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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Tzipi Livni’

Herzog Slams UK’s Corbyn, Says ‘Views Represent a Consistent Hatred of Israel’

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

by Jesse Lempel/TPS

Israeli Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed comments by his UK counterpart Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday that some criticized as comparing Israel with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“Corbyn’s suggestion of moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS is outrageous, unacceptable, and a betrayal of global Labour values,” Herzog tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Corbyn’s views represent a consistent hatred of Israel. Like the notorious Ernest Bevin failed, so too will Jeremy Corbyn.”

During the launch of a review of anti-Semitic incidents in the party on Thursday, Corbyn decried stereotyping Jews, explaining: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”

The comments received resounding applause, yet after a questioner asked about the comparison Corbyn attempted to clarify: “The point is that you shouldn’t say to someone that just because they’re Jewish you must have an opinion on Israel, any more that you say to anyone who’s a Muslim you must have an opinion on the vile actions being taken by people misquoting the good name of Islam in what they do.”

Yet it appears that some in Israel and around the world, including Herzog, interpreted Corbyn’s remarks as drawing a “moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS.”

Another Israeli Labor MK, Itzik Shmueli, tweeted: “Corbyn has finally lost it! Leadership that disgraces Labour. I suggest to my friends in Labour to kick him out on the grounds of losing contact with reality.” Shmueli, however, argued that Israeli Labor should remain affiliated with British Labour in order to influence the “internal struggle” in the party.

Meanwhile, MK Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party, called upon Herzog to sever ties with the British Labour party, describing Corbyn’s comments as “pure anti-Semitism.”

“I call upon the Labor Party in Israel to cut all ties with their counterpart in the UK until the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is replaced,” Lapid wrote on Facebook on Thursday. Lapid referred to the deadly terror attack earlier in the day, in which a 17-year-old Arab terrorist broke into a Jewish family’s home and stabbed 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel to death.

“It is unacceptable that on such a difficult day for the State of Israel the Leader of the Opposition in the UK compares Israel and ISIS,” Lapid added. “It’s not only infuriating ignorance, it is pure anti-Semitism. The State of Israel lives by democratic values, morality and justice and fights every day against terror organizations sworn to the murder of innocents.”

MK Tzipi Livni, a leader of the Zionist Union faction partnered with Israeli Labor, tweeted: “Just as not all Muslims are responsible for ISIS, not all Brits are responsible for Corbyn.”

The latest controversy follows a months-long debacle in the British Labour party over anti-Semitic comments by several members who have since been suspended, including calling for the mass deportation of Israel’s Jews and claims that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.

At the height of the affair in May, Herzog told Israeli media that he was “considering suspending ties” with the British Labour over the anti-Semitic comments, many of which pertained to the Holocaust.

Herzog even sent a letter to Corbyn inviting him to bring a delegation to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, “to engage and better understand the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Corbyn replied several weeks later, declining the invitation.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Bennett: ‘You Can’t Be in Favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while Establishing the State of Palestine in English.’

Monday, June 6th, 2016

On Sunday night, during the celebrations of Jerusalem Liberation Day at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, the academic crown jewel of the rightwing Greater Israel movement, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett flatly accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying about his true intentions regarding a Palestinian State. “You can’t be in favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while establishing the State of Palestine in English,” he said, obviously pointing to the PM, who was present at the same ceremony, and accusing him of telling his voters (in Hebrew) during the last campaign that he was opposed to dividing the land, while scheming with foreign dignitaries and a number of Israeli politicians to bring on some form of the two-state solution.

The relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) is about as bad as can be, feeding on 20 years of bad blood, resentments, betrayals and condescension. Ten years ago, after fighting in the 2006 Lebanon War, Bennett served as chief of staff for Netanyahu, who was then the opposition leader. He helped Netanyahu dig his way up from a deep electoral hole, but couldn’t get along with Mrs. Netanyahu (few could). Eventually, in 2008, Bennett and his political partner, Ayelet Shaked, set out to carve their own path among Israel’s rightwing voters.

When they returned victorious in 2013, with 12 seats, as leaders of a National Religious Party that everyone had been certain was going to leave the political stage — they were considered Netanyahu’s natural coalition partners — but Sara Netanyahu put down her foot. Instead of a negotiation between friends, Bennett et al were put through the wringer. It took the intervention of a third party leader, MK Yair Lapid, who forged an ad hoc, mutual-benefit alliance with Bennett, to finally open the door. Then, after the 2015 elections, when Bennett generously endorsed Netanyahu’s message that it made no difference if the settler community voted for Likud or for his own party, because he had been promised they’d all be part of the same winning coalition in the end — Bennett ended up as the last man the PM had turned to for a government post. Promises of the Defense Ministry were reneged on, and Bennett, a party chairman, ended up with a second-tier portfolio. Mind you, Bennett believes a full five of Likud’s 30 Knesset seats should have gone to him. That’s ten years’ worth of resentment.

And now, as Netanyahu continues his pursuit of a broader coalition with MK Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Camp (Labor), voices in Labor are starting to say that they’d consider the offer only if the PM is sincere in his desire for a two-state solution, and the profound way in which he could signal that commitment would be by sacrificing the only dedicated enemy of the very idea of a Palestinian State, Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi. If Netanyahu were to go ahead and fire, or demote Bennett and the other two Habayit Hayehudi ministers, Ayelet Shaked and Uri Ariel, it would mean that five seats worth of voters who believed Netanyahu was just as anti-two-state as Bennett, actually cast their vote to get themselves and their families evicted from their homes and lands. There’s plenty to resent there.

“There are some, in Israel and the world, who join various Arab initiatives according to which we would divide the land, divide–God forbid–Jerusalem, and return to the 1967 lines,” Bennett said, “because the world is pressuring, and we must appease them. I tell these individuals tonight: never.”

As to the dual-language policy, Bennett told Netanyahu: “It’s time to say in a clear voice: the Land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel. In Hebrew, English, Russian and French, in summer, in winter, during elections and when there are no elections. Why? Because the world is listening to us. To every word we say. The world recognizes weakness, just as it recognizes strength. The world sniffs whenever we are not certain of our right to the land, and attacks us with the fury of boycotts.”

It was a painful, raging attack, that marked the worst day in the complex relationship of these two politicians. But it would be a mistake to suggest that Bennett was acting emotionally. In fact, this had to be a well planned assault, ahead of a foreseeable dismissal of Habayit Hayehudi from the coalition. Even before Sunday’s de facto declaration of war, Bennett’s party was up at least three seats in the polls, while Likud was down by those same three seats — that was the Judea and Samaria vote. And should Netanyahu actually pursue peace negotiations at this juncture, those three seats could grow to become five, putting in risk Likud’s numeric supremacy in the next Knesset.

It was such an aggressive attack on Bennett’s part, that the pushback had to come from Likud’s own rightwing, pro-settlements wing: an anonymous Likud senior official was cited by the press, but everyone knew it was Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin, who accused Bennett of hypocrisy—since he had lived comfortably in the previous coalition government with Minister Tzipi LIvni, while the latter was in charge of the two-state negotiations. Elkin, speaking as senior anonymous Likud man, also said it was Bennett who was threatening the stability of the most rightwing government in Israel’s history.

In the end, the cooling down of the internal fighting came from the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), also a former Netanyahu lieutenant in Likud who broke up with the boss and has maintained a terrible personal relationship with him, complete with bad blood and burgeoning resentments. Liberman said Monday morning: “I call on Naftali Bennett to calm down. Right now we need fewer declarations and more coordinated, quiet work.”

“If he can’t hold back, I suggest he undergo surgery to remove his short fuse,” Liberman said about Bennett, in a bearish kind of humor.

Incidentally, you may recall that Liberman has endured his share of ridicule upon taking on his important new position, because in an interview Liberman had given only last April, he promised that should he become defense minister, he would demand that Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniya return the bodies of Israeli soldiers in his possessions or face death. There’s even a website counting the days since Liberman’s appointment and noting that the Hamas leader is still alive.

“I suggest to anyone who is asking me regarding taking care of Haniya to wait until the end of my term, and not [harass me] in my first week in office,” the new defense minsiter said.

Except that in that interview Liberman actually said Haniya should be counting his days on this earth from Liberman’s first day in office. So the inquiries are certainly legitimate.

JNi.Media

After Failed Maneuver, Deep Fractures Show in Israel’s Labor Party

Friday, May 20th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli Labor party is showing signs of internal fracture on Thursday as several party members called on chairman Isaac Herzog to resign following a failed maneuver to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government the previous day – a move that ended with the appointment of right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman as incoming defense minister.

Herzog’s public negotiations with Netanyahu drew the ire of many MKs – most notably of previous party leader MK Shelly Yachimovich – in the historically left-wing Labor party, which governed the country from its founding in 1948 until 1977.

“Now that Netanyahu and Liberman are shaking hands, does Herzog realize what he has done to his party and to our values?” wrote Yachimovich on her Facebook account. “Herzog is responsible for this embarrassing farce. With him the whole Zionist Union party has suffered a major blow,” she charged, referring to the joint list created by Labor and MK Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party.

A faction of Labor MKs galvanized by Yachimovich – including Stav Shaffir, Erel Margelit, and Mickey Rosenthal – called for Herzog to resign.

Herzog fired back in a press conference Wednesday night boasting of sweeping oral commitments he had received from Netanyahu – which Herzog rejected, he said, because Netanyahu refused to commit them to writing – and blasting Yachimovich for sabotaging him.

“She rudely and violently undermined [me], and was ready to sacrifice a bold, groundbreaking political maneuver backed by powerful international forces,” Herzog said, alluding to an international initiative to forge a regional peace as expressed in a Tuesday speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi.

Herzog blamed Yachimovich’s “extreme, radical leftist views” for pushing away public support from the party. “She will have signed on the bottom of Liberman’s appointment as defense minister and she is responsible for the consequences of his appointment.”

As the war of words threatens to escalate into a party schism – a popular Israeli satire show featured Yachimovich beheading Herzog ISIS-style on Thursday night – some voices in the Labor party and the Zionist Union attempted to ease the tensions by shifting criticism toward Netanyahu.

“History will not forgive Netanyahu for the damage he is doing to Israel, and our children will not forgive us if we engage now in personal matters and infighting,” wrote Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni in a Facebook post. “This is exactly the time to go into battle together over the identity and future of Israel.”

“Our moral duty now, facing the insanity taking place, is to fight for our positions, not to flinch and not be victims and create for ourselves a strong and determined opposing camp.”

Labor MK Nachman Shai also defended Herzog and directed his criticism at the Israeli prime minister.

“Herzog is not a sucker,” said Shai. “He conducted responsible negotiations that led the prime minister to a series of concessions.”

Nonetheless, Shai also directed some criticism at the party chairman.

“Herzog made a mistake by attacking Shelly Yachimovich last night,” argued Shai. “He should have focused on attacking the bad government that we have here.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Incoming Defense Minister Rattles Israeli Political Establishment

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The news that MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteynu party, will be Israel’s next defense minister has rocked the political establishment on the right and left.

Liberman, a tough-talking former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought the Defense Ministry portfolio for years – and appears set to receive it after a deal struck with Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Liberman’s rise followed a tumultuous day of negotiations and backroom deals in which both Liberman and MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the historically left-wing Labor party, vied for the job of defense minister and the chance to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“I regret the prime minister’s decision. I did not imagine that he would make such a paradoxical and dangerous move,” said MK Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday morning. “The prime minister has been very proud of what he called ‘a reasonable, balanced and responsible’ defense policy, while Liberman’s statements give an opposite impression.”

Netanyahu received harsh criticism from opposition parties as well, including Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who blasted Netanyahu for “bartering the most sensitive and important positions as if nothing mattered” in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Liberman was an ally of Netanyahu – the two ran together in a united party during the 2013 election after which Liberman became foreign minister – until they had a public falling out two years ago. The Yisrael Beiteynu party remained in the opposition after last year’s election, and as recently as March Liberman castigated Netanyahu as a “liar, cheat, and con man.”

Liberman has been a frequent advocate for a harsher military response toward Palestinian Authority terrorism, notably against the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza.

“The elimination of Hamas is the primary mission of the Israeli government and as defense minister I will carry it out,” Liberman said before last year’s elections. “We will not reach agreements and understandings with them. The only agreement that can be reached with Hamas is when they are buried in the ground,” he said, adding that such an Israeli policy cannot be implemented when the government is comprised of “a coalition of nerds.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East and a former British prime minister, colluded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to push Herzog into the government – a move reportedly designed to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. According to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Blair even met with Herzog’s political partner, MK Tzipi Livni, in her Tel Aviv home this week, despite the fact that she is sitting shiva – the Jewish mourning ritual – for her brother.

Liberman is set to replace current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a senior Likud member who has recently clashed with Netanyahu over a series of issues related to the IDF’s independence from the political establishment.

Ya’alon, apparently alluding to the news of his ouster, said on Thursday that Israel is facing a crisis of leadership. “There is a loss of our moral compass on basic issues,” Ya’alon said. “If I had to give a golden tip, it would be to navigate with a compass rather than a weather vane. Navigation with a compass is tried and true, and it’s also a question of leadership.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: Bennett Threatening to Walk If Bibi Gives Shaked’s Justice Portfolio to Bougie

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Two left-leaning Israeli media outlets, Ha’aretz and Channel 10, on Monday signaled the formation of advanced negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Opposition Leader Itzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp a.k.a. Labor) to build a broad coalition. The talks, which have been egged on by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), were interrupted by police investigation of Herzog over election corruption charges. Now, as it appears that the investigation is about to be concluded without a recommendation for an indictment against the son of Israel’s late president and grandson of Israel’s late Chief Rabbi, the rumors of new talks have returned to the foreground in full force—but, as we noted, mostly from the left. Is it wishful thinking or reality?

Ha’aretz on Monday framed the story as a new confrontation between Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennet and the prime minister. According to the daily, Bennett has been threatening that if Netanyahu transfers the Justice portfolio from his party’s number 2 Ayelet Shaked to an incoming Labor minister, the National Religious would depart the coalition. Bennett is quoted as having said “behind closed doors” that “we see in the Justice portfolio an essential issue, which would mean the same as changing the government’s guidelines agreement. It’s not just a personnel issue.”

Ha’aretz, which has been advocating the kicking of Bennett et al to the curb since about the time Netanyahu presented his 61-seat coalition, relishes the story which it presents as the first ultimatum made by a coalition party leader this term. That is, of course, inaccurate, not only because said ultimatum is yet to be voiced publicly, but because Haredi MK Yisrael Eichler in March voiced an actual ultimatum regarding the reversal of Netanyahu’s permissive policy regarding the Reform and Conservative in Israel.

Ha’aretz cited a “senior Likud member” who insisted that the Justice portfolio is, nevertheless, on the table, because Netanyahu is convinced that he can’t go on much longer with his tiny and fragile majority. Over the Winter Session, the PM was blackmailed by several of his members, which cost him a few key votes and ended up costing his government an arm and a leg in flying to Israel hordes of Ethiopian Christians who may or may not have Jews somewhere in their background—all because two pro-Ethiopian Likud members stayed out of the plenum when they were most needed.

But an examination of the reality in both Netanyahu’s coalition and Herzog’s opposition reveals several hurdles the two leaders may not wish to tackle, never mind jump, at this point. There’s little doubt that Bennett, whether he threatened or didn’t threaten with an ultimatum “behind closed doors” would leave the coalition in a huff over Netanyahu’s violation of the coalition guidelines. He will then join with Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu in a rightwing block that would make Netanayahu’s life miserable at every turn, and will certainly cost him a hefty chunk of the Likud base. With several Likud members already barricading themselves along the party’s rightwing wall, this could mark the beginning of the end for Bibi.

But that’s not all. Despite the fact that about a third of Labor, especially the Histadrut trade union chairman Avi Nissenkorn, are very much in favor of joining a Netanyahu government without Habayit Hayehudi, a third of the party—those MKs who don’t stand to gain portfolios or committee chairmanships—are only somewhat inclined to follow, and a third, led by Herzog’s chief opponent MK Erel Margalit, are vehemently opposed to the move and will surely vote with the opposition on most issues.

So that even if Netanyahu manages to wed Herzog, he won’t be getting much more than half his seats as a dowry. He’d be giving up a sure 8 seats and getting in return an iffy 12 to 16, with a chance for open rebellion in the Likud’s right flank.

JNi.Media

Shaked’s Plan to Apply Israeli Law Beyond Green Line Provokes Backlash from Radical Left

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Controversy swirls surrounding Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s recent comments that she plans to apply Israeli law to all the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

“My eventual goal is that within a year any law passed in the Knesset will automatically translate to Judea and Samaria,” Shaked said on Sunday at the annual conference of the International Legal Forum in Jerusalem.

The remarks sparked a fierce backlash from [radical left-wing] politicians in the opposition, such as Meretz leader MK Zahava Galon who denounced the plan as “de-facto annexation of the occupied territories” and “apartheid.”

Although Israel took control of Judea and Samaria during the Six-Day War of 1967, the regions were never formally annexed by Israel and thus remain under military control, not governed by Israeli law. Shaked’s proposal would essentially replace the authority of the IDF’s Central Command over Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria with standard Israeli law.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Monday, Shaked clarified that she intends to form a committee that will determine if each Israeli law should apply to Judea and Samaria on a case-by-case basis. This differs from the “law of norms” proposal that was floated in the previous government, which would automatically apply all Israeli laws to Judea and Samaria. The “law of norms” never got off the ground due to objections by former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. However, the idea has regained traction under the new attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), who was Justice Minister in the previous coalition, argued that Shaked’s plan endangers Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

“The end result will be the collapse of the idea of ​​two states, two systems of law in one country, press, pressure and significant international damage, and finally 2.5 million Palestinians with the right to vote and a majority in the Knesset,” said Livni. “It will lead to a binational state with a Palestinian majority in the Knesset.”

Naftali Bennett, Education Minister and chairman of Shaked’s Jewish Home party, has proposed annexing all parts of Judea and Samaria controlled by the IDF’s Central Command as well as granting citizenship to the thousands of Arabs living in such areas.

“It is a pernicious combination of annexation and apartheid,” Galon said. “Applying Israeli law [to Judea and Samaria] is de facto annexation of the occupied territories, and the decision to apply it only to the settlers creates racial discrimination between blood and blood.”

“Minister Ayelet Shaked continues to kindle a fire and pour oil on the flames of Israel’s relations with the world,” added Galon. “This move will sabotage the prospects of any political agreement.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

MK Livni: Foreign Media Cover Terror Attacks As If They’re Road Accidents

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Legal Warfare on Tuesday discussed foreign media coverage of the current wave of Arab terror in Israel. Subcommittee Chairperson MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) convened the session after CBS News had run the contentious headline “Three Palestinians killed as violence grinds on,” following last week’s murder of border policewoman Hadar Cohen near the Damascus Gate.

“We must treat the international media arena as a hostile arena,” Livni said. “I do not think the State of Israel should not be criticized, that is the media’s job. The problem lies in those cases where Israelis and Palestinians who are killed in the same incident are placed in one package. This conduct creates the sense that these murders are not linked in any way, to the point where they are viewed as road accidents.”

MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) noted that “the number of foreign journalists is huge compared with those who are covering Syria. Moreover, whenever there is an incident with casualties in Iraq, the headline is much smaller compared with much less significant incidents in Israel.”

The Government Press Office director Nitzan Chen said, “We do not examine the quality of the reports or the facts that are published. This is a free country with freedom of expression.”

Chen noted that when CBS News ran a similar headline following a December 24 terrorist attack, the president of the network apologized and said junior staffers had made a mistake. Chen said he had received no response since the GPO had complained about the Cohen story headline.

“Since October, most reports of the foreign press have been reasonable,” Chen told the lawmakers. “There have been four or five incidents in which headlines following a terrorist attack were so twisted that news consumers in that particular country would have received the opposite impression.”

Besides the CBS News headlines, Chen singled out a BBC headline from October: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” — about a Palestinian terrorist who was killed after murdering two Jewish civilians in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Reuters’ Jerusalem Bureau chief and Foreign Press Association head Luke Baker rejected the claims of unbalanced or biased coverage by the foreign media. “We go through a very rigorous process whenever news happens, where you have those who speak Hebrew in contact with police, the army and many spokespeople and people who are on the ground,” he said. “This is a pretty rigorous process of reporting and fact checking.”

Baker noted that since the beginning of the current wave of violence, Reuters had published 700 headlines, only one of which turned out to be problematic and was subsequently corrected.

“I clearly don’t think the foreign press is biased,” he stated. “I don’t think anyone is denying there have been errors and problems from time to time. Some have been harder to correct than others.” He said the large number of news organizations operating in Israel are putting out “a huge amount of coverage with very few factual errors.” he added, “I fail to see the media have anything to answer in terms of systemic bias.”

Of course, should the GOP start punishing news outlets by denying them access, even if temporarily, this could yield the same good results the Egyptian government has been getting when they did this to Al Jazeera in the recent past. Journalists notoriously bite the hand the feeds them and kiss the hand that slaps them. Israel should give the stick a try.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/mk-livni-foreign-media-cover-terror-attacks-as-if-theyre-road-accidents/2016/02/11/

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