Watching (from afar, I haste to add) the primary elections in Likud, I haven't been able to get rid of a rising sense of unease. The fact is that Bibi, sensing the general shift to the right in the general population, discouraged by total lack of progress since the Oslo agreements and, even more significantly, since the Gaza pullout, is exploiting the popular (populist?) sentiment. Starting at the merger with Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu, rather far more extreme and populist than was the accepted norm in Likud, populist as it was at the best of times, and finishing (willingly or not) with the disastrous primaries. Rumors of Bibi's own deep displeasure with the results are hardly of any consolation to a watcher.
And my own sense of unease is not unique, witness the ToI article The politics of petulance by David Horovitz, whom no one of any sense would accuse of a leftist trend. With his typical elan and precision, David laments the downfall in the primaries of a group, best represented by Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan. No doves, all three, but principled, realistic, clever and personally as far away from political dirt, financial corruption and other accoutrements of political power as possible.
And who are the up and coming new stars? Says David:
They elevated Danny Danon, a man so blind to the critical nature of Israel’s relationship to the United States as to publicly and repeatedly spit in the face of the current US administration. They raised up Miri Regev, she of the iniquitous reference to Sudanese migrants as “a cancer in our midst.”Personally I would add Tzipi Hotovely to the list, to balance the comparison - she fully matches the pair chosen by David. Who adds, totally true in my opinion:
Nobody who looks closely at Israel’s geostrategic situation can much blame the Israeli public for swinging to the right. But that does not alleviate the dismay at the sight of the Israeli party of government choosing a Knesset slate overloaded with empty populists, and ditching credible, experienced politicians who recognize the sensitivities and discretions required for effective rule.Yeah... sensitivity and discretion of Danny Danon and Miri Regev - but this is not a ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing) situation, far from it. After all, we are discussing the makeup of our ruling political party which, one can bet, will gain power after the coming election.
And what David Horovitz, being an editor of a serious media outfit, cannot allow himself to say openly in his article, I can add here. The common trait unifying the pair of the rising stars mentioned by him (and, in her own way, shared by Ms Hotovely, whose rather higher IQ is fully compensated by her blabbermouth qualities and incendiary politics), is outstanding stupidity. Added to the empty populism, noted by David, it leads to incessant rabble-rousing and political provocations of the worst kind.
An thus we are going for elections, very much preordained by the current mood of the Israeli population and the existing political map. And November 2012 is already behind us, but let's listen to one more voice (not of a rabid lefty, I can assure you):
Remember November 2012. Remember the month in which Bibi and Lieberman gave Hamas the seal of approval and essentially affixed the state of Hamastan in Gaza. It was a month in which we marked another amazing international achievement and bowed our heads before the world's recognition of the state of Palestine in the West Bank; a month in which a politician who claims the Palestinians are merely Arab-speaking parasites becomes part of the mainstream in the ruling party's top echelon...And this is the way it rolls...