Monday, August 28, 2006
The Circus Slides Towards the Abyss
As protests mount against Olmert and his government, the government and its media allies continue to desperately throw out every trick and distraction they can to divert the public from its mounting fury at the military disaster, the surrender to Hezbollah, the deficits of supplies that left IDF reservists without food, helmets, bandages and in some cases even uniforms.
So now we have two sex scandals, one involving the President and the other involving the Justice Minister, both key figures in any call for new elections. The media is of course full of tabloid gossip and screaming headlines about THE LATEST ALLEGATIONS but it's all futile. Israelis who have been forced to live in shelters, who have gone to war in a mishandled campaign, who have lost sons are not about to forget what this government did because the media trots out giant headlines about the supposed sexual misconduct allegations involving two politicians. And the Israeli public has seen phony investigations all too often get used as a weapon to settle political scores before.
The utter failure and bankruptcy of this government cannot be cloaked by tossing out President Katsav or Justice Minister Haim Ramon to the wolves, hoping that the chaos and scandals will distract the public, and make any call for new elections more difficult. It won't be obstructed by transparent attempts to shift the blame to Netanyahu or the leaks about General Halutz's investments originating from within the government itself.
While Olmert frantically butchers scapegoats as if he was a witch doctor at a voodoo altar, even his media allies understand that the government is over and that its failure can't be described as victory or the protests silenced. Nor will random operations into Gaza or Lebanon successfully fake an appearance of determination and military strength. All these are distractions thrown out by a desperate regime clinging by its fingernails over the abyss.
For the last few years an alliance between key political figures, the media and powerful businessmen dismantled a portion of Israel, destroyed its two major political parties, subverted the rule of law and turned the country into its own private fiefdom. Sharon's right hand man who tried to run it all failed miserably. The likely outcome now is that the Kadima laborites will return to take over their old party from Stalin wannabe and failed Defense Minister Peretz splitting down Kadima. An invigorated Likud can then finish the job leaving Kadima another failed party as defunct as Mordechai's Third Way.
The media and the businessmen are likely calculating already for that eventuality. They still have Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu, now a thoroughly corrupt party beholden to Martin Schalff who owned a stake in Arafat's casino. Lieberman makes pathetic attempts to posture as a right-winger but his actual legislative record is left of center. A man who proposed giving away most of the 67 territories and dividing Yerushalayim is as credible a Zionist as a duck is a fish. There's the Pensioner's Party which is likely to have zero traction in the post-war period. Look then for the emergence and creation of new political parties along the same lines. The current IDF protesters may well be being hijacked by figures like Carmi Gillon and transformed into a platform for another phony party or politician.
Either way the focus now will be on Kadima burning and the circvs maximus Olmert and Co. will put on to save themselves from political extinction, but when all that has passed we will likely be facing an electoral landscape not too different from the last election after all.