Another Tack: Optimism was compulsory

Israeli babies born this month 18 years ago are now old enough for the draft. Some are already in uniform while others soon will be. They were born under the Oslo sign. It seemed a great time to come into the world.

They took their first breaths as the Oslo accords were inaugurated with whoops of rapture. Niggling doubt was politically incorrect and accordingly drowned out with heaps of scorn and wrath in the name of goodwill and broad-minded tolerance. Optimism was compulsory.

But, looking back, was optimism vindicated? Had the Oslo dreams panned out and even partially justified the hype, there would be no more need to train any more 18-year-olds in the arts of war – especially this very symbolic batch of 1993-vintage recruits. Continue reading

Another Tack: From bakshish to Khaybar

In many ways Egypt-present isn’t like Egypt-past. In many ways nothing in Egypt has changed at all.
Herein prevails the paradox. Egypt is a bedeviling composite of the mutating and the immutable.

I described its immutability years ago, when recalling my first work assignment to Egypt. In those days peace with Israel hadn’t yet been thoroughly delegitimized among the broad lower strata of Egyptian society (as distinct from the razor-thin so-called intelligentsia).

Yet it was a frustrating (pre-Internet) time. The Jerusalem Post’s then-editors wouldn’t hear of footing the bill for long-distance telephone communications. Reporters from other Israeli papers weren’t likewise impeded. I had to travel by cab alone each night – over an hour each way – from our well-secured hotel to Cairo’s Reuters headquarters to file my copy by telex. Continue reading

Another Tack: That Beilinesque mind-set

Our homegrown self-appointed guardians of collective conscience also inevitably – by their own testimony – corner the market on all available good sense. They persistently analyze our assorted predicaments and without fail arrive at the same judgment – Israel is to blame.

Specific circumstances and incidental details notwithstanding, it’s always our moral lapse and/or misguided conceptions that make us mess up massively. We need only be more virtuous or more sagacious (obviously as per their flawless recommendations).

The other day Yossi Beilin – ex-minister, pivotal Oslo protagonist, Labor Party headliner and later Meretz hotshot – published an op-ed in Yisrael Hayom omnisciently instructing us all on where we erred vis-à-vis Turkey. And thus he sermonized: “There comes a moment when a state must weigh what’s dearer to its heart – diplomatic, military and economic ties with a very large Muslim country whose influence in the region grows, or insistence on the truth, as it perceives it, and on what it interprets as national honor.”

Beilin’s preferences are unequivocal – we should have opted for the bounty clearly accruing from chumminess with Turkey and apologized abjectly for our legitimate self-defense in the Mavi Marmara incident. Considerations of national honor, he more than implies, are irrational, if not outrightly insane. Continue reading

Another Tack: The real danger

It’s a decade since 9/11, an anniversary that must provoke uneasy thoughts everywhere – including, for instance, on US President Barack Obama’s perspectives.

But does it? Kadima headliner Tzipi Livni recently granted an interview to The Atlantic magazine in which she waxed ecstatic about Obama’s pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and zealously recommended more.

It’s as if a cynical, self-willed disconnect from our realities caused Livni to forget her own tenure as foreign minister and rendered her bizarrely oblivious to Obama’s worldview.

Otherwise she’d have recalled that two years ago, when addressing Turkey’s parliament, Obama expressed profuse appreciation “for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including in my own country.”

This is Obama’s recurrent and persistent theme. “We are not at war with Islam,” he has declaimed repetitively on numerous occasions. By inference, neither is Islam at war with America, or, for that matter with Israel – to say nothing of any other democracy where Muslim terrorists have set off an explosive device or two. Continue reading

Another Tack: Khartoum’s three ‘no’s’- the Ramallah version

Our media – forever plying an advocacy agenda and tendentiously promoting hyped humbug – showed no interest in focusing on Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas’s latest song and dance. Denied resonance, the story expired virtually unnoticed.

Most Israeli news-consumers were highly unlikely even to have detected any fleeting resemblance between Abbas’s three “no’s” and the three “no’s” enunciated so bombastically in Khartoum exactly 44 years and one day ago.

Representatives of all Arab League members and the PLO hobnobbed in Sudan on August 29, 1967, soon after the Six Day War. On September 1, they published their resolution, popularly dubbed “the three no’s”: “no peace, no recognition, no negotiation with Israel.”

It would serve us well to recall that this was when Israelis delusionally awaited, as Moshe Dayan phrased it, “a phone call” from Arab leaders. We sincerely convinced ourselves that given the new circumstances in the region, there’s no alternative for the Arab world but to shake off its refusal to accept Israel and to effect a lasting reconciliation. Continue reading