I’m always tickled by the little howlers that the N.Y. Times Israel correspondents introduce into their copy which reveal their cluelessness at the subtleties of Israeli politics. Ethan Bronner is notorious for ’em. Isabel Kershner has her share. In today’s Times, Kershner quotes Dennis Ross reeling off of those mini-whoppers. Here he’s characterizing the politics of Bibi Netanyahu’s chief negotiator in the upcoming Palestinian peace talks:
Mr. Ross added that Mr. Molcho was not a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-leaning Likud Party and tended in his personal politics to the center-left…
Oh yeah. Bibi definitely pals around with someone on the center-left of Israeli politics. By center-left Ross probably means someone who generally supports Kadima’s views, if that. He certainly doesn’t mean someone supporting Labor, and God forbid not Meretz. But I’ve got news for Ross, there is no left in Israeli politics anymore unless you’re talking about Hadash. And no mainstream Israeli Jewish political leader would be caught dead supporting Hadash.
So what Ross really means is that Bibi is the hard right and Molcho the soft right. To even use terms like “center” or “left” to describe Molcho’s politics is a fraud. Don’t fall for it.
I’m also tickled by Bibi’s insistence even before the doomed peace negotiations begin for regular bi-monthly meetings with Mahmoud Abbas. Bibi wants to use such tetes a tete as a fig leaf so he can go to the Americans and moderate Israelis and show them what a good, peace-lovin’ guy he is. Of course, the talks, if Abbas is foolish enough to agree to them, will produce nothing and waste everyone’s time just as similar talks between Olmert and Abbas produced nothing.