Sidsel Wold lets it rip

Sidsel Wold is triumphant these days. After her jury nullification acquittal by the Broadcasting Council and a flurry of awards and nominations, she obviously feels she can let loose on the home stretch. Her latest rant is an attempt at a survey of the political situation in Israel but is really just a poorly rephrased version of Abbas’s speech in Qatar last week.

Here follows our unauthorized translation:

No alternatives to Netanyahu
Just like the peace process itself, Israel’s political left lies with a broken back, and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the country’s strong man. Analysts sense an uprising in the offing.|

There was no end to the applause from from U.S. lawmakers when Israel’s prime minister laid out his policy in the U.S. Congress last week. He got a standing ovation more than twenty times.

But few politicians can talk and communicate as well as Netanyahu does, and that in perfect American. Everything he said was a “no” but sounded like a “yes”
  • No to sharing Jerusalem with Palestinians
  • No to talks with the Palestinians, after conciliation with Hamas
  • No to recognizing the refugees’ rights
  • No to negotiations based on the 1967 borders
Netanyahu chooses a “show-stopper” rather than proposing realistic solutions or visions.
Electing the hawk and not the dove
There is no opposition to Netanyahu’s government at home. Because Israel is a country without a functioning opposition.
Although over 70 percent of Israelis say they are for a Palestinian state, the opt for security and a hawkish policy at the ballot box. And the younger generation is more nationalistic and “hawkish” than their parents.
Because today’s young Israelis have hardly met a Palestinian, as Palestinians have been hiding behind eight-meter tall concrete walls for almost ten years.
The right wing dominates
The Israeli parliament Knesset has 120 elected representatives.
The two largest blocks are Likud, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the head, and Kadima, the party that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formed when he broke away from Likud.
The group with anti-Arab antagonist Avigdor Lieberman and his nationalist party Israel Beiteinu is the third largest.
The once powerful Labour Party, who in the 1990s led the way in peace efforts with the Palestinians, fell apart in January this year, when a fraction, after months of bickering and tugs of war, decided to withdraw from government participation. The coalition has been controversial since it began in 2009.
Party leader – and Defense Minister – Ehud Barak created a new party “Atzmaout” – Independence – which took over the Labour Party’s seats in government. Barak describes the new party as a democratic Zionist party that will seek the center of the political landscape.
The retired labor minister Isaac Herzog work said it was intolerable in the long run to govern with foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israel Beiteinu, which he believes will dominate with its racist undertones.
He also believes the government has driven the peace process into a corner.
When Netanyahu after the election in 2009 was unable to bring Kadima into a coalition, he chose instead the nationalist Israel Beiteinu and ultra-Orthodox Shas besides the aforementioned Labor.
With these two parties on board, he can not enter into compromises with the Palestinians.
Thus, Netanyahu’s policy is only a delaying policy, which is to avoid making any decisions other other than to continuing to build colonies and move more Jewish settlers on occupied land.
Want but can not get it
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s first female party leader and Foreign Minister, led the recent talks with the Palestinians.
The Kadima leader wants to see a Palestinian state before the Palestinians lose patience and demand equal rights within a single state. This is Israel’s nightmare, since it means the end of Israel as a predominantly Jewish state.
But as long as the country is not divided and Palestinians do not have democratic rights, Israel continues to resemble an apartheid state more and more.
Tzipi Livni also knows this well, but does little about it.
Livni says nothing different from Netanyahu. Therfore Tzipi Livni and Kadima Party does not function like an opposition, according to Sami Sockol, an Israeli journalist, who reports for the major American newspaper The Washington Post to NRK.
– I think many of Likud [sic] voters are disappointed with Livni and her party, “said Sockol.
– Livni currently has very little visibility and appear not as an alternative to Netanyahu for the Israelis, he said.
The disappearing left wing
What’s become of the once powerful left-wing in Israel? The most active demonstrate in East Jerusalem, against the occupation, every Friday as usual. Sometimes 300 of them, sometimes 500
In the Knesset is the communist party Hadash is represented with four members. Meretz, which is similar to Norwegian SV [Socialist Left Party] has three representatives, while the Arab parties have a total of seven, among them a few Islamists.
But these are voices without weight. Because the rule of force prevails, and the illegal settlers usually get what they want. The Arab parties are never invited to government cooperation with the Zionist parties.
The biggest political issue in Israel is the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. But now the peace process is now all but stone dead, and and nothing suggests revival anytime soon.
Hope it’s not too late
Because no one really knows what Netanyahu wants.
– We know that Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace and security for Israel, but we do not know if he has any ideas how to get there. Because this is a government without ideas or proposals, said writer and analyst Gershon Baskin.
He is one of the few who believe that a countermovement is on its way.
– Something is happening in Israeli society. A protest movement, which is worried about the country’s future, is about to get a re-awakening.
– People can see that the Palestinians have stopped with suicide bombs, and that they are ready to create a state. This means that someone can see we must meet them. I just hope we have time, said Baskin.

Several other commentators have raised an eyebrow over this depiction of reality. Jan Arild Snoen parses and criticizes the substantive points in the piece, and Hans Rustad unleashes against some of the most remarkable quotes.

This really stands on its own as an example of lame propaganda camouflaged as journalism. But let’s just take a few minor points:

  • Sidsel Wold clearly has a selective grasp of facts, but she must have heard of Golda Meir? As impressive as Tzipi Livni is, Golda Meir was foreign minister of Israel for ten years from 1956 to 1966. She was also leader of ha-Mara’ach from 1969 to 1974. Incidentally, Meir was also prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974, its minister of internal affairs, and its labor minister. Wold probably wanted to make it seem like Israel, in addition to its many other demonic faults, holds women back.
  • Of all the countless offensive things Wold has expressed or implied about Israel, and Jews, to blank Golda Meir out from history in order to make a fake feminist point has to be the lowest.
  • Out of 120 members of the Knesset, Sidsel Wold counts 14 that belong to a “real” opposition, i.e., they are left wing radicals or Arab. That’s nearly 12%. According to her own logic, the only “real” opposition party in Norway, SV, has nearly 7% in Stortinget. Maybe Wold doesn’t have much faith in the parliamentary system, but the whole purpose of representative democracy is that even small groups get represented. To discount this representation as insignificant is really a statement on democracy, not on Israel.
  • Lieberman is probably one of the most controversial Israeli political figures, so it is not unusual to hear him characterized as being hostile to Arabs in general. Undoubtedly he would embarrass Wold into a heap of tears in a matter of minutes if she had to the courage to confront him with the charge face to face, but I just have to wonder: how would she characterize leaders of Hamas and Hizbollah?
  • “American” is not a language. Most Americans speak English, with an American accent. Netanyahu speaks “American English” with a Hebrew accent. His English is much better than Wold’s Hebrew (which in spite of all the hype is, by all accounts, intermediate at best). But there was no mistaking Netanyahu for a natively born American.