Blind to Justice?

By way of follow up to my earlier post about the killing of Iyad Hallaq (or Iyad Hallak), the Times of Israel has some rather disturbing news:

Click image to go to Times of Israel article

How likely is it that one security camera was not turned on? How likely is it that all the security cameras covering this incident were not turned on? I stress that I am not speaking from a position of informed opinion, so I could be wrong. However, I believe it to be highly unlikely that there was no video coverage of this killing. Does it seem sensible or logical or likely to you? Why have such an extensive network of security cameras – that have been well used in the past – if you are not going to turn them on?

I would like to hear from anyone knowledgeable in these areas – perhaps someone who has been on security patrol in and around Jerusalem – to learn more about the situation on the ground and whether this ‘no video available’ line is indeed likely to be hogwash or otherwise.

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a previous incident where it’s been said that security cameras (all of them!) were not turned on.

If I am right, this is a nasty cover-up. If I am right, this is scandalous.

While I would dearly love to think an independent investigation would get to the root of the matter, I regret I am skeptical. If the authorities are being so brazen as to lie about the availability of the video evidence, what chance is there of justice for Iyad Hallaq either through the courts or by an independent probe?

Truly this is a black stain upon Israel.

[If it was the case that security cameras were not turned on, do you think that means anyone is going to be disciplined for that shocking state of affairs? No, I don’t think so either.]

Dear Haaretz

Do you think you might be able to find a native English speaker somewhere in your establishment? If so, I suggest you go and get them right now and ask them to sort out this rubbish (taken from your landing page).

Analyses? Really?

After all, there is a school of thought which says if you cannot be bothered about accuracy in general, why should anyone trust your news reporting? And there’s another school of thought which says your subscribers, and yes that includes me, deserve better.

Annexation Frustration

The media and political storm leading up to Bibi’s promised ‘annexation’ on 1 July was fairly predictable. Up until the last moment, however, what wasn’t predictable was what Bibi would actually do. Would this be another broken promise? Or would Bibi ignore everything – real and imagined – that was stacked up by way of opposition, and go ahead?

As we all know, what we got was indeed another broken promise. From my perspective, that was only half the issue.

(To be clear, I wasn’t counting on his promise. It wasn’t what I wanted to happen. It is also noteworthy that several commentators accurately predicted nothing would happen.)

The other half of the issue – one that seems to have largely been overlooked – was how we (Israel) got ourselves into such a position that one man could hold such power and potentially wield it in such a way that would irrevocably damage Israel, with no fear of an effective opposition. If Bibi wanted to extend civil law, it would happen.

Who is responsible for that state of affairs? The voters and Benny Gantz. Not a lot we can do about that now. However, it does seem that Gantz will pay for his perfidy should he face the electorate in the future. I do wish the voters would also make Bibi pay for his folly should he be around for the next election.

As matters stand, it appears the annexation topic is off the agenda while the government deals with more pressing issues. But I’ll take the opportunity to offer some random thoughts and observations.

  • Annexation is the wrong word. (But, it’s so much snappier than the alternatives!) What it is about is the application of Israeli law to certain territory.
  • Unless you make a unique interpretation of international law, there is only one country that has legal right and title to Judea and Samaria: Israel.
  • These two points having been made, however, there was no material gain for Israel to extend its law to parts of Judea and Samaria at this time. None.
  • There was the potential of a real downside for Israel.
  • It was scandalous to devote any resources to this project when there were far more pressing issues for a responsible government to deal with. Like coronavirus, the economy, and the ticking bomb that is Gaza.
  • If ever there were a single episode that proved you cannot be an effective Prime Minister while facing criminal charges, this was it!
  • The whole situation has probably hardened the divide between Israel and American Jews of a Democratic persuasion. Under Bibi, Israel has largely become a partisan issue. That’s bad. Very bad.
  • When even a hard-nosed Bibi fan like the Elder of Ziyon rightly says it’s been a debacle, and skewers Bibi in the process, that tells you how bad this has been for Israel.
  • The one bright spot – not that bright, but in this part of the world it’s all relative – was the Palestinian leadership making a counter proposal to Trump’s peace plan and declaring themselves now ready to negotiate. Do I believe anything will come of that? No. Do I want Bibi to do something about it? Absolutely. No matter how poor the prospects of success, our Prime Minister should start talking. As Dov Lipman once said, we have to be able to tell our grandchildren that we did all we could to try to make peace.
  • I have polished my crystal ball. It tells me that reviving the idea of extending Israeli civil law at any time in the next few years would simply be repeating past mistakes.

It is frustrating seeing such poor leadership from the Prime Minster of Israel. For the country’s sake, let’s hope such a woeful performance is not repeated ever again.

Pandemic Blogging Blues

It’s been a while since I regularly blogged. This coronavirus situation hasn’t helped; it seems to have sucked all the desire to write from out of my system. This post is the start of the fight back.

The case of the missing editor

The following headline is from an article published online by the Jerusalem Post on 27 April, 2020.

Click the headline to view the article

The charge against the Jerusalem Post is that it doesn’t edit articles properly before publication. You be the judge.

  • Excerpt one for the prosecution:

  • Excerpt two for the prosecution:

  • Excerpt three for the prosecution:

  • Excerpt four for the prosecution:

It’s a slam dunk, methinks. Absolutely shocking output from a supposedly professional news organization.

Truth in Advertising

This is the Twitter motif of activist group IfNotNow:

And this is how it would look were there to be a truth in advertising law:

If anyone’s looking for source material to back up the above, I suggest taking a look here. (The Elder of Ziyon shows how every point made by the group in a Twitter feed about Gaza, the Palestinians, and coronavirus is a lie. Quite some achievement.)

I’m inclined to agree with the description of IfNotNow as a hate group. It’s the only rational explanation.

 

Headline Failure

Guess who the Guardian blames for Gaza’s Covid-19 challenges?

The correct headline for this article would be:

“Can Gaza cope with Covid-19 after years of wasting money on rockets instead of investing in its civilian infrastructure?”

But there’s no chance of the Guardian printing the truth. Not when it comes to Israel.

If only the Gazans loved their own people more than they hated the Jews.

Celebrate BBC – Bye Bye Corbyn

Oh joy. Celebrate like it’s 1979. The bad man has gone away. The good man – and I’ll come back to that – has triumphed.  But first, some random thoughts.

  • This campaign stiffened my dislike of the Guardian. Any institution that can admit the Labour Party had a serious problem with antisemitism but still recommend people vote for it is a deeply flawed body.
  • Chief Rabbi Mirvis got his intervention spot on. The last thing he would have wanted to do was become involved in national politics, but he believed it was wrong to stay silent. His noble behavior in the face of the storm of criticism directed his way after his statement simply cemented the belief (sic) of many, that he’s a decent man doing a difficult job very well. Long may he continue.
  • One response from the losing side has been slinging mud at the Tories suggesting that they have a problem with Islamophobia. Expect more of the same. I also expect Boris to put his own house in order, as required, and to deal swiftly with any such instances that arise.
  • I registered for a postal vote. I’m still waiting for the ballot to arrive. (Thank you Israel Post!) It would have taken another 6,000 votes like mine to see off the SNP who, sadly, took Renfrewshire East.
  • The election is a bad result for Scotland. It’s created a false expectation of independence that the SNP cannot deliver. I presume Johnson will stand resolute. So far as the rationale is concerned, there is no longer an economic argument for Scottish independence. And there is no prospect of Europe wanting Scotland as a member without the rest of the UK. Despite those inescapable facts, it seems likely that there will be a huge waste of time and energy and money – public money – wasted on campaigning for an independence referendum.
  • The markets do not like uncertainty. Well, this election result should sort that out. Whether you like it or not, Brexit is going to get done.
  • Note the following quotes from Dominic Cummings which should make uncomfortable reading for many:

“After the shock of the referendum MPs and journalists should have taken a deep breath and had a lot of self-reflection of why they misunderstood what was going on in the country but instead a lot of people just doubled down on their own ideas and fucked it up even more. That’s why something like this happens against expectations.

All these better than average educated remainer campaigner types who have waved around for eight weeks, for the last four months and didn’t understand what was going on and didn’t understand they were driving everyone mad.

Hopefully now they’ll learn because it’s not good for the country, the whole dynamic to carry on. MPs need to reflect, the media needs to reflect and they need to realise that the conversations they have in London are a million miles away from reality.

Finally, Boris. I have never met him, am never likely to, and have no burning desire to make him out to be a hero. He can be very clever. He can be nasty. He can be entertaining. He can be cruel. He can be charismatic. He can be sly. In short, he is not perfect. But none of us are. And many of those who sling stones are too quick to criticize (and name call) instead of arguing principles, ideas, and so forth. They shoot first and think later. He is also not a dictator. He has a party to keep him on track and, more importantly, an electorate who will not forgive him if he fails to deliver on his promise to be the Prime Minister for everyone. (For the many and not the few?) In this case, I am an optimist. I am happy to leave the PM alone and let him get on with the job.

Bye bye Corbyn, and let’s go Boris!

If Bibi were a statesman

Statesman

noun, plural states·men.

  1. a person who is experienced in the art of government or versed in the administration of government affairs.
  2. a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of a government or in dealing with important public issues.
  • If Bibi were a statesman, he would resign.
  • If Bibi were a man of honor, he would resign.
  • If Bibi cared about his county more than himself, he would resign.
  • If Bibi cared about his party more than himself, he would resign.
  • If Bibi were a mensch, he would resign.

Right now, Bibi is none of these. Or, at least is not behaving like one of these.

For another perspective, read the material that argues otherwise: that Bibi should not resign. It seems to me that almost all of these articles are hero worship pieces along the lines of Bibi is the only man who can run the country, defend Israel, and keep it safe. Or, Bibi is the only one responsible for all the good things we have now in Israel, and he is the only one who can keep doing more of the same.

This is simply untrue.

Putting to one side the fact that cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people (and no, I don’t mean Bibi belongs in a cemetery), is Bibi’s record so good?

Do the residents of Sderot and the south have peace?

Do the parents of the two soldiers whose bodies Hamas hold hostage think Bibi is so good?

And while some want to give Bibi the credit for the strength of the economy, that wholly overlooks the weaknesses: we have people in work who cannot make ends meet. We have a housing crisis because homes are too expensive. We have horrific levels of property. The economic hero part also overlooks the contribution others have made to some of the stronger parts of the economy.

And let’s not forget Bibi’s horrendous anti-Arab racist statements and incitement.

Bibi is no legendary figure. Yes, he has achieved some good things. But he neither deserves the credit for them all, nor deserves to use them as a cover for not resigning.

How can he be at his best when he has to focus on defending himself in court?

Finally, what about the allegation that the charges are a left wing conspiracy? Let’s remind ourselves that the Attorney General – no shrinking violet or left wing sympathizer – was a Bibi appointment. That’s why Bibi’s supporters say Manderbilt is a dupe. Of course, he’s nothing of the kind. He’s an honest man, trying to do the best he can. That’s not something you can say about Bibi.

If Bibi were a statesman, he would resign.

No excuse for racism. Not even for Bibi.

Last week, the Elder of Ziyon posted an article: How to explain “racist” Netanyahu’s unprecedented support of Arabs?

The story claims (probably correctly) that Netanyahu governments have given substantial preferential treatment by way of aid to Israel’s Arab minority. And done without claiming credit or publicity.

Why? The Elder dismisses other explanations and offers the following:

Which brings us to the real answer.

Netanyahu has a vision for Israel’s strength and security for the next century. That is, and has been, his paramount goal. He cannot accomplish that goal without winning elections – the opposition parties simply do not share his strategic vision, if they have one at all.

To win elections, Bibi has to sometimes appeal to the less liberal elements of his party and of Israeli society. If he doesn’t win, in his mind, Israel loses.

Bibi’s supposed “racism” is public – he doesn’t give a damn if people think he is racist because if he doesn’t win, nothing can be done to help Israel in his mind. His true attitudes towards Arabs are revealed by what he does behind the scenes, and the anecdote that the article begins with shows that he has done far more to help Arab society in Israel than any previous prime minister from any party.

Do you buy that? I don’t.

Read the whole thing to make sure I am not misrepresenting the position.

The Elder’s position appears to be that it’s OK for Netanyahu to be racist – which he undoubtedly was – because, in the long term, the end (Bibi’s rule) justifies the means. That is irresponsible and dangerous. Die hard Bibi fans like the Elder can try and excuse his dreadful behavior, but ultimately they must fail because there is never an excuse for it. Never. It’s plain wrong. Would we excuse antisemitic behavior from anyone?

As a separate issue, Bibi’s achievements are not all they are cracked up to be, and his failings are many. I do not fall into the camp that demonizes Bibi, but this almost deification is way off base.

On this point, the Elder and I see things very differently.