Olmert honors J Street — a disgrace

By Isi Leibler

I must confess I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when I read that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the J Street Conference Gala dinner on March 26.

By doing so, Olmert has sunk to an all-time low, not only destroying whatever remained of his battered political legacy but also shaming the state of Israel.

Let me state at the outset that I am acquainted with Olmert and once admired him. At 28, as the youngest member of Knesset, he developed a reputation, ironically as a crusader against crime and corruption. A successful fundraiser and networker, his engaging personality contributed toward making him the consummate politician. Olmert was loyal to his supporters and friends and made a distinguished contribution as health minister. I enthusiastically supported him when he was candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, campaigning on the platform of a united city.

Let me also express the hope, for Olmert’s sake as well the reputation of Israel, that the courts will exonerate him from the charges currently confronting him (in the Holyland case). Few of us wish to see yet another former high-profile Israeli leader found guilty of corruption or consigned to prison.

Something snapped with Olmert when he effectively spurned his longstanding political roots and developed a penchant for crass political opportunism. This climaxed when he joined the Kadima bandwagon and became one of the most enthusiastic promoters of Ariel Sharon’s devastating unilateral disengagement, paving the way for his appointment as deputy prime minister and succeeding Sharon.

It was evident that he had lost the plot when on June 9, 2005, in the course of the disengagement debate, he gave the keynote address to the left-leaning U.S.-based Israel Policy Forum and in words that will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life, proclaimed: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.”

These bizarre remarks epitomized the subsequent calamitous course of action he undertook just a year later, in July 2006, when he launched the disastrous Second Lebanon War. Consequently, this led to the control of the Lebanese government by the Iranian surrogate Hezbollah.

The Winograd Committee reviewing the war, whose members had been hand-picked by Olmert, produced a scathing report, condemning Olmert’s zig-zagging policies which culminated in “a major and grave missed opportunity” to inflict a major blow on Hezbollah and restore Israel’s deterrence. The report employed the term “failure” 190 times and “flaws” 213 times.

By refusing to accept responsibility and resign, even having the chutzpah to claim that the findings exonerated and “lifted the moral stigma” from him, Olmert made a mockery of public accountability.

As prime minister, he continued on his downward spiral and, in a desperate effort to retrieve his legacy, offered the Palestinians exorbitant concessions, proclaiming that in the absence of a two-state solution Israel “would be finished.”

Without consulting the Knesset or Cabinet, he unilaterally offered Mahmoud Abbas 98.1 percent of the West Bank, foregoing defensible borders and Israel’s security presence along the Jordan River.

Furthermore, he agreed to divide Jerusalem and was even willing to yield jurisdiction of the Temple Mount to a multinational committee. In addition, he offered to allow a number of Arab refugees to settle in Israel – with no reference to restitution for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries expelled from their homes in 1948.

Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, turned down Olmert’s proposals and failed to even make a counter-offer, merely adamantly reiterating that the “right of return of Palestinian refugees” – which would result in the demise of the Jewish state – was nonnegotiable.

Since his ouster as prime minister, Olmert has engaged in a campaign to revise history, blaming Netanyahu for the breakdown of peace talks with Abbas and insisting that had he remained in office, he could have consummated a final peace settlement with the Palestinians.

Desperate for any platform, Olmert’s fall from grace reached its nadir when he stooped to the depths of accepting the role of keynote speaker for J Street.

J Street is an organization comprised of American Jews who do not consider it unconscionable to canvass the president of the United States to pressure Israel. It justifies this on the grounds that Israelis need “tough love,” comparing us to children on drugs who must be pressured to do what is good for us or impounding car keys from a drunken friend. These trendy American Jews have the gall to canvass the Obama administration to force the democratically elected government of Israel to act contrary to its will in relation to national security issues impacting on the life and death of its citizens.

But beyond this, in the midst of the Gaza conflict – orchestrated by Olmert – when all sections of the Israeli political spectrum, including the far-left wing Meretz, were united in support of the war, J Street refused to back Israel. Applying moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas it claimed “that there are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide” and reproached Israel for launching “a disproportionate response.” J Street stated that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have monopoly of right and wrong” and accused the Israelis of “lacking sanity and moderation” in their attitude toward Hamas.

Only last week as hundreds of missiles were being launched against Israeli civilians, J Street, again applying moral equivalence, expressed “concern” over attacks on Israel and IDF “airstrikes on Gaza that killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians.” They were subsequently obliged to retract and apologize as all but two of those killed were terrorists.

For Olmert to be so desperate as to appear before such a discredited body, which had even maligned him, reflects his pathetic desperation for a platform in order to fabricate a contrived historical legacy. One would feel sorry for him were it not for the anti-Israeli propaganda that, as a former prime minister, he provides to our adversaries.

The writer’s website can be viewed atwww.wordfromjerusalem.com.

March 19, 2012 | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. I wonder how much J Street pay for a speaker of such caliber and ill-repute ?
    Those honorariums can get quite high.
    I think he follows X-Pres. Jimmy Carter to the podium and then Pres. Shimmy Peres. Why not make it a love fest for post-Zionist old men trying to leave some sort of legacies

  2. I sat at a small luncheon back about 1974 or with Olmert at the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council. I found him to be immediately unlikable–there was something about his personality, his lack of warmth, that turned me off. I didn’t like his presentation or message, either. It was ironic, because back then I had close ties to the Labor Party, and he was part of the Herut or Gahal–I don’t remember what they called it back then. In other words, I was the leftist, he was the rightest.

    Things have changed. I now consider him to be the Jimmy Carter of Israel, perhaps the worst Prime Minister in Israel’s history, not to mention a man without principles. From some highly placed Israelis, I know him to be the consummate opportunistic politician–money, influence and protektsia. Maybe he’s doing this because his radical wife might cut him off if he doesn’t.

  3. J Street stated that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have monopoly of right and wrong” and accused the Israelis of “lacking sanity and moderation” in their attitude toward Hamas.

    Why should Israelis moderate their attitude toward a genocidal enemy? Clearly it is JStreet which lacks sanity. This group is comprised of people who have mental illness.

  4. When is Olmert going to be put into an orange jump suit and leg irons? Why is it that criminal cases take so long in Israel? Is it only Olmert’s case or do other cases take so long? Or maybe the idea is that after a while the public will forget the criminal charges against Olmert?

  5. Olmert and the whore Livni promised to bring Goldwasser and Regev back alive, or smash Hezbollah. Personally both of them and their minions should be handed over to Nasrallah WHO NOW CONTROLS LEBANON – I’m sure he’d keep them alive too…

  6. Olmert has probably been given his last chance.
    Deliver the goods for Mr. Obama at the jstreet meeting or get a long jail sentence for the multiple open files for which is now in front of courts regarding his other suspected crimes.
    Olmert cannot sink any lower. He reached the lowest levels possible long ago.
    And since we are at it. The majority of the group that followed Sharon, is not much better.

  7. Wonder why Mr Leibler neglects to point out that the Jerusalem Post, which carries his columns, is also hosting Olmert at their NY Jerusalem conference??

  8. What a surprise (sarcasm). Olmert has to be the worst prime minister in Israeli history. I thought he couldn’t be any worse, any more traitorous, or exhibit more stupidity than he already has. I obviously was mistaken. Olmert should be seeing the inside of a jail cell when he awakens every morning. In the 2006, Lebanon war, Olmert showed what a total incompetent and corrupt person he was. He appointed someone to command the IDF, whose first act upon hearing there was going to be war with the Iranian Army’s Lebanonese division Hezbollah was to call his stockbroker. Olmert continued to allow the deterioration of the IDF because he was “tired of winning”. Bush wanted Israel to finish off Hezbollah and Israel, for one of the few times was allowed time to destroy one of their enemies. But Olmert waited until a few days before the cease fire to send in more than a small number of ground troops. It was clear weeks before, Olmert came out of his coma, the bombing alone was not working. But this total idiot, sat on his rear end and did not send in the divisions to wipe out Hezbollah. He allowed Hezbollah to shower Northern Israel with rockets. Olmert could be called the Israeli Obama, i.e. someone who clearly was a combination of incredible incompetence and bizarre ideas about
    how to deal with the enemies of the country he was leading.

  9. These bizarre remarks epitomized the subsequent calamitous course of action he undertook just a year later, in July 2006, when he launched the disastrous Second Lebanon War. Consequently, this led to the control of the Lebanese government by the Iranian surrogate Hezbollah.

    Say What? Olmert didn’t launch it, Hezbollah did. Olmert’s’ weakness or treason was to refuse to win it.( I think he took a phone call from Bush telling him to stop – yes the Republicans – so much for that hope). He fired General Yaalon, calling him and jerk and orchestrated the Disengagement.

    By doing so, Olmert has sunk to an all-time low.

    That’s impossible, Mr. ‘tired of winning’ already stinks like three day old road kill. He cannot sink any further.