Among my more esoteric possessions is an English-language translation of a forgotten volume, People and Portraits: A Tragic Cycle, published in 1966. It was authored by artist Georges (Yuri) Annenkov, innovator of grand scale settings for gargantuan Soviet parades and street extravaganzas. In 1921 he painted Lenin’s official portrait. Three years later, after Lenin had been dispatched to the great politburo in the sky, Annenkov was put to work illustrating books about the departed communist icon and was given access to his papers at Moscow’s Lenin Institute.
Annenkov claimed he had copied some of Lenin’s handwritten notes, including the following gem: “To speak the truth is a petit-bourgeois habit. To lie, on the contrary, is often justified by the lie’s aim. The whole world’s capitalists and their governments, as they pant to win the Soviet market, will close their eyes to the above-mentioned reality and will thus transform themselves into men who are deaf, dumb and blind … They will toil to prepare their own suicide.” Continue reading
Memory is a chain that weakens and kinks with every added link, or generation. In a few decades the legendary of a region is only its most stubborn opinions, right or wrong. The truth may have been crushed by accumulative errors.
– California historian William Lawton Wright, 1961
Kfar Darom was crushed five years ago – on August 18, 2005, to be exact. That day, its population of 400 – among them bereaved families of five Kfar Darom inhabitants murdered in terror attacks and others maimed in these same incidents (like the three Cohen family children whose legs were blown off while they were seated in their school bus) – were forcefully ejected from their homes.
The IDF later razed these homes to the ground. Kfar Darom’s synagogue was subsequently despoiled and demolished by gleeful Gazans. Physically, the community was ruthlessly crushed by the accumulative errors of the 2005 disengagement.
Kfar Darom’s truth was crushed by the accumulative error that callously defamed it as an “illegitimate settlement” on usurped Gazan land, one that Israel would be better off without. Stubborn opinion-molders imperiously perpetuate this narrative.
This was Kfar Darom’s third crushing. But the first two blows were dealt by enemies who were eventually, even if belatedly, repulsed. Twice Kfar Darom came back to life. Continue reading
We have no tangible proof that the White House had indeed applied brutal pressure on poor Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority’s teeter-tottering Ramallah half. This remains unsubstantiated. American officials haven’t confirmed news reports and derivative innuendo from both Israeli and Palestinian sources. But if we set aside our skepticism and assume, for argument’s sake, that Obama and crew did indeed twist Abbas’s arms, we ought to be outraged.
The very notion of dragging an unwilling interlocutor to the negotiating table should be unthinkable, certainly no cause for glee among Israelis. Continue reading
It’s almost surreal to witness the White House resident and his European counterparts fall all over themselves in recharged alacrity for the “two-state solution.”
Do they even remotely believe their own words? Or do they just make obligatory sounds to satisfy the requisites of some bizarre rite?
It’s a tad of a stretch to trust that it hadn’t dawned on any of them that the last thing Palestinians want is a Palestinian state dwelling in idyllic coexistence alongside a secure, accepted and recognized Israel. Honchos in both Ramallah and Gaza may expediently exploit the two-state slogan, but they never truly espoused the cause of two-state harmony. Continue reading