Israel’s Political Instability Poses a Strategic Danger

Three weeks since Israel’s do-over election, it remains unclear who the next prime minister will be. Coalition negotiations could go on for weeks more, and a third round of elections remains a possibility. David M. Weinberg argues that this long state of political uncertainty, which has been in effect since the first elections in April, has a deleterious effect on Israeli security:

The main reason that Israel has been able to avoid significant, full-scale war over the past decade, despite [numerous] threats, . . . has been the assessment in global capitals that Israel is skillfully and defiantly led by a strong leader. Whether they liked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or not, allies and adversaries knew that they faced formidable and determined Israeli leadership.

But this state of affairs—what amounts to Israel’s deterrence posture—requires constant care. Deterrence needs to be compellingly and consistently maintained or it loses its cogency. Like any agricultural field, it needs regular plowing, seeding, and especially weeding if it is going to yield a harvest. Israel will be hard-pressed to maintain this deterrent posture if the political stalemate lingers for too much longer. Israel’s strategic situation doesn’t brook inertia. Israel simply can’t afford an endless leadership limbo.

Prolonged political uncertainty poses two different dangers: that Israel’s enemies will be tempted to take advantage of Israel’s infirmity, and that Israel will be unable to take advantage of emerging diplomatic opportunities. It’s obvious that security tensions are bubbling very close to the surface, both from Hamas in Gaza and from Iranian forces in Lebanon and Syria. . . . The hot situation in the Persian Gulf could erupt into regional war, too, and Israel may be implicated. This reality requires stable government and probably a unity government.

Consider this, too: a new Israeli government that does not include Netanyahu in some way may be forced to fight several fierce wars to re-prove Israel’s mettle.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, Israeli Security

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media