Israeli Minister Breaks Boycott, Asks Carter to Arrange Hamas Meeting
When I first read this story I got it on a superficial level but didn’t really understand the full significance until Assaf Oron sent me a link to his Daily Kos diary entry. Haaretz reports that deputy prime minister Eli Yishai of the Mizrahi Shas party, broke the government boycott against Carter’s Israel visit and not only met with the former president but asked Carter for a meeting with Hamas representatives in an attempt to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Assaf correctly notes that this is a bombshell not only for Israeli politics, but it also breaks the solid front the Israel lobby has attempted to create here in the U.S. against dealing with Hamas.
It also serves notice on journalists like Mark Perelman of the Jewish Forward, Shmuel Rosner of Haaretz, and strangely Michael Young of Beirut’s Daily Star; and political operatives like Ira Forman’s AIPAC-leaning National Jewish Democratic Council and even all the presidential candidates, who’ve bought the Israel lobby line (clearly Young is following a different political line). They all ignore the fact that a number of liberal Jewish blogs like this one (Jerry Haber and Tony Karon as well) and now a cabinet minister have bucked the “Three No’s” (an ironic reference to the Arab League’s “three no’s” after the 67 war) approach to Hamas. The line on Carter is that he’s a troublemaker who represents no one but himself. Rosner even goes so far as to say that Carter is a washed up has been (which actually describes Rosner himself rather than Carter) whose glory days, if he ever had any, are past.
I’ve already noted here that Israel already negotiates with Hamas though indirectly through Egypt. Further, a recent poll finds that 64% of Israelis are in favor of precisely the kind of approach favored by Yishai–direct negotiations with Hamas. So this Hamas boycott is a charade, a political fiction created to provide cover for a Bush Administration that can’t do anything to promote meaningful negotiations among the warring parties; and an Israeli government which doesn’t have the will to get up and do what’s got to be done regarding talking to the Palestinian parties that really matter. So how long will it be before this sham policy falls like a house of cards?
I’m not a huge fan of Shas, though they sometimes are quite progressive on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But on this one issue Yishai is right on the money (or should I say “shekel”?).
10 thoughts on “Israeli Minister Breaks Boycott, Asks Carter to Arrange Hamas Meeting – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The 64% of Israelis who want to negotiate with Hamas do it because they realize that there is little difference between Hamas and Fatah, which are equally murderous terrorist groups. This is unlike you and Jimmy Carter, who actually sympathize with the goals of these groups.
And wouldn’t the correct translation be Kesef?
You are a liar and if you keep deliberately mischaracterizing my views you’ll not publish another comment here. Cut out the snark. If you want to comment and disagree do so. If you want to smear, go elsewhere.
Strange bedfellows. Shas epitomizes low life, embezzling, bottom of the barrel. And you will sleep with dogs if they share your view. Carter is an absolute nobody. He is beyond contempt. More than likely, Yishai sees the possibility of pockets a few shekels with the the Shas call to arms.
My snore quote of April 18th:
“This is unlike you and Jimmy Carter, who actually sympathize with the goals of these groups.”
Why can’t the shepherds invent a couple of new slogans for their sheep? We are all a bit bored by now by this equation.
I don’t think this is that significant – Yishai isn’t breaking the government policy as he’s been quite explicit that he only wants to meet with Hamas vis-a-vis the prisoner exchange, rather than more comprehensive issues.
You are wrong. No Israeli cabinet minister has met directly with Hamas, yet Yishai wishes to do so. No Israeli cabinet minister met with Carter on this trip except Yishai. So Yishai broke 2 boycotts. That’s big stuff. SOrry you don’t recognize that.
He’s said he wishes to do so in the knowledge that his membership in the cabinet precludes him from doing that. And I’m not sure how formal the ‘boycott’ of Carter was – i.e. whether or not cabinet ministers were actually told not to meet him. If he actually does meet with Meshal – which I very much doubt – then there will be a story there.
@Joe: I’m always amused by people who point fingers at the “other guys” in Israeli politics warning how corrupt THEY are. While of course MY party is pure as the driven snow. Is Shas corrupt? Sure. But isn’t the system basically encouraging them to be corrupt or at least winking its eye at it?
I don’t like Israel being a theocracy. At the time when the Orthodox stop having a monopoly on certain social functions (like education–at least the education of their own), then I’ll be the first in line to say: “Stop this.” But as long as Israel remains a theocracy then I’m afraid what Shas does is merely manipulate the system in ways the system allows it to.
I don’t approve of Shas’ corruption nor of its views on religious affairs. But its views on the I-P conflict are often quite moderate & therefore worth listening to.
Not very related to the subject, but I’m thinking, since no Seculars nor Ashkenazim are allowed in Shas, is this an ‘apartheid’ party?
Shas certainly is what I’d call a “tribal” political party based on narrow ethnic/religious outlook. That’s what I have against it. But then again, it feels somewhat more affinity for both Mizrahi Israelis & the Arab world in general. So it brings something to the table that the Ashkenazi dominated parties don’t.