Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alon Ben-Meir Freaks Out

We haven't written much about Huffington Post blogger Alon Ben-Meir, except for that one time, because his articles are usually pretty moderate. He'll praise or criticize Israel as he feels it is necessary (which is often) but his articles are very heavy into politics and details and lack the "punch" of shorter blog posts by others. His latest article, though, I have trouble describing as anything less than a freak out.

You see, at some point when Mr. Ben-Meir wasn't looking, Israel as a nation shifted to the right. Slightly. When Barak left the government many people thought that this meant a radical change for  Israel's leftist peace camp. Others believe that it was the collapse of Oslo and the Second Intifada that destroyed mainstream Israel's faith in the Palestinians as a peace partner. But regardless of the reason, the left has been losing power in Israel, even the relatively centrist ones.

Now, to those people who think that conservatives are synonymous with evil and violence (aka practically everyone on the Huffington Post) this is a disaster. And based on his article, Mr. Ben-Meir is one of them. For example:
"In a recent poll for Israel's Channel One, parties deemed to be on the left garnered 54 seats, compared to 66 for those on the right."
AAAH! Not people who have different politics from me! Nooooo! I'm making fun of him a little bit, and as I will explain further he's not totally unjustified in his beliefs. It's obvious that he sees himself as a lone Cassandra furiously screaming at all the people that they are doomed unless they listen to him. But is it not equally possible that he is a loan hermit on the sidelines screaming at the people to listen to him and do what he says (aka vote for Livni) while ignoring their reasons for not listening? After all, there's no shortage of bloggers on the HuffPo and elsewhere who continually seek to tell Israel what is best for it, even though they may not live there.

Most of his article is taken up with complaining about various issues that are taking place in Israel, and the lack of response that he can see. Click below to check it out.

Here are most of Mr. Ben-Meir's complaints:

-Ehud Barak's departure from Labor. (Which is ironic, seeing as how in December Mr. Ben-Meir was calling for him to leave.)
-That Netanyahu and Lieberman have no idea what they're doing.
-That Israel's opposition sucks.
-That Kadmia MK Shaul Mofaz said something Mr. Ben-Meir disagreed with.
-That another MK is corrupt.
-That people are criticizing "Breaking the Silence."
-That the IDF is becoming more religious.
-That polls indicate troubling levels of racism and pro-settlement mentality among Israeli youth.
-That the peace camp has no idea what they're doing.
-That most Israelis recognized that the Arab Peace Initiative is a trap (my embellishment), contrary to Mr. Ben-Meir's beliefs.
-That rabbis are saying racist things and holding views with which Mr. Ben-Meir disagrees.
-That there are poor people in Israel.
-That economics are shifting toward greater disparity in Israel.

And finally, to sum it all up, that no one is as upset about any of those things to the same extent that he is. I think I got it all. And Mr. Ben-Meir demonstrates his anger toward Israel's electorate with the aforementioned freak out:
"The emptiness of Rabin Square is frightening. Without change, the worrisome trends in Israeli society will become entrenched, and the region will be headed to another round of bloodshed that could be sparked at any moment. Israel is the nation whose national anthem conveys an eternal "hope" and whose founding father Theodore Herzl famously captured the ethos of Zionism by declaring "if you will it, it is no dream." Today, hope is in short supply in Israel, and few are demonstrating any will to create a better future."
To listen to him you'd think that Israel was careening toward disaster, which of course is exactly what he wants you to think. But let's look again at the issues: Politicians gaining and losing power? Religious people acting like jerks? Racism? All of these things are not new to Israel, and they are not new to the region either. And compared to what Israel has overcome in the past, it doesn't sound like such a big deal to me.

I am not saying that there is nothing to worry about. These issues are all indicative of problems, as Mr. Ben-Meir demonstrates quite clearly. But by the same token it appears that he feels like it is necessary to make up for a lack of hard facts with an overabundance of rhetoric and guilt-tripping. There is not a single link in his article anywhere.

One thing I wanted to point out was once again the disparity between Mr. Ben-Meir and his Huffington Post readership. Though he clearly wrote the article intending to wake up the Israelis out of their slumber and to convince them to make some changes, the HuffPo crowd immediately began to lick their chops that these issues merely proved that true nature of the hated Zionist entity at long last:

Don't expect Mr. Ben-Meir to criticize them, though.

1 comment:

  1. The problem is Israel's government is still gripped by a paradigm that is no longer relevant to today's situation.

    Netanyahu may think a new peace initiative will gain him a hearing in Washington but there is not the slightest chance the Palestinians, let alone the Arabs would take him up on it.

    There will be no peace in the Middle East in our lifetime. Just don't look for Alon Ben Meir and the HP commentariat to acknowledge this fundamental truth about the region.


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