Al Jazeera English: Israeli electioneering gathers pace

by matttbastard

Related: JPost: Likud, Kadima escalate mutual attacks:

The Likud and Kadima parties intensified their attacks against each other on Sunday after the cease-fire took effect in the Gaza Strip, formally ending Operation Cast Lead and restarting the election campaign.

The first polls taken after the cease-fire took effect indicated that the Right in general and the Likud in particular had been helped by the war.

A Channel 2/Ma’agar Mohot poll predicted that the Right-Center bloc would win 65 seats and the Left-Center bloc 55. A Channel 10/Dialog poll put the divide at 64-56. The first poll predicted a 31-23 Likud victory over Kadima, while the latter said Likud would win 29-26.

The Channel 2 poll found that 36 percent of Israelis wanted Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu to become prime minister, 21% preferred Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and 14% Labor chairman Ehud Barak.

In an effort to build on its lead, the Likud announced Sunday night that it would begin a new campaign under the slogan, “Netanyahu: Strong on security, strong on the economy.” The party will make a decision in upcoming days about whether to also renew its negative campaign with the slogan “Tzipi Livni: Out of her league.”

[…]

On a visit to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, Netanyahu was careful to offer veiled criticism of the cease-fire while extolling the virtues of the IDF.

“We have a strong people and a strong military that dealt a harsh blow to the Hamas, but unfortunately the work is still not done,” Netanyahu said. “The Hamas still controls Gaza and will still try to smuggle weapons into Gaza via the Philadelphi Corridor. We cannot show weakness against Hamas and its Iranian supporters. We need a strong, unwavering, persistent hand until the threat is eliminated.”

Elsewhere: Eyal Press, blogging at Ta-Nehisi Coates’ pad, on the “generational rift” in the US that was exposed by the War in Gaza between “the likes of Alan Dershowitz and William Kristol” and “a growing circle of young Jewish bloggers: Spencer Ackerman, Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias, Dana Goldstein.”

Also see Beijing York and (she’s back!) Godammitkitty on Gaza, Israel and the subjectivity of ‘terrorism’ and Faiz Shakir of Think Progress, who details how Israel is readying the post-war propaganda battle for international public opinion.

Flashback: Haaretz:

The Foreign Ministry has created a special task force to prepare for the aftermath of the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza operation. The team will submit proposals for two of the army’s main concerns – Iran and Hamas taking control of Gaza’s postwar reconstruction, and the harm the offensive might cause to Israel’s image abroad.

One of the task force’s missions is to draft recommendations for the Strip’s rehabilitation. The ministry hopes to avoid a situation similar to the one in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Second Lebanon War. There, Iran sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah to transfer to families whose homes had been destroyed, burnishing the militant group’s reputation among the population.

The goal is to allow the Palestinian Authority, as well as Arab and international entities, to lead reconstruction efforts and funding, taking credit for Gaza’s rehabilitation in place of Hamas or Iran.

The task force will also be charged with repairing damage to Israel’s image abroad as a result of the Gaza operation. The working assumption is that Israel has suffered a blow to its image in the West in the wake of heavy civilian casualties in the Strip.

Israeli officials believe after the fighting stops and foreign journalists are allowed entry into the territory that negative sentiment toward Israel will only grow as the full picture of destruction emerges.

h/t Alison @ BnR

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Dream a Little Dream Redux

by matttbastard

A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”

The politician and the activist

But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.

800px-lyndon_johnson_and_martin_luther_king_jr_-_voting_rights_act

So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.

Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).

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