Netanyahu’s New Public Relations Flack: Rivlin Isn’t Even Worth Killing
I don’t usually get too involved in the appointment of lower level Israeli government officials, but this one was too good to pass up. It brings me great sorrow to inform you of the untimely passing of Mark Regev as Bibi’s chief spokes-flack. Regev, consummate media propagandist that he is, is moving on to that great hasbara branding opportunity in the sky: London, that is, where he will become Israeli ambassador. What must’ve recommended him for his new job was all the fabulous lies he managed to tell during BBC interviews, all while keeping a straight face.
As you know (everybody knows this, right?), Israel is on the cutting edge of promoting its brand in the world market. And social media is where it’s at when it comes to marketing. Any 12 year-old Mark Zuckerberg can tell you that. Apparently, Bibi has been studying at Zuckerberg’s feet when he makes his pilgrimage to Israel to announce major Facebook investments in Brand Israel.
When seeking a replacement for the irreplacable Regev, Bibi naturally turned to the coolest spin doctor (in English) he could find: a hitherto unknown far-right fanboy named Ran Baratz. His new post has the catchy title, chief of national hasbara and media advisor to the prime minister.
The timing of the appointment is curious to say the least: one week before Netanyahu is scheduled to visit the White House and hondel for an 80% increase in U.S. military aid to Israel (raising it from the current $3-billion to $5-billion if Bibi has his way). After you read below the atrocious comments Baratz made about America’s Democratic political leadership you’ll wonder what Bibi was thinking. But the Israeli leader does seem to have impeccable timing for making the grand gesture that sticks his foot squarely in his mouth at the most inauspicious moment.
It almost makes you wonder whether perhaps Bibi does this delberately. Most leaders seek to put their best foot forward before making imporant foreign trips. Not him, he’s like a boxer who is always spoiling for a fight. And if the other side isn’t biting, he’ll provoke them until they do.
All I can say is that I hope to God Baratz joins Bibi on his trip to Washington. And when he enters the White House I hope they force Baratz to enter by what used to be the servant’s quarters. Because he isn’t fit for civilized company. Perhaps the Secret Service may even arrest him for impersonating a human being.
Baratz is a defrocked academic, who earned his PhD in classical Greek philosophy at the Hebrew University. After completing his degree he taught for a time there, but his contract was not renewed. It wasn’t a decision on the merits, to hear Baratz tell it. It was solely based on his far right views. Because an academic institution which makes Palestinian janitors wear special tags identifying them as non-Jews is certainly one that will persecute right-wing ideologues like Baratz!
Baratz also teaches on the “faculty” of the pro-Israel Tikvah Foundation. This Foundation is dissatisfied with existing Israel studies programs at American universities. They’re not pro-Israel enough. So it’s launched its own. Baratz appropriate found an ideological home there. On a related subject, Tikvah is one of the prime funders of Tablet Magazine, another pro-Israel shmatteh.
Baratz also serves as “academic advisor” to the far-rightist group, Im Tirzu, which seeks to purify Israeli academia by ridding it of “post-Zionist” dogma. He has also had a post-doctoral fellowship at the Likud’s American Enterpise Institute, the Shalem Center.
From academia, Baratz retreated to his settlement to lick his wounds. He came out fighting, launching a new political website, Midah (“Degree,” as in “proportion”), which featured right-wing political analysis and talking heads. Because there simply isn’t enough of that in Israeli media. We don’t have Yisrael HaYom, Maariv, Makor Rishon, Arutz Sheva, the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, and fourteen other media outlets spewing the same garbage already. We need yet another variant to satisfy our craving for militaristic, nationalistic rants.
It just so happens that either Bibi’s staff did no due diligence on this charming fellow or it knew exactly what it was getting and signed him up for service knowing he was poison. Yup, Mr. Baratz has quite a checkered history of incitement and petulant rants all published in plain public view. Maariv has served some of the best bits up on a platter for the not quite as insane Israeli public to read.
The best is his claim that Pres. Reuven Rivlin should be murdered if he was anyone of any consequence (but he isn’t). You read that right. Rivlin is one of the oldest of the Likud Old Guard. But like some truly loyal conservatives he remains true to first principles. People may not remember this from Israeli political history, but Likud and Herut before it were classical liberal parties in the English tradition. They believed in the value of the individual and the value of individual liberty. But the most secular and radical among them (and there were some) believed in according these rights not just to Jews, but to all citizens; including “Arabs.”
So while Rivlin does support a one-state solution, his version of it would accord Palestinian citizens equal rights along with Palestinian non-citizens currently living under Occupation. Rivlin would make all of them citizens of his unitary state. This is why the truly nutty settler far-right hates his guts; even to the point of advocating his murder.
On his Facebook page, Baratz features prominently a video of settler leader Daniella Weiss saying of Rivlin:
He’s not important enough to kill.
Baratz’s rejoinder is:
I said the same thing long before her. But it’s good that practical people [like Weiss] confirm the observations of theoreticians [like Baratz!].
But this Israeli Dr. Johnson wasn’t done yet. He took again to Facebook to rail against Rivlin for the crime of…flying coach. Yes, the Israeli president went on a State visit to the Czech Republic and on his return he [shockingly!] flew coach, or as Baratz disdainfully called it “tourist class:”
It says a lot that the President flies tourist class, circulating through the cabin shaking everyone’s hand. It says that he’s such an inconsequential figure that he has no fear for his life. We could probably even send him by hang-glider to the Syrian Golan, which is under ISIS control. The very next day they’ll send him back to us and ask to open negotiations for their immediate return [from Syria] to Iraq [where ISIS originated]. “Just so long as you take him [back]! Your president goes around camp shaking everyone’s hand, trying to speak to us in Arabic [Rivlin is a fluent Arab-speaker and his father a prominent Arabist] which he doesn’t know, proposes that we all unite since it’s a shame we are all separate tribes. In short, he has everyone here totally demoralized. Some here have even begun talk of founding a human rights organization to review the cruel use of jokes as a form of psychological warfare. The New Israel Fund has already expressed interest.
Baratz has also defended Bibi’s flagrantly false statements about the Mufti’s talks with Hitler about the Holocaust. In Hebrew that is so confusing it’s even hard to make out what he’s trying to say, he writes:
“It is better for you, Israel, that your prime minister wholeheartedly believes that the Mufti persuaded Hitler to exterminate the Jews than thinking – if only for a split-second of a daydream – that there is the possibility of not living here by the sword. The left accuses Netanyahu of denying the Holocaust, but does not hesitate to prove that it is stuck in the denial of reality, history, common sense and human nature”
A bit long-winded, and full of non sequiturs. But you get the gist. Who cares whether Bibi got history right. He knows what it will take to survive in this jungle. And all you have to do is stick with him without sweating the small stuff–like facts, and truth.
This is clearly a guy with far too much time on his hands since he got canned from the University. As you can imagine, Pres. Rivlin is none too pleased with the news that the prime minister’s new chief propagandist would favor murdering him, if he were a person of any consequence. He reminds Bibi that this jackass is being tasked with representing Israel and its policies before the world. How does it look to have a professional spin doctor saying it wouldn’t bother him one bit if the president of his own country was murdered?
He’s also one of the settler True Believers when it comes to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple:
The will to build the Third Temple is a worthy Jewish and Zionist cause of the first order…Would that a way could be found to do it.
He says in that clueless way rabid ideologues have that the Jewish Temple could be rebuilt without starting a war with Muslims. He doesn’t say how. But if the Muslims refuse to accept it–then indeed, he says, there would be war. There you have it. Nice and neat and wrapped in a bow: the historical future of the Jewish people is one of religious holy war.
Our man doesn’t stop with his own president. Why not insult some Americans too while we’re at it. He said Secretary of State John Kerry has “the mental age of a 12 year old.” He also has a “promising career” in his future as a “stand-up comedian in Kansas City, Mosul or the Holot detention facility [where African refugees are imprisoned]. This guy’s a regular comedian himself. Obama? A “modern anti-Semite.”
Baratz now walks about with his tail between his legs. Well, not exactly. It’s all a big joke to him. But you should believe him, he’s learned his lesson. When I published those comments I did so as a private citizen, he says. Now, I promise to be more circumspect. Um, that’s not the way it works, haboob. You are judged as a public figure by the entirety of your previous experience and statements. You will not, I promise be much different once in office from what you were before you joined the government. If you were an oaf before who stuck your foot in your mouth at every opportunity, you will be the same now. Except that the media, always interested in a good laugh at politicians’ expense, will be watching like a hawk for every misstep and misspeak. And there will be oh so many of them. Of that you may be certain.
When asked by a reporter whether he would follow the government “line” or a rightist one (as if there were any difference!), he responded that he didn’t see his job as political and would serve in it as such. Wonder of wonders. A man tells the truth (his version of it, anyway) as a private citizen. Then he’s appointed to a government post and starts lying like a sociopath.
If Israel were a half-sane place I’d say Baratz’s political future was non-existent. But latter-day Israel is a place where insanity and toadying is rewarded with plum assignments. So it’s anyone’s guess whether this ass will have a job tomorrow or not. I’d guess his appointment will be quietly shelved and in another three months we’ll find him quietly placed inside a ministry with a cushy new post. It’s the way of the world, Likud-world.
23 thoughts on “Netanyahu’s New Public Relations Flack: Rivlin Isn’t Even Worth Killing – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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President Rivlin’s adherence to the idea of One State, with full Arab citiaenship, deserves study and an analysis of possible alternative structures, administration, and objectives.
as i said it before it is high noon for some immense undoing by the far right goons that will shock the country and bring it back to reality .
it has slowly begun, when journalists from channel 10 are brought down whilst trying to do their job
(see : http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001078932#fromelement=hp_morearticles )
even the journalist himself says it, it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.
may the petri dish be ready to explode so that we can wake up and begin to be humans rather than this racist arrogant monster that hides behind religion.
there are places in israel that i a jew would rather not step into. this is my country that is being stolen from me. where are the american jews to shake this from its foundations and refuse to infuse endless monies to fund nazi thugs . we decried the glass night, it is happening day it day out right here
I am very sorry for those who feel as you do in Israel, who don’t want to leave and keep hoping. I read today Obama is going to meet with Netanyahu and that we are going to give billions over the next decade. At the very least it should be conditional. I would rather we disengage.
“Because an academic institution which makes Palestinian janitors wear special tags identifying them as non-Jews is certainly one that will persecute right-wing ideologues like Baratz!” – Could you give a reference to any source?
Michael: It’s in a letter sent by Adalah to the University decrying the practice & demanding it be ended. I have the letter, but no link yet.
Just as with the nra or oil or wall street no american politico has the guts to stand up to aipac
They all know that 2 states is dead with facts on the ground and a single state is suicide this will happen when the slaves revolt will not be kwelled by any means military
just as i wrote it, an item on politico indicates that even hillary clinton election team had no choice but to back down and invite bibi in his next trip . THEY DO/DID NOT WANT TO EVEN SMELL HIM BUT AIPAC WAS NO BETTER THAN HOUNDDOGS GOING AFTER THE STAFFERS AND THINK TANK UNTIL THEY BACKED DOWN.
if that is so NOW BEFORE ELECTION WHAT IS TO CHANGE AFTER – NOTHING
just as Obama is warning bibi that israel is running towards a one nation solution and bibi doesn’t give a crap will hillary do anything in the next 8 years . so that’s another decade granted to the settlement.
may the un finally force israel to grant palestinians equal vote a part of a grand and unique nation.
may we all bow down to the adelsons and the aipacs of the world , SAD THAT NONE OF THEM DESIRE TO LIVE IN THE HILLS AND FACE THE DAILY IRE OF A PEOPLE WHO IS NO BETTER THAT AMERICA 17TH CENTURY SLAVES. halleluyah!!
This brings up the question of how many more people were involved in Rabin’s assassination, because Amir’s unpleasant way of thinking is shared beyond just a small group, as you shown, and includes Baratz as in your citation.
There is, however, several times more circumstantial evidence to suggest that there was much more involvement. Take for example the rabbinical Pulsa di Noura against Rabin mentioned on Wikipedia, which shows that at least one rabbi must have approved it.
The problem is that it seems like there is not that much in English or even Russian (the other main language among Israelis besides Arabic) about the critical aspects of the case, like things that could point beyond a handful of fringe extremists. The best English source seems to be Barry Chamish, who has his own drawbacks as a reliable source ( a right wing pro-settler Israeli-American). There must be much more available in Hebrew. Do you think that you could research the issue in Hebrew beyond what we can find in English, Richard?
sad to see so many people focusing on the trees and losing sight of the forest
sad to see that no one is disecting the ideas that rabin carried rather than the meat and bones.
we should be fomenting and fermenting analyzing and disecting his ideas and hopes that apparently went to the grave with him never to be seen again.
again we kneel at the industry of the assassination a sub industry of the holocaust manufacturing branch
sad we do not put as much emphasis on forwarding his peace policies. sad indeed.
it is part of the hasbarah to keep us from doing ANYTHING EXCEPT SETTLEMENT
I agree. What Rabin’s assassin succeeded in doing besides killing Rabin, was burying the idea he embodied: that one can evolve from war to peace, an evolution that he wanted to take the country through. It’s very sad.
It depends on what you mean by “we”. I certainly support Rabin’s peace ideas. He was one of the last major opportunities for reconciliation with Palestinians, at least from the Israeli side. Rabin did want, it seems a two state solution. However, the same might not be said of Rabin’s successors.
○ Dutch Likud Vilifies Guest Speaker Haneen Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli MK
Not sure if you read Dutch,but Herman Loonstein is a nasty piece of work.
In the article under it,he falsely accuses Marrocans of throwing eggs at a Jewish family’s house and Jews are leaving Holland because of that,but the perpetrators were some Jewish kids.
Not the first time he does things like that.
Dangerous man,especially for Jews.
Interesting comment at the State Department daily press briefing:
Press: ….”Seems that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a spokesman who has basically made allegations that the president – President Obama was anti-Semitic and so on. Is that something that you – I mean, do you have any comment on that?”
Flack: …..”The Secretary spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning, and we understand that the prime minister will be reviewing this appointment when he returns from his visit to the United States. And I would refer you to the Government of Israel for any additional comment.”
“reviewing this appointment” = we told Bibi to dump the douchebag.
He won’t, of course.
Netanyahu will come to Washington, and while he’s there he’ll promise to dump Ran Baratz.
And when he returns to Israel he’ll deny that Washington has any problems with Baratz, in effect shivving the Obama Administration. Again.
@ Yeah, Right: Personally, Bibi will dump Baratz like a hot potato. Then in 3 months Baratz will land a cushy job somewhere else & be told to only offend the “right people” like weak Palestinians & leftists. In the meantime, Bibi will get huge kudos from his constituency for appointing Baratz and rubbing Obama’s face in it. It’s a win-win for all the righists.
WRONG WRONG WRONG, bibi himself gave the answer , HE POSTPONED THE NOMINATION UNTIL “AFTER” HIS RETURN, the key word is AFTER = he keeps the door open to brown nose O and then stick it back to him AFTER
and we’rrrrre back to same
remember kahlon who was going to do the right for his electors, where are they now they are being screwed by the death of this baby the cellular industry reform, he sold his soul for some second hand beans, he will go down the same path as Liberman, Barak etc.. long live the settlement industry
Time will tell but, no, I don’t think so Richard.
To cashier Baratz would be to hand a victory – however small – to Obama, and Netanyahu would hate that when this situation also presents an opportunity for Bibi to play the POTUS for a fool.
But Bibi can’t stand up for Baratz while he is in Washington, since Obama has endless opportunities to sleight Netanyahu.
But – ahhhhh, the joyful prospect – Netanyahu can placate Obama in private and then do the opposite upon his return to Israel.
Everyone in Israel will get that message: Obama is a fool, no match for a Netanyahu who is effortlessly able to outwit the Americans.
That this would outrage Obama is of no concern: that relationship is already poisonous and, furthermore, every time it gets more poisonous then Israel is showering with more military aid.
What Obama has to do is obvious: he needs to tell Netanyahu that if Baratz has not been Very Publically Sacked before that plane lands in Washington then….. that plane isn’t landing in Washington.
He won’t, of course. Obama will accept Netanyahu’s private assurances, and then Netanyahu will shaft him.
If Obama then says nothing then he is revealed as a wimp.
But if Obama complains then he is revealed to be a fool.
How could Netanyahu possibly resist that temptation?
Barry Chamish’s book WHO MURDERED YITZHAK RABIN? is partly online:
It is interesting because it has alot of information, but it has a disorganized style:
have you written about Rabin’s assassination, Richard?
“Perhaps the Secret Service may even arrest him for impersonating a human being.”
This hateful sentence is disgusting.
You may not like this guy, but I don’t think that gives you the right to dehumanize him. You may criticize him, but this is not criticism, this is Nazi-like hate speech.
You are criticizing his posts, but look at yours!
@Good Little Israeli Hasbara Boy (my translation of his Hebrew handle):
Spare me. This ass says the President of your country should be murdered, except he’s too insignificant to bother and you expect me to call him a decent human being? You assassinated your own prime minister in your country, and you fault me for calling out someone who echoes such murderous incitement???!!
It’s not that I “don’t like this guy.” I think he’s evil. And you should too. He has dehumanized himself. Anyone who advocates murder, even in words, is heinous & evil.
One of the greatest social philosophers of our time, Zygmunt Bauman, will turn 90 this month (on the 19th to be precise). Bauman lived and taught in Israel for a few years after he had been driven out of Poland by real anti-Semitism (that of Mieczyslaw Moczar, the then chief of the Polish communist secret police)not the imaginary one referred to by Baratz, a referral which is merely an apologetic trick.
Bauman and his wife left Israel in 1971 because they were quite unhappy with developments there after the Six Day War. Haaretz wrote in 2011:
“Zygmunt Bauman, the Jewish sociologist and one of the greatest philosophers of our time, castigated Israel harshly this week, saying it did not want peace and was afraid of it.
Bauman said Israel was “taking advantage of the Holocaust to legitimize unconscionable acts,” and compared the separation fence to the walls surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto, in which hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in the Holocaust.
In a long interview to the important Polish weekly “Politika,” Bauman said Israel was not interested in peace. “Israeli politicians are terrified of peace, they tremble with fear from the possibility of peace, because without war and without general mobilization they don’t know how to live,” he said.
“Israel does not see the missiles falling on communities along the border as a bad thing. On the contrary, they would be worried and even alarmed were it not for this fire,” the Polish-British sociologist said.
Bauman, who lived in Israel briefly, referred to an article he wrote in Haaretz, in which he expressed concern that the younger Israeli generation was being raised on the understanding that the state of war and military alert were natural and unavoidable.”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/polish-jewish-sociologist-compares-west-bank-separation-fence-to-warsaw-ghetto-walls-1.381828
“Baratz is a defrocked academic, who earned his PhD in classical Greek philosophy at the Hebrew University…..”
HU is very left wing. In your day at the Givat Ram campus there were Israeli students lying all over on the grass etc. today it is mostly Arabs..things have changed.
A couple who happen to be friends of mine on a Prof of Anthropology and his wife a Prof of Geology were teaching/employed at HU and due to the high cost of living in Jer they entertained the idea of living somewhere in the West Bank. They were told if they moved there their employment would be terminated and thus they returned to the US.
Left-wing, my ass. Compared to Ariel Settler School (aka University), yes it’s left-wing. But that’s not saying much.
I don’t accept anecdotes passed on by clearly right-wing hacks like you as having any merit. Nor can the Hebrew University force an employee not to live in the Territories & fire them if they do. I don’t believe you. You’re either lying or don’t know what the frig you’re talking about.