Dagan For P.M. – OpEd


Who’d a thunk it?  A man I reviled in the aftermath of the al-Mabouh assassination is actually talking sense and looking smarter by the day.  In fact, every time he opens his mouth he only reminds Israelis (at least those not in the Likud) about the lameness of their current prime minister.

Aluf Benn today writes that Dagan is setting himself up, whether intentionally or not, to be a key political leader of the opposition come the next election:

Meir Dagan’s public warnings that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading Israel into disaster places the former Mossad chief in a new role – head of the opposition. After two years of the prime minister’s complete control over the political message coming out of Jerusalem, there is finally someone who is standing up and warning the public of the risks inherent in a leadership that “is absent of vision and responsibility.”

This sums up Dagan’s general political philosophy and it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the ideological extremism of the man currently inhabiting the office of prime minister:

Dagan’s message during a speech Wednesday at Tel Aviv University can be summed up in a single phrase – “military restraint and political initiative.” In Dagan’s view, Israel must not attack Iran, and it must accept the Arab peace initiative

It’s about time an Israeli politician returned to a pragmatic approach to solving the nation’s problems.  Of course, it’s easy for someone out of power, someone not even officially affililated with a party, to sound so reasonable.  When running for office, politicians tend to return to the same old shibboleths that appeal to the electorate.  During campaigns, pragmatism isn’t very popular.  So it remains to be seen whether this is as a good as it gets; or whether Dagan will stay true to the ideas he’s espousing as he gets into the fray of political combat.

You know Bibi isn’t going to take this lying down.  He’s going to bare his fists and lash out with all the nationalist provocation he can muster.  Dagan will be hard-pressed not to respond in kind and stoop as low as his former-bloss.  So we’ll see how things develop.  But I like what I’m hearing–now.

This of course doesn’t flatter Tzippi Livni, who is the nominal, but largely ineffectual head of the leading opposition party, Kadima.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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