Like Palin, Israelis turn to alternate media


By Caroline Glick

[..] Presently, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is implementing the Left’s appeasement policy towards the Palestinians with as much enthusiasm as Shimon Peres before him. Last Monday Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s most trusted adviser, told Politico that a leader is defined by the contempt he feels for his voters. As Dermer put it, “The test of leadership is doing things that are not popular with your base.”

There are many explanations for what is going on. The most cited are Israel’s indirect elections system in which leaders are unaccountable to voters, the weakness of Israel’s politicians, and the poor quality of their advisors.

While all are true, another explanation is more compelling. In Israel the Left exerts almost complete control over the political and social discourse. Unlike the situation in the US – particularly in the era of Fox News – there are no significant communications outlets in Israel that are not controlled by the Left.

Even Yisrael Hayom, the free newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson that has eroded the market shares of Israel’s leading tabloids, is not a rightist newspaper. It senior editors, reporters and commentators are almost all leftists.

The Left’s monopoly over the public discourse is not only expressed in the media. In the worlds of culture, academia and entertainment as well, all the leading figures are leftists. They cultivate one another in an elite universe that is affected neither by reality nor by the convictions of most of their countrymen.

This has led to a situation in which a small minority of Israelis behaves as if it were a large majority. They use their control over the public discourse to present the sentiments of the majority of Israelis as if they were the views of a small, fanatical minority.

This distorted presentation of the convictions of most Israelis has induced a number of pathologies within Israeli society. Most pertinently, it has caused leaders of the Right to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to win the support of the Left that despises them. And as Dermer made clear it motivates men like Netanyahu and former prime minister Ariel Sharon to betray their voters in favor of the leftist agenda they were elected to reject.

In a bid to begin contending with this dismal reality, in early 2009 I launched a Hebrew-language media satire website called Latma. Latma is an Arabic term for “slap” that has been adopted in Israeli slang.

Latma combines short, pithy blog posts ridiculing the daily media coverage of events with a weekly television show on Internet called The Tribal Update. The show parodies the broadcast media in Israel while exposing the absurdity of the leftist political and cultural narratives they trumpet.

The insight guiding Latma is that people do not fear what they laugh at. By exposing the failure of Israel’s cultural elites in a humorous way, Latma empowers the majority of Israelis to express their views without fearing leftist demonization.

While Latma is only one small voice, entirely funded by charitable donations, its impact has been enormous. It is one of the most visited websites in Israel today with close to a million page views per month. Our broadcasts are eagerly awaited by tens of thousands of Israelis. Week after week, our shows become viral within hours after we post them on YouTube.

Our work is doing more than making the case for strong Zionism. It is undermining leftist stereotypes about the nature of the Israeli Right and making it cool to be Zionist again.

Latma’s greatest international success to date was our clip “We Con the World,” which we produced three days after the IDF takeover of the Turkish-Hamas terror ship Mavi Marmara. We Con the World was seen by more than a million viewers in a week and has been viewed over five million times since we produced it. The song changed the tone of the media coverage of the operation. Perhaps most importantly, it empowered Israel’s supporters to stand up to anti-Zionist intimidation throughout the world.

Building on that success, and subsequent successes with English language clips like “The Three Terrors,” and “The Iranian Bomb Song,” we are recruiting a team of English-language satirists to produce clips directed at the international audience on a regular basis.

Liberal media outlets and other cultural institutions in the US went to enormous lengths to belittle and demonize the Tea Party movement. They failed because over the past generation, American conservatives have developed alternative media outlets and cultural institutions that the general public and politicians alike pay attention to.

I believe that Latma’s success must serve as a springboard for cultivating an alternative elite in Israel whose members reflect rather than demonize the convictions of the majority of Israelis.

Given the massive dimensions of the public’s rejection of the Left’s worldview, if these alternative media outlets and cultural bodies are properly conceived and managed, I am certain that like Latma, they will not only be rapidly successful. They will have a profound and salutary impact on the behavior of Israel’s political leaders who will finally recognize that for embattled Israel, the true test of leadership is standing up to a hostile world and keeping faith with the Israeli people.

December 7, 2010 | 6 Comments »

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  1. In both the US and Israel the elite rule against the wishes of the majority. Palin solved this problem by putting people in congress who would march to their own beat. i.e stick to the platform.

    Likud activists did the same thing. When fighting the second freeze they focused on the Likud MK’s warning them to stick to the platform of they would be thrown off the list next time around. Worked for Palin, worked for the settlers.

  2. There is an incipient TEA PARTY in Israel. Founded about five months ago and named TRUTH NOW! the NANA TEA PARTY of ISRAEL of which I am a founding Member while there are also persons in the US also associated with the project.

    Regarding a truly free radio system. INTERNET based Arutz #7 is one.
    There is another on stand by including INTERNET, Short Wave AM and standard FM capabilities. It is not in the air due to lack of “permits”, which we may as well accept, will never be given to truly independent broadcasting here. For as long as the “branchas” control the “permits”, the pseudo free radio and TV will continue as it is.

  3. Yes indeed there is a great need for a genuinely Jewish tea Party in Israel. We Jews are cursed by the leftist self-hating Jews that have been at war with Judaism since the beginning.

  4. Netanyahu and Jewish Values:

    Netanyahu once complained to a prominent rabbi that “the Israeli left has lost its Jewish values.” What surprised me is that he thought the Israeli left ever had any Jewish values to lose.

    The real problem is that Netanyahu (and every single Israeli government so far) has not had sufficient Jewish values. For the most part, they are so ashamed of Judaism that they will not wear a kippa in public. There are a few token kippa-wearers in the government, but they are considered “primitive and tribal”.

    Netanyahu had a rival (Moshe Feiglin) who wears a kippa, but Netanyahu made sure he buried him politically.

    Israel will not endure as a “Jewish” state as long as its rulers are embarrassed by Judaism. Whatever you feel about the ultra-orthodox, they joyfully have as many Jewish children as HaShem will grant them, and raise them all to be Torah-true Jews. Because the ultra-orthodox men prefer to study in yeshivot rather than get their hands dirty working for a living, the Israeli seculars openly label them as “parasites” (a term they brought from communist Russia). Yet at the same time, they bend over backwards to give welfare to an unemployed (and unemployable) Jew-hating Israel arab, who married four of his first cousins (whom he brought from the West Bank) in arranged marriages (after they underwent female circumcision), and now has forty unemployed Jew-hating kids.

    From an unbiased neutral viewpoint, that is known as national suicide. However, from the viewpoint of the Israeli seculars, the ultra-Orthodox Jew is a “reactionary” (another communist term) who clings to an obsolete religion when he should know better, while the arab is a “simple, primitive soul who has not yet been exposed to liberal enlightenement” but “holds unlimited potential”.

    If Jewish Israel is to survive, then one way or the other, the seculars have to be removed from power, so that we can have Ahm Yisrael living in Eretz Yisrael l’fee Torat Yisrael. The seculars (who, like everybody, prefer to have it both ways), are a transitional phase: either Israel will become truly Jewish, or it will be destroyed and we will have to wait another 2,000 years to try to get it right.