Another Tack: Between Tunisia and Tel Aviv

News flash: There’s cheap rental housing in Tel Aviv. Dirt cheap. So cheap, in fact, that illegals from Ghana and Nigeria, Guatemala and Columbia, Thailand and Outer Mongolia, can afford it. But that’s not where the privileged children of the well-heeled classes wish to fulfill fantasies of FriendsSex and the City or Gossip Girl.

Indeed, the Old Central Bus Station environs, like the Shapira or Hatikva quarters, aren’t Tel Aviv’s equivalents of somewhere-fashionable-in-the-heart-of-Manhattan – where latter-day bohemians reside in style while posing as suffering artistes and empathizing with the downtrodden masses of the Earth.

The equivalents are “Heart-of-Tel-Aviv” neighborhoods (like the swanky Sheinkin drag), even select elitist edges of Jaffa and that glorified-gentrified Florentin niche. But topping it all for prestige and desirability is Tel Aviv’s “Old North,” radiating from the upmarket Habimah Theater-Mann Auditorium hub.

At that posh pivot, trendsetters and groupies pitched their tent city to campaign for lower/subsidized rents. We, wage-earners in the rest of the country, are presumably required to foot their extravagant bills and make Israel’s Manhattan ambiance more affordable. Since Manhattan is so overpriced, the affectation becomes more attainable in the homeland, in conditions of comparable comfort and proximity to social focal points – where it’s all happening.

That, however, as elsewhere in the world, is where it’s most expensive to rent the proper setting for the pretentious pipe dream. It’s location, location, location – the greater the demand, the higher the price-tag. Continue reading

Another Tack: Boycott is beautiful

Only Sigmund Freud could probably account for why strains of “Suicide is Painless” (the M*A*S*H theme song – in both the 1970 movie and subsequent TV series) pulsated inside my cranium each time the anti-boycott bill was being rehashed on our airwaves.

Whatever the subconscious trigger, the lyrics (written by director Robert Altman’s 14-year-old son) evolved as they reverberated in my mind’s ear. The refrain “suicide is painless” soon morphed into “boycott is beautiful.”

Resorting to amateur psychoanalysis, I could vaguely work out what led me to regard boycotts as beautiful. I must have subliminally succumbed to all that high-minded leftist palaver about boycotts constituting a legitimate form of free speech. As such, boycotts become a positive expression of human rights.

My own appreciation was thoroughly grounded in historic precedent. The benefits of boycotts are undeniable.

For example, in the 1870s, the Anti-Coolies Association and the Supreme Order of the Caucasians initiated boycotts of Chinese businesses and laborers across America’s West. Continue reading

Another Tack: Double standards to uphold

We call them men of letters, peace activists, democracy’s champions and human rights campaigners.

We never, ever call them extremists. The word “fanatic” couldn’t be remotely considered in reference to the sensitive, caring and agonized denizens of Israel’s political Left.

Only reputed right-wingers are maligned as extremists, fanatics, fascists, rabble-rousing inciters, enemies of democracy, lawbreakers, wreckers of peace prospects, and/or demolishers of our way of life. In fact, Israel’s Left-dominated media even decides for us which baddies to brand right-wingers. Continue reading

Another Tack: Memo to kibitzers and kvetchers

Israel’s ambassador to Washington is the guest at a prestigious nationally televised interview series, but is soon set upon by his particularly pugnacious host. The strikingly prosecutorial interviewer homes in on “the charge that Israel threatens world peace with a policy of territorial expansion.”

He quotes “a major Arab spokesman” who asserts that “the area of the territories held by Israel today exceeds by about 40 percent the area of the territories given Israel by the United Nations. Most of this added area… was taken by force, and should therefore be relinquished by Israel.”

Ho hum. So what’s the big deal? Aren’t we habitually painted as insatiable gobblers of Arab land, and aren’t we just as routinely required to cede our “ill-gotten” gains?

True, this could all have been a colossal bore, were it not for the date of the above face-off. It took place on April 12, 1958, shortly before Israel’s 10th birthday. And that makes Abba Eban’s appearance on The Mike Wallace Interview program supremely important. Continue reading