Sunday, March 19, 2006

Prime Minister Candidates Speak To AIPAC

All three candidates for the job of Israeli prime minister had an opportunity to speak to the AIPAC delegates gathered at the 2006 policy conference. The following are my miniscule notes on all of the speeches.

Olmert: I found only one thing he said worthy of writing down. He called for a Palestinian state to be contiguous. I was appalled.

Peretz: They will not negotiate with someone who won't disarm. Israel will leave every option on the table. He finds that poverty is what's separating people. He stopped just short of calling for socialism. I was a bit appalled by him as well.

Netanyahu: I didn't even take any notes on him. Not sure why. He seemed to not be his usual blustery self. More tired, unkept... like he'd worked a full day and was staying up way past his bedtime to speak with us. I'm guessing he didn't say anything terribly egregious or I would have written it down, so no notes probably means I was okay with what he said. I know he's pretty controversial, but there really seems to be no good choice for Israelis. He really does seem to personify the idea of the lesser evil.


At 6:52 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

It doeasn't sound too optimistic Esther, but I agree with you probably Netanyahu is the only choice.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Does Israel have anyone ready to undertake the challenge presented by Hamas? Many of Israel's famous war heroes and politicians have grown old or died. They need an influx of fresh invigorating blood because they have a tough road ahead.

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Rory said...


It sounds like it must have been a very interesting conference. I have to agree about Bibi Netanyahu and he's probably the one I would vote for, if I were an Israeli, even though Likud is probably too far to the right for my taste. But he's still the one who projects the most appealing image and I think he also speaks to a significant segment of American society, particularly after 9/11, although, admittedly, it's the Israelis he has to appeal to. Ehud Olmert is the epitome of a pandering politician going back to the days when he ran against Teddy Kollek (arguably Israel's most beloved politician), for the mayoralty of Jerusalem. Because Teddy was so popular, Olmert, who isn't religious himself, aimed his campaign at Jerusalem's most religious constituency, who were opposed to Teddy because of his well-known secularism and, as a result, he managed to win the election...much to the detriment of the city. Amir Peretz seems to be moderating his socialist position somewhat because I think most Israelis have finally come to the conclusion that a free market society is Israel's best hope. In fact, it always seemed ironic that while people think of Jews as being such good businessmen, the only Jewish state was rabidly socialist for most of its existence.

American Crusader,

I tend to agree there are probably no more famous war heroes, although Netanyahu served in the elite Sayeret Metkal, the same as his brother Jonathan, the young commander who was killed during the raid on Entebbe, so I suspect that probably wins him some points.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

The first two sound terrible, and the last lukewarm.

I hope one of them can take on the job!

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

whoever wins better be ready to deal with the most anti-Israeli government Palestine has ever formed. If Hamas refuses negotiations, refuses Israel's right to exist and refuses to disarm, then what options does Israel have?

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

This is quite discouraging.

Hamas is not going to disarm. Believing otherwise is foolish, IMO.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Netanyahu is the best choice.

Unfortunately, that's because the other candidates suck canal water, and not because Netanyahu has much merits.

Of course, my respect for him would grow if he came out and claimed his previous administration was a mistake because he negotiated with Arafat rather than killed him.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger birdwoman said...

Isn't it sad that, in a time when the world needs leaders the most, this is what we get?



At 9:43 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Sadly I see a war on the near horizon . Hezbollah will provoke it from Lebanon.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Batya said...

There's a complication in the fact that one doesn't vote for PM, we vote for a party, and the largest or the one who can put together the winning coalition gets the PM position.

It was supposed to go back to Likud after Sharon's stroke, but the court played games with the "remote possiblity" that Sharon could/would wake up and function.

Another dirty trick of Olmert and the Kadima gangsters.

At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Rory said...

Mr. Beamish

There's an interesting story surrounding Israel's failure to kill Yasser Arafat. There was one particular incident which took place during the l982 invasion of Lebanon where an Israeli commando had Arafat directly within shooting range and a photo of the scene appeared in several American newspapers. This prompted reporters to ask why, since Arafat had been the Israelis' arch enemy for so many years, didn't that soldier just pull the trigger. The response from one government official was that although there had been several occasions during which the IDF could have killed Arafat, what held them back was the fact that nobody could be certain that whoever would then take over the leadership of the PLO might not look like Omar Sharif!!!

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Rachy said...

I know it's not related to this post, but little Niles is sick

I feel mother or something, I am so sick with worry. The vet says he is going to be fine, so let's all say a little prayer for my little friend.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Check out my new avatar--courtesty of Warren and Beamish.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

It looks like it's going to be Olmert.

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Rachel Ann said...

I hope it isn't Olmert.
My Rabbi on the Yishuv prefers a particular party; I don't think I'm voting for that party, but none of the three that you mentioned will get my vote either!! I can't decide who and I'm between two groups now.

We can pray for the best.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Great comments, guys. Sorry I haven't been around much. Work and wedding out of town have taken their toll on my blogging life. My heart goes out to you Israelis on this vote (thanks for the tutorial Batya...I totally didn't know that!).

Brooke, thanks for stopping by! AOW, great avitar!! Love it.

Rachy, thank G-d Niles pulled through! I know how much you love that little guy!

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Rebekah said...

Gosh, that sounds like the "frontrunners" for the '08 elections - ranging from terrible to okay.
I think the consequences will come sooner for Israel, though.
It's when it's so important, and the choices are so mediocre.


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