Another Tack: Zionism and Etrogism

The Succot citron is protectively wrapped in silky flax padding and safeguarded in a covered ornamental box

The Succot citron is protectively wrapped in silky flax padding and safeguarded in a covered ornamental box

The name switches of what until recently marketed itself as the Israel Labor Party offer fascinating insight into how Zionism has steadily lost its allure on the Israeli Left.

What began life as Poalei Zion – the Workers of Zion – in time it morphed into MAPAI, Hebrew acronym for the Party of the Workers of Eretz Yisrael. The next stage was adopting the generic name of Labor – doubtless borrowed from the British context. So far the trend is clear and straightforward.

But now comes the spin – under its latest leading light, Isaac (not Yitzhak) “Buji” Herzog, Labor  (aligned with Tzipi Livni’s disintegrating list) has chosen to call its ticket the Zionist Camp. At first hearing this certainly appears to be the sort of affirmation that would gladden Zionist hearts. Here at last is the cause of Zionism ostensibly espoused proudly and unapologetically.

A true balm for the soul – or is it? Continue reading

Another Tack: “Charlie” Makes Them Laugh

“Love is stronger than hate”: Charlie’ Hebdo’s satirical cover after the magazine was firebombed in 2011

“Love is stronger than hate”: Charlie’ Hebdo’s satirical cover after the magazine was firebombed in 2011

It’s decidedly the untrendy thing to say, but all the same it must be said: the “je suis Charlie” extravaganza is part and parcel of the political correctness that is steadily killing the West.

It’s the ineffectual affectation of those who seek to buck up their spirits while doing nothing real to actually improve their survival prospects. The sad fact of the matter is that the pen is not mightier than the sword and it never was.

When civilizations clash, it’s might that buttresses right. Without might, right perishes. In recent history, Nazism was defeated by armies and communism collapsed because facing it were military forces it couldn’t overcome.

Kitschy slogans never melted the hearts of villains and pen nibs never deflected the thrusts of cold hard steel blades.

Worse yet, the affectation serves to cover-up – often even to justify – cowardice. Self-appointed pen-warriors and their chic cheerleaders may posture and pretend, but the outright majority of them are the last on whom democracy can rely. Continue reading

Another Tack: Transcending All Other Considerations

Sir Alexander Cadogan: “the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations.”

Sir Alexander Cadogan: “the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations.”

The 67th anniversary tomorrow of the UN General Assembly’s Partition Resolution is intrinsically relevant to the recent decisions by several European parliaments and Sweden’s new leftwing government to recognize a State of Palestine. The UN Resolution of November 29, 1947 underscores the bias and hubris of the international community’s preachers-cum-omniscients.

Stockholm’s world-affairs neophytes – newly-elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and his foreign minister Margot Wallström – have ostensibly taken it upon themselves to educate us Israelis about our existential predicaments. It’s a safe bet they don’t care to know about pivotal UN Resolution 181.

We could regard their move as a self-serving attempt to curry favor with Sweden’s growing Muslim electorate. But we’ll be charitable and assume that it all springs from their misguided acceptance of the bogus axiom that a Palestinian state had existed from time immemorial and that it was cruelly overrun in an act of unprovoked aggression by Israel on June 5, 1967.

Ever since, it’s alleged, the state of Palestine had been under occupation. In other words, Israel had violently extinguished Palestine’s flourishing sovereignty. This is today’s self-evident, universally worshiped gospel. No substantiation thereof is necessary and any deviation therefrom is sacrilege.  Continue reading

Respect please!

David Ben-Gurion signs the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Moshe Sharett is on the right

David Ben-Gurion signs the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Moshe Sharett is on the right

Some democracies – certainly not all – were bequeathed formative documents formulated by prescient founding fathers who deliberately devoted utmost care to address every conceivable future interpretation. The least such seminal documents deserve is special deference from the nations fortunate enough to have inherited them.

They most certainly don’t deserve to be expediently turned into the proverbial rope in a political tug-of-war. Sadly, our Declaration of Independence – doubtless Israel’s most basic and vital text – is being misused in precisely this manner.

It all has to do with the “democratic and Jewish” catchphrase that has gained broad but unsubstantiated acceptance as the Declaration’s bipolar blueprint for the state’s character. Continue reading

Another Tack: The Perils of Peace

Twin inspirations: Abbas inflames his volatile masses in eerily the same idiom as Arafat

Twin inspirations: Abbas inflames his volatile masses in eerily the same idiom as Arafat

It’s a perplexing fact of our life: anything that remotely and vaguely resembles peace in Israel’s neighborhood is serially shattered once peace negotiations are kick-started. This is how it has invariably been – all the more emphatically so since the advent of Oslo.

According to this unique pattern, unequalled anywhere else, peace overtures are tantamount to harbingers of death and destruction.

Then, once the violence of peace somehow subsides, we briefly luxuriate in the lull of an impasse – the closest we ever get to calm.

But these rare respites inevitably rub do-gooder meddlers the wrong way both in the US and in the EU. With obsessive peevishness they begrudge us our breather. They summon summits, draw road maps, determine deadlines, weave tapestries, formulate fantasies and in short terminate the temporary time-outs.

It’s an inexorable rhythm.  After each round of jibber-jabbering about peace comes the carnage.

Sometimes the weapons of choice are rockets from Gaza. Sometimes they comprise rocks, axes, knives, Molotov cocktails, vehicles, guns and suicide bombs from Mahmoud Abbas’s Ramallah realm.

On occasion, if the mayhem lasts long enough, we call it an intifada. There are those among us who already opine that we are now in the preliminary throes of the third intifada. Others shudder to use such terminology.  Continue reading

Willing Dupes

Cement entering Gaza from Israel last year at the Kerem Shalom Crossing

Cement entering Gaza from Israel last year at the Kerem Shalom Crossing

Hamas, which imperiously rules Gaza, has been named in the latest issue of Forbes Israel as the world’s second-richest terrorist organization. It annually rakes in a billion dollars, outdone only by Islamic State (a.k.a. Da’esh, ISIS, ISIL) which – with an annual income of some two billion dollars – tops the chart of terrorist moneybags.

Hamas’s financial success has by far eclipsed Hezbollah, Taliban and al-Qaida.

IS finances its offensives by selling thousands of barrels of Iraqi oil every day on the black market. Hamas’s chief sources of earnings, according to the exhaustive Forbes report, are accrued from skimming hefty sums off foreign NGO donations and putting the squeeze on ordinary Gazans – the very ones the NGOs are ostensibly seeking to aid. Continue reading

Another Tack: Not Telling It Like It Is

 Hebron 1929: exhorting the mobs to save al-Aksa from the Jews

Hebron 1929: exhorting the mobs to save al-Aksa from the Jews

For hours after last week’s vehicular terror in Jerusalem (capped by an attack on passersby with a metal rod), Sky News persisted in not telling it like it is.

Its running news ticker at the bottom of the screen single-mindedly informed viewers that “Israeli police say a driver has rammed his car into pedestrians in East Jerusalem in an ‘intentional’ attack causing several injuries.”

The very inclusion of the verb say sufficed to cast doubt on Israeli communiqués. Then, to chip further away at residual Israeli credibility the word intentionally was tendentiously placed in quotation marks. This surely was overkill, considering that the reliability of the Israeli report was already challenged by the caveat of the opening phrase.

If during the first few minutes of the incident Sky could somehow make excuses for what looked like thinly-veiled antagonism, it certainly couldn’t long after the event. Nevertheless, that hardly objective news bar was still featured when any duty editor of even grudging goodwill or nominal neutrality should have known better.

In contrast, another report was cited with unadulterated acceptance. Sky’s above mentioned “breaking news” flash was accompanied throughout – for as many hours – by a bulletin that stated matter-of-factly (without any caveats this time) that “Israeli police have clashed with Palestinians inside Jerusalem’s al-Aksa Mosque compound after Jewish nationalists announced plans to visit the site.” Continue reading

Sedition by Parliamentarians

Moshe German’s car ablaze in Taibe

“I am not a contractor for calming operations,” proclaimed MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) when asked in a host of interviews, following the Kafr Kana shooting and ensuing countrywide riots, what he might do to cool passions.

With in-your-face bluntness Tibi proceeded to do quite the opposite and to pour oil on the flames. In breathless succession he accused the officers who shot 22-year-old Khair-a-din Hamadan of pre-meditated homicide, deliberate execution mafia-style, committing racist murder and altogether being “bloodthirsty animals.”

Shouting down other speakers, Tibi railed and vituperated. He charged that the policemen were out to “intentionally terminate Hamadan” rather than neutralize him when he attacked them with a knife. Tibi belittled Hamadan’s actions as “an understandable expression of anger.”

He insisted on stiff punishment for the individual cops, their commanders and government ministers. Continue reading

Fundamental Perspectives

An Israeli military outpost as seen from South Lebanon, where a Hezbollah flag flutters

An Israeli military outpost as seen from South Lebanon, where a Hezbollah flag flutters

Perceived dangers to our lives and ways of life can be a function of trends – just like everything else in our existence. The latest headline-grabbing focus of fear is Islamic State expansionism. This isn’t a bugbear of negligible proportions.  IS bloodlust and fanatic belligerence are nothing to scoff at.

That said, however, IS isn’t the only threat to the world’s democracies – Israel among them. Neither is it the greatest threat – certainly not to Israel.

Regardless of the repugnance aroused by IS’s sensationalist and lurid beheadings, worse villains abound in our region. Iran with its nuclear ambitions is foremost one, even though the White House is poised to appease Tehran’s ayatollahs without disarming them. Continue reading