Bibi Unskewed

From city to city, from town to town, right-wing ideologues are the same the world ’round:

Throughout the election campaign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fed erroneous, unreliable, unprofessional survey results. This is the clear conclusion emerging from Tuesday’s election results.

This sounds familiar:

[…] The youngsters fled from the ruling party. Hardly any young people were seen in conferences Netanyahu held. A minister’s son, a soldier, told his father there wasn’t a single Likud voter in his platoon. Everyone, with no exception, was voting for Bennett or Lapid.

“Something very profound has happened,” a central Likud figure said. “It was an anti-Bibi vote in the sharpest sense. But beyond that the Israeli mainstream was saying it has had enough of us. That’s Netanyahu. He always kicks the mainstream. Fourteen months ago he was in the ideal position for elections, after bringing Gilad Shalit back. Last summer he again had a golden opportunity to win the working, tax-paying Israeli’s heart, when he added Kadima to the government. If he had gotten rid of the ultra-Orthodox and enacted the draft law, there would be no Yair Lapid today and Bibi would be king … but instead he frightened himself and ran into Shas and United Torah Judaism’s arms.”

Yair Lapid is the head of a new centrist party (Yesh Atid) which is now the second-largest party in the Knesset. I don’t know enough about Israeli politics to know if this analysis is right, but it certainly brings the lulz to think that the guy who pimped Romney was done in by skewed polls and alienation of the youth stemming from a lurch to the right.

(That link is to a Google News search for a piece by Haaretz (via TPM), which is behind the Iron Dome of newspaper paywalls, but you can read it if you click from Google.)

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53 replies
  1. 1
    Aimai says:

    Conclusion: there is a god, but apparently he’s not all powerful.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Linda Featheringill says:

    What the heck? Netanyahu has been around long enough to know that a politician needs accurate information internally, no matter what he says publicly. If he was surprised because he listened to the wrong people, it’s his own fault.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Conservatives, world-wide, are Fascists at heart.

    No news there.

    Except maybe to Jonah.
    But, why listen, when you get paid not to listen, but to lie when you opine?

    So, the question remains – “Is our Conservative punTWITS capable of learning?”
    Uhm…
    SATSQ:
    NO! ! !

  5. 5
    jdrs0819 says:

    Like I said before, not sure how Lapid is any different than Netanyahu when it comes to Palestine. And holy shit lol, Bennett is even worse than Netanyahu.

    If they voted for Hadash, Meretz, or Balad…then maybe we’d be getting somewhere. It sounds like the “platoon voters” didn’t vote for Netanyahu because he didn’t send them into combat to go kill some Palestinians. After all, there was that picture floating around of soldiers calling him a loser because of it.

  6. 6
    debbie says:

    I think Netanyahu lost a lot of credibility when Israelis saw him at the UN with his cartoon bomb prop. Their lives aren’t cartoons to them. This was Bush I and scanners all over again.

    What is it with the conservative brain?

  7. 7
    NonyNony says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    If he was surprised because he listened to the wrong people, it’s his own fault.

    I believe that this is the epitaph on the headstone of every bad ruler ever.

    One of the benefits of modern democracy is that when that “surprise” comes to you, generally is comes with a fat pension and an early retirement instead of a pike on the castle walls.

  8. 8
    Joey Maloney says:

    @jdrs0819: Lapid really has no program, beyond “vote for me, I’m not that guy over there”. He was a fecking newsreader, for FSM sake. Image an America where Katie Couric parlayed the Palin interview into a political party that got 20% of the popular vote. How nuanced do you think her party platform would have been?

    The only suspense now is whether Lapid has enough sense to realize he’s punching way, way, way over his weight. As someone was quoted, Bibi has forgotten more about political horsetrading than Lapid will ever know.

  9. 9
    Comrade Mary says:

    @jdrs0819: Oh, yeah, it’s Bennett who says the two state solution is dead and that the West Bank should simply be annexed by Israel. For some reason, I had thought this was Lapid’s stance.

    Lapid is centrist, I guess:

    The election results were widely seen as a rebuke to the status quo, but not necessarily a call for change in approach to contentious questions like what to do about the Palestinians. While Mr. Lapid has called for a return to negotiations, he shares Mr. Netanyahu’s skepticism about the lack of a partner, saying this week, “I don’t think the Arabs want peace.” He opposes division of Jerusalem and made his foreign policy speech in Ariel, a sprawling Jewish settlement 12 miles into the West Bank that the Palestinians see as problematic for the viability of their state.

    “The majority of Israelis came to the conclusion that there will be no new Middle East,” Mr. Lapid said over cappuccino here last month. “What we want is not a happy marriage, but a decent divorce.”

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Aimai: You’re not gonna shave your head are ya?

  11. 11

    […] Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Bibi Unskewed. […]

  12. 12
    Robin G. says:

    @Anya: Best. Picture. Ever.

    The psychology of conservatives is fascinating. They can’t be losing; that is just not possible! Obviously the polls are wrong! Is there a name for this? I am seriously asking.

  13. 13
    Todd says:

    It occurs to me that the Israelis have one of two bad choices – annexation while granting political rights, or division and constant conflict resulting from the ongoing apartheid.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Robin G.: It ain’t just a river in Egypt honey.

  15. 15
    GregB says:

    So if the bulk of Israeli’s see that they are surrounded by hostile neighbors now, how hostile do they think their neighbors will become once they annex what is left of Palestine?

  16. 16
    handsmile says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Several questions (as I seem to recall you are this blog’s “correspondent” in Israel):

    Do you believe that Yair Lapid is likely to accept a post in Netanyahu’s government? It is reported this morning that he has been offered a cabinet post in Foreign Affairs or Treasury. (Related to this, has Lieberman resigned as foreign minister or awaiting trial, has he merely suspended his post?)

    Is Yesh Atid largely/merely a vanity project of Lapid or does the party hold national or regional clout? I believe the party was founded by Lapid only recently.

    Lapid has been described by a breathless American media as “Israel’s man of the future,” “kingmaker,” “Israel’s new power broker.” I have no confidence whatsoever in these descriptions, but is he as feckless as you describe in your #8 comment above?

    Has Netanyahu really been weakened by this week’s vote, regardless of the surprising support for YA? In the Knesset, right-wing (Likud) or far-right and Orthodox (Jewish Home, Shas) parties remain the dominant force.

    Answers to any of the above would be appreciated if you have the time/interest.

  17. 17
    David in NY says:

    Bennett is really scary.

  18. 18
    deep says:

    I’m not so sure this is good news. Bennett is about as racist as they come. (Of course anyone who calls an Israeli right-winger racist is automatically labeled as anti-semitic.)

  19. 19
    raven says:

    @Yutsano: Any news from the presentation?

  20. 20
    Valdivia says:

    our friend Emily Hauser had a really good summary of basics about the election. Can’t link now as I am about to run out but worth a read.

  21. 21
    quannlace says:

    They should have hired Nate Silver. Maybe next time.
    ******

    What the heck? Netanyahu has been around long enough to know that a politician needs accurate information internally,

    Well hey, this is a guy who brought a huge Wile E. Coyote cartoon bomb to the U.N. to make his point.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    Israel badly needs a Kenyan Muslim Socialist.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @raven: So now that Saxby is not going to run, who do you think will be the next Senator from the great state of GA….
    I’m thinking Price.. hahahahahahahhhahahahahahhahaha

  24. 24
    ericblair says:

    @debbie:

    What is it with the conservative brain?

    I think, specifically, what is it with the neocons? There really is an international neocon movement, consisting at least of our goopers, Bibi, and the current Polish government, at minimum. We’re stuck with a truly insane fixation on Israeli interests; Bibi’s ignoring domestic issues to push the neocon agenda; and Poland seems to be pushing a rightwing economic agenda and political relationship with the US that goes well against their historical interests. It’s COMINTERN for the rightwing whackos.

    One common characteristic of the neocons is the Great Man fallacy. Who cares what the little people think; it’s what the handful of powerful people think that’s of any consequence. So polls are only good if the powerful people think they’re good.

  25. 25
    Pococurante says:

    @Todd:

    It occurs to me that the Israelis have one of two bad choices

    Those are their choices. The elections since the collapse of Oslo make it clear the Israeli public in the majority no longer believes coexistence is possible.

    That they reject the extreme right and the ultra orthodox just means they are a moderate society.

  26. 26
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

  27. 27
    sharl says:

    @debbie: I LOVED that graphic! I kept looking for Boris and Natasha in the background. I’m sure they were present there, in spirit if nothing else.

    MOAR CARTOONZ PLEEZE, BIBI!

  28. 28
    liberal says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Oh, yeah, it’s Bennett who says the two state solution is dead and that the West Bank should simply be annexed by Israel.

    I would assume he actually wants to annex most of it but leave out the biggest population centers.

    Annexing all of it, and making all the Palestinians citizens, would be a true one-state solution, and would be an improvement over the status quo. But I doubt that’s the plan.

  29. 29
    liberal says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    “What we want is not a happy marriage, but a decent
    divorce.”

    Yeah…a divorce where “we” get most of the assets.

  30. 30
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    The elections since the collapse of Oslo make it clear the Israeli public in the majority no longer believes coexistence is possible.

    @Pococurante: This is what makes the continued American insistence on “the peace process” so infuriating. There isn’t one. Both actors in this war gave up on the idea a long time ago. We need to realize this and stop participating in a farce that’s mainly designed to keep the American public placated about sending money to a government which is actively working towards the genocide of a captive population.

  31. 31
    Suffern ACE says:

    I understand that one of the issues is that the ultra orthodox men are exempt from military service and since they aren’t pacificists I can see how that would be an issue for a lot of Israelis. But is that the only issue that non-ultra orthodox have with this?

  32. 32
    emma says:

    Correcctioj@Aimai: Correction. There is a god… and he likes the Kenyan soshulist better.

  33. 33
    Bulworth says:

    This is a very disappointing wingnut response. In Republicanland every win is a “Landslide”, carrying a massive “Mandate”.

  34. 34
    humanoid.panda says:

    @handsmile:
    Being a (part time) Israeli, here is how I would answer your questions.
    1)Yes. Lapid will take a post in the government for sure. He said as much immediately after the election, when he declared he won’t create a bloc with the Left and the Arab parties to block Bibi from creating a government. The bigger question is whether he will do what his voters do and block the ultra orhodox from joining the government, or serve as fig leaf for a Likud-Bennet-ultra-orthodox party. Most likely, he will serve as the foreign minister in a Bibi-Lapid-Bennett (and maybe Livni) government, which will focus on reforming religious laws, imposing austerity (all three are strong neo-liberals) and avoiding negotiations with the Palestinians.
    2) Yes and No. Yesh Atid is a party formed and by Lapid, and in fact its platform stipulates he has the right to determine it’s electoral slate by himself for the next 8 years. However, it’s the latest of a series of centrist parties who serve the same electorate (anti-clerical, educated, middle and upper middle class ashkenazi Israelis, who dislike the orthodox, have little love for the settlers, but don’t particularly care about the occupation). These parties tend to fall apart soon after they form, mostly since the MKs they elect usually have zero political experience and lack any trace of internal cohesion (Yesh Atid features, for example, both settlers and rather radical leftists).
    3. Lapid is a weird combo of Jay Leno, Tom Friedman, and Ryan Seacrest: former talk show host, an extremely vapid columnist, and a sex symbol for people who don’t know any better. I fully expect Bibi to eat him for breakfast.
    4. Yes, Bibi was weakened. Basically, his own party is divided between extreme right wingers who heartily dislike him and politicos who are angry at him for diminishing their power. The arithmetic of the election leads him to break center-left, while his party, and its natural allies (settlers and ultra orthodox) are pulling him to the right. I expect he will be forced to call new elections in a year or two. The upside of this is of course is that he made it very clear he will focus on domestic issues next- so an attack on Iran is very unlikely in the medium term.

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    “The majority of Israelis came to the conclusion that there will be no new Middle East,” Mr. Lapid said over cappuccino here last month. “What we want is not a happy marriage, but a decent divorce.”

    “Let’s keep this simple, dear. I’ll keep the house, the kids and the savings accounts. But you’ll be free to get on with your life!”

  36. 36
    redshirt says:

    I assume there is now global consumption of right wing American media, and/or local examples of it. I also assume right wing American think tanks and political outfits are actively involved with groups in Israel and other countries.

    Witness the efforts of American religious groups in Africa to get homosexuality banned or stoned or whatever.

    We’re exporting our hate/crazy.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    handsmile says:

    @Valdivia:

    Thanks for that recommendation of the Emily Hauser post. No surprise whatsoever that you would direct me to something substantive (e.g, hers was the first account I’d read to mention that the votes of the Israeli military, traditionally skewing right and increasingly religious, had yet to be tabulated). I don’t recall reading Hauser before; generally, does she merit your seal-of-approval?

    @humanoid.panda:

    Deeply grateful for your detailed, informative reply (and for taking the time to write it). Your final sentence on Iran was very heartening, to be sure.

  39. 39
    dmbeaster says:

    @Comrade Mary: Re Lapid’s remark “I don’t think the Arabs want peace.”

    Do the Israelis? The classic joke is yeah, a piece of this, and a piece of that. But seriously, does anyone over there in power think for a minute that maybe, just maybe, Israelis are doing things that undermine peace? That Egyptian river seems to run deep throughout the country.

  40. 40
    Suffern ACE says:

    @redshirt: Read the Conservatives who are part of the Indian and Pakistani English language press. That press is supposed to be liberal-cosmopolitan and they get accused by those conservatives of being elitists, out of touch, “liberal fascists” and the complaints about creeping political correctness come straight out of our memebook. Heck, I once read an education editorial in Delhi that could have been written by the Heritage foundation, complaining about those lazy teachers and their infernal unions.

    It’s also not a coincidence that public/private partnerships take off in the anglo speaking world. They’ll be chartering schools and privatizing roads and hospitals. The capitalists went global long ago.

  41. 41
    humanoid.panda says:

    @redshirt: That is spot on in the Israeli case. Nearly all Bibi’s closest advisors are American born neocons. In fact, his allies created several American style think tanks in order to inject this form of thinking into the Israeli political arena.

  42. 42
    humanoid.panda says:

    @redshirt: That is spot on in the Israeli case. Nearly all of Bibi’s closest advisers are American born neocons. In fact, his allies created several American style think tanks in order to inject this form of thinking into the Israeli political arena.

  43. 43
    dantoujours says:

    @liberal:

    …which makes it almost entirely like the Bantustans (Ciskei, Transkei, Boputhatswana and Venda) South Africa had in the 1970-1980s, except that South Africa attempted to maintain the fiction that they were real countries, seeking international recognition of them.

  44. 44
    shortstop says:

    I can’t read it no matter where I click from. :(

  45. 45
    liberal says:

    @dmbeaster:
    Of course they want peace, on their terms.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    kindness says:

    That was a good article. You don’t get foreign local depth in the US news media. Haaretz is pretty liberal too so I usually agree with them on stuff.

    If only our leaders won’t so beholden to the eternal campaign. That really is one of the problems. Their image people have their ear 24/7, all the time. Publicists suck at running the show. ie-see bush43, the Romney campaign, the McCain campaign and on and on.

  48. 48
    Sly says:

    @liberal:

    I would assume he actually wants to annex most of it but leave out the biggest population centers.

    It’s unadulterated apartheid; Bennett’s proposal calls for the full annexation of Area C of the Oslo Accords, and would put Area A and Area B under military control of the IDF and Shin Bet with some limited Palestinian civil governance. The ultra-nationalists are basically seeking to impose the South African “Bantustan” model on the Palestinians, and have wanted this ever since killing them all became impractical.

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    IMO, the conservative roots of fascism and the extent of conservatives’ role in bringing it to power and helping it keep a grip on is one of if not the greatest job of whitewashing history in the 20th century.

  50. 50
    Valdivia says:

    @Steeplejack:
    thanks for linking, I have been running around all day and then doing battle trying to defrost a freezer that required a hair dryer (next thing the fridge will explode, I just know it)
    :D

    @handsmile:
    I totally endorse Emily! She used to comment here (maybe she even lurks still?) aside from her own blog she writes for the Beinart Open Zion blog at Daily Beast.

    Hope you’re not too frozen in nyc. These temperatures are arctic!

  51. 51
    Mike G says:

    From America, to Israel, to Russia and around the world, right-wingers elevate Stupid to a virtue.

  52. 52
    liberal says:

    @Sly:
    I think the plan of “slow go ethnic cleansing”, seizing land and pushing them out, has been the plan for decades, probably ever since 1967 or even before.

  53. 53
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @JPL: Max Cleland?

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