Social Issues Demagoguery, The Last Refuge of the Scoundrels

Yits’haq Herzog and Tsipi Livni, their campaign strategy experts –imported & domestic– and their allied parties and  supportive journalists  are stressing social issues during this election campaign. Moreover, their party propagandists have accused or insinuated that Prime Minister Netanyahu or his wife were corrupt in monetary terms [think of the deposit bottle saga].

In fact, both Herzog and Livni have been ministers in government for many years. And the poor are still with us. There was poverty in Israel when the state was founded in 1948 under the leadership of Herzog’s Labor Party (then called MAPAI). And there was poverty before and during and after Herzog and Livni officiated as ministers. What did they do to end poverty? Did they do enough? Why didn’t the social progress that they now demand take place at those times? In Labor’s campaign for Knesset in 1999, Labor Party leader Ehud Barak complained that a lady had to sleep in the hallway of the Nahariya hospital. But it’s now 2015 and Labor is still complaining about overcrowding in hospitals. Yet Barak became prime minister in 1999 and fellow Laborite Herzog officiated as minister in governments in 2005 –when he was Minister of Housing– and five years as Welfare Minister (under both Olmert & Netanyahu). Why didn’t he solve the housing problem as minister –also now an issue in the Labor Party campaign? Why didn’t he end poverty? Five years was not long enough? Maybe Tsipi and Herzog and Barak were too busy trying to make a will o’ the wisp “peace” with the Palestinian Authority. In any case, what right do Herzog and Tsipi now have to blame it on Netanyahu?

Livni and her partner in the ill-fated Olmert government and now in “Zionist Camp”, Amir Peretz, were the two senior ministers in the corrupt Ehud Olmert’s horrific government from 2006 to 2009, as foreign and defense minister respectively. Those with short memories forget the country’s horrible situation in Olmert’s time. Only two wars to be sure. But one Olmert corruption scandal after another. And Tsipi Livni never resigned despite her promise to do so, depending on the findings of a governmental investigating commission. Livni and Peretz were quite able to tolerate two wars and Olmert’s corruption. At that time, Livni was in Kadima with Olmert. Peretz led the Labor Party which he later left to join Livni in the haTnu`ah Party, which Livni had formed after breaking away from the Kadima Party because she had lost the leadership contest in Kadima to Shaul Mofaz. Now they are both in the so-called “Zionist Camp,” an alliance between Labor and haTnu`ah. Complicated?

This reminds us that in 1992, Labor and Meretz also campaigned on social issues and accused Shamir’s Likud-led government of corruption. But the Labor-Meretz government formed in 1992 did little for social betterment. Too busy making “peace” maybe. As to corruption, the state controller’s report which came out in early 1993 or early 1994 reported that the Labor Party had illegally subsidized another party, Shas. And Shas kindly returned the favor by joining the Labor and Meretz parties, which had slightly less than half of the Knesset seats, in 1992, in order to allow Labor & Meretz to govern with a parliamentary majority.

Another thing that uncorruptible Labor and Meretz did was to work for a stock market bubble in order to prove that “peace” brought a “peace dividend” with profits on the stock market. Many  citizens lost big money when the bubble burst, as Labor’s geniuses must have foreseen.

On the other hand, Netanyahu’s economic policies have been rather successful.

  • He kept the Israeli economy from recession and from going bust in the wake of the 2008 world wide financial crisis.
  • food prices in Israel actually came down by 4.1% in the year from 1/2014 to 1/2015. In contrast, in the OECD that Israel belongs to, food prices went up on average by 2.3%, in the period from 1/2014 to 1/2015.
  • Unemployment was kept down and is now below 6%. This is a remarkable success when we see that France has an unemployment rate of about 12% and Spain is up about 25%. Let’s not even think of Greece. The US too has a higher unemployment rate than Israel.
  • There was a 17% rise in apartment sales in January 2015, an increase of 52% from January  2014.

So Netanyahu’s economic record is very good on the whole, although not perfect. And he had to pick Israel up from the mistakes of the Olmert years. What you have to watch out for is the social issues argument and the corruption claim being used by cynical people who really do not care about either issue BUT will do and say almost anything in order to get into government and implement more of the disastrous old “peace process” policies, stripping Israel of territories that belong by rights to the Jewish people, by history and by international law and that are needed to defend the Little pre-1967 Israel within the Green Line, the 1949 armistice line.

Is the social issues demagoguery just a smokescreen for Herzog and Livni getting into government and giving away large parts of the country to Arab anti-Jewish fanatics/racists/jihadists/ in order to please Obama and the State Department?

– – – – – – – – – – – -References on economic matters: Yisrael HaYom, 3-9-2015 and 3-6-2015

See link on the danger of peace movements that bring war [here]

About the Author
Elliott A. Green is a writer, researcher, and translator living in Jerusalem. He has published in Nativ, Midstream, the Jerusalem Post, and other publications.
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