August 17, 2019

Daily Roundtable collection: Netanyahu, Silverman, Tamimi

This is a collection of few of the short comments I wrote for the Daily Roundtable this week. If you are not yet subscribed to this great Jewish Journal feature, you ought to consider it, and get it to your mailbox every morning, six days a week. Go here to sign up.

On why Netanyahu is still strong in the polls, amid the many scandals:

Looking at the polls from the last two days one has no choice but to reach one of two conclusions:

  1. The public is slow witted. It takes time for him to digest the events of the last couple of days and do what you’d expect him to do: show less support for the ruling party and its head.
  2. The public doesn’t care. Israelis indeed understand the meaning of recent revelations, and choose to ignore them, either because they are not bothered by corruption, or because they have more important considerations (such as: corruption aside, Netanyahu is a great PM).

For now, the result is self-evident: the leaders of the coalition take their cue from the public and stick with the PM.

On Sarah Silverman’s support for Palestinian attacker Ahed Tamimi:

Much like Sarah Silverman – adorable as a comedian, less so as a policy maven – I too understand that Palestinian attackers such as Ahed Tamimi have reasons for their “rage”. I also understand that some impartial observers might conclude that “her rage” justifies her means – like slapping an IDF officer. So maybe Silverman choose to be an impartial observer when she thinks about Israel. She can do that, if she wants to. What she can’t do is have it both ways: be an impartial observer AND claim the mantle of being a friend of Israel’s.

If you are a friend, an attacker of an Israeli soldier is not someone you try to understand, it is someone you want captured and punished. Sometimes, with friends, things are quite simple.

On the decision to put Tamimi on trial:

With all due respect to international courts of public opinion, Israel has its soldiers to think about. These young men and women are sent to confront terrorism and violence by us. These young men and women are the sons and daughters of Israelis. So Israel must defend itself in the international court of public opinion, but first it must defend its soldiers from attacks and humiliations. It must show that no mistreatment of an Israeli soldier goes unpunished.

Failing to defend them will be much more detrimental to Israel’s security than the PR damage that it might suffer because of the trial. Failing to defend them will be morally unforgiveable, much more than putting a violence-happy Palestinian teen on trial.

On Israel’s Supreme Court new appointments:

The Minister of Justice made it a cause to alter the course of the Supreme Court. Naturally, it is a cause that some Israelis dread, and some heartily support. Those dreading it, try to make it seem sinister, when in fact, there is nothing beyond trivial about it.

The source of confusion surrounding Supreme Court appointments in Israel is simple: Israel pretends to have a strictly professional court, when in fact it is clear that ideological tendencies play a role in both appointments of judges and later in their decisions. Thus, a certain Arab justice is not a realistic nominee not because of his ethnicity. He is an unrealistic nominee because of his presumed ideological tendencies.