CNN Reports that “The Obama administration’s frustration with Benjamin Netanyahu is turning into outright hostility after the Israeli prime minister’s commanding victory this week.” Senior officials in President Obama’s administration, including White House spokesman John Earnest, are reported as saying that Netanyahu’s final pre-election push, in which he said that there will be no Palestinian State and no Palestinian capitol in Jerusalem, present “very significant substantive concerns,” and that, “we will have to reassess our options going forward.” Yet another official asserted that if Netanyahu’s change of position reflects a new Israeli policy, that we are in a “different situation than we have been in years,” and that, in effect scuttling the multi-administration peace talks, could change the U.S. relationship towards Israel. Others focused on the democratic nature of Israeli elections as if to suggest that Netanyahu’s hawkish posture to reclaim the far right vote might well be softened once the coalition is formed. President Obama is giving Netanyahu space to back down on his desperate last minute campaigning...Read More
Critical Israel elections only hours away. Issues and process explained. / Wed. post-election Update!!!
This special edition is being published earlier than our regular weekly posts because we are in the final day leading up to Israel’s very important election. Updates through the week will appear at the end of the post. By necessity, this is longer than our usual blog post. This election is one that will go a long way toward determining policy options for Israel, as well as for the United States and the entire Middle-East. To say nothing for the other big powers interested in seeing a secure Israel and a Palestinian State. The final pre-election polls are in, as Israeli law allows no more polling within four days of the election. They show a very slight, but inching upward, edge for Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Herzog’s new Zionist Union merged party. The two final polls show Zionist Union winning 25-26 seats to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party’s 21 or 22 seats. But with the usual margin of error disclaimers, as well as political scientists’ concern about allocations of...Read More
“It is as if Iran, a country that hasn’t invaded any country for over 250 years, should remain cool in the face of such attacks, threats, infiltrations, boycotts, U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf, and not engage in any military alliances.” To begin with, I don’t know what a two hundred and fifty yr old Iran has to do with current Iranian policies. However, it should be noted that commonly accepted Iranian history lays waste to Nader’s wild and false claims. Umm, didn’t the “War of 1775-76” with the Ottomans see Persia, led by Karim Khan Zandi, invade and capture Basrah (partly in order to establish the Shia religion in what is now Southern Iraq)? Just outside Ralph Nader’s two hundred and fifty year supposed Iranian peaceful era, (By the way then called Persia) Shah Nader, (my what a coincidence) invaded India and ravaged Delhi. Ask the Indians about supposed Nader or Persian peaceful nature! No anomaly there, either. In 1794, the Quajar Persian dynasty in...Read More
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came, delivered his contentious speech before Congress, and left to thunderous applause. This applause has been commented on by one proud Israeli, as by “a man in a class by himself. One who will stand up to the world’s leaders,” and most observers believe it will help Netanyahu in his March 17 election try at retaining his Prime Minstership. Conveniently for him, it came just as the weekend’s polling showed some slippage by Netanyahu’s Likud to the new Zionist Union Party made up of a coalition of Isaac Herzog’s Labor Party and the remnants of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah. Clearly Netanyahu’s speech before Congress had the effect of interfering with Israel’s domestic political campaign, though we will have to see if there is a backlash against him because of the speech after the initial pride effect makes its mark. Meanwhile, back in the good old U.S. of A., in the aftermath of what was clearly a Republican partisan move by Speaker Boehner in inviting...Read More
There has been a long standing informal protocol regarding relations between Israel and the United States: No partisan dealings at the top level! That means with Congress or the presidency. The relationship is based upon mutual need and long standing friendship between the two countries. This protocol has been observed with many different parties in power on both sides, from the socialist-oriented Labor Party to right-of-center Likud in Israel, and with both Republican and Democrat parties in both congress and the presidency. The protocol has survived through the years despite differences of opinion between the two countries, even through Eisenhower’s undoing of the military gains by the triumvirate of U.S. allies, Israel, France and the U.K. in the Suez War of 1956. It survived Israel’s huge losses in the surprise attack by Arab countries during Yom Kippur in 1973, even though it was learned that U.S. intelligence had deliberately misled Israel by understating Syria’s surface-to-air missile capability. Now, with the invitation by Speaker of the House of Representatives...Read More
The success of Alexis Tsipras and his leftist Syrza Party in the Greek elections, may point to a winning path for liberal parties in the West who have been on the defensive now for the past couple of decades. That path, surprisingly, requires the abandonment of purist ideology in favor of pragmatic compromises. It is surprising, because the unwillingness to compromise has been associated with the right wing. In the United States, we think of the rigid political dogma of those identifying with the so-called Tea Party. In Western Europe, the extreme nationalistic parties come to mind. These latter parties gave grown, in part, as a reaction to the influx of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East as well as from Romania and Albania. They also have a sizable core of racial and nationalistic populism, somewhat akin to the supporters in the United States of George Wallace’s populist presidential campaign of 1968. Alexis Tsipras and his wife, Peristera Baziana, were both members of the Communist Party’s...Read More