2005 November 21 Monday
Ariel Sharon Pulls Out Of Likud
Israeli politics just took a very interesting turn.
Faced with the choice between running again as head of Likud and likely winning but getting nowhere with his agenda because of internal opposition, or risking everything on a new party with the chance to achieve his goals, Sharon opted for the latter course.
"That's an interesting choice. It means the substance is more important to him than the politics," said Yair Hirschfeld, an initiator of the first back-channel, Israeli-Palestinian contacts in the 1980s that eventually led to the interim peace agreement known as the Oslo Accords.
Sharon is driven to create defensible borders for Israel.
And the substance of what Sharon wants to achieve, Hirschfeld said, is nothing less than the ultimate definition of Israel's future borders, either through negotiations with the Palestinians or through unilateral moves.
Sharon is looking more moves down the chessboard than his opponents. While some hardliner settlements supporters think that they have a God given (or "G-d given" in their parlance) right and duty to make settlements. Sharon is a lot less sentimental or a lot less mystical. Sharon sees the basic problem: Israel needs demographically defendable borders. The wombs of Palestinian women are a demographic time bomb ticking in the heart of Israel. The only solution is to put more Arabs on the other side of walls. If only American leaders could have Sharon's guts and insight.
Sharon has formed a new party of the political center and hopes to use his popularity to retain power in an election which will come by March 2006.
Now 77, Sharon spent years as a military tactician. On Monday he proved again that as he has gotten older, he has also gotten bolder.
Never one to play defense, the man nicknamed "the bulldozer" charged ahead with a beaming smile, sweeping aside the traditional rules of the game by founding a new, centrist "National Responsibility" party that will test the sentiments of the Israeli electorate in snap elections that will take place no later than mid-March.
Sharon's new party is expected to be made up of about a dozen breakaway members of Likud, including prominent Finance Minister Ehud Olmert. But the new party's aim is to attract members from the left and center as well, including possibly former Labor Party leader and prominent statesman Shimon Peres.
Some Likudniks want to reverse the settlements pull-outs. But Israel really needs to go even further and put even more Arab Muslims on the other side of walls separating the Jews from the Muslims. The Israelis have already also so betrayed the Arab Christians that they probably need to separate themselves from the Christians as well.
The Jews have not "betrayed" the Christians, any more than Hitler "betrayed" the Jews or America "betrayed" the Indians.
The implication of "betrayal" is that some duty of care is owed and has been found wanting. "Treason" comes from the same root.
A Jew is not "treasonous" toward Christians, ever. A Jew can only treasonous and thus a betrayer of fellow Jews, not Christians.
There is no duty on the part of Israel, the Jewish national homeland, toward Christians.
Okay, then let me restate it: The Israelis shafted the Christian Arabs. They turned the Christian Arabs from resenters of their Muslim masters into far greater resenters of the Jews who took their land, houses, and other stuff.
The Israelis could have favored the Christians and split the Christians away from the Muslims. Instead they drove the Christians into trying to leave if they could or otherwise hang around full of resentment of their new boss who is far worse than their old boss.
This doesn't get reported much. But if you know Christian missionaries and other Christians who've spent time meeting with West Bank Christians you can hear some pretty terrible stuff. Churches taken, houses, taken, farms taken, etc, etc.
There is no duty on the part of Israel, the Jewish national homeland, toward Christians.
So you don't think one group has a duty to treat other groups humanly and with equal dignity and respect?
You sound like a real nice guy, Bill.
Did the Christian Arabs have their assets taken without market compensation? If so, why is this considered acceptable?
At one point, Steve Sailor described how the Israelis could "buy-out" the palestinians about 1-2 years ago. I never understood why they have never done anything like that.
I also have never understood why the Israelis insisted on have a socialistic or semi-socialistic economy as well. Israel has a population of 4 million or so. This makes it essentially a "city-state" similar to that of Hong Kong or Singapore. Also, like Hong Kong during the 50's and 60's, Israel is surrounded by enemies. The success of Hong Kong, Singapore, and other places like them suggests that a free-market, free trade economy is the proper way to make such a place successful. A propserous free-market economy offers other benefits as well. Much of the world would trade and do business with such a place and there would be foreign direct investment into the place. This would create more vested interest on the rest of the world to ensure that Israel is protected, militarily. Also, a larger economy means more money for the military to defend it.
I ask again, why do the Israelis stubornly cling to a socialist economic model when places like Singapore and Hong Kong have demonstrated a more sucessful model of economic development?
Am I missing something here?
Yes, you've missed some minor details like couple of existential wars, horrendous defense budget and absorption
of more than 3 million immigrants. And Israel is moving toward free market economy at a rate that is politically possible.
PS. Israel's population is now over 6.5 mil (~1.5 mil Arabs)
PSPS. What are other places like HK and Singapore?
Hong Kong has a population of 6.5 million. Singapore is 3 million. During the 50's and 60's, Hong Kong absorbed alot of immigrants as well, many of them refugees from mainland China. Hong Kong was not exactly in a good spot during the great leap into nowhere (late 50's) or the cultural devolution (1965-1970).
The wars and defense budget are arguments in favor, not against, a free market system. The more economic growth you have, the more money available for the defense. Also, consider the cases of Taiwan and South Korea. They have also been threatened and have large defense budgets and yet always had free or semi-free market systems, despite authoritarian governments before 1987.
Also, if you have many enemies nearby, its always good to have many friends not so nearby as well. Being integrated into a global free market economy makes you more indepensible to the whole system.
The case for socialism in Israel never made sense. Especially after around 1980 or so.
The Israelis have just taken land, houses, etc. The mainstream press ignores this story pretty much. You have to know people who've travelled there to meet Christians or who know Christians from there who have settled in the West. Then you can hear the story of what happened. It is pretty disgusting.
It is my understanding that Israel is not as socialist as it used to be. Its bigger problem is demographic. The smart Ashkenazis have the lowest reproductive rate. Dumber people (Jews and Arabs both) have having more kids.
"The Israelis have just taken land, houses, etc." Is not the term for this "ethnic cleansing"? If not, why not?
This surprises you? Almost every town within the 1948 'international' border of Israel is built on the ruins of some Arab village. Damn, when my grandparents came here in the 40's they waited for the soldiers to capture some fleeing Arab's apartment and then took it for themselves.
Randall, are you claiming people's houses were taken in 1967? That sounds unlikely. The West Bank settlers make a point of reminding people that they do not live on the Arab's former land, despite their supposedly 'illegal' nature.
The smart Ashkenazis have the lowest reproductive rate. Dumber people (Jews and Arabs both) have having more kids.
Do you consider religious Ashkenazi Jews dumb? ( this is a genuine question, maybe they are )
Because, they are having more children than any other type of Israeli Jew or Arab ( though perhaps less than Palestinians ).
The Ashkenazi Jews are the smartest ethnic group in the world on average. Surely they have dumb members of their group. But on average they are 1 standard deviation above whites and 2 standard deviations above American blacks in IQ. They are about 3 standard deviations above blacks in average IQ.
Are religious Ashkenazis as smart as non-religious Ashkenazis? I do not know. But I bet the religious Ashkenazis are still smarter than the non-Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. High Ashkenazi Jewish IQ was selected for during the Middle Ages.
As for taking land: I'm talking about West Bank land and houses taken after 1967 as the settlers moved into the West Bank. As for what the West Bank settlers claim, well they can say what they want. Then there is the truth.
High IQ or not the "religious" people in Israel have 40% of children born in the country, give or take. Which means the society is constantly skewed (or screwed) toward mentally dangerous individuals (describable as depressed psychopaths?). As far as I know many of these groups are also considered parasitic and live on welfare. I doubt their "real" IQ is high. In any case they are always fighting a war to genetically convert the world to judaism. In this they are similar to muslims and other groups.
So where is this jewish moral high ground? Is it the same one that had christians eliminate amerindians a few centuries go?
I think the part you missed was the part about Israel being a tribal homeland. I would expect them to be as socialistic as any other tribal homeland: like Denmark, the Netherlands or Sweden for instance.
Hong Kong and Singapore are the antithesis of tribal homelands. They are polities that split away from tribal homelands to become explicit points of contact among varying cultures.