View Full Version : Just don't give up
08-20-2004, 12:45 AM
Just don't give up
By Yoel Marcus
The microphone was placed on the left side of the stage, so that the spectacle of the microphone snatchers of yesteryear - with the cry of "Who is in favor of liquidating terrorism?" - wouldn't be repeated. The chairs in the Mann Auditorium were also screwed strongly into the floor, so that the furniture would not be able to be hurled about, as in the days of Gaston Malka. But the spirit was the same spirit, only the characters have switched roles. Ariel Sharon entered the hall as king of Israel, as Mr. One Million Votes, but left as a whipped functionary.
The vote, which ostensibly focused on partnership with Labor, yes or no, recalled a well-known Yiddish saying: Hit the mother-in-law instead of hitting your wife. So they hit Labor but meant the disengagement plan. Sharon returned to his ranch as a hobbled king of Israel, but full of hints that nothing is over yet and that the day for settling accounts will surely come.
The Likud convention is a gloomy attempt to revive the Bolshevist bodies of days of yore, with the party - the politburo, the secretariat or the party bureau - dictating to the prime minister, who was elected in general elections, the narrow party agenda. Nowadays the party convention in the free world has one and only one role: to choose the candidate for prime minister based on his personal and political criteria and on his qualifications to lead the country. From the moment the candidate receives the confidence of the people in the voting booth, he is the chief operating officer and lays down the policy for which the people elected him. He remains in power until the end of his term of office, or as long as he has a majority in the Knesset.
The effort to torpedo the prime minister's initiative by means of the Likud convention is an undemocratic and immoral act, and in my view also flagrantly unconstitutional. The three interventions by the convention in an attempt to foist on Sharon a policy that is the opposite of that for which the majority of the nation elected him is to run roughshod over orderly government and a pathway to anarchy.
If the Likud Central Committee thinks that Sharon is going for the vision of Greater Israel, where was it during the election campaign, when the slogan that Sharon would bring peace was plastered on every wall? What were they thinking when Sharon spoke about "painful concessions"? That he would go to the dentist? And why were they silent when Sharon undertook to form a unity government? Did they think that this committed only Arthur Finkelstein, the strategic adviser? Sharon doubled the strength of the Likud because the voters believed that he was the only person who could do what he promised.
Sharon the commander-in-chief reached the conclusion that terrorism will not be eradicated by means of force. Sharon the statesman understood that the strongest of the great powers divided the world into good guys and bad guys, and that we have to make our contribution to terminate the conflict as George Bush wants, because the alternative is a solution that will be imposed on Israel. As manager of the country, he realized that our security, political and economic situation demands an "act," namely the start of disengagement from the territories - the Gaza Strip and its settlements first. "It was hard for me to accept this path, but responsible leadership obliges difficult decisions," Sharon said.
Sharon has crossed the point of no return, both in his words and his deeds. He has spoke about a future of two states for the two nations, about the demographic danger, about the unacceptability of ruling another people. Not only has he spoken, he also pushed through a decision in the cabinet and issued guidelines for deploying to execute the policy already eight months ago. The defense establishment is ready to evacuate settlements on two weeks' notice. "A responsible leadership must place the good of the state before every other consideration, and this is one of those moments," Sharon reiterated.
What happened on Wednesday was an attempt to carry out a targeted assassination of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The continuation will undoubtedly come in the form of more frequent preemptive maneuvers. But Sharon does not have to be deterred, because a massive majority of the nation, including many Likud voters, supports his move. He must carry on with his efforts and ensure the majority for his move in any form, under any threat and with whatever governmental composition he can find. When a minority of zealots in the Likud Central Committee wants to condemn an entire country to international isolation and to political, economic, social and military death, we feel that we must say to Ariel Sharon: Just don't give up.
08-20-2004, 12:50 AM
How one-side and stupid.
Oh! Written by Yoel Marcus at Haaretz. No wonder.
And this chattle needed its own thread?
08-20-2004, 01:10 AM
Time for a little Feiginism:
He is no longer my prime minister (http://web.israelinsider.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=ViewsPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enDispWho=Article%5El3775&enVersion=0&enZone=Views)
By Moshe Feiglin June 23, 2004
In the final analysis, what is democracy if not the subservience of the government and the citizens to the same rules of the game? It is true that it is customary for leaders to bend the rules, and this is even acceptable up to a certain limit. But when a leader makes a fundamental change to the game, and has no intention of subjecting himself to the same rules that he demands from his nation, he is no longer playing in the democratic arena.
He is still a leader, but not one who can continue to enjoy the legitimacy of a democratic prime minister. He is forcing himself upon me by violence, and consequently I do not accept his leadership, but merely fear the enforcement agencies obeying his orders.
The Likud must rapidly dismiss Ariel Sharon, and replace him by a member of the party obligated to accept its decisions and institutions, and to honor Israeli democracy. This must be done inside the party institutions, and in the Knesset, in cooperation with all the nationalist and religious MKs. This is essential not merely to save the Likud that Sharon is trampling underfoot. It must be done in order to prevent the State of Israel from sliding into total chaos.
Sharon has already created a culture of totalitarian government that can only be changed by his dismissal. The debate no longer centers around security, territorial, or even ideological issues. We are actually talking about our ability to run this country on a basis of agreement and not of violence. When Arieh Golan (a member of Uri Avnery's Gush Shalom) declares on Kol Israel, without a trace of hesitation, that citizens who refuse to accept compensation will be evicted from their homes within a few months, and all because of such a gangster-type political hijacking, this means that we have been enslaved by a dangerous and violent gang.
This is the same type of government culture that was created here in order to hasten the country on the slippery path of death of Oslo. At that time Rabin passed a decision in the Knesset by bribing MKs Goldfarb and Segev. Sharon is now using a far simpler method - he fires ministers instead of bribing them.
What is the real difference between this approach and that of the Mafia, that forces owners of businesses to sell them to the don, according to the rules they make? The Mafia wants to create the impression of legitimacy. Why bother to pass a decision in the Likud Central Committee, in a referendum, in the government? So that Arieh Golan can make this horrifying broadcast.
I now realize that Sharon is no longer my prime minister. Everything now depends on the Likud. If the Likud members, the Central Committee members, and above all, the Likud MKs, won't get up and throw out this dangerous person, there will not longer be any meaning to this party. The Likud will cease to exist, and a terrible danger will threaten the very existence of the State of Israel.
08-20-2004, 01:13 AM
This might be a repost. From friend Alan Perlman:
Disengagement and democracy (http://web.israelinsider.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=ViewsPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enDispWho=Article%5El3641&enVersion=0&enZone=Views)
By Alan Perlman May 16, 2004
Despite the overwhelming rejection by Likud of his Gaza withdrawal plan, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears intent on implementing it. The public outcry against this seemingly undemocratic referendum was enormous: "How can a small number of Likud voters impose their will on the majority that supports the withdrawal from Gaza?" Politicos and pundits of every stripe have called for a national referendum to undo the damage to Israel's democracy.
But they are mistaken regarding both the Likud referendum and their proposed national referendum. The bottom line is that they have allowed their personal support for Sharon's withdrawal plan to cloud their understanding of what is, and what isn't, democratic.
Not only was the Likud referendum appropriate, it represented a victory for the democratic process in Israel. And here is why.
Americans cast individual ballots in congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections. Israelis, on the other hand, vote only once - for a party, not for an individual. To make an informed, meaningful decision, Israeli voters must consider the platform, list of candidates, promises, and previous history of the competing parties. This means that the Israeli political system can only be truly vibrant and democratic if an elected list remains true to the platform, ideology and history of its party. Otherwise, the entire democratic process is undermined.
As an imaginary example, suppose Tommy Lapid of Shinui becomes "newly religious" and decides to advance the platform of the religious parties. Though perhaps deliciously ironic, this would nonetheless be unfair to the Shinui voters who placed him in the Knesset, and an abuse of the democratic process. Lapid could, of course, present his new ideas to the Shinui membership and hope that they would go for it, but if they remained unmoved, good governance would require that he represent the voices of Shinui as they would expect, and only change parties and allegiances for the upcoming election.
For a real life example, recall that former Knesset members Gonen Segev and Alex Goldfarb abused the democratic process by abandoning the ideology and platform of their right wing party, Tzomet, and providing the votes needed to pass the Oslo agreement - all in return for ministerial positions and automotive perks offered them by Labor. Israel is still today paying the price of that abuse.
In the last elections, Israel had clear electoral choices. The Labor Party under Amram Mitzna advocated unilateral withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and Gaza with the exception of certain major settlement blocs. The Likud, including Ariel Sharon, opposed this platform. Though Sharon did talk about painful concessions in return for real peace, both he and Likud promised an unrelenting fight against terror, no concessions to terror, and absolutely no unilateral withdrawals.
When Sharon changed positions and adopted the Labor/Mitzna plan, good governance required that he go back to Likud for approval before abandoning their platform. After all, if party platforms can be trashed at will by elected officials, electoral choice, and with it the whole electoral process, is rendered meaningless. Thus, the Likud referendum was the correct thing to do.
This is not to say that there will never arise so momentous an opportunity that a democratically elected leader may be called upon to compromise his party's platform. Most Israelis agree, for example, that Menachem Begin faced such an opportunity when he signed the peace treaty with Egypt. Painful though it was for both his party and himself personally, Begin decided that peace with Egypt was worth the price of returning Sinai and uprooting the Yamit settlers. At such moments, Likud can and does make painful concessions - when the benefits justify the costs.
But the Sharon unilateral withdrawal plan bears no resemblance to the peace treaty with Egypt. First, it offers no promise of peace, and its actual projected benefits are nebulous at best. And second, there is no "seize the moment" element about it. Because the plan is unilateral, if not implemented now, it can be implemented later. (For example, before the next election, Sharon can offer Likud an ultimatum - either they incorporate his plan into the Likud platform or he will change parties.) There is no justification for haste.
It is unfortunate that good governance was not Sharon's motivation for the Likud referendum. In his mistaken certainty of victory, Sharon viewed the referendum as a bypass to cabinet opposition to his withdrawal plan. In the end, justice and the democratic process won the day as Likud held true to its platform.
Those favoring a national referendum are quick to point out that Sharon is no longer just the leader of Likud; he is the Prime Minister of the entire nation, and the whole country should not be dragged along against its will by Likud. Nevertheless, as appropriate as the Likud referendum was, a national referendum would be inappropriate. And here is why.
Parliamentary democracy does not (and should not) require the Prime Minister to follow the will of the majority. In fact, if the Prime Minister followed the will of the majority, he would resign, since the majority of seats (82 out of 120) went to parties other than Likud.
When the President of Israel asked Ariel Sharon to form a government, it was because Sharon's party won an incredible 38 seats (increased to 40 when Sharansky merged his party into Likud). Now when the leader of the winning party tries to negotiate a ruling coalition, good democracy actually demands that he remain as true to his party's platforms and ideals as possible, making tradeoffs only as needed to form the coalition. And once the government is formed, this same principle applies to ruling the country.
Granted, the Prime Minister should never endanger the country for the sake of his party (as might theoretically occur, for example, if a party leader made a deal with a terrorist organization in return for a sizable anti-Zionist block of votes, though I cannot imagine such a thing ever really occurring). But beyond this, the Prime Minister's job is to implements his party's platform to the extent that his parliamentary majority allows. If citizens and parties are unhappy with the government, they can work to collapse it and bring about new elections. This, not a national referendum, is the proper mechanism for making your voice heard.
Finally, having established that the Likud has a mandate to lead the country any way it sees fit as long as it maintains a coalition majority, it is nevertheless important to question the newly accepted common wisdom that a national majority supports unilateral withdrawal.
A Yediot Aharonot poll indicates that 62% of all Israelis support Sharon's disengagement plan. But does this really mean that the majority really favors withdrawal? Ignoring for the moment potential problems often inherent in polls (for example, the wording of the poll or the particular population sampled might lead to natural skewing), let's consider the actual efficacy and impact of some important poll results:
Though I do not have the figures, I recall that all polls drastically underestimated the margin of Ariel Sharon's victory over Ehud Barak.
In the previous election, polls gave Likud some 32 seats. The real figure was 38 seats - an error of over 18%. And the polls gave Labor some 23 seats. The real figure was 19 seats - an error of over 17%.
For the Likud referendum, polls showed a close race. The real margin was 20%.
If you adjust the 62% figure of Yediot Aharonot by these margins of error, you actually find that the country is fairly evenly split with a small majority opposing Sharon's plan.
For years, certainly since the days of Oslo, the media and the pollsters have consistently slanted opinion polls to the Left by a wide margin. Rather than gauging public opinion, they have manipulated and altered it to conform to their agenda.
It is high time for the Israeli public to reject the hijacking of the Israeli political process. In the last election, the electorate overwhelmingly rejected unilateral withdrawal. If public sentiment has indeed changed, let this be determined in the next election, not by questionable polls seek to promote a Leftist agenda.
A vibrant democracy requires adherence to principles of good governance, regardless of how you feel about a particular issue. As regards Sharon's withdrawal plan, good governance requires that the current government forego the plan. To do otherwise would constitute an abuse power and the people's trust, and this can only have detrimental effects. As I stated earlier, if elected officials can trash party platforms at will, electoral choice and the whole electoral process are rendered meaningless.
08-20-2004, 04:16 AM
No wonder Yoel Marcus is so rabid:
"I recognize you as first among equals, but you must remember that all of us - those on the stage and those in the audience - are all equal... One cannot request [the Likud members'] support while at the same time ignoring [them] the entire way. The entry of the Labor Party would be a historic mistake that will lead us more and more to the left until we bypass even [Yossi] Beilin. We need not revive the dying empty Labor Party, whose future is behind her, and we need not turn the Likud into hostages of the Labor Party, which will then decide when to topple the government and remove us from power. But worst of all is that we are disengaging from our own public - the land of Israel, the people of Israel, the tradition of Israel - this is the true Likud! We must stand for our right-wing voters - traditionalists, residents of the outlying neighborhoods and development towns. Who will vote for the Likud if we join up with Labor and implement their ideology?"
"I followed you for many years. I volunteered for a military high school because I wanted to be a hero like you. I defended you before the media when they called you a traitor and a murderer [in the early 1980's], I stood with signs supporting you when it wasn't popular, I was with you in Judea and Samaria in fighting terrorism and in establishing the settlement enterprise. To stand against you now is a crisis for me. But - what happened to you? Did the left-wing press scare you off? Certainly it's enjoyable to be warmly embraced - but by whom?! By [extreme left-wing] Yoel Marcus of Haaretz?!"
- Likud Deputy Minister Michael Ratzon, addressing PM Sharon from the podium, Likud Central Commitee meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2004
08-22-2004, 01:02 AM
Yoel Marcus was right! There are indeed Stalinists in the Likud.
I won't be surprised if Uri Dan, Sharon's buddy-buddy, whips up another op-ed in the JPost soon, telling us all to pay no attention to the man behidn the curtain.
Sharon team stuffed ballot box at Likud Party Conference (http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=21885)
Aaron Lerner Date: 20 August 2004
Itamar Mor writes in the 20 August edition of Makor Rishon that "K", who was
involved in the operation of one of the ballot boxes at the 18 August Likud
Party Conference reports that the ballot box was stuffed.
Voters were assigned to the ballot boxes according to their last name and
envelopes for the ballots were prepared in advance for each box.
"K" was involved with the ballot box for voters whose family name started
with the letter "shin".
A total of 110 envelopes were counted out for use by voters whose family
name started with the letter "shin".
19 envelopes remained unused when the voting was closed but when the ballot
box was opened for counting 111 envelopes were found in the box - an extra
In this box the vote on Landau's proposal that Labor not join the coalition
was 51 for and 52 against (the overall vote was 843 for Landau's proposal
vs. 612 against).
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
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