Why Bring Down Ya’alon?

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com


yaalon-2Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

If this is a coincidence, it is an extraordinary one. Twice in less than two months, remarks that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made in closed forums about key issues on Israel’s national security agenda were leaked to the media. In both cases, the media used the leaked remarks to foment a crisis in relations between Israel and the Obama administration.

In both cases, the Obama administration has used the opportunities created by the Israeli media to bash Ya’alon and pressure Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire him.

In January, Yediot Aharonot leaked Ya’alon’s private remarks about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s irrational focus on the mordant peace process between Israel and the Palestinians at a time when there is both relative peace in Israel, and Israel’s neighbors are undergoing political upheavals and civil war. Together with the other two musketeers of Israel’s far-left media – Haaretz and Channel 2,Yediot used the story to provoke a fight between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration. Acting on cue, the White House and State Department demanded that Ya’alon apologize for remarks that were made in private. Ya’alon sufficed with a terse statement that he was sorry if anyone took offense from his private remarks.

And now, two months later, Ya’alon’s remarks have been leaked again.

Last week Ya’alon spoke at a forum at Tel Aviv University that was closed to the media. There he bemoaned the Obama administration’s abandonment of the US’s traditional role as the world’s policeman and considered its significance for Israel. With regard to Iran’s nuclear program, Ya’alon said that the time had come for Israel to recognize that the US has not met its expectations and taken the lead to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. As a consequence, “We [Israelis] have to look out for ourselves.”

Haaretz published Ya’alon’s leaked remarks and then, with its partners, Yediot and Channel 2, set about fomenting a crisis in relations with the US. As it did in January, last week the Obama administration jumped at the opportunity. State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki stopped just short of demanding Ya’alon’s resignation.

What is going on here? Obama and Kerry say far worse things about Israel’s leaders as a matter of course than Ya’alon said about either of them. And nothing Ya’alon said was wrong. Nothing that he said was unique. Similar statements are being heard from spurned US allies around the region and the world. Not only were Ya’alon’s statements reasonable, the vast majority of Israelis share his sentiments both on the untrustworthiness of US security guarantees and on the absence of prospects for peace with the PLO.

So why leak his remarks and present them as unforgivable faux pas?

The first reason is that the media have been working for seven years to intimidate Israel’s policymakers into not noticing that the US will do nothing to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. And they can’t intimidate Ya’alon.

The US effectively abandoned the option of using military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons at the end of 2007 with the publication of the National Intelligence Estimate. The 2007 NIE falsely reported Iran had abandoned its quest for nuclear weapons in 2003. After the report was released, then president George W. Bush had no political capacity to attack Iran.

The remote chance that the US would attack Iran’s nuclear installations at some future date was taken off the table completely with Obama’s inauguration in 2009. From the outset Obama made clear through word and deed that his goal was to appease the mullahs, not confront them.

The fact that Israel continued to cling to the empty claim that the US would act to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons for seven years after the 2007 NIE is testament to both the media’s power to intimidate and to its corruption. The media is supposed to facilitate the free flow of information. But they blocked it by stifling discussion of the credibility of US leadership in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. And they attacked as reckless every leader that indicated a willingness to act independently against Iran.

Ya’alon apparently is not afraid of the media. He knows he can credibly demonstrate to the public that Israel can and must secure its own interests, regardless of the US position. Since they cannot get him to toe their line, the media triumvirate has apparently decided to undermine the public’s trust in him by presenting him as a reckless amateur.

Here the issue of the leak is critical to understand. In holding the off-record briefings, Ya’alon did nothing wrong.

Indeed, he behaved as a leader ought to. When the leader in an open society is considering a significant shift in national policies, it is reasonable for him to share his thinking with policy elites, whether in academia or the media, to prepare the ground and gauge their responses. Doing so in private enables leaders to consider major shifts away from the spotlight.

It was the leakers, not Ya’alon, who behaved recklessly and unprofessionally.

He spoke off the record to prevent a diplomatic embarrassment for himself and the country. They leaked his remarks in order to embarrass him and initiate a diplomatic crisis.

Luckily – and ironically – their plan backfired. To discredit Ya’alon the media inadvertently enabled Ya’alon, one of the most trusted men in Israel, to initiate discussion about the Palestinians and the Iranians that they have blocked for years – and to do it on his terms.

And now it is too late to stop the conversation.

The media chose to focus the campaign against Ya’alon on his purported irresponsibility and loose lips because they cannot argue with him on substance.

His claim that there is no chance that Palestinians will agree to a peace deal with Israel is self-evident.

His assertion that Israel cannot trust Obama to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power is undeniable.

And this is why the media chooses to create artificial crises with the US over Ya’alon’s private remarks and why the Obama administration so enthusiastically cooperates with Channel 2, Yediot and Haaretz.

Both understand that the only hope they have of coercing the government and the public to maintain faith with their failed and dangerous policies regarding the PLO and Iran is by threatening that Israel will pay a price for abandoning them. And the price they quote is the durability of the US-Israel alliance.

To date, the public hasn’t been moved by their antics. Polls taken after the first leak in January revealed that Ya’alon is the most popular minister in the government.

And while it is important to be concerned when the media colludes with a hostile US administration to bring down the defense minister, it is also important not to get too carried away.

Israelis know that they can trust Ya’alon more than either Obama or the media. And they agree with him. With these assets in hand, it is hard to see how Ya’alon can lose this fight.

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  • Bamaguje

    Israel’s lamestream media is even more dangerous than America’s.
    The silver lining is that unlike America, Israelis aren’t buying the ruinous propaganda of their lamestream media.

    • Freedom Call

      Because your leftist media lies are killing your economy and our leftist media lies are killing US.

      It takes a special kind of stupid to believe their fantasies of long-lasting peace with savages who celebrate mass-murder of innocents (women and children included).

  • The Facts

    It’s great to read Ms. Glick’s rabid attacks of the free press. Further, her complaint that America is using hasbara techniques to cut ultranationalists out of the Israeli political herd is just plain ironic.

    • 1Indioviejo1

      As soon as the Communist are attacked, they run for the cover of “Freedom of the Press”, as if they would extend the same parameters to their enemies. Not. It is important to have a free press, but just as important is the need to know were they come from. The lame stream media’s agenda is always toxic to freedom.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        I haven’t seen anything to tell me that Facts is a communist and not just another run of the mill hater of Jews. Your observation is applies equally well, of course, to that scum too.

    • Habbgun

      Welcome Back,
      You’re the same white trash we heard about…
      Welcome Back,
      To the same old place that you’re laughed about….
      Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

    • Freedom Call

      Go home achmed. you’re drunk.

    • ahad_ha_amoratsim

      So pointing out when the press has behaved irresponsibly and dishonestly in the pursuit of a political agenda is a rabid attack on the free press?

      I thought a rabid attack on the free press meant locking up or executing journalists who have offended you, the way they do it in Gaza and the Palestinian Adminstered areas. Or threatening to kill any and all reporters, anywhere in the world, if the paper prints something you don’t like — the way the PA did when a paper ran pictures of PA policemen leading a mob in torturing two arrested Israeli reservists to death. Or burning a Lebanese reporter’s hands off with acid and locking him in a car trunk until he dies, like the PLO did in Lebanon.

      So if Ms. Glick’s column was a rabid attack on the free press, what would you call those actions by your Arab proletarian heroes?

      • The Facts

        I would call those worse, but on the same spectrum of bad behavior. Duly noted also, that you used the Arab to justify the Jew. So old-fashioned.

        • ahad_ha_amoratsim

          Got it. So in your world, it is a rabid attack on the free press when a journalits writes a column that factually and responsibly points out dishonest and irresponsible behavior by the press.

          That means on your scale of measurement, your comments here are a a rabid attack on the free press somewhat worse than Ms. Glick’s but albeit not as bad as those committed by the Arabs.
          Ah, Jew-haters never cease to amaze me with their pretzel logic.

    • iluvisrael

      vintage flipside shlomo is back with her ‘hasbara’ comments – get lost you Jew hating and envying pest

    • Drakken

      Why don’t you put your money where your jihadist loving mouth is and go join those poor oppressed palis, come on there you spineless jellyfish I dare you.

      • The Facts

        You try too hard to elicit violence. It’s an admission of what your job is here. You have no manhood.

  • BagLady

    Last week Ya’alon spoke at a forum at Tel Aviv University that was closed to the media.”

    Weird. Do students have to sign a contract of silence before attending lectures?

    • 1Indioviejo1

      I think they were masterfully played. The leakers are week and stupid.

    • A Z

      The event Ya’alon spoke at was *AT* Tel Aviv university. We do not know, who attended or how many people. From the pictures at the attached it looks like a small room and not an auditorium.

      We do not know if it was students, academic, government, officials or someone else. Do government officials have to keep presentations to groups of a certain size or less for it to be private?

      At this pint Ya’alon could invite only 2 government officials to breakfast at his house, give strong opinions and if one of the 2 leak it, it would be a scandal according to the Left.

      http://richardedmondson.net/2014/03/26/a-us-officials-blistering-but-anonymous-response-to-israeli-insults/

    • Drakken

      Don’t you have a pali protest to go too?

  • 1Indioviejo1

    Ya’alon needs to be be Israel’s next PM. If the University speech was a soft ball for Israel’s enemies to hit, they sure didn’t get it out of the infield. Their leak probably had the intended consequences, it brought it out in the open, and Ya’alon is the better for it. He played them well.

    • A Z

      They could be tracking the leakers to see who ran and blabbed to whom.

    • Gee

      Boogie is another leftist. Netanyahu too makes good speeches and has the backbone of a jellyfish.
      MK Bennett, Danon or Feiglin would be better

      • Freedom Call

        Boogie is leftist?

        quoting him: “We become accustomed to Arabs being permitted to live everywhere, in the Negev, Galilee, Nablus, Jenin, and [on the other hand] there are areas where Jews are not allowed to live. We caused this.” “regarding the issue of the settlements, in my opinion Jews can and should live everywhere in the Land of Israel. Now, … first of all, every settlement needs to get the approval of the authorities, and what goes up on the spot, in contradiction to these decisions and so on is not legitimate. It’s against the law”

        Maybe statist a tad but hardly in the dove camp.

        Bennet is too subserviant to the hassidic welfare parasites.
        Feiglin and Danon are fine by me but probably lack the ability to bring in alot of voters.

      • 1Indioviejo1

        You may be right. I’ll stay informed.

  • benjamin

    Great column, however, where is Netanyahu? Why is he not defending Ya’alon?

  • A Z

    Count Down

    2 years 9 months 1 week left on America’s prison sentence

    Hopefully, Israel & Ya’alon can survive that long.

    • Freedom Call

      The people of Israel have outlasted all of their foes thus far over the course of history.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        But not always without being exiled from our land, r”l. Israel has spent more time in exile than out of it, and it is not wise for us to get too smug. Such things are controlled from Above, and all we can do is do the best we can — which includes realizing that the ultimate decision does not rest with Obama, Netanyahu or HaAretz.

        • Freedom Call

          God’s proper worship is through action my friend!
          If we only venerate him in words and passive ceremony he will not listen and he will scorn us.

          We must defend israel with our own hands for all of eternity and never forget that god will not forsake us this way – we can fight for ourselves after centuries upon centuries in darkness as serfs or slaves.

          Service in the IDF and support of our troops is paramount to God’s worship.

          • ahad_ha_amoratsim

            No disagreement from me. But proper action is deficient if we think we can achieve by our own efforts.

      • A Z

        Unless the Almighty does something, America stops being delusional or Israel uses its’ nukes in retaliation, Israel is going down. That is the way I see it.

        If Tel Aviv got nuked that would knock the stuffing out of Israel. what would be left? There are plenty of Muslims willing to do that and get one or a few cites nuked in return.

        If the Israeli nuke are stored at Dimona and it is know they are stored, they are not of much use.

        The best thing that happened in the Syrian war is the Russian provided radar got blitzed.

        Of the Muslims are done with the Little Satan they will come for the big Satan.

  • MarVista509

    Yaalon is very helpful in making himself Alte Zachen for this regime, they do not like anyone who criticizes them in public, knowing that, he nevertheless goes into “closed” forums, where half of the audience want him with a knife in the back, and he hands them on a plate an opportunity to kill him, by spitting right on the hands of those who so grudgingly have to deal with him, i.e the current regime in D.C.
    Israeli are accustomed to be blunt and speak directly, often undiplomatically, unreverentially, and often impolitely. He was an infantry commander, a man used to give orders, clueless how to behave as a politician. Factually he is right, the venues where he says these things is wrong, and creates problems for Israel.
    Few in Israel disagree with what he says, many disagree with the choice of venues, could somebody else say what he has to say without attributing it to him?
    Is it really smart to openly challenge a hostile, failed, losing team in panic, knowing that they have tremendous leverage, and very likely will be needed for help?
    As soon as he started to squawk senior IDF officers cannot get visas to the U.S.
    Now they are withholding on upgrades for the Apaches. It was a little over a year ago we all saw this “great friendship” blossoming on the runway at Ben Gurion, when smiling Putney swope and Bibi walked on the red line without jackets, and suddenly…it all evaporated?

    • A Z

      The Israeli Left needs to be rooted out. They give the others in Israel no quarter. A bright light needs to be shined on the cockroaches.

      • MarVista509

        The Israeli Left needs to be rooted out

        It has never worked, they have a way of re-emerging
        They have a life of their own…and a great deal of NGO money comes from overseas to destabilize the elected government, which is not composed of the nicest characters either.

        • 11bravo

          Just like in the states, they have the education system, and the media. That – as Joe Biden says – “is a big effing deal”.

    • 11bravo

      If Yalon would speak publicly about Obama’s current sanctions (visa’s, Apaches) the American people would go after OBAMA not the Jews!
      Israel and its leaders have the strong hand here.

      • MarVista509

        I wish!
        One should know where one can say things.
        I doubt if you can estimate how critical the dependency
        on steady supply of parts is for the daily operations of the IDF.
        They can have a squadron grounded for lack of parts…
        how does this work for them when they need to fly into a mission?

        • 11bravo

          That is why the Jewish leadership (when dealing with our leftists – when they hold the purse strings) need to plead directly to the republicans in congress, and the American public through media interviews.
          Bibi may worry about official repercussions, but “we the people” will hold president Obama’s feet to the fire!

          • MarVista509

            like the people held him for clearing the way for 12 million or more illegals to remain here and secure D Party majority
            Hold him for Iran getting nuclear domination?
            Was he held responsible for ObamaCare…
            Easier to speak about a subject that correct a bad problem

  • Randy Townsend

    The Israelis are fully capable of dealing with the gorillas running Iran, and they will. Obama has no influence in Israel because they understand who he is and what he is. God bless the Israelis.

    • KyraNelson

      G-d bless you and your family too.

  • Elmer Fudd

    To Ya’alon, remember what “The Godfather” said, “Never let the enemy know what you’re thinking”, when the time comes, just do it.

    • Freedom Call

      He’s a man of actions you can be sure of it.
      If he runs for PM he’s got my vote already. We’ve spent enough time paying lip services to effeminate and deluded welfare conmen.

    • BagLady

      Bilderberg philosophy

  • 11bravo

    I don’t know what it is about Jews. Maybe it is just the suicidal appeasers, or in other circles, the Jewish intellegencia and intellectuals. They have had an anointed vision that has been wrong for centuries.
    Their isn’t a nation, race, or civilization on earth that does not have a significant number that HATE JEWS!!
    The Europeans and Islam are the worse, but make no mistake you are the chosen ones – to be ridiculed for ever! America though is your best bet. Send your defense minister here to criticize Obama, and he will get a standing ovation. Help us to get the neo-socialist democrats out of office, and our nation, and its military will be right behind any action.
    The majority of Americans are with you. We see the cowardice of the left all over the globe. They control the message, but not (the people), us clear thinking classical liberals.
    As T Sowell has pointed out; the vision of the anointed is deadly for any society where the intellectual class gets the media, or government’s ear, or a strangle hold on the education system. France surrendered to Hitler in like 18 days due to the erosion of French nationalism by the indoctrination of children, and a war weary population. England’s intellectuals did the same thing – but to a lesser extent.
    Hitler knew it then, the mullahs and Putin know it is the case now. History does repeat itself when it comes to the cowards – they are quite consistent.