The Adventures of Bibi Zeit-Geist

Posted: April 11, 2009 by Shawn in Uncategorized
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What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale.


Well, Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayefsky might have jumped the gun on the end of ideologies (or perhaps they were just commenting on the insane being led by the even more insane, I don’t know). In any case, it surely seems that the the arrival of Ehud Barak and the Israeli Labor Party into Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud-led government signals the end of ideology and nationhood (in the sense there is not even a pretense of a functional anti-occupation movement within the Knesset and that the idea of Israel as a nation existing within defined boarders is kaput as “Netanyahu and his two key ministers — Ehud Barak (Defense) and Avigdor Lieberman (Foreign Affairs) — are committed to creating a Greater Israel, which will cover all of the territory that was once Mandate Palestine”).

Frequent readers  of mine will do well to note that I predicted Barak would go into opposition rather than join a Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu coalition. Well, let it never be said that the cynicism of politicians is out-paced by the cynicism of unpaid college bloggers.

Ehud and Condi partitioning a West Bank of their own. Thank you I'll be here all week, try the veal.

So what’s the take away here? How much hope should progressives have that a Labor influence will an otherwise far-right government. Taking a look back through history might yield some surprising conclusions:

It was Ehud Barak who called off the Taba Summit and presented an unacceptable offer to Yasir Arafat at Camp David.

Interestingly, it was under Likud’s first Prime Minister, the highly reactionary yet also legalistic Menachem Begin, who briefly halted torture and signed the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which was actually less favorable than Anwar Sadat’s 1971 peace treaty.

Of course all of this is contingent upon context. Barak walked away from Taba, but at least he showed up and paid lip service to pursing a lasting peace. Similarly, Begin was probably forced to accept the 1978 agreement because the international climate had changed and the issue of Palestinian national rights was now on the agenda.

So it would appear that Barak will do little except to give Netanyahu some peace-cred among third-wayers in the west.

Frankly the horizon looks a little bleak for a lasting and just peace in the region save for a miraculous turnaround in the electoral fortunes of Meretz and Balad (candidly I have more hope in Ralph Nader).

But have no fear Obamaniacs. Barry O has declared that he will “ask” Netanyahu to not engage in illegal behavior while still continuing full military assistance. c’est l’espoir et change, mes amis.

~ Shawn O’Donoghue

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