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What made Netanyahu Israel’s indispensable man?

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What made Netanyahu Israels indispensable man

The lack of a credible alternative leader or strategy for dealing with security threats means that the prime minister is still favored for re-election.

(November 21, 2018 / JNS) He did it again. Despite being placed in an impossible position by the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman over accepting another ceasefire with Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to keep his coalition government alive.

Netanyahu called the bluff of Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, who threatened to topple the government if he wasn’t named defense minister after Lieberman’s parting. That meant that when the dust cleared, one right-wing rival was sidelined, and the other exposed as unwilling or unable to take on the prime minister and set off a crisis that would force early elections.

It was yet another successful maneuver by the man who has presided over Israel since 2009, and is very likely to be put in a position to lead it for at least another four years when the country goes to the polls to elect a new Knesset either in the spring or later in 2019.

The graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable, and Netanyahu’s run of victories can’t last forever. But the prime minister’s frenemies within his coalition, as well as his open foes in the opposition, know that he currently stands alone when Israeli voters consider who should lead them.

This would be an extraordinary achievement for anyone, but when you consider the political hurdles that Netanyahu has overcome, it’s downright remarkable. Nevertheless, a sober analysis of the situation reveals that his triumphs say more about the lack of other options than it does about his personal greatness. For all of his deft management of the government, the failure of his opponents on both the left and the right to come up with rational alternatives has kept him as the only person most observers think has a chance of leading the next Israeli government.

The prime minister’s continued run also says as much about the intractable nature of the conflict with the Palestinians as it does about Netanyahu’s genius.

To put Netanyahu’s current position in perspective, it’s necessary to think back to when it looked as if he was done for good. After a meteoric rise to the top and beating out Shimon Peres in 1996, Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister was less than a ringing success. In 1999, he was defeated for re-election by Ehud Barak as Labor Party staged a stirring comeback.

Barak’s government lasted less than two years after he gambled his political life on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat being willing to accept a two-state solution. Arafat’s launch of a terrorist war of attrition known as the Second Intifada ended the faith of the Israeli people in the Oslo peace process, as well as the parties on the Israeli left that had championed it.

Yet the man to pick up the pieces scattered by Barak’s blunders was Ariel Sharon. It was not until after Sharon split the Likud by withdrawing from Gaza that Netanyahu would return to his party’s leadership. And it was not until after Ehud Olmert—Sharon’s successor at the head of the centrist Kadima Party—crashed due to corruption charges and the failure of another effort to make peace that Netanyahu would get a chance for the top job again.

What followed were three consecutive electoral triumphs in which Netanyahu’s Likud Party acquired a stranglehold on the ability to build a coalition that could command a majority in the Knesset. With each passing year, it has become more and more apparent than no one among his possible challengers is viewed as remotely in his class as a leader.

Even Netanyahu’s detractors must admit his strengths.

He is just about the only Israeli politician who actually understands economics, having studied them formally at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. His stewardship of its powerhouse “Startup Nation” economy has kept the country growing. Netanyahu has been an equally adept manager at foreign policy, knowing just how to talk to leaders across the globe. He has expanded ties with the Arab world, in addition to Africa and Asia, and is the beneficiary of a Trump administration that is the most favorable of any American government in history.

On security issues, he has also demonstrated a cool head, and is probably the least trigger-happy of all those who have led the country, even if his caution can sometimes also get him into trouble.

Yet it’s also true that after nearly 13 years as prime minister, many Israelis are understandably sick and tired of him. Though the corruption charges he faces may not lead to prosecution, they are indicative of the problems any leader who is in power for too long usually develops.

Though a brilliant speaker, Netanyahu is not all that charismatic or personally popular. The list of his political enemies is long and includes not only left-wing elites, but former allies who (like Lieberman, Bennett and others who head other right-wing parties) were chased out of the Likud because the prime minister wants no potential successors waiting around to profit from his setbacks.

Still, the reason why Netanyahu remains in power is that no one in the opposition can provide a serious alternative to his refusal to make more concessions to the Palestinians in the absence of evidence that they are serious about peace. Advocates of withdrawals from the West Bank have no answer to the argument that what they are doing is repeating Sharon’s Gaza-withdrawal blunder.

The parties of the left were discredited by the Palestinians’ refusal to make peace. Centrist parties are led by figures like Yair Lapid—viewed as lightweights whose stands are nothing more than a faint echo of those embraced by Netanyahu. Nor is the emergence of new factions led by former generals likely to shake the public’s belief that Netanyahu’s stance is the only one that makes sense.

One day, his luck will run out for one reason or another, and it is possible (though not likely) that some unforeseen event could topple him in 2019. But until Israelis are given a credible alternative, Netanyahu will remain Israel’s indispensable man.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS — Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

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The 1st Democratic debate was worse than expected, which is saying a lot

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The 1st Democratic debate was worse than expected which is saying a lot

If you were going into the 1st Democratic candidates debate with hopes of seeing pandering, high-dollar policy proposals, pandering, cringeworthy attempts to generate memes, questions answered in Spanish, unhinged notions on sexuality, cheerleaders in the media, and pandering, you got it.

In lieu of highlighting the gaffes, attempts at soundbites, and uncomfortable moments, it’s better to leave it to Twitter hot takes to do the job. Presented in no particular order:

One of the biggest reasons this was so bad is because they did everything they could to one-up one another. I know that’s what’s supposed to happen in debates, but there was a strange feeling that so many of them were saying the exact same thing while contradicting one another. I’m not really sure how they were able to pull it off.

But the part for me that raised an eyebrow was Julian Castro’s invocation of “Reproductive Justice.” He wants to give equal rights to abortion for transgender women. He’s ahead of the curve on this one; medical science hasn’t advanced to make that even possible, yet.

It’s been said already many times, but it’s worth repeating. President Trump won tonight’s debate. He came out looking like someone with solid policies compared to the unhinged “solutions” being proposed by these Democratic candidates.

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What is the source of the Democrats’ obstruction strategy?

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What is the source of the Democrats obstruction strategy

The evolution of the Mueller investigation and the overall Russian collusion hoax has been an interesting one to watch, especially for those of us who have a long enough memory to note this was supposed to be about the Trump campaign colluding with foreign entities to “steal” the 2016 election. That was the storyline for nearly two years, but since the release of the Mueller report, which indicated no collusion at all, the talking points of the Democrats have been 100% focused on obstruction.

Keep in mind, this was never supposed to be an obstruction investigation. That notion is, by its very nature, a separate occurrence that’s usually associated with wrongdoing to begin with, otherwise what was being obstructed? If there was no collusion, and the obstruction that was allegedly committed was supposed to stop the investigation into the collusion, then the only thing being obstructed was a bogus investigation. That doesn’t make obstruction right; even bogus investigations need to be allowed to reach their conclusion. But it’s a far cry from the narrative being pushed out by the Democrats, one which begs the question and relies on circular reasoning.

But that’s not being looked into by many, other than The Epoch Times.

This excellent video by Declassified’s Gina Shakespeare details a media investigation into the investigators that cuts to the heart of the matter. There was no collusion and any obstruction had to be manufactured. But the left continues to push it.

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Big tech has transitioned from ‘we don’t censor conservatives’ to ‘we do and you can’t stop us’

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Big tech has transitioned from we dont censor conservatives to we do and you cant stop us

Project Veritas has been lifting back the veil covering big tech companies and their nefarious activities following the 2016 election. They tried to play left-leaning-but-mostly-fair before the 2016 election, believing in their hearts that Hillary Clinton would be President without their concerted meddling. That didn’t work out for them, so they are trying to prevent “another Trump situation” in 2020 by unabashedly purging, silencing, and censoring conservatives on platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

The answers delivered today before Congress in response to questions by Representative Dan Crenshaw weren’t the standard denials. They were politically manipulative answers designed to make it known they’re doing what we’ve said they were doing all along, but they feel justified in doing it because “hate speech” must be stopped at all costs. Of course, what constitutes hate speech to the social justice warriors in big tech invariably circles around conservative thought. There is no form of hate speech short of physical threats that can be attributed to progressives, at least not in the minds of the people who control big tech. If conservatives are aggressive, they’re delivering hate speech. If progressives are aggressive, they’re just being truthful. That’s what big tech thinks.

This is the worst-case scenario for conservatives. Before, we could call them liars and cheats. Now, we have to fight them on an ideological level, and while we have the truth on our side, they have the technology. They have the eyeballs. They control what people see and don’t see. And as such, they can no longer be trusted to deliver anything even remotely close to fair and balanced. They’re unhinged from reality, but instead of coming back to reality once exposed, they’re building a new reality around their ideologies.

It’s not enough that they help Democrats. They have taken it upon themselves to promote a radical progressive ideology in response to President Trump’s victory. By pushing the American collective consciousness to the left with their insane levels of influence, they feel they can win the debate by eliminating the competition altogether.

And unfortunately, they may be right.

In the past, I’ve been opposed to the idea of declawing these companies by taking away their protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which denotes them as platforms that are not liable for the content their users post. But this protection comes with the caveat that they not act as publishers who expand their belief system through the platforms through the aforementioned purging, silencing, and censoring techniques. Since that’s not the case and possibly never was, this protection must be removed immediately.

If they’re going to censor based on their sensibilities as publishers, then they are not truly platforms and must not be granted protections true platforms receive. It’s time to spank them for the bad things they do. Otherwise, America may be lost.

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