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.

Purim Sameach!

Well, this will be a memorable Purim. Corona virus and the imposition of quarantine and isolation has had a widespread effect. The main shul minyan on Shabbat was much smaller than usual and tonight’s megillah reading similarly reduced – primarily because there are a ton of alternative smaller minyanim offering gatherings of less than 100 to comply with the Ministry of Health guidelines. Here’s hoping that very soon Corona virus will be a distant memory and never repeated.

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.

Rocket Man

This morning’s targeted killing of Islamic Jihad‘s loose cannon, Baha Abu al-Ata, generated not only the inevitable rocket barrage response, but a flurry of social media funnies.

One wit shared a mock announcement from Tel Aviv Council that the public bomb shelters would be open, with a 20 shekel charge for the first hour, then 7 shekels for every further 15 minutes…

Another asked that since schools and businesses were already closed, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the next election today?

And then the Times of Israel delivered this journalistic jape:

Sometimes, you just have to laugh!

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.

Yom Kippur

From the Times of Israel:

More than 60 percent of Jewish Israelis plan on fasting during the Yom Kippur holiday this year, according to a new poll by the Israel Democracy Institute ahead of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Polls are to be taken with a pinch of salt, but in this case the result matches anecdotal evidence.

Yom Kippur begins on Tuesday at sundown and ends Wednesday night. Also known as the Day of Atonement, the holiday is marked with a 25-hour fast. While many religious Jews observe Yom Kippur by attending daylong synagogue services at which they pray for forgiveness and a good new year, more secular Israelis often use the day to ride bicycles on the country’s deserted highways.

A couple of times I’ve been along to the main drag in Ra’anana to watch the cycling balagan that goes on there. It’s very much worth seeing.

According to the IDI, 60.5% of Jewish Israelis plan to fast on Yom Kippur, while 27.5% do not, 5% plan on only drinking liquids and 7% haven’t decided.

 

The think tank said the poll’s results tracked closely with a 2000 survey that found 63% said they planned to fast, but was a significant drop from a 1994 survey that found 73% planning on fasting.

Suspect that fall in numbers who plan on fasting is about right.

Though most Israeli Jews will be fasting, only 23% of those surveyed said that they would attend the day’s lengthy synagogue services. Nineteen percent said they plan on attending some, 12% plan to come to synagogue just to hear the shofar — the traditional ram’s horn blown at the conclusion of the holiday — and 39% do not plan to attend at all.

 

Israel shuts down on every year on Yom Kippur, with public transportation, government services and television broadcasters ceasing operations for the duration of the holiday.

To those who are fasting, may you have a meaningful fast. And may it be a fast fast. To those of you marking the day in your own spiritual way, I hope it works for you.

!גמר חתימה טובה

 

Rosh Hashanah

To those who celebrate the Jewish New Year, may it be a good and sweet year.

To those in the preceding group who live in Israel, my additional wish is that it be a year free of elections.

Elections and Peace

This post was triggered by a comment I saw on Facebook:

“There will never be peace while Netanyahu has a thread of power or influence.”

While I am unsure if I would go as far as the commenter, I understand the source for that view and can sympathize with it. However, I felt that it was also a comment that reflected how the media, in the main, see the situation. It’s a variation on the theme, “It’s all Israel’s fault.” Wrong.

I therefore posted the following:

“There will never be peace while Abbas has a thread of power or influence.”

 

“There will never be peace while Hamas has a thread of power or influence.”

These are the parts the world forgets. (Sometimes, because it suits them.)

To conclude with the final perspective, I also posted this:

“Hopefully, today’s election results will remove Bibi from the picture. If so, we’re still stuck.”

Which is the real point. Israel has a vibrant democracy. We may not all want Bibi, but he was elected the leader. If he wins again, we have to respect the decision and hope he steers the country in the right (sic) direction. But even if Bibi loses, and Ganz becomes Prime Minister, the prospects of peace are no better.

For example, with Ganz as PM:

  • What do you think the prospects are for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas being more likely to be able to deliver peace?
  • What do you think the prospects are for the media blaming the PA or Hamas for the lack of peace?
  • How long do you think it will be before the media start parroting a line like this:

“There will never be peace while Ganz has a thread of power or influence.”

In short, while I would welcome a change from Bibi, I see no Palestinian partner for peace. I’d like to see peace or progress towards it, but on the basis of the available evidence, I am pessimistic. However, I’m reasonably certain Israel will be blamed, no matter what! Blaming Bibi is lazy thinking, for it fails to consider the whole picture.