# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections

by

Artwork: Stephen Pohlmann

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
1

March 5, 2015

Iran, Obama and the Elections

In the red corner, Bibi Netanyahu.

In the blue corner, just about everyone else, with Obama up front.

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Well, I have not watched, listened to or read ALL the comments about Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

One or two, here and there – pro and con. Most interesting ones from my perspective?

 

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First, I decided to attend an English language debate by all the major Israeli parties a few nights ago.

One obvious conclusion is that the personality of the speaker has an influence in persuading one’s opinion.

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The comment that got the most reaction (by an otherwise quite well-behaved audience) was that we should speak to Abbas because he is the elected leader of the Palestinians.

Elected? It was elections that gave the speaker the platform to make such a statement – and the Palestinians’ election is already 5 years overdue…

 

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My companion to the debate evening and one of my tennis partners are both solid Meretz supporters, the party leaning most to the left.

They support Peace Now, and want to make a deal yesterday.

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It illustrated to me that, as in any democratic country, there are many whose minds are already made up, and no debate nor a life-threatening Iran is going to change their minds. I’m different. Those who have met me know that I like to talk, to discuss. But I also do like to listen, and I am ready to adjust or even change my open mind.

7

I have watched Bob Menendes’ speech to AIPAC, given a day before the Congress speech. A reminder that he’s a Democrat, and there are many of his colleagues who share his views, which are strongly pro-Israel, strongly concerned about Iran’s capabilities, and deeply worried about the deal that Obama is threatening to make.

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I read 3-4 newspapers, trying to see a range of opinions. I watched the speech on CNN (you get the voiceover on Israeli channels), and Wolf Blitzer’s guests afterwords were a good mix of experts.

And so on..

So – what now?

 

9

Political games? Yes, of course. You can’t separate politics from this subject. Hence the unsurprising screams and shouts from all sides, both in Israel, in USA and elsewhere.

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Could he have declined John Boehner’s invitation (perhaps very wrong in the first place)? Of course he could. But he’s not that stupid. He knew that this was an opportunity not to miss, both for political reasons AND for what he claimed are the realistic reasons.

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An insult to Obama? Yes, can be seen that way.

Obama insulted Netanyahu? Also can be seen that way – so that’s stupid quits.

The polls proved that Netanyahu’s showing at home did strengthen after the speech. Dissect that as you wish.

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Back home, there are of course many, many other subjects that will sway the voters for and against Bibi. The list s not exceptional:

  • Housing prices

  • Support for young couple

  • Welfare

  • Racism

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  • The potential collapse of the post office – and the recent postage hikes of over 100%

  • Corruption on many levels

  • Sexual harassment at the highest level in the police force

  • Treatment of the minorities (Arabs, Druse, Ethiopians, Russians, Moroccans).

  • How to handle the crisis of the illegal immigrants from North Africa (same problem as Italy)

  • Need I go on?

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[Did I mention a clever suggestion made by some political student recently, in the quest to ease the problem of coalitions that reduce the chances of parties to push through policies promised in manifestos? Give extra seats in parliament to the winner. In Israel’s case, there are currently 120 seats available.

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This should be increased by, say 15 – to 135. And these 15 would be granted to the ‘first past the post’ – the party that gets the largest vote. In this way, they get a better chance to govern strongly. Israeli democratic system still guarantees that any mistakes will be punished at the next elections.]

 

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Back to the speech. Most criticism focused on fact that so much was rhetoric; that he’s said it all before – and that he only criticised, without placing new ideas or alternatives on the table. Well…in the first case, what more is there to say? Except for the fact that some, including Obama, may not been listening.

And I think he did remind us of alternatives.

17

In the street just now, we walked past a e-pylon with signs on it saying ‘Danger of Death’ etc. It was quite clear that, unlike a regular lamp-post, this one was not to be climbed without first removing the threat.

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Well…….I see Iran as that e-pylon. And it’s not just an opinion. The signs are all there, written not only in Farsi:

  • They must stop their open support of terrorism

  • They must stop their open attempts to disrupt the region

  • And, most important, we need to see them take away the threat of annihilation of the State of Israel.

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Only then has any agreement any value.

Is that so much to ask?

Stephen

 

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PS – Today is the climax of the Purim festival, called ‘Ad lo yada’ “until you lose yourself’. Almost everyone dresses up – the streets in the city centre are packed with every costume imaginable.

These pics were from yesterday, in the street downstairs

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# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 277 – Iran, Obama & The Elections by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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