In a stunning, recently aired interview, the former Director of the Mossad Meir Dagan, posthumously took to the airwaves to slam Binyamin Netanyahu for bringing about the Iran deal. Even the interviewer, not known for her affection for Netanyahu or the right-wing in general, was forced to come to Bibi’s defence:
In his final, all-encompassing media interview, aired on Channel 2 Thursday, Dagan tore into Netanyahu for his outspoken resistance to the Iran deal, accusing him of making an enemy of Israel’s closest ally, the United States, and of pursuing personal political interests when he repeatedly and publicly signaled that Israel planned to attack Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“The person who brought about the [Iranian nuclear] deal was Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Dagan told prominent Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan.
When Dayan objected, pointing out that Netanyahu fought against the deal even at the cost of damaging ties with Washington, Dagan seemed agitated, repeatedly saying: “That’s not true, it’s just not true.”
You can read the rest of Dagan’s accusations of Netanyahu at the link.
Since this interview was aired, we have had the benefit of learning from the revelations in the New York Times from Obama’s closest aide, Ben Rhodes, that the Iran Deal was a done deal despite anything that Netanyahu said, and over the objections of anyone in the US or Western security establishments. This then puts the lie to Dagan’s accusations against Netanyahu. All he did in his interview was show himself up as arrogant, as knowing better than Netanyahu what is best for the country, and then having the temerity to act upon his own opinions without permission from the political echelon, which is an absolute imperative in a democracy. This is a crying shame considering Dagan’s glorious career in the Mossad.
Another scandal, this time caused by a senior soldier still in uniform occurred a couple of weeks ago. The Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan caused a huge scandal when he virtually compared Israeli society to pre-Nazi Germany, as he remarked that:
…he identifies processes in Israel today that are similar to those that took place in Europe prior to the Holocaust.
In a strongly worded speech uncommon for a military commander, Golan warned against trends of growing callousness and indifference towards those outside of mainstream Israeli society.
He called for a “thorough consideration” of how society treats the disadvantaged and “the other” in its midst.
“If there is something that frightens me in the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying horrifying processes that occurred in Europe…70, 80 and 90 years ago and finding evidence of their existence here in our midst, today, in 2016,” Golan said.
“There is nothing easier than hating the other,” he said. “There is nothing easier than raising fears and sowing terror. There is nothing easier than becoming callous, morally corrupt and hypocritical.”
He called for society to make use of Holocaust remembrance to “nip the buds of intolerance, the buds of violence, the buds of self-destruction on the road to moral degradation.”
The worst of it was that he made this speech at a Yom Hashoah ceremony of all places.
It did not take long for the backlash to occur:
Netanyahu called the comments “outrageous” at Sunday’s cabinet meeting and said they “create contempt for the Holocaust.
Golan’s remarks, Netanyahu said, “are fundamentally baseless. They didn’t need to be said at any time and certainly not at the time they were said. They do injustice to Israeli society and create contempt for the Holocaust. The deputy chief of staff is a highly decorated officers but his statements on this matter were completely erroneous and unacceptable to me.”
There was more on the same theme from other right-wing MKs and ministers.
Of course this being Israel, there was a backlash to the backlash:
Opposition politicians lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday, accusing him of hypocrisy for scolding an IDF general for “cheapening” the memory of the Holocaust in a Remembrance Day speech.
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog called Netanyahu’s “attempt to level a threat and silence IDF officers dangerous and unprecedented.”
… Turning Netanyahu’s words against him, he called the prime minister’s attack on an IDF officer who wasn’t able to defend himself “outrageous and inappropriate.”
Here too, there’s much more on the same theme from left-wing MKs and politicians.
Belatedly, Maj. Gen. Golan realized that he had overstepped the mark, not to mention given precious fodder to Israel’s haters and antisemites everywhere, who now have the ammunition to claim that “even an Israeli General says the Jews are like Nazis”. He walked back his remarks:
Gen. Yair Golan “did not intend to compare the IDF and Israel to what happened in Germany 70 years ago. Such a comparison would be absurd and baseless,” Golan said in a statement released by the IDF spokesman’s office and read on Army Radio. “There was no intention of creating any such parallel or to criticize the political echelons,” the statement said, also calling the IDF “a moral army that respects purity of arms and human dignity.”
If there was no intention to make such a comparison, why did he specifically mention that dark period of history to make his comparison? And of course his recanting is too late. What has been said cannot be unsaid, especially in these days of 24/7 media coverage, and our enemies are rejoicing.
For the Obama administration, Israel’s security brass is an alternative government.
That is the lesson from an article published this week in Foreign Affairs by David Makovsky, a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s negotiating team during his failed peace process two years ago.
Makovsky wrote that the security brass’s unbridled vilification of Sgt. Elor Azaria, for killing a wounded terrorist in Hebron in March, “captures the IDF’s growing involvement in the Palestinian issue.”
“Seeing a diplomatic vacuum in Israeli politics,” he wrote supportively, “the IDF has increasingly worked to assert itself as a guardian of democratic values and a stabilizer of the Israeli-Palestinian arena.”
The article tells us two things. First, for the administration, “Israeli democracy” means the Left is in charge.
The “diplomatic vacuum,” Makovsky referred to after all wasn’t an oversight. The public elected leaders that shared its view that the “peace process” is a fraud. We elected leaders who agree that Israel making unreciprocated concessions to terrorists is not a peace process. It’s a process of destroying Israel.
Likewise, our generals continuously pressure the government to agree to relinquish security control over the Palestinian population centers, and transfer security responsibility to terror-supporting Palestinian militias. This despite the fact that the government has repeatedly rejected their position.
These actions are bad enough on their own. But when seen in the context of recent events, they lend the impression that for our generals, gross insubordination to the Netanyahu government is the rule, rather than the exception.
Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan compared Israeli society to the Nazis on Holocaust Remembrance Day. This was a direct assault on the government’s policy of fighting, rather than joining Israel-bashers who deny the right of the Jewish state to exist. And his comrades in the General Staff and in the Left praised him for his appalling behavior.
Then there is the late Gen. Meir Dagan, the retired director of Mossad. …
… Dagan told the host Ilana Dayan that in 2010, he committed espionage.
Dagan revealed that in 2010, he went behind Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s back and informed then CIA director Leon Panetta that Netanyahu and then defense minister Ehud Barak were about to order the security services to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.
Panetta, who Dayan also interviewed, substantiated Dagan’s remarks.
… Had Netanyahu played along with Obama, Dagan argued, Obama wouldn’t have opened negotiations with Iran.
Panetta then admitted that today he does not believe that he was telling them the truth.
For his part, Rhodes revealed that from the outset of his presidency, it was Obama’s aim to cut a deal with Iran while ending the US’s alliances with Israel and the Sunni Muslim states.
Driven by his personal animus towards Netanyahu and by egomania, he chose to trust Panetta, and through him, Obama more than he trusted the man he was legally bound to serve.
And so, Dagan willfully subverted the premier’s authority. He unlawfully revealed Israel’s most classified operational secret to Obama’s puppet. Through his action, Dagan cleared the final obstacle to Obama’s pursuit of his anti-Israel agenda.
From the perspective of democratic norms, the worst part of Dagan’s subversion is that he was proud of it.
By insisting his final interview be broadcast posthumously, Dagan showed that he wanted his subversion of the government to be his legacy. Dagan’s final act was to tell his countrymen that it is legitimate to place themselves above the law and above the lawful government and take independent actions that will obligate the entire country.
Ironically, there is no substantive difference between Dagan’s actions – or the generals’– and the actions of the so-called Hilltop Youth in Samaria that the generals continuously condemn as the greatest threat to Israel.
And by acting lawlessly and showing bottomless contempt for our elected officials, Dagan, Golan and their comrades tell the Hilltop Youth and the rest of us that the law is what they say it is.
Beyond Caroline Glick’s condemnation of such usurpation of Israel’s democracy, there is a further point to be made – and that is that Israeli society is nowhere near as evil, as bigoted, racist or violent as the Left loves to make out, much to Israel’s enemies delight.
Here is the commentator Yotam Zimri in a Facebook post (via Zvi) which I shall translate below, in which he instructs all of us, particularly the Left, to get a sense of proportion (emphases are mine):
There is a tendency to soften the statement of the Deputy Chief of Staff and say, “Look, he exaggerated a bit with all that stuff about Germany, but there is no doubt that something bad is happening to Israeli society.”
So I just want to say that this is utter nonsense.
A society which lives in a country that is threatened from every direction, in which there lives a not-so-small minority of whom a large portion claim that they hold the nationality of an enemy entity; a society which lives in the only country in the world which it is permissible to claim in the United Nations that it should be destroyed and one can get away with it, no problem; a country that the UN organization UNESCO can determine, just like that, for fun, that the place most sacred to Jews, get this, has no connection to the Jews; a country whose citizens are stabbed, shot and killed as part of the national sport of its neighbor – if all that such a society can produce is some price-tag organizations which it would take the Shin Bet (GSS) about two days to dismantle the moment really felt like it, if all that this society produces is a group of football fans holding racist signs; if all such a society produces is talkbacks and violent reactions on facebook; if all this society produces are individual acts of violence, however grisly they are, that can be counted on two hands; if that’s all that Israeli society is able to produce, it is the most non-violent society in the world.
Nothing bad has happened to Israeli society. On the contrary, say thank you that this is what it looks like.
There is nothing wrong with Israeli democracy or Israeli society – as long as the Israeli public are allowed to vote for whom they wish, and as long as their elected representatives are permitted to lead the country in the direction that the electorate chose, without interference or subversion from those who don’t agree with the public’s choice or from who wish it ill.