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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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Economy

What mainstream media knows: Fear of recession causes recessions

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Fear of recession causes recessions and the media is hoping to do it again

President Trump’s concerns over mainstream media outlets painting the economy as being on the verge of recession are legitimate. He’s well aware that perceptions drive large portions of the economy. Fears that the market might tumble cause people to sell, which then makes the market tumble. Businesses concerned about the economy slowing may stop hiring, which helps the economy to slow. The circular reasoning becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is why the President’s concerns are real.

And the media is playing it up like the rest of the fake news they’re peddling in hopes that stoking fears will prove their premise correct.

It doesn’t matter to them how many people get hurt by this dastardly propaganda technique. They have one goal: Make Trump lose in 2020. If they knock off the Senate Majority and keep the House, that’s a plus as well. But the President is their sole target.

The funny part in this whole scenario is they’re blaming the one progressive component in President Trump’s economic plan for the worldwide economic downturn they’re predicting. The trade war with China is modeled after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s plan. This is, of course, conveniently overlooked as they’ve inverted the stances on tariffs to make them wholly owned by President Trump.

Speaking of inversions, the buzzword of the week is “inverted yield curve.” In layman’s terms, it’s a sentiment indicator that shows when it’s cheaper for the government to borrow for ten years rather than two. It goes against conventional economic wisdom and is claimed to be a precursor to recession. But there’s one factor in the current curve that’s not being taken into consideration. This market-based fear is not a worry about the current or near-future economy as much as it’s an indicator the prospects of Democrat winning the White House in 2020 will erase the progress that has been made in the economy.

In other words, the fearful dollar brokers are so scared of Democratic economic policies, they’re not willing to bet on the economy should a Democrat take over.

There’s a solution: Stop listening to the polls. As we learned in 2016, polls in the days leading up to the election were highly inaccurate. This far from the 2020 election, hypothetical head-to-head polling as completely useless. But it does drive fear, lending itself to the agenda being pushed by progressive media to help tank the economy by telling everybody the economy is about to tank.

Expect more economic lies from fake news media in the coming weeks. They’re pushing hard to destroy the economy regardless of how many Americans suffer from it. It’s a kamikaze mission to take down the President at any price.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Opinions

Buying Greenland is the type of thinking that helped Trump win in the first place

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Buying Greenland is the type of apolitical thinking that helped Trump win in the first place

I’ll keep this very short, barely more than a Tweet. We’re not going to buy Greenland. It’s not that we wouldn’t, but Denmark is unwilling to part with the largest island in the world for some reason. Nevermind that the 56,000 inhabitants of Greenland aren’t happy with Copenhagen even if they’re semi-autonomous. Denmark has said they won’t even entertain the idea of selling off their huge chunk of ice.

Meanwhile in America, the thought he President would even consider it as a possibility has brought in mocking and ridicule from progressive mainstream media. But here’s the thing. This is the type of outside-the-box thinking that helped President Trump win election. Politicians don’t think in terms of buying land from other countries. Real estate developers do. Buying Denmark would be the biggest buy in centuries, literally. It’s a perfect idea to belong to President Trump.

If Americans would have wanted the swampy status quo with no new ideas, we would have elected Hillary Clinton. We voted for Trump because he doesn’t think like a politician even if he knows how to handle them well.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Can Lacy Johnson beat Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis?

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Can Lacy Johnson beat Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is one of the bluest major cities in America. The race for the Democratic nomination for the MN-5 district is essentially the general election because Democrats have held the seat belonging to Minneapolis since 1963. The closest a Republican has come to winning the district in this century was Alan Fine in 2006 who “only” lost to Keith Ellison by 34.3%. Oftentimes, the Democrat wins by over 50 points.

But Republican Lacy Johnson seeks to make history. He’s not making the attempt by being a moderate RINO trying to coax the people of Minneapolis into believing he’s basically a Democrat. His platform is boldly conservative and includes a balanced budget amendment, school choice, and a bear-hug embrace of President Trump’s economic policies.

Growing up with nine siblings in modest circumstances didn’t make him feel poor. It did make him realize it’s his responsibility to support his family as an adult and not rely on government. This is exactly the type of mentality we need more of in Washington DC. It’s the kind of mentality that will serve Minneapolis well.

Under normal circumstances, even being a strong candidate isn’t enough in Minneapolis when you have the letter (R) next to your name on the ballot. But in 2020, Johnson has one major advantage that should give the GOP hope. He’s going up against Ilhan Omar, the “Squad” member who has been nothing but an embarrassment to herself, Minneapolis, and the United States of America. Despite accomplishing essentially nothing outside of Twitter in her brief tenure, she still walks the halls of Capitol Hill as if she’s a diva rockstar. That’s part of the charade her “Squad” members portray; they’re a shame even to Democrats but because they’ve gained nationwide popularity among radical progressives, they’ve been allowed to keep playing their games. For now.

But even as Omar struts around Capitol Hill, she’s ignoring the people who put her in office in the first place. To Omar, Minneapolis is merely a place where she’s forced to campaign. We can see this based on her actions; literally nothing she has done in DC has even come close to affecting Minneapolis residence. That’s uncanny, even for a Democrat.

The people of Minneapolis may finally vote red for two reasons: (1) Lacy Johnson is a winner with great ideas, and (2) Ilhan Omar has been nothing but an embarrassment, absent from Minneapolis since her election. President Trump should endorse him.

Image source: Facebook.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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