Tag Archives: Israeli elections

Ehud Barak, information leaks and political activism

What do Anat Kamm, Ehud Barak and Meir Dagan have in common?

Ehud Barak is current Israeli Minister of Defense, former IDF Chief of Staff and former Prime Minister  that led the disastrous withdrawal from Lebanon that fomented Intifada II and then Lebanese War II.  Barak is famous for quotes like “If I was a Palestinian, I would also be a suicide bomber” or “If I was an Iranian, I would also build nuclear weapons“.

During her military service as an assistant in the Central Command bureau Anat Kamm secretly copied over 2,000 classified documents, copied the documents to a CD and leaked it to the Israeli Haaretz journalist Uri Blau. Kamm  was recently convicted of espionage and leaking confidential information without authorization and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison after a plea bargain.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has recently voiced unrestrained criticism of the current administration’s defense policy in the service of his political activism; criticism which is supposedly based on his inside knowledge from the Mossad.

Meir Dagan, together with Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (former chief of staff), Gen. Amos Yadlin (former head of military intelligence), and Yuval Diskin (former head of Shin Bet), opposed an attack on Iran. While in office (they all retired between November 2010 and May 2011), the Gang of Four successfully blocked attempts by Netanyahu and Barak to move forward on the military option.

Of the four, only Dagan has spoken openly, after leaving office, about what he considers to be the folly of an attack on Iran —  and openly criticized Netanyahu and Barak for irresponsibly pushing Israel to an unnecessary war, relying on his former position of responsibility as chief of intelligence as as implying that what he said must be true.

It was unclear why Dagan would speak of plans best left undisclosed. Unclear, at least until last week, when Dagan announced his plans for a movement to change the method of Israeli government, leaving his options to enter politics in the future open.

I wish Dagan luck.  I’m not happy with his way of publicizing his political activism at the risk of treading the thin line of information leak. It places him on the same slippery slope as Anat Kam who lamely attempted to justify her actions as an act of political protest.

In comparison with Dagan, Barak is circumspect (despite his unfortunate quotes and bad decisions).

Barak was asked about the possibility of making a decision on attacking Iran in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

In my various posts I’ve already seen all the possible permutations, as long as one thing remains constant: the role of the military is to prepare the plans. It is important that the political echelon listen very carefully to what the operational and intelligence echelons have to say, but at the end it is the political echelon that has the responsibility for the decision.
More here on Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak on Iran, U.S., and war
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Why I am voting Likud

My friend Jacob Richman wrote a page on his web site explaining why he will vote Ichud Leumi (NUP). As a person who has traditionally voted for religious/Zionist parties – I feel compelled to answer Jacob in public.

There are a number of flaws in his argumentations regarding the National Union Party (NUP)

1. The NUP doesn’t have a national agenda – i.e. they don’t have positions on economics, industry, trade, energy, environment, transportation and healthcare in their platform.  They are a “one trick pony”
The country runs on taxes  – without a strong economy the entire question is moot.   I believe that our future is at stake on the economic issues and since the NUP doesn’t even have an economic platform – they are non-starters in my book.

2. The NUP has neither  electoral power nor post-elections political power – which brings me to my third point

3. They are politically weak (and whatever political clout they have is generally wasted on the usual internecine politics endemic to the right and religious parties).  As a result – they will never be able to keep their promise of preserving Erez Israel to their voters.  It’s like me promising you that I’ll go to the supermarket and shop for you without having enough money to  pay for the groceries at the checkout counter.

4. The country is better served with 2 large parties with clear national agendas that represent large portions of the electorate. By supporting the continued existence of small parties like the NUP we weaken the democratic process not strenghten it. Crucial national  decisions must be decided on the basis of a majority vote not on the basis of coalition in-fighting and log-rolling.

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