Another Tack: De Tocqueville in Harvard

To tell the truth, Barack Obama’s second Mideast pontification sounded better than his first – the one he delivered in Cairo soon after assuming office. His waxing ecstatic about burgeoning democracy in the Arab world appeared preferable to his bowing before sleazy Arab potentates and pretending that Muslim despots should be weighed on the same scales of pluralist evenhandedness as Western democrats.

Prima facie, more than the Arab/Muslim world had changed, Obama seemed to have substantively backtracked from entrenched moral relativism. Remember, early in his presidency he opted to coolly ignore the popular uprising in Iran and treat the Ayatollahs’ rigged election as the bona fide verdict of the masses.

Still, in a world where the three-word slogan and five-second sound bite prevail, it’s politically correct to forgive that lapse. It’s bon ton to forget that Obama’s sweet palaver sugarcoats the bitterest poison-pill. It’s uncool to mention that should Israel refuse to swallow what Obama prescribes, it’d be accused of upsetting the regional/international equilibrium.

For Obama groupies, Israeli democracy is anyhow not preferable to authorized Palestinian thuggery. It doesn’t matter that Israelis never sent suicide-bombers to Arab streets nor incited Jewish masses to annihilate Muslims. Continue reading

Another Tack: A revanchist cause called Nakba

Another Nakba Day has come and gone with its not-unexpected bloody consequences. The Nakba must be the single most successful revanchist propaganda ploy ever – one which dementedly ultra-tolerant Israel has allowed to gain momentum and become a fixed feature of our surreal existence.

Never has a revanchist cause been marketed as effectively. It wasn’t so even in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 when France lost Alsace-Lorraine and seethed with patriotic retributionist ardor to reverse its wartime losses. This furious groundswell was then dubbed revanchism (from revanche, French for revenge).

Revanchism is inextricably tied to irredentism – the often unsavory nationalist agitation whereby one country claims stretches of another’s territory as property belonging to it.

World War II resulted from precisely such a lethal combination of revanchism and irredentism. Hitler strove to avenge Germany’s World War I defeat and (so he claimed initially) take control of territories populated by German-speakers. He insisted that Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland was Germania Irredenta (unredeemed Germany) – his “last demand in Europe.”

That border region’s German inhabitants, Hitler persuaded a world all-too-eager to be duped, deserve self-determination. Germans cannot live as a minority anywhere. (Just as Arabs can’t.) Continue reading

Another Tack: The Börne identification

Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” – Ludwig Börne (1786-1837)

One of the wittier and more brilliant satirists ever to have come out of Germany, Börne identified with characteristic precision that indispensable preliminary step in Everyman’s quest for solutions to whatever plagues us. “If you seek wisdom,” he advised, “seek the destruction of the illusions you hold as true more than you seek new truths.”

This is counsel that should be heeded here and now by our inveterate hawkers of mega-delusion – Israel’s very own proponents of the two-state solution. Unflaggingly they peddle tattered, intrinsically disorienting delirium. Incredibly they never seem to tire of pulling the wool over their own and our eyes. They present themselves as possessors of singular insight, as harbingers of a greater truth and as wise beyond our plebeian grasp.

They won’t let go of the grand delusion that underlies their self-professed wisdom and purported truth. Their two-state delusion was certainly sweet – simplistically and seductively so. It claimed that all conflicts can be amicably and fairly settled by just dividing up whatever is contested. It touted idealistic goodwill and seemed compellingly rational. But it was from the start delusionary.
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Another Tack: Court Jews in the Jewish state

By all formal criteria, Israel is an independent state, a nation among the nations, born of Herzlian aspirations for the normalcy of a people residing on its own sovereign soil, relieved of the complexes of two millennia of statelessness and incomparable sustained defamation-cum-persecution.

But alive within us is the restless anomaly of the Diaspora’s Court Jew, the one who strove to ingratiate himself with the powers-that-be, to become their useful pet, to claim extraordinary influence while basking in the limelight of his people’s tormenters, seeing their point of view, currying their favor, setting himself apart from the Jewish masses and posturing as the possessor of greater wisdom.

The conceit of latter-day Court Jews extends to denying the very existence of the Court Jew syndrome and Diaspora deformities. Contemporary Court Jews, who suck up to world opinion – especially when that opinion unjustly excoriates the Jewish state – definitively prove the frustrated adage that you can take the Jew out of the Diaspora but you cannot always take the Diaspora out of the Jew.
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