Abraham, father of both Arabs and Jews, was famous for breaking idols, but some of his leftist children are back praying to false gods, and even trying to raise the political dead.
Here are some quick examples:
• Mahmoud Abbas told an Israeli TV channel that he would not “go home” to Safed under a peace agreement, and he would be satisfied with the West Bank and Gaza. This spurred the almost-defunct Kadima Party to say that Abbas had given up haq al-awda (Arabic for “the right of return”) and that “peace was at hand” if only Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud would get out of the way.
That was Friday night. By Sunday morning, Abbas had retracted his statement in comments to the Arabic-language media. You can read all about it in Saturday’s Al- Hayat or in Sunday’s Al-Quds. What a surprise.
Has anybody noticed that Abbas has been trying to violate all treaties with Israel by getting unilateral recognition of a so-called “Palestine” at the United Nations? Let’s ignore for a second that this has no practical meaning because Abbas does not rule Gaza and cannot even dream of running a small neighborhood in Ramallah without Israel’s protection.
Why? Well, Abbas is about as popular and powerful among West Bank and Gaza Arabs as a soggy matchstick at a barbecue. As the Arabic saying goes: Illi faat mat, what’s past is dead. For all intents and purposes, so is Abbas.
• Israeli media pundits – particularly Haaretz and Voice of Israel Radio – have tried to push or entice former prime minister Ehud Olmert, to run again for prime minister as head of the Kadima Party and a left-center bloc.
One minor point on Olmert: When he left office, he had a popularity rating of between zero and three percent, and that is approximately where Kadima is today, too – it is expected to get zero to three seats in the coming elections.
• Israeli media pundits, such as Amir Oren, distraught that Olmert might not run, have tried to suggest that President Shimon Peres leave the presidency and run as head of the Kadima party. Anyone who visits the President’s Residence knows that Peres, who is nearly 90, also is not going anywhere soon. Aside from the fact that Peres is the father of the calamitous Oslo Accords, he also enjoys a uniquely inept record as a strategic planner, also having opposed Israel’s destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
One more point on Peres: He was so popular the last time he ran that he was defeated by Amir Peretz, a man of spastic gestures and spasmodic oratory, who became famous for viewing an Israeli military exercise through binoculars which still had their lens caps on.
Hours after that defeat inside the Labor Party, Peres defected ingloriously to the Kadima party. Can you picture Hillary Clinton losing a primary to Obama and then jumping parties to become a Republican? Not in America, but in Israel, land of prophets and miracles, almost anything can happen.
• Shelly Yacimovich is a real, fresh voice on the Left.
She is a foe of corruption and a patriot who does not believe that the root of Israel’s problems is Jews living in the West Bank, and she opposes the “welfare for the rich” that has allowed a few Israeli families to gain control of a large part of the Israeli economy.
But Yacimovich has committed two terrible sins: She does not do business with corrupt politicians, and she is a woman. The last time Israel’s Left treated its own leader so badly was when Golda Meir was blamed for the 1973 war debacle which was actually the fault of corrupt Israeli men, led by then-defense minister Moshe Dayan (who was known for pilfering antiquities).
Yacimovich, like Meir, is not part of the “old boy” network. That is a blessing.
One is reminded of the prophecy of Deborah the Judge who foresaw that Israel would be redeemed by a woman.
But let’s get back to those idols and false gods.
PLO leader Abbas – lovingly nicknamed Abu Mazen by people who like him – is a man who loves creature comforts, long vacations in the Persian Gulf and three-hour workdays.
Abbas is not Anwar Sadat or even King Hussein. He is no revolutionary or visionary, but a well-trained propagandist who got his “doctorate” at the KGB’s Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where he studied the fine art of disinformation.
His doctorate was about Holocaust denial and alleged Zionist collusion with the Nazis, making him a perfect Leftist candidate for peace.
Abbas has consistently clung to the doctrines of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, and he has shown absolutely no will to change his ways or to take risks. Right before he was kicked out of Gaza, he gave a speech (which the Left never cites) where he called on Hamas to join him in aiming its rifles at Israel. When one of his bodyguards was murdered a few years ago, Abbas decided it was safer to bury his bodyguard quietly rather than try to pursue his killers.
Such a man is never going to endanger himself or strike out on a new path. Nor is Shimon Peres going to cast off his oxygen tanks and bankrupt ideas. And you can bet that Ehud Olmert is not going to abandon his ways of corruption and begin leading a frugal and modest life.
But such are the fantasies of the Israeli Left. Everyone needs to dream.
The writer, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. A former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively at The New York Times, Cox Newspapers and The Jerusalem Post, he was strategic affairs adviser in the Ministry of Public Security and teaches at Bar-Ilan University.
This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post.