The People’s Army vs. the People

Ronen Bergman smears Israeli democracy and the leader it elected; the IDF’s one redeeming quality, in his view, is its opposition to Bibi; in truth, this is not about Bibi vs. the IDF, but Bibi vs. Obama, whose fingerprints are all over this episode.

מי כאן הקצין? יעלון הבוקר. צילום: פלאש 90

In his latest article in the new York times Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman managed to hit all targets: to spread lies on the IDF and slender it’s reputation, smear the Israeli democracy, and continue the hate campaign against Israel’s PM Netanyahu. However, there is some redemption to the IDF: it’s against Netanyahu and the wildly lawless politicians.

Bergman describes Netanyahu as a leader with no restrains without any regard for the law. And so there’s a conflict between the political echelon and the military professional arms of Israel’s defence – “a conflict that has no end in sight but could further erode the rule of law and human rights or lead to a dangerous, superfluous military campaign”, writes Bergman.

Bergman is not the only commentator to criticize Netanyahu as a matter of Pavlovian reflex; but so far, others who catered to the echo chamber of the smear campaign which really has no end in sight, agreed on one thing, and some of them held it to Netanyahu’s credit like Jeffry Goldberg and Raviv Druker: They are in agreement that the Israeli PM is very caucious, risk averse, and Mair Dagan who said that he hates his guts, according to Bergman, portrayed him as very hesitant and it is a matter of record that Netanyahu is balanced and slow to a fault in reaching a decision. But further more, it is completely unprofessional to pass judgement about a leader on the basis of hearsay and not on his record. Mr. Netanyahu is Israel’s leader for the last 7 years, and he was PM three years in the 1990’s. He never sunk Israel in a “superfluous” adventure. In his time Israel was safer, and he seemed immune to the Prime ministers complex of getting themselves a place in the Jewish history sun. He didn’t explode into Lebanon like a couple of his predecesors. He didn’t initiate a unilateral withdrawal, and he managed very well Israel’s international struggle at a time of an American administration which wasn’t very friendly to Israel on the Palestinian front and Iran nukes.

Bergman takes a strange and somewhat anti-Israeli direction in the way he describes the history of the IDF. But don’t worry, now that the top brass of IDF, Mosad and Shin Beit are against Netanyahu, they get good marks. Brgman has an incliniation to gossip. In Ami Gluska’s book about the 6 days war, ‘Eshkol, Just Give The Order!’ there’s a quotation from a side talk in the corridors of the General Staff HQ of one of the Generals joking about the possibility to lock the government and go to war. It was Ariel Sharon. But Eshkol never lost control over the military. According to General Yeshayahu Gavish, in his autobiographical book ‘Red Sheet’, it was Yitzhak Rabin, the chief of staff himself, who didn’t believe in a military strike as a solution to the June 1967 crisis. Bergman’s  historical distortion has a specific aim: to erase the historical facts about the causes of the eruption of the 1967 war. And the cause was not the IDF belligerncy but the siege that the Arab powers staged around the State of Israel with the support of their allies, The Soviet Union. It would be helpful to note also the betrayal of Israel in May-June 67′ by the Western superpowers, the U.S, France and Britain. The IDF was the savior not only of the Jewish state on the verge of annihilation, but also the honor of the free world. It was an army which retaliated with strong fighting spirit to an endless terroristic warfare waged against Israel by the Arab countries and the budding PLO and their Communist allies. You need a lot of ill will to describe the IDF as an army disdainful of international law and human rights. Unless of course, you mean the Entebe raid, which was completely in violation of the international law.

We have just heard all about the fabrication of the echo chamber that spread the lies about the nuclear deal on behalf of the White house. You have to be naive to believe that the Israeli media was excluded from the party. Yedioth Aharonot and Haaretz were part of the deal. Moshe Yaalon, who probably for the first time gets good press in The Times, was treated to endless attacks from Yedioth Aharonot, Bergman’s journalistic home base. The most famous one was a couple of years ago when Yaalon was duped by two of it’s prominent writers who publicized his words about Secretary Kerry who was described by him as obsessive and messianic. It was an off record talk and Yedioth chose to play it against Israel with all the consequences for Yaalon’s standing in the U.S. Now that Yaalon suddenly found the real enemy of humanity, he deserves some support by The Times and Yedioth Aharonot’s expert.

Bergman goes further to claim that the tendency by the security branches of Israel to preserve and abide by the law is not incidental; “the threat of prosecution in the international criminal court has helped”. What about  those threats as an aid to terrorism? Bergman is not very intelligent in asserting that this fraudulent lawfare by the Palestinians is actually good for the brass. It’s insane. The problem, according to this view, is not Hamas, Fatech and Hizbulla or Isis terrorism, but rather the most law abiding and moral army on the planet. But we should remember Bergman’s logic about the IDF: it’s a violent and agrresive army – but it gets good grades only when they supposedly antagonize Israel elected government.

One gets suspicious about this kind of article and it’s timing. Let’s say, that all the latest evidence, including the Times profile about Ben Rhodes, prove that Mr. Netanyahu was right all along. He certainly defended Israeli national interests better than President Obama defended American interests. He was proven right about the true nature of the so called moderate president of Iran. He was right when he suspected Obama’s intentions about Iran. Leon Paneta was clear about it in David Samuels’ article. He said that Netanyahu and Ehud Barak constantly asked him about Obama’s seriouseness and he said that based on the facts that he now knows, he was wrong about Obama. In an Israeli TV reportage about Meir Dagan Paneta actually revealed that Dagan helped the administration against Netanyahu & Barak.

In light of what we know about the last 7 years, Bergman is intentionally wrong about the cause of the friction between Netanyahu and the defense establishment. He says it’s all about Netanyahu. Wrong. It’s all about the U.S and the Obama administration. “Right wing governments have an ideology and therefore they act sometimes contrary to the army’s position”, said at the beginning of the month General (r.) Noam Tibon. “The military, very courageously, presents the truth to the government, but in the end the army cannot replace neither the statesmen nor the people”. As General Tibon hints, “the people” passed a certain judgement about the Israeli defense establishment of the last two and a half decades; the people love the IDF and it’s soldiers, but think that the military leadership failed in a big way on three major events: the Oslo accords, the disengagement in 2005 and the second Lebanon war. Add those failures to the utterly wrong assesment by the Israeli defense establishment of the Obama administration intentions about Iran, and you get the picture. The famous “Israeli people” remains stubbornly with the Bibi option.

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