Election Bombshell: Nothing Will Change!!

The one prediction I can make about tomorrow’s Knesset election with a high degree of certainty is that it will have little short-term impact on the deluded and incestuous entity that is Israel.

The best that we can hope for is that it will begin to reverse one trend – a chilling one, to be sure – and gradually initiate a slightly less terrifying one. But a sane, enlightened Israel is not in the offing.

There is reason to suspect that the prospect of losing power and standing trial on charges of corruption has unhinged Benjamin Netanyahu. His hysterical and overtly racist conduct during the course of the election campaign has revealed him to be anything but the competent, trustworthy pair of hands he claims to be.

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Howard Jacobson Has Nothing to Fear From Me

I seem to be going through a Howard Jacobson period. I’m reading his latest book (Live a Little), found significant fodder for thought in a recent column of his published in Tablet (Writing Jewish) and now a JTA interview with him, published in The Jerusalem Post, has more or less decided things. Howard Jacobson, a smart and funny Jewish writer from Manchester, is trying to dybbuk me.

The reason is clear: Ever since I gave up my day job and retired into full-time writing, his monopoly of the English-Jewish novel (in the sad absence of Bellow, Roth etc.) is under threat. I’m not aware of his trolling me on Twitter, bad-mouthing me on Facebook or any of that stuff – yet. But it’s only a matter of time. The Jewish reading world (which unfortunately does not seem to include my children) is not large enough for two titans of the written word.

True, I’ve yet to publish a novel – or any type of book, for that matter (I don’t think self-publishing counts) – but we Jews don’t need written evidence for our competitive tentacles to quiver. This sort of thing gets around like pollen and our noses are big enough to hoover it up. Jacobson, I’m certain, has sensed me in the ether.

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EXCLUSIVE: Netanyahu Eyeing Bolton’s Old Job

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that he would extend Israeli sovereignty over John Bolton’s former job if he is re-elected in next week’s elections.

National Security Adviser Bolton was fired by President Donald Trump earlier today, reportedly because he was too hawkish.

“It’s about time Israel ran America’s national security and I am the most qualified person in the world to do it,” Netanyahu said during a briefing for the media. “Only when I am National Security Adviser will Israel control its own destiny.”

Asked by reporters what experience he had with countries such as North Korea and Afghanistan, Netanyahu replied: “Don knows as well as I do that Iran is the only show in town. All the rest are insignificant.”

Sources in Washington told The Kibbitzer that Trump was interested in giving Bibi the job, but refused point blank to have “his nosy slut wife” anywhere near the White House.

‘Acknowledged Expert’ Bibi Offers Boris No-Deal Help

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written a letter to his UK counterpart Boris Johnson offering to help him in his efforts to achieve a no-deal Brexit, The Kibbitzer has learned.

“I regard myself, in all humility, as something of an expert in no-deal diplomacy, having withstood the efforts of Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama the Muslim to reach a deal with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu wrote. “No-one is better than me at not achieving a deal.”

Netanyahu gave credit to his predecessors in office for their own efforts at avoiding a deal under all circumstances. “History shows that Israel has heroically maintained its no-deal policy for over 70 years, a record that I believe to be unrivalled anywhere in the world,” he wrote.

In the letter, Netanyahu offered to counsel Johnson on no-deal tactics for “a box of Cohiba Majestuoros (cigars) a week, a case of Dom Perignon a week for the missus and positive pre-election features (full page + pics) in The Telegraph, The Times and the Daily Mail.”

It is not known at this stage whether Johnson has responded to Netanyahu’s offer.

 

 

 

Security and Elections: An Israeli Tragi-comedy

It was inevitable really. Israel’s leaders find it very difficult to get through a hot summer without a little war and, with an election on the horizon, it’s hardly fair to expect them to even try. Ergo the current tension in the north (Hezbollah), the east (Iranians or Iranian proxies) and the south (Hamas) – all, if Israeli propaganda is to be believed, at the behest of Iran and with Iranian material backing.

As I’m writing, the Israeli army is reporting the firing of anti-tank missiles from Lebanon at an army base in northern Israel, and the Lebanese army is reporting Israeli drone activity in the south of that country. Israelis living within four kilometres of the northern border have been instructed to open their air-raid shelters and stay in their homes. The next few days are bound to be tense.

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America is no democracy but is it ripe for King Donald I?

Speaking about Donald Trump’s America in a recent interview with the Guardian newspaper, singer Taylor Swift said: “We’re a democracy – at least, we’re supposed to be – where you’re allowed to disagree, dissent, debate. I really think that he thinks this is an autocracy.”

Well, yes and no. I have little doubt that Trump would like the powers of an autocrat, but experience has probably informed him that the power structure in the US is designed to make an autocrat’s life difficult. It’s likely that his apparent fondness for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is based in no small part on his envy for the younger man’s unassailable status (barring a coup, I guess) at the head of his country’s governing structure.

Kim, unlike Trump, is a true autocrat, sitting at the head of an autocratic power structure. In North Korea, government by a single ruler with supreme authority and total political and legal power, is the way things are meant to be. It was designed that way – by none other than Kim’s grandfather. It must be galling to Trump, that his grandfathers were operating brothels during the Klondike gold rush (Friedrich Trump) and catching fish off the coast of Scotland (Malcolm MacLeod), instead of becoming communists and establishing autocratic family dynasties.

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Netanyahu Livid at Trump Betrayal with Greenland

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “incandescent with rage,” after learning that US President Donald Trump had expressed interest in purchasing Greenland from Denmark, one of the premier’s closest advisers has told The Kibbitzer.

Netanyahu reportedly described the president as a “greedy and rapacious two-timer,” for casting a lascivious eye on Greenland when “he’s already got Israel for free.”

“Apart from about four billion a year, Israel doesn’t ask for much from the US,” the prime minister’s adviser said. “But we do ask for fidelity and respect. Without them, no monogamous relationship can succeed.”

“I mean what does Greenland have that Israel can’t offer, except for a measly million square kilometers of snow?”

“Bibi’s like that,” said Foreign Minister Israel Katz, when asked about the PM’s reaction. “He doesn’t like rivals and clearly he regards Greenland as a rival for Trump’s affections. He’s just going to have to get used to the fact that Trump likes to play around.”

Man’s suicide creates mass amnesia among fair weather friends

NEW YORK – Jeffrey Epstein may have to be buried as a John Doe due to the total inability of anyone to recognize his name, The Kibbitzer has learned. Some of those who never knew him are named as beneficiaries in his will.

“Epstein … Epstein, don’t think I ever met the fella,” former President Bill Clinton said. “I really have no idea why he would leave me his cigar and penis expander collections.”

“Never heard of him,” said Prince Andrew, responding to a question why Epstein’s will named him as the beneficiary of the late financier’s well-thumbed edition of Teen Pussy Grabbing for Beginners.  “Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not a beginner.”

“I’m clueless as to why someone I never met should leave me an island,” said former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who Epstein named as executor of his will. “And I really have no idea who he wants me to execute on the island.”

Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz denied that he had ever met anyone named Epstein and threatened to sue anyone who said otherwise.

In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while he had never met Epstein, he was deeply disappointed the deceased financier had not left him anything in his will. “I’ve gotten very used to rich people giving me stuff,” Netanyahu explained.

To Bibi or not to Bibi

Israelis are due to go to the polls in just under five weeks for the second time this year. When prime minister nominee Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government after the previous election (last April) he took the dubious expedient of calling new elections, rather than handing his mandate back to the president. Doing so was not illegal – in Israel a duly constituted parliament can vote for elections – but it certainly defied tradition and precedent. When Tzipi Livni was unable to form a government in September 2009, she returned the mandate to the president, who then tapped Netanyahu for the job. He, of course, was not keen to return the favor earlier this year.

It is unlikely that Elections 2 will turn out any better for the contestants than the previous one did, despite the desperate bloc-building and arm-twisting that have characterized its runup. The country is virtually split down the middle between two competing ideas about its nature and place in the world – a conservative, hawkish, anti-Palestinian and largely religious weltanschauung versus a more nebulous inclination toward democracy, secularism, liberal values and diplomatic compromise. The former bloc has a numerical edge over the latter, but not sufficient to prevail against the jokers that often leap out of the pack.

The current jokers are the same ones that stymied Netanyahu’s previous effort at coalition building and are capable of doing likewise next month – Netanyahu himself and Avigdor Lieberman, a veteran immigrant from Moldova with a taste for riches and high office and a penchant for being the enfant terrible. It was Lieberman’s refusal to join the mooted coalition unless he could hold the bloodied scalps of the ultra-Orthodox parties in his hands that scuttled the previous negotiations.

Netanyahu recently became Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. In office since March 2009, he has presided over the interment of international peace efforts, a massive growth in West Bank settlement, the trivialization of high-level corruption and the gradual inoculation of the population against humaneness, morality and compassion, as generally understood in the West. With at least three corruption indictments pending against him, Netanyahu is generally believed to regard the next government as being his only escape route from prosecution – by enacting legislation forbidding the prosecution of a sitting prime minister and giving the Knesset the power to overrule court rulings (should the High Court annul the aforementioned legislation.) For him, therefore, winning a plurality in the elections and forming the next government is a lot more than merely holding onto power (something he has never been loath to do.) It is literally a case of power or prison.

Lieberman, who in the early stages of his career worked for Netanyahu, shares many of his previous boss’ attributes. A settler himself, he is no less hawkish, no less anti-Palestinian, no less authoritarian, no less power hungry and no less prone to the pleasurable excesses that can be had at the nexus of power and money. Where he differs from Netanyahu is in his antipathy to the ultra-Orthodox, his Moldovan belligerence and petulance and his flair for showmanship, which makes him a sucker for the grand gesture. Netanyahu has always been prepared to give the religious parties whatever they want as the price of staying in power, but Lieberman is hostile to them and determined to dislodge them from government. Doing so involves forming a coalition with parties outside the conservative-hawk bloc, which Netanyahu is (or feels) unable to do, given the influence of his “natural” partners to the extreme right of his Likud Party.

Netanyahu, therefore, is hoping that the elections will strengthen the conservative-hawk-religious bloc sufficiently (a mere three or four seats is all it will take) for him to establish the coalition that eluded him earlier this year. Lieberman, whose five-seat party is expected to be strengthened following his antics earlier this year, is planning to be the kingmaker, conjuring up a so-called national unity government out of the Likud, the Blue & White Party, the largest grouping in the liberal-dove bloc, and of course his own Yisrael Beiteinu faction. If it works, he’s eyeing one of the top three jobs – defense, foreign affairs or finance.

But will it work? That, of course, depends on the Israeli electorate, a Janus-like creature that can’t quite decide whether it wants to be biblical or modern and which has been anesthetized by decades of conflict, brainwashing, Bibi and a strong economy into a state of blissful somnolence. Not all Israelis are sleepwalkers, of course. Many, particularly on the religious-settler right and among the ultra-Orthodox, are highly politicized and partisans of the parties that have traditionally upheld their points of view. In the past that was also true of Israel’s Palestinian population, though decades of affronts and frustration have resulted in a widespread environment of lethargy and ennui. Their voting rate is significantly down.

It’s all the rest, the silent majority, who are the political sleepwalkers. Some of them incline toward Netanyahu and the conservative-hawks, while others incline to the liberal-doves – but very few of them are overly concerned with the “big issues.” The shekel is strong, the standard of living is high, jobs are abundant, particularly in high-tech, there  are no obvious wars around the corner (bombing Gaza is now routine) and cheap flights (and a strong shekel) enable them to travel regularly and shop compulsively. What’s not to like? On the face of it, the bulk of the country’s population is doing just fine.

It’s a fair assumption that issues of life and death – the occupation, potential war, Gaza, the plight of the Palestinians, BDS – will not be a significant factor in the election. The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are largely out of sight and therefore out of mind. After over 50 years, the occupation has settled comfortably into the Israeli subconscious without leaving a trace. Tel Aviv revels in his reputation as party city to the world, untroubled by the apartheid-like regime maintained by Israel just 20 kilometers from the city which never sleeps. Those Israelis who care about such things will support Blue & White or the parties to its left, but they will be far from a swing vote. The lefties in Israel are a known quantity and they don’t win elections.

With the economy doing well (a leg-up for Netanyahu) and the occupation-conflict of little interest to the bulk of the electorate, the election is likely to hinge on three issues: Whether the semi-consolidation on the right leads to a less fragmented vote than was the case last time; whether Lieberman’s stand against the ultra-Orthodox after the previous election will win him sufficient support to continue playing the role of king-maker; and whether Netanyahu has overstayed his welcome and alienated a sufficient number of voters though his machinations to stay in power.

There are signs of Netanyahu overdose among members of the public, but it’s hard to see those who want to be weened off him moving decisively to the liberal-hawk bloc. More likely is that they will vote for parties to the right of the Likud, thus boosting the overall conservative-hawk-religious bloc (which Netanyahu leads.) If the bloc is further strengthened by the recent consolidation of several (but not all) of the extreme right parties, the bloc could well win an overall majority and establish a government without Lieberman or the liberal-dove bloc.

Less likely is that the anti-Netanyahu vote will move strongly to Lieberman and the moderate Blue & White Party, thus depriving the religious-conservative-hawk bloc of its majority. The obvious scenario then is a Likud-Blue & White unity government, with or without Lieberman at its fulcrum. The problem is that Lieberman has already said he will not sit in a government with indictment-pending Netanyahu and it’s possible that quite a few members of Blue & White will feel likewise. Were that veto to eventuate, Lieberman (a born shit-stirrer) and the leaders of Blue & White will probably attempt to persuade their Likud counterparts that they – and the country – will be a lot better off without Netanyahu.

To prevent such an outcome, Netanyahu has demanded that all candidates on his party’s Knesset list sign an undertaking that they will not support anyone else for the leadership of the party and the bloc. Of course, they may well sign and then change their minds when the cards are down. Such things have been known to happen in Israeli politics.

There is no way that the liberal-dove block will be able to form a government without Lieberman and/or the religious parties. To do so, even in the most favourable circumstances, they will need to make a pact with the three Arab parties, which are now running as their own little bloc. Israel has never had a coalition government reliant on the Arab parties.

As things stand then, the smart money is on Netanyahu forming the coalition that eluded him earlier this year. But there are still five weeks to go and five weeks is a long time in Israeli politics – particularly during summer, which is traditionally the time of year that Israel likes to stage its wars. Things could still get very interesting.

Bibi & Jacob: About Strongmen, Democracy and Whoonga

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EX-PRESIDENT

February 28, 2018

Sawubona Bibi:

Interesting that some people claim I’m a has-been. That it’s all over for me; that I’ll disappear from centre stage in a cloud of impepho. This is our home-grown version of incense, similar to the stuff they used to perfume your Temple in the days before those white monopoly capitalists, the Romans, razed it to the ground.

Yet earlier this week – as a private citizen, mind you – I gave a little talk to the students of Bizimali High School in my hometown of Nkandla and now it’s all over the fake news pages and web sites, presented as some sort of aberration.

My chat was merely a way of explaining the vital importance of education and the dangers of drugs as well as to let the young ‘uns benefit from my experiences and detailed knowledge of the history of the Zulu nation. Yet, as I say, you’d think that I re-wrote our famous Constitution – in my view, by the way, a foolish and lily-livered document. (Squirrel played too big a role in its writing and the Old Man agreed with its tenets only because he had a bizarrely soft spot for the white monopoly capitalists and also knew the boere had a ring of steel around Pretoria.) Homosexuals have equal rights – they can even marry each other – and women and journalists also have rights and, most worryingly, a man apparently can’t have sexual congress with a woman if she says “no”, or even breathes it throatily and passionately into his ear, which, as you and I know, means “yes”. And so on. As you would say: Oy.

Anyway, I explained to the students that if I had been allowed to be a dictator for six months – in other words, not have had to deal with that stupid Constitution and those lard-asses in parliament – I would have sentenced young people hooked on drugs to Robben Island where they would have been forced to study. This is what I said: “Those who do whoonga, dagga, alcohol, must be removed to a college, maybe Robben Island, and be forced to learn and leave that place with a degree.” You see my point, don’t you? Enforce some tough love, give these kids some worthwhile training for life. But of course the newspapers are rabbiting on today only about me “having wanted to be a dictator”.

Then I thought I’d teach them a little history as well as briefly explore the pitfalls of democracy (a crappy concept if ever there was one, as you well know – not at all good for either African or Semite). I said: “We need to take lessons from Shaka Zulu, one of our great, great leaders. Shaka ruled successfully for 12 years. But look at us. We have ruled for 23 years and we are still crying. Why? Because Democracy should have authority but ours doesn’t. Once there is no authority in democracy – once everybody has a say – it becomes worse than a dictatorship, it becomes more dangerous.”

And I explained a bit more. “Maybe it’s because Shaka did not sit in many meetings that Shaka was successful. He knew that if he called a meeting, people would derogate his authority. There is an important lesson we must take from him: that we enforce the right thing by imposing it.”

What do I get in response for these eminently sane words, these pearls of wisdom? You know the answer.

Yours, slightly depressed (though at least no more meetings!),

Jacob.


THE PRIME MINISTER’S BUREAU

February 28, 2018

Shalom Jacob

Amazing you should write that because I’ve been making the same point for years already.  We’ve all become so conditioned to thinking of democracy as the ultimate political system – the be-all and end-all – that we never stop to think whether that is really the case. I don’t think it is. When tough decisions need to be made, the endless give and take of one-size-fits-all democracy is more often an obstacle than a solution.

Take my good friend Xi Jinping, for example. Not that China is a democracy, but in good democratic fashion it has been changing its leader like clockwork every ten years. Then along comes Xi, who says (correctly, in my view) that it’s illogical to expect a leader to solve all the problems of two billion people in a mere ten years. He needs more time, more leeway. He needs authority. Like the Jews, the Chinese are a very argumentative people and difficult to work with.

I don’t claim to be an expert on South Africa, but with all the problems you have (I’ve heard you have far too many Moslems and Sharansky tells me that anti-Semitism is rampant), it doesn’t surprise me to hear that the greatest problems you faced while in office were all due to democracy. Over-fastidious courts, weak central authority, cheeky subordinates who won’t do as you say. I’ve been there my friend.

And then of course there’s the curse of the media and the insane notion that they should be able to write whatever they want. Serious leaders are now coming around to the understanding (first enunciated by yours truly) that  an uncontrolled media is the key obstacle to good governance. In the last few weeks I’ve discussed the issue with Don, Vlad, Abe (al-Sisi), Vik and Richie (my nickname for Erdogan) and they were all were adamant that they had to crack down on the media in order to serve their countries. (They’re all very good friends of mine and I speak with them often.)

As it happens, I’ve recently been looking at history for examples of strong and successful leaders. (Did you know that my father was a very famous historian? He didn’t get the recognition he deserved due to the hatred of the media and the scheming of the leftists in Israeli academia.) Anyway, I’ve become particularly interested in the Caudillo, which is the title given to strongmen in South American countries. What is most striking is that the Caudillo typically combines political with military leadership.

That would disqualify the man you call Squirrel (the closest he ever got to the military was shooting miners in the back, as far as I can tell), but it definitely works for the two of us, doesn’t it? I’ve just looked you up on Wikipedia and discovered that you, too, are a military man, having spent many years in senior military positions at ANC camps outside South Africa. Semper fi, bro!

If you’re interested, I’ll send you a picture of me standing on the wing of a hijacked plane just minutes after the elite commando unit I commanded captured it from anti-Semitic hijackers with tea towels on their heads. I always carry the picture around with me to flash as necessary; you have no idea how it pisses off President Bone Spur!

Think of Juan Peron; tough, loved by the people, the scourge of the left. That’s a Caudillo! That’s the sort of leader we need to be. You, of course, could also marry an Evita, while I’ll still be lumbered with old piggie motor-mouth.

In case life wasn’t interesting enough (in the Chinese sense. Did I tell you that Xi Jinping was a very good friend of mine?) a prosecutor told a court in Israel this week that I had done a businessman friend of mine favors valued at over one billion shekels in return for favorable coverage in a website he owns. Favorable coverage! The leftist media wouldn’t cover me favorably if I my name was Che Guevara, while the rational media, such as it is, is already owned by me and my friends. (Did I tell you that I have many good friends? Some of them even give me gifts of cigars.)

These charges are a form of political assassination. A person more paranoid than me would see the recent goings on as the first skirmishes in an attempted coup. Not unlike the one that unseated you, mind you.

Well, they’re not going to succeed. The Jewish People need me and it’s for them that I fight on. Remember, we’re on the side of the righteous, as Mike Pence said to me.

Your brother in arms

Bibi

P.S. I just looked up whoonga. My God, marijuana mixed with AIDS drugs?! Let Ramapussy try deal with that one democratically!