Every single person in Israel who does not support the Gaza pullout is quoted today as saying, “We told you so, those polls are lying, Haaretz is a rag, Sharon is a traitor, a referendum is democracy, and B’shana haba’a be’Aza Habenuyah (next year in a built Gaza)!”

Why is every single one of these individuals either giddy with joy, or alternatively, bitterly sarcastic? Because only a reported 10,000 people showed up for a pro-pullout rally on Saturday night. This is supposed to indicate lukewarm support for the pullout from Gaza.

In other news, a whole bunch of Centrist Israelis on the Right and the Left have described themselves as bored with Peace Now demonstrations and have no interest in participating with the Far Left and its attempts to make itself the representative of the Center. It was noted that very few politicians were at the rally from any party and that the rally was opposed by most prominent leaders of Shinui, Labor and Likud.

Rather than simply accept that most supporters of disengagement didn’t care about the rally, the anti-disengagement groups have trumpeted this small rally as proof that they are right. In the meantime, they continue to ignore or insult publications like:

Jerusalem Post:

A random telephone survey of 93,955 adults, conducted between February 13 and February 20 by Keshet Yisrael, a nonpartisan group dedicated to rapprochement between social groups, asked one simple question: “Are you for or against the disengagement plan?” Some 64.4 percent of the respondents expressed approval for the plan; 35.6% voted against it.

“We’ve seen over the past week that a large majority of people are clearly for the disengagement plan,” Shlomo Gilboa, chairman of Keshet Yisrael, said. “The results of this survey are something every child in Israel already knows.”

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themiddle

16 Comments

  • Hmmmm. So why is Sharon scared of a referendum?

    The issue was brought before the general public during the previous elections: Mitzna wanted to unconditionally leave the Gaza Strip and destroy the settlements while Sharon was against this although he was for “painful concessions.” Mitzna got trounced.

    In two internal Likud elections, one involving Cenral Commitee members and the oth involving all Likud members, the “disengagement” was again trounced. At that time, the Israeli press predicted a victory for Sharon or a neck to neck battle.

    Conclusion: Polls are not always accurate(and that’s an understatement!).

  • Cosmic X, if the polls showed the opposite, you know you’d be telling us that polls matter.

    Sharon is not afraid of a referendum but is smart not to want one. Call him “bulldozer.”

    Remember that the Knesset and Cabinet can topple the government at any time. In fact, we are seeing the threat of this happening right now over the budget. So far, Sharon has deftly maneuvered the government to where he wants. This is how Israeli democracy works.

    In my other post I quote a NY Times article that quotes a Gazan Israeli lamenting that while the pullout is perfectly legal, it just doesn’t seem right or fair. I think that is exactly right.

    But we all know something else. We know that even if a referendum were held, the same people calling for it now would not become silent or stop protesting if they were to lose it. Let’s not play games.

  • We know that even if a referendum were held, the same people calling for it now would not become silent or stop protesting if they were to lose it.
    —————————————————–
    Then why are they calling for it?
    The policy of expulsion was trounced in the last election, most Israelis are eyeing the “developments” in Palestinian politics with great cynicism, the settlers have already drawn large numbers to their rallies and dabbled in civil disobedience with little negative effect.

    So why are they calling for a referendum – and betting their homes on Israeli public opinion? If they get violent AFTER a referendum, they will most certainly lose public support.

    So why are they doing it – instead of stepping up the protest/civil unrest as has been done successfully in Ukraine (and now in Lebanon)?

    Another question: if the polls are really so accurate, why aren’t all the slimy, spineless, poll-driven Israeli politicians piling on? If there really is such widespread support, Netanyahu is committing political suicide – and you may disagree with his policies, but he’s too clever a politician to do that.

    These same polls predicted several times that Shimon Peres would be our prime minister. Hasn’t happened yet.

    The last election was the ONLY time the Israeli public were allowed to express its opinion of Oslo-style unilateral concessions. They rejected such a tactic by a landslide. Nothing in the current political landscape has changed significantly – other than the almost surety that the Palis will experience internal instability for a while, which is even more reason not to withdraw unilaterally.

    Many Israelis who think that Gaza must “eventually” be handed over – as part of a deal yet to materialize, with a partner yet to materialize – wonder why this is so urgent, why we are again getting nothing for our pains (depending on how the survey is worded, many of these would be counted as “supporting withdrawal” – even though they don’t support the current process). The comparison to Yamit is on everyone’s minds.

    Even MORE Israelis are disgusted by the way this “consensus” was reached – how cabinet ministers and coalition partners have been scuttled and shuffled, how a PM with an enormous, clear Knesset majority has squandered it – perverting the structures of Israeli democracy in the process.

    So:
    The settlers – which the mainstream media portrays as a lonely band of fanatics – are so confident of public support that they will literally “bet the house” on it. And the lefties who claim over and over that they speak for “the people” – while losing elections – are desperately trying to prevent “the people” from clarifying their opinions.

    The poor showing on Saturday night rips the kishkes out of the leftie claim that they speak for the people. That is why it is so significant.

    On a relaxing Saturday night, a few days after settlers provoked Tel-Avivis wrath by blocking a major intersection – nada, zip, zilch.

    This is important – although many left-leaning Jews will want to ignore it.

    Ben-David

  • “Cosmic X, if the polls showed the opposite, you know you’d be telling us that polls matter.”

    TM – please don’t put words in my mouth! I’ve been living in Israel long enough (20 years) to know that the polls are not accurate, and are usually slanted left.

    “Sharon is not afraid of a referendum but is smart not to want one.”
    I beg to disagree. He got his butt kicked twice on this issue.

    “Remember that the Knesset and Cabinet can topple the government at any time. In fact, we are seeing the threat of this happening right now over the budget. So far, Sharon has deftly maneuvered the government to where he wants. This is how Israeli democracy works.”

    Here I agree with you. But I would say that if democracy is the “rule of the people”, we would rephrase your last sentence to say “This is how Israeli democracy fails to work.” Many Likud MKs and the ministers are worrying about their seats and disregarding the will of their own party members and the electorate. The left, by supporting Sharon’s manipulation, prove again that their concept of democracy is much different than the one that I knew growing up in the USA.

    “But we all know something else. We know that even if a referendum were held, the same people calling for it now would not become silent or stop protesting if they were to lose it. Let’s not play games.”

    A generalization. I think that after a referendum MOST disengagement opponents would grudingly accept the outcome. It is interesting to note that Nadia Mattar opposes the referendum and declares, ‘The Slogan “Let the People Decide” Is a Return to the Sin of the Spies.’

  • T_M,
    last week, the rally was not described as one organized by the far-left, but now after its failure, the justification is that people didn’t want to be associated with them.
    Sorry, that does not hold water to say the least.

    And what about actual voting day itself (general election or referendum). Who really decides that- the entire eligible voters list or the people who went to stand in line and put a slip in a cardboard box?

    Do you think that polls should run a country? I’m still waiting for the ultimate poll asking people what they really know about ‘disengagement’ besides that multi-sylable word in both languages.

  • Josh, I don’t think referenda should be the way to run a country.

    I brought up the poll to show that while people didn’t show up to the rally, only 3 weeks earlier, we had 65% of Israelis supporting the pullout.

    Velvel, they held a rally because they hoped to show strong public support. What the rally shows is that Yahad (Meretz) and Peace Now remain on the fringes. Big surprise.

    Cosmic, you say that many Likud members are worried about their seats and therefore going against the will of their people. I would take the opposite tack and say that those “rebels” are kissing up to their constituents despite the importance of this matter. Netanyahu is a perfect example. He is taking the position against the pullout because he is gambling that no matter what, the Palestinians will continue with the violence. If they do, he can point to his vote against the pullout and say he was right. If he’s wrong and leaving Gaza somehow magically solves problems, he still benefits from having the “courage” to stick to his convictions. Win/win.

    Ben David, I give you the post you wanted and I don’t even get a thank you?

    😉

  • The rally means NOTHING. I know of many, many, many people who support disengagement but didn’t go to the rally. Myself being one of them. In fact, no one I know went. Standing side by side with Gush Shalom isn’t how I like spending my Saturday nights. And the rally was supported by the left, it wasn’t an all encompassing rally bringing together those on the left and the right who support disengagement.

  • I don’t think referenda should be the way to run a country.

    Every ‘country’ has referendum for unique and critical issue:

    -All european countries before deciding to join the EU,
    -afterwards the UK held one on whether to use the Euro or keep the sterling
    -Rabin and Barak promised to call a referendum on any major land-for-peace aggreements
    -Quebec (nuff said)

    and frankly, I believe that most if not all United States have quasi referendum attached to ballots every election on various state proposals like single-gender marriages, drugs, abortion, etc…

    ck, what’s wrong with referendum on major issues that might transcend partisian loyalties?

  • I’m not against referendums. But given that no viable alternative has been proposed for what to do with Gaza other than maintenance of the status quo, I don’t see why a referendum is neccessary. The only thing it has going for it is that apparently, if the anti-disengagement folks lose, they’ll walk away quietly and submit to the will of the people. But even that is questionable. So what do we do? I dunno.

  • T M wrote:
    Ben David, I give you the post you wanted and I don’t even get a thank you?
    ………………………………

    Thank you! (You’re still wrong, but) Thank You!
    Ben-David

  • Uh, no. How did we get from referendum to war criminal? And why did you answer my question with a question?

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