal capitol of the Jewish People, Jerusalem.

That being said, the National Union party came to the conclusion after their inability (along with others) to stop the Expulsion plan from within the Knesset, that if we wanted to really turn the State of Israel into a Jewish State - working from the top down - it wouldn't be possible in a party that only had 6-7 seats in the Knesset.

Ariel Sharon was a master at playing one small party off of another in order to garner enough support for whatever it was that he was trying to accomplish. If he couldn't get what he wanted from the National Union, he would turn to the Mafdal, and if Mafdal wouldn't help him, he would turn to the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and UTJ, offering them increased funding for their institutions, and sooner or later, one (or more) of the parties would swallow the bait, and Sharon would be able to bulldoze through his Expulsion agenda.

In order to change that reality, Benny Elon, Chairman of the National Union party, saw the need to work towards uniting the parties of the national / religious right (Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Mafdal, National Union, Shas and UTJ). The goal being to put together a untied bloc that could potentially form a coalition of 61 Members of Knesset on their own, and thus be able to form the next government of the State of Israel (and at the very least form a sizeable opposition that leave any Kadima led government relying on the ultra-secular Meretz party, the socialist Labor party, and the Arab parties to stay in power - in other words a very unstable coalition that would not likely be able to accomplish very much and would not last very long).

The drawback to this, of course, is that inevitably one is forced to unite with parties who do not share all of your ideals or principles. That is clearly the case with the merger with the Mafdal, and would likely be the case if we were to be successful in uniting, at least in principal, with the ultra-Orthodox parties as well as Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu.

In this case, the potential of being able to put together the future government of the State of Israel, one that would strive to strengthen Israel as a Jewish State - through settlement, education, defeating our enemies... - might very well be worth the discomfort that comes with sitting with those who you do not see eye to eye with on every single issue.

Is it a perfect solution?

No, but is voting for Baruch Marzel's Jewish Front party a better answer?

True, you might not be compromising on a single one of your ideals, but at the end of the day, you will have voted for a party that will likely (once again) not pass the electoral threshold, thus wasting tens of thousands of votes that might have otherwise gone to strengthen an already existing party on the right - or, if the Jewish Front does get into the Knesset, what can they hope to accomplish with their 3 seats?

The whole idea of the merger between the National Union and the National Religious Party is to show that we are no longer content being a small party - it is time for the parties of the nationalist / religious right to lead this country, and that will only happen if we find a way to unite our political power in some way.

As I said in the beginning of this post, ideologically, I do not like it, as when it comes to ideology, there is no room for compromise. Yet, I do believe that the potential advantages of such a merger - both with the Mafdal, and with the other parties on the national / religious right have the potential to outweigh the ever-apparent disadvantages.

Time will tell.

(In the next installment of Election Reflections I will discuss how I came to be involved in politics and how I ended up as a candidate in the upcoming elections for Knesset.)



By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Tue Feb 21, 05:47:00 PM GMT+2  

It is beyond me how the NU can join withe the NRP when in order to merge the NU had to remove transfer from the Platform

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Tue Feb 21, 06:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Other than gaining more seats, what ieological values do Moledet & Mafdal share, that Mafdal isn't ready to compromise on?

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Tue Feb 21, 07:04:00 PM GMT+2  

Excellent post, Ze'ev. Wonderful insight into the difficulties a politician faces.

Sounds like you're switching your view a bit from your idealism posts: Not your views, not your beliefs - but a recognition of the sacrifices that need to be made here and there. How hard is it?

By Blogger Ezzie, at Tue Feb 21, 07:53:00 PM GMT+2  

I will be totally honest ahere whe nI say that I, along with many others within Moledet were against the idea of the merger - and not just for ideological reasons, but because many of us just don't trust the Mafdal - or at least some of the powers-that-be within it...

That being said, I think Benny Elon's idea of trying to build a nationalist / religious bloc of parties to try and build the next government, or at least serve as a formindable opposition is a unique idea that ahsn't really been tried before and is worth a shot.

Furthermor, there was a lot of pressure from the religious Zionist public to unite, as it has been shown that small parties cant do much in the Knesset.

While a vote for Marzel might be the ideologically right thing to do, realistically he either wont be in the Knesset, or with his 3 seats, he won't be doing much while there.

Lastly, internal polls showed that with the two parties joining they could hope for almost twice as many seats in the elections that running apart (where Mafdal was shown as possibly not making it in - and that wqould help no one).

So, all that being said - I personally was against the merger - and still am. However, I understand the reasoning behind it, and hopefully, Benny Elon knows what he is doing.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Tue Feb 21, 08:12:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev, two questions based on what you wrote.

1) They why isn't Marzel's party being included in the NU? If he may get 3 seats, or at least tens of thousands of votes, why is Benny throwing them away?

2) What will the NU be able to accomplish differently whether it has 3 seats, 6 seats or 10 seats?

If Kadima wins, the NU will still be in the opposition, and as the last government showed, even being in the government is useless against a strong PM who doesn't care about the rules.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Tue Feb 21, 11:29:00 PM GMT+2  

2b) Follow up question.
I guess I am really asking, what's the difference between voting for a party that might not get in, vs. voting for a party that even if it gets in won't be able (or be willing in Mafdal's case) to protect and advance my interests?

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Tue Feb 21, 11:36:00 PM GMT+2  

well said ze'ev, i couldn't agree more

By Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report, at Wed Feb 22, 09:25:00 AM GMT+2  

To some extent, that would be *very* interesting. If the NU can pull out 10 or more seats, they could cement themselves as a serious national player.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Wed Feb 22, 10:13:00 AM GMT+2  

Joe, I will do my best to answer your questions:

1) Marzel was offered on a number of occaisions to be a part of the Ichud, as was Herut, both in the last elections and in the current ones - the fact that there is no unity and that tens of thousands of votes (and 2 Knesset seats) are going ot be lost again is not the fault of benny Elon and the Ichud.

You should address that question to Marzel and Kleiner.

2) As I explained in the above post, 1st we are shooting for more than 10 seats - there is an excellent chance that the new Ichud will be the 3rd or 4th largest party in the Knesset.

2nd, The idea is to create a large nationalist / religious bloc that would either be able to contend for the leadership and for mthe next government or form a solid and sizeable opposition where parties on the religious / nationalist right would not allow themselves to be played off of each other to further the interests of another government of destruction and expulsion.

As such, one can ask, why not just vote for Likud, and the problem with that is that in order for this bloc to head in the right direction it needs to be led by a party that is anchored in the values which we stand for (that I elaborated in part in the post above) - the idea is for the Ichud to be able to influence the Likud and not vice versa...

3) The merger built in a protection to neutralize the Mafdal - regardless of how many seats the new Ichud gains, there will always be a majority of MK's from the NU - who will thus be able to ensure that the policy of the party will stay on the right course.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Feb 22, 12:07:00 PM GMT+2  

If Benny (Chas v'shalom) is required to take a break for a while, who replaces him as #1, Orlev or someone from Moledet?

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Wed Feb 22, 12:14:00 PM GMT+2  

So the long and the short of it is: The merger is a sign of ideological compromise on behalf of NU in order to get more seats in the knesset.

Wow! That really is news!

Have you ever considered that the reason why Elon was unable to create a Religious Right coalition of Likud, Shas UTJ and NU etc, was because Likud, Shas and the UTJ actually recognise that they have nothing in common with the racist, theocratic and fascist stance of NU. The fact that NRP have gone into a merger with NU is merely a sign of the complete degeneracy of the once pragmatic, Zionist Torah V'avoda movement. Werhaftig, Landau, Burg et al would be turning in their graves.


By Anonymous H, at Wed Feb 22, 12:17:00 PM GMT+2  

The NU is not a racist group, that is ridiculous. They simply recognize negotiation are fruitless when the group at the other end of the table will accept nothing short of your blood.

Believe it or not, outside of fairytale land where everyone dances the hora together and lives happily ever after, there are enemies that don't believe in negotiations or compromises.

Hamas and al-Fatah are two of those enemies. They will negotiate Eretz Yisrael out of existence, and they'll accept nothing short of such. The NU recognizes this, and they have wisely decided that national suicide is not worth the price of political correctness.

By Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report, at Wed Feb 22, 10:20:00 PM GMT+2  

Go Tovya! :) (Sorry, I liked that fairytale/hora thing)

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Feb 23, 06:17:00 AM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous H, at Thu Feb 23, 10:18:00 AM GMT+2  


Of course the NU is racist. Until it joined with the NRP, the party's official platform (which was already a compromise from the more aggressive one of Moledet) advocated "encouraging" non-Jews to leave Israel.

Can you begin to imagine what sort of response an American political party would receive if its platform stated that African-Americans should be "encouraged" to return to Africa?

Just because our enemies hate us and we need to stay strong against them, does not mean we have the right to deny the basic rights of Arab Israeli citizens.

It is very clear that in the question over a democratic Jewish state, the NU is not so bothered about the democratic section. Many of the NU leaders are publicly in favour of annexing the territories and keeping the Palestinians under a condition of apartheid. That is racist.

Let's not play games here. The NU is not pretending they are a nice cosy liberal party - they are putting forward an agenda which goes something along the lines of - this is our land and anyone else can go away. I would suggest this is similar to the manifest destiny argument of European settlers in North America which underscored their racist policy towards Native Americans.

The National Union's policy regarding the Palestinian citizens of Israel (Arab Israelis) is irrelevant of whether the PLO, PFLP, DFLP or Hamas are in power in the PA. In fact the NU are overjoyed to have their spiritual cousins Hamas in power on the other side of the green line - nothing could be better for them. It helps them scare the israeli public into thinking that we need "strongmen" at the head of the israeli government. Everyone involved in political analysis knows that the racists on either side feed off each other - they need each other to increase the hatred on either side. They are in fact partners in the project of stopping peace at all costs. Because peace means compromise and they are committed to no-compromise.


By Anonymous H, at Thu Feb 23, 11:42:00 AM GMT+2  

Remember that Ichud and Yisrael Beytenu split and now each has matched the combined total from last election. Sometimes, differences ATTRACT voters. Obviously the polls show that NU-NRP is a positive vote getter but I'm pretty sure that adding Likud and YB people to that list would detract. I can personally tell you that Ivet does not view Elon as a "rival" but as a strategic ally for after the election.

By Blogger Danny Hershtal, at Thu Feb 23, 12:37:00 PM GMT+2  

A party whose platform encourages the evacuation of non-Jews from Israel.

That sounds like a party whose platform call for the (unilateral)evacuation of Jews from areas they don't call Israel.

Can you begin to imagine what sort of response an American political party would receive if its platform stated that Jews should be "encouraged" to leave Puerto Rico?

Let's not play games here. Meretz is not pretending they are a nice cosy liberal party - they are putting forward an agenda which goes something along the lines of - this is all Arab land and anyone Jewish can go away.

Meretz's policy regarding the Palestinian citizens of Israel (Arab Israelis) is irrelevant.

In fact Meretz is so overjoyed to have Hamas in power on the other side of the green line that Beilin has even demanded we meet and negotiate with them too.

Because peace means compromise and Jews are the one who have to compromise.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Thu Feb 23, 02:59:00 PM GMT+2  

I guess the Meretz platform is Racist.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Thu Feb 23, 03:06:00 PM GMT+2  

H, I dont know if you are religious or even Jewish, but if you are it woul do you some good to learn a little Torah. Start with the Rambam's Mishne Torah Hilchos Melachim. I twould do you good to know what the actual opinion of Halacha is towards Goyim. Hint; they aren't equal to Jews.

Ze'ev, there was a recent interview on Arutz Sheva with Uri Bank a NU candidate who bragged about how the NU is willing to compromise on their principles. Is that really the party you want in the Knesset?

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Thu Feb 23, 04:44:00 PM GMT+2  


Thanks, I have learnt the Mishne torah - particularly hilchos Melachim and I would totally agree with you that RaMBaM did believe that Jews were on a higher spiritual plane than non-Jews and that in any Jewish State set up, non-Jews should not be considered equal to Jews.

RaMBaM lived in a time of exile and his worldview was shaped by being forced to live as a dhimmi under Muslim rule. I am a participant in the revolution of Jewish Identity known as Zionism, which is an anti-religious, anti-halachic revolution.

The age of Rabbinicism is over.

get used to it.

By Anonymous H, at Fri Feb 24, 05:11:00 PM GMT+2  


Meretz's platform does not call for unilateral anything - you should get your facts right. Can you read well enough to read Meretz's Platform in Ivrit?

Your argument that Meretz is anti-Jewish is ridiculous. All meretz's top leadership is Jewish, it is a self-defining Zionist party and includes many patriots who have fought for the Jewish nation.

As for areas Meretz does not consider part of Israel, I think you will find that Israel does not consider Yehuda and Shomron part of Israel! Likud have been the largest party in government in all but 2 short sittings since 1977 - they never annexed the West Bank. It is not Meretz who says we should not have civilian settlements over the green line, it is official government policy. In fact even according to our own laws, every single settlement is temporary and at the discretion of the civil administration.

By Anonymous H, at Fri Feb 24, 05:16:00 PM GMT+2  

So you don't think it is racist to say Jews may not live in a certain areas? (Didnt the Nazis do that too?)

That's either stupid or racist.

Which one are you?

By Anonymous joosrool, at Sat Feb 25, 07:26:00 PM GMT+2  

Meretz supports the Geneva Accord as it states on their website.

And the Geneva Accord states:

3. Israeli Withdrawal
i. Israel shall withdraw in accordance with Article 5.

5. Settlements
i. The state of Israel shall be responsible for resettling the Israelis residing in Palestinian sovereign territory outside this territory.

In short, Meretz calls for making areas Judenrein unilaterally against the will of the Jewish residents living there.

Oh excuse me, you define "unilaterally" as only when the Palestinians don't participate, but when it is religious Jews, you can do to them as you will against their will.

That's what your party's platform states.

And it's idea to completely give away sovreignity of the Temple Mount (and let armed Palestinians roam around up there) is about as anti-Jewish (and foolish) a concept you can get.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sat Feb 25, 09:05:00 PM GMT+2  

Of course you might want to explain why the Geneva Accord plans to give the Templar cemetary on Emek Refaim street away to the Palestinians.

There isn't a single Palestinian buried there.

The Palestinians must have been pissing their pant with laughter as Beilin agreed to each idiotic demand of theirs one after the other.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sat Feb 25, 09:08:00 PM GMT+2  

being jewish and acting jewish are 2 different things.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sat Feb 25, 09:23:00 PM GMT+2  


Dead right - being Jewish and acting Jewish are certainly two very different things. While Baruch Goldstein, Yigal Amir, Eden Natan-Zada and Meir Kahane were all Jewish by birth, none of them seem to have understood any of the central Jewish principles of How to treat the stranger or "v'ahavta l're'echa" or "b'tselem elokim".

As for unilateralism - I think you just proved my point - it was the likud party, descendant of Herut, founded by Menahem Begin, and spiritual descendents of Jabotinsky who were in favour of unilateralism. Meretz (and the Geneva accords) are in favour of bi-lateralism and multi-lateralism. Between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and all our arab neighbour states.

As regards the Jews living in occupied Yehuda v'Shomron - they are part of our side (at least in my eyes - I would have hoped that in yours too, but maybe it is too late for the kenaim amongst them) and therefore they get to have their say in our democratic process - my guess is many of them will be voting for Ze'ev in the coming elections. My sincere hope is that the security, safety, economy and future of the entire Jewish people is not sacrificed for the zealous dream of the settlers, that a party with responsibility is elected to lead the next government and that it displays that responsibility by acting in the best interests of the Jewish Nation, and not in the interests of the small theocratic minority of settlers.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Feb 26, 10:40:00 AM GMT+2  

You forgot to include the Rabbis that hung Jesus up on the cross to your list.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 26, 12:44:00 PM GMT+2  

You must be thanking God for Natan-Zada, because I'm sure you were getting tired of just having just Goldstein to mention in every conversation. I'm surprised you forgot to mention Amir.

Personally I hope that enough Jews have opened their eyes and realize that Meretz has dragged this country to Meretz's lowest levels, and perhaps Meretz might even accept full responisbility for their role in promoting the Oslo massacres and will eveventually denounce its latest incarnation they choose to call Geneva.

The future of the Jewish people won't be from those that think that pork is a delicacy and Yom Kippur is a great day to go to the beach, nor will it be from those who continue to fantasize that any peace is possible with these palestinians, now matter how well you try to get them armed.

Meretz has done more for the destruction of Jewish values and State Security than any other political organization in Israel.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sun Feb 26, 12:58:00 PM GMT+2  

..and while yes, Sharon was the one who completely detroyed our deterrence in Gaza, it was Meretz's policies that pushed Israel into such a bad state.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sun Feb 26, 01:02:00 PM GMT+2  


Perhaps you may want to actually read my post - I did mention Amir.

If you read what people had to say before foaming from the mouth about Pork and Beaches (I don't eat Pork or any other forbidden meat and I haven't been to the beach for years, I was in shul on Yom Kippur), you may actually learn something about what the other side is all about as opposed to just assuming that because they don't agree with you they must all be damned to hell pig eaters.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Feb 26, 01:20:00 PM GMT+2  


You confused the categorization of two different parties.

Shinui is the one that is 80% anti-Judaism and 20% everything else, while I would best categorize Meretz as 80% anti-settlement and 20% everything else based on what they choose to emphasize lately.

You probably misunderstand Meretz. As the majority of Settlers are religious you assume that Meretz is battling against Judaism as opposed to the ideology of the majority of the religious (which would be Judaism).

Meretz desires that Israel be a secular state with a separation between Temple (Church) & State, perhaps even a State of All its Citizens. While this may seem fairly anti-Jewish in your eyes, and is manifestly the definition of nationalized assimilation, it is far from being anti-Jewish in their eyes, as Meretz would defines Jews and Judaism by more country club standards than you do.

That Meretz chooses to blame the settlers for continued Palestinian violence, and maintains a clear disconnect between the introduction of Oslo (and their role in it) and the rapid increase in Palestinian terror, as well as our rapid withdrawals from areas that are now proving their strategic value - is irrelevant, as they religiously believe peace will be possible at some price, and we still haven’t paid enough for it yet, which is why they choose to rehash the Oslo path with the introduction of the Geveva accord.

That you don’t understand this is your fault.

By Anonymous joosrool, at Sun Feb 26, 02:30:00 PM GMT+2  

raise your hand if you think complete disengagement from the settlements will bring everlasting peace & security for israel.

go ahead.

still waiting.

don't be shy.

By Blogger Pinchas Floyd, at Sun Feb 26, 04:16:00 PM GMT+2  

Phishaliyah- you might think you are being funny, but you completely miss the point of this discussion.

I'm a supporter of eventual disengagement from Shay as it is now known, but not because I'm under any illusions of "everlasting peace & security for israel" - and I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who is under such an illusion. How can you not know this?

Why don't you try (as H suggested to Orange and Black) to *read* the manifestos of these parties so that you understand their policies and rationale, as opposed to just believe what Arutz Sheva tell you about "Leftist Moonbats"?

By Blogger tafka PP, at Sun Feb 26, 04:37:00 PM GMT+2  

manifesto is the right word.

and i've read them

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sun Feb 26, 06:34:00 PM GMT+2  

...but after a while, it gets confusing as to who hates who and why.

By Anonymous orange&black, at Sun Feb 26, 06:37:00 PM GMT+2  

Dear H,

The NU does NOT (and I stress the word NOT) hate Arabs. They are tired of the relentless murdering of Jews by those people. If they want to live in Eretz Yisrael as Gerei Toshav (as is possible until the Yovel are applicable again) then they can cease murdering Jews... otherwise they have to leave.. not because of 'racism', but because people who want to kill you have no right to live in your own backyard. Every sound country in the world would do the same thing (and has I might add).

Secondly, African Americans and American Indians are NOTHING like the Arab 'Palestinians'. They don't try to kill Anglo-Americans to get them out of North America and drive them into the Atlantic Ocean (and if they did they wouldn't be in America very long). The Arabs on the other hand publiclly proclaim and actively pursue just that. Therefore your comparrison is unequivocal in nature.

You are talking about apples and I oranges. Let's get on the same page prior to discussing the issue.

By Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report, at Mon Feb 27, 06:45:00 AM GMT+2  


Firstly, "those people" do not all think alike. Just so you know, nor do most of "those people" murder Jews. In fact, far more of "those people" have been killed by us, than we have been by them.

As for the idea of Gerei Toshav, which you mentioned - I am pretty sure denying someone full citizenship on the basis of their ethnicity would be considered racist in any country.

As for the analogy with Native Americans/First Nations or African Americans - I hold it to be perfectly valid, given that in the past both these groups have put up violent resistance to the majority white european rule.

I think it is fair to say that we are talking about the same thing. It is not that I am deluded and don't see the reality of the situation, it is simply that we disagree. In my opinion, the NU is a racist party. I am fairly sure, that they would not say so themselves, but funnily enough, that is not so surprising. I would call Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson racist as well, but I am sure they would not admit to it. I would call Norman Tebbit racist, but i am sure he would disagree.

I understand why you do not want to be labeled a racist, as someone who is probably going to vote for NU/NRP, and i accept that. I do not wish to offend you personally, but rather this blog is a forum for intellectual discussion of Israeli politics and as such, we need to be able to speak frankly.

In my opinion, and in the opinion probably of the vast majority of impartial (non-Jewish, non-Arab) observers, Israel's far right is racist.


By Anonymous H, at Mon Feb 27, 12:32:00 PM GMT+2  


While I reject your interpretation, your analysis is much closer to reality than O&B.

Just a few points that caught my eye - you claim that Shinui is anti-Judaism. This is not true, Shinui is anti the orthodox-rabbinic tyranny. Given that the majority of Jews in the world are not orthodox, nor even are the majority of Israelis, the fact that a minority rules over a majority in cultural and indentity matters is problematic for anyone who believes in a free and fair democracy. Meretz is also against this tyranny.

As for your assertions with regards to Meretz being anti-settlement - you may want to learn some Zionist and Israeli history before making such a statement - i think you will find that Meretz is the ideological descendent of Mapam - Mifleget hapoalim hameuhedet, and as such was responsible for the Artzi kibbutz movement, who were the earliest and boldest pioneers of Zionist Settlement in the land of Israel. Back in the early 1900s when the fifth Lubavitcher rebbe was calling zionism a threat to torah judaism and mainstream orthodox authorities were vehemently anti-Zionist. The Zionists of Mapam were building this country, which you now live in. To claim that Mapam is anti-settlement is like saying Eliezer Ben Yehuda was anti Hebrew, because he also knew other languages.

As for blame for Palestinian violence - Meretz does not "blame" settlers accept for when they are involved in violence themselves (Amona for example). Meretz's position, like that of the United States, the quartet, the UN, the current government, is that a Palestinian state needs to be established, so that we can extricate ourselves from the occupation which is draining this country's resources - taking money away from social security, welfare, public housing, Jewish education, etc. In order to do this, it is clear that the settlements we built on the administered territories will have to be given up. Given that we never annexed this area and as soon as it was conquered the government had already raised the idea that the territory be used to sue for peace, this is hardly a surprise to the settlers who moved there.

As for ignoring history. Does the right wing leadership of this country not ignore their role and complicity in the incitement directed towards Rabin? Does the right wing leadership of this country not ignore the fact that the worst violence this country has seen came after rabin was shot by a "religious Zionist"? Does the right wing leadership not ignore the fact that Oslo only failed after it had been derailed by Rabin's murder? Some truths need to be told - Oslo failed, but it did not "die" as a process, it was murdered.

By Anonymous H, at Mon Feb 27, 12:48:00 PM GMT+2  

Thrilled by your history lesson. As the song says, 'What have you done for me lately?'

What Meretz may have been associated with in the far past no longer has relevance or connection to what they are associated with in the present.

Oslo failed long before Rabin was shot by an individual.

There was the incredible introduction and escalation in car bombings and suicide bombers that began just 7 months after Beilin, Peres & Rabin (and all the leftists?) brought in the terrorists from Tunis and 7 whole months before Rabin was killed (not to mention all the shootings that began nearly right away).

That the left is still unable to acknowledge that Oslo directly brought us extreme terrorism, shows us why they are still trying to drag us down this dangerous dead-end road and won't let it die as it should.

Oslo wasn't murdered, it was a dead-end failure from the start.

The left is rehashing it as the Geneva Accord, and this process is just as dangerous and deadly to Israel as was the original.

I do recall the incitement.

I recall the government and the media's role in the 'incitement'. I remember Avishai Raviv and his SS poster and swearing in ceremony. I remember being at a protest and watching rabid police violence against completely non-violent protesters and then going home and watching the media reporting that the protesters were violent.

I recall the left and the government's attempt to stifle any voice of opposition and freedom of speech.

Personally, if you feel the need to blame those on the right for the murder of Rabin, I see no reason then why the left isn't explicitely responsible for the deaths of over 1000 Jewish Israelis by their introduction and continous support for Arafat and other Palestinian terrorists.

As for violence escalating after Rabin. Sure it did.

The leftist brought in terrorists. What else are terrorists going to do but keep escalating their terrorism. It started right after the left brought in Arafat and overall, just kept going up.

Rabin was your failed messiah, your Shabtai Tzvi, and Peres and Beilin his Natans of Gaza.

Get over him already.

By Anonymous joosrool, at Mon Feb 27, 02:10:00 PM GMT+2  


Unfortunately, you still haven't provided any evidence that Meretz is anti-Settlement within the green line. Therefore your argument that they are anti-Settlement is still false. It might be right to say they are anti the expansion of settlement, according to international treaties signed by the government of Israel.

As for Rabin - i would certainly not call him a failed messiah. I do not believe he was ever held up as a messiah by any of his supporters - it is not in the inclination of real secular zionists to believe in messiahs at all. If you want to talk about false messiahs, I might start with Chabad. Or Tzvi Yehuda Kook.

AS for your analysis of events surrounding Rabin's death - you still did not answer my main claim - the period of most intense violence against Israel came after a religous student shot the prime minister, triggering elections which Bibi Netanyahu benefitted from.

Joosrule, my belief is we can both spin history however we want it. I believe NU is racist and you think Meretz is selling out Israel. Within these given positions, I suggest we try and stick to facts as opposed to throw around slogans like "anti-settlement" which are not grounded in any truth.


By Anonymous H, at Mon Feb 27, 03:23:00 PM GMT+2  

Dear H:

Once again, I'm not sure what history book you've been reading, but American Indians and/or Black Americans are not blowing themselves up in markets, sniping infants, or blowing up school buses full of children. There is not way to equalize Palestinian terror with American minority resistance. Black resistance was mostly passive, and therefore they were given equality because people felt bad for them... a 16-year old girl blowing herself up on a bus full of children is nothing like black resistance.

American Indians on the other hand DID fight the 'white man', but once again that was 120 years ago when the final Indian and American wars were going on. Even though today American Indians are FAR from equal treatment and are rounded up in tight little reservations (I know good and well the conditions because I voluntarily lived on one for a long time for humanitarian work) but they still do not commit suicide attacks.

As for who you tag a racist, that's your business.. but for someone who is afraid to call the Palestinian people as a majority racist as well is unthinkable. They glorify the murder of Jews and dance in the streets when such terrorist attacks happen. Secondly they openly (90% of them) want to see Jews driven into the sea because they refuse to live side-by-side with Jews... please tell me how this is not racist?

By Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report, at Tue Feb 28, 12:42:00 AM GMT+2  


Native Americans used to go out in hunting parties looking for settlers who had invaded their land and scalp them. That's pretty violent.

A slave uprising in Georgia once ended with a whole village being burnt to the ground. That's pretty violent. It may have happened a long time ago, but that may have something to do with the States being a 200 year old country and Israel being 60 yrs old. Who knows, in 140 years, maybe we will be making films about settlers and palestinians, as opposed to cowboys and indians (I reject your use of the term indian, but it is obviously the term given to certain films).

AS for whether I am willing to label "the Palestinian people as a majority" racist, or anything else, is a silly question - I don't know anything about the vast majority of Palestinians, having neither met the majority of Palestinians, nor having an accurate understanding of what they think on every issue.

My guess would be that in every society there will be some racists - there will be some people convinced of the superiority of their group over another.

I think it would be worthwhile reading kahaneloyalists remark to Ze'ev on the most current thread for an informative look about how one supporter of the far right in Israel views the "accusation" of racism and anti-democracy.


By Anonymous H, at Tue Feb 28, 11:47:00 AM GMT+2  

Tovya dear,

I think Ze'ev has provided the best solution to our little dispute with his post above:

Does the Jewish State = Racism?

I think, though he is too politically wise to say so, that this is Ze'ev's way of saying that he doesn't mind being called a racist.

Also look at the comments of RegReg and Kahaneloyalist - who also don't seem to mind the "slur".


By Anonymous H, at Wed Mar 01, 02:41:00 PM GMT+2  

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