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March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Meretz’

V15 Campaign’s Defense is Wrong: Its Positions More Radical than PA

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Opponents in Israel of the American tax-exempt organization-funded V15 campaign effort have laid several complaints against it: one, the foreign funding (including U.S. government funding) of an Israeli campaign violates Israeli election law, and two, an American tax-exempt entity funding a political campaign violates American law.

But even V15’s defenses to those charges make it ripe for lethal criticism.

V15 and its funder, OneVoice, claim to empower the “majority of Israelis” to change Israeli leadership (that’s what their posters say: “We’re Changing the Leadership”) to reflect that majority’s views. In fact, the goals of OneVoice represent neither the majority of Israelis, nor even the stated political views of the Palestinian Authority.

Let’s start with the complaints already on record.

In this corner, we have V15, the community organizing-style political campaign effort which imported the skills and funding of American leftists to Israel. OneVoice has received, under the Obama administration, large grants from the U.S. State Department and various foreign political parties and efforts. Also, the fact that the son of Mahmoud Abbas – the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, is on its Advisory Council, is difficult to ignore.

The most problematic issue already raised, because it is hardest to explain away, is how an American entity which is tax-exempt can be funding a political campaign at all, let alone one in Israel.

IRSGATE MEETS ISRAEL

The politicization of American tax-exempt organizations was what triggered the Internal Revenue Service’s ugly Lois Lerner scandal. A significant number of politically conservative organizations which applied for tax exempt status were subject to extraordinary scrutiny and other alleged inappropriate behavior, because the claim was, because they were politically engaged, which is prohibited under the IRS regulations.

But the flat-footed targeting and punishment of organizations deemed “conservative” by the IRS was itself a politicization of the IRS process. It led to a huge outcry, congressional investigations, internal governmental investigations and lawsuits, most of which remain unresolved.

In fact, at least one pro-Israel organization which applied for tax-exempt status was given special scrutiny by the IRS which placed it in a Be on the Look Out (BOLO) category created by the IRS for “occupied territory advocacy.”

Just advocating for Israel with respect to the disputed territories triggered intensive IRS scrutiny, without the organization funding or participating in either an American or an Israeli political campaign. That’s hard to square with OneVoice having tax-exempt status, given its focus on “occupied territory advocacy.” The difference between the two entities is that OneVoice unabashedly seeks to turn over the disputed territory to the Arabs.

Young Likud party activists posted on their Facebook page instructions for filing complaints with the IRS against V15, in an effort to encourage the Service to undertake an investigation of the entity, and members of Congress are seeking an investigation by the State Department.

In addition, a complaint was filed with Israeli police against V15 and the Labor-Livni and Meretz parties, alleging violations of Israeli election law which bars campaign funding from sources outside of Israel.

V15 RESPONSE AND COUNTERCHARGE

The response by V15 to the criticisms lodged against it have been inconsistent. It was able to diffuse the State Dept. funding issue by claiming the grants ran out at the end of November, 2014. V15 was not launched until January, 2015, so, they claim, there were no State Department funds in its coffers by then.

The entity’s response to the IRS violations have been less categorical. Although it rigorously denied it is involved in the prohibited “campaigning for or against any political candidate,” statements by its alleged leadership, and the plain letter of their own posters reveal otherwise.

Gafni Says UTJ Will Only Go with Right

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Moshe Gafni, the co-chairman of the Chareidi UTJ party said, “Rav Shach would never let us go with the Left, Degel HaTorah [Gafni's faction in UTJ] has never gone with a leftwing government.”

The statements were made at a Degel HaTorah party meeting to party leaders and activists, according to a Bechadarei Chareidim video and report.

Actually, in July 1999, UTJ (and Moshe Gafni) sat in Ehud Barak’s leftwing government, side by side with Meretz (along with Shas, Liberman’s Yisrael B’Aliyah and the Mafdal).

To their credit, UTJ left the coalition in September of 1999, due to an open breach of Shabbat by the government when it ordered the transport of a large turbine generator for the electric company on Shabbat.

Gafni said that Degel HaTorah would have no problem going with the Left, in fact the Left would make sure the Chareidim receive even more money from the government.

But, Gafni said, Rav Shach [Degel HaTorah's late spiritual founder] said the party needed to worry about the children of the non-religious who are learning in the public schools, over a million of them, who don’t know what is “Shema Yisrael,” implying that a Rightwing government helps in that area.

After the UTJ party became excluded from the current coalition, Gafni became an extremely vocal and enraged voice against the “Dati-Leumi” sector, even going as far as threatening to destroy Hesder Yeshivas and dry out the settlements in revenge when he gets back in power particularly in response to the Shaked Enlistment Law.

It appears Gafni’s pronouncement regarding the Left was made in reaction to Aryeh Deri’s recent statement that the Shas party would not join a leftwing government, which then put pressure on UTJ to also declare their allegiances for their rightfully concerned voters.

New Poll Bad News for the Left and Bayit Yehudi

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

A new poll published by the Israeli Walla! website Thursday shows that the left and center-left parties are losing support, as is the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

If elections were held today, the Likud would win 26 seats in the Knesset, compared with 23 for the Herzog-Livni “Zionist Camp” duo, according to the poll.

The most significant changes from previous polls are weakening support for Meretz and Bayit Yehudi. The left-wing Meretz party will barely win representation, apparently losing voters to Herzog-Livni, a merger of Livni’s HaTnuah party and Labor (The Zionist Union), the poll reveals. Theirs candidates are more much more leftist than before, attracting Meretz supporters but apparently putting off supports who may have flocked to Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and the new Kulanu party founded by Moshe Kahlon.

Bayit Yehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, is losing ground. For the first time since the beginning of the campaign, the party has dropped to 12 Knesset seats, the same as in the outgoing Knesset but two to four less than in nearly all previous polls. This puts them as the same size as the Arab party, who could end up being the 3rd largest party in the Knesset.

That drop accounts for the increase in support for Likud.

The shifts in supports for Meretz and Bayit Yehudi do not change the left-right balance, but they leave the Likud in a better position.

The Walla! poll gives Yesh Atid 10 seats, one more than in most other previous polls. All other parties are more or less in the same position, except for Yisrael Beiteinu, which was granted seven seats, according to the poll. Previous surveys projected the party headed by Avigdor Lieberman would barely win enough support to enter the Knesset.

The new Yachad party headed by Eli Yishai continues to be on the edge of winning enough votes to enter the Knesset.

 

New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

A new pre-election poll issued on Monday leaves no option for the next government other than one headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the help of Haredi parties.

Here is the lineup according to the “Panels” poll conducted the Knesset Channel :

Labor-Livni – 23

Likud – 21

Jewish Home – 16

Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) – 11

Kulanu (Moshe Kahlon) – 9

Yisrael Beitenu – 7

Meretz – 7

Arab parties – 10

Yehadut HaTorah (Haredi) 7

Shas – 5

Eli Yishai – 4

The Labor party, headed by Yitzchak Herzog with his new sidekick Tzipi Livni, cannot form a majority the Haredi parties, which won’t happen unless it can convince two of four parties – Yair Lapid ,Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman and Meretz – to agree, which as likely as snow in July.

The center-right ring camp has less of a problem with the Haredi parties.

Adding up Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahlon comes up with the non-magical number of 55, six less than the majority that is needed to form the government.

The three Haredi parties are in the driver’s seat for the time being, and if the results in March will be similar to those of today, they will dictate the terms of the next coalition.

If that happens, Lapid and Livni will rue the day they worked against the coalition of which they were a part.

The polls are not meaningless and actually are a factor in how people will vote. If voters see that the next government will be under the thumb of Haredi partiers, they might start shifting their votes.

Supporters of Yesh Atid and Labor-Livni might shift a bit to Kahlon, possibly enough to give Netanyahu a majority of 61 without the Haredi parties.

Herzog, Livni and Lapid have a problem because there is not much they can take from other parties.

Elections Likely after Purim Parties but MKs Already Take Off Masks

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Barring Divine Intervention, the Knesset will vote to dissolve itself but not forever, and new elections likely will be held in mid-March, perhaps the week after Purim.

Elections are exactly what no one in the country wants, except for a few sadists who pose as politicians.

It will cost the country about $500 million, and it will leave Israel without a budget just when there is little shine left on the image of the once-fabulous Israeli economy that has weakened under the weight of government-sanctioned monopolies that extort the public for obscene profits, and under the burden of eternal security unrest, whether it come from Gaza, Syria, Ramallah or Washington.

As The Jewish Press reported here earlier today, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Yair Lapid, one of his alleged partners, to stop rocking the boat or get off.

Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party and who was Israel’s glamour boy two years ago when his new party grabbed 19 seats in the Knesset, took the first raft he could find and jumped ship.

With an ego bigger than the size of the fat lady in the circus, Lapid could not possibly accept Netanyahu’s terms to stay in the government.

For his part, the Prime Minister’s ultimatums were a public political flogging of Lapid.

Elections cannot be held until90 days after the end of a government, according to the law that ensures that every Israeli citizen suffer the maximum punishment and still survive.

The projected timeline for new elections is a vote on Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset, with the final decision and date being set next week, revolving around the Jewish holidays. Before then, President Reuven Rivlin will go through the motions to offer someone else a chance to form a make-believe government.

The most likely date for elections is the week after Purim. The second possibility and a lot less likely one is mid-April, when Israel returns to normal after Passover and is involved with Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Lapid and Netanyahu’s lieutenants in the Likud party already are throwing around enough dirt to cover the entire Knesset, which sometimes sounds like a good idea.

Lapid accused Netanyahu of making deals with the Haredi parties to enlist their support by bribing them with money for yeshivas and easing conditions of the universal draft, as demanded by Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardi Haredi party.

Likud ministers responded by throwing poison darts at Lapid’s performance as Finance Minister.

Lapid’s big-ticket populist banner has been the “Zero VAT” panacea that is supposed to make housing affordable for the middle class by eliminating the 18 percent Value Added Tax on the purchase of new homes.

Netanyahu obviously took this into account and figures that Lapid is going to use Zero VAT to try to con the voters into backing him.

If Lapid thinks he can fool all of the people all of the time, the con game would work, but Israeli voters are not as stupid as their leaders. The whole Zero VAT scheme is has so many conditions and so many limitations that it would help no more than a few thousand families.

Lapid knows his popularity in the polls is almost as low as the ethics of certain Knesset Members, as far-fetched as that seems. He is counting on the Israel’s anti-Netanyahu media, with the exception of Sheldon Adelson’s Israel HaYom, to lead his campaign.

Ditto for the pathetic and hapless Tzipi Livni, an intelligent woman who took the wrong turn when she entered politics. Her party of six MKs is another alleged partner in the coalition, in which she has spent most of her time kissing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s pinky for the Peace Process.

She spent Tuesday by calling the Netanyahu government, of which she has been a partner, “paranoid and extremist,” and she said she is different from the government because she is a “Zionist,” about as nasty remark as possible, even for an Israeli politician.

Either Bibi Wants Elections or Livni and Lapid Want Political Suicide

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would return to power with a smaller but stronger coalition if elections were held today, according to two polls.

His public complaining that it is impossible to function with the current coalition quarrels lends support to the theory that he is pushing the “Jewish State bill” in order to force his coalition partner-enemies, Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, to shut up.

If they don’t want to concede, they are welcome to commit political suicide because both of the leaders are likely to find themselves in the Opposition next time around.

Two polls, one published by Globes and the other by Haaretz, show that the big winner in new elections would be the Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett.

The invisible card in the political deck is Moshe Kahlon, who could be the kingpin to the next coalition. Kahlon quit as a Likud Knesset Member last year after doing what other politicians promise and promise and deliver nothing but more promises – break a monopoly.

He ended the oligarchy of three mobile phone companies who charged outrageous prices , opened up the field to competition and was acclaimed for the result of a 90 percent drop in the costs of phone calls.

And guess what? The companies still make money.

Netanyahu wanted him to do so the same thing with the housing market, a maze of vested interests that keep land and housing scarce to the delight of housing developers.

Kahlon was smart enough to know that ending 60 years of selfish control by the government landlord is going to happen like a snowstorm in July in the Negev.

Given Lapid’s pseudo-solution of zero Value Added Tax for buying new homes, with so many conditions that it would not even act as Band-Aid, Kahlon is in a good position to win over Lapid’s supporters who want a politician who works with something other than his mouth.

The Globes poll gives Kahlon nine seats in the next Knesset, leaving Netanyahu two seats shy of a majority if he teams up with Kahlon, Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home.

The Haaretz polls gives Kahlon 12 seats, which would mean Netanyahu would have a small but solid majority.

Livni would be out of a job if elections were held today, according to the poll for Globes, while she would retain four of her current six MKs , according to the Haaretz survey.

It is likely that the expected establishment media punish for Livni would help her return to the Knesset, if elections indeed are called.

Lapid would be the biggest loser. His party now has 19 MKs, The two polls give him 10 and 12 seats.

Despite Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog’s smug talk that he will be the next Prime Minister, God forbid, the polls show is he is lucky, he will barely hold on to his current 15 seats, and he might even lose a couple.

Add it up and there is no way he can form a coalition. Even if Labor gets 15, Livni 4, Lapid 12, and the left-wing Meretz party 10,, a very generous estimate and four more than it now has, and Kahlon with 12, the result is 53, eight less than a majority.

Kadima, which now has two seats, is destined to the political graveyard, by all accounts.

So who is left to join Labor-Livni-Lapid?

The Haredi parties? Lapid would make himself the joke of the country.

Yisrael Beitenu, headed by Lieberman? The Labor party would have a collective heart attack, and Lapid would have to make a quick exit from the airport..

Here is how the parties line up according to the polls, with a few seats open since the totals do not equal the Knesset representation of 120 MKs.

30 Years is Enough

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Bnei Akiva religious youth members joined forces with far left Meretz youth group members on July 4, 2011, to protest in front of the US Consulate in Israel, calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

That was years ago, and as of today, Pollard has now spent 30 years in jail.

Enough is enough.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/30-years-is-enough/2014/11/21/

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