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  • March 9, 2013

    Israel’s Capitalist Election  

    [This is really an excellent analysis of what drives Israelis]

    By Mati Wagner — March 2013 COMMENTARY

    As the Israeli elections loomed in January, reporters and pundits, biased by their own ideas about Israel and Israelis, failed colossally. Reports and analyses in a wide range of publications and media outlets—from the New York Times and the New Yorker to the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, and Sky News—made doomsday forecasts about “right-wing entrenchment,” lamented the end of the two-state solution, and even predicted that the dramatic strengthening of a hawkish, xenophobic right would mean the end of Israeli democracy.

    Then, when the election results became known, the international media erred yet again, interpreting the surprising rise of the new Yesh Atid party as a victory for the left. In reality, the truly significant facts about the 2013 Israel elections were the predominance of domestic issues and the complete breakdown of the old dichotomy between right-wing hawks and left-wing doves that usually characterizes Israeli politics. Not since the 1965 elections, the last before the Six-Day War, was attention so completely focused on matters such as socioeconomic policies and draft-dodging by a rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox population. And because the vote was so heavily determined by internal issues, it revealed that a strong majority of citizens in a nation designed and built by socialists has moved decisively away from the dogmatic economic faith of its founders. Indeed, the heads of the three largest parties—Likud-Beytenu, Habayit Hayehudi (“Jewish Home”), and Yesh Atid (“There Is a Future”)—were outspoken in their support for smaller government and market capitalism.

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 7:57 pm ET | Plink | Trackback | 7 Comments » | 1,566 views

    The Kurds Are for the Kurds  

    By Jonathan Spyer, Weekly Standard 

    The emergent Syrian Kurdistan sits on the greater part of Syria’s oil reserves, worth $4 billion annually before the outbreak of the uprising. The region is also known as the breadbasket of Syria for its rich and fertile soil. Kurds, Turks, the Assad regime, and the rebels all have their own ambitions for northeast Syria, where a complex political and military game is being played out.

    Last month, I traveled into the Kurdish-controlled area of Syria from flourishing Iraqi Kurdistan. The authorities of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq do not permit journalists to cross the border via the official checkpoint. The KRG evidently has no desire to be held responsible for whatever might befall such travelers in Syria. But there is an additional reason, which requires untangling the knotty alphabet of Kurdish internal politics.  read

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 5:36 pm ET | Plink | Trackback | 1 Comment » | 1,317 views

    Into the fray: The demands Bennett should’ve made  

    By Martin Sherman, JPOST

    The greatest tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that everyone knows how it will end. We will divide up the region. Israel will return most of the West Bank, and the Palestinian flag will fly on public buildings in East Jerusalem.
    The only unanswered question is how many more people will have to die along the way. And so we will fight against the extremists on both sides, including our extremists, the settlers.                                          
    – Yair Lapid, Der Spiegel, May 8. 2008.

    We must strive to return to the negotiating table with the intention of attaining peace with the Palestinians on the basis of “two-states for two-peoples,” in which the large settlement blocs (Ariel, Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumin) will remain within the area of Israel.Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and its unity is a national symbol of the first order.Jerusalem is not merely a place or a city but the center of the Jewish-Israeli ethos, to which Jews turned their eyes throughout the generations. 
    – Yesh Atid’s 2013 election platform.

    In a recent column, “Bennett’s buddy. Or blunder?” (February 21), I severely criticized Naftali Bennett’s post-election conduct.

    Bizarre bedfellows  read

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 10:57 am ET | Plink | Trackback | 10 Comments » | 1,339 views


    By Eric Lichtbau, The New York Times, March 1, 2013

    Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe. What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust. The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

    The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington. “The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data. “We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 7:07 am ET | Plink | Trackback | 20 Comments » | 1,982 views

    Assad defies the odds  

    By: Joseph Puder

    Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad is the first Arab leader not to succumb to the Arab revolution that has brought down the (dictators) leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Assad has withstood his Sunni-Arab opposition for two years now, albeit with reduced control over the country. That in itself signifies a meaningful victory for the Assad regime and the axis of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah, as well as Russia. The big losers are the U.S., the Arab Gulf states (particularly Qatar and Saudi Arabia), Turkey, and Israel.

    It is apparent that the Syrian opposition has been unable to defeat and expel the Assad regime, and it would be futile to predict when and if that will occur. In a defiant interview with London’s Sunday Times (March 3, 2013), Bashar Assad declared he is willing to negotiate with the opposition but would not step down. He added that he would only talk with rebels who laid down their arms, making a distinction between the “political entities” he would engage with and “armed terrorists.”

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 6:56 am ET | Plink | Trackback | 5 Comments » | 1,404 views

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