Is Obama the most anti-Israel president in the history of the USA?

 

Now that Barack Obama has been re-elected and sworn in to serve another term as President of the United States, this question is appropriate. Is Mr. Obama good for Israel? According to election exit polls, about 75 percent of American Jews voted for President Obama. They seem to believe that he is good for Israel. Many of them are hard-core liberal Democrats who would never vote conservative or Republican. Despite the mountain of evidence that shows Mr. Obama’s hostility toward Israel and toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, those American Jews chose to believe Mr. Obama’s positive sounding statements on Israel while ignoring his negative actions. One thing is for certain, based on my extensive conversations with many Israeli Jews living throughout Israel, they do not agree with their brothers and sisters in America.  American Jews living in Israel voted over whelmingly against Mr. Obama.

 

How can the American Jewish community disregard Mr. Obama’s “naivete” in regard to the Middle East and his contempt for Israel and for Netanyahu?  Two years ago Mr. Obama first met with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House in Washington. The president’s treatment of the leader of one of America’s closest friendly nations was deplorable. Prime Minister Netanyahu was quietly led into the White House through a side door and he was treated more like a stranger than a friend. There was no media attention and no photo-op. However, when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visited the White House shortly afterward, he was treated as an honored guest with photo ops and a smiling president giving him one hundred million dollars of hard-earned American taxpayer dollars.

 

Then you have to remember when Mr. Obama made good on a campaign promise “to give a major address to Muslims from a Muslim capital.” In that speech in Cairo, Egypt his stated objective was to repair ties that were supposedly severely damaged under his predecessor George W. Bush. For the record, we all know that those ties were severely damaged when 19 Middle East Muslim terrorists turned jet planes into missiles killing 3,000 Americans.

 

Mr. Obama also stated in that speech that “there have been times when America has shown arrogance.” The problem with Mr. Obama’s speech was his naivete to think that Muslim anger toward the U.S. was because of President Bush or American arrogance. He obviously failed to understand that the issue is not American arrogance but Muslim religious fanaticism.

 

Recently on U.S. television Mr. Obama stated that “Israel is one of our closest allies in the Middle East.” Based on my observations, Israel is America’s ONLY true friend and ally in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the Middle East which shares our same democratic values and Israel is definitely America’s only trustworthy ally in the region. All the surrounding Arab countries are Muslim who consider the U.S. to be the “Great Satan” and their supposedly holy Koran instructs them to hate and kill Americans yet somehow President Obama considers them to be close allies.

 

And remember the G20 summit last year in Paris when French President Sarkozy “privately” said to Mr. Obama being unaware that his mike was still on, “I cannot bear Netanyahu.” And Mr. Obama responded, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him more than you do.”  It is also important to recall when recently Prime Minister Netanyahu announced plans to build new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria and Mr. Obama commented, “Israel doesn’t even know what its own best interests are” to which Prime Minister Netanyahu responded, “Over the past four years Israel has withstood tremendous diplomatic pressure from the White House. They insisted that we curb our demand for action on Iran, that we withdraw back to the 1967 border lines, that we divide Jerusalem, and that we stop building in Judea and Samaria. Only the people of Israel will determine what best represents the State of Israel’s vital interests.”

 

President Obama has repeatedly called for Israel to implement “a two-state solution” and to return to the suicidal borders of 1967. The realities are that the Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution and there were no defined borders in 1967. There was no peace treaty and no border agreements then or since. None of the Arab nations have recognized Israel as a state with any borders. Israel legitimately gained the territories of Judea and Samaria in a legitimate war victory. So the many Jewish communities, or so-called settlements, constructed in Arab occupied Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank, are on legitimate Jewish property.

 

When Jordan attacked Israel in the 1967 Six-Day-War, Israeli military forces pushed Jordanian forces out of Judea and Samaria and back across the Jordan River. Why should Israel have to give that war-gained land back for nothing and be left with only a ten-mile wide territory along the Mediterranean coast, just because Mr. Obama wants it that way?  Now, incomprehensibly, President Obama is providing Egypt, which is governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, with 20 fighter jets.  In light of the fact that Egypt has broken their treaty with Israel, and with tensions in Egypt so high among its own population, this seems a very foolish move and one which surely signals to the Muslim-Arab Middle East that Obama stands clearly on the side of Egypt’s President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.  With Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Egypt, it is for certain that Egypt is not an ally of America.  The war planes Obama is sending to Egypt will be delivered this year and are reportedly in fulfillment of an agreement made with Mubarak who upheld Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and who was considered an ally of America.  Now that everything has changed, it seems a very troublesome move especially should a conflict erupt between Israel and Egypt.  True allies cannot be purchased.  A true ally of America is one which shares our core beliefs and values which clearly Egypt does not.  When you add it all up, it just MAY be that President Obama is indeed the most anti-Israel president in the history of the United States.  May G-d help us. 

 

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Hanne Nabinto Herland om Arbeiderpartiets støtte til terrorister: Sjekkheftediplomati

Sjekkhefte diplomati!
Det er det korrekte ordet.
Naive norske myndigheter, eller AP naivitet er mere rett.
AFTENPOSTEN 15.1.: NAIVT SKJEKKHEFTEDIPLOMATI. Statssekretær i Utenriksdepartementet, Torgeir Larsen, erkjenner i sin kommentar 28.12 at norske myndigheter for ofte har lukket øynene i det man trodde var stabilitetens tjeneste i Midtøsten. Det er en glede å se erkjennelsen, men det må følges opp med konkret endring av norsk utenrikspolitikk for å ha reell verdi.

Larsen spør hva jeg i min kronikk 20.12. mener med at Norge i praksis fungerer som støttespiller for terrororganisasjoner som viser betydelig intoleranse for minoriteter slik som kristne, jøder, homofile og andre som «ikke er tilstrekkelig islamistiske». 

La statistikken tale: Norge har som en av de minste land i verden vært en av de største bidragsyterne til de Palestinske Selvstyremyndighetene (PA) og andre med overføringer rundt en milliard i året. Hva går pengene til? Ifølge Times of Israel 3.9. tredoblet nylig PA lønnsutbetalingene til selvmordsbomberes familier.   

Hamas terroristen som sto bak terrorangrepet i 2002 som drepte over 30 israelere, mottar nå rundt 20 000 norske kroner i måneden. De som har utført de mest dødbringende terrorangrepene, får høyest lønn. 

Ifølge tall fra Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center 2005, ble det utført 25.770 terrorangrep, 147 selvmordsangrep med 1100 døde israelere og 7500 skadde bare mellom 2000 og 2005.  

Vi vet at Fatah alene utførte 214 terrorangrep og 33 selvmordsangrep bare i 2003-2004, i henhold til 2005 Terrorism Review. 

Vi vet at grove korrupsjonsanklager har rast i årevis mot både PLO og Fatah.  PLO har blitt den rikeste terrororganisasjonen i verden, ifølge britiske National Criminal Intelligence Service 1993 med verdier for rundt 10 milliarder dollar og med en årlig inntekt på 2 milliarder dollar. Vi vet også at Daily Telegraph i 1999 rapporterte hvorledes PLO hadde 50 milliarder dollar hemmelig investert rundt omkring i verden. Likevel har vi stadig brutt brødet med disse. 

Norske skattepenger har finansiert alt fra Det Muslimske Brorskap, Hamas og Fatah medlemmers besøk i Oslo, for ikke å snakke om tunisiske PLO, samt forhenværende utenriksminister Jonas Gahr-Støre reiser Midtøsten rundt i skytteltrafikk mellom islamistiske grupper i lang tid, med hemmelige samtaler allerede i 2007 med Hamas’ leder, Khaled Meshaal, noe som sjokkerte hele Vesten.  

Vi vet at PA minister, Faisal Husseini, sa til Al-Safir i 2001 at «Vårt overordnede blikk er vendt mot det strategiske mål av å herske fra elven [Jordan] til havet.» Og Hamas’ budskap fra internett: «Vi er en nasjon som drikker blod, og vi vet at intet blod er bedre enn jødenes.» 

La meg minne om at det pluralistiske liberaldemokratiet Israel er den eneste staten i Midtøsten der homofile er beskyttet med eget lovverk, man har årlige homoparader, praktiserer full religionsfrihet og kristne minoriteter øker med en høyst fri presse og aktiv offentlig debatt. 

Vi vet at Yasser Arafat så sent som i 1996 var i Stockholm og sa at palestinernes langsiktige plan fortsatt var å tilintetgjøre Israel, etablere en ren palestinsk stat og gjøre forholdene i Midtøsten så utålelige at den jødiske minoriteten ikke ville orke å bo der, ifølge Arutz-7 27.2. Dette uttalte han tre år etter at han fikk Nobels fredspris mens PLOs vedtekter om å tilintetgjøre Israel fortsatt ikke var fjernet. Som kjent var en av forutsetningene for Oslo II i 1995 at Arafat avsto fra terrorisme og fjernet vedtekten som uttrykker ønsket om folkemord. 

Den nåværende regjeringen har i altfor stor grad vært påvirket av palestinsk propaganda. Oppildnet over vår egen fremgang som oljenasjon og håpet om å bli en internasjonal fredsaktør, har vi lukket øynene for hva vi egentlig finansierer. 

Det er ikke underlig at vår rolle som fredsmekler i Midtøsten ser ut til å være over.
(noe utvidet fra Aftenposten 15.1.)
AFTENPOSTEN 15.1.: NAIVT SKJEKKHEFTEDIPLOMATI. Statssekretær i Utenriksdepartementet, Torgeir Larsen, erkjenner i sin kommentar 28.12 at norske myndigheter for ofte har lukket øynene i det man trodde var stabilitetens tjeneste i Midtøsten. Det er en glede å se erkjennelsen, men det må følges opp med konkret endring av norsk utenrikspolitikk for å ha reell verdi.

Larsen spør hva jeg i min kronikk 20.12. mener med at Norge i praksis fungerer som støttespiller for terrororganisasjoner som viser betydelig intoleranse for minoriteter slik som kristne, jøder, homofile og andre som «ikke er tilstrekkelig islamistiske».

La statistikken tale: Norge har som en av de minste land i verden vært en av de største bidragsyterne til de Palestinske Selvstyremyndighetene (PA) og andre med overføringer rundt en milliard i året. Hva går pengene til? Ifølge Times of Israel 3.9. tredoblet nylig PA lønnsutbetalingene til selvmordsbomberes familier.

Hamas terroristen som sto bak terrorangrepet i 2002 som drepte over 30 israelere, mottar nå rundt 20 000 norske kroner i måneden. De som har utført de mest dødbringende terrorangrepene, får høyest lønn.

Ifølge tall fra Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center 2005, ble det utført 25.770 terrorangrep, 147 selvmordsangrep med 1100 døde israelere og 7500 skadde bare mellom 2000 og 2005.

Vi vet at Fatah alene utførte 214 terrorangrep og 33 selvmordsangrep bare i 2003-2004, i henhold til 2005 Terrorism Review.

Vi vet at grove korrupsjonsanklager har rast i årevis mot både PLO og Fatah. PLO har blitt den rikeste terrororganisasjonen i verden, ifølge britiske National Criminal Intelligence Service 1993 med verdier for rundt 10 milliarder dollar og med en årlig inntekt på 2 milliarder dollar. Vi vet også at Daily Telegraph i 1999 rapporterte hvorledes PLO hadde 50 milliarder dollar hemmelig investert rundt omkring i verden. Likevel har vi stadig brutt brødet med disse.

Norske skattepenger har finansiert alt fra Det Muslimske Brorskap, Hamas og Fatah medlemmers besøk i Oslo, for ikke å snakke om tunisiske PLO, samt forhenværende utenriksminister Jonas Gahr-Støre reiser Midtøsten rundt i skytteltrafikk mellom islamistiske grupper i lang tid, med hemmelige samtaler allerede i 2007 med Hamas’ leder, Khaled Meshaal, noe som sjokkerte hele Vesten.

Vi vet at PA minister, Faisal Husseini, sa til Al-Safir i 2001 at «Vårt overordnede blikk er vendt mot det strategiske mål av å herske fra elven [Jordan] til havet.» Og Hamas’ budskap fra internett: «Vi er en nasjon som drikker blod, og vi vet at intet blod er bedre enn jødenes.»

La meg minne om at det pluralistiske liberaldemokratiet Israel er den eneste staten i Midtøsten der homofile er beskyttet med eget lovverk, man har årlige homoparader, praktiserer full religionsfrihet og kristne minoriteter øker med en høyst fri presse og aktiv offentlig debatt.

Vi vet at Yasser Arafat så sent som i 1996 var i Stockholm og sa at palestinernes langsiktige plan fortsatt var å tilintetgjøre Israel, etablere en ren palestinsk stat og gjøre forholdene i Midtøsten så utålelige at den jødiske minoriteten ikke ville orke å bo der, ifølge Arutz-7 27.2. Dette uttalte han tre år etter at han fikk Nobels fredspris mens PLOs vedtekter om å tilintetgjøre Israel fortsatt ikke var fjernet. Som kjent var en av forutsetningene for Oslo II i 1995 at Arafat avsto fra terrorisme og fjernet vedtekten som uttrykker ønsket om folkemord.

Den nåværende regjeringen har i altfor stor grad vært påvirket av palestinsk propaganda. Oppildnet over vår egen fremgang som oljenasjon og håpet om å bli en internasjonal fredsaktør, har vi lukket øynene for hva vi egentlig finansierer.

Det er ikke underlig at vår rolle som fredsmekler i Midtøsten ser ut til å være over.
(noe utvidet fra Aftenposten 15.1.)

 

 

Talking Democracy In India

 

The Good and the Bad of Modi’s Reelection

Modi supporters in Gujarat. (Amit Dave / Courtesy Reuters)

When the controversial Indian politician Narendra Modi sailed to reelected victory last month in regional elections in Gujarat, it was difficult to find anyone who didn’t have the urge to cry. Some shed tears of joy and others of despair, but any reaction in between was rare. Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is at once celebrated for his dedication to good governance and economic growth and reviled for his autocratic style of governing and alleged role in the brutal violence waged against his state’s minority Muslim community in 2002. Given the passionate feelings that surround him, Modi’s emergence on the national political scene as India’s attention turns to countrywide elections in 2014 could open up a rare substantive debate about the role of government in the world’s largest democracy.

After the results of Gujarat’s election were announced, Modi delivered a fiery acceptance speech in Hindi (as opposed to Gujarati, his native tongue). It was a tell-tale sign that he is setting his sights on national politics. Modi is widely expected to try and stand as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections. The role is likely his for the taking: The BJP has long languished on the opposition benches in New Delhi, its leadership is seen as weak and incoherent, and the party rank and file are demanding a campaign built around competent, efficient governance. Even those within the party and among its coalition partners who find the idea of a Prime Minister Modi abhorrent recognize that there are few plausible alternatives.

Although Modi’s entry into national politics could further polarize India, it also carries a silver lining — one even his detractors should acknowledge. For perhaps the first time in recent memory, an Indian election campaign promises to focus on substantive issues of development and democracy instead of the usual fare of caste politics and clientelism.

This fall, during the run-up to the state election, Modi and his BJP compatriots campaigned heavily on their stewardship of Gujarat’s economy. They pointed to the state’s high growth rates (between 2001 and 2010, its economy grew an average of over 10 percent each year) and favorable business climate (a recent study found that 12.5 percent of outstanding private-sector investments in India are earmarked for Gujarat). Critics, meanwhile, argued that the state’s pro-growth record predates Modi — according to one estimate, Gujarat recorded the highest rate of growth between 1988 and 2003, a boom for which Modi, who took office in 2001, can hardly claim full responsibility. Further, they maintained, growth in the last few years was thanks primarily mostly to the follow-on effects of national economic liberalization in the early 1990s. In those years,  Manmohan Singh, who is the current prime minster but was finance minister at the time, deregulated the private sector, reduced trade barriers, and opened up the economy to greater foreign investment.

All this was to the benefit of Gujarat, which has an entrepreneurial ethos, a large foreign diaspora, and a vast coastline. In the Times of India, one Gujarati businessman recently compared Modi’s role in Gujarati’s good fortunes to icing a cake: “You have a nice cake and Modi has done a lot of good icing.” The debate during the election had no conclusive end, but that in and of itself was not a bad thing: It produced thoughtful policy papers, opinion pieces, and even books by both sides. Voters, too, got in on the discussion of how GDP is calculated and whether it is the best measure of a state’s performance.

The fight over Modi’s economic legacy also broadened into a larger debate over social welfare. Modi’s critics argued that despite high growth rates, Gujarat fares very poorly on a litany of human development indicators. From rates of malnutrition to rates of literacy and infant mortality, Gujarat ranks in the middle or near the bottom of India’s states. Modi’s retort is that Indians should focus not on Gujarat’s absolute position on the scale but on the trends, many of which are improving. He also reiterates that the best solution to Gujarat’s developmental failings — as well as those of India as a whole — would be to concentrate on pro-growth policies in the hope that the benefits will trickle down to the masses. Modi’s opponents disparage his focus on “elite growth,” the worst symbol of which, in their eyes, is his dogged courtship of India’s biggest business families. This debate, too, would not have seemed out of place in an advanced industrial democracy such as the United States.

Beyond economics, the election season sparked a passionate conversation about just how liberal India’s democracy should be. Those who believe that democracy has been too unruly — pointing to, for instance, its dysfunctional judiciary, fragmented party system, and burdensome bureaucracy — cheered Modi’s ambition to construct, in the words of his supporters, “India’s little Singapore.” They applauded his decisive, CEO-style of governing and celebrated his aptitude for attracting domestic and foreign investors. His detractors, however, lamented the fact that Modi has skillfully quashed checks and balances on his authority by restricting other voices within his own party and refusing to appoint anyone to the powerful position of lokayukta (anti-corruption ombudsman), preferring instead to leave the post vacant. Meanwhile, Modi has taken India’s already highly personality-driven politics to the extreme: On the stump, he repeatedly urged adoring crowds to select him, not the BJP, instructing them: “Vote for [me], the one you have known for 11 years.” In a stunning display of savvy electioneering, Modi used 3-D technology to beam his holographic image simultaneously to 52 rallies across the state. In the words of the political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, with the exception of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, “never before had an Indian politician saturated the political space the way [Modi] did” during the 2012 campaign.

Accompanying the discussion about liberalism was one about majoritarianism. Modi’s backers boasted of his unabashed Hindu nationalism, but also reminded critics that there has been no significant outbreak of communal violence in the past decade (the Gujarati metropolis of Ahmedabad nevertheless holds the dubious distinction as the most riot-affected city in post-independence India). Of course, as critics point out, in the aftermath of the 2002 violence, there have also been no real attempts to reconcile Gujarat’s Hindu majority with its Muslims, who comprise nearly ten percent of the state’s population. Despite carrying out a series of fasts to promote statewide peace, the BJP neither nominated a single Muslim candidate nor put forward any inclusionary policies, such as social programs that would benefit the largely urban Muslim poor or encourage less segregation. Instead, the state’s growing ghettos, including Juhapura, home to over 300,000 Muslims, and Citizen Nagar, home to Muslims displaced by communal violence and a huge municipal trash dump, continue to grow in size while their residents struggle for access to basic services such as education and clean water. That neglect did not likely have a material effect on the election outcome — as a voting bloc, Muslims in Gujarat are too small and disorganized to have a dramatic impact — but Modi’s record on issues of concern to Muslims will be hotly debated if he competes for the nation’s top job.

If the BJP backs Modi as its candidate for prime minster, it could inflame social, religious, economic, and political divisions. But it could also provoke a real debate about what kind of India its 1.2 billion citizens want. Given the fierce debate over Gujarat’s economic and social legacy, a Modi candidacy could prompt questions about the most effective policies the government can pursue to attract growth, sustain private investment, ensure that rapid growth can be translated into rapid human development, and protect the rights of the disadvantaged. Such debates about substantive issues are hard to come by in developing democracies, where the temptations of populism and demagoguery are rife. Indeed, in India, the middle class has historically maintained an arm’s length relationship with politics. In recent months, there have been tremors of its awakening, leading to vociferous protests on issues ranging from gender violence to corruption. The rise of Modi, who is fodder for a hearty debate if nothing else, could pull them yet further into the national conversation, making India’s democracy all the stronger.

Originally published by Foreign Affairs

Ehud Barak’s last battle?

An Israeli Lion in Winter
Hawk and dove: Ehud Barak at a press conference, November 2011. (Blair Gable / Courtesy Reuters)
Ehud Barak is one of Israel’s most important leaders — and also one of its most enigmatic and controversial. As defense minister in the current government, Barak prosecuted the November Gaza campaign, handles the Palestinian brief, and, along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, gets the last word on whether to attack Iran — Israel’s most pressing security concern despite the recent focus on Hamas. Given the pariah status of Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, Barak, a frequent presence in Washington, essentially covers that portfolio as well. Yet despite 35 years of military service and more than a decade in public life, Barak remains something of a cipher — a man one of Israel’s leading columnists, Ari Shavit, compares to a stealth bomber (“the usual radar doesn’t capture him”). “I don’t know anyone more difficult to read,” Shavit says.
It’s no wonder: to say that Barak is full of contradictions doesn’t begin to do him justice. Now 70, Barak first came to national prominence in his 30s, as a hero among heroes in a security-obsessed country. An erudite, accomplished classical pianist, Barak was a special forces legend famous for actions such as planning the hostage-rescue raid on Entebbe and sneaking into Lebanon on an assassination run dressed as a woman. He finished his military career as chief of the general staff, then parachuted into politics in 1995, drafted into the left-wing Labor Party by his mentor, then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In 1999, a few years after Rabin’s murder, Barak was elected prime minister himself in a landslide, promising to withdraw from Lebanon and make peace with both the Syrians and the Palestinians. Less than two years later, his peace plans were in ashes, the second intifada was raging, and Barak was out of a job after the shortest tenure of any Israeli leader in history.
Banished from power, he withdrew to a lucrative private life. And then he reinvented himself again. Coming back from exile, he retook the reins of Labor and reentered the government in 2007 as defense minister. When his longtime sparring partner Netanyahu was reelected in 2009, Barak became his closest confidant and most powerful adviser.
Barak’s eyes light up with real affection when he speaks about his former lieutenant; he describes Netanyahu as “capable of deep thought and possessing a deep sense of history.”
Rather than win plaudits or even grudging respect for his return to relevance and his role as “Mr. Security,” however, Barak saw his popularity fall through the floor. In a country famously unable to agree on anything, there is consensus on one issue: almost no one seems to like Barak. A 2010 survey by the independent pollster Dahlia Scheindlin ranked him the least popular major politician in Israel, with a favorability rating of only 22 percent. Although his popularity inched up during the Gaza campaign, most polls taken throughout the fall suggested that he might not even muster enough votes in the January 22 elections to keep his seat in the next Knesset. In one November survey, 60 percent of Israelis polled said they approved of his work as defense minister­, but only three percent said they would vote for him. And so in late November, in a move that stunned everyone, Barak announced that he would not compete in the elections and would withdraw from political life — although he conspicuously avoided ruling out continuing to serve in some capacity if asked.
How was this former idol driven out of politics, and why is he so reviled in his homeland? How did an erstwhile champion of the left become the partner of a right-wing prime minister, so close that they are often referred to as a kitchen cabinet of two, the Batman and Robin of Israeli politics? How did this storied warrior become first a devoted peacemaker and then, later, an arch-hawk on Iran? What does Barak actually believe, and what will become of him after January? For if there’s one indisputable fact about this most polarizing of figures, it’s that he is hard to get rid of — and every retreat lays the groundwork for an eventual counterattack.
A COMPLICATED MAN
The best way to answer the questions surrounding Barak is to start with his history, especially the tumultuous last 13 years. When we met this past fall to discuss them, the defense minister seemed supremely relaxed. The bloodshed in Gaza had yet to begin, but it was already a hectic moment in Israel’s always frenetic political life: the Knesset was voting that day to dissolve itself ahead of the upcoming elections, and the halls were thronged with TV cameras, frantic aides, and stony-faced bodyguards. Yet inside Barak’s cramped, drab parliamentary office, all was calm. Dressed in a black suit and white shirt with no tie (the dress uniform of an Israeli politician), Barak, feet on a coffee table, looked older and more tired than he does in photographs but still projected gruff confidence. Surveying his record, Barak told me he felt “neither guilt nor self-pity.” He paused, then continued, “I feel kind of . . . content about every choice that I’ve made in the past. I don’t feel the need to complain or explain too much.”
Such sangfroid, real or affected, is remarkable given the number of daring and dangerous gambits Barak has attempted in his career — and even more so given how many of them have failed disastrously. The most prominent failure, of course, and the one likely to forever define Barak’s legacy, was his attempt as prime minister to cut the Gordian knots binding Israel to permanent insecurity by ending the conflicts with Syria and the Palestinians and the two-decade-long occupation of Lebanon. It’s hard to overstate the audacity of this triple bank shot. Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. State Department adviser who worked with Barak on the peace process, described it, with only a little hyperbole, as “a wacko agenda that bordered on the megalomaniacal.”
The history of how it went wrong, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with the Syrians and at Camp David with Yasir Arafat, has been written and rewritten countless times from all perspectives. There is no clear consensus on who bears the lion’s share of the blame for the talks’ collapse, but most analysts put at least some on Barak — for his waffling (with the Syrians) and his haste and highhandedness (with Arafat). If the causes are disputable, however, the consequences are not. Instead of peace coming to the Middle East, the Syrian track stalled and the Palestinians hit Israel with a bloody uprising. Israeli troops did pull out of Lebanon, but the withdrawal was chaotic and accompanied by Hezbollah rocket fire.
As the flames mounted, Barak’s electoral coalition, much of which he had alienated through careless and dictatorial management, began to crumble. Ariel Sharon, another former war hero who then led the Likud Party, offered to form a national unity government. Barak refused, deciding to take his chances in early elections — and was trounced.
Barak retreated to the business world of Tel Aviv to lick his wounds and make money — lots of it, by all accounts. He bought a flashy apartment for millions of dollars. He divorced his wife (and the mother of his children) and married a childhood sweetheart. Earning big and living large is not uncommon for ex-politicians in the West, but it is still deemed unseemly in Israel, which clings to the myth of its Spartan pioneer roots, and Barak was excoriated for it in the press.
But then came Israel’s botched war with Lebanon in 2006, a fiasco that offered the exile an opportunity to muscle his way back into politics. Retaking control of Labor from the feckless Amir Peretz — a former trade unionist who, as defense minister, had mishandled the conflict — Barak cast himself as a more humble, experienced politician who had learned from his mistakes, telling his party he understood that “there are no shortcuts and leadership is not a one-man show.” The party bought it, and he replaced Peretz in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima-led coalition government.
Then, in 2008, Olmert was forced to resign because of corruption allegations, and new elections brought Netanyahu and the Likud back to power. This development proved awkward for Barak, who had promised during the campaign not to join a Netanyahu government. But in one of the most striking turns in his switchback career, he pirouetted once again, dragging a reluctant Labor into the Likud coalition. When, a few months later, Labor rebelled and prepared to bolt from the government, Barak jumped first, leading four other legislators out of Labor and into a new party, Atzmaut (Independence). The gambit worked in that it allowed the renegades to stay in the government. But it gutted Labor, reducing the parliamentary bloc of Israel’s once-dominant party to a meager eight seats (out of 120), and the process cost Barak much of his remaining public support.
Ask any American or Israeli analyst with firsthand experience how to make sense of Barak, and you’ll hear the same thing again and again: that Barak is the ultimate strategic thinker.
Barak then proceeded to forge a remarkably close working relationship with the new prime minister. Understanding how these former adversaries, the longtime standard-bearers of Israel’s left and right, could evolve such an intimate alliance requires understanding two distinctive aspects of Israeli political life. The first is that the country’s fractious parliamentary system, with its numerous small parties, makes coalitions among unlikely partners surprisingly common. The second is the dominance of Israel’s military culture. Virtually all Israelis spend time in the army, a life-defining experience that generates profound social cohesion. Barak and Netanyahu, moreover, aren’t just ordinary veterans. They served together in Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s most elite commando force, an outfit so legendary that it’s known in Hebrew simply as “the Unit.”
Barak’s eyes light up with real affection when he speaks about his former lieutenant; he describes Netanyahu (known in Israel almost exclusively as “Bibi”) as “capable of deep thought and possessing a deep sense of history,” explaining their relationship this way:
Israel is not a nation of 300 million. The whole elite is probably just several thousand people, and they all know each other. So Israeli politics is familial. I first met Bibi when he was only 20 years old. I was eight years older. I was the commander of his unit, and both of his brothers were also in it. That’s a formative experience. The unit was very small, and we were stretched to the utmost. And I became a kind of operational mentor to Bibi. I guided him, directed him in his first missions. There has always been a mutual respect, a kind of appreciation, a basic trust.
Indeed, most analysts who know the two men say that despite their differences and past political battles, they retain a deep and genuine bond. Barak and Netanyahu “have a high regard for themselves and each other,” explained David Makovsky, a former diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz. “They both see themselves as big-picture guys. They come out of the special forces culture and are far more similar than they are different.”
Of course, the pair’s odd-couple routine has also served both of them extremely well. Barak has given Netanyahu centrist cover, making the prime minister’s otherwise hard-right coalition look more mainstream and giving it greater legitimacy on military issues. Netanyahu, for his part, has given his old commander power and relevance that Barak, with his lack of popular support, couldn’t access otherwise. The resulting deal, as Miller described it, “is like what they say about old age: not great unless you consider the alternative.” Both sides come out ahead: “Bibi is likely to be the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, and Barak gets to be in the middle of the decision-making process at one of the most critical stages in Israel’s life.” Netanyahu’s strategic timidity and general risk aversion — his boldness is more apparent in words than deeds — only sweetens the bargain. Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, told me that “Bibi’s caution makes it possible for Barak to do his own thing” — an irresistible prospect for someone used to giving orders.
THE STRATEGIST
All this history and background helps explain two important things about Barak: his basic psychology and how he came to his current positions on the critical issues in his portfolio, Iran and the Palestinians.
Ask any American or Israeli analyst with firsthand experience how to make sense of Barak’s serpentine career, his successes and failures, and his unpopularity, and you’ll hear the same thing again and again: that Barak is the ultimate strategic thinker. An inveterate risk taker — one former army commander of Barak’s told me that as a soldier, the young commando devised schemes that often had him facing tzalash or tarash (commendation or demotion) — Barak still sees the world as a battlefield or a chessboard. This means that he always thinks several steps ahead. But it also means that he must make countless predictions about how other players will respond, and he then assumes that by force of will, he can ensure that they act accordingly. Indyk put it this way: “There’s a legend about Barak that as a hobby he takes apart clocks and puts them together again. His plans are like that: always incredibly intricate and carefully thought through and drilled and drilled. But when they’re applied, they often end up being too clever by half because humans aren’t clocks.” Added Makovsky: “When you think ahead by six steps, there are at least six, if not 12, 24, or 48 assumptions you have to make. When it works, it’s brilliant. When it fails, it collapses horribly” — as did Barak’s grand peace overtures, his decision as prime minister to spurn Sharon’s offer and seek early elections, and his move to split Labor.
Barak’s history also reveals a profound lack of concern for ideological consistency, a supreme faith in pragmatic realpolitik. Critics such as Miller see this as a lack of scruples: “I think that, much like Bibi, you’re dealing with a guy whose principles are capable of being reshaped in response to political exigencies.” But Barak and his defenders explain his behavior in another way: as a willingness to do whatever’s necessary to safeguard Israel’s security, even at the risk of appearing inconsistent. As he told me the day after our first meeting, when we reconvened in his much more impressive office atop the towering Ministry of Defense building in the Kirya, in central Tel Aviv, “I am a man of action — I never hesitate to take action.” “I follow, and am very committed to, the tradition of Yitzhak Rabin and David Ben-Gurion [Israel’s founding father],” he said, pointing to their portraits on his office wall, “because their approach was to always be open-eyed and wholly realistic about the need to do what’s necessary.”
Israel, Barak said, is heading into “a historic tragedy” in the West Bank.
This philosophy, along with Barak’s bruising history as a policymaker, has done much to shape his thinking on current events. His current hawkishness on Iran, his readiness to strike Gaza, and even his latest position on the Palestinian peace process — he still favors a two-state solution, but one achieved by Israel’s unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank — can seem, when contrasted with his early record as a peacemaker, like the reaction of a dove mugged by reality. But the hawk-dove divide is hard to parse in Israel, which has a long history of pragmatic warriors who chose to extend an olive branch when the time seemed right — think Rabin, another ex-general, who later received the Nobel Peace Prize for his shepherding of the Oslo accords, or even Shimon Peres, who started out as the father of Israel’s nuclear program but later, as foreign minister, pursued peace talks with Arafat. These same leaders also proved willing to pick up the sword again when circumstances warranted. Barak self-consciously aligns himself with this tradition, so it should be no surprise that his positions can seem to contradict one another over time.
Consider how his stance on Iran’s nuclear program — which remains Israel’s main strategic preoccupation­ — has shifted during his current tenure. After becoming, with Netanyahu, the most forceful advocate of an attack on Iran, hinting darkly all through the spring and summer of 2012 that Israel would act soon if the United States didn’t, Barak suddenly seemed to relax the timeline for a strike during the fall. He told me the explanation for the change was simple: the Iranians had suddenly diverted a third of their enriched uranium fuel rods to medical research. When I pressed him on why Tehran would have done this, he conceded that it was probably because Israeli threats and U.S.-led sanctions had worked — in other words, that Iran had acted rationally and been deterred. Yet he continued to insist that deterrence wouldn’t work if Iran went nuclear and that Israel had to do everything in its power to prevent such a catastrophe.
That may sound inconsistent, but Barak’s basic approach to security, although he never articulated it as such, boils down to expecting the worst and acting accordingly. It’s a logical position for a chastened former peacemaker. It explains why he argues in the alternative when making his case against Iran, insisting that even if the mullahs probably don’t intend to attack Israel directly — “I don’t believe that they’re developing a nuclear capacity because of Israel per se,” he told me — they just might do so anyway. (Here he pointed me to a 2001 speech by former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani calling Israel a “one-bomb country” and to the work of Bernard Lewis, the Princeton scholar who has compared Iran’s regime to a doomsday cult willing to embrace the apocalypse.) Even if Iran never attacks, Barak continued, Iran’s getting the bomb would still enable its hegemonic pretensions in the neighborhood, empower its proxies, set off a regional arms race, undermine Israel’s strategic monopoly in the Middle East, and raise the risk that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.
Barak’s pessimism also extends to the United States. It explains why he and Netanyahu were willing to push President Barack Obama to go much further in making a commitment to prevention than the White House wanted — a move Barak called “a major achievement.” This campaign has led to accusations that Barak acted in bad faith, making threats he never intended to carry out merely to box Washington into a corner, forcing it to take a stronger position. Nahum Barnea, another of the country’s most influential columnists, described Barak’s efforts last spring and summer to me as a “$3 billion lobbying operation,” in which Israel spent nearly its entire annual defense aid allotment from the United States on measures meant not to convince Iran of the imminence of an attack but rather to convince the United States — so that Washington would take the threat seriously and harden its own policy in order to head off a possible conflict.
Barak denies such a cynical interpretation of his actions. But even if he was trying to game Washington, his pessimism ensures that he’ll never be completely assuaged by U.S. security guarantees. His skepticism stems, in part, from a clear-eyed assessment of the two countries’ differing priorities. “When America looks at the Iran situation, they look at it from the other side of the globe,” he said. “They may worry about Iranian nuclear proliferation, but it appears, at most, as another blip on a big screen with other blips on it. For us, today, Iran is the only major blip; it fills the screen.”
Barak’s position also owes to his reading of history. “Over the last three decades, there were six cases of nonsuperpowers who tried to turn nuclear,” he told me, gesturing at a big world map on the wall of his Kirya office. “North Korea and Pakistan succeeded. Libya and South Africa were derailed. And Iraq and Syria were physically blocked. The very fact that six tried and two succeeded tells you that anything can happen. I really trust and believe that Obama means what he says [when he talks about preventing Iran from getting a bomb], but there is a limit to what he can commit himself to doing in the future.” Later, he added, “When Pakistan was trying to get the bomb, the Americans bribed them with F-16s not to. Now, some of those same F-16s are wired to carry Pakistani A-bombs. And remember Clinton and North Korea. He was determined to stop them. But look what happened.”
Such a jaundiced view of history also lies behind Barak’s advocacy of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from most of the West Bank. Barak’s motivation here has little or nothing to do with Palestinian well-being. His argument is twofold: one, that ending the occupation would strengthen Israel’s moral and political standing against Iran, and two, that it would defuse the demographic time bomb facing the Jewish state. Israel, he said, is heading into “a historic tragedy” in the West Bank: “The painful reality is that between the Jordan River and the sea, we have 12 million people: 7.5 [million] Israelis and 4.5 million Palestinians. If over this ground, there is only one sovereign, called Israel, it will inevitably become either non-Jewish or nondemocratic, since there’s no question that in the long run, it will have an Arab majority. So I believe we have to do something. I don’t believe in waiting.”
UNFORGIVEN
One might expect such positions to endear Barak to at least some of the Israeli public. After all, fear of an Iranian bomb and the determination to keep Tehran from getting one are almost universal in Israel, even on the left; that’s why war remains a distinct possibility under the next government, just as it has been for the current one. Meanwhile, a clear majority of Israelis favor a two-state solution, even though they are also disgusted by the terror tactics and lack of leadership on the Palestinian side. Yet although his forceful response to missile fire from Gaza won Barak respect, instead of giving him credit for trying to solve the underlying Palestinian problem (unlike Netanyahu, who seems determined to ignore it), most Israelis accuse him of manipulating the issue for personal positioning. And they suspect something similar about his stance on Iran, an issue on which Barak stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister until the current campaign season.
Such charges are probably unfair. While no experienced politician ever disregards political calculations, let alone during an election cycle, Barak deserves more credit than he typically gets for advocating bold policies not always popular or in line with his own government. Indeed, he’s been doing so for years, if inconsistently. He first raised unilateralism on the peace process, for example, shortly after the collapse of the Camp David talks more than a decade ago.
The worst crime Barak committed in the eyes of the public is the way he exposed as a fantasy the idea that a negotiated peace with the Palestinians was possible.
The fact that he’s nonetheless treated with suspicion underlines what is probably the greatest of all the mysteries surrounding Barak: why, exactly, the country he has fought so hard to protect holds him in such low esteem. The numbers are striking. Barak told me that he thought he would need about 120,000 votes to make it into the next Knesset. That’s a tiny number, even for Israel — about as much support as one would need to become mayor of Milwaukee or Albuquerque. Yet his decision to drop out of the race suggested that he did not expect to clear even that low bar.
There’s something tragic about that. For all his faults, Barak has repeatedly put his life and career on the line for his country, which he has served for 50 years. In the words of Aluf Benn, editor in chief of Haaretz, Barak “has one of the best analytic minds in the world, let alone Israel.” Even Barak’s detractors admit the man is brilliant. Indeed, Benn adds, Barak is responsible for “most of the original ideas in Israeli security and foreign policy thinking in the last 20 years.” In a land of dirty politicians, furthermore, Barak is more or less clean. Yet leaders such as Lieberman and Olmert, both of whom have been convicted of criminal charges, are more popular and are seen as viable candidates while Barak, whom one commentator recently called “the man everyone loves to hate,” is not. Even his most frequently cited failures were not unmitigated disasters, Shavit points out: “At the end of the day, the unilateral retreat from Lebanon was messy, but it saved us. It saved us because it ended our occupation of southern Lebanon and gave legitimacy to our struggle against Hezbollah. The peace initiative in 2000, although it did not lead to peace, also saved us by giving us the internal and external legitimacy needed to fend off the Palestinian terror offensive of 2000 to 2004.” That Barak gets no credit “points to something flawed and distorted in [Israel’s] public life,” Shavit said.
As such comments suggest, none of the conventional explanations for Barak’s low standing suffice, although peers and the public have plenty of cause for frustration. The case against Barak usually starts with his abandonment of Labor — even though other Israeli leaders (such as Sharon and Olmert) have ditched their parties and not suffered for it. It then moves on to his strategic blunders — although here, too, he is hardly alone. His personal shortcomings are often cited: Barak is not a strong public speaker or even particularly smooth talking in person (he has, for example, a disconcerting habit of grabbing his gut to emphasize a point). Although charming when he wants to be, he doesn’t suffer fools: when we first met, he wouldn’t really engage until he’d grilled me on my professional and intellectual credentials. As he himself put it, “I’m not a great pretender. I can’t pretend. I don’t want to pretend.” Nor does he think much about his image: on the day of our first interview, he was eating a Popsicle and didn’t bother to get up when I walked into the room; for our next session, at the Defense Ministry, he wore a black Hawaiian shirt.
But such bluntness is no great sin and might even be considered endearing in another politician. More troubling is his lack of social or emotional intelligence. He’s often called aloof and arrogant — not for nothing do his friends call him Napoleon — and he is infamous for acting like he’s the smartest guy in the room, as though “surrounded by mental pygmies,” according to Makovsky. During our conversations, Barak managed to drop references to Nietzsche, de Gaulle, Spinoza, Baudrillard, Maimonides, Milton Friedman, Jeffrey Sachs, and Copernicus. Barak suffers from having “always been told that he was the brightest guy in the class, the platoon, the military command,” said one former high Israeli official who has advised several prime ministers. “He thinks so highly of himself that he cannot have a real conversation with anybody.” Another official is reported to have said, “Barak can tell you everything you’ve ever said in your life, but he makes clear that he hasn’t listened to a word of it.”
Such shortcomings have cost him with colleagues, aides, and the public. “He’s not a man who bears a grudge,” said a former U.S. official who often dealt with Barak. “So he doesn’t expect others to bear a grudge toward him, which is part of why he’s so inadequate as a politician. He’s all brain and no heart.” Yet even these traits, like the ostentatious apartment that got him savaged in the press, shouldn’t be enough to nullify his substantial public record, especially with a population not known for its social skills and full of brusque and blemished politicians.
The real explanation for Barak’s struggle with the public thus probably lies elsewhere — in the way that he has managed, throughout his career, to inadvertently strike the raw nerves in Israel’s collective psyche, exposing its own deepest conflicts and pathologies. Many of Barak’s boldest and most controversial actions, after all, have held up an unflattering mirror to the Israeli public, and that public, not liking what it has seen, has responded by looking away and blaming him for it.
The younger Barak represented the old Israeli ideal: a selfless warrior-intellectual, born and bred on a collectivist kibbutz, who rose to the pinnacle of power. But then he failed spectacularly, embraced consumer capitalism and started earning and spending wildly, and eventually abandoned the left entirely. His path resembles the country’s own a little too closely for comfort. Rejecting him seems to help many Israelis assuage their uneasiness about following a similar trajectory.
But the worst crime Barak committed in the eyes of the public, and the one many Israelis will never forgive him for, is the way, in 2000, he exposed as a fantasy the idea that a negotiated peace with the Palestinians was possible. Barak himself blames Arafat for the collapse of the Camp David talks and says that all he did was “unmask” the Palestinian leader. But for at least half the population, Barak’s great sin was, as Barnea put it, “blowing up the myth and showing Israelis the tragic truth.” Shavit agreed: “Barak has many faults, and he failed personally in many ways. But when you see that Lieberman is forgiven where Barak is not, you come to the conclusion that the Israeli left cannot forgive him for trying peace and proving that the old naive peace theory was wrong. This is a national trauma, and many demonize him for it.”
STAYING ALIVE
Whatever his critics might think, Barak has no intention of simply fading away. His abrupt announcement in November of his coming exit from politics may signal the end of his career — but don’t count on it. There are plenty of stories of Israeli politicians who managed to return from the political grave merely by sticking around. Miller points out that “in Israeli politics, you can be dead, or you can be dead and buried.” Barak is merely the former, and he clearly draws hope from the cases of Peres, who as president at 89 has finally found the kind of public approval that long eluded him, and Rabin, who spent more than a decade in the wilderness before regaining power.
Barak could conceivably pull off a similar resurrection. The Israeli right, now represented by a new megaparty including Netanyahu’s Likud and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, doesn’t look likely to expand beyond its base in the elections. The center will be up for grabs if the Kadima Party — currently the largest party in the Knesset — gets wiped out, as expected. And no candidates on the left have serious national security credentials or true leadership experience. “Only Barak has the personal gravitas and foreign policy background to match Bibi,” says Benn, and Barak knows it.
Ironically, perhaps, his hopes now rest on the loyalty of his old lieutenant, Netanyahu, who is likely to win the election and could then name Barak, although not in the Knesset, defense minister through a procedure known as a personal appointment. Many Israelis suspect that is precisely what Barak is counting on. Walking away from politics as he did, riding high on his performance in the Gaza operation, has allowed him to turn certain defeat into one last shot at relevance. The resignation, ironically, “maximizes his chance of being called back into service,” says Shlomo Avineri, a veteran Israeli analyst. Amir Mizroch, an Israeli journalist and blogger, calls it “a truly Sayeret Matkal-like operation — uncanny, unpredictable, with little or no chance of success, but if pulled off, extremely brilliant.” Mizroch explains: “By exiting gracefully at the helm of a party that had zero chance of crossing the electoral threshold, Barak positions himself as . . . the elder statesman-general that any prime minister” — especially one with few other good options and desperate not to lose his best conduit to Washington — “would be wise to keep at his side.”
The daredevil strategist, it seems, is at it again. His final gambit could still fail, as so many have before. But even if it does, Ehud Barak is unlikely to vanish from Israeli life for long.
Originally published by Foreign Affair.

 

Til Siv Jensen og FRPs ledelse

Det er bekymringsfullt at FRP ligger så lavt på målingene. Jeg tror det må mye mer synlighet til på sosiale medier og i mediene generelt. Dere må for all del få ut budskapet om at den økonomiske politikken henger på greip, og at den vil øke kvaliteten på nordmenns liv i alle aldre. Utspill om øl og puber blir bare dumt.

Vis oss hvordan infrastrukturen i Norge skal moderniseres. Vis oss hvordan vi skal utvikle verdens beste kunnskapssamfunn, med verdensledende skoler og minst ett universitet blant de 5 beste i verden, med forskning og utvikling som skaper morgensdagens kunnskapsbaserte samfunn og næringsliv. Et slikt universitet kan gjerne være privat drevet, men med full statlig finansiering. Staten er ikke god på å drive universiteter. Lær av hvordan verdens 5 beste universiteter er drevet i dag, og tilpass en slik modell i Norge.

Fei byråkratene ut av departementskorridorene! Der gjør mange av dem lite nytte.

Vis oss hvordan dere legger om all bistand til fremme for norske økonomiske interesser, slik at bistandspolitikken blir del av nærings og kunnskapspolitikken. Vi har faktsik mye å lære av Kina i bistandspolitikken.

Slutt fred med Kina. Fjern helt fra Statsbudsjettet den internasjonale NGO’en på utdanningfeltet som angivelig driver spionasje rettet mot Kina fra Oslo på vegne av utenlandske etterretningorganisasjoner. Det vil kunne bidra til å blidgjøre kineserne.

Vis oss at det blir slutt på islamiseringen av Norge. Islamisme kan defineres som en ideologi på linje med nazismen: Aggresiv, voldelig, ekspensjonistisk, med mål om å tilegne seg makt i Norge og Europa for å omgjøre samfunnet til sharia samfunn. Vi har verken tid eller råd til å snuble på dette området lenger.

Holder målingene seg, kan dere danne regjering alene med Høyre. Dere bør sette alt inn på det, slik at dere slipper å ta hensyn til Krf og Venstre.

Et valgresultat under 20% vil jeg tro er uakseptabelt for FRP. Men da må dere ut til folket i by og grend med en helhetlig politikk på alle samfunnets områder. NÅ! Og ikke flere komiske utspill om øl og puber.

Bomringsaken er ikke viktig. Den vinner ikke velgere.

Vis fram en robust helhetlig økonomisk politikk. Vis at dere vil gjøre det norske helsevesenet til verdens beste. Vis at dere vil gjøre eldreomsorgen til verdens beste. Og at utdanning, forskning og utvikling i Norge blir verdensledende. Bygget på høyest muig kvalitet. Rettet mot økonomisk vekst via kunnskap.

For alt dette har Norge råd til. 4% regelen er omtrent som Moseloven: Et dogme som kan brukes med bedre forstand. Vi trenger ikke gjøre alt hjemme. Vi kan utmerket godt bygge og drive eldreomsorg i utlandet der det er billigere, vi kan utmerket godt ha et norsk verdensledende universitet og forsking f.eks. i India, der det er billigere. Eller i Spania.

Kanskje mange fler i FRP bør skrive forstandige kronikker i aviser og medier nå. Være ledende i debatten, vise frem at det tenkes, og tenkes godt i FRP. Vis at med FRP får vi et mye bedre Norge.

Jeg stoler ikke helt på Høyre, de holder sjelden valgløfter etter min erfaring. Det er dere i FRP som må stå fram og forandre Norge til det nye verdensledende, moderne kvalitetssamfunnet vi har råd til å ha. Som vi bør ha. I den prosessen bør dere gjøre det umulig for innvandrere å snylte på det offentlige.

Drei innvandrings-politikken. Ikke ta inn asylsøkere lenger, Ikke ta inn islamister lenger. Legg om til ren arbeidsinnvandring av dyktige og ferdigutdannede mennesker som kan gå rett inn og bidra til økonomisk og kvalitativ vekst i Norge. La oss komme oss ut av konvensjoner som binder oss til import av flyktninger og asylsøkere, en innvandring vi har mistet helt kontrollen over.

Og for all del: Vis velgerne hvordan FRP vil sikre at bestemmelsene i Grunnlovens paragraf 2 gjennomføres i praksis, slik at hele samfunnet bygger på bestemmelsen i Norges Grunnlov om at: “Værdigrundlaget forbliver vor kristne og humanistiske Arv. Denne Grundlov skal sikre Demokratiet, Retsstaten og Menneskerettighederne.” Denne paragrafen bør vi aldri tillate blir fjernet eller vannet ned.

The Islamists taking power in Europe 1

Strange Days

Our Spanish correspondent Hermes takes a hard look at the present phantasmagorical reality of Modern Multicultural Europe, and the imminent dystopian future that inevitably awaits it.

Outraged citizen in Belgium

Strange Days
by Hermes

These are strange days indeed.

What we are witnessing in these days is the fading away of entire societies, the gradual disappearance of a way of life and a set of values which may well have been their own hangmen. Democracy somehow does not seem to work as it should, or as one thinks it should. Democracy is backfiring on the West itself.

Some weeks ago in the district of Molenbeek in Belgium, an Islamist political party called “Islam Party” succeeded in installing Redouane Ahrouch, the very founder of the Islam Party, and Lhoucine Ait Jeddig into the City Councils of Anderlecht and Molenbeek-St. Jean respectively, thanks to votes from those towns’ significant Muslim populations. Redouane Ahrouch himself stated that: “We are elected Islamists, but above all, we are really and truly Muslims,” and that “we will become an Islamic state.” This was said openly in front of TV cameras by a newly-elected member to a Belgian City Council. Sometime later, and while the pledge ceremony was taking place, an outraged citizen stood up and figuratively slapped the Town Council’s face with the (otherwise openly declared) truth about those two new Muslim council members.

So what is all the fuss about? A majority of citizens voted for a party which wants to introduce an absolute dictatorial ruling system which is the exact opposite of democracy. That is, the introduction of a totalitarian ruling system is being carried out through democratic means. Democracy itself is allowing dictatorship to emerge. That is, a given political system is allowing itself to be overthrown by a new one, which in theory should be prevented from emerging by the previous one.

By the way — the reaction of this outraged citizen was something to be highly praised, and also an example to be followed by everybody… but the problem is that this courageous and fully justified reaction to the dreadful events that were taking place in the city council was, tragically enough, a reaction against the outcome of a democratic process. So in the eyes of democracy, his reaction was, again tragically enough, barely justified.

Remember this? ““Thanks to your democratic laws, we will overtake you; thanks to your religious laws, we will rule over you.” This statement was uttered by the Imam of Izmir, the citation itself coming from Gernot Facius in the newspaper Die Welt on 06.10.2001.

They could not express themselves more openly. This is as if the Achaeans had been telling the citizens of Troy that they would build a wooden horse, hide inside it, and once the horse had been towed inside the walls, they would spring out and take over the city — and the inhabitants of Troy were providing the Achaeans with wooden planks, nails and ropes in order to build the horse.

It is exactly the same. The west is enabling Muslims to form political parties, with the help of which sharia — the exact opposite of pluralism and democracy — is slowly being introduced into the democratic system itself, thus undermining it. Democracy is allowing itself to be abolished.

And this is happening all over Europe. Muslims are slowly becoming members of political parties and of local, national and the European parliament while also participating in Islamic associations. And parallel to this, the Muslim population steadily increases, thanks to immigration and the high birth rate within this community. That is, a voter base is being slowly created in order to overthrow democracy in a democratic way.

According to the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, the very success of democracy spells the death of democracy itself. Factions fighting for power would arise within the democratic government. And because these factions only see democracy as a tool to be used to ascend into power, their squabbling and abuse of democratic principles create chaos and disorder in the system.

Should restrictions on democracy be imposed? Nowadays this is scarcely imaginable, since in this case we would no longer be talking about democracy, and there seems to be a general obsession with democracy as the first and foremost system of government, without which no life would be possible on earth.

“Democracy” is the mantra of these strange days we are now living in. Democracy is being exported to the Middle East, and the result of this has come surprisingly quickly, as the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi decided to grant himselfsweeping powers.

Many say that democracy is flawed, a political system with many drawbacks and pitfalls. But perhaps one could say that democracy itself is flawless. The problem lies not in the system itself, but with the people who take part in. It is like when one says that alcohol causes traffic accidents. It is not alcohol causing them, but people drinking too much. And it is not free access to weapons that causes school shootings, but the irresponsible behavior of people who use them. It’s humans, and not the system itself, who are flawed — namely by greed, hatred and delusion. And by this I mean not only politicians, but the easily influenced masses.

Given this regrettable situation in Europe, perhaps one has no option but to observe silently the unfolding scenario. Muslims are becoming not only a mere demographic, but also an elective majority, and all the more so since native Europeans are leaving the continent in great numbers, in this way passively augmenting the number of Muslims who will vote for their own Muslim representatives, as has already happened in Molenbeek in Belgium. This was long ago forecasted, but because the Western man, contrary to Muslims, seems to generally to lack the capacity for long-term thinking, or simply an ability to take long-term warnings seriously, this was bound to happen.

The demographic boom of the Muslim population is occurring in parallel with an overwhelming diaspora of native Europeans, and this may trigger a gloomy scenario: soon there will not be a large enough native European workforce to be squeezed in order to continue giving welfare benefits to the exponentially increasing number of immigrants plus their children.

European professionals are giving up their current life and leaving Europe in ever-growing numbers. They are leaving a continent which is steadily sinking intopoverty and turning into an asylum center for the entire world. The Dutch are leaving The Netherlands out of fear of the overwhelming flood of Muslim immigrants who have no intention of integrating, but plan to turn the entire country into an uninhabitable sharia swamp. The native British are also fleeing their homeland, deserting the UK while new floods of immigrants are expected to arrive to the shores of England, and the most recent data show that this trend is accelerating.

Germany is also losing its most talented citizens, who are looking for a better life abroad, while the country is increasingly suffering from a nationwide plague of immigrant-related crime, all in the face of the most blatant indifference and passivity of the authorities, who are even (still) trying to depict the unfolding cataclysm as something positive and enriching.

France also has its share of all this mess, of course, where the little-known, but — in spite of all the efforts made by the MSM and French politicians to conceal and/or ridicule it — certainly present phenomenon of anti-white racism is slowly but surely becoming an everyday reality for the native French. Many of the natives are looking for better opportunities in French-speaking territories such as Quebec. In this case, as in others mentioned above, and more to follow, it is about young and educated people with an enterprising spirit who migrate. They see no chances to succeed in today’s Europe, a ramshackle continent struggling to keep its political and financial structures in one piece, which are irremediably bound to collapse.

Spain, which is the European country with the highest unemployment rate in the EU, is also losing thousands of talented people who seek a better future in, most interestingly, such countries as Ecuador, a country from which some years ago nationals flooded to Spain in order to take their share of the booming construction industry, or Brazil, where authorities had to set up restrictions on Spaniards landing in the country of samba and cairipinha, including holding a return ticket with a fixed departure date or enough financial resources to live in the country. Has any European country ever taken such measures regarding immigration?

Portugal has recently experienced a brutal increase in the number of nationals emigrating from the country. 80% of Portuguese nationals emigrating outside of Europe land in Angola, but another preferred destination is of course Brazil, a country which both experienced professionals and newly-graduated engineers see as a new land of opportunity in order to make advance professionally or start a career.

One may be tempted to draw parallels between this and other European diasporas such as that of Swedish emigration to America during the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, or that which took place from Ireland after the potato famine broke out in 1845. But in those cases it was just immigration, and not population replacement, as now happens in the West. Young, educated and entrepreneurial Europeans are leaving the continent en masse, and this gap is being filled with millions of uneducated, uncivilized, and mostly aggressive people coming from cultures in which social standards are quite different from those of Europe. A population replacement is occurring with the excuse that the Western population is aging and shrinking. But what are the reasons for this aging and shrinking? By now everybody must have a clue about this. These immigrants come from countries in which honor killing, stoning, child-abuse and other barbarities are already present, or are slowly becoming the norm. And it is precisely this kind of people which are most likely to shape the future of the European continent.

History has seldom witnessed such a degree of blindness and ignorance on the part of the ruling elites (even taking into consideration that all what they do is willful), who continue with their infamous machinations even in spite of the consequences of their policies knocking at their doors, and this cannot therefore be described as a simple miscalculation or the wrong policies having been chosen. If one sees that certain policies have effects which were initially not desired, then one tends to abolish them, or put into effect new policies which counteract those erroneous ones taken earlier. Or, as this essay states: “When an experiment or a medical trial is injurious and damaging to its subjects and patients, one usually stops it. If the experiment continues, those responsible will likely face investigation and later prosecution.” There may be a certain degree of miscalculation indeed, but this may be due to the insane and irrational nature of the very roots from which these kind of policies originate. Because the creators of these directives are adamantly convinced that they are right, they are also adamantly convinced that things must turn out as they have planned, and anybody contradicting them and/or pointing to the blatant mistakes and to the even more blatant outcomes of their paranoid acts is to be promptly squashed with the never-fading “Nazi-fascist” mantra.

An ideology based on utopian visions of the world and societies, an ideology created and promoted by those whose thirst for power and control over people mixes with surreal ideas about how societies which have been perfectly functional for centuries must ideally look like (as if they were affirming that until now, and for centuries, societies have been functioning on the basis of erroneous paradigms!), and of how members of that society must be, according to the parameters of their utopian theories.

These days we are living in are strange days indeed. Citing Takuan Seiyo: “These are historic, incredible times. Walk through them with wide open eyes, for nothing like this has happened since the fall of Rome.”

These times are incredible indeed. They will provide historians of the future with sufficient material to study and debate for several human lifespans.

Originally published by Gates of Vienna.

Tensions flare between UAE and Muslim Brotherhood

Tensions flare between UAE and Muslim Brotherhood

Tension is mounting between the United Arab Emirates and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, especially since the Emirates arrested Egyptians linked to Brotherhood leaders. France24.com takes a closer look.

By Marc DAOU (text)

Tensions between the United Arab Emirates and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist movement, do not appear to be easing in the new year.

On January 1, Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej reported that authorities in the Gulf state had arrested 10 members of an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell. “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has conducted many courses and lectures for the members of the secret organisation regarding the election and the ways of changing regimes in Arab countries,” the paper said.

The suspects are accused of holding “secret meetings” in the Emirates, recruiting “Egyptian expats in the UAE to join their ranks”, and raising “large amounts of money which they sent illegally to the mother organisation in Egypt”. The article also alleged that the suspects collected classified information regarding matters of UAE defence.

Two days later, the Egyptian Senate reacted by establishing a commission to investigate the matter, with the aim of working “towards the release of Egyptian doctors in the Emirates and investigate the circumstances of [their] arrest”.

An Egyptian emissary on Wednesday was sent to Dubai to meet Emirati leaders and deliver a letter to the nation’s president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmud Ghozlan told Agence France Presse that the arrests were part of “an unjust campaign” against Egyptian expatriates in the UAE, saying that the accusations against them were unfounded.

Fears of a ‘domino effect’

Experts in the politics of the region are hardly surprised by the diplomatic flare-up. “With the exception of Qatar, the Gulf monarchies have a tumultuous relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood,” explained political scientist Karim Sader, who specialises in the Gulf nations.

Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood has for the past several decades wielded a certain influence among Qatari royals, who have financed the group.

“Though they subscribe to the puritanical Islam promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood, Emirati officials hate and fear their political activism, a practice which is forbidden in the Gulf monarchies and perceived as a threat to their power,” Sader said.

Walid Kazziha, a professor of political science at the American University of Cairo, was interviewed about the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Emirati authorities in the online edition of Egyptian daily al-Ahram: “[The United Arab Emirates] are worried about a domino effect, even if they, without a doubt, prefer having the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt than a more democratic force,” he assessed.

‘Demonising’ potential opposition

Nevertheless, a popular uprising orchestrated under the table by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Arab Emirates seems highly unlikely. “While it’s possible that certain figures in the Muslim Brotherhood have the ambition of gaining influence in the Gulf, riding the wave of the Arab Spring, their priority remains consolidating their still-fragile power in Egypt,” Sader said.

The Egyptian economy is largely dependent on financial aid from outside of Egypt, particularly the Gulf states. According to al-Ahram’s online edition, nearly 250,000 Egyptians reside in the United Arab Emirates, while 500 Emirati businesses operate in Egypt

“On the other hand, even if these Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cells do exist in the UAE, the danger is doubtless not as great as the Emiratis have said,” Sader noted. “It is in the Emiratis’ interests to exaggerate the danger, in order to demonise any political opposition from the inside – certainly a plausible risk – by associating it with the Islamist threat and a foreign conspiracy.”

Last March, Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfane openly accused the Muslim Brotherhood of plotting to overthrow the Gulf monarchies. “The Muslim Brotherhood is planning on taking hold of the Kuwaiti government in 2013, with the objective of seizing power in all the Gulf states by 2016,” Khalfane told the press.

In early October, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign affairs minister accused the Muslim Brotherhood of “not recognising the sovereignty” of the Gulf states.

“By using police-like language when talking about the Muslim Brotherhood, or describing them as terrorists like Dhahi Khalfane did, Emirati officials are sending strong warnings to people, both inside and outside the country, who might be tempted to engage in social or political agitation within the Emirates,” Sader concluded.

Welcome to Russia, Gérard Dépardieu!

04.01.2013
Welcome to Russia, Gérard Dépardieu!. 49019.jpeg

by Olivia Kroth

On the 3rd of January 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, granting Russian citizenship to the actor, Gérard Dépardieu, formerly of French nationality. Already in December 2012, the film star stated in public that he does not consider himself to be a French citizen any longer and applied for a Russian passport.

The Russian President’s website Kremlin.ru informed, “In accordance with Article 89(a) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the President ordered to satisfy an application for citizenship of the Russian Federation by Gérard Xavier Dépardieu, who was born 1948 in France.”

This is a wonderful birthday gift for Gérard, who celebrated his 64th birthday on the 27th of December 2012, probably the nicest present he received. The Russian Federation is attracting ever more stars from the West, who have moved to Russia or acquired Russian citizenship in the past years.

In 2008, the Jamaican top model, Naomi Campbell, moved to Moscow to live with her Russian fiancé, billionaire entrepreneur, Vladislav Doronin. Will Gérard Dépardieu follow in her footsteps soon? Currently, he is living in Belgium, but this might not be forever. Fitted out with a brand new Russian passport, he might decide to reside in Russia.

The Russian Federation has a very mild income tax of only 15 percent, even for very rich people, while France wants billionaires like Gérard Dépardieu to pay 85 percent of their income, which the film star flatly and categorically refused.

In his heated argument with some functionary of the French régime who called him “pathetic,” he pointed out that he worked hard all of his life for what he is earning these days. And he was not born with a golden spoon in his mouth, either.

On the contrary, he stems from a poor working class family and made it to the top earners’ bracket all by himself. Gérard Dépardieu is a classical self-made man. His parents divorced early, leaving the boy on his own. He remembers spending most of his childhood in the streets.

Instead of becoming a do-no-gooder, hanging around without a job or money, whining and complaining all the time, or living on a dole, he decided to become an actor, film maker, businessman, owner of restaurants, vineyards and other enterprises. In short, he decided to become a billionaire.

During his long and successful career, he was awarded the titles of “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur” and “Chevalier de l’Ordre national de Mérite.” Moreover, he twice won the French cineastic award “César” as best actor.

The Knight of Merit recently galloped away in fury, to Belgium, where the taxation for billionaires is much more lenient, after his unpleasant altercation with the actual French regime, which is “socialist” only by name.

In reality, this regime wants to suck up ever more tax payers’ money, to fill the endless black holes of its financial disasters, after France paid for the expensive bombing of the Great Socialist Libyan Jamahiriya, helping to genocide the population and destroying the nation.

The French regime furthermore pays enormous sums of money to finance terrorists, sent to the Socialist Arab Republic of Syria, in order to terrorize the Syrian population and assassinate the Syrian President, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad.

Maybe Gérard Dépardieu does not approve of how his hard-earned millions are being abused by the French regime? Maybe the star does not want his money to be transformed into bombs and drones, killing civilians, among them thousands of small, innocent children?

Maybe he simply wants to enjoy most of his hard earned money himself and pay 15 percent taxes to the Russian Federation? If he does, who could prevent him from doing so? Nobody can, after the Knight of Merit has received his merited Russian passport from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Gérard Dépardieu has always had a penchant for Russia, as he admitted in an interview with La Marseillaise, a French Communist news media. In December 2011, he told his interviewer that Vladimir Putin had helped him to make a dream come true, the dream of incarnating the Russian personality of Rasputin in a TV film, which was broadcast on Christmas 2011 by TV France 3.

The star said that he had dreamed of this project for as long as 20 years. He found Rasputin a complex and fascinating figure of world history that has been interpreted as a fanatic madman or as a mystic saint and clairvoyant healer.

Gérard Dépardieu grew up in a family of clairvoyants and healers himself. One of his grandmothers healed people with her energy. He also studied Russian history and literature. The film star loves the Russian temperament, as expressed in the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the poetry of Alexander Pushkin.

In the interview with La Marseillaise, he thanked President Vladimir Putin for opening the doors to Russia and helping him to film in Saint Petersburg. Parts of the movie were made in Tsarskoye Selo and Yusupov Palace. The last Tsar’s wife, who stood under Rasputin’s influence, was played by the French actress, Fanny Ardant.

In Tsarskoye Selo, some of the film’s scenes showed the imperial family’s former residence, now a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. In 1917, Tsar Nicolas II abdicated after the February Revolution and was imprisoned in the Alexander Palace of Tsarskoye Selo. He and his family were murdered there in July 1918.

Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Tsarina of Russia, surrounded herself with mystics during her lifetime, including the notorious Grigori Rasputin. She hoped that he would be able to heal her son, Alexei, Heir Apparent to the throne, of his bleeding disease. Tsarevich Alexei was born with Haemophilia.

Although the Tsar disliked Rasputin, he did not dismiss him. One of the ministers said, “He did not like to send Rasputin away, for if Alexei died, in the eyes of his mother, he would have been the murderer of his own son.”

Some citizens of Saint Petersburg thought of Rasputin as a living prophet and saint, others judged him to be a fraud. Because he interfered in politics, he was murdered in 1916 by Prince Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich.

Yusupov Palace in Saint Petersburg, where some of the film scenes were taken, was the site of Rasputin’s murder. He was invited for dinner, then served poisoned cakes and wine. To be sure, the murderers shot him several times and clubbed him on the head. The dead body was wrapped in a blanket, carried outside and thrown into the Moika River.

During the Russian Revolution, Yusupov Palace was confiscated by the Soviets and later turned into a museum, just like Alexander Palace in the compound of Tsarskoye Selo.

Gérard Dépardieu not only starred in this film, but also appeared in many Russian commercials. TV watchers in Russia are familiar with his remarkable face, not to be forgotten easily. If the star moves to Russia, he will be welcomed with opened arms and shine brightly.

From Russia, with love!

Prepared for publication by:

Lisa Karpova

Pravda.Ru

 

Iran’s Ability to Hit Back at Israel Limited

 

Iran’s ability to attack Israel has been compromised significantly in the past year, ahmadinejadIsraeli diplomats meeting in Jerusalem were told by Defense Ministry intelligence officials. According to the study by the officials, Iran’s attempts to prop up Bashar al-Assad and the weakness of Hizbullah has taken a great toll in manpower and funds from the Islamic Republic.

The officials, quoted in Maariv, said that neither Syria nor Hizbullah are in any position to not only start a war with Israel, but would also be largely unable to respond on behalf of Iran in the event of an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Syria is too badly divided at this point to respond, and without the material support in men and weapons from Damascus, Hizbullah would be too feeble to respond effectively.

Only if Iran were to directly aid Hizbullah could the Lebanese terrorist group fight Israel as it did in 2006, the officials said, but Iran was likely not to do so, because violating Lebanon’s sovereignty was likely to bring the U.S. and Europe directly into the conflict.

Hizbullah realizes its weakened position, the officials said, and was unlikely to provoke Israel into a massive invasion of Lebanon, which would put Hizbullah into a much more vulnerable position than it has been in the past.

The officials also discussed Egypt, and said that after Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel was in a better position, because Cairo was taking active steps to prevent Gaza terrorists from attacking Israel. Egypt fears that it would be dragged into a Hamas conflict with Israel, and since it is practically broke, cannot afford to alienate foreign governments and banks on which it is relying for helping achieve economic recovery, they said.

The Islamization of France in 2012