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Saturday, July 14, 2012

צדק Tzedek Justice? More About Ehud Olmert

Ehud Olmert, lawyers and cohorts have been celebrating after the court gave its ruling.  Yes, he was declared "innocent" of some of the indictments but the judges did find him guilty on one count.

Sarah Honig in the Jerusalem Post wrote about how the judge's strange way of discerning innocence or guilt.

In Olmert’s cases, the judges don’t dispute that money changed hands between American businessman Morris Talansky and Olmert or that he double-billed charities on his air journeys (this isn’t innuendo but boldly asserted in the verdict). However, they didn’t ascribe to him “criminal intent,” even if illicit ties and illicit practices existed.
Here we willy-nilly enter the realm of psychoanalysis rather than legal reasoning.
Hypothetically, we might submit that there needn’t be something inherently felonious in the spectacle of a leading politico accepting envelopes stuffed with cash. At the same time, however, this state of affairs is hardly condonable from the vantage point of civic hygiene. Any bigwig in public life owes us more elevated ethics. (complete article)

In effect, the judges do admit they think that Olmert did the illegal act, but in typical Israel way uses the excuse that "he didn't mean to be bad."  There's something very strange in Israeli culture.  They don't think they have to apologize for hurting you if it was unintentional.  This drives me nuts.  I expect them to apologise for carelessness, but instead they say:

"But it wasn't on purpose..."

The other day at work a women and her young daughter rammed into me.  I was looking the other way and didn't see them coming.  When I told the woman she should have had been more careful, she was outraged.  She had been talking on her phone, looking the other way and pushed her seriously obese little girl into me so hard I had to sit for a few minutes to recover.  "But it wasn't on purpose..." was all she would say after first denying she had even caused me any harm. 

Ruthie Blum in Israel Hayom wrote about a different aspect of the Olmert saga.  Was Olmert hounded  to stop his peace plan?
According to this assertion, Olmert was on the verge of getting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to sign an agreement with Israel. And had the prime minister not been forced to resign as a result of a cloud of corruption allegations that hung over him, we might all have been celebrating the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by now.
Are they joking?
While it is true that Olmert practically begged Abbas to take the 1967 borders on a silver platter — and even threw in a partial “right of return” for refugees — the Palestinian Authority chief didn’t even bother dignifying the offer with a response. This is because Abbas had no more intention of reaching a deal with the Jewish state than his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
It is getting tiresome restating the obvious, for which (unlike the Olmert trial) there is and always has been endless evidence: There is nothing Israel can offer the Palestinians, short of ceasing to exist, that they will accept.
Nobody took Olmert's offers very seriously then, including the Arabs.  They were very much like Ehud Barak's.  And talking about Ehud Barak, Caroline Glick actually considers Olmert to have been an even worse Prime Minister than Barak was.
Objectively speaking, Olmert was the worst prime minister that Israel has ever had. And that is saying a lot. He had stiff competition from Ehud Barak, but he managed to outdo him in incompetence and general failure to meet the challenge of the office he aspired to in his unmitigated shamelessness and hubris.
Olmert lost the war with Hezbollah in 2006. He lost Israel's campaign against Hamas in 2008-2009. He failed to block Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. He weakened Israel's international position and its alliance with the US. And so on and so forth.
The public never forgave him for his failed leadership in the 2006 war. And rightly so. There can be no forgiving or forgetting his decision to send forces to their deaths in battle AFTER he had already accepted the ceasefire ensuring that none of their action would make any difference. I believe that 34 IDF soldiers died in the last 36 hours of the war that took place AFTER Olmert had agreed to the ceasefire.
So, why is the media full of rumors of Olmert's return to politics?  I generally don't take polls too seriously, but the media is pushing Olmert.

Photo: (Jerusalem Post/Smith Research survey)

Were Olmert to form a new centrist party that included Kadima and Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid, it could win 30 seats, compared to 27 for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, according to the poll. The new party would take away mandates from Likud and Labor and could potentially form the next government.

But davka, the same Jerusalem Post article says that the public prefers Netanyahu over Olmert as Prime Minister.
But when asked who is most fit to be prime minister, Netanyahu won by a wide margin. Thirty-three percent said Netanyahu, 15% opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich, 12% Olmert, 10% Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and just three percent Mofaz. 27% said none of the above or that they had no opinion.

Davka, Israel Hayom's poll showed that the public doesn't want Ehud Olmert back in politics.

Fifty-five percent of Israelis think former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should not seek elected office again, a new poll suggests. The New Wave Research poll, commissioned by Israel Hayom, was conducted in the wake of Olmert's acquittal this week on two major corruption charges over a travel expenses double-billing scam. The results may be a bad omen for the former premier's prospects of staging a political comeback, some four years after he was forced to resign. Olmert himself said on Thursday that he was not now planning on returning to politics, while his spokesman Yanki Galanti said the former premier would make a decision on the matter only once the Holyland corruption case, in which Olmert is accused on serious charges, is settled.  
Asked if Olmert should be allowed to return to national politics, 55.2 percent of respondents in the Israel Hayom poll said he should not, 26.8% said he should and 18% offered no opinion. Asked if they thought Olmert was guilty of the corruption charges on which he was acquitted – notwithstanding the court's verdict – 37.5 percent said yes, 23.9% said no, and 38.6% offered no opinion.
The newspapers may actually be showing the same numbers but showing them differently.  The "30" seats that the Jerusalem Post writes about are only one quarter 1/4 of the Knesset seats which would need only 25% of the vote, very similar to the 26.8% who support Olmert according to Israel Hayom.

Nu, did you think that the media is objective?

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