Header Leaderboard

September 21, 2008: Narrative

September 21, 2008

In the Torah reading for this past Shabbat — Ki Tavo — Moses speaks to the children of Israel shortly before they cross the Jordan River “into the Land that G-d is giving you…” The people are instructed to make an alter and to bring offerings of thanksgiving and to “be glad” (samachta) before G-d.

How powerful is this message in its many parts, and — sadly — how much of this has been lost: The ability of (some) Jews to know that this is our Land, and to rejoice in this. To embrace our heritage and value it.

I write a good deal about narratives. Here we have a small but extremely significant piece of the Jewish narrative. Those of us who understand this narrative — whether Jewish or Christian (and some Christians understand better than some Jews) — have a solemn responsibility to keep telling it, so that it not be lost. For this would be a tragedy of immeasurable dimensions.


Mahmoud Abbas, president of the PA, wrote an op-ed the other day in the Wall Street Journal. As he often does, he inverted the truth of our narrative. And he did it in tones so reasonable that without a doubt many a Jew (as well as many non-Jews) read what he wrote and embraced it as positive — not even understanding that he was stealing from and destroying our narrative. That he spoke lies and distortions, and not truth.

This cannot go unanswered. Hopefully I will have the opportunity for a more extensive response elsewhere. Here I will address a couple of major points:

1) He speaks about an agreement based on the 1967 “borders.” But these were armistice lines, not borders. Not sacrosanct and not anything we are obligated to return to.

2) He says — with breath-taking chutzpah — that the Palestinians already made a sacrifice by agreeing to a two-state solution, which meant that the Palestinian state was to be established on only 22% of their “historic homeland.”

No, no and no!

The Mandate for Palestine promised the land of Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean to the Jews as a homeland; this is an article of international law since 1922. It is our governments of the past 15 years that have made a sacrifice (ill-advised, in my opinion) in offering to share this.

There is more, but this will suffice here. My friends, stay vigilant and do not be fooled by misleading words, please.


Olmert informed the cabinet this morning that he would be officially submitting his resignation to President Peres this evening. This should be taking place as I write.

Once Olmert submits his resignation, his government becomes transitional, staying in power only until a new government can be established.

Officially, Peres must now select the faction head to be given the opportunity to establish a coalition. This is a formality, as it is clearly understood that this will be Livni. Peres is expected to meet with her later this evening.


But it looks as if Tzipi Livni, as new head of the Kadima party, is on shaky ground with regard to being able to establish a solid coalition. The departure of Mofaz, and the anger of his supporters, is a step towards the disintegration of Kadima, which means she is not negotiating from strength.

Mofaz has refused to join Kadima meetings meant to strengthen party cohesion. His absence leaves a considerable hole in the party.

It hasn’t helped that key Mofaz supporter MK Ronit Tirosh went on Israel Radio last night with the claim that the primary was riddled with irregularities. While MK Ze’ev Elkins, of Kadima, has said he will petition the Kadima court for a recount because of those irregularities.


Seems, in addition, that Livni is not handling the current coalition partners well. Her message: We were supposed to get rid of Olmert, and this we’ve done, so there’s no need to make any other changes — stay where you are and we’ll keep going. But her coalition partners are not so sure. Shas is still holding out, at least as of this writing. (Actually, many of the statements by Eli Yishai, head of the Shas faction, are so convoluted they are making no sense.)

And Labor is cool. Last night Barak met with Netanyahu. Though there is nothing official at this point, the rumor is that they were talking of a national emergency government — one that excludes Kadima. Speaking to the Labor faction today, Barak said: 

“In light of the political, security and economic challenges, the correct move for the people of Israel is [the formation of] a very broad national emergency government. What interests me is what is good for Israel.” 

While it’s hard not to choke on the suggestion that Barak works for the good of Israel, if it turns out that he has decided that what’s good for his party and for himself is to separate from a Kadima-led government, this is a step in the right direction. Aides are suggesting that he may prefer that national emergency government to continuing in a Kadima government.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, of Labor, predicts that first there will be elections and then the national emergency government.

“The coalition talks are nothing but a game, since everyone knows elections are near,” he told Israel Radio.


And Livni? She is saying that if a stable coalition cannot be established soon, she’ll go to elections. She’s not afraid of this, however, because she is confident that Kadima will win. Talk about bluster!

Her first concern, she insists, is the good of the nation.

All I can say is that if the people making these declarations really cared about the good of the nation yea these past few years we wouldn’t be in the place we are now.


And what’s good for the nation?

Elections, for certain. Not a Livni-run government. And a solid coalition that at least tilts right. We are facing difficult times and there must be a government with the strength to act decisively in the name of the people — decisively both in terms of having the courage to act in our defense and to refuse to be cowed into making dangerous concessions.

We need a government led by people who will not defy the will of the nation, as Olmert and Livni have, and move unilaterally on existential issues when there is no national consensus. As Minister Eli Yeshai has just said: 

“There is not one person…who has the moral, political or practical authority to push issues that are subject to disagreement.” 

Without doubt, he is referring primarily to willingness to negotiate the division of Jerusalem, although the majority of Israelis are against this.


A Palestinian Authority security official, reports YNet, has registered concern that Hamas is planning a series of attacks to weaken the Authority at the time that Abbas’s term as president comes to an end. Reportedly, these planned operations are being headed by Ahmed Jabri, who is understood to be deputy chief of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing.

What is the way to weaken Hamas? Says the official: 

…”the way…is to speed up the peace talks and dismantle Israeli outposts and even settlements in the West Bank, as well as remove IDF roadblocks, grant entry permits to Palestinian workers and cease the IDF’s operations in the West Bank.” 

I am not making this up. I couldn’t.

The unnamed PA official is mum on how speeding up the peace talks will weaken Hamas, when the Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida has declared that the PA’s increased cooperation with Israel was one of the factors that has “pushed the moment of punishment forward.”

I hasten to point out, as well, that the PA does not do the sort of military operations against terrorists that the IDF does. They have neither the will nor the capacity. They take out common thugs and shut down Hamas charities.


It’s shameful on several counts and I cannot let this posting pass without mention of this, although, surely, many readers are already familiar with the situation:

Ahmadinejad is coming to New York to address the UN General Assembly. In protest, the Conference of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations — a major umbrella organization for establishment American Jewish organizations, headed by Malcolm Hoenlein — organized a rally.

Among the speakers they invited were Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. The intent, clearly, was a unified, non-partisan protest. There are times when politics are not appropriate: McCain and Obama, for example, came together at Ground Zero for 9/11.

But Hillary Clinton, acting with consummate foolishness, politicized the situation. When she learned that Palin was also invited, and had decided to come, she withdrew her agreement to participate, expressing concern that this was becoming a “partisan political event.”

So far, her mistake and nothing more. As JINSA pointed out, her participation would have insured that the event wasn’t partisan, and she blew it.


Pressure was then brought to bear upon the Conference of Presidents to withdraw the invitation to Palin. This was reportedly done so that there should be no impression of partisanship, but what actually happened is that an opportunity to show the world that everyone in the US stood against the intentions of Iran had been lost and the major issue was obscured by trivializing politics. And the Conference conceded.

JINSA reported that the pressure came from the National Jewish Democratic Council. I have since picked up information that JStreet, the leftist political group, is taking credit on its website for having accomplished this. It should be noted that there are links between the two groups.

What is most disgraceful here is not the pressure brought to bear by Jewish leftist groups, but the fact that a mainstream Jewish group caved.

I am aware of two organizations — JINSA and CAMERA — that have publicly protested the Conference’s decision and the fact that they, as members of the Conference, were not consulted before that decision was made. There may well be others similarly incensed.


Head of Military Intelligence, Brigadier-General Yossi Baidatz, today briefed the Cabinet. Among the matters he addressed was Iran: 

“Iran is focusing its efforts in enriching uranium and improving the operational capabilities of its centrifuges. It is mastering the necessary technology and now has one-third of what it needs to create a bomb. 

“In view of the UN Security Council’s inability to enforce a fourth round of sanctions, Iran’s confidence is increasing and they now believe there is nothing the international community can do to stop them. Time is on Iran’s side.” 

Baidatz additionally said that Teheran is strengthening its relations with Hezbollah, Syria and various Palestinian terror groups in an attempt to position itself as the lead radical force in the Middle East, while “The more moderate Arab states are not united in the wish to act against Iran.”

Put simply, he said the international community is not doing enough to stop Iran.

G-d help us, that there are fools worried about partisan politics when this happening. If ever there were people fiddling while the world threatened to burn.


Please, if you American, take a look at this from Jeff Jacoby, on a drilling bill that bans drilling. 

“According to the Interior Department, the offshore areas where drilling is restricted contain more than 19 billion barrels — that’s equal to 30 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia. The bill would deny Americans access to as much as nine-tenths of that oil.” 

But if America were to avail itself of oil reserves it would literally shift the dynamics of the Middle East and loosen the stranglehold of the oil-producing nations.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *