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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

US State Dept Questions Israel’s Desire to Reach ‘2-State Solution’

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

The U.S. State Department is questioning whether Israel really wants to make peace with the Palestinian Authority, and whether the Netanyahu government really supports the “two-state solution.”

State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that Washington is “deeply concerned” over Israel’s decision to approve a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba and construction of 800 new housing units in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.

“If it’s true, this report would be the latest step in what seems to be the systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalization of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Kirby told reporters.

“This action risks entrenching a one-state reality and raises serious questions about Israel’s intentions.”

The approvals came in response to two deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated against Israelis within a 24-hour period last week. A 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death by a Palestinian Authority Arab who climbed in her bedroom window last Thursday morning. The killer stabbed young Halle Yaffa Ariel, hy’d dozens of times, her blood spraying all over her room, after he scaled the security fence around Kiryat Arba.

The next day Arab terrorists opened fire at Rabbi Miki Mark, the administrator of the Otniel yeshiva as he drove near the community on Route 60 with his wife and children just a few hours before the Sabbath. The rabbi died instantly as he lost control of the vehicle and the car flipped over; his wife Chava was critically injured. Two of his ten children were also wounded.

Hallel Ariel, hy’d, was an American citizen. So is Chava Mark. But although the State Department issued the standard condemnation of violence perpetrated against U.S. citizens, there was complete silence from the White House.

Israel’s security cabinet met Saturday night to determine a response to the escalation in deadly attacks. By Sunday morning the government ministers were presented with a list of measures that were gauged to signal Israel’s determination not to buckle under the violence, including more boots on the ground in the Hebron area.

The Quartet for Mideast Peace issued a report on Friday (July 1) blaming Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria — even routine building connected with the natural growth in any community, within the municipal boundaries of existing towns — for the violence.

On Tuesday, it seemed the U.S. was joining that bandwagon and adding more fuel to the fire, blaming the approval of badly-needed housing units in existing communities for the Palestinian Authority’s unwillingness to join direct final status talks — and the unprovoked bloodbaths by Arab terrorists against innocent Israeli civilians.

Kirby added the U.S. would continue to “look for leaders in the region to do what they need to do … to demonstrate leadership to take down the violence, reduce tensions.”

Hana Levi Julian

Bad Analogies and Bad Politics

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Analogical reasoning is basic to human survival. If you can eat a peach, it’s probably safe to eat an apricot. Those of us who favor profiling for security believe that future terrorists will probably be a lot like past terrorists, and so we should look harder at the ones that fit the profile. Every day we make hundreds of decisions based on analogical reasoning: a thing or situation seems like one we are familiar with, so we treat it in a similar way.

Of course there are good analogies and bad ones. There are poisonous mushrooms that look like edible ones. Part of intelligence is knowing when an analogy is a good one in regard to the particular aspect that is important in that case. Political analogies are common, and can be dangerous.

One of the worst analogies ever is the analogy between ‘Palestinians’ and black Americans (here’s a classic expression of it by Condoleezza Rice). Their history is different, their situation is different, and their behavior is different. There is nothing that one can deduce from the story of American blacks that can help one understand the ‘Palestinians’, or vice versa. The reason blacks in pre-1960s America were not allowed to sit at lunch counters with whites is nothing like the reason Arabs aren’t allowed to move freely between Gaza and Israel.

Why on earth would anyone think this? Lately, an entire ideology has appeared based on bad analogies. Just as Freud made sexuality the main driver of human behavior and Marx placed economics in that role, the new ideology of intersectionality tells us that it is oppression and discrimination. From the (somewhat mind-numbing) Wikipedia definition:

Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society—such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and belief-based bigotry—do not act independently of each other. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.

Apparently the idea developed after feminist scholars argued that black women are doubly oppressed because of their membership in two oppressed groups (this may be empirically false, but nobody cares). It has since been generalized to a sort of unified field theory for all victims of all kinds of ‘oppression’.

This concept is related to the hierarchy of victimhood, in which being black gets more points than being white, being Palestinian gets more than being American, and so forth. Then the one with more points is allowed to tell the other that his perceptions are invalid due to his privileged point of view.

It also fits in with postcolonial theory, in which most conflict between groups is explained as a result of the oppression of a (usually non-white) colonized people by (usually Western) colonialists. The colonization can be military, economic, spiritual, or a combination; or it can be in the past but have left its victims traumatized. We could call this ‘post-colonial stress disorder’.

The prime analogy for Americans is always racism toward African-Americans, with which their national conscience is pathologically obsessed, even more so than Germans are with Jews. The more it is studied, the more it seems sui generis and not similar to other forms of discrimination. But to the intersectionalist, all the isms are similar.

You may have noticed that Jew-hatred (commonly called ‘anti-Semitism’) is not mentioned in the definition, being subsumed along with ‘Islamophobia’ in “belief-based bigotry.” This obscures the fact that Jews are hated for reasons having nothing to do with their beliefs or lack of them. If this isn’t clear from recent history, it should be obvious from looking at anti-Jewish propaganda which depends on all of the traditional racial stereotypes and blood libels that have characterized Jew-hatred for several hundred years.

It also enables those who want to minimize its prevalence by lumping it with other minor ‘bigotries’, while the minuscule phenomenon of ‘transphobia’, for example, has its own category.

Finally, it’s convenient to not explicitly mention Jew-hatred because most people who subscribe to intersectionality and related dogmas see Jews as oppressors rather than victims. Needless to say, Muslims are high on the list of the victimized, colonized and oppressed, which brings us to another failure of analogical reasoning.

There’s no recognition of the distinction that can be made between irrational hatred based on race or ethnicity, and opposition to the ideological aspects of Islam and shari’a and its violent manifestations. It’s all considered ‘bigotry’. So intersectionalists suppress the legitimate criticism of the jihadist ideology that more and more characterizes Islam as it is practiced today.

I’ve saved the worst bad analogy for last. A corollary of intersectionality is solidarity, “the belief that there is a common thread of discrimination that binds together many ostensibly different communities,” which include everything from the poor, to disabled people, to animals, to climate-change activists, to Palestinians. Because all kinds of ‘oppression’ are thought to benefit a Western, white, male, rich, heterosexual ruling class, activists join together with other ‘oppressed’ groups against the power structure that is responsible for it. This Marxist panacea-ism* leads to absurdities like anti-sexual assault activists cooperating with Students for Justice in Palestine – “because all oppression is one.”

Intersectionality suppresses the cognitive dissonance that would normally arise when, as is happening now, LGBT people are being asked to join the struggle against “Islamophobia,” while others are pointing out that there is a shari’a-based death penalty for gay sex in several Muslim countries, and when a Muslim has just murdered 49 people in a gay nightclub – and at least in part was motivated to do so by his religious belief. In a feat of mental acrobatics, the conflict between Muslims motivated by Islamic ideology and the gays they oppress evaporates, and only the fact that each group sees itself as a victim remains.

Just as human behavior is motivated by more than sex and economics, not every conflict is a case of oppression, not all forms of discrimination are the same, and not every problem is related to entrenched white straight male privilege. But thanks to the doctrine that arguing against the propositions of intersectionality indicates that the speaker supports the ruling class and can be ignored, the dogma becomes irrefutable. Like other irrefutable dogmas (e.g., Marxism, Objectivism), intersectionality gets its persuasiveness from a massive circular argument. Unfortunately, it is as pernicious as it is popular.

* Panacea-ism: the belief that there is one single solution for all the world’s ills.

Vic Rosenthal

Uzi Landau Quits Post as Co-Chair of KKL

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Former Yisrael Beytenu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has resigned his post as co-chairman of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) organization, which until recently used to be linked to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Landau turned in his resignation in a letter submitted Monday in which he accused KKL chairman Danny Atar, a former member of Knesset, of fiscal mismanagement and improper administration at the top.

Landau wrote he had accepted the position “in order to advance [the organization’s] vision, help develop the periphery, and advance relations with the diaspora.” But he said he realized it would be impossible for him to achieve these goals with Atar at the helm.

The former minister left the Knesset in December 2014 after 31 years in Israeli politics. Although he began his political career with the Likud party, he eventually joined Avigdor Liberman in Yisrael Beytenu.

Landau was the only Likud minister to be fired by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon for opposing the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif in Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

Donald Trump Drops Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Presumptive GOP nominee for president Donald Trump has announced the dismissal of his national campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

“The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign,” Hope Hicks, campaign spokesperson, said in a statement. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”

U.S. media outlets were buzzing with the news on Monday morning as speculation was rampant over the reasons for the dismissal.

Trump’s staff and advisers have been expressing concerns over the campaign manager’s quick temper for months, and “some even planned a coup against him last month,” according to sources quoted by Politico.

Trump was facing external pressure to fire Lewandowski after the campaign manager was accused last week of grabbing the arm of former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.

Lewandowski and Trump both disputed the reporter’s account of the incident and the candidate stood by his campaign manager. But according to Politico, Lewandowski has a long history of inappropriate behavior, documented by interviews with more than 20 sources who worked with him over the past year and in his previous position.

According to those reports, there were numerous complaints about Lewandowski’s behavior with reporters — aggression with male reporters and sexual inappropriateness with female reporters — as well as belligerence with officials and coworkers who appeared to challenge his authority.

The New York Times concurred: “The campaign manager was seen as having a hostile relationship with many members of the national press corps that covers Mr. Trump, and many officials at the Republican National Committee had strained relationships with him,” according to the article announcing Lewandowski’s dismissal.

Responding to email questions from Politico, Lewandowski said in “mostly one-word answers” that he welcomes dissenting strategic viewpoints. He said his relationship with the Trump family is “solid.” But he declined to discuss his employment at his previous position with the Koch Brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity.”

According to NYT, Lewandowski was “often at odds” with the Trump campaign’s chief strategist, Paul Manafort, and at times blocked or countermanded his staff hires.

More to the point, the general discontent below the surface within the campaign as well as the discontent above the surface within the Republican Party made it clear that changes were necessary in order to coalesce a unified group that was capable of taking on the race against Hillary Clinton, according to those who were briefed on Lewandowski’s dismissal.

A source quoted by NYT said the move has been in the works “for many weeks” and said the focus is now zeroing in on “bringing the party together, including hiring new staff members and adjusting to the race” against Hillary Clinton.

With the Republican National Convention set for July 18-21 in Cleveland, there isn’t much time to get that done and the show on the road.

Hana Levi Julian

Kahlon Says Netanyahu’s Coalition Safe – for Now

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, chairman of the Kulanu party, says he will not be the one to bring down the government of Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kahlon told Israel Radio in an interview on Sunday, “The government will last. We have large, important challenges, and you can’t bring down a government every month, you can’t go to elections every year. The government needs to function,” he said.

The finance minister’s party holds the lion’s share in the coalition next to the Likud.

The reassurance followed a threat Saturday night by Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett who told members of his Knesset faction that he is ready to vote against the appointment of new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also a member of Bayit Yehudi, stands to lose her job if the party leaves the coalition, as does Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

New elections might still be an option, Shaked told Galei Tzahal Army Radio on Sunday.

In a Facebook post late Saturday night, Bennet said the security cabinet “commands the [IDF] chief of staff and the IDF, which makes fateful life-and-death decisions, must stop being blind. Today it is blind.” The cabinet ministers, he contended, “consistently have critical information withheld from them.”

Bennett contends “Saving lives I s more important than cabinet portfolios.” He has demanded real-time security updates, fact-finding visits to IDF bases and military zones, and easier access to classified information.

The 61-seat coalition is to be expanded by five more mandates when Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party’s membership is completed with his appointment as defense minister. But it may not survive the loss of Bayit Yehudi.

Hana Levi Julian

MK Yehuda Glick is Waiting for America

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

For the first time in the history of Israel, just 119 lawmakers are seated in the 120-member Knesset. American red tape is holding up the works for incoming Likud Knesset member Yehuda Glick, who was born in the United States.

Glick became the next in the Likud to join the Knesset when former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon resigned his post.

But the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation leader has to cancel his U.S. citizenship in order to serve in the Israeli government.

Glick already paid the thousands of dollars involved in revoking his citizenship. He’s also filled out the necessary forms.

The actual processing of all that red tape is now up to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, however, and thus far the red tape is taking a long time to unravel.

Hana Levi Julian

Bennett Threatens to Prevent Government Expansion if Security Cabinet Problems Are Not Fixed

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand the government and add Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to the coalition were challenged on Monday afternoon after Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he would not support the measure should his list of demands not be met.

Bennett, who leads the Jewish Home party in the Knesset, demanded during a party meeting that the prime minister solve the issues affecting the way the security cabinet operates before the changes in the government are implemented. Bennett’s party officially approved the demand during the meeting.

The problems in the security cabinet were revealed as part of the lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014 and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Bennett said during the party meeting that “the Winograd Committee investigated the handling of the Second Lebanon War and concluded that quality intelligence information was not shared with the members of the security cabinet and that the members were not adequately trained for their position and therefore did not function well at the moment of truth. Ten years have gone by and nothing has been done.”

“I have approached the prime minister many times during the last two-and-a-half years with this demand, including during the coalition negotiations,” added Bennett. “Unfortunately, nothing has been done. This is why I informed the prime minister of the demand yesterday evening in order to implement the plan and solve the issues.”

The plan includes attaching the security cabinet members with a military secretary who would deliver ongoing security updates and would prepare them for their position. The plan would also increase the number of tours done in the field and give the ministers better access to the information.

“Fixing the problems in the security cabinet is necessary for Israel’s security and for saving the lives of its civilians and soldiers,” added Bennett. “Israel paid a high price for the existence of these problems during the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge. My approval of the changes in the government is conditional on the fulfillment of my demands.”

Likud MK Yariv Levin, head of the party’s parliamentary negotiations team, responded to Bennett’s statements by saying that the Likud “will not renegotiate opening the coalition agreement with any partner, including with the Jewish Home.” He added that Bennett’s demand “damages the ability to complete the expansion of the government.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennett-threatens-to-prevent-government-expansion-if-security-cabinet-problems-are-not-fixed/2016/05/23/

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