Israel, Justice, Politics

Gaydamak's Obscene Gesture

Haaretz reports:

Billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak on Wednesday announced the formation of a new social movement, named “Social Justice,” which he said could turn into a political party at any time, “based on the circumstances.”
During a press conference, the Russian-born business tycoon called for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government to be replaced, saying Israelis should support Likud leader Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.
“Don’t vote for Olmert, don’t vote for Peretz – don’t even vote for Gaydamak. Vote for Bibi [Netanyahu],” Gaydamak said.

Why would I call this gesture obscene? Because to suggest that Benjamin Netanyahu is a progenitor of social justice is to stand reality on its head. Netanyahu’s economic policies have led to record poverty levels, including the highest rate of child poverty in the West, and levels of wealth inequality that come second only to America’s. Currently, 16 Israeli families control 20% of the nation’s wealth, while 22% percent of Israelis live below the poverty line, including 1 in 3 children. Netanyahu’s privatization schemes have, ultimately, failed to trickle down to the public. He is also responsible for the recent cuts in Holocaust survivor benefits, despite Israel’s ever-increasing piece of the reparations pie, as well as tax-cuts for the wealthiest members of Israeli society.
Two weeks ago I had the er…pleasure…of attending a dinner of the Conference of Presidents here in Jerusalem. There were all sorts of remarkable statements made by the likes of Irwin Kotler, Martin Kramer, Abe Foxman and Mort Klein that I’d looooove to tell you about, but refrain from doing so, so as to spare the employment of the young woman who unwittingly granted me access to the event (suffice to say, by the end of the evening I concluded that America’s Jewish leadership is going to get us all killed).
One gentleman who addressed the group, an Israeli general who has been in public service for several decades, stressed — with a wavering voice — that the greatest threat to Israel’s stability today is income inequality, and warned that if the current trend persists that it will tear the society apart from the inside out.
Sadly, our friends at the COP were much more interested in discussing Iran, Hamas and Jimmy Carter. However, I took his words to heart.
Economic growth is a golden calf. At the end of the day, it accomplishes little more than further padding the bank accounts of the egregiously wealthy. Bibi has helped make the rich richer at the expense of the working class, and has thusly driven Israelis into both deeper poverty and deeper debt.
If that’s social justice, I’m a monkey’s friggin’ uncle.
Gaydamak, mind you, is wanted in France for illegal arms trading, tax evasion and money laundering. None should stand idly by while this corrupt billionaire douchebag perverts the meaning of social justice.

13 thoughts on “Gaydamak's Obscene Gesture

  1. 60 years of socialism haven’t done much good either. If it doesn’t work try something else. Israeli hi-tech entrepeneurs are leaving for the states because of the better business climate.
    Some time ago I saw a video of Meir Kahane on youtube. He was talking about how Israel needed capitalism and economic freedom and how it could become an economics superpower if it did all these things. It seems that 17 years after his death he is still more “right” on current issues than the living. What a missed oppertunity for Israel.
    The Rabbi was a genius. G-d rest his soul.

  2. social justis – wicked! – (just words they mean what you want them to – you don’t have any manolopaly on their use or misuse) I’m profoundly dyslexic and have never cared much for words or grammer or god (see post-modernism)

  3. 60 years of socialism haven’t done much good either. If it doesn’t work try something else. Israeli hi-tech entrepeneurs are leaving for the states because of the better business climate.
    Israel never tried socialism, and it might be better off with a stable socialist economy (like in denmark or sweden). If people want to leave, they’ll leave. I don’t think anyone comes here for the money.

  4. Back to economics now. What you geniuses need to understand is your own time. We live in an era where wealth is created for the greatest part by technology. And technology is created in turn by people with engineering degrees or something similar.
    Israel has plenty of both but because the einsteins of socialism decided they could do a better job at ruinning every single aspect of the lives of it’s citizens the entrepeneurial spirit of Israeli hi-tech is stifled. Sixty years of progress has been wasted. Meanwhile countries such as taiwan and south-Korea, which used to be swamps, are hi-tech superpowers.
    Israel needs to end this self-inflicted mediocrity.

  5. mark my words
    the downtrodden will stand in line to vote for this party
    much in the same way that all the folks in the ayarot pituakh lined up to vote for likud who turned around and screwed them year after year after year

  6. Mobius, you are correct that netanyahu’s social justice policies are dubious, and you are also correct that the social/welfare state of Israel right now is miserable and getting worse, but the problem is much deeper and more convoluted. Beyond the debate of capitalism vs socialism (
    There is a huge structural problem that actively prevents any economic progress.
    Sadly, I think the entire system needs to be over-hauled, and even more sad is that I don’t think it is feasible. The long term economic future of Israel is dire, my friend…

  7. Mobuis, you are correct that Netanyahu’s policies were focused on only one side of the capitalism/socialism debate, and you are correct that the current state of Israel is miserable.
    But, I think the problem is much more dire and convoluted than you think… There are massive structural problems that prevent any economic/social progress, and until they are fixed you can’t even begin addressing the other issues.
    Sadly, I think the situation will get worse, and sadly I think it might be too late…

  8. Glad my internet access is finally functioning — in time to catch this gem and blog it all over the universe (todah, as usual, Mobius).
    FM, though I’d prefer to ignore your usual braying yahooism, I must pose a few questions re: your comments on the Altalena: Are you saying that Ben Gurion bragged about killing “Jews”? If so, would you be so kind as to give the actual quote, and its source? Or, is it possible, that Ben Gurion ‘bragged’ about crushing the insurrection led by self-proclaimed fascist Vladimir Jabotinsky (whom BG called “Vladimir Hitler”) while simultaneously fighting off the five invading Arab armies, during Israel’s War of Independence?

  9. ah, yes – miriam rushing to deploy the old “paperwork” defense – “could you please cite the source for your throwaway comment, so I can divert people from your core assertion – which I can’t really answer because socialism HAS failed everywhere it’s been tried.”
    We could turn this tactic around – and remain focused on the real issue – by asking:
    What is the factual basis for DrDan’s wishful assertion that the Likud betrayed its “disenfranchised” voters?
    And could we see sources just a TEEENSY bit less biased than “New Israel Fund” and “Peace Now” for your rather bold economic assertions?
    The assertion that free market capitalism only benefits the rich has been completely gutted by the past 30+ years of Reagan-Thatcher reform – and the enormous increase in material well-being among the American lower and middle classes, including the creation of a large, stable African-American middle class.
    It’s typical of a certain ideological blindness to look only at “income inequality” of America or Israel without noticing the unmatched economic mobility that America is noted for.
    The folks back in the development towns will continue to vote for openness and transparency – for free markets – because they know that back in the command-economy past, only the well-connected benefited from the closed, controlled system.
    The only folks barking about the “injustice” of open markets and “income inequity” are lefties desperate to regain the policital/economic power they lose when countries go capitalist.
    Gaidamek’s use of the phrase “social justice” – spoken by a former Soviet who’s made a free-market fortune to a society hungry to do the same – is a delicious bit of irony. The fact that this went right by Jewschool lefties – who reacted with typical puffery – is even more delicious.
    No, no, no – ain’t nobody here interested in going back to the socialist plantation. Not in the development towns, not anywhere. The billboards across Israel are full of ads for technical schools and Bachelor’s-degree-at-night and…. all kinds of free-market, self-empowering goodies like that.
    Want to know the political worth of such slogans? Notice that Labor isn’t speaking them – and that Amir Peretz is the lamest of lame ducks among many in Olmie’s sad-sack government.

  10. The mere fact that Israel is receiving three billion in aid from the US should give pause to all those who are lecturing on the “evils” of capitalism.
    And Amit, Israel isn’t like the scandinavians, not even close. Not in any way at all.
    And to all those socialist bleeding hearts here. “Income inequality” is a non-issue. The real problem is poverty, which is not the same thing and not even related to Income Inequality. II is simply a ruse to divert people’s attention from the phenomenal success of capitalism. Since people in general are stupid they are falling for it.

  11. Yeah, Peretz hung him self by triagulating on Israeli Defense just like Ehud. Israel needs a real left for once. I wonder when they will get one? They have to create it without any retreads from the present political establishment.
    As for the issue being poverty as opposed to income inequality. Netenyahu increased both conditions.

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