Another Tack: Schlemiel, schlimazel …

There’s a well-defined distinction between a schlimazel and a schlemiel. The former is the one on whom soup is spilled, while the latter is the one who spills it. In the rare instance that both categories of klutziness coalesce in one persona, it’s an out-and-out disaster. Such an embarrassing, uncommon confluence of bad luck and clumsiness may go a long way toward accounting for Amir Peretz’s incredible recurrent gaffes.

The one in which he sat alongside then-chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi in February 2007 and inspected paratroop maneuvers on the Golan through capped binoculars far exceeded the merely preposterous. It was more like a symbolic embodiment and accentuation of how Peretz and the lame Olmert government in which he served as defense minister looked out for Israel’s most critical security interests.

There Peretz was, peering intently into opaque black plastic lens-covers, yet nodding – apparently knowingly – to explanations by the IDF’s top commander. Peretz focused attentively, as if he actually saw something and even made professional sense of what he so keenly observed. This farce, seemingly straight out of a Marx Brothers madcap spoof, was repeated no fewer than three times on that one occasion.

In truth, though, it doesn’t much matter what Peretz did or didn’t see that morning. His peerless brand of piercing perception and knack for disregarding empirical evidence was recurrently demonstrated throughout the Second Lebanon War (to resort to extreme understatement). All these years later, and his ignominious resignation from the defense helm notwithstanding, Peretz is still avidly at it, still superciliously confident of his uncanny insight, still seeking to convince us that no one gets things as right as he does. Continue reading