Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak at a protest in Tel Aviv, February 25, 2023.

Have you been wondering, in the midst of the earth-shattering experiences of the past two months, where is Ehud Barak? Is he OK? Has he been overwhelmed by the explosive show of unity that emanated from Israeli society following the October 11 catastrophe, and decided to join in the celebration of brotherhood among Israelis? Well, he hasn’t. As can be seen in his 6-minute interview with the “pilots’ protest” inciter, founder of Forum 555, retired helicopter pilot Guy Poran, 67, former Prime Minister and Chief of Staff Ehud Barak, 82, is still conspiring to gain by underhanded means the kind of power he can’t win through the democratic process.

It’s a six-minute interview which I labored to translate in its entirety, so you won’t miss any of the pearls of this modern-day Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The interview was recorded on December 3, 2023, and Barak laid out his plan to depose Netanyahu using the two Trojan horses, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and to expel Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich from the government to facilitate the IDF’s withdrawal from Gaza which would be turned over to a “responsible entity,” namely the Palestinian Authority.


Barak: Protest is not a simple thing. It is a growing thing; it has an authentic nucleus that grows from within. Therefore, some patience is required, but I’m certain that it will grow. For one thing, the initial nucleus is there today. And the true nucleus of the irresistible anger and demand, even morally, comes from the families of the murdered and of the uprooted communities which are, in effect, the communities where the murdered lived.

Poran: At exactly this point, the great protest movements that we know, Kaplan, Brothers in Arms, have yet to call on their troops to show up in demonstrations calling for dismissal (of democratically-elected Prime Minister Netanyahu – DI), today. We see that the first demonstrations, where you were present inside the protest tent and also the first demonstration yesterday in Tel Aviv, on Rothchild Blvd., at this stage are bringing in a crowd of only a few hundred. In other words, even the protesters we’ve seen – 150 thousand every week on Kaplan Street – are for now not showing up, and the disappointed right-wingers are certainly not there. The question is, how do you see now the rise of the popular struggle in terms of a schedule and of the possible scenarios for a renewed breakthrough?

Barak: look, it will come. It will come like rising spring water. It will take time. Part of the reason it’s not coming this minute is that to some extent, Netanyahu has succeeded in pushing the idea that now we’re shooting and shouldn’t act against him while the shooting is on.

Poran: Politics is verboten.

Barak: It’s not exactly correct. We must deliver the message to the public that action in a time of war when it is critical is not only important, it’s almost necessary.


Poran: But wait one moment, Ehud, I want to hone this idea. I agree with you and we, the protest movement and forum 555, are telling the people and are going, I participate in all these demonstrations. In your opinion, and this is an important point that’s being debated, do these movements need to, today, go out to the streets as rank-and-file citizens, or brand themselves as protest movements?

Barak: Only as citizens. It’s important to separate it from the protest movement. The protest movement is being perceived by the public as something associated with the judicial coup (that’s judicial reform to you and me – DI). And I believe the majority of the public was with us, but some have kept away. We must not come with the insignia of the protest movement. Not the black flags and not the – Israeli flags are always good, but not the black flags and the Brothers in Arms T-shirts, none of the markings of the protest, not the stage on Kaplan Street, and not even the leaders. Not I, and not Boggie [Ya’alon] and not [former chief of staff Dan] Halutz, and also not [Moshe] Redman and Shikma Bressler and any of the other leaders. It must not be connected to the protest. It’s the same people, but these are people who come this time for an entirely different reason.

Barak (continues): We must not wait a year. Had I known for certain that in two months this (the war) would be over, and then would come the day of reckoning, I would have said, let’s bite our lips another two months. But since in my view this could take a year, maybe more, and could develop into a war of attrition, we’ve already had wars of attrition that lasted three years, it could develop into a war of attrition that never ends, we must not remain with this leadership, for reasons that, if you wish, I could…


Poran: This point is clear. Do you see Gantz and Eisenkot, as many people are really saying, seeing them as those who keep him (Netanyahu – DI) in this situation, but on the other hand we believe in Eisenkot and Gantz as those who would not allow him (Netanyahu) to stretch the war artificially. Do you see them in two months standing up and saying, enough, this is not the war, and so they themselves bring down the government?

Barak: Look, I think that their entry into the government in the end was crucial for the public’s trust that decisions inside the war cabinet are being made in a controlled and balanced way. They are both very solid people, practical, and professional, without a doubt. I thought they should have conditioned their entry on Netanyahu’s immediately dropping the pair of Ben Gvir and Smotrich from the government because they are a burden on its ability to make the correct decisions for the State of Israel, even when they are not inside the war cabinet.

Barak: And I believe that they (Gantz and Eisenkot) are sharp enough to recognize the minute it turns from a critical situation leading to a clash with the United States, or an intentional attempt – even if it’s wrapped in many packages – to stretch it into a war of attrition, that they (Gantz and Eisenkot) would have the mental and emotional capacity and the sense of responsibility to say, this is it, we are leaving, we have no other way but act, we don’t wish to create a dissonance between what we do every day and what we believe. I hope this will happen. It can’t be proven – but it depends on us, too. Because they are attuned to the entire group (of protesters) including Forum 555.

Poran: Including Eisenkot who is listening even to things our own group is telling him, and they will, the moment they will do it, I believe they will also say things that will cause Netanyahu more problems.

Barak: We must act to end Netanyahu’s role now and to expel Ben Gvir and Smotrich from the government now, because only in their absence will the conditions be created that could make possible, in coordination with this axis of moderate states the retreat from the Strip and hand it over to a responsible entity.


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