Another Tack: Be a good bully

Dear President Obama,

Your objection to Jews remodeling an inconsequential erstwhile Jerusalem hotel has become the talk of the country here. Everyone knows of your keen involvement in the paltriest details of our everyday existence. Nothing is too remote, trivial or petty for you. So long as it’s in Israel, you make it your business. To resort to a somewhat archaic American idiom, bully for you!

You sure aren’t too haughty to immerse yourself in our minutia. You’re not detached from the internal affairs of your most avid democratic ally. There’s just nothing which concerns us that doesn’t also concern you.

Therefore, mindful of your unstinting commitment to keep Israelis on their absolute best behavior and out of all reckless mischief, I appeal to you to turn your benevolent, ever-wise sights to my neighborhood too. It’s in sore need of your intervention. Please put order in my own local habitat.

I know it’s not prime real estate from your vantage point. You obviously prefer locations beyond the so-called Green Line. Said shoddy Jerusalem ex-hotel lies outside that line and hence you feel obliged to severely rap the Jerusalem Municipality’s knuckles for even considering Jewish tenancy where you deem no Jews ought to be.

YOU LIKEWISE sternly reprimand same troublesome metropolitan administration for so much as looking askance on recent-vintage Arab construction within the Emek Hamelech (King’s Valley or Silwan) archeological site. So what if the ancient relics which lie below are from a First Temple royal enclave – perhaps King David’s own? So what if the Arab structures were provocatively erected without permit and only lately? You are willing to overlook illegal construction beyond the Green Line if it’s by Arabs. Only pesky Jews must be taught their places.

Besides, since you are so responsive to Islamist sensitivities, you must take into account the fact that Muslims – after their current fashion – now assert there never was a City of David or any Temple in Jerusalem. Jews, they aver, have no connection to the city they had put on the world’s map.

Being a confirmed postmodern moral-relativist, it doesn’t bother you that Christianity is based on the very Jewish tradition which Muslims have chosen to demonstratively rebuff. Your brand of Christianity, after all, hails from Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s liberation theology, which anyway despises all Jewish bonds. So it’s clear you’re not overly burdened by the enormity of the historical importance that Jerusalem constitutes for Jews.

You can hence approach the issue of illegal Arab construction with an enlightened, unencumbered vision. You can easily see that insufferable strife is ignited exclusively by Jewish construction.

Please don’t stop at the Green Line, though. Between us, you know that this is a fabricated delineation rather than a real border. It’s in effect the line of exhaustion for Israeli soldiers in our 1948-49 War of Independence.

You must have encountered the episode in some negligible text at Harvard. You know – the tired old story of seven Arab armies invading the newborn Jewish state. The world expected the Jews to be slaughtered, which didn’t excite too much of a squawk from preachy moralists. Indeed your own America imposed an arms embargo on fledgling Israel to further disable its anyhow minimal defensive capabilities and make it yet easier prey for British-trained, British-led and British-equipped Arab enemies.

But somehow those uncooperative Jews prevailed against the odds, which was when the preachy moralists showed us all how loud they can squawk. They couldn’t abide the fact that, while fighting for their lives, unbearably audacious Jews trespassed beyond the little patchwork ghetto the UN Partition Resolution parsimoniously allotted them. The line where the unruly Jews stopped – after having sacrificed a full one percent of their 600,000 population to thwart the Arab-plotted Holocaust sequel – became the 1949 Armistice Line. On the maps it was colored green, and was thereafter sanctified as the Green Line.

YOU INSIST no Jewish nose may venture beyond that line, and that no Jewish baby may be housed in territory forbidden to Jews. But as I said, that Green Line – as we’re both wise enough to admit – is an artificial, temporary designation. No need to confine yourself. You can be just as imperious vis-a-vis our daily lives within said line as outside it.

Please assert your intrusive authority, meddle and infringe on our sovereignty. My own hometown can surely use some overbearing, sanctimonious supervision. I reside in a burg of medium dimensions within that questionable Green Line but, since the entire country is tiny, said line is never very far. One wrong turn on the highway and the Green Line looms menacingly. Given the pint-sized proportions of our provincial geography, we are never too safe from homicidal predations by the other side’s none-too-friendly denizens.

Anyhow, though the barren tract for my particular community was legally purchased by Jews back in 1913, and though it was fully paid for and then some – an exorbitant price by any yardstick – the Arabs still consider us illicit interlopers, meriting hostility like any “unauthorized” outpost beyond the green demarcation. Actually, when across-the-line land is bought nowadays, Arabs pocket the money but routinely deny the deal.

SINCE YOU are exceptionally predisposed to sympathize with the Arab narrative, please for our purposes consider my veteran Israeli township a vexing settlement too and turn your attentions to my travails.

My next-door neighbor is a rabid rightwing fanatic. She and her husband – once mainstream free-thinking secularists of Rahm Emanuel’s Peace Now variety – saw the light and got religion. They’re now precisely the sort of Jews who grate on your nerves, same as troublemaking settlers across the great green divide. Unsurprisingly, some long-deceased rabbi must have whispered in their ear that feeding stray critters is a good deed. Dozens of cats overrun their yard and the overflow illegally resides in mine – on private land.

My pious neighbor adamantly refuses to have them neutered or spayed. Many a city official cowered shamefacedly before her zealous determination. These illegitimate felines now procreate in my domain and wreak havoc in my lovingly tended garden.

Can you please impose curbs on their objectionable “natural growth,” as you insist on doing regarding Judea and Samaria Jews? Can you twist my irresolute mayor’s arms?

What’s more, another neighbor unlawfully expanded her cottage’s ground floor and thus the rest of us in the same row cannot build on any additions.

Incredibly, traffic in our narrow side-street is two-way and hampers our freedom of movement during weekday morning rush-hours.

Please enforce compulsory solutions. We know you can. You told us so. Take charge without delay. Let me at least enjoy the full benefits of vassal-state status.

Submissively,

Sarah Honig

P.S. Be a good bully and also get us better street lighting.

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