Tag Archives: Israeli politics

Livni’s litany of failures

Ousted Kadima chairwoman Tzippi Livni is retiring from politics for now. She leaves behind a bland, uneventful political career with barely any accomplishments to speak of.

When then-Kadima leader Ehud Olmert faced withering criticism for his handling of the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, and even more withering fire for his alleged corruption probes afterwards, Livni failed to push Olmert aside and forge a new leadership. By trying to keep ‘politically clean,’ by promising ‘a different politics without cynicism,’ Livni remained politically ineffectual. Only after Olmert was forced to resign did she inherit the mantle of leadership. She didn’t take it from him, it, like much of her political career, was handed to her.

After the general elections in 2009, in which Livni’s party won the most Knesset seats [28 to Likud's 27] she failed to form a coalition government, paving the way for Netanyahu to take the reins of power. Livni’s inexperience and naïveté cost her the prime minister’s office. By sending her negotiators to potential coalition partners with a fixed offer, Livni was outflanked by Netanyahu, who showed that he is a much savvier political operator.

In the three years since her failed bid for power, Livni has failed to keep Kadima united, vibrant, and relevant. Above all, her failure to respond in time to last summer’s socioeconomic protest sealed her fate. The Kadima Chairwoman stayed out of the socioeconomic protest movement that erupted here in early June, not wanting to give the government the excuse it was looking for to taint the grassroots movement, which started over the high price of cottage cheese and lack of affordable housing, in a political hue. Livni calculated, wrongly, that the Israeli middle class would rise up and hound Benjamin Netanyahu’s government out of town. But, as things turned out, the middle class didn’t want a revolution [as middle classes rarely ever do]. It wanted the government to get to work. It wanted the government to fix things, lower prices, lower taxes, and make day-care tax deductible.

She failed to make peace with Mofaz, she failed to coax Yair Lapid into Kadima, or even into an alliance with Kadima, and she failed in inspiring the nation by coming up with something, anything new.

Her term as foreign minister under an Olmert government also proved uneventful, with Olmert doing the heavy lifting opposite PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and behind the scenes with Bashar Assad. She never struck out on her own [as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is doing, rightly or wrongly] and she never offered even the faintest hint of originality, creativity, or dogged determination.

And then, finally, she failed to defeat Mofaz, a challenger that she already beat once before.
Three years after inheriting the party from Ehud Olmert, who inherited it from Ariel Sharon, Tzipi Livni was unceremoniously shown the door.

The only thing surprising about any of this is the surprise at her demise by those who didn’t know her. But those of us who followed her career closely are not so surprised.

Netanyahu’s disgruntled Ex’s

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have a serious problem on his hands. Several senior officials who have recently worked for him, and some who are still working for him, have fallen foul of the PM for various reasons. The following is a list of powerful men who have already embarked, or may yet embark, on public campaigns against their former boss, and they all, presumably, hold some information that could be damaging to him, especially in an election season. Continue reading

Lapid: Moses, Obama, or just Yair?

Just attended a meeting with Yair Lapid at the Sanhedrin Forum in Tel-Aviv; a forum of young professionals that meets about once a month with top Israeli and international opinion makers in an informal setting.

My impressions of the journalist-celebrity-turned-aspiring politician:

He’s oozing charisma. In this way he reminds me a lot of Barack Obama when he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Lapid is engaging, funny, intelligent, and shoots straight. The man certainly has rhetorical skills. Continue reading

Lampooning Lapid

Yair Lapid, the man who would be king, is starting to lose altitude. Just under two months since he announced that he was quitting journalism and entering politics, Lapid is starting to get worn down. And now the polls are starting to show what could be, for Lapid, a long, slow, and painful descent until the country actually heads into general elections, sometime toward the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Continue reading

Will you vote in the next elections?

Will the Israeli silent majority vote in larger numbers in the next general elections than they have in previous elections?

There are signs that it may. Over the past year, it is the silent majority, and specifically, those who consider themselves centrists in their political and economic outlook, which has been most heavily involved in three public campaigns that seem to have shaken it awake from its political slumber. Continue reading

Requiem, or new lease on life for Labor?

The two coin-operated black-leather massage couches, the kind that you sit in and relax while the little motorized balls inside the leather work their way up your leg muscles and into your back and back down again, should have been working overtime. But none of the 1200 Labor Party convention delegates packed into the smoke-filled cafeteria at the Tel Aviv Convention Center on Tuesday had any time for a 5-minute massage.

The last time the Labor delegates convened two months before the general elections in November was over a simple vote on internal party rules and procedures. This time they were deciding Labor’s future. Sitting around cafeteria tables, the conversations were about how Labor’s anti-coalition MKs would behave after they lost Tuesday’s vote, whether they would split the party, whether the party itself had any future, and, which jobs would be given to which ministers and MKs. Continue reading