Beyond the Cusp

December 23, 2014

Israeli Elections Bring One More Blast from the Peres Past

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Many Israelis had hoped that when Simone Peres retired from his Presidency of Israel that they had heard the last of his meddling and interfering in Israeli politics, but apparently they will once more be dismayed. The same people had hoped when he assumed the Presidency, a presumably functionary a-political position in nature beyond being tasked with choosing which party after elections is given first chance to form a governing coalition, that this would have marked the end of Simone Peres and his far leftist we can make peace if we simply give the Palestinians everything they ask for interjections and preaching attempting to instruct Israelis how and what to think. I do not wish to denigrate or dispute the contributions of a national hero from the earliest days of the formation of the state of Israel and before. His most recent incendiary discharge came during a speech made to a group of non-profit organizations in Yafo, Israel where he noted, “the poverty report of the Latet organization is a most serious indictment against us. It is impossible to reject or discount the figures of the report.” He followed this presenting that, “You can’t feed hungry children and elderly with talk. We are taking the future away from our children. If we don’t raise the issue to the top of priorities, maybe we will win in battles but we will lose our children. Both those who are the soldiers of the future and those who raised us.” Further, he continued, “as we knew to raise money for security and war, we must raise money to deal with poverty. The elections are a chance to do social justice so as to be at peace with ourselves and have social resilience. All of the parties must put the treatment of poverty at the head of their priorities.” All of this came after his initial targeting of one who might be considered Simone Peres’s main nemesis when he made the charge that Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday, saying it “talks but doesn’t act” against poverty.


A small aside before getting back to what will become the main theme to simply spend a paragraph listing the positions held by Simone Peres over his ninety plus years of time on the blessed planet. We have been blessed by his service and had some difficulties from others, but the man has never refused the call to serve Israel to the best of his ability as he has seen was the needs of the nation. The unfortunate item is he will be forever remembered as the man behind the Oslo Accords and then, from that point on, as the man who could not let go as if peace was the only answer. There is one piece of philosophical wisdom that Simone Peres never learned which came from, of all places, a television show, the original version of Battles Star Galactica, where Adama played by Lorne Greene said, “The opposite of war is not always peace, sometimes it is slavery.” That little quote stuck with me as somehow when I first heard that I knew it would have more meaning and importance as I grew older and it most certainly has, I just wish it had not had to be about Israel. Following is a list of the positions held by Simone Peres with minimal commentary: Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Defense; Minister of the Knesset; Deputy Defense Minister; Minister of Immigrant Absorption; Minister of Transportation and Communications; Minister of Defense; Acting Prime Minister (under Rabin remained in office but inactive due to scandal pertaining to actions by his wife); Likud agreed to an unusual “rotation” arrangement, or unity government, in which Peres would serve as Prime Minister and the Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir would be Foreign Minister and then the two would exchange offices leading to Peres being Foreign Minister; Minister of Finance; Co-authored Oslo Accords; Nobel Peace Prize; Acting Prime Minister and Acting Defense Minister (after Rabin assassination); Minister of Regional Co-operation; Foreign Minister (again); Joined Kadima to assist in pushing Gaza disengagement; Vice Prime Minister; Minister for the Development of the Negev, Galilee and Regional Economy; President of the State of Israel (Peres became the most political President in Israeli history often expounding positions the diametric opposite of the ruling government and its Prime Minister). Where his was not the first shot, nor will have been the last, but his has been the most potentially damaging, potentially credible, and definitely the most important thus far of a coming tsunami of attacks on Netanyahu as he seeks to continue to lead his political party to control the next government which is, surprisingly, his main purpose as the leader of the party and would immediately become the most important job should somebody else replace him in the coming Liked primary elections where he does face some competition.


The interesting item until the Likud Party primaries have chosen current Prime Minister Netanyahu as their leader and presented candidate for the office of Prime Minister once again in the upcoming elections is that nobody knows for sure, though all bets are that he will continue to lead Likud, that he will actually be the person put forth. One might think that with such doubt that there might be some reason to wait an additional week or two and see if attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu claiming he was not the best qualified person to lead the Israeli government was the smartest election tactic. What happens if the New Year brings a new leader of the Likud Party and thus a new potential frontrunner for the office of Prime Minister, or perhaps a new person leading the Likud Party might make Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog along with Hatnua Party leader Tzipi Livni as the two are running on a joint ticket and both are already known party leaders entering this election cycle. There will likely be a number of fuselages fired at Naftali Bennett who currently leads the Jewish Home Party though this too could change as they are also holding new party elections going into the elections and he might, though doubtful, be replaced as well. The facts that there may be new leadership on the nationalist or right ends of the political spectrum in what are recognized as the most likely to gain the most seats and the most ardent and potentially most extreme personality pushing what the leftists like to present as most damaging and anti-peace message will make no difference in the coming weeks between now and the party elections and will thus produce extreme and strong accusations and charges against such people which will be carried by much of the Israeli media and have the greatest possibility of being covered in media sources outside of Israel. Is such totally fair, more important is does it matter.


Politics makes the strange acceptable and the acceptable strange. Watch any election cycle and watch how inter-party contests will produce some of the most heated rhetoric yet once the primaries have ended and the party has spoken, then those very same accusations made now by the opposing party are unacceptable and almost fighting words objected to and contested as untruths by the very person who originally made the accusation during the heated primary. That phenomenon is almost as beyond belief as the seemingly immediate turnaround and becoming not only supporter but almost best friends as the adversaries for the party nomination close ranks at the actual convention after a heated and unimaginably close primary election where the winner was not certain on day one and even ended up taking numerous ballots and not simply being decided in the first or second vote. That might actually be where the expression that politics makes for strange bedfellows originated. Then there are the sometimes unexplainable results in Parliamentary governments are concerned and there are multiple parties, often some new parties almost every election as previous parties have breakups or a person who lost the primary believes they would have a better possibility if they struck out on their own or the strangest when people who previously were from opposite parties join together to form a new party or somebody moves inexorably from a party at one end of the spectrum and within a relatively short period they have worked their way to the other end of the political spectrum. All of these behaviors though seemingly peculiar and hard to explain, and even more difficult to excuse by former supporters when they feel betrayed, are part and parcel of politics which is by far the strangest game people play and one which eventually reveals the worst actions and largest weaknesses of human nature. Perhaps we would all be just a little more relaxed and a whole lot less anxious if we treated politics for what we often call it, the game of politicking, just another game people play. I know, a game with potentially very dangerous consequences, but wouldn’t many if not most of those consequences occur no matter how we individuals cast our votes. Can we not always at least pretend that it was really someone else’s fault, possibly we could simply blame all those people who did not even bother to vote, yea, that’s it, it is always those people too lazy or uncaring to bother to vote who are to blame.


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