Whatever happened to the concept of the ‘loyal’ opposition? In several blogs over the last six months, your humble servant has written about how Tzipi Livni, the leader of Israel’s largest opposition party Kadima, has invariably put her political self-interest over the socio-existential interests of the Israeli people. Livni’s doctrine is simply: Livni ‘first’; Israel and Israelis ‘somewhere down on the list’.
It is one thing for Livni to lambast the Netanyahu coalition from the podium of the Israeli Knesset or in the Israeli press. But at a time when Israel’s very legitimacy as a country is under vicious attack from all over the globe, Livni has made it her mission to use every conceivable international venue– from writing letters praising the infamous J Street to giving interviews with international journalists who regularly revile Israel– to praise herself and seek to delegitimize Israel’s democratically chosen government*.
We could see ‘the Livni doctrine’ nauseatingly in play over the weekend, first in an interview in The Atlantic.
She premises her remarks on the ridiculous assertion that Israelis are wholly consumed with the relationship between the U.S. and Israel: “For Israelis, when they wake up in the morning and ask themselves, what is the general situation today, the litmus test for them is the health of the relationship between Israel and the United States.” If anything, the last few weeks have shown that the Israeli litmus test is “what is the cost of cottage cheese this morning?”
Then, she outrageously attacks the Israeli government, accusing Netanyahu of turning Israel into a ‘Jewish ghetto’ because of his ‘misguided’ belief that the ‘whole world is against us.’ But Livni would have us believe that even worse than the problems Netanyahu has caused to Israel are the problems that Netanyahu has caused to American Jews—because he has dared to disagree with Obama: “This [Netanyahu’s clashing with Obama] puts them in a situation in which they need to choose a side, and they don’t want to be in this situation. . . “
Let’s see if we have this straight. Because Netanyahu has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state with no return of so-called Palestinian ‘refugees’, recognize that the 1967 lines will not be the final borders, and recognize that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel (most of which Livni might be surprised to know that Obama actually agrees with), then Netanyahu has made American Jews’ lives a ‘nightmare’ (Livni’s word).
In other words, Netanyahu’s overriding principle should not be to put Israel and Israelis first, but to put Obama and American Jews first. To put it simply, Livni does not believe that American Jews should have to make a principled stand—in her words ‘to choose a side’.
This is not surprising since Livni herself has no principles—a fact that was illustrated again back in Israel on Friday.
In what can only be described as an outrageous meeting of the Kadima special council chaired by Livni, leaders of the Israeli housing and social protest movements were invited to hear Kadima leaders brazenly urge them to make their protests political by focusing their efforts less on housing and social needs and more on electing Kadima to replace the Netanyahu coalition government.** This urging was made despite the fact that Livni and Kadima have not put forward a coherent proposal to address the protestors’ demands.
Not surprisingly, these protest leaders weren’t buying what Livni and Kadima were selling. After hearing enough, one of the housing protestors who was attending the meeting proceeded to heckle Livni and the other Kadima speakers: “We know Bibi is bad, but you are bad too!” (At least Bibi has put a proposal on the table.)
Finally, your humble servant rises again to assert that Tzipi Livni is one of the most despicable politicians in the history of the state of Israel simply because she always puts her self-interest before that of the Israeli people.
*A democratically elected government that Livni refuses to recognize. Her oft-repeated phrase “When I am elected Prime Minister again” has become the butt of many an Israeli joke. She has apparently never understood the Israeli parliamentary system.
**The next elections in Israel are not scheduled until 2013. A poll released in Israel this week showed that if the election were held tomorrow, the party that would lose the most seats is —-, you guessed it, Kadima.