Cal Tzedek: 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kadima

Lest I become too complacent with the reinvented Sharon, now a man of peace, and his centrist party Kadima, he is now joined by Defense Minister and war criminal Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz believes in "the language of force" as much as Sharon ever has, but he lacks the cuddly image of the new and incredibly popular Sharon. I'm happy that Sharon has formally broken ranks with the fascist right, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking he is a now a champion of human rights in the tradition of such Jewish champions, especially if he hobnobs with folks whose primary method of defense involves "extracting a price" of 7o Palestinians per day --terrorists, or otherwise.

I have not posted in a while --none of us have. Much has happened since June. The Gaza withdrawal was technically successful, and has perhaps moved the general Israeli political spectrum slightly to the left, such that Sharon overwhelmingly beats Netanyahu and Peretz shockingly beats Peres. Islamic Jihad has not exactly helped Peretz's campaign by carrying out a suicide bombing, and at this point anything but a third term for Sharon seems incredibly unlikely.

The president of Iran is certainly a sleaze bag, and I certainly appreciate the broad rejection of his Holocaust denial and stupid, stupid threats. But an Israeli airstrike on suspected nuclear facilities seems like the precursor to a lengthy, lengthy bloodbath. If the aftermath of Iran's two instances of verbal aggression shows anything, it is that, contrary to official Israeli alarmism, IF Israel is threatened after a complete end to the occupation, the rest of the world WILL in fact stick up for it.

On the local front, activism on both sides of the aisle has been very low-key. Students for Justice in Palestine is virtually non-existant, and while the IAC seems to have put on one concert, I am not aware of any political advocacy on their part during the past semseter. In general, I think many Israel/Palestine groups are waiting out the dual elections to see what happens.

Alot of Israelis are nervous about the success of Marwan Barghouti but, even if he has blood on his hands, I would consider him much more favorable to Israel than a Hamas theocrat, and I hope those Israelis in a position to work with secularists do so, if not to effect any sort of justice, simply out of common sense and self-interest. I guess the same argument could be made about Sharon vs. Netanyahu, but then the same argument could be made about Sharon vs. Peretz, and the latter, even if he too is bad for Palestinians, at LEAST, unlike anyone from Likud or the pushovers from post-Oslo labor, he could potentially be good for poor Israelis. EVEN if Peretz is as paternalistic as Barak, at least he has the potential to focus Israel's priorities away from colonizing the West Bank, and towards addressing its actual (not "demographic") threats from within. So, while many have their reservations about Peretz, and I'm certainly nervous about romanticizing --or looking for easy answers in the form of-- anyone, I am nonetheless excited about Peretz heading Labor. I sort of see him as a Howard Dean: I don't really think his views are far enough to the left to prefer him and his party over, say, the Greens, but at LEAST, unlike John Kerry (and Shimon Peres) he seems like he would form an ACTUAL opposition to the Republican party (and the Likud party and its allies).

I hope to continue posting here a couple times a week, harkening back to this blog's glory days.

-Ehud

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