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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 04, 2003

Caustic comments about Israel's leaders and universities

The Jewish Press interview of Steven Plaut is entitled No Holds Barred: A Frank Conversation With Steven Plaut

A professor at the Graduate School of Business of Haifa University, Plaut brings a sharply analytical mind to any subject about which he writes, and one thing he doesn`t believe in is pulling his punches. He was as combative as we expected him to be during our recent interview.

JEWISH PRESS: You seem to have emerged in the past few years as one of the most prolific writers around on Jewish subjects.

Plaut: Until Oslo, I kept a fairly low profile in the Israeli media, took no public stands on Right vs Left in Israel, and restricted myself to publishing articles about economic policy in Israel and abroad.

Oslo broke the camel`s back. From that moment on, I have devoted myself to doing everything in my power -- mainly through Op-Ed writing and Internet agitating -- to help stop Oslo and rescue Israel from the mega-stupidity of its own leaders. I have also long been trying to protest and analyze Jewish self-obliteration through assimilationism in America. I regard Jewish political liberalism as the main avenue of Jewish assimilation in America.

What`s your assessment of Prime Minister Sharon`s performance?

They say that a people deserves the leaders it gets, but in the case of Israel such an assertion would border on being an anti-Semitic libel. Israel has produced a long stream of incompetent demagogues and cowardly lemming-like leaders, divorced from reality and pursuing national self-obliteration.

Sharon is marginally better than Netanyahu, Barak, Peres, and Rabin. But this is not the Sharon of 1973 or 1982. It is a tired, timid, and exhausted Sharon, unwilling to take the heat for pursuing a serious Israeli defense. Like his predecessors, he seems to think that Palestinian terrorism must be allowed to continue until the Palestinians feel they have reached catharsis and just get tired of murdering Jews.

It is true that Sharon has launched numerous half-hearted reprisal campaigns against the Palestinian savages, unlike the four prime ministers who immediately preceded him. But those reprisals consist of the Arik Sharon Hokey-Pokey: "You put your ground troops in, you take your ground troops out, and you move `em all about." Then you pull them out again until the next atrocity.

Where did Bibi Netanyahu go wrong?

By trying to be Shimon Peres II. Netanyahu was elected in 1996 for the sole purpose of ending Oslo. Upon his election, however, he turned about 180 degrees and pursued Oslo with all the same delusional vigor as Peres and Rabin before him. True, he scowled when hobnobbing with Arafat, in contrast to Peres`s idiotic grins, but in fact he was simply pursuing Oslo -- albeit Oslo Lite. He abandoned Hebron to the terrorists. He responded to Arafat`s launching of the Tunnel Pogroms by turning the other cheek. He continued the face-to-face meetings with Arafat even as Arafat was mass murdering Jews. He signed the Wye appeasements, making him the Wye`s Man of Chelm.

Netanyahu lost to Barak in 1999 for the same reason that New Coke failed -- why have a pale imitation of an Oslo appeaser when you can elect the real thing?

Netanyahu tried to make a comeback and challenge Sharon this fall in the Likud primaries by posturing to the right of Sharon. But his wager that Israeli voters had forgotten his track record from 1996-99 proved incorrect.

You`ve written quite negatively of Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin.

I believe they should be indicted and prosecuted for a thousand counts of second-degree murder. Depraved indifference to human life and reckless endangerment are bases for charges of second-degree murder. First-degree murder -- the actual pulling of triggers or detonating of bombs -- is of course a worse crime, but second-degree murder is still murder.

What about Yitzhak Rabin?

It has become difficult to speak with any objectivity about Rabin because of the tragic ending of his life. But in reality, Rabin was a total disaster as prime minister and bears a lot of the blame for turning Israel into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. His policies were foolish and deadly. I like to think that had Rabin lived, he soon would have realized the foolishness of Oslo, reversed it, and tossed Peres and Beilin into a dungeon. But of course we will never know what he would have done.

How does one even try to explain the Oslo Debacle inflicted on Israel by its own leaders?

A facetious answer would be that Rabin and Peres had an ingenious master plan. You see, they figured out that much of anti-Semitism is based on the common stereotype of Jews being smarter than other people, and they figured that they could end anti-Semitism once and for all by proving how false this stereotype is.

And how do you explain the fact that the PLO and Syria did not take Israel up on its offers of complete capitulation under Ehud Barak?

There are two explanations: a religious-mystical explanation and a rational-scientific explanation. The religious-mystical explanation holds that Arafat and the senior Assad were simply stupid and so believed that by holding out for ever greater Israeli concessions, American pressure would deliver an unlimited and open-ended set of Israeli surrenders. The rational-scientific explanation is that the Almighty hardened their hearts, much like He did with Pharaoh, and He did so in His infinite mercy in order to save Israel from the stupidity of its own leaders.

Are there any up-and-coming Israeli politicians you find intriguing?

Of the current party leaders in Israel, I do not see many with any vision of how to rescue the country nor any sense of what needs to be done to end the war.

The Labor and Meretz parties are composed entirely of Oslo leftists, who differ only slightly from the anti-Zionist communist party. Amram Mitzna is not only preaching a policy of unilateral self-dismemberment, but is also one of the biggest liars Israeli politics has ever produced. Ideologically he is qualified to be mayor of Jenin, and his record as mayor of Haifa would be enough to certify him to be the prime minister of Zimbabwe.

The Shinui party is not interested in anything besides bashing the Orthodox and exhibiting contempt toward Judaism. The religious parties are far more interested in getting their shares of the budgetary fiscal pork than they are in rescuing Israel from the Oslo debacle. I like Efi Eitam, the new head of the National Religious Party, but most of the rest of his party slate consists of ``centrists`` who have not made up their minds yet whether appeasing the Palestinian terrorists or fighting them is the answer.

The only concern of the other religious parties regarding the danger that Mitzna will order a unilateral capitulation to the Arabs is that the eviction of the Yesha settlers not take place, G-d forbid, on Shabbat.

There are some small parties to the right of the Likud with better positions regarding Oslo, but they are divided and too small to have much impact. And even they do not speak in unambiguous terms about what really needs to be done.

Finally, there are the Arab nationalist Stalinist and fascist parties, which would like nothing better than seeing the Jews of Israel herded into concentration camps. There are almost no Jews who vote for the communists other than some of my colleagues on the faculties of the universities. All of the Arab student organizations on campus are associated with these parties.

Given your political views, you must be feel like a real outsider at Haifa university.

Haifa University is one of the two worst bastions in Israel for leftist academic extremism, the other being Ben-Gurion University. The other universities are only slightly less awful in terms of the prevalence of leftist radicalism and anti-Zionism among the faculty members. Haifa University hosts some of the worst tenured traitors in Israel, people who devote every waking moment to promoting anti-Israel embargoes by anti-Semites overseas, to spreading anti-Israel lies and propaganda, to rationalizing Palestinian atrocities. A few even write for Islamist fundamentalist and neo-Nazi websites and journals. Of course, not all faculty members are extremists or even leftists, but there is a strong leftist domination.

Israeli universities have all adopted pro-Arab preferences and quotas in admissions in the name of ``affirmative action,`` and for all intents and purposes Arab students (and sometimes faculty) are admitted with almost no standards at all. Haifa University has the country`s largest Arab student body, and the Arab students have been radicalized by Oslo.They prance about campus with T-shirts and posters with portraits of Nasser and Che Guevera. There are frequent rallies of Arab students and Jewish faculty leftists waving PLO flags and screaming anti-Israel and anti-Jewish slogans, including slogans supporting violence.