“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
Main topics covered in this Publication:
Remembering Auschwitz: Should Israel bomb the Syrian regime’s extermination camps?
(…) We will say, as we have in years past, “Never again,” and we will mean it. (…) It was intended to mean “no more mass slaughters and exterminations.” It was intended to mean “no more gassing of children.” It was intended to assert that no more would the world sit in silence as innocents perished at the hands of maniacs and mass murderers. (…) Bashar al-Assad inserts sarin gas into artillery shells, suffocating babies. And world leaders (…) avert their eyes, or, at best, cluck their tongues. None of this is Israel’s fault. Israel has a strong army, but it is a small country surrounded by enemies in a region that has descended into chaos. (…) It is somehow different when a near-genocide is happening in your neighborhood and on your border. It is somehow different when the eternal victim, blessed with considerable military might, must observe close-up the unspeakable horrors inflicted on innocents by a madman leader. (…)
Eric H. Yoffie, HAA, 23.04.17
‘It wasn’t us’: The battle for memory and history
Although Europe, fortunately, has not known full-fledged war since the end of the twentieth century, it is the main scene of a battle going on today. It is a battle for memory and about the history of the Holocaust and events of the Second World War. (…) The most recent newsworthy skirmish took place in France, where Marine Le Pen declared that “France was not responsible for the Vel d’Hiv.” This is perhaps the most infamous raid on French Jewry. (…) More than 11,000 were arrested that day, and confined to the Velodrome d’Hiver, known as the Vel’ d’Hiv, a winter cycling stadium in Paris. (…) Within a few days, the number of Jewish incarcerated had grown to 13,000, including about 4,000 children. From the Vélodrome d’Hiver the Jews were sent east to Nazi extermination camps by way of French transit camps. (…) Le Pen (…) is not the first (…) public figure to try to relieve her nation of responsibility for its role in the Holocaust and shift it to the shoulders of the Nazis. (…) The ongoing battle for memory does not imply that the Holocaust should be placed on a pedestal and never invoked in conjunction with other issues and events, or probed to derive whatever insights we can about our own condition. On the contrary, sometimes aspects of the Holocaust are very germane to the conversation. But they should be invoked with thoughtfulness and with the best historical integrity that can be mustered, without slipping into a new clash in the battle for memory and history.
Dr. Robert Rozett, TOI, 23.04.17
Hitler Youth members must take responsibility for their actions
The question of whether the entire German people were responsible for the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust remains disputable. (…) the German legal system worked to minimize the number of people prosecuted for their actions during the Holocaust. Up until several years ago, for example, German law determined that serving in the concentration camps was not a cause for prosecution. (…) Unfortunately, the State of Israel cooperated with the German narrative. Then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced in the 1950s that “there is a different Germany.” Granted, during that period (West) Germany did have a different leadership, but what about the millions who were part of the Nazi machine? Did they become “different” in an instant? (…) there is still one age group that played a decisive role in the Nazi monster’s success in the 1940s, and most of its members are still alive. (…) the Hitler Youth, Hitlerjugend (…) was one of the cornerstones of the regime. (…) it played a critical role in the Nazi rule. (…) The members of this movement were more fanatic than the adults and were willing to do anything, including inform on their relatives, for the Nazi ideal. (…) The Hitlerjugend boys and girls are now about 90 years old, or even less, and many of them are still alive. I don’t expect them to be put on trial, but we should expect at least few of those hundreds of thousands of people (or even more) to take responsibility for their actions.
Giora Eiland, YED, 24.04.17
Is it okay to watch a sports game on Holocaust Remembrance Day?
(…) It was the game of the season, Ronaldo versus Messi − and every other soccer cliché you could think of. And once again the big game was being played on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, leaving many Israeli sports fans in agony: To watch or not to watch? The Israeli government had made its position clear: Don’t watch. Absolutely not. (…) Israeli sports fans (…) found a slide telling them (…) that it was the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. (…) One can debate whether a government should compel its citizens not to watch a soccer game (…). But I’m more interested in the choice of the individual who has been denied the option of watching the game. (…) does a choice made in the absence of any real choice hold any moral value? (…) Personally, I’m in favor of forgoing Messi versus Ronaldo on Holocaust Remembrance Day. But out of choice, not out of lack of choice.
Alon Idan, HAA, 24.04.17
Remembering all of them
(…) Native-born Israelis are called tzabars, (…) reflecting our external toughness and internal sweetness. We were the new Jews, who do not bow our heads and who fight back. (…) “Those people with numbers on their arms went like sheep to the slaughter,” we would say, recoiling at the sight of them. Behind their backs we called them names: the madman, the barren woman. That did not mean there was no pain. All of us had someone — a grandfather, an uncle, an acquaintance — who had perished. (…) The fledgling state did not want to touch the Diaspora Jews who been exterminated, doing nothing to commemorate those who did not have stories of heroism. (…) How could Holocaust Remembrance Day be honored in the most appropriate manner, without damaging the ethos of the fighting Jew? The authorities thought of the day the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began, April 19, 1943 (…). The survivors themselves were silent. Some say the spirit of the times forced them into silence, some say they wanted to erase the past and concentrate on the future, life, and founding families. Some wanted to be like the tzabar. (…) Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day to commemorate the heroism of the survivors, as well as that of the few who were able to take up arms. We, our children, and our children’s children must commemorate and remember all of them.
Smadar Bat Adam, IHY, 24.04.17
Between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day
(…) We who live in the extended shadow of the darkest hour of Jewish if not all human history know well (…) the atrocities that humanity is capable of inflicting, we know what it means to sit helpless as the world watches, and we stand nervously vigilant lest the ancient hatred of antisemitism rear its ugly head. And then, just a few days from now, we will celebrate Independence Day, having observed Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, the day prior. If Holocaust Remembrance Day is all about the perils of powerlessness and victimization, then Independence Day is about Jewish self-determination (…). From exile to homecoming, victims to victors, to be a free people in our own land is the promise, the power and the miracle of the modern State of Israel that we celebrate on Israel’s Independence Day and every day. (…) And there is also anxiety. There are bad actors on the world stage (…). Iran’s nuclear ambitions are an ongoing existential threat to our Jewish homeland. (…) Beyond the physical threats, Israel faces charges and challenges on the stage of public opinion that no other nation would countenance. (…) For Jews, anxiety and opportunity are not opposites, they are interdependent partners, the basic elements that impel us forward. Aware of our past, eyes open to the present, and always looking to the future, in this week between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day, may we rise to the calling of the hour, forging a future worthy of the unrealized dreams of the six million forever in our hearts, worthy of the highest hopes of the generations still yet to come.
Elliot Cosgrove, JPO, 26.04.17
OUR ‘NEVER AGAIN’
(…) Memory compels us to remember the voices, the faces and the names. The survivors, who maintained their humanity through the depths of hell, are the symbol of our rebirth. Our answer to those who want to destroy us – then as now: We will prevail! In a sea of turbulence, we have created a thriving democracy, a technological and medically advanced Start-up Nation which shares its know-how with the world. This is our victory. This is our pride. This is our solace. Seven decades ago we promised “Never Again.” We are still facing the hate of Holocaust deniers and their supporters, the continuation of antisemitism, and the no less pernicious dangers posed by the ignorance of so many. The difference between today and some 75 years ago is that today is today we have a strong State of Israel. This is our pledge. This is our bond. This is our unbreakable link. This is our Never Again.
Gila Gamliel, JPO, 27.04.17
At Auschwitz, Naftali Bennett showed his ignorance about the Shoah
Twelve thousand Jews from all over the world marched from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Yom Hashoah, part of the annual pilgrimage known as the March of the Living. (…) Israel was represented by its Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, who, in his brief remarks, proceeded to make the most elementary of historical mistakes about the Holocaust (…). Bennett spoke of the ghettos in Warsaw and Lodz, but also in Paris and Vienna. Surely the Ministers of Education of those countries wondered, how little does this man know? There were no ghettos in Paris, none in Vienna. (…) Bennett then castigated the Allies for not bombing Auschwitz in 1943 and 1944. Once again his remarks were ill-informed. Unbeknownst to Bennett, but not to historians, educators and Auschwitz officials, Allied bombing was not possible until the spring of 1944. In 1943, Allied troops were not within range, allied aircraft were not on the European Continent. (…) What Bennett clearly does not know is that as late as June 11, 1944, David Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv Cabinet voted not to request that Auschwitz be bombed. (…) What concerned Ben-Gurion and his colleagues was that bombing the camps could cause the death of many Jews – or even just one Jew. (…) Permit me to ask: Can’t senior Israeli officials have their remarks to major international audiences factually checked by the distinguished scholarly staff of Yad Vashem? There is enough Holocaust denial in the world, enough misrepresentation and disinformation, that we don’t need some of the most senior officials of the Israeli government speaking the name of the Jewish people, most especially at the sacred – or anti-sacred – site of Birkenau making elementary mistakes that would be corrected on any freshman paper. (…)
Michael Berenbaum, HAA, 29.04.17
We will strive for good
On Har Hatayasim (…) we walk as if on holy ground. We are carried along by currents created when thoughts meld with heartbeats. We are thrilled at our renewed independence in the land of our forefathers, and pained at how much it has cost. (…) The loss is palpable and the longing for those who are gone burns. (…) Arm in arm, we will march with the families who lost what was most precious to them. We share their sorrow, touch their pain, and are far from filling the empty space. This is a covenant woven out of the bonds of loss and longing for life. Today, our strength is inconceivable. Death and fear do not define our essence or our being. We will not bemoan our fate — rather, we will focus our efforts on fulfilling our destiny and strive for what is good, right, and just. With our wings and the roar of our jets’ engines, we will carry the promise to defend the people and the land and turn dreams and wishes into a concrete reality. Guided by our values, we will continue our takeoff from the silence of our base on top of Pilots’ Hill into the stratosphere and toward a promising future. (…)
Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IHY, 30.04.17
Netanyahu’s constant search for enemies is beyond pathetic
(…) Activity by Breaking the Silence and other left-wing organization abroad is wrong, in my opinion. (…) The fact that they are largely fed by donations from foreign governments and organizations does not play in their favor. Israel’s governments’ policy should be decided by Israelis—not by foreigners. Nevertheless, the activity of these two organizations is legal. Their battle for human rights can be appreciated, they can be criticized and even boycotted, but foreign guests cannot be prevented from meeting with them. (…) Netanyahu’s constant search for enemies is beyond pathetic. What has the B’Tselem organization ever done to him that justifies a crisis with the most important government in Europe, and the one which sympathizes with Israel the most? (…) We saw how Netanyahu turned a marginal issue like the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation into an existential crisis. Now, Netanyahu is exporting that same paranoia into Israel’s foreign relations. He is crying wolf so often over nonexistent dangers, that in the end the world’s governments will stop taking us seriously—and that’s the real danger.
Nahum Barnea, YED, 26.04.17
Netanyahu’s bold move against Europe
(…) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adopted a new strategy for managing Israel’s diplomatic relations with the West. (…) Foreign governments can either treat Israel in accordance with international diplomatic norms of behavior, or they can continue to discriminate against Israel. (…) Since its inception, Breaking the Silence’s budget has come almost entirely from European governments. Germany is a major backer. (…) As polls (…) showed, between a third and half of Germans view Israel as the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. The Palestinians, by their telling, are the new Jews. (…) Breaking the Silence’s work not only legitimizes these views, shielding them from condemnation as indications of the growing virulence of German Jew-hatred. It also, to a degree, justifies the Holocaust. After all, if the Jews are as evil as the Nazis, then they are illegitimate actors who deserve to be defeated. (…) In acting as he did, Gabriel showed that as he sees things, Israel’s elected leader is less legitimate than representatives of an organization that legitimizes German antisemitism. By refusing to meet with Gabriel, Netanyahu made clear that new rules will now apply to Europe and other Western governments that have joined Europe’s campaign against Israel. (…) Netanyahu needs to take additional steps. (…) The (…) government should require foreign government- funded groups to submit all communications between their representatives and those governments, and all internal documents of foreign governmental funders relating to their decision to fund the Israel-registered group. (…) Netanyahu took a necessary first step toward implementing a constructive strategy for handling Western diplomatic warfare. More steps are still required for this strategy to succeed. (…)
Caroline Glick, JPO, 27.04.17
Gabriel’s feigned innocence
(…) The sense is that the German foreign minister is intentionally trying to poke the Israeli government in the eye. Just two months ago, after all, the Belgian ambassador to Israel was reprimanded by his own government for meeting with those same two “well-intentioned” organizations. The prime minister issued direct instructions to come down hard on the issue. Did the German Foreign Ministry not get the memo? (…) There are those who ask why Germany does not have its own Holocaust remembrance day. It is a reasonable question, particularly when the insolent German foreign minister behaves as if he is visiting a banana republic. The prime minister’s ultimatum is commendable and appropriate, and any other head of state would do the same.
Dr. Gabi Avital, IHY, 26.04.17
Have you met with Chelsea Manning, Herrr Minister?
(…) Most of those who opposed Netanyahu’s Congress speech, and applauded the Germans for standing up to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are taking a stand like robots in favor of the German foreign minister and against Netanyahu. (…) Gabriel is insisting on meeting with radical left-wing organizations that serve the horrific anti-Israeli propaganda. (…) Would the German government and German press be okay with a foreign country’s foreign minister meeting with activists of an opposition group like the far right Pegida organization, which opposes the government’s immigration policy? We know the answer to that. (…) The issue of the meetings is (…) demonization. (…) Europe is funding an Israeli NGO that promotes the return of Palestinian refugees – in other words, Israel’s destruction. (…) This is not the way to advance peace. This is the way to perpetuate the conflict, as well as to support the Palestinian illusion of destroying Israel through a “right of return.” Israel is, in any event, the most slandered country in the world. The government’s policy can and should be criticized. It’s okay to fight for an agreement and for an end to the occupation. That’s legitimate. But Germany isn’t funding pro-peace bodies – it is mainly funding bodies that are against an agreement of two states for two people, and/or bodies whose main banner is demonization. (…) The Germany of the past demonized the Jews. Today’s Europe, which includes Germany, funds organizations that demonize the Jewish state. (…)
Ben-Dror Yemini, YED, 30.04.17
What the NY Times didn’t say about Barghouti
The thing which stands out most – and is most infuriating – about the opinion piece published by Marwan Barghouti in the New York Times is the single sentence below the article identifying the author. “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” it says dryly. That isn’t an error, that is an intentional deception. (…) The missing part of the column is that Marwan Barghouti is a murderer. He was convicted (…) on five separate counts of murder of innocent civilians. (…) He destroyed lives. (…) The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He (…) tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws. (…) Instead of saying to him (…) that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind. (…)
Yair Lapid, TOI, 17.04.17
No Barghouti option
(…) When security prisoners go on a hunger strike, they are usually motivated by discontent with their incarceration. (…) Judging from their demands (…) the situation is not all that bad. (…) the real impetus for the hunger strike seems not to be about prisoners’ rights at all, but rather it is a political initiative designed to promote Marwan Barghouti. (…) It was a period in the late 1990s when Barghouti opposed violent struggle and led the fight against corruption within the Palestinian political leadership. But Barghouti was radicalized as a result of the collapse of the peace talks in 2000 (…). He turned to terrorism and became involved in the Tanzim, the military arm of Fatah which was responsible for some the most deadly terrorist attacks ever carried out against Israeli civilians. (…) It is depressing that a man like Barghouti, with the blood of so many victims on his hands, has consistently been the most popular candidate to lead the Palestinian people. And it is not despite his murderously violent past, but precisely because of it, that Barghouti is able to beat a Hamas candidate for the Palestinian vote. This is the sad state of radicalized Palestinian politics that is the real obstacle to peace.(…)
Editorial, JPO, 18.04.17
Could Barghouti become Israel’s peace partner?
(…) A hunger strike is the prisoners’ ultimate weapon, and it is political and has political objectives in any event. This was the case in the 20 hunger strikes Palestinian inmates have held in Israel’s prisons since 1969. (…) they received the de facto status of political prisoners, whose status in the jail is different from the status of criminal prisoners. (…)
Barghouti’s reasons for the strike are only a setting for the political goal, which is directed this time mainly at the Palestinian leadership and society, and especially at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Barghouti wishes to (…) be appointed as Abbas’ deputy, in a bid to reach an influential spot and position himself as the successor despite being in prison. Through the strike, he is trying to force Hamas and Fatah to search for ways to reach a reconciliation (…). There are hardly any families in the territories that don’t have a son who has been detained. The Israeli prison has become part of the collective experience shaping the ethos of the conflict. This is why the concern for the prisoners, the solidarity with their struggle and the hopes for their release are shared by everyone, regardless of ideologies, factions and rifts. In the Palestinians’ eyes, the prisoners are a patriotic model of a sacrifice for the national goal. (…) Abbas and Hamas are in a catch-22 situation. The hunger strike is seen as a headache both in Ramallah and in Gaza, but they have no choice—because of the street’s support—but to support it. (…) The Palestinians want a new leader. (…) Through the victory Barghouti is aiming for, he seeks to force Israel to release him from prison and recognize his leadership. (…) It may be time to (…) try to talk to Barghouti, who the Palestinians see as their leader, and at least check if there is someone to talk to.
Ronni Shaked, YED, 19.04.17
The Palestinian hunger strike aims beyond the jailhouses
(…) The Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike (…) has refreshing subversive potential, and not necessarily against the Israel Prison Service. (…) It’s about basic human rights that even prisoners, even prisoners who are members of the other nation, deserve. Give them a public phone, and be done with the prison guards who get big money for smuggling in cellphones. Let them meet with their families without the continuous agony-strewn path to a once-per-year permit. Lengthen the visits and see what a positive impact that will have on the atmosphere. (…) The real subversiveness is internal. One can see in the strike an attempt to get the Palestinians to shake off their fatalism and inaction in light of Israel’s ever more powerful malevolence and rouse their quarreling leaders out of their complacency with the status quo and their delusion of sovereignty. (…) The hunger strike is a means of liberation from the destructive effect of the multiple prison cells on the outside. Its challenge is to build a collective of prisoners as a body that sets the Palestinian agenda, a body viewing the Palestinians on the outside as a dismembered, shattered collective that must be reunited.
Amira Hass, HAA, 19.04.17
(…) Barghouti’s (…) action is (…) a cynical attempt to exploit his fellow prisoners in a bid at succeeding Mahmoud Abbas as leader of the Palestinian Authority – despite his imprisonment. (…) If the strike is successful, it could conceivably boost the standing of Barghouti’s Fatah in its ongoing rivalry with Hamas, but Barghouti still has the rest of his life to serve in prison. Despite this reality, the “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” may be dreaming of restoring the unproductive Palestinian cause to the world’s agenda, which is paying more deserved attention to the self-destruction of Syria (…). If the current strike brings pay phones instead of smuggled smartphones to security prisoners or more family visits or even the resumption of academic studies, Barghouti can hope to gain only some new privileges and even more adulation from Palestinian society, which continues absurdly to glorify terrorism as the key to peace.
Editorial, JPO, 19.04.17
A golden opportunity
The incarcerated terrorists’ hunger strike is meant to challenge Israel, but it also presents us with a significant opportunity. (…) Beyond the power struggle within the terror organizations and the Palestinian Authority, the terrorists are interested first and foremost in achieving a propaganda victory. (…) The hunger strike aims to complete the whitewashing of terrorism among public opinion. No one could be further from having a conscience than the jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and his ilk. (…) Palestinian terrorists help promote this evil, feeding it with the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocent victims (…). Israel’s first response, then, must be to make the hunger strikers face the truth. (…) The purpose of punishing and placing restrictions on an offender is to make them suffer and regret what they have done. (…) The hunger strike provides a golden opportunity to amend this situation. All the privileges that make the lives of the terrorists pleasant must be revoked. (…)Israel should base its second response on a simple equation: For every day that the prisoners strike, the government will permanently revoke one of their privileges. (…) Israel must stand firm. It must not give in to evil, and it must work to suppress it in the prisons and in the propaganda war.
Ariel Bolstein, IHY, 19.04.17
Keep Barghouti behind bars
(…) Barghouti is a terrorist murderer who has already been in prison for 15 years and is looking at five life sentences plus another 40 years. As someone whose future is unclear, he occasionally explores ways of getting himself out of prison. (…) He boasted about the doctorate degree he had acquired while behind bars, sold himself as a moderate (…) and to several gullible Israeli politicians he suggested that releasing him from jail would give them a charismatic Palestinian leader, broadly accepted, including in Gaza, who would courageously rule his people. This delirious idea was enchanting to some Israelis. (…) Tzipi Livni, when she was justice minister, “randomly” met with Barghouti in prison to get to know him and examine options for the future. (…) A note to all the security experts: Had Barghouti been released, he would have been seen by the Palestinians as an Israeli collaborator until he could prove otherwise. And “otherwise,” of course, refers to the policies he would consequently institute, which would leave us yearning for Hamas.
Moshe Elad, IHY, 20.04.17
Calling Marwan Barghouti a terrorist won’t silence him
(…) Branding Barghouti as a terrorist doesn’t change the facts of the Israeli occupation (…). Israeli leaders who accused Marwan of terrorism (…) have been responsible for hundreds of killings of Palestinian civilians, way more than what the Israeli occupation claims that Marwan did. (…) Barghouti (…) is a political leader fighting for freedom. The fact that matters is that Barghouti, who supports the two-state solution on the 1967 border, international law, (…) who has publicly opposed the targeting of civilians inside Israel and who now calls for mass popular and peaceful protest and civil disobedience is in an Israeli jail, while those who advocate for the systematic denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, colonization, apartheid and killings are in government in Israel. (…)
Qaddoura Fares, HAA, 27.04.17
What Yair Lapid got wrong about Barghouti
(…) Does Lapid not recall that both Shamir and Begin were pursued by the British mandatory police as dangerous terrorists? (…) Terror has been carried out by almost every nation that struggled for independence. (…) In all cases they were called terrorists by the occupiers and those involved later became recognized political leaders. (…) they built monuments for them, and named streets after them. (…) All colonial or occupying powers, in denying self-determination and independence to struggling liberation movements, blame freedom fighters for terrorism, even if they use nonviolent means. (…)
The Israeli case is no different. (…) Marwan Barghouti is regarded as a leader of the First and Second Intifadas. Barghouti at one time supported the peace process, but later became disillusioned with the way it proceeded, and after 2000 went on to become a leader of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the West Bank. (…) he is regarded by many Palestinians as a hero and potential leader of their nation. (…) Marwan Barghouti has the potential to become the ultimate Palestinian leader for peace making, because in the eyes of the Palestinian society, his fighter credentials are impeccable. (…)
Daniel Bar-Tal, TOI, 27.04.17
Battling complacency as well as Le Pen
(…) The two establishment parties (…) being upstaged by newcomer Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front makes the second and final round of the presidential election (…) different from any election that came before it (…). The question now is whether the young Macron, whose party has no seats in parliament, will manage to bring all the factions together when and if he becomes the leader of France. (…) Le Pen, who so longed to win the first round and had to settle for second place with some 21% of the vote, is convinced that she has a chance of attracting broader support than her father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, did in 2002 and actually win the second round. (…) A poll from the Opinionway institute shows Macron beating Le Pen in the second round and winning 61% of the vote to 39% for her. But in an election, two weeks are an eternity, especially when the issue of security could return to the headlines at any time. (…)
Boaz Bismuth, IHY, 25.04.17
The crisis of democracy in Turkey and Egypt
(…) 71 percent of people in Turkey and 67 percent in Egypt prefer a democratic form of government. And yet when it came time to vote, people used the ballot box to favor authoritarian leaders – Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Egypt and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. (…) A proper democracy needs effective checks and balances, full political participation of women and minorities, freedom of the press, civil liberties for all citizens, and an independent judiciary. (…) For many decades, Islamist political parties have complained that the poor state of democracy in their countries is the result of secular leadership, often with Western backing, exercising authoritarian grip. To a certain extent this is true. The Egypt of both Hosni Mubarak and Sissi is a poster child for this. But time and again when Islamists have gained control, they have fared no better. Turkey’s Erdogan is a prime example now, just as Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi was a few years ago.
Parvez Ahmed, TOI, 28.04.17
Trump’s mixed 100 days
(…) Trump took office with four principal objectives: immigration reform, reversal of Obamacare, tax reform and regulatory reform. On the first three of these objectives, the hundred days have been a failure. (…) Only on the deregulation can any success be claimed, with the reversal of the Obama decrees concerning fracking, the pipeline between the Canadian border and Texas, and the opening of areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans to oil exploration. On the international front, the 100 days were somewhat better for the new president. (…) In the Middle East Iran has been put on notice that the Obama policy of accommodation is over (…). As for Israel, it is clear that the glee with which the Trump election was greeted by the Israeli government was overdone. There will be no blank check for Jerusalem to do whatever it wants with automatic US approval. (…) The delusional “two-state solution” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been adopted by the Trump government (…), so that apparently there will be another fatiguing round of pointless negotiations. (…)
Norman A. Bailey, GLO, 30.04.17
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: May 2017
Dr. Werner Puschra,
Leiter der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel