It's a repeated event in Israeli politics for failed or retired politicians to become anti-Zionists, it seems. Benvenisti was the first I recall reading about but after Abba Eban was forcefully retired from the Labour Party in 1988 he went from being an Israeli super-patriot to a hard-core supporter of the two-state solution and blaming Israel for its troubles in the Middle East.
Yuval Diskin has also recently joined this august club by publicly criticizing not just his goverment's policy vis a vis Iran but also the character of the current leadership, something that might be expected from only the most amateur or frustrated politician. It seems that in Israel you're either a success or you want to bring the whole state down in a case of sour grapes.
None, however, can match the hypocrisy and bitterness of former prime minister Ehud Olmert. Until Olmert came along, the title easily belonged to Shimon Peres, a man who had twiced served as prime minister despite never having won an election and who has still not been properly investigated for bringing mass murderer Yassir Arafat, y"sh, to Israel, handing him guns and all but writing him a licence to kill Jews with impunity.
Olmert, for those with short memories, replaced Arik Sharon as prime minister when the latter was felled by a stroke. He subsequently won an election running on "Sharon's legacy" and then fell from power when he could no longer change the public's belief that the multiple criminal investigations of him somehow meant that he just might be corrupt. And somewhere in between those two points in time he tried to give away almost all of Yehuda,Shomron and East Yerushalayim in a deal that would have seen Israel's enemies get 99% of what they asked for without having to give anything in exchange.
To this day Olmert has shown no regret for anything. He continues to deny his corruption. He continues to deny that his peace deal did not having the backing of a majority of Israelis. He continues to deny that his government's policies weakened Israel in the eyes of its enemies. But he continues to do what he's best at: blaming everyone else for his failings. Hence his recent appearance before a hostile crowd in New York:
Undaunted, Olmert noted at the outset that Israeli leaders should “avoid unnecessary slogans” like speaking of Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of Israel — as he often did as mayor, by the way — and rather show the “courage and honesty” to deal with reality. That reality, he said, calls for Israel to adjust to “the requirements of compromise” in earnest.
“Why do I need the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?” he asked, citing a requirement Prime Minister Netanyahu has made of the PA.
“We need the courage to go forward,” Olmert continued, “and we are not doing it today” under the Netanyahu government, he charged.
Even if the Palestinians rejected Israel’s offers, as they did when he was willing to give up Jerusalem’s holy places in 2008 negotiations rejected by the PA, Olmert said the U.S. and much of the world would recognize Israel’s willingness to make peace and ease international criticism.
Most important, Olmert said, was not to “fight” with the president of the United States over Mideast policy differences.
He said Obama was a friend of Israel — no crowd reaction — and that the U.S. has the political and military power to lead the effort to keep Iran from achieving nuclear arms.
Let's state the obvious: it wasn't Olmert's fault that the peace deal didn't go through. The Arab leadership has and will continue to reject any such offer that Israel makes since they aren't interested in a deal but rather the destruction of Israel. It is Olmert's fault that he really did think that such a deal might be accepted. it is his fault that his government brought Israel to within a whisker of 1967 "suicide borders" in his idiotic attempt to gain world approval for Israel's existence.
Perhaps Israel should rent an island in the Canadian arctic and routinely send all retired politicians, whatever their political strip, to live there. It would probably make Israel a better place to live and give the polar bears a great afternoon of entertainment.