web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Remembering Bibi’s Inglorious Sendoff


Media-Monitor-logo

For not the first time in his political career, Benjamin Netanyahu has become Israel’s Great Right Hope – a figure looked to with increasing longing by an electorate fed up with the blunders and corruption of the Olmert government.

But it was less than a decade ago that Netanyahu, after a scandal-marred and profoundly underwhelming term as prime minister, was soundly defeated for reelection by Labor’s Ehud Barak. In the weeks following his ouster, Netanyahu took quite a beating in the media – a state of affairs to which he ordinarily would have been accustomed, if not for the fact that those now throwing some of the hardest punches included many of his former political and ideological allies.

About Netanyahu it could plausibly be argued that, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon during the climactic months of the Watergate drama and George W. Bush as this is being written, there has never been a democratically elected head of state, certainly none in recent memory, so universally vilified (by friend and foe alike) in his waning time in office.

Indeed, so thoroughly had Netanyahu offended or insulted or disappointed almost everyone within his own party and natural base of support – from Yitzhak Shamir to Benny Begin to Natan Sharansky to Yitzhak Mordechai to others too numerous to mention – that when the time came to concede defeat on election night, he was virtually alone on stage with his wife and his political mentor, Moshe Arens.

The revulsion felt in Israel toward Netanyahu extended from columnists on the Left to their colleagues in the middle and on the Right, and the sentiment was very much shared by their counterparts in the U.S.

Few of the analysts who set about pondering Bibi’s fate in American journals of opinion – even those publications that in the past had been generally sympathetic to Netanyahu – shed tears for the man who, in the words of Adam J. Levitan in The Weekly Standard, “ensured the disintegration of the Israeli right” by his embrace of the Oslo peace process.

By far the most devastating attack on what remained at the time of Netanyahu’s reputation came from the Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes, whose article in the July 5, 1999 issue of The New Republic, “The Road to Damascus,” made a convincing case that Netanyahu, as first reported in Haaretz a month earlier, had been prepared to make concessions to Syria that were considerably greater than anything ever contemplated by either of his immediate, supposedly more dovish predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Pipes began his piece with a dramatic exchange from a debate the previous April between Netanyahu and his former defense minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, who was then running against his ex-boss:

“In a discussion of Syria, Netanyahu declared that he would not ‘give [Syrian President Hafez] Assad what Barak is willing to give Assad.’ Mordechai stunned the Israeli electorate with his dramatic reply. He coldly dared Netanyahu to repeat his claim. ‘Look me in the eye, Bibi … look me in the eye,’ he demanded. Netanyahu did not repeat his statement.”

With information gleaned “from several sources with first-hand knowledge of the talks,” Pipes alleged that in 1998 Netanyahu, coming off a series of mishaps and intent on bolstering his sagging image, began indirect negotiations with Assad through a series of secret meetings between some prominent American go-betweens and the Syrian leader – and that Netanyahu, desperate for a breakthrough, gave in on demand after demand until in the end his capitulation was total: “Israel,” Pipes wrote, “would…return to the 1967 lines.”

But the deal was not to be, because Mordechai, and later Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, refused to endorse it. As Mordechai would taunt Netanyahu in the aforementioned debate, “More than once…I acted as a responsible defense minister of this country and prevented what had to be prevented. You know things would have looked very different otherwise.”

Netanyahu’s camp vigorously denied the story, but Pipes was not impressed. “Anyone who has followed Netanyahu’s career,” he wrote, “will instantly recognize in this episode the man’s well-established pattern of speaking loudly but carrying a small stick…. [He] gave more to the Syrians than did either [Rabin or Peres]. And, judging by new reports coming out of Israel, he also gave away more than Barak would.”

Pipes was wrong about Barak, who as prime minister would prove willing to give away a lot more than Netanyahu ever envisioned. But the depths to which Netanyahu had sunk in the estimation of his erstwhile supporters bears keeping in mind as he continues his political comeback.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Remembering Bibi’s Inglorious Sendoff”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Policemen on the scene after Arab terrorist rammed his car into a crowd of people Friday morning.
Update 11:00 AM: Police Shoot Terrorist in Jerusalem Terror Attack
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both outspokenly critical of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Congress, were wowed by him in 2011.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/remembering-bibis-inglorious-sendoff/2007/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: