Self inflicted wounds: Ramat Shlomo debacle; Dubai hit debacle; keeping Chomsky out debacle; Goldstone Report debacle (absence of credible response to Goldstone to this day despite months since his report was released); Lebanon 2006 debacle; flotilla debacle.

Iran, in the meantime, which should be the ONLY thing, other than negotiating with the Palestinians, on the Israeli government’s plate, has managed to acquire sufficient fuel for two nuclear bombs. Would anybody like to guess how many nuclear bombs it takes to destroy central Israel?

Of course, who needs nukes when one has a proxy army with tens of thousands of sophisticated rockets aimed at every important target inside Israel?

Talk about ineffective governing.

Has the current Netanyahu government or its Olmert government predecessor actually achieved anything other than shooting themselves in the foot over and over?
*Have they protected Israel from Lebanon and Syria’s violations of UNSCR 1701? No.
*Have they made any serious headway in stopping the Iranian race to a bomb? Only a little bit, apparently through effective intelligence operations, but in the bigger picture, no.
*Have they been able to neutralize the growing boycott movement or prevent further isolation from western countries? No. On both counts the situation today is far worse than a few years ago.
*Has Israel been supportive of Jewish students who are under attack on campuses across the world because of Israeli policies? No. In fact, these days they are even speaking about not sending out Israeli speakers to university campuses any more.
*Has Israel been supportive of Jewish diaspora communities? No. The communities are in dire financial straits with a key failure being the education of younger Jews. However, Israel continues to accept half of the UJF/UJA contributions every year instead of refusing those funds – hundreds of millions of dollars – so Diaspora communities can funnel the money to Jewish education and other needs.

Each of these issues, in one way or another, is an existential issue for Israel and yet the list is full of failures.

I write this as a supporter of Israel: Dear Israeli government, please stop making things easier for your enemies and for ours. Most important, please stop with the self-inflicted wounds, because these stupid incidents, one after the other, are preventing you from dealing with the most dangerous foe you’ve got right now: Iran.

UPDATE: Leon Panetta, head of the CIA, has stated that Iran has enough enriched uranium for two bombs.

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  • ok, i am no expert on nukes, but isnt it the enrichment process and not the amount of fuel that is important?

    and wouldnt the rest of the muslim world be just the teensy bit afraid of iran having nukes?

    and why blame the israeli government for what is happening with iran…the blame lies with america…first, jimmy carter and his asinine mideast policies, and finally gw 2.0, for removing the only existential threat to iran in the region….iraq and crazy sadaam. sadaam, the worlds greatest bluffer kept iran from attempting to push through with a real nuke program…and while we americans were busy fighting a war to stop wmds….we created a monster

    and why does israel have any responsibility for diaspora communities? you are blaming israel for the lack of education int the diaspora??? blame the parents.

    i see tons of programs for teens to go to israel for a summer, a semester a year…at cut rate prices.

    israel should refuse funding from the uja so it can go where? if it was to go to yeshivas, that would be great…but that community doesnt need support from israel

    so should it go to secular or reform jewish schools? i have seen how those so called rabbis who run those institutions feel about israel….so no, i dont think that money should be funneled to them, and their revisionist understanding of judaism or israel.

    and how is israel supposed to combat what is going on on college campuses, when those same rabbis who you want funds diverted to, lead the divestment programs?

    it is up to the diaspora communities to fight our own battles.

    but i do agree…it seems that the leadership in israel has no clue as to what it is doing….and this is the result of the realities of galus.

    that israel exists is a nais….but too many in the governemnt think it is do to their and their fathers hard work….but you cant take g-d out of the equation, or you end up losing your way.

    • No Joe, the point is that eight months ago, the Iranians didn’t even have enough fuel for one bomb. However, since 2006, Israel has been playing games that divert it from its real enemy – and they’ve been losing at those games to add insult to injury.

      The blame may lie with America, but it is not America that is endangered by two bombs. Israel is.

      Israel bears a great deal of responsibility for diaspora communities, not the least of which would be as a payback for the decades of extensive financial and political support from diaspora communities. Also, Israel, the Jewish state, has an inherent responsibility to assure the viability of diaspora communities and I mean that it has this obligation from a moral standpoint and should do it from a pragmatic viewpoint. However, instead of viewing us that way, they view us as dispensable supporters who help in Israel’s fight, whatever the consequences.

      As for the parents educating their children, that’s precisely my point. If Israel refused UJF funds, an additional $300-$400 million per year (these organizations usually give 50% of the funds they raise to Israel) would be available for Jewish education in the US alone. And you bet it should go to non-Orthodox schools since the non-Orthodox have been subsidizing Orthodox schools for decades. What is happening is really very clear. For decades, the Conservative and Reform Jews have been providing the bulk of the money that goes to mainstream Jewish charities. Those charities, in turn, have been subsidizing Jewish education, except that 80% of the students have been Orthodox. Often, these Orthodox families with large numbers of children receive subsidies to send their kids to Hebrew day schools. In the meantime, the non-Orthodox families, which tend to have 1 or 2 kids and tend to be middle or upper middle class, are charged private school fees to educate their children. These amounts range anywhere from $14k-$20k per child per year and make it challenging and off-putting to provide this type of education to their children. As a consequence, you not only get fewer non-Orthodox kids studying at these schools, you create a self-perpetuating cycle that ensures that generation after generation, the bonds to Judaism AND TO ISRAEL of the majority of the American Jewish public become weaker and weaker. Assimilation, and dwindling numbers of young Jews, are a by-product of this. If Israel would recognize the dire need of the US community instead of assuming that we’re their piggybank, the additional hundreds of millions of dollars could subsidize thousands and maybe tens of thousands of Jewish kids receiving a Jewish education. Then, Israel would be more likely to have strong support from young Jews now and in the future instead of watching the greying not only of American Jewry, but also of their base of support in the US.

      How is Israel supposed to help combat what is happening on campuses? The first thing it could do is stop with the stupid self-inflicted wounds. The second is to ensure that speakers and funds are available to counter-act the well-funded and well-organized anti-Israel campus forces. It has been left entirely up to the few activists in the Jewish community who care enough and the few donors who feel this is sufficiently important to provide support for the small number of Jewish students on campuses who have the courage and the conviction to support Israel in relatively hostile environments where they are outnumbered, out-funded, out-organized and often watch their student governments together with their university administrations stand behind (or collude with) their opponents’ activities. Where is Israel in all this, other than providing new fodder for the anti-Israel camp? Nowhere. And how will this affect Israel in the future? Abdicating the university battleground is one of the most foolish, short-sighted failures of Israeli governments. These campuses are the grounds where future voters and politicians are created.

      Diaspora communities have been fighting not only their own battles, but Israel’s as well. Except that these days, Israel is becoming a liability instead of an asset.

      God has nothing to do with leadership and wisdom that people need to have.

  • The headline says it all. Israel surely needs to keep its powder dry for Iran. Every day we see more evidence that Obama, for whom grandiose nonproliferation treaties and UN resolutions have an almost mystical value, will do nothing. An Israeli strike against Iran would, of course, outrage the usual suspects. But it would mean a lot to keep at least the likes of Merkel and Sarkozy on board. They’ve fled Israel this week.

  • Anyone who’s Muddled enough to think that letting terrorists dock in Gaza is the “smart” solution shouldn’t be criticizing anyone else…

    Most of the items on your list are partially or entirely outside the purview or influence of the Israeli government.

    … and judging from your jelly-kneed, back-stabbing response to Cast Lead and the current incident, you’d be the first to denounce Israel if it actually DID do anything “unilateral” or “disproportional” about Lebanon and Syria.

    Bibi and Liberman have done a great job with the most anti-Israel – and generally naive – administration
    since Carter. Liberman in particular has made great use of the White House’s retreat from defending American allies – outside the limelight, lotsa folks want to hear what Israel has to say about terror now that the American sheriff has hung up his spurs.

    Regarding Diaspora Jewry – considering their long-waning interest and support, it’s disingenuous to expect much from Israel. Those Jews who affiliate and visit get more than their money’s worth from Israel. Those on their way out of Jewry are not reachable by their own communities – so what should Israel do?

    Although we hear quite clearly in your whining the nervous tone of the diaspora Jew who’s conflicted about his association with Israel.

  • Yes, Ben David, I am the “whiny” “diaspora Jew” who is conflicted about his association with Israel. 🙄

    Just to remind you, Netanyhau’s own appointed Zvi Hauser advocated for letting the flotilla through to Gaza. It was a no brainer.

    The rest of my list is only outside the purview of the Israeli government because they’re too busy shooting themselves in the foot to actually, you know, govern.

    Regarding this current incident, there is nothing back-stabbing about saying it was moronic and poorly planned. You have to be a fool to say it was a well-planned raid or that it was a good move. It’s even hard to claim it was the right move when the entire purpose of the flotilla has been to generate unfavorable publicity for Israel. This was an out and out victory for the other side and it was facilitated in every way by Israel’s leadership – and I include senior members of the IDF in my criticism.

    Remind me what my “jelly-kneed, back stabbing” response to Cast Lead was, because I recall writing a post called “It’s About time” when Israel entered Gaza, and since then I have been critical of Goldstone and supportive of Israel’s rejection of any participation in his commission’s investigation.

    It seems to me, however, that those who think they support Israel by turning a blind eye to the obvious failures of this government and the last, are doing a deep disservice to Israel and its future.

  • Here’s a simple question for anyone who supported the boarding of the ship: how did Israel benefit?

  • themiddle

    to say the reason that reform and conservative jews are not educating their children is due to a lack of monies is straight out bs. somehow, observant jews continue to do it.

    my parents are traditional…not orthodox…but they sacrificed to send their children to jewish schools. we didnt have nice cars, we didnt take vacations, we didnt have a great home. what we did get was a jewish education. and all the kids ended with a year learning in israel (for my sister, it was 2)

    and we were not allowed to just take scholarships…all us kids gave of our time working for the orgs where the scholarships came from…this current generation is spoiled.

    as for reform and conservative subsidizing orthodox institutions, at least here in los angeles, that too is bs.

    the reform and conservative institutions here are awash in money, while the orthodox ones struggle to survive.

    i dont want to engage in a circular argument, but israel has no responsibility to the diaspora community

    i too wish they would use more sechel when engaging in acts such as occurred on sunday…but they cannot run their foreign policy based on how it will impact jews around the world.

    there are a myriad of programs for every level of jew, whereby students can spend up to a year in israel…for very little money. how many take advantage of that?

    • Sorry Joe, what’s bs is pretending that Orthodox families haven’t been subsidized by moneys that enable them to send 6 and 7 kids to Jewish day school. You tell me how a family affords, say, $90,000 after taxes, to educate their kids without subsidies. You can’t because it’s impossible except for the affluent. Observant Jews who do it tend to get subsidies and those who don’t either don’t have many kids, or are on their very first children or are living in relative poverty.

      The current generation is not spoiled, it is actually the same as the previous generation in that those who can get subsidies go and those who are affluent go and those in the middle don’t go. Don’t kid yourself that it was different 30 years ago.

      I really don’t have the patience regarding pulling out the numbers about subsidies, but if you look, you will find that most of the revenue generated by the mainstream Jewish charities is raised from non-Orthodox sources. I’m not talking about a synagogue here or there, I’m talking about the UJF, for example. They receive the bulk of their funding from non-Orthodox source and they pass half on to Israel and the other half on to various organizations. It so happens that most active Jewish institutions of learning are Orthodox and their students are Orthodox. That is how the other movements are subsidizing the Orthodox. At the same time, in order to send their own children to Jewish day schools, the same non-Orthodox donors to the UJF receive no subsidies, if they can even find a non-Orthodox institution to which they can send their kids.

      Even if you don’t wish to acknowledge Israel’s responsibility to diaspora Jewry, out of self-interest and self-preservation, they should be thinking about how it would benefit them to ensure that the diaspora donations that currently go to them would be better spent ensuring that the diaspora communities remain sizable and their children have a connection to Judaism and to Israel as they grow up.

      As for your last paragraph, I’m afraid that while programs like Masa and Birthright are good, they are not nearly enough and they don’t confront the basic problems facing diaspora communities today. Those programs, by the way, have to turn away potential participants because of insufficient funding. And Masa, to note, is an acknowledgment by the Israeli government that what I’m saying about the connection of young, foreign Jews to Israel is of concern to Israel.

  • Morrissey:
    Here’s a simple question for anyone who supported the boarding of the ship: how did Israel benefit?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    It asserted/maintained its right to blockade a terrorist enemy, and prevented further delegitimization of that rightful policy.

    It re-asserted the terror/defense aspect of this situation, and revealed the cynicism of those trying to recast this in the emotional terms of “humanitarianism”.

    It also countered Turkey’s gambit to increase its profile/influence. Read Charles Krauthammer and others on that angle.

    Albeit inadvertently, it also revealed the “peace activists” were Islamist thugs in this case. And although my heart goes out to those ambushed soldiers, the way things played out helped fence-sitting liberal Jews maintain their belief in Israel’s good intentions.