When I saw this
on Tuesday (screenshot of the 'Evening Standard' website with headline "Israelis go to polls to choose between three warmongers"), I felt it was mildly amusing. (The comments included "I'm beginning to agree with Melanie..." and "How anyone can agree or side with this kind of reporting is beyond me. The media coverage in this country has been positively anti-semitic and tantamount to insighting racial hatred.") Anyway, also via the Spectator
, Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic
The stunner, for me at least: The Labor Party is dead. More than that, the peace camp is dead, or comatose, at least. According to exit poll numbers I heard, Haifa and Tel Aviv went for Livni (who is no leftist, except in comparison to Netanyahu and Lieberman); the south went for the hard right. The rockets voted, in other words.
It's a good tight piece, rather than quote it all, I recommend the whole thing. Goldberg doesn't care for Avigdor Lieberman. ("Washington should prepare itself for the possibility of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel's foreign minister. ... This isn't as bad as it sounds, since Israel doesn't have a foreign policy, just a defense policy."
) Glenn Greewald
called Lieberman "extreme and repugnant" (nb on Monday, before the election). Spencer Ackerman
says, "the right-wing shift in Israeli politics has large implications for President Obama's stated desire to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace." He quotes from the Washington Post
though I think the best line from there is this:
"You are going to have a very wobbly, dysfunctional, survival-minded coalition in Israel," said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator.
The joker at the ES called it pretty well in other words. That should get commenter organic cheeseboard
This brings me to something. I'm pretty conflicted over the Geert Wilders thing. I find freedom of speech arguments very convincing, but at the same time I feel that he's beyond the pale. David T
wrote a post yesterday attacking Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne for his justification of the exclusion of Wilders. (But why pick on Huhne? He's not the Home Secretary. Very odd.) And I sort of agree with him:
Although these characters should, in my view, be prevented from entering Britain, it is important that we hear what they have to say, so as better to oppose it.
He's talking, of course, about the subjects of Wilders' film - "utterly vile Islamist politicians and preachers". I'm not sure about preventing them entering Britain (I'd be against granting them work permits or paying them benefits; I wouldn't let them live here). I'm not quite sure what David's point is.
What a travel ban does do, primarily, is to signal this Government’s rejection of Wilder’s politics.
But, even here, the Government has bungled the message.
As far as I can work out, Chris Huhne was wrong for justifying the ban, though it's the message which was 'bungled' rather than the ban being wrong.
But Chris Huhne not only mistakes the Wilders affair for a free speech issue. He then seeks to defend the exclusion on grounds that are unsupportable.
This suggests that there are supportable grounds for the exclusion, but David doesn't discuss them. He clearly thinks that neither the government nor Chris Huhne know what these grounds are. I though the law was about precedents: if the government can ban Wilders, it will be able to ban the people David doesn't like in future, won't it? (Again, I'm not certain that this would be a good thing.)
Speaking of banning, Glenn Greenwald (link above) remembered the US and world reaction to the election of Joerg Haider
Israel has recalled its ambassador and has announced that Joerg Haider, the party's figurehead, will not be allowed into the country.
There are, I suppose, unpalatable far-rightists and palatable far-rightists. Haider had more of a mandate than Wilders, too.
 Actually, my first thought was "Firefox on a Mac. Cool." I need to get out more.
 It's not just the Standard which changed its headline. The Goldberg url, which presumably came from the title is 'a_stunning_and_depressing_isra.php': the title is merely 'A Stunning Israeli Election.'