George Galloway hates Israelis (and his other greatest hits)
Never let it be said that Gorgeous George doesn’t make his prejudices clear:
As reported in Cherwell, published by the students of Oxford University:
Mr Galloway “stormed out” of a debate at Christ Church on Wednesday evening, upon finding out that his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year PPEist at Brasenose, was an Israeli citizen.
Mr Galloway had spoken for ten minutes in favour of the motion ‘Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank’, before giving way to Aslan-Levy.
Less than three minutes into Aslan-Levy’s speech against the motion, Galloway was made aware that his opponent was an Israeli citizen.
“I have been misled,” were Galloway’s words — “I don’t debate with Israelis. I don’t recognize Israel.” Later that day, Galloway added on twitter:
George Galloway: “An Israeli citizen could not by definition be my constituent.”: twitter.com/georgegalloway….
I wonder whether that includes Arab Israelis or only the six million Jewish Israelis and those in the Diaspora that hold Israeli citizenship. Only Galloway can answer that, though I think I can make a fairly decent guess. (And I’m afraid I could not embed George Galloway’s actual tweet, for he has previously blocked me for asking too many question about dead children in Syria.)
Debate Night in America: When a Foreign Policy Debate Just Isn’t
Canada. Mexico. Cuba. Brazil. Tunisia. Jordan. Lebanon. Turkey. The Palestinians. The European Union. Kosovo. India. Burma. Japan. Vietnam. Indonesia.
These are the names of various nations (or supranational organisations) critical to the foreign policy interests of the United States that those tuning into last night’s debate did not hear about. Or, at least not in any substantive way.
The reasons for this were essentially two-fold. First, the illusion of a free exchange of ideas pertaining to international affairs lasted around ten minutes, when after a fumbling exchange on Libya, both candidates retreated to zingers and talking points. President Obama started it off, in fact, with this:
Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaida’s a threat because a few months ago when you were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaida, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.
But, Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s. You say that you’re not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq, but just a few weeks ago you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now.
Romney, later in the debate, cracked open the following canned attack:
Our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285. We’re headed down to the — to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy.
Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947. We’ve changed for the first time since FDR. We — since FDR we had the — we’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict.
To which, Obama said this:
Bibi Goes to the UN: His Speech and That Picture
Try as he might, Benjamin Netanyahu address to the United Nations General Assembly will not be remembered his its content, positively or negatively, but rather for this image, which served only to undermine what I assume he intended to be a serious speech:
I’m slightly surprised that given Israel is one the most technologically-advanced nations on Earth, Netanyahu couldn’t find anything better to illustrate his point than a doodle from ClipArt, jazzed up by lines etched on with the Word drawing tool and a couple of text boxes. Couldn’t he have called the guys at Intel or something? They practically have a whole town to themselves in Kiryat Gat they’re so massive. Microsoft have campuses in Haifa and Herzliya. I’m sure they would have made time for the Prime Minister of Israel.
Twitter as usual agrees:
Smart reader emails re Bibi: “Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and he pulls this nonsense…”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 27, 2012
“We come from the greatest race of comic illustrators in the history of the planet, and he comes up with a fifth grade science fair drawing”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 27, 2012
Smart reader ctnd: “uch, maybe he was still woozy from the fast.”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 27, 2012
Israel Hate Spells Trouble in Tehran
Quds Day in Iran is always marked by speeches noted for their anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric. This year was no exception. In a speech already condemned by Baroness Ashton – lead negotiator in the P5+1 talks on Iranian nuclear proliferation – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad labelled Israel a “malignant cancer” and the state’s endurance “an insult to all humanity”, adding that “the fake Zionist regime would soon fade away from geography and every inch of the occupied territories be returned to Palestinians”.
Ahmadinejad’s particularly vociferous and violent address in Tehran, however, signifies deeper problems on the home front. His aggressive language can be taken as a sign that the sanctions imposed by segments of the international community are working and the regime’s popularity is waning as a consequence.
When their grip on power loosens, leaders both democratic and autocratic often turn towards jingoism to rally the populace against another as a form of distraction. It is not coincidental, for example, that Argentinian leaders from General Galtieri to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have suddenly remembered their need to regain the Falklands at times when economic conditions are taking a turn for the worse. The same can be said of Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to round up and deport thousands of Romany gypsies in the summer of 2010, when the unemployment rate in France was climbing and his approval rating slipping.
The exploitation of the Palestinian cause has always been a go-to point for Iranian leaders; that Ahmadinejad felt the need to be even more strident and transparent in his remarks this year is a sign that he feels he needs Israel as an enemy more than ever. Given the tenor of his address, never let it be said that his feelings on the existence of the Jewish state are not absolute.
After Hollande’s Win, What Next for Netanyahu?
François Hollande’s pledge to renegotiate the European Union’s fiscal compact is unlikely to threaten the long-term stability of the Franco-German relationship. For both the new President of France and German Kanzler Angela Merkel, the urgent need to assist the Mediterranean states, whilst hold together the single currency and thus the Union at-large will trump Hollande’s electoral play.
Rather, the fall of Nicolas Sarkozy will be of greater concern to Jerusalem than to Berlin. Franco-Israeli relations have had their tense moments – de Gaulle’s arms embargo after the Six Day War; Chirac’s support for Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein – but under Sarkozy, the two nations maintained a healthy working relationship. Sarkozy’s infamous open-mic slip – “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar” – seemed to be just that.
During his five years in office, Sarkozy sought to make commitments to Israel’s security by ending the arms embargo and became personally involved in the effort to free Gilad Shalit, whom he called a “son of France”. Whilst opposed to a military strike, on the Iranian dilemma and the threat posed by nuclear escalation in the Gulf Sarkozy was closer to Netanyahu than even the United States, with Tony Karon noting in Time that he had “taken the lead in pressing [for] sanctions that have had a painful impact on the Iranian economy”.
In Israel, the Worst of All Possible Governments
The deal which will extend the life of this worst of all possible governments, that of Benjamin Netanyahu, confirms my worst suspicions about Kadima and Shaul Mofaz, all of which I hoped would not turn out to be true. In an article for The Forward, I proposed:
For too long, Kadima has been a gangrenous limb, infected and hanging limply off the body politic. Too hawkish to make the case for peace affirmatively, yet too impotent and incompetent to be effective, this ersatz party has been floundering without purpose or gumption from the moment it fulfilled its initial and only purpose of executing the unilateral disengagement of Gaza in 2005.
So it is that the hawkish Mofaz has brought his sorry excuse for a party into coalition with Netanyahu, essentially for his own ends. Sure, the two leaders spoke of electoral reform and replacing the Tal Law, but for Mofaz, coming to a right-wing government delays the election and prevents Kadima share of seats from being sliced in half in September. Moreover, it confirms my assertion that Kadima as an institution essentially believes in nothing, save the status quo.
And, the new government compounds the very problem I referenced in The Forward article, namely, “the absence of a legitimate opposition force to the current government and their stance on peace” and the Iranian question. With Mofaz as an identifiable member of the defence establishment, the Kadima-Likud coalition surely only lays the groundwork for stasis in negotiations with the Palestinians, and a pre-emptive strike on Iran before talks have had a chance to run their course — all in the name of national unity.
In any good is to come of this coalition, at all, it is that it may just result in the very thing I wished for in my original piece:
Israeli politics would benefit tremendously if the accession of Mofaz resulted in Kadima’s rapid descent into obscurity. In such an instance, its membership would drift naturally back towards their original homes, and with any luck, Labor would assume the role it should have had to begin with (had it not been for its own ineptitude) of Israel’s natural dissident voice, campaigning against those who seek to stymie the peace process or oppose the notion altogether.
I can but hope.