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Yamina leader tell webinar “we have to tell soldiers we have your back”

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Potential kingmaker? Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett has not ruled out joining a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: ejpress.org)

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In a recent webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post and the Tel Aviv International Salon, the International Criminal Court action against Israel was front and centre, with condemnation for the ICC being tempered with optimism that the matter can help create a bridge with the new Biden administration, which has already shown there is some common ground with the Jewish state. 

According to The Hill, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price recently condemned the ICC’s recent decision to investigate the State of Israel for war crimes, claiming that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the matter and is unfairly targeting the Jewish state: “Israel is not a party to the ICC, and it has not consented to the court’s jurisdiction and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.” 

Yamina party leader MK Naftali Bennett, who formerly served as Israeli’s Defense Minister, had harsh words regarding the ICC decision in his remarks to webinar viewers: 

 “There is an antisemitic, irrational organ, which is out to harm Israel.”

“It is operating under the pretense of international law. It has nothing to do with international law,” insisted Bennett. “This whole organ was founded on a whole different premise, on the lessons of the Holocaust and World War II, where you need some solutions for crimes against humanity. So, what the heck are they talking about? They always try to destroy Israel by a new angle. Now, it is lawfare. They want to tie our hands, so we can’t fight and defend ourselves. We have to fight and defend ourselves as if they do not exist.  We have to tell soldiers we have your back. Period. No one will stop a soldier from defending its own country.” 

Following Bennett’s talk, MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh raised the opportunity the ICC action poses to work with Joe Biden: “US Secretary of State Blinken took a very clear and strong stance to condemn the ICC decision. This shows the imperative for a bipartisan engagement with the US administration on these issues, based on shared values and a commitment to international law and human rights. I think that it is an important place for deepening engagement. It is our shared responsibility to identify and expose double standards, especially considering what the court is mandated to investigate related to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” 

Her belief is that “the most important angle to develop and approach from is that of international law, human rights, etc. International law is the framework that we must engage with both our friends and our foes, exposing and addressing double standards as part of the delegitimization of Israel, including at the ICC, to the detriment of all.”

Cotler-Wunsh pointed out, “Iran tramples upon the rights of its own citizens… Unless we affirm 

international law and utilize the language of rights that makes it accessible to the Biden administration, we are failing to hold vital discussion around the issues not just with the Biden administration, but with parliamentarians around the world, to ensure we realize the commitment and ‘responsibility to protect’ as a family of nations. Presently, it is not being advanced as we permit these double standards to exist.  This failure enables and empowers the culture of impunity, benefiting Iran and other terrorist regimes in our region and beyond.”

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The participants also addressed how, for any Israeli Prime Minister, dealing with Joe Biden will be a major challenge. Unlike former US President Donald Trump, he does not see eye-to-eye with the Jewish state on a variety of issues, from Iran to the Palestinians to the Abraham Accords to how America should approach the Saudi-led coalition.  

As MK Ayoob Kara (Likud), who formerly served as Israel’s Communications Minister, proclaimed, “The Biden administration seeks to return to Obama’s failed Middle East policy, which brought about a dramatic rise in radical Islamism in the Middle East and led Iran to the point where it is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons.”

MK Kara is a vocal opponent both of Biden’s nuclear deal, as well as Biden’s review of weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, Biden’s opposition to supporting Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Biden cracking down upon a series of Arab regimes, who are allied with the Jewish state. The question remains, how should the State of Israel respond?  

Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli asserted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s poor relationship with the Democratic Party following his famous address to the US Congress opposing former US President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal greatly harms Israel’s national interests: “Labor will support an upgraded agreement on Iran to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capability, but Israel must make sure that its interests are taken into account. This has become harder because Netanyahu has become a strategic liability on Iran.” MK Michaeli implied that if we have fresh blood on Balfour Street, it will be easier for the new Israeli Prime Minister to ensure that Israel’s interests are taken under consideration in any future Iranian nuclear deal. 

MK Kara begged to differ: “Any return to the now defunct nuclear deal is a strategic threat to the State of Israel and any leader who wishes to cooperate with Biden returning to that deal is threatening the national security interests of the State of Israel. It is precisely because Biden does not understand the reality in our region that Israel needs a prime minister who can play chess Persian style and show the Americans the reality here vividly and bluntly, even if we say things that they don’t want to hear. The only alternative to having a strong leader like Benjamin Netanyahu who stands up to the threat posed by the nuclear deal is to appease the Americans and accept our self-destruction, as Merav Michaeli’s policy would result in.” 

The late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once stated, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”  According to MK Kara, “MK Merav Michaeli going along with Biden’s nuclear deal in the hope that Israeli interests will be taken under consideration is like hand-feeding crackers to a crocodile, hoping that it will lead to us being eaten last.  However, such a policy is folly and that is why we need a leader who can stand up to Biden, rather than appease his delusional thinking in the name of diplomatic tact.” 

However, there is a middle game in town, according to MK Bennett.  

“You need to be candid.  You need to map out what we can agree upon and what we don’t agree upon, where do we manage our disagreements.  I would not poke someone’s eye.  I have been doing business in America for ten years, every corner of the United States – Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, Nebraska, you name it.  I know the American mentality.  You need to be honest.  You don’t fudge.” 

He cautioned that we in Israel cannot assume that the Palestinian issue is Biden’s number one priority, as it is likely that he cares more about dealing with COVID-19, America’s economic problems, China, and Russia more than with the Middle East: 

“I would not suggest that the Palestinians are the cardinal issue of the world.  The world does not revolve around Israel, even though sometimes we think that it does.” 

“We should map out what we can do together,“ argued Bennett. “He got climate change, which I think is a big issue. I think this is something that we can stick up on. Globally, climate change kind of belongs to the left. It’s a liberal issue. I disagree. I am on the conversative side, but I think it is a real problem and that Israeli technological prowess and innovation can do amazing stuff. So, let’s map out what we can do together: economy, high tech, climate change, Iran, which is a huge issue and work out how we go through the next few years. I think by doing that, if you are upfront and fair and straightforward, you can work out the issues.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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