Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Shattering the Post-Election Myths

It's time for Myths and Facts: Post-Israeli Elections edition.

Today's myths are sponsored by M.J. Rosenberg (in an Op-Ed from today's Jerusalem Post) of the ultra-Leftist Israel Policy Forum, and the facts are being provided by... yours truly.

Myth

By now everyone knows that the results of the election add up to a mandate to end the occupation.

Fact

A close look at the election results for the 17th Knesset show nothing of the sort.

* These elections had the lowest voter turnout in the history of the State of Israel. Nearly 40% of those eligible to vote, representative of nearly every segment of the population, chose not to, having either lost faith in the legitimacy / effectiveness of the current political system, parties and elected officials, or they just don't care anymore.

* There were 3 non-Arab parties whose platform included some type of "end the occupation" concept that earned seats in the 17th Knesset (Kadima, Labor, Meretz), who, in total, earned 53 seats - well short of a 61 seat majority needed to form a coalition.

Of the remaining seats that went to non right-wing parties, 7 seats went to the Pensioners party (a party that currently has no platform on anything except for taking care of the elderly), 18 seats went to the ultra-Orthodox Shas and UTJ parties who also do not have an official platform when it comes to the issue of borders (and neither of those parties would constitute Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria as an "occupation"), and lastly, 10 seats were split between the 3 Arab parties whose voters and leaders (more here - halfway into the post) fail to accept Israel as a Jewish State.

So, in short, these election results do not show any indication that a majority of (Jewish) Israelis are clamoring for an "End to the Occupation".

Myth

The surprisingly peaceful withdrawal from Gaza demonstrated that the majority of Israelis support territorial withdrawal and the dismantling of settlements in pursuit of disengagement from the Palestinians.

Fact

How can this be considered a proof? This represents the ultimate hypocrisy. Rosenberg and Israel Policy Forum advocated strongly against any refusal of orders and expressions of non-violent civil disobedience when it came to the opposition of the expulsion of the 10,000 Jews of Gush Katif, Gaza and the Shomron. To now argue that since the country did not erupt in violent revolt in the wake of the expulsion proves that the majority were in favor?!?

What of the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated against the expulsion? What of the tens of thousands who involved themselves in acts of non-violent civil disobedience?

Consider the following:


* Ariel Sharon (Likud) was elected by a landslide in the 2003 elections on a platform that directly contrasted Amram Mitzna's (Labor) "Disengagement" plan.

The true mandate that Ariel Sharon and the Likud received in the aftermath of the 2003 elections (where nearly 1 in every 3 voters voted Likud) was to eliminate the terror threat posed by the "Palestinians" against the Jewish State - and in that, his expulsion plan completely failed to represent the will of the people.

* The only referendum held on the matter of the expulsion plan - which took place within Ariel Sharon's Likud party - suffered a resounding defeat: 60% opposed, 40% in favor.

* Ariel Sharon was only able to garner a majority within his cabinet for the expulsion by firing those ministers who opposed the expulsion plan and replacing them with those who were willing to betray their ideological convictions in return for cushy ministerial positions (and a BMW, of course).

The same tactic was used by Sharon to build support within the Knesset for the expulsion plan.

At no point did the majority of (Jewish) Israelis ever give their support to Ariel Sharon's expulsion plan.

Myth

Ehud Olmert... has a specific policy mandate: getting out of most of the West Bank. He says that parts of Arab Jerusalem could be handed to the Palestinians either in the context of his unilateral plan, or in negotiations.

Fact

Ehud Olmert, and by extension, his Kadima party, have no mandate whatsoever.

* How can Ehud Olmert and Kadima have a "specific policy mandate" when fewer than 1 out of every 4 voters (less than 25%) casted their vote for Kadima?

* Consider that from the very moment that Ehud Olmert took over the leadership of Kadima, the party has been losing voters left and right (both figuratively and literally). When Olmert took over the party, Kadima was polling at 44 seats, and they ended up with a paltry 29 seats - a drop of 15 seats, over a third of their support base!

Furthermore, the other two parties on the left who advocated "ending the occupation" also had poor showings at the polls. Meretz dropped from 6 seats to 5, and Labor stayed at the same 19 seats that they had after the 2003 elections, which was viewed then as an unmitigated disaster.

Myth

Who would have imagined that Israeli politics would have shifted in this direction less than six years after the collapse of the Camp David negotiations and following the onset of the Aksa Intifada...

Amazingly, even the coming to power of Hamas did not significantly erode the Israeli consensus in favor of territorial compromise with the Palestinians, either unilaterally or through negotiations.

Israelis have simply had it with the occupation.

Fact

Wrong. Again, all this shows is that a large segment of the voting public in Israel has lost faith in the electoral system (see above), and explains why nearly 40% of those eligible to vote in the elections found better things to do on election day, and why a large percentage of those who did in fact vote did so while holding their nose.

Consider that the Pensioners party won 7 seats, the equivalent of over 200,000 votes (a party that only came into existence a few months before the election). Many of those who voted for the Pensioners party did so as a protest vote, and others did so out of a feeling that while none of the major parties could be expected to look after their interests (and since our war with the "Palestinians" doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon), perhaps this small party whose single issue is championing the rights of the elderly seemed, to many, as good a vote as any.

Myth

It is, of course, easy to be a militant on Israeli-Palestinian issues when you legislate from 6,000 miles away... Needless to say, the American student activists who voted to sustain the occupation will not be joining their Israeli counterparts in patrolling the West Bank and staffing checkpoints.

Fact

Rosenberg is half-right in this instance.

He neglects to mention that it is no less easy to advocate expelling tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of Jews from their homes, and for destroying dozens of Jewish communities in the Land of Israel, all to be carried out at the behest of the government of the Jewish State of Israel, while sitting 6,000 miles away.

Of course, neither he, nor his supporters, are likely to ever end up moving to Israel, and as such, will never have to personally expel any Jews from their homes, nor will they have to suffer the consequences of the implementation of such actions.



12 Comments:

Now if you had been #2 on the list...

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Tue Apr 04, 08:02:00 PM GMT+3  

sure its easy to support the settlements from new york.

its similarly easy to support dismantling them from tel aviv.

By Blogger Pinchas Floyd, at Tue Apr 04, 08:06:00 PM GMT+3  

Zeev:

Are you excluding Israeli Arabs from being citizens in the nation? Your first portion of the article seems to do so. The fact of the matter is, 63 mandates are pro-disegngagement. Its a bit disturbing that you easily toss-aside the arab citizens of Israel.

The Pensioners will adopt a diplomatic platform, although, I agree, they were not elected on that issue. The ultra-religious parties will likely not support it in theory but will in practice in order to get more cash for their coffers.

I do think there should be a referendum on further withdrawals, but still believe in that refer. the pull-out camp would win.

You're argument also is superfluous as well in that you assume the vote was solely on the issue of pull-out. Many voters turned out for many different reasons, and probably the clearest cut reason was for social ad education and welfare issues.

This just addresses the first "myth and fact" section.

By Anonymous zionist, at Wed Apr 05, 04:02:00 PM GMT+3  

Ze'ev:

You also fail to describe that the settlers themselves had a low voter turnout, and this, in fact would have contributed to the lower voter turnout in general. Thus, there is no clear cut mandate to REMAIN in the territories either.

Also, consider the high cost of young soldiers' lives and their families having to protect isoloated and a further some of 105 illegal settlments not to mention how much money is diverted from other more worthy social welfare causes inside the State of Israel.

How would you propose to keep these isolated settlements, and not worry about the demographic time bomb coming our way?

How much public expenditure should we have to continually aid these outposts at the expense of more pressing social welfare needs?

Why should those in Tel-Aviv and Haifa and other anti-outpost Israelis have to guard these outposts when they are phililosophically opposed to remaining in Judea and Samaria (esp. if some on the right refused to serve in the disengagement)?

By Anonymous Zionist, at Wed Apr 05, 04:12:00 PM GMT+3  

Zionsist, any religious Jew wouldnt include the Arabs in citizens of Israel since teh Rambam rules explicitly in Hilchos Melachim that it is completely Issur for any Goy to have any control over Jewish governmen t. SO they really cant be considered as eligable for voting rights.

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Wed Apr 05, 05:19:00 PM GMT+3  

Wow,

You're far out of touch with reality. The fact of it is, is that the Knesset is not a Sanhedrin. They are citizens with voting rights. Halacha also dictates that goyim committed to the Nochide laws can live in Eretz Israel.

By Anonymous Zionist, at Wed Apr 05, 09:57:00 PM GMT+3  

Zionist, 1st, please keep the comments coming - Haim will be glad to have company presenting the left-wing perspective.

As for your points, I mentioned a number of times that the low voter turnout was reflective of all elements of Israeli society (which would naturally include thosel iving in Judea and Samaria - and formerly Gaza).

The point I was making is that any results must be taken with a grain of salt by the fact that such a large percentage of the populace is disenchanted wit hthe country's political system and leaders.

As for your next issue. Bottom line, the job of the army is to defend the lives of the citizens of the State and defend her borders (and in the case of the Jewish State of Israel, it is also responsible for defending the rights of Jews everywhere).

You may not like the fact that Jews are in Hebron or in Beit El, but that doesnt mean that the army shouldn't be there.

The army is not meant ot be a safe place. The fact is we have enemies, and running away from these places wont change that - it will only bremblden them and bring them closer to the main population centers (as well as decrease the morale of the army and the entire country).

As for the settlements eating up the money - look at the post above this one to see why there are so man y problems with Israel's economy - I'll give you a hint: the "settlers" aren't to blame.

As for the demographic issue, I have written about it extensively on this blog, and the bottom line is that even if we were to withdraw from all of the post 1967 lines, we would still have a demographic threat from Israeli Arabs - one that will likely overcome us within the next 50 years or so. So, unless you are advocating giving away everything past 1967 and then stripping the citzenship of all non-Jews in Israel you arent going to solve the demographic issue.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Apr 05, 11:26:00 PM GMT+3  

Great post.-to the point.How frustating that we don't have a majority here in Israel to see it.
The reason -psychotic denial.

By Anonymous daat y, at Thu Apr 06, 01:45:00 AM GMT+3  

Zionist, I recommend you learn Rambam Hilchos Melachim to begin to understand which Goyim can live in Israel. Firstly it is not Ben Noach who can live in Israel, but Ger Toshav. Secondly, Islam is not a Ben Noach religion, since for a Goy to become Ben Noach they must accept the Torah as true and unchanged, but not for them. The Muslims claim the Torah has been altered so they cant even be Ben Noach.

Next, to be Ger Toshav the class of Goy that can live in Israel, there are certain restrictions which they must accept before they may live in Israel. Including servitude to the Jewish people and tribute as well as being unable to own land. The Arabs don't fit any of these categories.

The Rambam also says explicitly that even a Ger Toshav goy is forbidden to have any influence upon the government the Arabs may not vote or have any government positions.

The Arabs also have the status of the Sheva Haamim according to the psak of the Ramban sefer HaMitzvos Mitzvah number four. The Mitzvah to conquer Eretz Yisrael in all generations says any nation which resists Jewish conquest takes upon themselves the status of the Sheva Haamim. Who must be shown no mercy.

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Thu Apr 06, 04:51:00 AM GMT+3  

Anyone who voted for Marzel or Herut, showed an amazing lack of political maturity, and have led to furthery decay in the power of the right-wing. Remember any additional seat for teh NU-NRP was one less seat for based on the results, Meretz or Kadima or an Arab Party. And if Marzel would have got in, what the @$#$&((% did he stand for anyway?

By Anonymous An Angry Man, at Thu Apr 06, 04:07:00 PM GMT+3  

Thank you for the information about the Ger Tosav, I found it quite enlightening and I stand corrected on the halachic view point. But what is the Torah's concept about changing times and dealing with changed situations and circumstances of our time?

Zeev, I am not against Jews living in certain parts of Hebron as I think Jews have always lived there, no? Also, given the track record of the Palestinians in taking care of Jewish religious sites or hisotircal sites I do agree we need to have an army presense there. But what about the few caravan outposts scattered throughout?

By Anonymous Zionist, at Fri Apr 07, 04:17:00 PM GMT+3  

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By Blogger crazyloko, at Tue Oct 20, 03:40:00 AM GMT+2  

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