27 January 2000

By Dr. Aaron Lerner

#1 The Bibi Test

The Comptroller's report on election funding is just that: a report on funding. It only hints about the hundreds of thugs hired by the Barak campaign to assault Netanyahu supporters and destroy Netanyahu posters. The unprecedented violence - programmed violence designed to capture the streets - which accompanied the Barak campaign has yet to be investigated by the police.

Barak's goons also accompanied him on the campaign trail, assaulting people who tried to hold a Netanyahu poster or to say anything against Barak.

As far as I am concerned the damage to democracy caused by Barak's intensive use of hired thugs far exceeds the damage done by the illegal contributions.

#2 Did Barak Know? The 'Bibi Test'

Did Barak know? Let me suggest that we employ the 'Bibi Test'.

Here is how it works: Under the Left's 'Bibi Test', politicians can be held responsible for a legal sized handbill being displayed over 100 meters away from them. That is, after all, what anyone who attacks Netanyahu for failing to do anything when he spoke at Zion Square and a photomontage of Rabin in a Gestapo uniform on a legal size page was held up deep within the crowd for a photo opportunity coordinated by GSS agent Avishai Raviv .

Now if Netanyahu can be held responsible for failing to have the eyesight of an eagle, surely candidate Barak could have been expected to notice that the thugs who followed him around on the campaign trail kept assaulting people a few meters in front of his face.

Yes, I know. The thugs were not on the Labor Party payroll. They were paid by independent support groups. But even if through some incredible stretch of logic the Comptroller's attack on Barak's campaign is overturned in the courts, the fact remains that Barak saw the very same thugs with him day after day. Even if they were beating up people for free, Barak, under the Bibi Test, should be held responsible.

Will the authorities finally do something about the thugs? Late last week Attorney General Elyakim Rubenstein decided to reexamine the possibility of opening an investigation. Today again he surprised Barak by responding immediately to the Comptroller's report. I know I am an incurable optimist, but my guess is that Rubenstein has come to the conclusion that things have gotten so bad that if he continues to subvert justice so as not to interfere with the so-called 'peace process', he may find ultimately his own reputation damaged beyond repair.

#3 Barak May Rush

Some observers suggested today that Barak's trouble with the law may slow him down with the Arabs. I fear that the opposite may be the case as Barak rushes to shift attention away from his problems with the law.

And it isn't just a matter of public attention: the closer Barak appears to be to cutting a deal with Arafat or Assad, they greater the pressure on the justice system to bend the rules for the sake of peace.

#4 Red Lines Don't Go With Land For Peace

I would like to share some words of wisdom someone I interviewed last night shared with me: 'If the Israeli body politic is not prepared to compromise on Jerusalem then in fact this whole 'land for peace' isn't going to work. And if you know in advance that 'land for peace' isn't going to work then there is a certain amount of stupidity in going three-quarters of the way.'

'In fact, the danger with the Islamic world - including Iran - is that if the conflict becomes more sharply defined as a conflict over Jerusalem then the bells will resonate for Moslems all over the place. The Gaza Strip and chunks of the West Bank simply don't have any special emotional charge for them.

When day in and day out the story is going to be Al Quds then we are talking about a different ball game. A very dangerous one.'

No. These aren't the words of one of the so-called 'enemies of peace'. This is what Dr. Jerome Segal, president of [American] Jewish Peace Lobby , told me last night.

Of course, his conclusion is that we Israelis should not have any red lines. But if we do, and we do, then we should take his advise and stop continuing with what he himself considers, under these circumstances, the dangerous stupidity of land for peace.

#5 Minister-In-Waiting COS Mofaz

While Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz recently claimed that "My task will be to ensure that my opinion will be completely unblemished, unbiased, purely professional and confined to the security issue," in the same breath he employs the assertion the Syrians are aware "that in a military clash with Israel, they will not be able to secure the same achievements they can get through a peace treaty because of the strength and might of Israel and the IDF" to reach the political conclusion to support withdrawal from the Golan.

The military observation - that Syria can't push the IDF off the Golan with force and thus opts to push off the IDF with paper - in no way leads to a military conclusion that Syria wants peace with an Israel off the Golan.

The very same military observation could be made by someone whose political analysis finds that Syria wants to destroy Israel but finds that it is more efficient to move another step towards its goal via treaties than tanks.

This is not the only disturbing thing that future politician Mofaz said recently to curry favor from his boss. He also told the press that he was confident that if Barak makes a deal with Syria that the security arrangements would be acceptable. What business has the IDF Chief of Staff have making such a statement to the public? Since when is it the army's place to express confidence in the Prime Minister? And if Mofaz didn't have confidence in the Prime Minister would we expect him to seize power???

In truth, in a democracy an officer has one choice and one choice only when his civilian bosses make a decision the officer cannot accept. And that is to resign. And unfortunately for the country, over the course of Oslo this hasn't happened.

Mofaz's anti-democratic activities should not be ignored. For if they are ignored they will only intensify as he strives to help his boss sell the public inadequate security arrangements in the Golan and elsewhere. The damage to the country - and the integrity of the IDF - will only further menace our future.


Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) (mail POB 982 Kfar Sava) Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-9-7411645 INTERNET ADDRESS: Website:

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