Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Has Benny Gantz just proven he lacks the skill to make competent political decisions?

(Last update: January 1, 2020)

Benny Gantz wants to become Israel's Prime Minister. To that end, he's chosen to become a political fighter. 

He appears to know he's no longer in the Army. In the Army's strict command structure, everyone knows that the top man--the 'boss'--is always appointed to his position, not elected to it. Gantz knows that. He also knows that to become Israel's Prime Minister, he's not going to be appointed to it by a higher authority. He's decided he's got to fight for it.

To take ownership of the PM's seat, he's apparently defined his need to 'fight for it' as, 'we have to demonize my main opponent'. He doesn't define his fight as 'I'm the man Israel needs right now, not my opponent'. He defines his fight as the need for personal attack.

He won't lead with ideas or policies. He won't lead by 'values'. He'll lead by personal attack. 

Is that the kind of leader Israel wants?

Gantz shows his true leadership skillset by demonizing Benjamin Netanyahu. Every opportunity he gets, he calls Netanyahu unfit for office. 

Netanyahu's corrupt. He takes bribes. He's been indicted for crimes! He's unfit!

Gantz is a military man. What does he actually know of a political democracy? Does he know that, in a democracy, the  'presumption of innocence' is the basic right of every accused, even a Prime Minister? 

Apparently not. 

Gantz doesn't act as if he understands the underlying ideals of the nation-state he wants to lead. He treats allegations in an indictment as established fact, not accusations. He sees an indictment, even one possibly politically tainted, as being the same as 'guilty'. 

At least, that's what he wants you to believe. Is that the kind of leader you want?

Gantz attacks. He rarely discusses policy. He doesn't debates policy. 

His attacks take place at the basest, nastiest level. No, Netanyahu isn't Israel's most experienced, longest-serving Prime Minister. He's unfit. He's a corrupt politician. He paints Netanyahu as if the man's nothing more than an indicted criminal nervously waiting to be sentenced--even before a trial. 

Is this how Gantz is going to lead? 

Now, in an effort to keep pushing this negative, destructive narrative against Netanyahu, Gantz may have gone too far for his own good. His latest personal attack may have (unintentionally, of course) just proven that it's Gantz who's not fit to rule, not Netanyahu.

Gantz's latest--and perhaps most self-inflicting--attack comes as a result of something that didn't happen. What didn't happen was a public statement by Netanyahu.

Yesterday, December 30, 2019, the Prime Minister's office issued a statement that, at 8 pm, December 30, 2019, Prime Minister Netanyahu would speak to the public. He would issue an 'announcement'. No topic was given for this 'announcement', but the conventional assumption was that, given the day's rumors, it would be about Netanyahu's interest in seeking immunity from the Knesset against prosecution. He would, specifically, seek a new law that a sitting Prime Minister could not be indicted for crimes until he was no longer in office. 

He never made that announcement. Instead, just two hours before the planned 'announcement', an unsourced statement came out of the PM's office that declared Netanyahu's 'special 8 pm announcement' would be "delayed". No other information was given. 

This is when Benny Gantz stuck his foot where it needn't go. By the way, he didn't actually do this to himself. His friends did it for him--his friends in his Party (Blue and White). Apparently, a Party spokesman said, Netanyahu "can't manage a statement. How can he manage a state?"

What an absurd thing to say! Sure, if Netantyahu were, say, a retired Army General (like Gantz) who'd never been elected to office (like Gantz)--or been appointed to a political position in a ruling government (like Gantz)--then, yes, maybe, a statement he had not given might be reason for criticism. A change of plan could suggest, for example, a rookie's hesitation. It might suggest that such hesitation to act is what you might expect from someone with little political experience. It could even be used to suggest, do you want such a hesitant, inexperienced rookie handling a ship of state that must travel through treacherous waters--or would you want someone more sure of himself, someone more experienced, someone like me (Netanyahu's opponent)?

Of course, Gantz can't say that because he has no experience to boast about. He's a 100% political rookie. Netanyahu, however, is no political rookie. He's Israel's longest-serving Prime Minister, ever. If anyone has experience to manage a state, it's Netanyahu. In fact, if either of these two candidates is totally inexperienced in political leadership, it's Gantz--not Netanyahu. 

It's Gantz who's never held any elected or appointed government position. It's Gantz who has already demonstrated that the only non-military position of authority he's held--head of a start-up company--where he had the opportunity to show what kind of non-military leader he could be, was a position he failed.  That is, with the very first job he took post-military, Gantz didn't prove leadership at all. The only thing he proved in that fiasco was how to drive a new company to bankruptcy--and, possibly, to future criminal investigations into how, exactly, did his  company do its business. 

That's not an example of his non-military leadership experience. It's an example of incompetence.

Gantz's Party did him no favors with this attack on Netanyahu. With friends like this, Gantz doesn't need any political enemies at all. His own friends will do him in. 

Does Gantz's inexperience in Israel's tough political spotlight begin to show? Is this what we can expect his chosen advisors will do to him? Make him look like an idiot?

Right now, recent polls suggest Gantz will/could gain more seats than Netanyahu in the upcoming election. Yes, Israel's pre-election polls seem, at times, notoriously unreliable--and, for some, easily manipulated. But still, if this incompetent attack on Netanyahu reflects accurately on the people Gantz has chosen to surround himself with, Israelis had better think twice about voting for him. 

Perhaps Gantz may yet prove to be competent in some political area. But to lead Israel, which faces extraordinary challenges, "perhaps" doesn't cut it. A leader of Israel has got to be better than "perhaps". 

The next leader of Israel will have no time to find his 'sea legs'. He'll need to be fully competent the moment he steps into office.  

If Gantz is indeed not qualified to steer Israel's ship of state through the turbulent waters ahead, this idiotic statement attacking Netanyahu could come back to haunt him. The idiocy of "if Netanyahu can't manage a statement, how can he manage a state?" could be the proverbial 'tip of an incompetency iceberg'. 

Is that what Gantz is, another Titanic heading towards an iceberg? Could be.

Does this incident reveal that Gantz doesn't at this time have the ability to make competent decisions, both with personnel and political strategy? That'll be for you to decide. 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The ICC writes Israel's modern Chanuka story

Tonight, Sunday, December 22, 2019, marks the beginning of this year's Chanuka. It will be an eight-day celebration. In Israel, it is a time for festive joy--family gatherings, sufganiyot (donuts) galore, special foods and lots of Chanuka songs everywhere.

Chanuka commemorates Israel's war of independence against the anti-Semitic, anti-Judaism rule of  Syrian-Greeks some 2200 years ago. Those non-Jewish rulers over the Jewish people in Israel wanted to stamp out Jewish observance. These efforts to stamp out Judaism was, by the way, embraced by many of Israel's Jews. 

That war against that non-Jewish enemy essentially began when a Greek General demanded that a pig--anathema to Jewish law--be sacrificed in the Jewish Temple. Instead of committing such an abomination, a man called Matityahu (if I recall correctly) called out, 'who stands with HaShem (G-d), join me!' He gathered a relatively small band of fighters. After he was killed, his son, Judah, led the fight. 

Incredibly, miraculously, Judah conquered this enemy. Then, he cleansed and dedicated (the meaning of 'Chanuka') the Jewish Temple for Jewish use. 

Today, we relive that Jewish fight for survival. Today, we have enemies both in Israel and world-wide who seek to destroy not only the state of Israel, but Judaism itself. Many Jews everywhere gladly embrace this anti-Jewish effort.

We saw such a "Jewish anti-Jewish embrace" in the last national election. Some politicians called for Israel to reject its Jewishness. They wanted voters to replace 'Jewishness' with 'democracy'--as if Judaism itself is anathema to the concept of a democracy. 

As any Israeli born and raised in America or Britain knows, that is simply not true. If anything, a democracy protects Judaism. It doesn't promote the destruction (or removal) of Judaism,  as some here in Israel seek.

But then, most Israelis were't born in a Western-style Western democracy. Most Israelis weren't born in the US or Britain. 

Certainly, they live, in Israel, in a supposed 'democracy'. But they never experienced living in an authentic Western democracy.  Still, they do seem quick to vote for those who would 'defend democracy'--especially for those who, in the name of protecting democracy, would attack Israel's religion. 

This anti-Jewish Jewish rebellion in Israel won't go away anytime soon. It's a chronic sore that threatens but will not destroy Israel's Judaism. However, what can destroy Israel--and destroy Israel's Judaism with it--now takes stage center on Israel's collective consciousness: a potential war crimes  investigation against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Friday afternoon, December 20, 2019--just before our Shabbat-before-Chanuka began--the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would accept a petition from the Palestinian Authority to open a war crimes investigation into Israeli war crimes supposedly committed by Israel against humanity during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war. Remember now, the UN has already written an inflammatory and anti-Semitic, anti-Israel study of that war in which the UN falsely claimed that Israel had indeed committed war crimes in 2014. Now, presumably, the ICC will seek to find high-ranking Israelis, including both politicians and military leaders, potentially guilty of crimes against humanity. 

Won't that be fun.

Those who support the 'Palestinian Cause' (to destroy Israel) are delighted (here). At least according to  Mahmoud Abbas, unelected dictator of the Palestinian Authority, this announcement now means that any Palestinian wounded by Israeli 'Occupiers' will be able to file a lawsuit against Israel at the Hague (here). 

How will that work? Well, right now, Hamas pushes Palestinians to their border with Israel to riot against Israel. Any one of them wounded can now, at least according to Abbas, file a war crime charge against Israel? Any Palestinian in Judea-Samaria who is wounded while attacking a Jew with a knife can file a lawsuit against Israel? 

Won't that be fun.

 To make sure we all understand what this ICC investigation really means, Palestinian Saeb Erekat has already announced that the PA won't just 'flood' the ICC with names of Palestinians hurt by Israel; the PA will "drown" the ICC with names! (here). 

Won't that be fun.

A war crimes investigation will--if it comes to be--provoke a world-wide tsunami of Jew-hate and anti-Israelism. It seems no coincidence that just today (December 22, 2019), a UK study was reported to demonstrate what Jews paying attention to these things already know: the supposedly "Humanitarian" Amnesty International organization is not objective when it comes to Israel-hating; it is "obsessed with that hate" (here). You can bet this ICC report will energize Amnesty International against Israel.

Won't that be fun.

An  ICC 'investigation' could make the world-wide increase of anti-Semitism that we saw during 2016-2018 look like child's play. It could easily bring a Nazi-era style Jew-hate to every nation--and most especially to the UN and the EU.

Won't that be fun.

This ICC investigation will provoke all Jew-haters to jump on the Palestinian bandwagon. Indeed, the ink of this ICC news story had hardly dried when Hamas called for a renewed 'battle' against the Jew in Judea-Samaria (here). 

Won't that be fun.

This ICC investigation against Israel will go a long way to legitimize the Palestinian Cause. It will also energize Palestinian anti-Israel demonizations. Already, some within Official Israel quake at what this all means for Israel (here and here). 

The modern anti-Jew Chanuka story has now begun in earnest. This ICC investigation, if it gets off the ground, will be the catalyst for this modern Jew-hate story. 

Jews and Israel will now,  as they had to do some 2200 years ago, once again have to answer "the call". That is, Jews will have to choose to stand with HaShem or.... 

What will you choose?

Happy Chanuka.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Who is Gantz kidding?

Israel's Benny Gantz, head of the Israeli political Party, Blue and White, wants to become Israel's next Prime Minister. All he needs to do is convince 60 other Members of Knesset (MPs) to join him to form a ruling coalition government.  He's failed to do that.

Meanwhile, the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,  has met with a similar fate. He, to, has been unable to find 60 other MK's to join him to create his own ruling coalition. This stalemate means that if there's no movement towards forming a coalition (by anyone) between today and later this month (December 2019), Israel will be forced into new elections in March 2020--for the third time in the same 12-month period.

Israel has been in this position since April 2019. There's no real government, just an unending 'transition'. Little-to-nothing gets done in the Knesset. Military funding is frozen. A budget won't get done. Laws won't be passed. 

Both Gantz and Netanyahu blame each other for this impasse. For example, just this week, Gantz accused Netanyahu of doing everything in his power to create the need for a new election (here). He suggests Netyanyahu is doing whatever it takes to get to another election (ibid).

But these accusations are patently false--and Gantz is going to be hammered for these accusations. Indeed, that 'hammering' has already begun (here).

The truth is, it's Gantz who's the one to blame for no government. Here's why:

Just after the September 2019 election, it was clear to all that neither Gantz nor Netanyahu would be able to form a ruling coalition. The numbers needed to do that (given how Israel's electoral system works) just weren't there. Israel's President Reuven Rivlin saw this problem--and began to propose creative ideas for establishing a shared Prime Ministership for both Gantz and Netanyahu (here). While the media in Israel essentially interpreted Rivlin's initial proposal to mean a 'rotating leadership', that wasn't what he was proposing (ibid). 

Rivlin's first proposal (here) was unusual. Looking back almost 500 years to a plan first created during Europe's Reformation period, Rivlin offered Gantz and Netanyahu a co-equal Prime Ministership. In this arrangement, both men would have power together--at the same time. Both would have a veto right on the other. Both would therefore be forced to govern together (ibid) to get anything accomplished. This initial proposal did not mention anything about a rotation of power, where only one-at-a-time would govern.

The idea was to create some kind of 'unity government', so that no other election would be necessary--and governing the State could begin. But this first proposal by Rivlin went nowhere.

Then, Rivlin proposed that a new law be passed so that Netanyahu could 'suspend' himself as PM while he worked to clear his name from accusations of criminal behavior while in office. During this 'suspended' time, Gantz would govern as PM (here). But Gantz, rejecting every democracy's idea of the presumption of innocence, rejected this offer, saying he would not enter a government where the sitting PM was under a criminal indictment (ibid). Gantz then falsely called Netanyahu a 'unity government rejectionist' (here).

As this impasse was unfolding, Israel's  Avigdor Liberman (head of the political Party, Yisrael Beteinu), essentially demanded there be only a 'true unity' government, where the Parties of both Gantz and Netanyahu would govern together, with a rotation schedule. Gantz rejected it. He wouldn't sit in any government with an indicted criminal (Netanyahu). 

The presumption of innocence? Forget it.

Now, Netanyahu has made a new proposal (here). He would, as in other proposals, be the first to rule in a shared rotation leadership agreement. But this offer is not to serve two years before giving Gantz his own two years. Now, Netanyahu says he would serve as PM only until February or March 2020--for three or four months. After that, Gantz would automatically take over for the next three+ years.  

What's not to like here? For Gantz, it'd mean a certainty to serve far longer than Netanyahu. It also meant a short waiting period before becoming PM. 

Of course, if Gantz rejected this proposal, Israel would continue to be in limbo. Worse, Israel would be forced to hold a third, unprecedented election--in February or March 2020. 

What's interesting about this proposal is that if Gantz rejected it,  he'd have to wait for elections until February or March 2020 anyway--and then, to be PM,  he'd have to win that election. If he took the offer, he'd get a guarantee to be PM--in that same February or March 2020.

 In other words, Netanyahu was offering Gantz his Premiership on a silver platter, guaranteed. There's be no unprecedented third election. There'd be no chance for Gantz to lose. 

Gantz rejected it. 

After having accused Netanyahu for months of doing only what would be good for Netanyahu,not what's good for the country (by demanding to form a unity government only if he, Netanyahu, served as PM first), Gantz was demanding the exact same thing: he'd only sit in a unity government if he (Gantz) served first! (here). He said he had to serve first because he couldn't sit in a government headed by an indicted (potential) criminal. 

Democracy's presumption of innocence? Forget it. 

Gantz runs the risk of being labeled with the very accusation he'd used repeatedly against Netanyahu. It isn't Netanyahu who puts his own  desires first--Netanyahu is willing only to serve just three-four months; it's Gantz who puts himself first exclusively: the only way he'd serve is if Neta nyahu resigns. Worse, this latest rejection by Gantz means we must now (short of a last-minute miracle) suffer through an historic third (and expensive to the state) national election. 

Who is Benny Gantz kidding? The unity rejectionist isn't Netanyahu. It's Gantz. 

Caroline Glick has already said that Gantz's Party was founded on only the flimsiest of foundations--to destroy Netanyahu (here). With Gantz saying he'd serve in a unity government only if Netanyahu steps down (here), Glick looks correct in her assessment. 

What appears important to Gantz is not serving Israel by becoming its PM. What's of primary importance to him seems to be gaining the title, "the man who finally forced Netanyahu out of office".

Gantz's excuse is, the indictments. He says Netanyahu must go so he (Netanyahu) can deal with the indictments against him.  But while that sounds like a good idea, it isn't. It's a terrible idea-- because it's illegal.

Israel's Attorney General says Netanyahu cannot legally resign (here). The reason is simple: a Prime Minister cannot just resign at this time because when an Israeli government is in transition--as this government is now--a PM simply cannot resign (ibid).

This government has been in transition since September 2019. How many times has Gantz said throughout this time that Netanyahu must resign? Ten times? Fifty times? In every speech? In every interview?

Neither Gantz nor anyone on his team seems to understand Israel's laws. This ignorance is why his Party still insists Netanyahu must (illegally and impossibly) resign before Gantz will serve in a unity government. 

Gantz condemns Israel to a third election--with an illegal demand, no less.

Perhaps this is why Gantz--and all of his Blue-and-White co-leaders--is now being called a bunch of amateurs (here). They don't understand anything about Israel's legal system. They reject democracy's presumption of innocence. All they care about is getting rid of Netanyahu.

Is this what Israel has voted for--bumbling, ignorant amateurs from Chelm?

How's that going to work out?

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Israel has a problem with democracy

(Updated December 4, 2019)

It looks like Israel has a problem with democracy. On the one hand, most of Israel's most vociferous defenders of 'democracy' in Israel--those to the political Left--talk a lot about 'democracy'. But then, in the same breath, they demand the resignation of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because he's under indictment for bribery, breach of trust and corruption.

Indeed, Netanyahu's main rival, Benny Gantz believes that, unless Netanyahu resigns immediately, Israel may not remain a democracy (here). If Netanyahu stays in power, Gantz argues, Israel will collapse into a Turkey-style state (ibid).

Worse, Gantz claims, if Netanyahu won't resign, Israel runs the risk of a civil-war of 'brother-against-brother' (here).

You may call these words 'Leftist drivel'. It certainly sounds like Leftist drivel. But it can't be. 

You see, Gantz doesn't call himself a Leftist. He calls himself a centrist.

Do you see the democracy problem embedded in such anti-Netanyahu behavior? Chances are, you don't--and that's the disturbing part of this problem. When it comes to the basics of 'democracy', even Israel's potential political leaders don't know what are the basics of 'democracy'.

How can such a potential leader of Israel stay true to the 'democracy' he says he cares about if he's so ignorant about 'democracy'?

What Gantz and his anti-Netanyahu cabal don't know is that when many people think about 'what is democracy?' one common thread that appears as an answer is called a key characteristic, or even a pillar of democracy. That singular pillar of democracy is, 'the presumption of innocence' (here).

 A Democracy believes in this presumption. So important is this presumption, it's been enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights that all nations have been called upon to adopt (here):

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

To some around the world, such ideas as the Rule of Law, democracy and democracy's definition of 'justice' are all focused on this presumption of innocence (here). Presumption of innocence is what makes a Western democracy a democracy. Just ask New Zealand (ibid) and the US (here), to name just two examples.

Even in difficult, troubling cases, everyone is innocent until proven guilty (here). That should suggest that even an Israeli Prime Minister is to be granted that Human Right, right?

Wrong. From what we see and hear in Israel's media and from Israel's leading politicians, an Israeli PM--or, more accurately, this Israeli PM--has no right to be presumed innocent at all. At least, that seems to be clear from politicians Gantz and Yair Lapid, and from such noted media outlets as the Times of Israel, to name just a few who, in the name of protecting Israel's democracy, call for Netanyahu to resign immediately.

Not much in life is perfect. But when it comes to the principles of democracy's ideas of justice (which is founded in part on this presumption of innocence), Israel's leading politicians are certainly perfectly ignorant. These are the people Israel votes for? To 'protect' Israel's democracy?

Israel has a real democracy problem.

Do these Netanyahu haters believe in democracy? If they did, they'd be raging, 'what are you doing? the man is innocent until proven guilty'. Instead, they trash basic democratic principles and rage, 'he must go now! He's guilty! Period!'

The anti-Netanyahu crowd dismisses democracy. It doesn't want Netanyahu in the PM's seat. It doesn't care which of democracy's principles it must violate--so long as they get rid of a hated enemy.

This is Israel's democracy problem.

Israel's anti-democracy advocates want a change. They fail at the ballot box--another basic of a democracy. So they avoid the ballot box. Instead, they indict Netanyahu for actions no other democracy on this planet has ever criminalized (here).   

These anti-democracy Netanyahu haters hate 'innocent until proven guilty'. They hate democracy's fundamental ideas of the Rule of Law (which requires the presumption of innocence). Ultimately, they hate you, the voter.

These are the people trying to get rid of Netanyahu--which is why Israel has a democracy problem: by refusing to give Netanyahu the right to a presumption to innocence, with a promise of a fair and public trial, they trample on one of the most basic concepts of democracy. They also trample on one of the most fundamental of Basic Human Rights (see above). If this is how they treat the PM, how do you think they'll start treating you when they get into power?

If these people can criminalize Netanyahu, they can most certainly do it to you. This is why Israel has a problem with democracy.