Thursday, December 7, 2017

Where in the world is Chaim Weizmann?

By Henry Cabot Lodge
Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Never let it be said that subscribers to the New York Times don't receive the finest in service journalism for their thousand-dollar annual subscriptions.  We're not talking just about their coverage of obscure eateries at the very end of subway lines you never took east of Grand Central or south of Fulton Street, what $2 million will buy you in Tribeca (a parking space), or their glossy fashion spreads on how to look like an anorexic borderline junkie for only $75,000 a night.

No, included with your daily paper is a veritable fount of geographical learning.  Why just today you could learn where the capital of Israel is:
Jerusalem.  . . . is our capital and it always will be. It was taken away from the Jewish people by force. It was recaptured by force. If necessary, it will be preserved under Israel’s jurisdiction by force, too.

President U Bum says this isn't the capital of Israel . . .
So if your answer to the question “What is the capital of Israel?” was Bridgeport, Connecticut, you lost!  Don't you feel like a schmuck?  If you did, feel free to send a thank you to Shmuel Rosner, who embedded that geographical nugget inside an op-ed column that concluded with warm praise for President U Bum's latest diplomatic clanger:
But the president — often criticized for being blunt and never shying away from saying what he wants to say — will have his Trumanesque moment by refusing to pretend that Israel has no capital. If violence is the result of that, we will all regret it. But it is worth remembering that Truman’s recognition of Israel was also met with violence — and it is still remembered as a great American moment.
Who is this great melamed, Shmuel Rosner?   Is he the same guy who told American Jews a mere nine years ago that their job was to support whatever the Government of Israel did, no questions asked?  Well, maybe it's a common name in Likud circles:
I think that what American Jews can do--the best service they can give as to advance Middle East peace--is to support Israel as much as they can.  . . .   I want them coming for visits, I want them caring, I want them lobbying.  And no--I do not want them to be criticizing Israel in public and trying to pressure Israel on matters of policy and trying to "save Israel from itself" and all that condescending crap. 

Who likes condescending crap?  Not us, Shmuelkeleh.

 . . . or this . . .
On the other hand, Israelis like Rosner get to condescend to American Jews by telling them that U Bum's disastrous announcement on Jerusalem is nothing more than a reflection of geographical reality.  It's like we're all schmucks, a stereotype perhaps fostered by the spectacle of thousands of Reform Jews rampaging through the streets of Boston after spending more than six bucks for coffee and a roll at Eataly.  Can you believe it?

Of course, the Likudniks and their even-more-loathsome allies know that U Bum's slurred declaration was not about geography; it's about destroying any hope of a two-state solution.  In that same edition of the New York Times you could find the kind of candor that Israelis lavish on themselves:
Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “shows that Israel’s strategic patience has paid off.”
“We have been told again and again that if we want more acceptance, we have to cut off parts of Israel and hand them over to our enemies,” he said. “What we are learning is the contrary: The world respects strong countries who believe in themselves and looks down on countries willing to give up their homeland.”
Translated from the Likud-speak, this means that U Bum's witless Jerusalem announcement vindicates the Israeli right's rejection of a two-state solution and territorial compromise with the Palestinians, because if you wait long enough, Sheldon Adelson will install in the White House some demented grifter stupid enough to look the other way whilst Israel paves the West Bank with settlements in preparation for annexation.

And according to the annexationists, Israel will get away with it because those pesky Arabs are too preoccupied with with all the other things they f**ked up, like Yemen or indeed the entire Sunni-Shiite feud:
But even as Arab and Muslim leaders across the Middle East condemned Mr. Trump’s announcement, doubts were raised about the stamina of the anger. The Palestinian issue, long a binding force in Arab politics, has slipped in importance in recent years, overshadowed by other conflicts.
The expansionists either deny the existence of the Palestinians as a people entitled to self-determination, or more smugly lump the Palestinians in with the Tibetans and the Kurds as history's losers whose demands can be ignored without consequences.  How's that working out in Northern Iraq, anyway?

At the risk of being labelled as “condescending,” we feel compelled to suggest that the consequences of U Bum's gift to his reactionary Jewish and evangelical base are unlikely to be in the best interests of the Jewish state.  Subsequent on-line editions of the Times report that violence has broken out in the West Bank and in Arab capitals and that Americans are being warned against traveling in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Some Israelis seem to think that the loss of any number of Palestinian lives and perhaps a few 19-year-old IDF soldiers is but a small price to pay for burying the peace process.  We, along with maybe a few million other condescending American Jews, think that the death of even a single fearless pony-tailed or stubbled teenaged IDF draftee is far too high a price to pay for stupidity.

 . . . but his Holy Roller buddies
think this might be soon
The point of the consistent U.S. position on Jerusalem was not that the Israeli capital should be moved to Trump Towers Beersheva.  Rather, past U.S. policy was designed to give the Palestinians the hope that some day the peace process might result in a tenable state with a capital somewhere in the large annexed land mass Israel refers to as “Jerusalem.”  It was also intended to preserve the United States' unique position as the one power sufficiently trusted by both sides to broker a real and honest peace.

Well, that's all gone now, at least for the remaining weeks of the Grifter-in-Chief's Administration.  So why did the Master Negotiator embark on a path with no upside and tons of downside?  Consider that, in addition to Sheldon and his Likudnik Empire-Builders, there's one other group close to U Bum's tiny clotted heart who's pleased: Christian fundamentalists.

Why are they so devoted to sabotaging the peace process and ushering in Israeli dominion from the sea to the Jordan River?  If you read that book they carry around with them, you'll learn that a lot of them think that it's part of a cycle that leads to Armageddon, the restoration of Jesus Christ as the ruler of Jerusalem, and the rapturing of all good Christians.  None of this sounds too terrific for the Jews.

Even if you accept the protestations of these Holy Rollers that they don't actually support President U Bum on the grounds that he is helping to bring about the end of the world, you might want to pay heed to the words of Chaim Weizmann, the great Zionist leader and first President of Israel:
There must not be one law for the Jew and another for the Arabs....In saying this, I do not assume that there are tendencies toward inequality or discrimination. It is merely a timely warning which is particularly necessary because we shall have a very large Arab minority. I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs.
Stop condescending, Chaim.

Update, December 9, 2017: The Times op-ed editors must think that anyone who pays one large a year to get a newspaper must be pretty dim, because they reprinted the same geographical tidbit today, as mansplained by laziest Times columnist of the week Bret Stephens.  It's must reading if (and only if) you still think that the capital of Israel is Tombstone, Arizona.

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