Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A mask and a face that shrinks from it:

Remember George Orwell's memorable quote: "He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” ?

I'm thinking about President Obama's successive broadsides at Israel's elected PM and his jaw-dropping declarations that "that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations, and for regional stability...or that a real knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and the region.”

Here is the thing:

1. A two state solution will be good for Israel only if the Palestinians cut their aspirations to statehood in the Occupied territories, which entails an open and internationally-backed renunciation of their RoR claims.

2. Solution of I/P conflict will not make ISIS disappear, Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions or Assad to stop massacring and gassing his own citizens. So how is that going to bring "regional stability"?

My conclusion is the Obama is speaking as a liar. He cannot not know that what he's saying is false and based on moonshine rather than hard realities or verifiable facts. While wearing the mask of a peace-maker, his face doesn't grow to fit it but rather shrinks to make it all the more demonstrably a mask and no more than a mask. I mean, we have been reassured repeatedly that Obama is highly intelligent, a voracious reader of books and a lover of Jews and Israel. Yet he keeps saying things that contradict every one of these attributes.

As for the mask, I think we have some evidence that he's perfectly aware and comfortable with it.
Let me draw your attention to this little story from Ali Abunimah, from "The Electronic intifada". By Abunimah's own testimonial, this is what Obama said to him in

"the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies.
As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Does it need translation? Isn't Obama practically saying that he cannot reveal his genuine sentiments about the Palestinians because he is in a campaign to get elected? What remains unsaid but pretty clear is that as long as he needs to court the Jewish voice, he cannot be "upfront" about his own position.
As Abunimah himself helpfully adds later in the article:

"... given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power."
A quick tour of the rabid anti-Israel Left blogs and media outlets can reveal some other telling quotes which suggest Obama's so-called staunch support of Israel is merely a convenient pose. Like this, for example:

"Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart..."
Right.

And then there was the famous hot mic incident in which President Obama was caught on camera assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election.

Both times there is POTUS openly admitting he's wearing a mask.

Too bad his face has not grown to fit that mask.

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Magic of Words

Obama's trust in the power of his words to make Iran and other rogue regimes behave reminds me of the following tale:


A British rag used to publish sensational novels in weekly serialized installments. The story was written from one week to the next and only the author knew how he was going to resolve the knotty problems that he had set up himself in the week before.

On one such occasion, the author, ended his weekly chapter in a cliff hanger situation, with his protagonist hanging with both hands in a pit, snakes snipping at feet, on one side a roaring lion, on the other side two crooks with their guns aimed at him. 

  The following week he didn't show up with the next chapter. As he was a known lush, everyone suspected that he had gone on one of his drinking binges. The editor appealed to his other writers to provide the necessary installment but they were all stymied. They had no idea how to get the hero out of the pit, and away from the menacing snakes, lion and killers. The paper was issued with an apology to the readers for missing that week’s episode.

Finally the author showed up. Everyone flew at him, yelling angrily and predictably, at a complete loss as to how he was going to resolve the situation.

What's the hullabaloo? shrugged  the author. He inserted a sheet of paper into the typewriter and began to type:

"Once out of the pit, our hero..."

Friday, February 27, 2015



Obama's choice 

The arguments furnished by Obama's ideological lackeys presented thusly the rationale underlying Obama's Iran deal in this way:
"The argument was that a nuclear agreement that lifts sanctions and reduces tensions with Iran will advantage the moderates and make it more likely that in the period of the agreement Iran will become a status quo power and be less interested in developing nuclear weapons,"
Thanks to Peter Beinart's fabled acumen, we learned a few years ago that Barack Obama was America's First Jewish President". 

Recent events have cast some grave doubts upon Beinart's political perspicacities when it comes to Obama and the Jews. However, in the emerging deal with Iran -Obama's ideological baby legacy- we are witnessing the workings of a mind, reminiscent of a type of Shtetl Jewish thinking. I wondered how best to illustrate the despair and profligate optimism encapsulated within this  kind of vision and thought this tale might serve to illustrate my point. I heard this Yiddish folktale once on the radio and have recreated it here from memory. So the details may not be accurate but the gist remains.

***
A poritz is the name by which East European Jews referred to a Polish grandee, and more generically to any gentile landowners on whose land they resided and upon whose benevolence they depended, for the poritz had the power of life and death over them.

***
The Poritz, the Jew and the Talking Horse

So the story goes:

One day the poritz caught a Jew stealing some carrots from his vegetable garden. He determined that the Jew should die, to serve as an example to other hungry Jews not to try to steal the poritz’s carrots. The community’s entreaties on behalf of their poor brother fell on deaf ears. You Jews, said the poritz, will never learn unless we teach you a lesson you cannot forget.

So the day of the execution the Jew is brought before the poritz to make a final plea. The poritz was mounted on his favourite horse as the Jew, facing him, was trying to think what could possibly dissuade the poritz from carrying out the verdict. As he watched  he noted how fondly the poritz  caressed his horse’s mane. He had an idea.

-If you let me live for one more year, I will teach your horse to speak, he volunteered.

The poritz doubted the Jew’s proposal but he loved his horse so much that he couldn’t bring himself to pass over the possibility that he might actually have a proper conversation with the beast. And anyway, it was only a postponement, not an annulment of the death sentence. So he agreed to the deal and let the Jew go.

The other Jews, who had come to accompany the convict on his last journey, were dismayed.

-What are you doing?  How can you teach a horse to speak?

-A year, said the newly liberated Jew, is a long time. Anything can happen in a year. I could die. The poritz could die. Or the horse could die.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

 Everyone has his decent Jew


On selecting which Jews to befriend, Heinrich Himmler said it in the clearest, least ambiguous manner: 

It is one of those things which is easy to say. 'The Jewish race is to be exterminated,' says every Party member. 'That's clear, it's part of our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination, right, we'll do it.'


And then they all come along, the eighty million good Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are swine, but this one is a first-class Jew. (some laughter) Of all those who talk like this, not one has watched, not one has stood up to it. Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet – apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard. This is a glorious page in our history that has never been written and shall never be written.

Thursday, February 05, 2015



“Every other Wednesday, except for festivals and High Holy-days, an anti-Zionist group called ASHamed Jews meets in an upstairs room in the Groucho Club in Soho to dissociate itself from Israel, urge the boycotting of Israeli goods, and otherwise demonstrate a humanity in which they consider Jews who are not ASHamed to be deficient.  ASHamed Jews came about as a consequence of the famous Jewish media philosopher Sam Finkler’s avowal of his own shame on Desert Island Discs.”

“My Jewishness has always been a source of pride and solace to me,” he told Radio Four’s listeners, not quite candidly, “but in the matter of the dispossession of the Palestinians I am, as a Jew, profoundly ashamed.”

“Profoundly self-regarding,” you mean, was his wife’s response. But then she wasn’t Jewish and so couldn’t understand just how ashamed in his Jewishness an ashamed Jew could be.”


A Racism that dares not speak its name ...

Yesterday Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was the only one (that I heard) to express his distaste for the accelerated execution of the two Al-Qaeda convicts by Jordanian Justice system as an act of sheer revenge and a move to appease the needs of the howling mobs for fresh blood. To report this development, as most TV news outlets did, as though it were a sign of Jordan's resolve to defeat ISIS and Islamic extremism is deceptive and frankly, psychotically delusional. The Jordanian response was cut from the same cloth as the atrocity that triggered it. And yet, not a word of reproach from the White House or any of its lackey journalists about it. 

Imagine, just imagine, I mean, try to imagine, the outrage that would ensue had Israel's justice system responded to some of the gorier murders of its citizens or soldiers in a similar manner ...

It seems to me nobody expects any better, more rational response from an Arab society; therefore, there is this astonishing silence and embarrassed averting of the eyes. This is not the "soft racism of low expectations"  This phenomenon of ACCEPTING certain cultures' innate violence as a force of nature, has no fitting name yet.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

"In the minds of the privileged Jews such measures taken by the state appeared to be the workings of a sort of heavenly tribunal, by whom the virtuous - who had more than a certain income - were rewarded with human rights, and the unworthy - living in mass concentration in the eastern provinces - were punished as pariahs. Since that time it has become a mark of assimilated Jews to be unable to distinguish between friend and enemy, between compliment and insult, and to feel flattered when an antisemite assures them that he does not mean them, that they, are exceptions - exceptional Jews. The events of recent years have proved that the "excepted Jew" is more the Jew than the exception; no Jew feels quite happy any more about being assured that he is an exception. "  (The Jewish Writings, by Hannah Arendt p. 313)


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The dialectic of culture and barbarism

Theodor Adorno in "Cultural Criticism and Society,":

  The more total society becomes, the greater the reification of the mind and the more paradoxical its effort to escape reification on its own. Even the most extreme consciousness of doom threatens to degenerate into idle chatter. Cultural criticism finds itself faced with the final stage of the dialectic of culture and barbarism. To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today. Absolute reification, which presupposed intellectual progress as one of its elements, is now preparing to absorb the mind entirely. Critical intelligence cannot be equal to this challenge as long as it confines itself to self-satisfied contemplation. (Prisms, 34)