In 1934, between June 30 and July 2, the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders known as the Night of the Long Knives, or the Röhm-Putsch. At least eighty-five political leaders were murdered by the SS and the Gestapo, and over a thousand people were imprisoned. Many of those killed were members of the SA, the paramilitary brownshirts of the Nazi party. Led by Ernst Röhm, they were seen as an inner threat by Adolf Hitler. The phrase “Night of the Long Knives” predates the massacre itself and refers to acts of vengeance. As described in Israel About to Declare Early Elections in Late 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu is about to get rid of his main political opponents in one sleek move, through a process of early elections. Netanyahu’s Night of the Long Knives doesn’t have a date yet; but knives are already unsheathed, reflecting on their shiny blades the malevolent laughs of the putsch-planners and their victims.
The Fastest Knife
Netanyahu at the Knesset Malevolent Laugh
Netanyahu at the Knesset Malevolent Laugh
Following the almost formal announcement of the early elections process, the first one to throw knives at his perceived opponents was the main victim of Netanyahu’s planned putsch. Currently the Minister of Defense and the second strongest politician in the country, Ehud Barak is now suffering the results of his secession from the Labor party. His newly formed Atzmaut (“Independence” in Hebrew) party probably will not cross the votes’ threshold needed to enter the Knesset. Even if he enters with two or three members, that will not be enough to keep his current position. That is why he is pushing so hard for a war against Iran; if he can portray himself as a war-hero, he may save his career. On Thursday, May 3, 2012, he attacked first. In an interview to the pretty irrelevant Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) newspaper he condemned former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Mossad Director Meir Dagan, and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin for downplaying the threat from Iran, saying the three are serving Tehran. “Olmert gang is traveling around the world and speaking in a way that is serving Iran.” Oddly enough, Barak also felt the urge to add: “Olmert, Dagan, and Diskin are travelling the world and are weakening Israeli leaders’ accomplishment of turning the Iranian issue into an important and urgent one – not only to Israel but to the world.” Let me rephrase Barak: “the Iranian issue is not an important one, but it was made so by Israel’s leaders.” Bravo Barak, while throwing a knife you shot your own foot.
Not for the first time, Barak proved being a smart tactician but a slow strategist. This time, he confused his target. Not one of the people attacked by him is even close to Netanyahu, Barak’s main threat. Then, he forgot to thoroughly sharpen the knife before throwing it; nobody in Israel will buy Barak’s claim that Olmert, Dagan or Diskin are Tehran’s agents. Barak’s dull knife hit a fortified wall; the ricochets hit Barak—his foot still hurting—on the same day.
Poll Results, May 2, 2012 | Netanyahu Leads Comfortably
A Knife called the Iran War
Like Barak, Netanyahu needs a war on Iran in order to survive politically in the long run. He is unable to solve Israel’s inner social problems; only a war can keep people’s eyes focused elsewhere. This is unfortunate for Barak, since it places Netanyahu in his own camp. Netanyahu doesn’t care about being on the same band with Barak, since the latter is politically finished, unless a major miracle occurs. In Isra-bluff, I pointed out the distinct possibility that the Zionist leadership is engaged in a disinformation operation with regard to a war on Iran. However, for this article let me assume that each one of the leaders mentioned here is expressing his true views. I do so because that is the way the public will judge them while voting. If doing so, the sheer stupidity of Barak’s error becomes obvious.
Yuval Diskin—one of the people attacked by Barak— said on April 28, in a public event: “I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings.” Then, he added: “They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race.” Meir Dagan is making similar statements since he left the Mossad. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, shares this assessment. Barak threw his knife at them without even bothering to think what the answer would be. He wasn’t kept in suspense; a knife hit him on the same day.
The Smartest Knife
Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak in 2009
The true winner of these events—as the poll in the picture above shows—is Netanyahu. He didn’t need to do or say anything in order to see his main opponent smashed; he can sit relaxed and laugh in all directions. Today, on the same day Barak gave the interview, Olmert answered by saying that the defense minister will surely disappear from politics soon. “The fact is that a former prime minister and three heads of Israeli security bodies—that have over the years dealt with the most sensitive matters regarding Israel’s security—are positive that Barak, who will surely soon disappear from the Israeli political map, is leaving behind him great damages that harm the state’s security and every Israeli citizen must be alarmed,” a statement from Olmert's office read. A well thrown, sharp knife hit Barak. This statement might cost Barak his place in the next Knesset, after all, he markets himself as “Mr. Security.” Yet, there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded and not very smart animal; the only sure thing is that Barak will soon hit again. Mr. Netanyahu, are you ready?