Sunday, May 22, 2016

Guess what? No one has a monopoly on values - by Boaz Bismuth

...The media must always remember that here, the people are sovereign. We should remember that the chosen people (I suppose that this makes me a condescending fascist) is also the people that chooses, and its vote counts for more than ratings.

Boaz Bismuth..
Israel Hayom..
22 May '16..

No one has a monopoly on values, including the Left and the media. Nearly 40 years ago, in May 1977, the media witnessed the victory of Menachem Begin's Likud, the fulfillment of what was for it an apocalyptic prophecy. Almost 40 years have passed, the Likud is still in power (and an "unimportant" peace deal was signed with Egypt on the way), and the media still doesn't understand how the people can choose differently. Since the media is never wrong, it takes care to create an imaginary reality for us in which the citizens of Israel are dying of hunger in the streets, the survivors are fascist occupiers, and those who believe in the sanctity of the land of Israel are messianic or right-wing extremists. There is no other option.

After claiming a monopoly on values (just like the Left, and sometimes part of the Right), the media consistently tries to bring the latest person to leave the Likud into its ranks. In the past, it was Roni Milo, Ariel Sharon (both before the disengagement from Gaza and after it), and Gideon Sa'ar, and now outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Things must be really dreary on the Left if the media needs to pick on the Right time after time.

The desire to present current events (the Hebron shooting of an immobilized Palestinian, the speech by the deputy IDF chief) as watershed events in the history of relations between the military and the state is factually incorrect. Unpleasant to say, it's even nonsense. We've known much harder periods in terms of the military's relations with the country as a whole -- after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, for example, or the disengagement in 2005 -- but memories are short.

Do you remember that war more than four decades ago, in which 2,600 soldiers were killed due to a serious intelligence failure? Back then, people really did leave the country. They didn't just threaten to, they simply left. "A fallout of weakings," the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called them. The schism was immense. The darkest scenario had come to pass: Society lost faith in the army. Is that the situation today?

Today, they are trying to create a new reality, like in 1973 after the war, but the opposite -- the upper military echelon has lost faith in the people. Yes, you read that correctly. The Middle East is so quiet that those in uniform have free time for a new pedagogical role -- handing out grades to society. The media, of course, welcomes it, because this conduct fits in with its own agenda.

Let's suppose for a minute that the Left was in power, and senior officers were to take matters of value and morality into their own hands, but in the other direction: to the right. Would the media embrace them in that case, too?

In the reality in which we live, a senior officer (major general) who compares processes taking place here to the Germans in the 1930s is a man of values, but an officer who invites his soldiers to pray before an action in Gaza? That's darker, even reminiscent of Iran. It's a shame that Albert Einstein isn't here to test the theory of moral relativism in our country. Perhaps we should recall Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's command prior to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, when he called on all Allied soldiers to "beseech the blessing of Almighty God" before the operation?

Since it was announced that Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman was joining the coalition, everyone has been whipped into a frenzy. As if the man hasn't already served as foreign minister, as if Israel's defense minister decided to launch wars and wasn't overseen by the prime minister and the cabinet and the military leadership. Again, we have apocalyptic predictions by the chorus of pundits, which last week proved that its understanding of the political system is as limited as its understanding of the people's wishes.

And another brief reminder, not from 1948 or 1973, but rather from March 2015, when Israel held elections. Remember? The people made the media eat dirt, and it can't forgive them.

In that same election, the people spoke clearly and said "Right." In effect, the Right had a bloc of 67 mandates. Yisrael Beytenu's place was in the coalition. What just happened is a correction. Incidentally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually wanted Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union to join the government, but Herzog couldn't supply the goods. What we've gotten instead is a stronger coalition. In other words, the government now has a better chance of surviving. The media, of course, can't accept the move as a positive one so long as it hopes the government will fall. So what does it do? "Pollute" (a term from one of the news broadcasts on Saturday) the process. Lieberman, who as of Saturday was worthy as an anti-Bibi member of the coalition, has suddenly become a pathetic, inexperienced guy, and Netanyahu is supposedly busy just trying to hang on politically -- as if Shimon Peres, in his time, only dreamed of resigning.

All the events of this past week are essentially political. It's amazing to see how experienced journalists are horrified by coalition moves. Haven't we seen dirty tricks and political opportunism in the past? Haven't we sometimes made territorial concessions that matched the needs of the hour more than ideology?

This weekend, I returned from France, the nation of human rights. The news shows talked with concern about anarchists who were creating disturbances and damaging property. Their economy is bogged down; their political system is having a hard time producing leaders; absorbing refugees is a problem; and the extreme Right, which won the European Parliament election in 2014, is threatening to repeat its performance in next year's presidential election. Surprisingly, I didn't see any French analyst or journalist expressing concern on a live broadcast that his children might leave the country.

The media must always remember that here, the people are sovereign. We should remember that the chosen people (I suppose that this makes me a condescending fascist) is also the people that chooses, and its vote counts for more than ratings.


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