If you believe the press reports about the government being formed in Israel Binyamin Netanyahu is the second coming of Ghengis Kahn, Avigdor Lieberman is a former sheet-wearing Grand Wizard of the KKK, and Ehud Barak is a former Code Pink Peacenick who sold out peace for some governmental power. These kind of report are more of an indication of a media too lazy or incompetent to do its job than the truth.
All three Bibi, Barak and Lieberman are more pragmatists than ideologues. They all believe in the two state solution. They are pretty close on how to negotiate with the Palestinians. The most pressing security issue in Israel is Iran. Here too, there is little difference.
As Ari Shavit pointed out in Ha’aretz:
Netanyahu and Barak have many flaws. Netanyahu is fickle and Barak is tricky. Netanyahu is arrogant and Barak is condescending. They both lack emotional intelligence and have dull political senses.
However, the real Netanyahu and Barak have nothing in common with the two detested scarecrows who were thrown into the fire this week.
Despite all their shortcomings, the two leaders who saw reality clearly in the 1990s see things as they are today as well. If they manage to mend their past mistakes and work together, they have a good chance of surprising.
Netanyahu and Barak’s immediate mission is Iran. The designated prime minister and defense minister do not have much time. Within a few months they must do what hasn’t been done for years – recruit the international community to impose an economic-diplomatic siege on Tehran’s ayatollahs.
…But if it happens that the United States is not ready to take the chestnuts out of the fire, Netanyahu and Barak will have to prepare Israel for harsh scenarios. Nobody in Israel’s leadership is more suited or capable than these two.
…The 2009 election results were a nightmare. They gave the right a solid majority, but prevented the right wing’s leader from ruling. Netanyahu navigated these horrors well.
He managed to extract himself from the trap of a narrow, dark, hopeless government. Barak’s decision to join Netanyahu is fairly problematic, but ultimately under these circumstances, Barak has acted wisely and courageously.
As for Kadima, Tzipi Livni’s resistance to joining a unity government at such a crucial time in her country’s history is a clear indication that she is not ready to lead the country.
While the media is busy painting false pictures of Israel’s new leaders as villians they are ignoring the war-mongering coming out of the Arab States. James Kirchick points that out in today’s NY Daily News:
In this analysis, it is the incoming conservative government of Israel which poses a threat to regional stability, not Palestinian rejectionism or the machinations of Iran and Syria and their proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. The height of this thinking was apparent at Tuesday night’s White House press conference, when Agence France-Presse reporter Stefan Collison asked President Obama, “How realistic do you think those hopes [for Middle East
When was the last time a journalist asked the leader of a democratic country whether Muslim states’ not being “fully signed up” to the existence of Israel and having ministers in its employ who “insult” Jews threatened Middle East peace? peace] are now, given the likelihood of a prime minister who is not fully signed up to a two-state solution and a foreign minister who has been accused of insulting Arabs?”
Examples of such anti-Jewish hatred abound. Mustafa Tlass, who served as Syria’s defense minister for many years, once published a book alleging that Jews use the blood of Gentile children to make their unleavened bread. The Iranian government promotes Holocaust denial. Turn on state-sponsored television throughout the Muslim world and you’re bound to see the most outrageous slanders about Jews, plenty of them aimed at impressionable children.
It’s worth pointing out here that the people decrying the new Israeli government are the same ones who constantly call for the United States and Israel to “engage” with every rogue state and terrorist outfit in the region. If the Syrian Ba’ath Party, Hamas’ Islamists and the mullahs of Tehran are all worthy of our engagement, surely we can deal with the likes of Netanyahu and Lieberman….But whatever his faults, Lieberman is hardly as extreme as the people with whom Israel must one day make peace. He does not advocate the destruction of Iran, as its leaders do of Israel.
He does not seek the wanton slaughter of Palestinians, as Hamas does of Jews. He supports the creation of a Palestinian state. If Lieberman’s policies inspire epithets of “Jewish Hitler” and “neo-fascist,” as many in the West call him, why is the expressly genocidal rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so easily dismissed as nothing more than political posturing?
Media coverage of Foreign Politics, just like domestic politics, is not just biased—its just plain stupid!